Making beautiful maps

My 4 part presentation to the WAURISA GIS conference, held in Lynnwood, WA May 2013. In part 1, I look at obtaining textures that we can use to bring warmth to our digital creations and use some basic tools in Photoshop to clean them up.

In part 2, I look at compositing various map elements together using layer masks in Photoshop to define areas of transparency and opacity. I bring in real world textures and vector linework from Illustrator to help build up the map.

Part 3 actually had to be removed from the live presentation, so I'm restoring it here as a bonus "deleted scene." In this part, I walk through the process of taking very standard GIS output (a DEM, rendered hillshade, and a terrible looking airphoto) and transform them into a landscape rendering that looks great.

Finally, in part 4, I look at taking what we've learned about layer masks in Photoshop and apply it to Illustrator. We'll use masks to create an easy way to transition contour colors over various land cover types, and we'll use masks to add character to otherwise perfect vector linework and fills.