Oblivion talk:Clouded Funnel Cap

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First Thoughts[edit]

An idea I've been playing with for a while now is creating maps showing where ingredients can be found. This page contains a sample of what such a map would look like, and some ideas on what else could be included on an individual ingredient page.

Before going too much further with this I was hoping to get some feedback on whether this type of information is useful and whether the format of the map should be tweaked. The full map image is actually a pretty large file, because I'm superimposing upon the standard Cyrodiil map. The advantage is that then readers can zoom in on a section of the map and have some reference points to figure out where a cluster of plants is located. But I'd like to be sure that other editors think that these maps are worth all the space (because if I post these for all the plants it'll be 60+ images). --Nephele 02:51, 19 March 2007 (EDT)

I think it'd be pretty useful, especially when you're looking for potion ingredients and the like (I've spent too many hours wandering around the wrong places). Th232 04:40, 19 March 2007 (EDT)

I must say I am very impressed by this. Apart from that I think it is certainly very useful information, and the layout looks pretty intuitive and easy to use. Jadrax 06:10, 19 March 2007 (EDT)


Note: most of the following discussion was based upon the initial version of this map, which has since been replaced. The original map can still be seen in the image archives. The links within this discussion to other preliminary map versions have been altered so that they all point to the original (now archived) versions of the map. The current versions of all maps have been replaced to use the same, standard color scheme. --Nephele 23:14, 24 March 2007 (EDT)

I think it's pretty cool - only I don't think the images need to be nearly as large as what you've posted to get the idea across. I can just look at the thumbnail and get a pretty good idea of where the best places to search are. One other trick that might help is if you made it so that the squares only changed the color, not the tone of the image, so that the lines of the map show through a bit better. (I can see a little behind them in the full-zoom, but in the thumbnail, the lines disappear completely.) Additionally, the choice of colors is a little questionable. I think a stricter spectrum of violet to red would be more intuitive. Just as an example:

1 2 3 4 5 6

Or possibly a single-color brightness palette:

1 2 3 4 5 6

Anyhow, conceptually, I love the idea. Just the artist in me looks for ways it could be improved. Let me know if you need any help, graphics-wise. --TheRealLurlock Talk 10:24, 19 March 2007 (EDT)

Thanks for the feedback! I originally tried a more standard color spectrum, but the yellow seemed hard to pick out. I could try it again and post a map using a spectrum to see what others think; it could have just been my personal reaction to the colors. I don't know how to make it so the squares just change the color and not the tone. In particular, the way I'm doing this is by overlaying the color grid (generated externally from photoshop) on top of the map, and changing the opacity of that layer to 80% so the map features can be seen a bit (if I go much lower than 80% then the colors start to get washed out). If you could give some directions for how to do what you're thinking, I could definitely give it a try.
I realized overnight that probably one of the easiest ways to reduce the size of the image would be to simplify all of the provinces outside of Cyrodiil: change them to a plain smooth gray instead of being mottled, for example. I think I'll experiment with that first before decreasing the image resolution. I definitely wanted it so that you can see most of the info on the 500px thumbnail and therefore most readers won't need to do more than look at the page to see what they're looking for. But I think having the option of pulling up the higher resolution version is also useful if you're trying to find a specific cell (which may be necessary with some of the less common plants that pop up in just a few disconnected cells). --Nephele 12:23, 19 March 2007 (EDT)
OK, OB-Map-SteelBlueEntolomaCap.jpg uses a different selection of colors. I was able to save about 20% on the file size by cleaning up the other provinces... it's still definitely a large file, but to get significantly smaller will require giving up resolution. After dinner I'll put together the rest of the page for Steel-Blue Entoloma Cap, but I thought I'd get the image up now in case anyone has any comments. --Nephele 23:19, 19 March 2007 (EDT)
In the Layers palette, where it says "Normal", try selecting "Hue" or "Color" from the drop-down list. If those don't work, just try others on the list until you get one that does. Depending on the situation, I commonly use "Hard Light", "Multiply", "Screen", "Color Burn" and "Color Dodge" as well. Though the new version is definitely better, I think. The colors seem more sequential, where the old ones seemed a little haphazard. (Mostly the brown was out of place, and also we're generally trained to see the spectrum from red to violet (which is after all true to the wavelengths of light), and having it wrap around on the blue-violet side can seem slightly un-natural. The yellow may seem a bit bright still, so you might try the monochromatic palette as well, just to see how it looks. (It would certainly make the dense areas stand out, though it'd be harder to tell exactly which category a square was in at a glance. A bit of a toss-up there.) --TheRealLurlock Talk 01:07, 20 March 2007 (EDT)
One concern about the monochromatic palette is that for rare plants it could be pretty hard to pick out just a few cells when they all have the minimum concentration. And those are the plants where people are likely to care the most about being able to easily pick out all the available cells. So it seems that the minimum concentration cells need to stand out almost as prominently as the maximum concentration cells. --Nephele 01:26, 20 March 2007 (EDT)
Two more new maps:
  • OB-Map-FlaxSeeds.jpg (page Flax Seeds), using the "Darken" option (the "Multiply" also did the trick, but tended to gray out the colors a bit more). I like how it turned out, especially that you can now easily see the roads through the colors.
  • OB-Map-RedwortFlower.jpg (page Redwort Flower), changing to a monochromatic palette (I didn't do a perfect job of color switching, so there are some artifacts at the edges of the boxes if you zoom in too far, but it gives the basic idea). I went one degree darker with the palette, because I couldn't see FFDDDD at all (and this map doesn't max out the range, either, so there aren't actually any full black boxes). I personally don't like it as much as full color, but I'm willing to hear what others have to say. --Nephele 02:37, 20 March 2007 (EDT)
You know, it occurred to me that you don't necessarily need to use the same scale for every ingredient. For rare ones, where you're never going to find any 50+ cells, you could "scale" the results for a more accurate chart. If, for example, the most abundant source had around 10 plants, you could make 10 the last color and scale the others up accordingly, kind of like a teacher might scale the grades of a class based on the highest-scoring student. Not sure if this might be misleading, but as long as the actual numbers were given in the key on the image (and the text was large enough to read in thumbnail), it could work. You don't have to do that, of course, I understand it would just be more work, and possibly confusing if you expected a constant color-scale. Just a thought I had.
As for the "Darken" layer option, the reason you couldn't see the lighter colors is that the way that filter works is that whichever color is darker will show. If a layer is lighter than the background, you get nothing. (Similarly the "Lighten" option doesn't work if a layer is darker than the background.) "Multiply" will always make things darker, and "Screen" always makes things lighter. You might consider splitting the palette in half, and using "Multiply" on the dark colors and "Screen" on the light ones. (Or "Color Burn" on the dark and "Color Dodge" on the light, maybe - these have the advantage of enhancing, rather than dulling the color.) Though your background is light enough that you've got more darker than lighter colors, generally. --TheRealLurlock Talk 09:29, 20 March 2007 (EDT)
A single color-scale (dark red to light red) may not look as pretty as the rainbow palette but is easier to the eyes and makes a lot more sense than a seemingly random palette such as the one used on most pages currently; because the connection dark-low and light-high (or vice versa) is a natural connection since when the quanitity increases, the brightness of the color also increases (or decreases) whereas there is no natural connection of "blue" with "low" and "purple" with "high". I strongly urge you to use a single color-scale for these reasons :)
Oh, and awesome idea, making these pages. Great help for an alchemist character. --Stijn Talk 17:33, 20 March 2007 (EDT)
I see your argument about light to dark being a natural progression, but I also think that having a color variation helps to make it easier to distinguish different regions. So how about a combination... a palette that goes from light to dark while also changing hues? For example:
1 2 3 4 5 6
Yes, I'm wrapping around from red to purple again ;) But to me yellow naturally seems like the obvious light-end anchor of the scale. Does that seem workable... or have I just thrown out the best parts of each scheme?
Also, I'd strongly prefer to keep the same color scale for all plants... I tend to really dislike it when similar graphs change the scale and you're forced to read the scale to compare them. I chose a logarithimic-type scale so that the scale is pretty meaningful for all plants. OK, so nirnroot only uses the two lowest-color values, but how much more do you learn if you go to three values (1 plant, 2 plants, or 3 plants per cell)? Also, it would be more work, and be much more error-prone, to starting customizing the color scale for each plant. --Nephele 14:02, 20 March 2007 (EDT)
I'm just thinking of the color range like you'd see on a weather-map, cold to hot, or low-pressure to high-pressure. (I'd think that given your line of work, those color scales would be second nature to you, right?) But even for those of us that don't study weather for a living, we know what it means when the weather map on TV or in the newspaper is blue in some areas and red in others. That's why I think that a hue spectrum that doesn't correspond to that might be somewhat counter-intuitive. --TheRealLurlock Talk 14:20, 20 March 2007 (EDT)

Purple to red is definitely a common color scheme (although one standard set of maps [1] that I work with used a pretty messed up color scheme for decades). It also works best when you're doing a full page in color, and the colors are contoured, in part because the yellow never has to stand out on its own. (I don't think this data works so well when contoured, because you get distinct points with huge concentrations in the middle of nowhere... especially for the crops... grapes, corn, tomatoes, etc). In short, color schemes are rarely easy to figure out ;)

I agree I shouldn't have randomly messed with the color sequence on the Clouded Funnel Cap map, and at this point the Flax Seeds map is my favorite. It's not clear to what extent Stijn's comments apply to the Clouded Funnel Map color scheme, and to what extent they also apply to the Flax Seeds map. But it's pretty much impossible to make a purple-to-red color scheme that is also light-to-dark. Yellow-to-red would be doable, perhaps even green-to-red (using a very pale green). So should we throw out the idea of combining light-to-dark with a color spectrum? --Nephele 15:03, 20 March 2007 (EDT)

The red/yellow or red/green sound like they have potential, though I'm fine with the Flax Seeds palette myself. I'd say put it up to a vote, but I'm not sure how many people would even notice. --TheRealLurlock Talk 10:14, 21 March 2007 (EDT)
My comment mostly applied to schemes such as on the Flax Seed map. Red to Purple is an acceptable hue, but throwing green and yellow in between makes it look very random. Why not just use a single color with increasing brightness such as the example on top of this page (dark red to light red)? It's clear, easy on the eyes, and the contrast with the map itself is acceptable. Stijn 20:28, 24 March 2007 (EDT)
The order of the colors isn't random; it's the standard order of colors in the color spectrum. My problem with the single-color palette is that it's not really possible to have each of the six options be clearly distinct from one another. The #6 in Lurlock's example above is too light to be used on the maps (even using "normal" instead of "darken" or "multiply" as the overlay option, that light pink can not be picked out unless you know exactly where to look already). In the one example that I did with the single-color palette, I shifted all the colors up by one and then used black as the darkest option, which doesn't seem like a great solution. But even so, it is pretty tough to pick out some of the light squares, or to tell the colors apart from one another. There's one light color square between the "y" and the "V" of Nibenay Valley (right next to the Panther River) that is almost impossible to make out. Believe it or not, the square one to the right of that is also light pink, but I couldn't even figure that out, except by comparing to the other version of the figure. If you take a completely isolated square (for example, one of the two near Cheydinhal, or the one in the Imperial City) it's hard to be sure which color it really is. Having the background shading show through on the squares makes it particularly difficult: is square A darker than square B because of the background or because it's one higher on the color scale? In fact, the two squares outside Cheydinhal are both the lightest color on the scale, although I would have guessed that one was "1-2 plants" and the other "3-5 plants".
So I don't think that a single-color palette really works, unless perhaps the map was also changed to not allow the background image to show through the squares, in which case you are reducing the usefulness of the map.
On the other hand, even though I've gone ahead and created the full set of maps, I'm still willing to discuss ways to improve the color scheme. I chose to go ahead with it just so that some version of the maps would be available for now. Lurlock has come up with some new ideas that may require regenerating at least a few of the maps anyway. And it would only take two to three hours to redo the whole set.
The current color scheme probably is not perfect. For example, I realize that the yellow squares can still be hard to pick out. Probably if I take the time to overlay the yellow squares using a different photoshop overlay scheme I can find a way to fix that. If there's interest in trying to come up with more substantial modifications to the color scheme, I'd be happy to work on it some more. --Nephele 23:14, 24 March 2007 (EDT)

Plant Selection[edit]

This is cool. However I was bummed that you did it first for Clouded Funnel Cap, not that great of an ingredient. Since this looks like it might be rather ambitious and could take a while, can I suggest you start with those ingredients that are most useful? I find Restore Health, Restore Magicka, Silence, Invisibility, Fire Damage, Shock Damage, Damage Health, Shield, Feather as the best effects for potions... --Vilhazarog 15:00, 19 March 2007 (EDT)

Yeah, I picked Clouded Funnel Cap mainly because alphabetically it's one of the first plants that has high concentrations (and therefore uses the full color range)... which also means it's not one where the map is too useful, since most players already have a ton of it. I was thinking of starting with the plants that are needed for various quests, and then ones with restore magicka (since there's a whole section under atronach that could be changed to a couple links). But it probably won't take too long to go through and do all the ingredients once the format is finalized... most of the stuff is being automatically generated, so it's just a few minutes of my time to assemble it for each page. What might actually take more time is searching out all the pages that reference these ingredients and updating all those links.... --Nephele 15:21, 19 March 2007 (EDT)
Plus, if you started with a rare ingredient like Green Stain Shelf Cup, you'd get a map that's almost entirely blank except for the 2 or 3 places it's found. Makes more sense to pick a common one to start with, I think. --TheRealLurlock Talk 01:07, 20 March 2007 (EDT)
The three plants (Steel-Blue Entoloma Cap, Flax Seeds, and Redwort Flower) I've added today are marginally more useful, but I've still been trying to pick the more common ones from my list, until format decisions are done with. --Nephele 02:37, 20 March 2007 (EDT)