Question about creating "Maps" (the Cartographic kind).

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Question about creating "Maps" (the Cartographic kind).

Postby MatthewB » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:05 am

I am kind of new to 2D Animation (at least digital - I can do Old-School 2D Cell-Animation, or various types of 2D Stop-Motion, or Frame-Capture Animation)., and I am working on a project that I have a need to do a "Zoom" into a region of a Map (specifically, the Earth, and even more Specifically, into Safi, Casablanca,and Port Layette, and Oran and Algiers in Africa, and Guadalcanal Island in the Solomon Islands), where I am showing nearly the entire Hemisphere in the "wide-angle" shot.

Or, more specifically, showing North America, and the top of South America (Basically from Brazil, North), the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean, and Europe to the Urals, and North Africa down to Cape-Town (which is why I have South America from Brazil, to get all of Africa), and then the Camera Centered over the Atlantic Ocean....

And then zooming in to a fleet of ships that are moving toward the Coast of Africa, until eventually you see little "landing craft" being lowered from some of these ships, where they then head toward the beaches, and then men pour out of these landing craft (In case no one has guess, this would be an event that took place Nov. 9th, 1942).

And for the other shot, I need a map that has all of Asia East of India, the Pacific Ocean (from the Bering Straight to just south of Australia - so no Antarctica), and the USA, with the West Coast of S. America.

And then I need to zoom in to the July - August Preparations in New Zealand, Australia, Noumea, Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides, the Practice in Fiji, before following the two Task Forces to Guadalcanal (which would need to Zoom-Out, and then zoom-back in to the Action on the morning of August 8, 1942).


The question here is:

How do I do the "Zoom" into the map (I have any number of Maps that I can use for the "Wide-Angle" shot of the Hemisphere or each Ocean/Continent group), so that there is no obvious "cut," yet not have to create a Map that is ginormous in size (needing many MBs of memory)?

In Maya, I can just put the Islands on separate Geometry, with a "texture map" that is just a jpeg, png, or anything else with an alpha-channel that will allow the larger "ocean" to show through, so that they have a different levels of resolution from the larger "background" map.

Can I do something like that in Moho?

If so, how?

If not.... How do I solve this problem.

Because it is one that is going to come up a LOT in this project (which deals with the Infrastructure Buildup of WWII, rather than focusing on the Battles. But I need to provide something complex enough to show that I am who needs to be picked for this project). And I wanted to use 2D Animation, rather than 3D, because we want to replicate the 1930s/40s Artistic Styles (Deco, Retro-Modern) that were used in the Propaganda Posters of that period (and because I want to learn 2D animation, because Moho is a LOT cheaper than paying for a Maya subscription).

So... Sorry for being so verbose.... But I'd like to get this out of the way, since I have all of the other elements nearly finished (Ships, Port and Base Elements, Aircraft, Location Maps and Backgrounds).

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Re: Question about creating "Maps" (the Cartographic kind).

Postby synthsin75 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:52 am

My first thought would be to simply cross-fade the wide shot map for a more detailed close-up map. Maybe just fade-in the detail map over the wide shot map. If you match the zoom during the fade, it should look fairly seamless.
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Re: Question about creating "Maps" (the Cartographic kind).

Postby slowtiger » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:31 am

I've experimented with Endless Zoom a bit. What I do is to put all map images into a group (or bone) layer. The detailed ones should go on the top. Then I scale them so they fit again. (Tip: the middle one shouldn't be scaled, the ones around should be enlarged and reduced, this way you shouldn't reach any technical limits). I carefully place each map on the (larger) one before. It helps if you can pinpoint one location on all maps. Create a layer with a cross on top so you have a reference.

When everything is in place I can create the zoom. Render test videos a lot because this will probably not run smooth in project view. Once you're satisfied with the movement, you may add short dissolves of the different maps to blend them in at the right time.

You really need good source material here, there's no sense when working in HD (1920 x 1080) to have maps of only that size, at least they should have twice the size.

Here's an example from an ongoing project. Of course here it was easy to line up the images. It's 9 images, each of twice the resolution than the previous one, precisely prepared in Photoshop.
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Re: Question about creating "Maps" (the Cartographic kind).

Postby hayasidist » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:06 pm

I'm guessing that the maps will be "birds eye" and that sometime around (e.g.) the fleet, the view will change from top down to side on?

at what point, if at all, will raster images give way to vectors?

this (unfinished / mostly texture-less / blocky) half animatic / half proof of concept back from last year might help your thinking process.

the map is about 4000*3000 pixels - 80Mb in a PSD file (would have been smaller if I exported as png). At full zoom-in (done by layer scale not camera zoom) this is just under 4 times linear magnification so technically breaking my rule as the output is 1080p

I fade in the (block colour in this version) vectors that are the sea and land as I rotate the map+vectors group about the x axis - the mountain "rising from the flat map" is done by point motion. The (block) ship is vectors. I deliberately had the ship out of shot until the transition to horizontal had finished so I didn't need to "do to the ship what I did to the land masses" to rotate its plane of view. I didn't use camera motion of any kind during this initial sequence.

The bird is there for a continuity cut to the next scene.
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Re: Question about creating "Maps" (the Cartographic kind).

Postby MatthewB » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:51 am

OK, so my first thoughts about how to do this are effectively correct.

That I am going to need to have multiple "layers" of Content at higher resolution of detail.

And that using vector images for the ships will likely be better than using Raster.

But that the Map itself needs to be Raster.

There is some issue with the ocean, as the "birds-eye-view" is planned to show some wave detail (and particularly wake detail of the ships).

So using a "scale" to simulate the zoom, and then doing a fade/dissolve on the lower-res into the Higher-res images will allow me to continue the zoom.

I haven't yet got a test sample, but will post one as soon as I get the "High Resolution" map image complete. I have the Global Map (the Pacific Ocean and the Americas and East Asia), and the Theatre Map (The Southwest Pacific), but I don't yet have the Campaign Map (High-Res) of the Solomons and Guadalcanal (or other specific locations: New Zealand, Australia, Nouméa, Espiritu Santo, etc.)

So I'll do a test render of the "Zoom" as soon as I get the local Maps made.

And, as far as shifting from a Birds-eye-View to a Side-on View....

When we get to that part, we will likely shift to Poser or Maya, using a stylized Flat-Shader that makes the images look like WWII Propaganda Posters.

But thank you everyone for the help.

And my guess about the image sized was correct (roughly 80MB PSD images).

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