2/14/2014

Free Map 019: A Natural Maze

Free Map 019: A Natural Maze
Work kind of got away from me this week and I had to spend almost all of my free time trying to catch up and I am trying to play some catch-up.

This week when I had some unexpected free time during training at my day job I was pretty much forced to sit quietly at my desk while my colleagues took an exam. I'd long since finished the additional self-paced CBT (computer based training) modules so I broke out my notepad and markers to try my hand at something different.

I've been kicking around an idea for a natural maze that has had some constructs (extra walls and doors) built into it. I'm having problems getting my head wrapped around it so I just started drawing some rough shapes. Before I knew it I was drawing a maze-ish series of outcroppings. Normally when I'm drawing in this organic cave fashion I'm drawing the tunnels and caverns, but this time I was drawing the reverse. Basically instead of drawing inside walls I was drawing outside walls.

I actually drew parts of this map on four separate sheets of small notebook paper. On piece was intended to cover up the edge walls of another piece that I didn't like and by the time I got done scanning and stitching it all together, it was apparent my drawings didn't flow very well. Some walls seemed too thick and some outcroppings just seemed "off". I had scaled portions of my drawing out some, changing the otherwise steady dimensions of my pen lines. I had hoped that a trip through Adobe Illustrator would help, but it seemed to exacerbate the problem.

A jumble of rocky outcroppings
Lucky for me a solution dawned on me quickly. After re-opening my saved AI file in Photoshop I filled in one little hole in the wall (an actual spot that had a gap) and filled the open space with white. Then I deleted all my single-color black walls. With my uneven walls gone I was left with a white canvas with a bunch of clear holes in it. One quick stroke layer later and I now had nice and evenly thick walls.

I hope to remember this trick as a way of quickly and easily standardizing what might be some unevenness.

This map would be easy to tweak for your own use. Add some grid lines for scale and simply erase any outcroppings to make larger chambers. This could be an outdoor area or it could be the grouping of stalagmites & stalactites of a cave system. To make it into more of a maze, draw a line around connecting the individual pieces, making sure to leave some pathways clear.

To get the map, click on the intro graphic to this post or use this link. I left the picture alone so if you click on it you'll get a closer low-res look.