Tutorial for Maps – European Countries
Using the Europe Country Maps
The maps in this series are for use in illustrating European countries, including their states and provinces. Each series contains several map variations: landmass, states and provinces, country maps as a cutout (reverse of landmass). The cutout version provides a means of adding information and/or animation sequences not previously possible.
Some of the maps contain a lot of points and cutouts, making them a compound object. Their individual points are not editable; but you will still be able to change the fill and line colors, add gradients, and apply other special effects.
This series example for MP014 - Map of France - uses two variations of map in that series. The series example shows the regions grouped together to make the major regions; but what is not visible is the landmass version beneath the map of regions. The landmass version has two functions: 1) to be a placeholder/outline for the regions as they are revealed through animations and 2) it is formatted in PowerPoint 2007 or 2010 with a drop shadow, which lifts the map off of the background of the slide – a very pretty and useful effect, especially when the background of the slide is a photograph or a pattern.
Customizing your Maps
Group and size as one field if you need to resize the map. The cutout versions of maps in this series are only one field, so you can resize simply by grabbing a handle on the graphic and moving it. To rescale (recommended), hold the shift key down as you resize – for both the grouped fields and the single-field graphics.
Color in accordance with your color palette, but be sure to use enough contrast so that the maps are clearly visible. Each state/province can be colored individually, and colors can be used to group the states/provinces into regions of the country. Notice on the series example for Italy (MP019) that the names for some of the regions are bot white and black text, depending on where the name appears over the region. You won't be able to use this technique in every situation, but keep it in mind as a possibility.
The drop shadows look nice when used with the maps. The bevel isn't recommended, as there are too many points in these graphics.
3D works well with this if the depth is very short (3 points). Otherwise, the fields in the front obscure the fields in the back. You'll need to pay attention to layering, however. Usually the states/provinces at the top of the country are placed at the very back and the states/provinces at the bottom of the country are at the front. Layer the middle states so that they are layered back to front in this manner - top to bottom.
Shadows can look nice with these maps, but make sure that they are close to the edges of the objects, otherwise, the shadows will obscure the boundaries on the maps. Again, you'll need to pay attention to layers. Usually the states/provinces at the top of the country are placed at the very back and the states/provinces at the bottom of the country are at the front. Layer the middle states so that they are layered back to front in this manner - top to bottom.
If you're going to use shadows, consider using a combination of regions with a landmass map below. Add your shadows to the landmass map instead of each region. It will make for a more unified shadow and you won't have to worry about layering the regions.
Gradients, patterns, and pictures
As with any graphic, you can always import photographs into a field. Remember that the maps are multiple fields, so this won't be as easy as with other graphics. The landmass and cutout versions of the maps are one field, however, which makes it easier to import a photograph.
Download the animated example for MP009 for one possible animation scheme. Also review the Chart of the Month for November 2009 for another scheme. There is also a graphic download associated with this Chart of the Month that you will want to be sure you get.
MP010 also uses fields drawn for the regions to segment the country. The regions need to be drawn with as little overlap or gap as possible. Layering and sequencing is also important with these types of animations. The provinces have no fill and a white line, and they are on the top-most layer. The regions are on the middle layer, and the landmass is on the bottom layer. Sequencing might be important if there is any overlap or gap in the region fields (this is why you need to draw the regions very precisely). Be sure to download the animated example for MP010 to see how this was done.
Download the animation scheme for MP014 - Map of France. It will show you the technique of using a landmass map behind a map of regions. It's a nice technique that will add interest and functionality to your slide.
See the Chart of the Month for February 2011 for another animation possibility.