[Archive] Terrain/ computer package advice needed


Something I’ve been thinking of making for a couple of years now I think I’d finally like to start.

To avoid the inevitable disappointment if it takes me many months to complete, I won’t say what it is just yet.  It’s terrain though.  Not sizeable but very complex to imagine and design, let alone make.  The more complex the better actually…

Which is why I need some advice on a computer package.  What I need is an easy to use package that I can use to draw very complex designs in (in 2D) then print out.  The essential thing is to be able to do perfect curves like this (only the other way up).

The design needs to be perfect because it will require a lot of precision.

The complex detailed parts I should be able to do by hand on the design if needed, but the curves especially need a computer.

I’m sure there must be something out there better than a pen and paper. ;)  Preferably free.


Try this: http://webgraphing.com/


You can make perfect curves in any vector-based illustration application: Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw… you could also try ‘Inkscape’ (which I’ve never used), but it appears to be free, and capable (http://inkscape.org/)

Hope this helps!


Power Point’s line draw tool.  There’s a wavy line one that lets you pick the points and it figures out the curvature needed.  If you don’t like the curvature, when you’re done go back to the curve and right click on it, and an option comes up to “Edit Points” and it’ll show you the nodes in your spline. You can then click on them and it shows you the direction and distance it is using as the control for curvature.  Once you have your picture just print it directly or print it to a .pdf file with CutePDF (or some similar print driver) and open the .pdf up in Photoshop.  Since the drawing is stored as a vector image (AFIAK anyway) you can pick just about any DPI setting to render the page as in Photoshop when you open it to make further edits/changes/deformations.

Seriously, Power Point line drawing. I use it weekly for quick drawings for presentations as well as hobby stuff.  Oh, and Power Point will also let you control the size in inches/cm, as will Photoshop.


P.S., here’s a quick and dirty tracing job done in Power Point to show the outline of a fossil and an organic matter-containing stain co-localized with it.  It’s not perfect, but it only took maybe 15 minutes to make.


You can also just trace over an exact shape if you want that as your starting point, from there you can edit the points, change colour, thickness, what ever, all in Power Point, in case that helps with making it easier to see after resizing in another program (resizing in Power Point will always preserve the original line thickness, it’s only the location of the control points that are scaled).

… the above took all of a few seconds to find a pic, paste it into PP, trace part of it, edit it, get it into Photoshop, etc etc. Took longer to type this post than to do all of it :wink:


Visio is what I use at work, it does all that pretty well. It’s now part of a Microsoft package so you might have it as default in an office.