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ravells
09-28-2007, 08:18 AM
Please take a moment to complete the poll and to say a few words about the software that you use. This will be of help to people new to digital cartography.




------------------------------


There are broadly four types of software which are used to create maps;

a. Raster paint programmes (like photoshop, Gimp and PSP)
b. Vector programmes (like inkscape, Campaign Cartographer and Xara)
c. Automatic map generating programmes (like Fractal Terrains and some others which can be found online - see the software discussion section in this site).
d. 3d modelling applications like Bryce.

All of them have their strengths and weaknesses:

Vector: Very easy to edit shapes and colours but difficult to make complex and in depth textures.

Raster: the opposite of vector.

Automatic map generators: Beautiful maps, but very little control over style and difficult to edit.

3d modelling: very photorealistic, weaknesses: can be hard to edit, texture and it's hard to get a visual which is not photorealistic.

There are also hybrid dedicated map making programmes like Dunjinni, for making smaller scale maps.

-----

I suggest that if you are just starting out using software to make maps that you have a look at the tutorials for GIMP and Inscape in the tutorial section. Don't forget that many of the photoshop tutorials can be applied to GIMP.

If you have a scanner, then you can do what many here do (and IMHO produce some of the most beautiful maps) which is to scan in your handdrawn artwork and tart it up in GIMP or a similar package.

Personally, I mostly use a vector application in occasional conjuntion with a raster paint program.

If it's ease of use that you're after then be warned that CC3, although it has a lot of amazing symbols dedicated to mapping, does have quite a steep initial learning curve, but once you get past that, the results you can get from it can be stunning.

The real trick is to keep dabbling until you find software that you are comfortable with and stick with that. Have a look at the headings in the tutorial sections (which generally say what software has been used) to get an idea of what software produces what sort of results.

Hope this was helpful, but if you have any questions, please ask away!

Ravs

NeonKnight
09-28-2007, 12:40 PM
Welcome.

As to the learning curve for CC3, I have heard it is steep, but I just don't see it. Not to sound facetious or anything, but I have a harder time trying to grasp the concepts of photoshop :D

If you pick up CC3, my biggest word of advice is this. Follow the Tutorials that come with it, (or locate the tutorials for CC2, only difference between the two is the look of the map), and you should do fine.

jaerdaph
09-28-2007, 01:24 PM
Welcome, Airith!

I'm a very big CC3 user (I've been using CC software for about 10 years now). If you have any questions about CC3 to help you in your purchase decision, please feel free to ask away. :)

As for the learning curve, I think it has been greatly reduced over the years as new versions of the software have been released, but since it is a CAD-based program and not a drawing program like Photoshop, there are some differences in the way you work. But yes, doing the tutorial in the little booklet that comes with it is key to understanding the fundamentals.

pyrandon
09-28-2007, 01:35 PM
Hello, Airith and welcome to paradise! I hope you find a lot of inspiration, discussion, and instruction at the Guild!

My two cents on which program you should get is GIMP. Why? First, it's 100% free, and you said you cannot dish out the cash for even CC. Second, it's very flexible and--once you learn the basics (which can be gleaned from on-line tutorials) it's very, very powerful. You can make professional quality maps in GIMP!!! Thirdly, we have great users of GIMP here (*cough*RobA*cough*) who regularly post tutorials and are eager to help newbies learn.

I hope that helps. Welcome once again!

Torq
09-28-2007, 02:41 PM
I agree completely with Pyrandon. Gimp is to my mind the most software you can get for your buck anywhere (which is of course no bucks at all). If you struggling to break into GIMP a good way to build up you confidence and skills might be to generate one of the cities in the RPG city generator that you mentioned and then just mess around with it for a while using Gimp. For a bit of a laugh that may prove quite useful run every script-fu on it and then take it from there.

I used the same generator and then toyed with it in gimp in my "Small Town" thread in the WIP section. Then just post something and the magicians on this site will come up with some incredible advice. That I promise.

Oh yes, welcome, welcome, welcome.

Torq

RobA
09-28-2007, 03:25 PM
I seem to have been beat out on all the good points, but I'll throw in my vote for and Inkscape/GIMP combination for making maps.

And welcome aboard!

-Rob A>

Airith
09-29-2007, 04:48 AM
thanks everyone, great welcome xD lots of info I couldn't find on search engines

Will probably do what Torq said, hopefully I can start doing that sometime this weekend.

Also, is CAD any good? My design class has CAD as a major part of it, ofc it's next semester but still. I know it supposedly costs a lot, teacher talked about that once, but I do get to use it for design class xD

RPMiller
09-29-2007, 01:44 PM
CAD is just a generic term for a type of software. That said, yes, CAD is very good for making maps as that is the tool of most modern cartographers that aren't going for an artistic look. Applications such as AutoCAD, MicroStation, and even Campaign Cartographer are all CAD applications. The way they work is pretty much the same across the board. (I was a CAD draftsman for several years right after college - I used AutoCAD and MicroStation) So if you learn one of the CAD applications you'll have an easy time with any of them once you learn the commands.

This leads me to Campaign Cartographer 3 which you'll see many fine examples of maps made by it on this site. If you can afford it, it is much cheaper than the "big CAD" apps, you may want to consider going that route, but ultimately it depends on what you want your end result to look like. Take a look around and see which of the different apps produce the most maps that you like. That should help you decide.

pyrandon
09-29-2007, 03:17 PM
CAD is a great program type for vector-based mapping (much like Inkscape & Adobe Illustrator). As you said, very expensive, but would work wonderfully for those clean-line plan type drawings. If you have access to that and need to learn it anyway, it may be worthwhile!

Gamerprinter
09-29-2007, 05:31 PM
Although AutoCAD and Microstation which are the major CAD applications used in the engineering trades - its really more technical drawing than true map production, sure you can make maps, but symbol sets aren't made for the kind of maps used in most games.

That's the difference with Campaign Cartographer - it is built on a basic CAD engine, however all the coding over the last 30 years was to make more applicable to RPG map-making.

CC3 is only $39, those others are thousands of dollars each, Microstation most expensive of all. Yes they are all CAD, but CC3 and the rest are very much "apples and oranges".

I hear all the advocacy of free software, that's not me. If I pay for software, I can yell at somebody when something's wrong, not so with free software. That's not the only reason, but I don't use GIMP/Inkscape, nothing wrong with it, its just not me.

RobA
11-12-2007, 02:27 PM
When was the poll added? I hadn't noticed it before.

-Rob A>

ravells
11-12-2007, 03:36 PM
A while back....about a month or so...but I didn't really publicise it.

Alistair
01-05-2008, 10:19 PM
New to this site and just noticed this post...

I make regular use of the following:

Fractal Mapper 8
Fractal World Explorer 1.7
Astrosynthesis 2

I've used several other things, mostly online random dungeon generators and the such though. I used Campaign Cartographer 2 for a while as well.

Gamerprinter
01-20-2008, 10:38 PM
:Edit: copied from another thread as it was good general advice. - Ravs


Mapping software solutions, there are a bunch, it really depends on the way you like to work, how much time you have to learn, what your budget allows and your goals.

Many members here are Profantasy Campaign Cartographer users CC2, CC3, Dungeon Designer, City Designer and more. These are CAD programs and completely different than standard graphics applications.

There's also Dundjinni which more of a combat scale battlemap maker, not good at regional/world mapping. As well as NBOS Fractal Mapper.

There proggies cost around $40 each.

GIMP is the open source version of Photoshop, Inkscape is the open source version of Illustrator - which basically means that most any vector drawing app and/or raster image editor works great for creating digital maps.

Some prefer CAD, some prefer vector or raster apps - it really depends on you, there is not a single package that is best for all mappers.

Explore this site, look deep, there are many samples, tutorials and discussions about all these apps. Read them, try out the free ones, or splurge on one of the low cost paid-for apps and start mapping.

That's my advice! 8)

Gamerprinter
01-22-2008, 12:13 AM
Dundjinni is a fine map-making application, but in some ways limiting to how I like to map. I am aware of pro mappers at Gamemasters Syndicate that use Dundjinni as their primary application, combining a ton of map objects as well as use of 3D to create special content for great looking maps.

Often I need use of feathered edged objects containing image fills and various degrees of transparency, which is lacking in using Dundjinni. It was using Dundjinni that actually chased me back to my more familiar Xara Xtreme as a hybrid raster/vector app that could duplicate any feature of Dundjinni and a hundred more options.

I went to Xara, only because I was already familiar with it and hadn't considered it as a map application when I first went alookin'.

But I still use Dundjinni, CC3, Fractal Mapper on occasion - I rely on hand-drawn work and Xara for most everything else. 8)

Redrobes
01-22-2008, 09:22 AM
I reckon that GamerPrinter has it about right. Each type of app runs on a methodology. Photoshop can do everything but its geared up for drawing individual pixels. The vector apps are good at some things where a CAD like look is what is required. Vector apps have advantages particularly with scaling but have issues with full color photo images but you might find that they can do some limited ability with photos. Icon based programs can be quite easy to use and quick to get something up but they will not handle either pixel based operations like flood fills or do vectored operations but again you will find that these apps partially cover for some of those limitations. Then multiply all that again for 3D.

My recommendation is to become good with one of each of them and know what is best of each. There is no point in trying to force one app to do a job that another is geared up for. And don't forget a good pen & scanner or digital camera in that tool set too. I can draw curvy thin lines with a pen faster than any bit of software if you have enough of them then use a pen and I can take a photo of a tree faster than I can draw it.

I tend to draw the outline with a pen, scan it in, use a raster app like PSP, Gimp or Photoshop to touch up, fill and get basics in then import into my icon based app and add extras like tables, chests, people, buildings or whatever. Some people would take it back into a raster process to add effects and shadows, which although it looks great and turns a map into a piece of art, its just not my bag and no criticism from me for anybody who does.

Most apps can change between formats though I would say that its a lot harder to go from raster to vector than it is to from vector to raster. I think this is the reason why raster apps tend to dominate.

RobA
01-23-2008, 04:10 PM
I came across an interesting blog on digital painting and art and read this post (http://kalaalog.com/page/6/). A couple points that stuck in my head and seemed relevant here:

...discussions and arguments for and against each of these softwares run pages and pages and seem to have no end. With newer and better versions coming from both the commercial and open source, the argument just continues. Participating in these discussions, and also trying out different softwares, I have come to realize that these are just different tools, and an artist need not be too concerned about what they use as long as they can express their ideas and thoughts.

and


I have come to realize that all these different graphics software are just tools. A sculptor needs a set of chisels and hammer. It actaully does not matter which blacksmith fabricated them, as long as the sculptor can chip off the stone in the precise placec and precise amount. In the end - the sculpture is done by the sculptor - not the chisels and hammer. He or she just used them to create the sculpture.

The article is worth a read...

-Rob A>

GlennZilla
04-22-2008, 01:57 PM
Well, since the work you are doing is either maps or relatively small projects for the church it all comes down to what you want to deliver. If you are doing a church newsletter and want to create artwork for it either will work, though I find Photoshop more flexible as illustrator's primary strength isn't needed for the job.

However, I only use Photoshop currently because I have it left over from my time as a Graphic Designer. If I had to pay for it, I probably wouldn't. I find that the upgrades between CS, CS2 and CS3 are pretty incremental and don't affect my day to work. Since I am opposed to a cracked version, I'll probably switch to GiMP when I am forced to leave Photoshop CS (version 7).

I was a late adopter to illustrator as I was originally trained in Freehand. Since I am not creating art that needs to scale freely any longer I don't find myself opening illustrator often. Windows says I last used the program on October 21, 2007.

This is all based on how you will be using the programs. If you are only using to crank out fast maps for your tabletop gaming then you'll be fine with whatever you currently use. At least that's my situation. But with the work for your church you may consider keeping the old version of photoshop and using the money for a new copy of illustrator.

Another thing to consider is that if you get into video presentations, final cut pro can use photoshop and illustrator files natively. So if that's an idea for the future, be prepared for it if you decide to ditch adobe in favor of GiMP and Inkscape.

Publius
04-22-2008, 11:40 PM
Sorry to chime in late, just a few thoughts.

I use Illustrator almost exclusively for my maps, by which I mean something like 99.8% of the time. I can tell you a couple of things though about it:

1) Considerable learning curve. I dinked around with this program a long time, building up my skills. There are still a lot of things don't do, and other things that folks who use it more than I do scratch their heads over. I like what I can do with it, but it doesn't come quickly.

2) Some things you will not do. There are some things that this program does not do. Period. There are a lot of cool effects in PS and other programs that I look at on other people's maps and say "Cool. Not something I'm going to do though." What it does well, it does well, but some stuff just isn't there. Or maybe I have not found it yet. Very possible.

3) Develop a style suited to the tool. Or not. I have developed a style that is (I hope) very well suited to this program, which actually makes working with PS harder for me because I get frustrated and just do what it isI was try9ing to do in Illustrator. This might be a bad thing, maybe I ought to branch out. Frankly, I don't know and I don't have the time at the moment to start from scratch. If I do get the time, I probably will, but if that is a factor for you as well, I'd skip it (re-read Number 1 above). On the other hand, I like the output, and so do some people here (again, I hope).

mathuwm
04-23-2008, 12:22 AM
Illustrator is great (big learning curve)
Ideal for postcards flyers brochures and posters although only a page at a time.
and it is absolutely necessary for logo design speaking as someone WHO work in the printing industry I absolutely hate it when someone sends in a bitmap logo they made in photoshop ugh!!!!
it is also an essential tool for editing and repairing problem PDF files
I consider it the Swiss army knife of graphics program and a necessity for serious graphics professionals.

in regards to photoshop cs cs2 cs3 I think the upgrades are little more than an attempt to squeeze more money out of us(OK there are some cool new features but still what ever happened to cs1.2.31)
of course Photoshops value is obvious so i will leave it at that.

the free tools will most often get the job done but if you need to send files to a printer you may just frustrate them


for booklets, manuals, and modules In-design or quark is the way to go

Ghalev
07-01-2008, 01:33 AM
When I'm doing maps for publication, the tools I use, and the approach I take, ultimately boil down to the needs of the publisher ... but in practice it's always been a mix of scanned hand-drawn stuff, Illustrator for vectors*, and Photoshop for raster finishing (if any), with a few nostalgic touches in terms of drafting-symbol sheets and old rub-down type.

When I'm doing maps for self-publication, the tools and approach change drastically since I'm designing for the home printer, so even when working in similar styles I have to completely re-engineer methods to minimize file size, printer-memory load, leaning on any particular ink in a CMY or CMYK inkjet, etc. Same tools as above, but used very differently, especially in the final stages.

When I'm doing maps for my own campaigns, I like felt-tip pens and colored pencils :)

I've played with other stuff ... I've got a tablet, I've found Sketchup useful for idea-bashing, that kind of thing. But most of that has just been at the dabbling level; I haven't really learned to speak those things like a language, and I need that before I'll inflict it on a customer (whether directly, or indirectly through an employer).

Pablo Diablo
07-01-2008, 10:42 AM
Just a .02 to add re: the CAD discussion...

Someone mentioned AutoCAD and Microstation, but I'd also like to throw Vectorworks out there. If you are interested in CAD, and are looking at a more designerly approach, then Vectorworks might be worth looking into (I'm a theatrical designer, and there is a lot of debate in our field between AutoCAD and Vectorworks - mainly between the scenic and lighting design communities).

For my money, Vectorworks is a good CAD program that has a simple Vector interface. If you can use Illustrator and Photoshop, then, with a small amount of a learning process, you can at least get started in VW.

Admittedly, it is more "designer" friendly, and less of an engineering tool, which is why I think it is popular in the theatrical and Interior Design worlds, and less so in any of the various engineering worlds (although you can purchase engineering and landscaping packages for it, so perhaps I'm mistaken).

As an example of a VW drawing: while I mostly use PS, my two ships for Serenity primarily done in Vectorworks. Small bits of post in PS.
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=984

Just trying to throw other options out there...
PD

nolgroth
07-28-2008, 04:45 PM
Approaching this from what is good for me as opposed to the high concepts of what is a good program.

I have actually made maps with Campaign Cartographer 2, GIMP, and ( a very long time ago) MS Paint. Of the three, I prefer GIMP. It is a decent little program and has a great price tag. Now if I could get a version that gets rid of the multiple, independent windows, I'd be happy.

CC2 Pro was a good experiment. I made a decent continent back in the day. The problem comes in that the maps are flat and ultimately uninteresting (to me). There seems to have been a deliberate choice to duplicate the style of the original Forgotten Realms boxed set. While I like those maps, further refinements in fantasy cartography make them look a little dated. I have considered upgrading to CC3, but I had a bad bit of customer service with Pro Fantasy so I have been real hesitant.

MS Paint. Well, aside from following RobA's regional map tutorial, that one map was the single longest endeavor ever. I hand painted the mountains and trees in, using an advertisement for Might and Magic 3 as inspiration. There were problems with the map, but I was very proud of it. Lost it in a computer crash. :(

Since picking up the GIMP, I've installed Paint Shop Pro 8 and Photoshop Elements 2. In many ways, they are easier to use than GIMP, but come with far less functionality. I cannot afford Photoshop CS ?, so it looks like GIMP is to be my raster program of choice for some time.

I played with Inkscape a little, but truth is, I prefer raster to vector. Seeing the tutorial for Xara though, I've considered experimenting.

And I've used both Dundjinni and Dungeon Crafter. Interesting toys, but I find their symbol sets more useful than anything. Autorealm was an interesting alternative to CC2, but suffered from being even more uninteresting.

RobA
07-29-2008, 02:52 PM
Now if I could get a version that gets rid of the multiple, independent windows, I'd be happy.

Try this:
https://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=151265&package_id=263524

It supposedly gives gimp a background window that holds all the others.

Alternately (and my current fav way of working with gimp) is to use full screen mode (F-11). Double-tab will being up all the other dialogs/docs, which will go away when you start to edit/apply a filter, etc.

-Rob A>

nolgroth
07-31-2008, 07:53 AM
Thanks. I didn't notice anything different after installing the extra software. In the end, it doesn't matter. I've started developing ways and habits of dealing with the GIMPs unique interface. For instance, if reading a tutorial, I click on the tutorial window once to read and then click on it again to minimize it. Meantime, I have the picture, GIMP and the layers window behind and when I minimize the other file, it pops me back into all three. It's workable for now.

Thank you for the response and suggestions.

RobA
07-31-2008, 10:26 AM
nolgroth - I'll encourage you to try full screen mode... once you try full screen, you'll never go back :P

(though it may also be that I rarely worked on anything other than a dual screen setup that makes this soo nice)...

-Rob A>

Edward Protera
07-31-2008, 06:52 PM
Digital media are my thing... I'm actually quite new to mapping, but I recently started drawing again. I do any drawing in ArtRage (which simulates real-life art media rather well), and work on anything else in Photoshop/Illustrator CS3.

drwolf0014
08-07-2008, 01:07 AM
I'm a designer and illustrator and use Photoshop and Illustrator extensively. I'm interested in purchasing a Bamboo or similar small graphics tablet.

Does anybody here use one?

RPMiller
08-08-2008, 12:38 PM
I believe several of us do. I'm a recent convert to tablets myself. I don't know if I would consider mine small, but regardless of size they all seem to work pretty much the same.

Midgardsormr
08-09-2008, 10:02 PM
I consider my tablet a more valuable tool than my software. Had I known how powerful the tablet was, I'd have spent my money there initially instead of buying CC3 at first.

I have (rather, my wife has) a Wacom Intuos3 6" X 8", which I currently use with CC3 and Photoshop 7.

Gowienczyk
11-03-2008, 05:05 PM
I use Adobe (formerly Macromedia) Flash Pro with some Fractal Terrains & CC3 post-production work. I don't have a tablet anymore, but prefer to use mouse more anyway on my lineart as my drawing hand is sometimes shakey while when I'm working with a mouse it's more accurate. Not sure why.

EDIT: Lol, fixed typo.

RPMiller
11-03-2008, 05:16 PM
but prefer to use mouth more anyway

Is that a typo? :?:

Gowienczyk
11-03-2008, 05:19 PM
Is that a typo? :?:

I obviously meant mouse! :lol:

RPMiller
11-03-2008, 05:42 PM
Hey, you never know. I've seen people paint with their mouths before so just had to confirm. :)

Gowienczyk
11-03-2008, 05:44 PM
Hey, you never know. I've seen people paint with their mouths before so just had to confirm. :)

Oh. You. :D

AltheaVanef
11-19-2008, 07:29 PM
I'm actually using Photoshop, but always working on hand drawn maps.
I still need to learn how to make it look "realistic" directly on photoshop..
I tried to work as well with archicad, dundjinni, fractal terrains.. But I couldn't do so much with them =/

Bedwyr
11-20-2008, 02:25 AM
Photoshop, Illustrator are now the primary tools. CorelDraw and Photopaint were former tools. Both were bought as student editions in penance for illicitly using both before.

Playing with CC suite. Gift of a friend lightening his load of material wealth. It's ok, but I like illustrator/coreldraw better for pure object art. I'll keep it for the symbols if nothing else. It's nice having clipart with a dedicated purpose.

The 3d programs? Bryce 5.5 free edition. duh. Blender I've played with a little but never devoted time to gaining 3d modeling skills. Sketchup would be more productive use of my time. Also have the 3.2 free version of Truespace but never really used it. Used 1.x before boolean logic was implemented. Though more limited, very user friendly in a playful Bryce sort of way.

Notsonoble
12-17-2008, 03:17 AM
Well I broke down and downloaded Inkscape to play with today... and wanted to beat myself for not doing it earlier. I haven't finished anything productive with it yet, but just a little piddling and following some youtube tutorials has shown me how handy this will be soon.

Seriously... less than an hour in to it and I had a working shield device and was already messing with lights and shadow on it... and that counts waiting on it to install. I think I can finally start working on faction and realm symbols for my campaign and finish several before tearing hair.

RobA
12-17-2008, 10:59 PM
Oh yeah - Inkscape is the boss for symbols!

-Rob A>

Notsonoble
12-17-2008, 11:16 PM
Out of curosity... if I save an inkscape work as a .xcf it does realize that's a gimp file and I can open it... but it's flat... Is there a way to export it with layers?

Edit: nevermind... I seem to be able to copy objects in the clipboard from inkscape to gimp... handy.

Edit again: Or not... grrr...

RobA
12-18-2008, 12:00 AM
I usually go the other way.... bringing the svg into gimp as paths. Or I export as a png and bring that in, as it is more useful than xcf for other purposes.

-Rob A>

aiRo25
12-22-2008, 11:58 PM
Does anyone know about mapping in Corel PhotoPaint? I've done a lot of graphic design over the years, and unfortunately, this is the only program I'm thoroughly familiar with and I already have it. So frankly, I'd love to find out if anyone here works in it and has any tips or tutorials.

I've been peeking at all the options on the table and it's so overwhelming trying to pick one and actually write my book at the same time. If I could work in something I know, then it takes most of the stress out of it.

Hope that makes any sense.

BTW, .png is a supported file type.

jfrazierjr
12-23-2008, 12:21 AM
Does anyone know about mapping in Corel PhotoPaint? I've done a lot of graphic design over the years, and unfortunately, this is the only program I'm thoroughly familiar with and I already have it. So frankly, I'd love to find out if anyone here works in it and has any tips or tutorials.

I've been peeking at all the options on the table and it's so overwhelming trying to pick one and actually write my book at the same time. If I could work in something I know, then it takes most of the stress out of it.

Hope that makes any sense.

BTW, .png is a supported file type.

I don't know of anyone here that uses PhotoPaint, but there might be. It's just as much a matter of features as anything else. For example, many of the things Photoshop does can also be done in GIMP but there are a few things GIMP can't do or can't do anywhere near as well. Likewise, there are some things GIMP can do that PS can't come anywhere close to doing.

There is also a hugh difference depending on the type of map you trying to make. For example, Torstan usually makes maps far more on the artsy side most of the time which are more like paintings. While I can't say for sure, I believe he mostly does line drawings, followed by color, and then 1 or more 50% grey layers set to overlay mode and burn/dodge to create height. On the other side, many people create bump maps, so if you want that effect, your application of choice needs to have that feature.

aiRo25
12-23-2008, 08:46 AM
Well, I actually stumbled across mapping.

I started writing when I was just a kid, and then I hand drew maps all the time. Aweful stuff! Hand me a ruler and a pencil and you still might not get a straight line.

Then I went into writing seriously. Right now, I'm working on a multiple galaxy universe, and I'm trying to create a workable image of my space/time continuum (that's a harder ball of wax and I'll probably figure it out later), and then for regular mapping, I'm looking mostly to do artistic, somewhat realistic overland maps.

I could do maps of ships and buildings and there are a handful of them that I ought to do, but I'm worried it will take too much time. There is one city map I desperately need to do, but I'm not very attracted to the add-on prices of Campaign Cartographer, especially since I know CorelDraw is vector (not sure what PhotoPaint is), but I know nothing at all about CAD.

I looked at Dundjinni for the style I like, but it doesn't do overlands too well, and that's my main requirement. I looked at Fractal Mapper, CC3, Inkscape, Bryce, etc. but all of them have that learning curve. And maybe I'll need to pick one, but I'm kind of hoping...

jfrazierjr
12-23-2008, 10:10 AM
Then I went into writing seriously. Right now, I'm working on a multiple galaxy universe, and I'm trying to create a workable image of my space/time continuum (that's a harder ball of wax and I'll probably figure it out later), and then for regular mapping, I'm looking mostly to do artistic, somewhat realistic overland maps.

Take a look at out last challenge (Nov) as there are tons of space maps, most made either in GIMP or Photoshop.



I could do maps of ships and buildings and there are a handful of them that I ought to do, but I'm worried it will take too much time. There is one city map I desperately need to do, but I'm not very attracted to the add-on prices of Campaign Cartographer, especially since I know CorelDraw is vector (not sure what PhotoPaint is), but I know nothing at all about CAD.

I looked at Dundjinni for the style I like, but it doesn't do overlands too well, and that's my main requirement. I looked at Fractal Mapper, CC3, Inkscape, Bryce, etc. but all of them have that learning curve. And maybe I'll need to pick one, but I'm kind of hoping...

PhotoPaint is raster based on what I found last night in the web. As I said, a lot of it is all about features, BUT I have seen someone do a very nice map in MSPaint that comes with Windows, so skill also plays into it. If you decide to go try another software, I would highly encorage you to give GIMP(rastor)/Inkscape(vector) a try since they are both free and there are a large number of mapping tutorials here as well as general tutorials on the web. Since you say you have a City map to do...try the this tutorial. (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=530) It may be for photoshop, but many(not all) of the techniques are adaptable to GIMP and other applications and those that are not can usually be faked somehow. Create a new Work in Progress thread in the appropriate forum to post up your work and we have plenty of people who will try to help you. And if you have found any reference work post a link to it so we can get an idea of what you are going for if needed.

Midgardsormr
12-23-2008, 02:53 PM
PhotoPaint is a fine program for mapping. I started out with it, and kept with it until I moved to Photoshop for school. For buildings, I had good success with Duvik's tutorial here: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=716 Get textures from cgtextures.com And the Zombie Nirvana tuts I pointed out in your intro thread are also quite valuable.

If you're comfortable with Corel, I say stick with it. It's quite a powerful suite, and familiarity is valuable. DRAW is also nice for more illustrative maps like this one: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=2439&page=5

That one was done with Serif DrawPlus, I think, but CorelDRAW is a comparable tool.

Ascension
12-23-2008, 05:53 PM
I say that it's about using what you know or are familiar with...that's why I only use Photoshop. Sure I could buy those other things or even get the free stuff but why? I'm comfy with what I have and have learned to maneuver around the things that I don't have (like image tubes in Paint Shop Pro and GIMP). The fun part for me is always trying to replicate the look and feel that you get with other programs and making maps with what I have rather than just doing it the easy way and getting more appropriate software (like CC3 or Dunjinni). It's that whole "figuring it out" part that's rewarding to me.

There is a bonus for you however being one of the few (here) using Corel...you can do things in ways that the rest of us don't even know about so your maps could be revolutionary and spawn a whole exodus away from what we all use over to Corel. Or they could be total crap :) Either way it's the journey that's the fun part and you could also write up some tutorials (which is always a good thing).

Gamerprinter
12-23-2008, 07:20 PM
OK, I mentioned this to you in your introduction thread, but I use Xara Xtreme Pro 3.2, however there is a Xara Xtreme (not Pro) for about $70, whereas Pro is like $250, but the "non Pro" version can do anything in the creation of maps I currently use, it just has other stuff, my day job needs, so that's why I have and use it.

The point being, Xara Xtreme is sooooo easy to learn and use, you'll be creating what you want the same day you started using it - really. There's such a loyal GIMP crowd here, I don't want to step on them, so I'm less pushy to trying out Xara, when there are so many options. I'd say Xara almost has no learning curve, its that easy to figure out!

It's faster than most applications (I've used many, so I know) and extremely powerful, I use for much of a daytime job, its that versatile. Although, yes, its a paid for program, but you can download a 14 day trial for free, to give you time to figure this out.

I've got a couple tutorials using Xara for mapping, located below:
Making a Regional Map using Xara Xtreme (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=2432)

Got several other Xara tutorials, but the following one emphasizes one of the important tools that offer tremedous design creation - a must learn feature, and be sure to download the PDF link there...
Using Combine Shapes in Xara Xtreme (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=2648)

Remember, I'm not trying to convince everyone to use Xara, over other available applications, but you did ask for EASY to learn, FAST to use, so this is the only reason I'm asking you to try Xara Xtreme!

Every map whether starting as a hand-drawn work or completely digital, I've created for the Guild since I first joined involved Xara Xtreme in the workflow, or was completely created in Xara alone.

Its easy, easy, easy, powerful and fast! Please use your preferred app, I don't want to twist your arms away from it, but if you're looking for something different...try it!

GP

PS: I don't work for Xara, never have... :P

aiRo25
12-24-2008, 07:38 AM
Thanks everybody!

Yeah, I had two threads because I signed up to post here and didn't notice I was supposed to introduce myself until the next day when I checked my email.

I think I'm going to be a busy camper with all these resources!

My brain's starting to compute too. I'm starting to figure out how to work with symbols in PPaint and textures. You guys really are the best.

I think I'm going to hold off on the work in progress until I have something I'm sure I want to work on. :D

ravells
12-24-2008, 11:50 AM
i was amazed at the number of professional agencies that use Xara and Drawplus over traditional Adobe / Corel products.

lucho
12-26-2008, 05:54 PM
I checked Gimp and Fractal Terrain, even though I don't use either one as much as most. I still prefer the Morgensen fractal generator; it's plenty flexible if you can get used to the lack of an interface (command line only).

Gamerprinter
12-26-2008, 06:00 PM
Just to let you know, Waldronate, who mentioned trying Fractal Terrains Pro and Wilbur, is the actual developer to those applications. Might be good to try them out, Wilbur is free by the way.

GP

Nomadic
01-13-2009, 01:53 PM
Found this and felt like piping in. I have used quite a number of applications over the years. Right now I am really getting into Photoshop. I have had CS for a couple years and it is amazing what you can do with it. I have also played with GIMP a bit and found that in most things Photoshop is a bit easier to use (not better, just easier). GIMP does have an incredibly capable cloud noise generator (very useful for mapping).

There is one question that I have though. I really need a good city mapping software and I am really liking the look of City Designer. Of course it requires Campaign Cartographer 3 as well. So then my questions are... what is the cheapest I can hope to get those two for (and can I get just those two by themselves as I have no use for the others... well other than the dungeon mapper maybe)? Also, how hard would it be to learn (I do have some CAD experience)?

RPMiller
01-13-2009, 02:10 PM
For the price check the website.
Yes, you can get just those two.
If you have experience with CAD already it should be really easy since that seems to be the biggest hurdle to most people. (The "reverse" method of doing things)

Midgardsormr
01-13-2009, 07:15 PM
And if you do decide to buy, don't forget to use the affiliate link on the front page of this site!

The Good Doctor
01-15-2009, 01:51 AM
My copy of Freehand 7 is showing its age. I took my original digital map and doubled the size so that I could add in villages and towns, and try to add in trade routes, roads, weather patterns, etc. Doubling the size meant the map went from 1 to 4 pages. Then I added in space for the rest of the hand drawn stuff. 120 pages. 30+ layers.

Windows has changed how it does memory management, and "compatibility" hasn't helped. I need to upgrade, pure and simple. The past two months have been frustrating. Data elements sometimes show up on other layers; deleted layers reappear days later.

I want to use vector mapping, and want to be able to print sections of maps easily. I would also like the option of hotlinking (like CC3) smaller, detailed maps to the main map -- but that is not necessary, just a "wanna" feature.

Adobe has Freehand 10, but it's spendy at $400, and Adobe has stopped all further development. Has anyone tried Freehand 10? How does it compare to Illustrator? I want to import the work I've done without have to start from scratch (starting over would require HOURS of Red Alert and Starcraft, killing and nuking and - oh, the computer carnage before I could deal with it!)

I am also contemplating CC3 with a couple of wilderness modules and symbol set1, but haven't decided on that for sure.

Comments would be welcome.

Gandwarf
01-15-2009, 06:53 AM
There is one question that I have though. I really need a good city mapping software and I am really liking the look of City Designer. Of course it requires Campaign Cartographer 3 as well. So then my questions are... what is the cheapest I can hope to get those two for (and can I get just those two by themselves as I have no use for the others... well other than the dungeon mapper maybe)? Also, how hard would it be to learn (I do have some CAD experience)?

Indeed, for prices check the website. Profantasy maintains a money-back guarantee if you don't like your purchase, even for the digital download.

You can get just CC3 and CD3. I first purchased CC3. Then Dungeon Designer 3 came out and I purchased that one. And last year CD3 came out and I purchased that. So I have CC3 and two addons, but you could have only CC3 with CD3. DD3 is really only necessary if you want to map buildings or dungeons.

CC3/CD3 has a learning curve and I had to teach myself to use the software. But it's the same with other software, like Photoshop. There's some excellent video tutorials for CC3 and DD3 that will teach you at least the basics (those weren't around when I started using the software!). And if you have any questions about CD3 you can always ask on this forum.

One thing I want to stress: you can use CC3/CD3 right from the start to create maps. It's really that easy and its the biggest compliment I can give this software. To master it however you will need to practice a lot.

That's the big difference between CD3 and Photoshop for example. With no skills in CD3 I could still use it to crank out a decent looking village. With no skills in Photoshop I would crank out a VERY poor looking map.
I think if you are very good in software like Photoshop or Gimp you can make more unique looking maps of course, but to master software like that.....

Steel General
01-15-2009, 08:42 AM
@The Good Doctor - Have you considered Inkscape, its free, and its vector.

I know there are a few people here who use it, so they will hopefully pop-in and give a little more info.

RobA
01-15-2009, 08:55 AM
While I love Inkscape and use it for a good many things, especially drawing elements, etc. It really bogs down with large images...

Give it a try, as it is free, but don't hold your breath :(

-Rob A>

The Good Doctor
01-19-2009, 01:57 AM
Thanks thus far for the comments. I want something that will handle large images in vector format. The 120 pages is just for the 2 continents, and I've been planning for many years now to rebuild the northern arctic continent (destroyed in a deity war).

I have toyed with the idea of breaking things down into smaller sections. But Freehand offered the promise of being able to handle multiple pages. I am willing to save my $$ and buy Freehand 10 (I'm returning to school in next few months). But I want to know if Illustrator is capable of handling that many pages together? What would be really nice is if I could have the map information printed on a header or sidebar, but like the hot links to other maps, that's another "wanna." Can Illustrator handle that many pages, or should I go with Freehand X (10)?

I am seriously thinking of getting CC3 to handle the in-depth maps. Over the years, I've done about 30 or so hand drawn things, but would like to digitize them and clean them up. For the price, it would allow me to at least do the smaller projects.

Layering and such isn't a big concept for me. Layers are like styles in word processing. Add on it, and it affects the whole map; disable/hide it, and it's gone, all at once. Allows you to customize the maps for players to show political boundaries only, trade routes for merchant parties, etc. And I like Freehand's cloning, and some of the transform features.

I love maps. Did anyone else spend grade school free time tracing maps of other countries? Guilty.

Thanks again for the comments. I look forward to other input.

hunab.cu
01-19-2009, 07:12 AM
I am a fanatic of the GIMP for raster editing; for vectors I used Inkscape, and recently I started to experiment with Xara Xtreme.

My favourite method of work is to doodle, doodle, doodle until there's something sensible on the paper; then I scan it and do all the further editing on computer, with previously listed software.

Though it's my preferred method of work, I love to experiment and test new software, plainly graphical as well as map-specific.

The Good Doctor
02-05-2009, 04:38 AM
I've checked out a few sites and been awed by what I've seen.

It looks like I will need to redesign my layout. Most world maps I've seen do a general outline, and then link to other maps for closeups, and then those may have other links for yet closer work. Rule of thumb is overall design - if it's not functional or flexible, it will limit your final product. So, back to the drawing board!

Still planning on CC3 with 1 or 2 modules, but will rework my own maps accordingly. Even if they are flattish, I like the cartographic style for my own work.

However, did play with my ancient copy of CC (version 6); did a small village in a couple of hours. Meh! Looking at it again, I guess it is actually Campaign Mapper, not CC.

I was interested in mapping out a recent campaign event where the people of County Blackheath got wind of an unseelie invasion (outnumbering the humans and their centaur allies more than 5 to 1), and in three days, packed up as many people as they could and then fled, forced marching for five days north across the plains in the middle of winter to their allies and help. What fun! Even more fun was the battle on the border. Heh heh.

Greason Wolfe
02-08-2009, 06:32 PM
Golly, a few words about the software I use . . . Um . . .

Well, it's an older version of Paintshop Pro for me, like almost ancient. Six-point something or another. And then there's Fractal Terrains Pro, only recently updated. And finally, Terragen 0.9.43 I keep looking at the Terragen2 Technology, but haven't convinced myself to purchase it yet, especially since my current version is serving well enough. Biggest drawback is that it can't route rivers or layout water above "sea level" without some serious tweaking. And lastly, there is the good old pencil and paper method, at least for roughing things out.

GW

bblackmoor
04-03-2009, 11:19 AM
Adobe Photoshop, Inkscape, and Fractal Mapper. Photoshop for modifying images, Fractal Mapper for maps, and Inkscape for general drawing.

I do own a copy of Campaign Cartographer 3 (and CC2, actually), but I would rather stab myself in the eyes and draw with my own blood rather than use it. Fractal Mapper can do everything CC can do with one-tenth the effort.

I also own Adobe Illustrator (I have CS4), but I prefer to use Inkscape for general drawing.

jfrazierjr
04-03-2009, 11:36 AM
Adobe Photoshop, Inkscape, and Fractal Mapper. Photoshop for modifying images, Fractal Mapper for maps, and Inkscape for general drawing.

I do own a copy of Campaign Cartographer 3 (and CC2, actually), but I would rather stab myself in the eyes and draw with my own blood rather than use it. Fractal Mapper can do everything CC can do with one-tenth the effort.

I also own Adobe Illustrator (I have CS4), but I prefer to use Inkscape for general drawing.


I am looking forward to seeing what you can do with FM (8 I assume??). We have very few people here have spent any time using it, and even fewer who use it frequently. Please post up some samples as soon as you can.

bblackmoor
04-03-2009, 12:06 PM
I am looking forward to seeing what you can do with FM (8 I assume??).

I am in the planning stages for a game right now. With any luck, I will have some maps to show for it. Historically, I am long on ambition and short on follow-through, so... who knows. :)

RPMiller
04-03-2009, 12:37 PM
bblackmoor, I was looking at your software list and I didn't see MapTool. Are you familiar with it? If you are not, you can check it out by following the link in my sig. It is a VT that has some pretty cool features. There is also ViewingDale which I didn't see either. It is also a VT with some great features. The creators of both are members here on the boards if you want to ask questions. :) Otherwise that is quite an impressive list you've compiled of games and software. Well done!

Midgardsormr
04-03-2009, 07:46 PM
Quick translation: VT or VTT stands for Virtual Table Top. Programs like MapTool, Viewingdale, ScreenMonkey, Fantasy Grounds, and the D&D GameTable that act as virtual battlemats on your computer screen and allow real-time internet play. They can also be used in face-to-face games, as I do with my group, displaying electronic maps on my HDTV.

bblackmoor
04-14-2009, 01:17 PM
bblackmoor, I was looking at your software list and I didn't see MapTool. Are you familiar with it?


I am not, but I will check it out. :)

RPMiller
04-14-2009, 01:24 PM
The RPTools forums are a great place to ask questions if you have any, but you can ask here as well if you would like.

dormouse
04-14-2009, 09:12 PM
I've read the thread with interest several times now (and a few in the past). I notice very few references to what the maps will be used for (certainly decides what I will use) or the actual workflow used (and many of us go from one prog to another to another and back again etc in doing a single map).

If I were writing a book that needed a lot of maps (I'm not), I'd want my maps to be 'beautiful' and with a clear and consistent style. They would be worth spending a lot of time over.

If I were planning a RPG campaign and wanted a world or regional map, I'd mostly want accuracy of scale and detail (and zoomability would be good). If I were going to let players see it or have a copy, then attractiveness and style would become more important.

Dungeon plans for/by the GM also mostly need accuracy of scale and detail.

If I were designing a battlemap, then atmosphere and usability would be more important. And ease and speed of creating the map would be very important.

And if the battlemap were for use in a VTT, then I would want all or most of the components of the map to be separable because I may well need to apply or change them from within the VTT.

And if designing components for any of the above, the amount of time I'd be prepared to spend depends on how much I would use it (and what is already out there that would do).

Most of my mapmaking is for battlemaps for VTTs. As far as I can see, the cost benefit of the various types of software (and I use virtually all of them for one thing or another) in terms of time spent Vs atmosphere/attractiveness is strongly in favour of the software designed for this use (Dundjinni, Dungeonforge, MapX, DungeonCrafter in the past, CC3?). If someone just wants to do battlemaps, and is not already experienced in use of the other software (or has another use for it) then this is probably the best way for them to go especially since the learning curve for most of them is small (not sure about CC3 for this). Despite these progs not being the most used or recommended on this site, and not producing the most individually styled or 'beautiful' maps (though this is partly dependent on the images used - and the final and/or intermediate stages can be tweaked in other progs). And this probably also stands for battlemaps that will be printed for use (a main reason for the initial popularity of Dundjinni). Because so many battlemaps may be needed, the time taken to do the map is a major issue.

And vector approaches (CC3, Inkscape, Xara etc) have real advantages for the world/regional design maps for the GM. Rasters only compete here by having lots of maps at different scales.

Redrobes
04-14-2009, 10:04 PM
And vector approaches (CC3, Inkscape, Xara etc) have real advantages for the world/regional design maps for the GM. Rasters only compete here by having lots of maps at different scales.Ahh, well I would have to disagree here of course... ;)

dormouse
04-15-2009, 02:49 PM
Ahh, well I would have to disagree here of course... ;)

You're saying ViewingDale is Raster?
Or maybe that it takes much more powerful processing than vector or images at different scales would need? (I can't really imagine a raster map with all the very fine level detail still being quick at zooming in and out to continents; I can imagine raster stamps for fine detail on a vector background that will do areas & continents giving that impression.)

I'll admit to not having tried ViewingDale, though I have looked at it.. I'll download the trial and have a closer look. I was always put off by the fact that it did not seem as self-contained as most progs, with an emphasis on networking etc., and it was never obvious how it worked or precisely what it did and I do like to know that.

PeaceHeather
04-21-2009, 06:30 PM
Paint.NET. 'Cause I'm cheap. :lol:
I've worked with some other stuff now and then, but not enough to say that I'm even close to proficient in them - a little Paintshop Pro, a teeeeny bit of GIMP, that kind of thing. I wouldn't really even call myself "proficient" in Paint.NET except that I can usually get the results I'm looking for in it.

icosahedron
04-22-2009, 06:45 AM
PeaceHeather: Isn't that what 'proficient' means? :)

Dormouse: Viewingdale sounds ideal for your needs. I'm a convert. Basically it's a tile mapper with analogue tiles. :) I haven't even used the networking VTT aspect yet; as a DF substitute it's completely self-contained.

It does pretty much what Dungeonforge does - or what it would have done if the promised new version had materialised, except that there is no fixed cell size and (near) infinite zoom. You can vary the size/scale of any imported image and perform a continuous zoom from a solar system down to a keyboard.

Unlike DF, where a bed is always (say) two cells by one, you can use the same bed image in VD for a giant or a dwarf simply by scaling it on the map. The grid is a guide, not a cage.

You don't need to set your map extents in advance, either, you can add more whenever you want.

The only problem I have with VD is amassing an image library. Although it's capable of using the DF images, I wanted to take advantage of the extra detail VD can handle and wanted to step up from the old tile images. The software has a good stock of fantasy images included, and more are readily available on the net, but SF images are sadly lacking throughout cyberspace. :(

One thing worries me though - If you try out Viewingdale, I fear for the continued existance of Dungeonforge... ;)

If you give it a go, check out the blog in my signature, Redrobes gave me some personal tutorials there when I hit problems and misunderstandings. There's some useful help info there.

Redrobes
04-22-2009, 09:16 AM
You're saying ViewingDale is Raster?...
Oops - too busy to notice this one. Sorry.

It is raster - at least I would say it is. For certain, it does not take in any vector formats like SVG or has any line or shape drawing abilities. Everything is done using raster bitmaps. It has its own image format but can import BMP, JPG and PNG files and has a batch converter for PNG files to import those libraries of files that you get like the CUSAC.

Imagine painting this bitmap onto some stretchy rubber sheet. You can put the sheet down, rotate it and stretch it. You can put rubber sheets down onto other rubber sheets and so move the base one and all the others on top move as well. Its a hierarchy of them.

Your graphics card can deal with these textured rubber sheets real fast. Your right in that it takes a lot of processing. What it does not need tho is a lot of CPU processing. ViewingDale can run on old machines - ask icohedron ! - BUT it definitely does need a reasonable graphics card, the sort you would use for games. Tho nowadays thats not so much of an issue as when I first released it. Anything with 32Mb or more on board graphics card RAM like the old nVidia AGP ones through to the ultra modern PCIe2 types. Theres a free test utility you can download from my site to test the graphics system speed and tell you what you have running and where this may or may not be a problem for the app.

So the CPU gathers together all the icons and works out how to place them down then sends that to the graphics card for rendering. Since most apps use 90%+ of the time rendering then you get a big speed increase when using the graphics card to do it. So ViewingDale is a graphics card hardware assisted bitmap compositing engine. It is a lot like DungeonForge as we have mentioned before but the layout is held in discreet icons instead of one big map file and that the images for it are held on HDD instead of in the file like DF was claimed to do. Which as we have said previously has some advantages and some disadvantages.

The VTT side of things in a nutshell is just that the prog will also transfer and update those images and icons when logged in as a server or as a client to one. Somebody moves their character is just the same as moving any icon in the hierarchy. Those changes are transmitted and all clients refresh the screen and show the move. Since the app is fast, it can update that refresh in real time in exactly the same process as if you had zoomed or panned or edited it yourself.

So since the app has no base bitmap and everything is on stretchy rubber then there are no virtually no borders and no limits to the extents or zoom factor. The res of all icons shown is still limited to that of the images making up the icons tho so you might need a world, some regions, a town and a floor plan maps all done to zoom between outer space and crack in the floor. The apps job is to take care of the scaling of the images and blending between them to pick the right one at the right time and deliver the seamless experience.

dormouse
04-22-2009, 10:23 AM
Dormouse: Viewingdale sounds ideal for your needs. I'm a convert. Basically it's a tile mapper with analogue tiles. :) I haven't even used the networking VTT aspect yet; as a DF substitute it's completely self-contained.


If you give it a go, check out the blog in my signature, Redrobes gave me some personal tutorials there when I hit problems and misunderstandings. There's some useful help info there.

Thanks for the recommendation - and it is nice to see that you are so keen on it.

But, as I promised Redrobes, I have already tried it. I found it incredibly slow and I can understand why you found personal tutorials helpful. It may be that there was a conflict with something else on my machine, or it may be that it doesn't like lots of other stuff running concurrently, or it may be that it wants a more powerful graphics card to do the zooming - but my machine is reasonably powerful (dual core, plently of RAM) though, as I'm not a gamer, not a very powerful graphics card (does have 512mb RAM though). When I try a new prog and don't get on with it, I nearly always leave it there and might, or might not, revisit it again - but I uninstalled ViewingDale within the hour.


It does pretty much what Dungeonforge does - or what it would have done if the promised new version had materialised, except that there is no fixed cell size and (near) infinite zoom. You can vary the size/scale of any imported image and perform a continuous zoom from a solar system down to a keyboard.

Unlike DF, where a bed is always (say) two cells by one, you can use the same bed image in VD for a giant or a dwarf simply by scaling it on the map. The grid is a guide, not a cage.

You don't need to set your map extents in advance, either, you can add more whenever you want.

Well, I'm not sure I understand the bit about the DF grid being a cage. You can rescale any object on the map at any time. There's no equivalent zoom (though the VD one was too slow for me to be usable), but you can decide what pixel size the grid runs to when you set the map up (anything from 20x20 to 512x512 - which means it can go much more detailed than nearly all the images available on the net) and obviously it is up to you what scale the grid represents. You do have to set the map size in advance though (but it can be much bigger than most practicable uses).

I didn't really see VD being a tile mapper but more of an image placer (I might be wrong on this though). If that's the case, then the grid has a different function in the two progs. In DF the grid/cell size is primarily set to manage the initial scaling of objects, BUT it's main use is to enable tiling. You can use the grid for maps/battlemaps etc, but you don't have to, and could always overlay a grid of a different size.


I wanted to take advantage of the extra detail VD can handle and wanted to step up from the old tile images.

I don't see how VD can handle extra detail; DF can handle any size/detail image out there, as tiles or objects, at a decent speed (and the maximum cell size could always be upped, if it proved a restriction in the future).

What VD does have though, is the zoom feature. I can see that would be very useful if it works for you. It also seems to work as a campaign/terrain mapper, whereas DF is primarily a battlemap prog (MapX being the one with the campaign/terrain features). DF is also limited in terms of building shapes etc; it is possible to work around this - and can be done fast with some prior preparation - but it doesn't do it 'out of the box'.

DF is free though; VD is $27 (approx). You make your choice and pay, or don't pay, your money.

I'm not intending to be negative about VD generally - it just didn't work well on my system though it clearly does on lots of others, including yours.


One thing worries me though - If you try out Viewingdale, I fear for the continued existance of Dungeonforge... ;)

No need to worry about that :)
Do remember that I'm just a user; didn't program, couldn't program: I use lots of graphics progs (including Photoshop, GIMP, the Corel progs, Inkscape etc etc) which I use for a lot of things including maps. I agreed to keep DF/MapX available and will do that whatever progs I use, or whether I do any mapping at all; I'll also help people out if they have any problems. I also keep DungeonCrafter 1 & 2 (& image sets) available, though not DC3 as I don't have permission for that; long time since I used DC to actually do a map I wanted to use. I also occasionally visit and contribute to the DC3 forum - rather more than the Crew have done ;) Where possible, I try out all the other progs that seem worth trying as they become available and certainly read feature lists, reviews etc.

Have tried DJ, but found it too slow and 'clunky' for me, and very limited in terms of map size and cell size (though I mostly do small maps now for use in BRPG). Lots of nice features, and DJ2 might have been interesting - if it had ever seen (will see?) the light of day. Certainly better than DF for its feature set, and worse for speed, map and cell size and price.

Haven't actually tried CC3 as there doesn't seem to be a trial and I'm not keen on getting to try it by paying money over first and getting it back if I don't like it. How many of the various packs would I really want? Would I want to buy everything just to see (with the 15% discount) and then get the money back and rebuy those packages I want? Too many decisions for me to get that far. Also put off a bit by complaints abouts its complexity - and I do see that its very long history might have become a bit of an obstacle in development terms - but I've never really had any problems with complex progs or CAD progs so I'd be quite confident of managing it fast enough (ie within the 14 day cashback limit). Some quite attractive symbols and maps though. And the zoom looks good.

Of the commercial RPG mapping progs, the one I'd be mostly likely to hand cash over for is FM8. Really a functioning superset of MapX rather than DF, though I don't remember it doing tiling (I need to have another look). Zoom very good, easy to use (at least I found it easy); might still use DF for some/many of the battlemaps if I were using it. Don't like the look of the symbols as they appear published or in the trial though - but then no real need to use them.

And for a fair few maps, I will use Photoshop et al for all or part of the process as many people here do. But I don't find these progs as fast as these purpose designed RPG mappers for producing 'realistic', atmosphere enhancing battlemaps.

Will probably have another look at MapTools soon. BRPG's own mapping ability has improved over time, and I assume MapTools will have done too, though I don't expect VTTs to compete with mapping progs for basic mapping.


If you give it a go, check out the blog in my signature, Redrobes gave me some personal tutorials there when I hit problems and misunderstandings. There's some useful help info there.

I'll have a look at that - though not to the extent of reinstalling - any extra info on it on a working system will be good to have.

dormouse
04-22-2009, 11:10 AM
BUT it definitely does need a reasonable graphics card, the sort you would use for games. Tho nowadays thats not so much of an issue as when I first released it. Anything with 32Mb or more on board graphics card RAM like the old nVidia AGP ones through to the ultra modern PCIe2 types. Theres a free test utility you can download from my site to test the graphics system speed and tell you what you have running and where this may or may not be a problem for the app.

Hmmm, I replied to Icosahedron before seeing this:(

I just tried the test utility and it says my system is too slow :(
That explains the problems I had, though I would have expected my graphics card to be good enough though it was chosen for resolution not gaming.
Radeon 3650 with 768MB RAM, now that I have checked. But I do run lots of progs and 2 monitors (one 24" and one 22").


It is raster - at least I would say it is. For certain, it does not take in any vector formats like SVG or has any line or shape drawing abilities. Everything is done using raster bitmaps.
...

So since the app has no base bitmap and everything is on stretchy rubber then there are no virtually no borders and no limits to the extents or zoom factor. The res of all icons shown is still limited to that of the images making up the icons tho so you might need a world, some regions, a town and a floor plan maps all done to zoom between outer space and crack in the floor. The apps job is to take care of the scaling of the images and blending between them to pick the right one at the right time and deliver the seamless experience.

Yes, this is what I thought. The zoom feature is very good (at least on systems that can handle it), but will be limited by the detail available on the image whereas vectors just have descriptions that zoom at all scales precisely - but there's a limit to the complexity of an image that this can be done with.

It sounds like a very good way of doing what it does, though I don't see it as being like DF - or indeed any of the other progs out there. I'm not convinced that FM8 or CC3 are good for fast, good battlemaps - though I'll investigate more - I think that DF and DJ can do this - and I suspect that VD does too. And VD adds the option to zoom regionally etc which would be good in lots of situations, especially if using it like a VTT.

RPMiller
04-22-2009, 12:28 PM
dormouse, if you have Java installed you could also give MapTool a try. The link is in my sig. The newest development version was just released and has had a bunch of new features and tweaks added. It is very similar to VD as far as capabilities, but I suspect has lower system requirements.

dormouse
04-22-2009, 01:15 PM
I load MapTool periodically. Very good prog, wonderful community, though I'm surprised that you say it is similar to VD for capabilities. Last time I tried MT it had nothing like the zoom in VD, nor the detail facility described by Icosahedron. Very clever idea using the graphics card for the processing in VD and I'm surprised that more of these progs don't do that (or maybe they do?), since that is what a lot of users will have sitting available not doing very much when mapping.

For VTT capabilities I use BRPG and am happy to stick to that for my own campaigns, though also happy to use MT. Not that I have ever been able to keep up with the constant state of change/improvement in MT (or in BRPG if it comes to that).

I do need to look at the mapping capabilities in MT and also to catch up with the current state of play in BRPG. One of the things I like about FM8 is the large number of available layers; very easy to have one/more for the items that would be added/moved in VTT play; can do that in progs that have fewer layers, but mostly that is by saving the base and then doing a map on top with the extra items.

I see you also use FT & presumably CC3. I assume you do the battlemaps mostly in CC3 and then use them in MT?

RPMiller
04-22-2009, 06:13 PM
You'll definitely want to check out the most recent version of MT to see the zoom capabilities.

I don't do much of anything currently with regard to mapping. I am in a degree program right now that pretty much sucks up all my time, free or otherwise.

dormouse
04-22-2009, 07:43 PM
Have to say, the zoom in MT really is massively impressive.

Redrobes
04-22-2009, 09:24 PM
I just tried the test utility and it says my system is too slow :(
That explains the problems I had, though I would have expected my graphics card to be good enough though it was chosen for resolution not gaming.
Radeon 3650 with 768MB RAM, now that I have checked. But I do run lots of progs and 2 monitors (one 24" and one 22").
That card would be waaaay in excess of the minimum standard required for the app. When you ran the test app did it say anything other than it was too slow. Did it say that it was running using the software renderer or it was not in true color or some other message like that ?

I run two monitors too and this is what I get with a less powerful card than you have.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKYU2gcsaoQ

Well, let me know if you want me to investigate.

dormouse
04-22-2009, 10:05 PM
I tried it a few more times (4).
Very variable results in terms of frame rate.
Fast enough once, but only once.
No other message. Forced it into software once, but that was slow too.

Generous of you to offer to investigate, but it must be some of the other stuff that's running (though I didn't think I was running anything that was intensive atm) and that's a killer to find out on someone else's system. The good side of it is that it seems to be a very rare problem for you.

Redrobes
04-22-2009, 10:26 PM
It wont be other apps running as it does most of the work on the graphics card unless by other stuff that would be a game, benchmark or something - basically you would know.

The test app should be rendering at about 500 frames per second. Not that you would see all those frames but the test app is supposed to say its too slow if its about 50 frames per second or slower. At the end it shows the framerate. On the very top line it says for me...
"OpenGL is successfully running this application with hardware assisted graphics acceleration".

I suspect that it is saying something different for you. Its probably saying that its using the built in software renderer which would be much slower - like 20 frames per second. In the directory that you run the test there is a file called TestResults.txt which you can get at with notepad. The top half of mine says the following...



OpenGL is successfully running this application with hardware
assisted graphics acceleration.

Card Vendor / Renderer: GeForce 8600 GT/PCI/SSE2

OpenGL Version: 2.1.2

ViewingDale needs at least version 1.1.0 so this looks good.

Frames rendered: 13433

Frames per second: 447.8

Your system is sufficiently fast enough to run ViewingDale effectively.


if your able to post that bit then we can see what is going on with your system.

dormouse
04-23-2009, 04:07 AM
OpenGL is successfully running this application with hardware
assisted graphics acceleration.

Card Vendor / Renderer: ATI Radeon HD 3600 Series

OpenGL Version: 2.1.7659 Release

ViewingDale needs at least version 1.1.0 so this looks good.

Frames rendered: 121

Frames per second: 4.0

Your system is too slow to run ViewingDale effectively.

:(

icosahedron
04-23-2009, 06:09 AM
Thanks for the recommendation - and it is nice to see that you are so keen on it.

But, as I promised Redrobes, I have already tried it. I found it incredibly slow and I can understand why you found personal tutorials helpful.

The tutorials weren't about its speed, on my machine the pan and zoom is so fast I sometimes overrun and have to back up! It was just getting my head around some of the initial learning curve since the program works like no other I've experienced. Having said that, it was a fairly shallow learning curve, and I'm sure when Redrobes has time he'll include some of these things in a helpfile update - I might even send him a draft to peruse if I get time first. :)



Well, I'm not sure I understand the bit about the DF grid being a cage. You can rescale any object on the map at any time.

Oops, I'd forgotten this bit. It's been a while since I used DF. I sorta stopped using it - I had a couple of big projects I wanted to do, and I was waiting for the zoom to be fixed...



it can go much more detailed than nearly all the images available on the net) and obviously it is up to you what scale the grid represents.

True, I mainly used the 20x20 scale, that's what I had in mind when I mentioned detail. DF can handle detailed images.



I didn't really see VD being a tile mapper but more of an image placer (I might be wrong on this though). If that's the case, then the grid has a different function in the two progs.

What's in a name? VD has a snap to grid and path feature which enables you to lay down repetitive 'tiles' quickly, but you can turn the grid off and place images wherever you want.



I'm not intending to be negative about VD generally - it just didn't work well on my system though it clearly does on lots of others, including yours.

Likewise me with DF, I found it to be a very useful program for producing small maps on the fly and if the updates had happened, I might never have looked for a replacement. In fact, I did use it only last week to send a quick sketch-plan to someone.



Will probably have another look at MapTools soon. BRPG's own mapping ability has improved over time, and I assume MapTools will have done too, though I don't expect VTTs to compete with mapping progs for basic mapping.


I haven't seen Maptools. I stumbled across VD by accident and Redrobes personally sold me on it via email correspondence - his 'before sales service' was excellent, including his advice on upgrading my computer to run VD.

What I like most about it is its ability to act like a 2D virtual universe experience - there are no separate maps in separate files, you just pan and zoom to go anywhere on a planet, and you can jump to any planet. It's a 'universe in a box'. Of course, you have to create the universe first...

Redrobes produced this video sequence, not sure if the link is still live:

http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CG/VD_Demo5/Universe.avi

trevor
04-23-2009, 11:56 AM
Have to say, the zoom in MT really is massively impressive.

Thanks. It's not as slick as VD's zooming, but at least it's available :)

Here are a couple vids Dorpond made a long while back when we first removed the limits on the zoom. Note: they look choppy because of the screencast software, in practice it's much smoother:

http://rptools.net/dorpond/demos/Zooming/Zooming.html
http://rptools.net/dorpond/demos/Zoom2/Zoom2.html

It turns out that it's not really as practical as we originally thought it would be. That is, when you sit down to create an encounter, you typically aren't thinking at the continent level. It's nice to be able to zoom way out in order to get context, or switch between hotspots, but don't generally interact with tokens at that scale.

dormouse
04-23-2009, 05:07 PM
Thanks. It's not as slick as VD's zooming, but at least it's available :)
...
they look choppy because of the screencast software, in practice it's much smoother:

That would make VD's zoom incredibly impressive. For me, the MT one was instantaneous (or at least it seemed able to go faster than I could turn the wheel - and my display managed it without problems) and entirely smooth.


It turns out that it's not really as practical as we originally thought it would be. That is, when you sit down to create an encounter, you typically aren't thinking at the continent level. It's nice to be able to zoom way out in order to get context, or switch between hotspots, but don't generally interact with tokens at that scale.

I had wondered about that ;)
I can see that it would be very useful if drawing a very large map (ie one that is much bigger than the monitor when you are at the resolution level you want), but couldn't see what would be gained in play apart from switching between hotspots. And I prefer everyone in the same place. All the players are in one place (we play f2f) and just use the VTT for mapping etc, so they can all see what any of them sees unless there's a real effort to hide it.
I suppose what it would enable is a very large map which they can move around, rather than lots of smaller maps. So long as MT can handle the very large maps.
I also noticed that you'd taken away the maximum cell size limit that I seem to remember from before (50x50 I think it was), so the maps could be done at 200x200 with no need to rescale the standard sized DJ images.
I haven't had a chance to look at it in massive detail yet, but it seemed to me that the maps would still be done outside of MT primarily.

RPMiller
04-23-2009, 05:31 PM
There is a map that dorpond did that I think was a couple miles square so yea, no size limits, or if there are they aren't really significant.

There are several tile sets that are currently in use that you can see at the RPTools forums. Users are making pretty large maps inside MT natively. ;)

Oh, and there is a great map of the Temple of Elemental Evil floating around somewhere if you want to see MT handle a really large map. :)

trevor
04-23-2009, 05:43 PM
I also noticed that you'd taken away the maximum cell size limit that I seem to remember from before (50x50 I think it was) <snip> but it seemed to me that the maps would still be done outside of MT primarily.

Must have been a while since your last MT update :)

<ramblings of a VT developer follows, feel free to disregard>

One consideration of making maps in a VT (like MT) vs outside is the limits of map size. Creating a full size image for the background can cost a lot of memory, especially at high dpi. Which also means more data that has to be transmitted to each player (particularly in VTs that don't send the compressed version of the map, such as BRPG iirc, please correct me if this is no longer the case).

Whereas if your scene has a lot of duplicate images you can create the same scene directly in the VT with very little memory by using the same image for each instance, regardless of rotation and scale (this is what MT does). So you could conceivably have a forest of trees, with maybe 3-4 derivatives, that goes on forever (well, within reason), and takes no more memory than those 3-4 images.

One advantage of making the map outside of a VT is the ability to use the resulting map across (nearly) any VT. That is, a jpg is a jpg is a jpg. Whereas if you make a map in a VT using that VT's tools, it will only work in that VT.

One advantage of making maps inside any VT is the "rich" features you can build into the map. Such as the ability to move chairs and open doors (or burn stuff down, as the pyros in the house are wont to do :) ), or have vehicle combat that spans several 10s of miles (or more!).

Over the years I've seen both style executed extremely well. For example, I recently opened a user's campaign to help debug some speed issues, and was in awe as I zoomed out and looked at the extent of their cave system. It was huge, and immaculate. And all built directly in MT using drawing tools with textures, and stamps. On the other extreme there are users that build amazing jpg map with tools like dundjinni and photoshop, that look like I could reach ouch and touch them.

Different GMs are comfortable with different styles, I think both methods are valid and that it's valuable to support both (and everywhere in between ;) ).

Redrobes
04-23-2009, 07:58 PM
I agree with all that said there. I started writing my app as a campaign world mapper first and added the VTT bit second. If all you ever do is battle map fights then its not useful to have zoom - well some are like ranged weapons or flying battles etc but most hand to hand stuff can be done at a fixed battle scale.

What I wanted was a system where you could have many many DMs all mapping bits of a world and bring it all together - a lot like the CWBP, which is why I try to support it as much as I am able. I would like to go into a city and pick any house and go in and get the map - a proper map that makes sense instead of a random one.

Trevor is right in saying that you lose something having the map in a custom format. If all the mappers and VTTs used a common format then it would not be the case and I think we would agree that having it in that format would then be better. Its the lack of interchangeability thats the problem. Since PNGs are being used almost exclusively now for the image format then that is something that can be agreed is the good format for a tokens nowadays. Its actually extremely difficult to come up with a common format however. We could all use XML and extend it in the ways required by each app but I don't think even then that it would be capable to doing what we want. I keep my layout icon files as text so you can read them and maybe write a script to convert if required but I doubt anyone would.

Having the map in a custom format that allows for reuse of the images does save a lot of memory tho. I have asked before and was told that DF does this and like MT, I do it too. I was told that DF wraps all its used images into the map file. I keep mine separate and I don't know what MT does. If you looking at a map with a lot of reuse then it gets very small indeed. I have some music score which is so tiny its unbelievable. Its actually smaller than the vector file PDF of the same music and about the same res too and then of course a second page of score would be proportionally less again given the extra reuse. Also in the same vein, the RAM used while looking at the map is a lot smaller too since the map 'image' is held as a series of variable resolution parts and we don't burn RAM with layers holding a lot of blank areas. Pro's and Con's always - its just that some people don't see that there are some cons with their one big piece of software.

Redrobes
04-23-2009, 08:27 PM
Dormouse, I have no idea why your system is running that so slowly. For the top line to print that it would suggest that the app is asking if your card driver supports OpenGL and its saying it does. Then it goes off and asks if it supports a list of required features and its not complained that any are missing. So as far as its concerned it has linked to the ATI card driver and has handed off all drawing to it. So for it to go so slow implies that the ATI driver is not running OpenGL correctly.

If you go to the desktop, right click, for the Display Properties, Settings, Advanced, Troubleshoot. There is a slider to control hardware acceleration. Yank it all the way to the left for None. Ok that and try the demo again. I tried it and got this...




Your graphics card is not capable of accelerating this OpenGL
application. The program will still run, though very slow
depending on how fast your CPU is. If you are expecting that
your card should have accellerated OpenGL then check that
the driver is installed properly. Certain older cards may
claim to accelerate some OpenGL but this program is requiring
features not supported by it. Look at www.viewingdale.com
to see if there are any special notes about this card

OpenGL is successfully running this application using the Windows
software renderer.

Frames rendered: 864

Frames per second: 28.8

Your system is of moderate speed and will run ViewingDale though
you will notice some slow down on complex scenes.

You would benefit greatly from adding a graphics card that accelerated
OpenGL when running ViewingDale.


So this is using the software renderer which on my machine is about 15x slower than hardware rendering, but even then, its not 4fps. I am wondering if you did this that it would actually speed it up in your case !

Dont forget to slide the troubleshooting bar back to the right !

I would suggest updating the driver but thats up to you and its a good idea to take a system restore point before doing it (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/helpandsupport/learnmore/systemrestore.mspx) . I am sure that you would find other apps like Blender, Sketchup and so on would run a lot better if your OpenGL was functional.

dormouse
04-23-2009, 08:35 PM
I like having maps that I can always use, whichever system or VTT I might be with at the time. So I'd be very reluctant to develop a large library of maps that tied me to that VTT - or mapping prog if it comes to that.

That said, I'd be happier to create more using a VTT if I had the same tools, effects and speed of creation that I can get using a pure map prog, so long as the end result was as atmospheric to play.

What I do now is to create the base map with all the fixed elements. The movables I add in the VTT. And I make sure that I have a load of compatible textures, objects etc available should I need to do something spontaneous.

dormouse
04-23-2009, 08:55 PM
Must have been a while since your last MT update :)

Well, seems like little more than yesterday to me :)


One consideration of making maps in a VT (like MT) vs outside is the limits of map size. Creating a full size image for the background can cost a lot of memory, especially at high dpi. Which also means more data that has to be transmitted to each player (particularly in VTs that don't send the compressed version of the map, such as BRPG iirc, please correct me if this is no longer the case).

I don't really know if this is still the case in BRPG. Doesn't really affect us since we are all in the same room. If we were operating over the net though, I'd make sure that we all had all the maps on our computers before we started. And we might well use something like Dropbox as the easiest way of doing it. It's the recommended way of doing it in BRPG, and I don't see any advantages of actually doing the sending within the VTT unless you absolutely have to. There's enough going on without that.

Using this system, it works well to have a lot already on the base map and all that needs to be sent is the ID of the images being used.


Whereas if your scene has a lot of duplicate images you can create the same scene directly in the VT with very little memory by using the same image for each instance, regardless of rotation and scale (this is what MT does). So you could conceivably have a forest of trees, with maybe 3-4 derivatives, that goes on forever (well, within reason), and takes no more memory than those 3-4 images.

Fine for the forest; amounts of duplication in many of my maps is limited, mostly textures for floors etc.


I recently opened a user's campaign to help debug some speed issues, and was in awe as I zoomed out and looked at the extent of their cave system. It was huge, and immaculate. And all built directly in MT using drawing tools with textures, and stamps. On the other extreme there are users that build amazing jpg map with tools like dundjinni and photoshop, that look like I could reach ouch and touch them.


I do see the advantages of both, but I find the latter works best for atmosphere. Which we like best. Not needed for fast moving hack and slash though or stuff that is mostly in the mind. The choice is a world away from the days of moving dice and salt cellars between cereal packets, books and magazines LOL

dormouse
04-23-2009, 09:00 PM
Having the map in a custom format that allows for reuse of the images does save a lot of memory tho. I have asked before and was told that DF does this and like MT, I do it too. I was told that DF wraps all its used images into the map file. I keep mine separate and I don't know what MT does.

I see that. For a VTT, it's much more efficient to keep images separate because they might be used in different maps. For a pure mapmaker, the advantage of wrapping everything in the map is that it becomes totally portable between users (not that I noticed many users of DF exchanging maps :( :) :)

guyanonymous
04-23-2009, 09:03 PM
Ok...I'm lost - VT?VTT?MT?DF?VD?

VD is ViewingDale I'm guessing...the others?

dormouse
04-23-2009, 09:12 PM
Dormouse, I have no idea why your system is running that so slowly.

SOLVED! (I think) :) :) :)


I would suggest updating the driver

I did that. Difference nil or minimal.

I always thought that the issue was likely to be a conflict with something else running on my machine. I'd not noticed any other application running slower than it should so I have no idea if anything other than VD was or might have been affected. Your Test App was really helpful in testing as I suspended/unloaded various processes etc.

Turned out (I think) that the culprit was CircleDock. Unfortunately, it's something I have open and use all of the time. I shall report the issue, but unfortunately again the developer seems to have been taken over by real life a few months ago. Anyway, I have reinstalled VD and will have a look; I'm willing to spend some time without CircleDock, every now and then at least ;)

dormouse
04-23-2009, 09:13 PM
Ok...I'm lost - VT?VTT?MT?DF?VD?

VD is ViewingDale I'm guessing...the others?

VT = Virtual Tabletop
VTT = Virtual TableTop
MT = MapTool
DF = DungeonForge

and you're right
VD = ViewingDale

Redrobes
04-23-2009, 09:14 PM
LOL - yeah you have me there...

VD = ViewingDale (At least outside of a hospital and in the guild...)
MT = MapTool
DF = DungeonForge

VT and VTT are used interchangably by different people but its all Virtual Tabletop or TableTop depending on your preference. I never liked either term but its the ones that have stuck and become popular.

Redrobes
04-23-2009, 09:17 PM
SOLVED!
Wow, cool. I have no idea what this does so ill look it up. Why do you think its conflicting then ?

Redrobes
04-23-2009, 09:36 PM
...culprit was CircleDock. Unfortunately, it's something I have open and use all of the time. I shall report the issue, but unfortunately again the developer seems to have been taken over by real life a few months ago. Anyway, I have reinstalled VD and will have a look; I'm willing to spend some time without CircleDock, every now and then at least ;)
You have a very large RAM card so it ought to be able to store textures for big icons and have enough RAM to keep several screens going with 3D accel. The only thing I can think of is that circledock is continuously loading textures and rendering all the time and burning all the power. My main app goes idle when it stops moving and updating and it defers to other apps a lot too so its likely to come off worst in a duke out for resources. The test app should hog it a bit more tho for the 30 secs but I am not making any significant hard effort to take over the machine for the 30 secs - the expectation is that the machine is idle when you run it.

dormouse
04-23-2009, 09:48 PM
CircleDock is just a program launching dock.
Whereas RocketDock and ObjectDock are fixed at the side of the monitor, CircleDock comes up where the mouse is. I use a redundant button to bring it up and send it away. It means that all my program icons are just an inch or so away from where the mouse is. And since I use the mouse nearly all the time rather than the keyboard, it works better than anything else for me.

Here's a picture of my CircleDock with one set of programs to launch (I have a number of sets depending on what I intend to be doing).

Redrobes
04-23-2009, 09:53 PM
Cool and useful I should think. It still does not seem like an app that would kill the 3D power of your card tho. If the icons were not on the screen then presumably its just in the background idle.

Anyway, are you getting several hundred frames per sec from the test app now ? If you get a rock solid 60, 75 or 80 then its probably locking to the monitor vsync. In that case it ought to be set to 'automatic', or 'under app control' or if all else then 'off' in the driver opengl setup page.

dormouse
04-23-2009, 10:02 PM
On the TestApp it is now 300+ with CircleDock off, and a very low (but somewhat variable) number with it on. And with it hidden, it just sits in the system tray waiting to be called, so shouldn't be doing anything (and doesn't seem to according to Process Explorer etc). Certainly did not expect it to be having any impact at all - and wasn't for most of the progs I use.

So looks good for testing VD.

RobA
04-24-2009, 03:47 PM
And since I use the mouse nearly all the time rather than the keyboard, it works better than anything else for me.

Funny I'm the exact opposite (more on keyboard than mouse) so I use Launchy (http://www.launchy.net/) and find myself habitually hitting alt-space on machines without it ;)

-Rob A>

dormouse
04-24-2009, 07:20 PM
Yes, people tend to be keyboard or mice biased. I don't mind keyboard shortcuts when I'm typing, but if I can get away without the keyboard completely for something, I do.

And for someone who is mouse based, who has tons of progs, files etc to launch and 2 large monitors, the amount of time saved by having a dock which always appears by the mouse cursor is enormous. Only have to move the mouse an inch instead of 12 or 24 inches. CircleDock was a real revelation when it came out - so it is very concerning to see that it may cause some dramatic slowing in graphics (even of the type I rarely use).

For myself, when I am in keyboard country, I prefer FARR (http://www.donationcoder.com/Forums/bb/index.php?board=12.0) to Launchy (we mice have to stick together :) :) :) ).

dormouse
04-30-2009, 02:58 PM
Having been tempted to look at a lot of products, I think I will probably end up doing a review.

Haven't completely worked out the methodology yet, but will involve using each prog to do a range of maps of types that I find useful as a DM (ie won't include maps designed primarily beauty or for use in books, games etc; they are surely always best done in PS/GIMP etc anyway). Ease of use and time taken to do each map will be important factors (as they are to me in real life), and the maps will be there at the end to be compared. Not sure of the range of maps yet - island/continent, local area (eg village/woodland), battlemap building (+ area outside or wood), battlemap dungeon, VTT, old-style TSR/DungeonCrafter scale. Will probably use the same images in each, but haven't finally decided that since some progs come with their own and maybe shouldn't be deprived of any advantage that gives them.

Haven't decided all the progs to do yet.
DungeonForge and MapX (of course).
Dundjinni, Fractal Mapper 8, Campaign Cartographer 3 (again of course).
Don't know whether I should include Dungeon Designer 3 and City Designer 3; they do exist but adding them really puts up the price of the Profantasy progs to being much more expensive than the others.
ViewingDale (though I'm not sure it is best described as a mapping program).
MapTool (would that mean I needed to do BRPG and other VTTs too?)
I won't include DungeonCrafter (1 too limited, 2 unfinished and fairly limited by current standards, 3 barely started). Haven't decided about AutoREALM.
I won't include PS (seems like overkill, and massively expensive) but will include PSE; will also include the GIMP and Paint.net.
And maybe others will turn up as I go along.

I'll post a link here once I actually produce something, but it won't be soon. Will take me a while to decide on methodology, design the basic maps, decide on the images/textures. That will probably be 2 or 3 months. And it will take time to make sure I'm properly familiar with each prog, so will probably produce them at approximately monthly intervals.

I like messing about with software, so I'll find it an interesting project to do.

trevor
04-30-2009, 03:27 PM
Awesome, looking forward to what you come up with !

RPMiller
04-30-2009, 04:26 PM
I will be most interested in how the various VTTs compare to each other. I have wanted to do some mapping comparisons between the most popular ones, but I can't possibly afford to buy all of them.

trevor
04-30-2009, 05:01 PM
The tricky part when comparing VTs is that for the most part, if you can drop down an image for the background, and put images down for tokens, you'll pretty much get the same result from every VT.

The key is finding a way to compare the unique features, or perhaps illustrate what makes each map particularly interesting for each VT.

dormouse
04-30-2009, 06:23 PM
I will be most interested in how the various VTTs compare to each other.

I'd be interested in that too. But I'll only look at their performance in making the maps, not in their use within the VTT.


I have wanted to do some mapping comparisons between the most popular ones, but I can't possibly afford to buy all of them.

I don't know how many I'll look at. I'm not totally sure how useful it will be either, since I think that most people will still produce their base maps in something else. But will certainly be interesting to see how much can be done natively, and how quickly and easily, and how much the VTTs differ from each other in this.

dormouse
04-30-2009, 06:35 PM
The tricky part when comparing VTs is that for the most part, if you can drop down an image for the background, and put images down for tokens, you'll pretty much get the same result from every VT.

The key is finding a way to compare the unique features, or perhaps illustrate what makes each map particularly interesting for each VT.

All I'll be looking at is the VT's ability to create maps. I think they do differ on this. Different tools, different ways to access them, different ways of browsing for images etc etc. MapTool has a much wider range of zoom than BRPG, for instance, and can use much bigger maps. This may or may not be an advantage for it as a VT, but is certainly an advantage for it as a map creator. I don't know how many VTs can really be considered for this at all. Seen as a VT, ViewingDale clearly has a great deal more advanced map making abilities than most VTs. I think BRPG is map making abilities are just designed to support play on maps that are predesigned outside the VT. It's a long time since I looked at the others. What I've seen of MT and VD also suggests that they could have a single map that acted as a home for lots of other maps: something that some of the mapping programs can also do and worth looking at more closely.

trevor
04-30-2009, 06:37 PM
As you mention that, I'm reminded of a for-fun "contest" we had a number of years back: Make a the cliche forest road scenario in one minute

Here's one that Dorpond put together:

http://rptools.net/dorpond/demos/QuickMap/QuickMap.html (1 minute)
http://rptools.net/dorpond/demos/QuickMap4/QuickMap4.html (2 minutes)

And one he did with a slight modification on theme (2 minutes):

http://rptools.net/dorpond/demos/QuickMap3/QuickMap3.html

trevor
04-30-2009, 06:50 PM
All I'll be looking at is the VT's ability to create maps. I think they do differ on this.


True, very good point :)


ViewingDale clearly has a great deal more advanced map making abilities than most VTs.

Interesting discussion point. It definitely has the most capability to cram the most stuff onto a map space and navigate around. But if we're talking about map making, where the end result is a jpg, is it a great map maker ?

iirc (correct me if I'm wrong redrobes), it doesn't have drawing tools, so all of your page content has to be premade images or text. And there isn't a visual way to browse for images to put onto the map, which would make map making a tad tedious (unless you have all your image names memorized).

Although this could just be me not knowing the UI well enough.

Maybe Redrobes can post a screencast of him building a map from scratch, perhaps the "Forest Road" scenario. (Note: I've seen the tutorials on his website, but I didn't see one that constructed a scene from scratch, just one that connected two already created map sections together, let me know if I've missed one)

trevor
04-30-2009, 06:52 PM
Coincidentally, a user just posted a map he created using dungeon tiles that will be part of the official MapTool 1.3 build:

http://forums.rptools.net/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=9079

complete with downloadable campaign file, might be a good starting place

Redrobes
04-30-2009, 07:45 PM
Interesting discussion point. It definitely has the most capability to cram the most stuff onto a map space and navigate around. But if we're talking about map making, where the end result is a jpg, is it a great map maker ?

iirc (correct me if I'm wrong redrobes), it doesn't have drawing tools, so all of your page content has to be premade images or text. And there isn't a visual way to browse for images to put onto the map, which would make map making a tad tedious (unless you have all your image names memorized).

Although this could just be me not knowing the UI well enough.

Maybe Redrobes can post a screencast of him building a map from scratch, perhaps the "Forest Road" scenario. (Note: I've seen the tutorials on his website, but I didn't see one that constructed a scene from scratch, just one that connected two already created map sections together, let me know if I've missed one)

Heh - just looking at Dorponds 1 min forest path. That looks like fun - ill have a bash at that in a mo. I'll get some buildings in and a big red arrow and see if I can do that in a minute. To answer questions...

Your right, it does not have drawing tools you do have to make tokens with a raster package. You can ask for a new token and it brings up the text browser of token file names. For each file you can get a preview by pressing space bar on any token from there you can use up and down arrows to get previews of next and prev tokens. On the latest version there is a create directory contact sheet option too so you can create all of the tokens on one page on one collection which makes finding the right one easier when there is a vast array of them to look at.

The problem here for me is that normally each token is the base of a hierarchy so the visual effect of that token is the tokens image and all its child tokens and all their (grand) children etc so the token is not a static bitmap with a thumbnail to be stored away somewhere for quick browsing.

This is what makes me feel a little daunted by the comparison with all the mapping ability. If you try to force the app to make the maps like the others then it probably wont come off as good. However if you tried to make the kind of maps that VDale likes with the others then I think they would come off worse. The comparisons could be open to a lot of prejudice.

Right, ill get a cuppa, boot up CamStudio and try the 1 minute challenge ! I think here it will shine...

RPMiller
04-30-2009, 07:51 PM
I believe I was involved with that one minute challenge. I think it was back when I first started getting serious about using MapTool in fact. Here is my attempt from way back when:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrFaHKAmXdY

Oh, and now with the new random drawing macro, I'm betting we could do these in like 30 seconds and make them look awesome.

trevor
04-30-2009, 09:17 PM
wow, that was from a loooong time ago, the UI has changed a lot ! It's fun to look back where we've been :)

Redrobes
04-30-2009, 09:33 PM
Ok here we are. My god I have had some problems with the video conversion tonight. Dont know why but had to use the Cinipak thing, convert to H264 and then into XviD before it was happy to play it. I think I have broken my MediaPlayer....

Anyway, the one minute path in a forest. Heres the vid. Took another 45 secs to put the arrow and text down.

Vid1 (http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CG/VD_Demo7/Stage1.avi)

I then went on and added 45 secs more of dressing...

Vid2 (http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CG/VD_Demo7/Stage2.avi)

...and then another two minutes adding some forest fluff and some characters to the scene.

Vid3 (http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CG/VD_Demo7/Stage3.avi)

So what this is saying is that for a whopping 3-4 mins of effort you can get a pretty decent battle map with characters placed down and it looks pretty reasonable zoomed up to character scale too - which is the whole point of using the zoom browser feature of a mapping app.

I have also used the preview mode in a few places just to show in action.

Hope thats explained it a bit more.

EDIT -- Just gotta fiddle with it a bit more. Prob half hour in total. Pic below.

dormouse
05-01-2009, 03:43 AM
Interesting discussion point. It definitely has the most capability to cram the most stuff onto a map space and navigate around. But if we're talking about map making, where the end result is a jpg, is it a great map maker ?

I don't know.


iirc , it doesn't have drawing tools, so all of your page content has to be premade images or text. And there isn't a visual way to browse for images to put onto the map, which would make map making a tad tedious (unless you have all your image names memorized).

Although this could just be me not knowing the UI well enough.

To me the UI was not intuitive, but I haven't spent much time looking at it. But then, a lot of the other UIs are described as not inutitive too.

If it doesn't compare well, then that is what I'll find, and I'll describe the process as well as I can, so people know what's involved.

dormouse
05-01-2009, 03:54 AM
This is what makes me feel a little daunted by the comparison with all the mapping ability. If you try to force the app to make the maps like the others then it probably wont come off as good. However if you tried to make the kind of maps that VDale likes with the others then I think they would come off worse. The comparisons could be open to a lot of prejudice.

Comparisons and opinion can be open to prejudice, but I'd certainly expect any comparison I make to be pretty fair. What I would say is that I was pointed to ViewingDale as a mapmaker (though I'm certainly not convinced it is one really), and so also MapTool. I'll only be looking at them in terms of making maps.

What I'll do is to start with designing a full range of maps (of the types that I have a use for) and only then to start to reproduce them in the mapmaker. If ViewingDale doesn't like the maps that I have a use for, then I assume it won't come off well; equally if it does like some of the type of maps that I use, then it should do well: I can only wait and see - and it might well be 8 or 9 months before I get around to ViewingDale. And certainly, the end point is expected to be a map that can be printed or used in a range of VTTs rather than ViewingDale specifically. At the end I would certainly hope to have a knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of each program - so far as their mapping capability is concerned anyway.

dormouse
05-01-2009, 03:57 AM
now with the new random drawing macro, I'm betting we could do these in like 30 seconds and make them look awesome.

my heart sinks. I do have MacroExpress for my own stuff, but I can't say that I like getting into macros for normal work in a program. Useful for personalisation, and certainly spreads 'programming' effort, but not something I like to have to do in the normal way of things.

Redrobes
05-01-2009, 09:15 AM
...I was pointed to ViewingDale as a mapmaker (though I'm certainly not convinced it is one really)and w.r.t ViewingDale...
...I haven't spent much time looking at it.These statements don't really tally up to the assertion that your not prejudiced. I hope you try it and like it but I get the feeling that its not going to come off well no matter what. Your convinced its not a map maker when I have been submitting maps for over a year here and just posted one up from the live cam footage of me making it. Is the image not a map ? I dunno - I would have said it was. All the icons used in it are either shipped with the box set, ones which I have posted on these forums, there's the Devin goblin and a few Kimmo's characters and the tree & toadstool are downloads from the supplemental icons off the web page. I.e. nothing in that image is using icons which are not readily available and free if not as part of the box set so anyone could have done that with it.

I deliberately made it to look like this one on RPG Map Share
http://rpgmapshare.com/index.php?q=gallery&g2_itemId=8484
http://rpgmapshare.com/index.php?q=gallery&g2_itemId=8488
which I did years ago and its been well received with a high vote mark - even by Dorpond of MT. I think anyone can see that these maps could have been created in about an hour or maybe a lot less. Oh I just don't know what else I can say really.

dormouse
05-01-2009, 11:19 AM
These statements don't really tally up to the assertion that your not prejudiced. I hope you try it and like it but I get the feeling that its not going to come off well no matter what. Your convinced its not a map maker

Well, you're the one who said

This is what makes me feel a little daunted by the comparison with all the mapping ability. If you try to force the app to make the maps like the others then it probably wont come off as good.

and I didn't say I am convinced it is not a map maker, I said I was not convinced that it was. As far as I can see from brief look, it is a combination of a VTT, a map browser that can be shared between users and a mapmaker. Just as MapTools is primarily a VTT that also has the ability to make maps. And on your website, you describe it as "a new software application suite for your PC. It is a browser and editor for maps targeted at the fictional maps used with role playing games." Given that I said I was going to look at programs as they make maps (as opposed to any other function they have), what am I to make of the statement
If you try to force the app to make the maps like the others then it probably wont come off as good?

And why should the fact that I have only spent a small amount of time looking at VD suggest prejudice? I've already said that I expect each program to take me approximately a month to work through. And I've not really looked at CC3 at all yet. Does
that mean I'm prejudiced against it? What it does mean is that I don't feel in a position to have my own opinions as yet.

I'm pretty experienced at examining things for what they are and making the most out of software programs. Sometimes the program makes it hard or impossible to do something, sometimes the way it does it is not the way you prefer (the difference between keyboard and mouse users is one of the most common); the first is a factor in the utility of the product, the second a factor in the suitability of the product for particular users. I would expect to look for both types of issue.

In practice, I suspect that all the programs can be made to produce all the maps fairly identically (though 2 - DungeonForge and, from what you say, ViewingDale - will need some work to be done in another program); it will mainly be a matter of how easily and how quickly they do it.

RPMiller
05-01-2009, 12:43 PM
my heart sinks. I do have MacroExpress for my own stuff, but I can't say that I like getting into macros for normal work in a program. Useful for personalisation, and certainly spreads 'programming' effort, but not something I like to have to do in the normal way of things.
Oh... no the macro is already written and working. It is just a matter of adding a single token that contains the macro to your map and then executing it. So simple even I can run it. I would expect that the functionality will eventually be added directly into MT at some point in the next version. Right Trevor? ;)

trevor
05-01-2009, 12:52 PM
You betcha !

RPMiller
05-01-2009, 12:59 PM
Anyway, the one minute path in a forest. Heres the vid. Took another 45 secs to put the arrow and text down.

Vid1 (http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CG/VD_Demo7/Stage1.avi)

Do you have to use a path as a graphic, or can you draw your own? I'm assuming that you are using shortcut keys to switch between the various functions and windows?


Vid2 (http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CG/VD_Demo7/Stage2.avi)

This doesn't show anything when it plays. :(


...and then another two minutes adding some forest fluff and some characters to the scene.

Vid3 (http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CG/VD_Demo7/Stage3.avi)

So what this is saying is that for a whopping 3-4 mins of effort you can get a pretty decent battle map with characters placed down and it looks pretty reasonable zoomed up to character scale too - which is the whole point of using the zoom browser feature of a mapping app.

I have also used the preview mode in a few places just to show in action.

Hope thats explained it a bit more.

EDIT -- Just gotta fiddle with it a bit more. Prob half hour in total. Pic below.

Looks pretty good when it was finished. The only parts that bug me, is the not knowing what graphic I am pulling unless I have everything printed out to compare names to, or have the names memorized. Also, the possibility that there isn't an actual "brush" tool that allows me to draw what I want.

Redrobes
05-01-2009, 01:01 PM
Dormouse: Ok I apologize and take it back then. I read...

...ViewingDale as a mapmaker (though I'm certainly not convinced it is one really),

...to be that you had decided with certainty that it was not a mapmaker already. If your not so certain and will look at it and decide then that is a much healthier point of view.

I know its not the all encompassing app and that it has its cons as well as pros but I think it fills in an area that is lacking in other apps. MapTools has better fog of war and other features esp in the VTT playability area. BattlegroundsRPG has a really thorough dice roller now and obviously PS and Gimp have great versatility etc. Anyway - will be interesting to see your conclusions then.

trevor
05-01-2009, 01:03 PM
Do you have to use a path as a graphic, or can you draw your own?


From above:



Your right, it does not have drawing tools you do have to make tokens with a raster package.

Redrobes
05-01-2009, 01:11 PM
Yes thats right. The path shown was an icon which is in itself made up from about 10 bits of path each of which was a drawn/scanned image. You can 'draw' paths out using a lot of bits of path but its not a vectorized line or area tool with fill like MT has got. That particular path comes with the box set. You can make up more like it yourself. I'll post another vid to explain.

I'll try to get a Vid2(b) version with a different codec. MediaCoder was playing silly buggers last night. I lost track of what codecs I used in the end. It ought to be XviD - VLC should play it ok and still does from the link for me.

dormouse
05-01-2009, 01:16 PM
It is just a matter of adding a single token that contains the macro to your map and then executing it.
Oh yes ... adding a button and clicking on it is fine (I had noticed, but not read, the large number of macro topics in the help area so, when this was mentioned, became a little concerned that map making might need a lot of macro work; I'd originally assumed they were there to automate game systems etc).

trevor
05-01-2009, 01:18 PM
It's the classic "Give 'em an inch" thing, the contributors have been coming up with the most creative ways to enhance the macro system. It's pretty crazy :)

Redrobes
05-01-2009, 01:55 PM
Here is a Vid 2b (http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CG/VD_Demo7/Stage2b.avi) for those that found it wouldn't play. I have another Vid4 (http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CG/VD_Demo7/Stage4.avi) and a Vid5 (http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CG/VD_Demo7/Stage5.avi) showing the path used and how to make a path with a kind of drawing tool using image primitives, video being worth a thousand words 'n all that.

dormouse
05-01-2009, 02:08 PM
Dormouse: Ok I apologize and take it back then.

If your not so certain and will look at it and decide then that is a much healthier point of view.

I know its not the all encompassing app and that it has its cons as well as pros


Thanks.

I genuinely have no views about ViewingDale as a mapmaker, and when I look at it I'll try and work out what its strengths and weaknesses are. Because it does a lot of other things, I'd be suprised if it were better in all ways at making maps than CC3 (with addons) for example since CC3 (so far as I know) only makes maps and is pretty expensive as a total suite. From my brief view so far, ViewingDale seems quite a unique product..


Anyway - will be interesting to see your conclusions then.

I'm sure I will have conclusions, and I will say (at least some of) what I think.
But, personally, I don't usually find other people's conclusions very helpful in a review.
What I do like, and what I will do, is say what I did and what the outcomes were, and I'll make observations about the process of making the maps and using the program.
If any deficiencies in my methods or use of the prog are pointed out, I'll go back and do it again.
I might at some point produce a number of lists giving my opinion on the progs I have tested for various users and/or type of use - eg Progs in order of ease of use for casual users; Progs in order of versatility of mapping types etc etc; will depend on what sorts of lists (in my opinion) have a genuine hierarchy in the progs and might be helpful to others.

But I'm afraid the whole thing will be a slow, tortoise like (or should that be tortuous like?) process but hopefully fairly thorough (I'll be aiming at very) and transparent.

farvardin
05-03-2009, 02:04 PM
Hello,

I'm using mostly Gimp and Inkscape because they are open source software and I can install them without problem on every computer I meet.
I'm also used to them, so I'm becoming quite efficient with their tools.

dormouse
05-04-2009, 09:35 AM
I will be most interested in how the various VTTs compare to each other. I have wanted to do some mapping comparisons between the most popular ones, but I can't possibly afford to buy all of them.

I don't really want to buy any just to do a review, but I've had a quick look around and it seems to me that MapTool and ViewingDale stand out as the VTTs claiming mapping abilities. BRPG has fairly simple drawing tools and limited map size; atm anyway. I have MapTool (free in any case) and BRPG already. I'm hopeful that I can map with the VD demo, though it seems more limited than the map prog demos (understandably). No sign of Klooge or FG claiming much in mapping abilities and their demos seem too limited to test them out anyway. Are there others that you think I ought to look at, mappingwise?

I have pretty much all the relevant pure graphics progs, so no problems in testing those.

DJ & FM have demos mostly limited by no save/print and limited art. Able to use your own art. So I don't see any problem with reviewing those (I'll just use screenshots to show the maps; should be good enough). CC3 has a moneyback period: so as long as I finish within it, I should be able to do that; means I need to be careful about when I start on it though; also means that I'll read as much as possible beforehand, so I'm ready to go pretty quickly when I get it (slightly concerned about the learning curve people describe and having enough time to do it justice).

RPMiller
05-04-2009, 09:52 AM
You may want to take a look around FUM.com. They specialize in the VTT aspects, but have a bunch of stuff in that realm including comparison tables and whatnot. I think they have a comprehensive list of all the VTTs that are out there as well.

dormouse
05-04-2009, 12:22 PM
You may want to take a look around FUM.com ... have a bunch of stuff in that realm including comparison tables and whatnot. I think they have a comprehensive list of all the VTTs that are out there as well.

I didn't find a comparison table on fum, only a link to an empty website and Heruca has a very comprehensive list of VTTs. But no sign of mapping abilities in those I've seen. Have to say, the new fum site is not the easiest one when you're trying to find something specific; or maybe it's just me.

RPMiller
05-04-2009, 12:35 PM
From this page:
http://www.fouruglymonsters.com/community/fumcon

I found this page:
http://www.fouruglymonsters.com/community/fumcon/fc-vtt

They used to have a different table, but this one has some of the mainstream ones. It would be nice if folks could and more apps to that table and really make it more comprehensive.

trevor
05-04-2009, 12:51 PM
It also needs some serious updating :P

RPMiller
05-04-2009, 12:54 PM
I noticed that too... I figured you would get it corrected once 1.3 becomes final. ;)

dormouse
05-04-2009, 08:08 PM
One advantage of making the map outside of a VT is the ability to use the resulting map across (nearly) any VT. That is, a jpg is a jpg is a jpg. Whereas if you make a map in a VT using that VT's tools, it will only work in that VT.

Is this really the case for MapTool?

Seems to me it will 'save' as a PNG, even if it is only an export screenshot. Haven't started working out the resolution effects of that; presumably it is dependent on zoom etc.

I can see that this is still in development. Export 'whole' map will be good when it comes, so would export/save defined area. I assume 'save', is achieved by 'save campaign'; does this allow other MapTool users to acquire the images in maps/campaigns shared with them? Only major issue is the lack of control of drawn areas once they are drawn; not a problem for a VTT usage, but is a problem if used as a mapper.

Seems to me (so far) that there's not a huge number of useful functions (as a mapper) that MapTool is short of. No fractals (but not really needed on battlemap/VTT scales); no randomisation; no shadow control for walls/objects (really suited to being done in a VTT); no/limited number of wall modifiers; no scaling control for textures used for walls/fills (one plus of a tiling system is that the tile textures are autoscaled to the grid).

Special door objects (or rather a set of controls for objects used as doors) would be good; could be designed with rotate options. Ditto for windows (all windows would share settings for light). Ability to define buildings/caverns would be good (ie no internal light, only comes in through open doors and windows if there is light outside).

An option to gradually blend one texture into another would also be nice. Not that I know of any other mapping prog doing that.

Have to say it is looking pretty impressive. Especially when I have always thought of DJ as being clunky because of Java :D

RPMiller
05-04-2009, 08:24 PM
Can you elaborate on the "special door objects"? You can already rotate doors in MT if they are created properly (the "hinge" is in the center of the image).

Light is controlled via the Vision Blocking Layer. You add the VBL to the map and vision/light is instantly blocked. There is a feature request to have that connected directly with objects and drawing tools, but I'm not sure when it will be added.

dormouse
05-04-2009, 08:24 PM
I found this page:
http://www.fouruglymonsters.com/community/fumcon/fc-vtt

They used to have a different table, but this one has some of the mainstream ones. It would be nice if folks could and more apps to that table and really make it more comprehensive.


It also needs some serious updating :P

Thanks for finding it. More than I managed when I went there originally.
I accept I should have expected to find it under fumcon :)

Surprised not to find Klooge on the list.
Maybe I should look at FG, but none of the comments I have ever seen from users suggest that mapping is its strong point.

dormouse
05-04-2009, 08:37 PM
Can you elaborate on the "special door objects"? You can already rotate doors in MT if they are created properly (the "hinge" is in the center of the image).

Well, I may have missed it; I'm sure there is a lot I haven't come across yet.

But it would go:
Select door.
Select which end of door it will hinge on.
Choose the angle it is capable of opening to.
Select the angle that would define it as closed.
In use it could rotate as far as the defined limit but no further.


Light is controlled via the Vision Blocking Layer. You add the VBL to the map and vision/light is instantly blocked. There is a feature request to have that connected directly with objects and drawing tools, but I'm not sure when it will be added.

VBL controls vision, but not light.
Light (and light sources) define shadows (depth and angle) and the amount and angle of light coming through windows (and open doors). I'm sure a good proportion of us have computers powerful enough to manage the calculations involved :D :D :D
And not to forget that light sources should have the light tapering off at the edge of their range ;)

Walls should have an option to autoVBL.

Redrobes
05-04-2009, 09:09 PM
With VDale, you set the rotation point so you can put it on the door hinge but there is no limits to the angles because the app does not know its a door or to say you cant tell it thats its a door. Not sure how useful that would be tho.

Anyway, there's no built in light control or shadows unless you make tokens for some shadow and put that down. Problem with shadows is that what your describing with the window is in 3D and were in 2D. To know the angles through an open window requires knowing the height of the open window space and position in 3D of the light. All possible of course but we've made a conscious decision to stay in 2D.

Fading textures is not too difficult but you need some alpha gradient images about to do it but that's not a big deal really. Most tokens have faded bits in them - generally characters and monsters have a black fading halo about them to indicate shadow and give a visual, if artificial, depth cue.

When saving a screen shot you specify the resolution and it will draw and save the scene to that res including detail higher res than screen res you were looking at it when you asked to save it. I have a movie of that if you want to see it. You can type in the scale and the DPI if you like and it will find the output res for you too.

icosahedron
05-05-2009, 07:23 AM
I think a lot depends on what you want from your mapping app.
Are you creating a map/floorplan or a bird's eye view/satellite image?
Do you need to know where things are relative to each other or do you want flickering shadows cast by every torch?

Personally, I'm happy with the simple approach. That may be because I haven't the skill to create anything complex, but I'm always wary of the temptation to get carried away with the technology.

20 years from now will 'cartography' be about total-immersion VR environments - just because your home computer can do it?

Ascension
05-05-2009, 06:49 PM
Lord I hope so :) If I could do it now I would. Pixar computers on every desk and ILM in every home!!

ravells
05-05-2009, 07:48 PM
That would be cool. although I would never give up reading a good book made of paper.

icosahedron
05-06-2009, 07:44 AM
Ok, I can tell when I'm in the minority - I'll shut up and go back to knapping my stone axe... ;)

torstan
05-06-2009, 03:59 PM
I know there is a user created patch that allows you to place VBL on tokens at the moment - but it hasn't been included in the main build and I'm sure it won't be until 1.4. This would allow VBL to be automatically laid down when you lay down a wall tile for example. Right now, you just have to lace it yourself, but as long as the tiles snap over the grid lines rather than along them, this should work really easily. It would also allow VBL to rotate as a door image rotated.

I'm not sure I see the value in knowing when a door is open or closed beyond the visual element? Right now, as RP says, you can rotate doors around a hinge. I would say that this is enough for DMs - surely they can see when a door has opened too far and make sure they don't rotate it into the wall and so avoid the need for more coding.

Here's an example door image:
13089

Drop this in maptool on the object layer. Ctrl-Shift-middle mouse button to rotate the door. It should rotate around the hinge. Apart from having VBL track the rotation, I don't really see a need for much more sophistication here - especially not from a mapmaking point of view.

trevor
05-06-2009, 05:15 PM
I noticed that too... I figured you would get it corrected once 1.3 becomes final. ;)

Actually, technically I sent dev an entire rewrite of the entire chart before FUMcon (for FUMcon), but he either didn't like it or didn't get around to updating it.

I'd actually like to put it up on wikipedia under a VTT page, start maintaining it as the defacto location to look for the VT list and comparisons. But just, you know, haven't had time :)

trevor
05-06-2009, 05:22 PM
Surprised not to find Klooge on the list.


For context, the list of VTs were the ones that participated in the original FUMcon (at the time called iCon). The prevalent VTs of the time (including klooge) were emailed requesting the values for the chart, the ones that are there are the ones that responded.



Maybe I should look at FG, but none of the comments I have ever seen from users suggest that mapping is its strong point.

I think, _think_ it has some primitive drawing tools, but I don't recall seeing any posts or articles about using FG for map making, just doesn't seem to be the primary focus of the tool. Someone please correct me if I'm misinformed.

trevor
05-06-2009, 05:30 PM
Select which end of door it will hinge on.


This is a very long running request that keeps getting out-prioritized :P

trevor
05-06-2009, 05:35 PM
Is this really the case for MapTool?


Perhaps it's because of my familiarity with how MT works vs how I _want_ it to work :)

The drawing tools are long overdue for a rewrite. There are also a ton of map making tricks that have been on hold for a long time now (a couple you have mentioned already).

Also, as you mentioned, the export only exports the current viewport, not the entire map.

So, from my perspective, if the end result is a jpg or png, there are other programs out there that are much better suited for that task.

But the MT users constantly suprise me with what they come up with, so I may not be the right person to ask :)

torstan
05-06-2009, 06:04 PM
I would love to be able to export a tile made map from maptool. But then, that's just me.

dormouse
05-06-2009, 07:15 PM
I'm not sure I see the value in knowing when a door is open or closed beyond the visual element? Right now, as RP says, you can rotate doors around a hinge. I would say that this is enough for DMs - surely they can see when a door has opened too far and make sure they don't rotate it into the wall and so avoid the need for more coding.

Apart from having VBL track the rotation, I don't really see a need for much more sophistication here - especially not from a mapmaking point of view.

On this, and a number of aspects, I was looking at MT as a VTT rather than just a mapper.

There are two issues. One is the purely visual element. If you have gone to a lot of trouble designing a map, you do want it hinged (& rotating) correctly. And getting the visuals as right as possible does improve the atmospherics.

The second is around gameplay. How much of a room the players can see will depend on where they are standing and how far the door is opened (and where it is hinged) and that is what will happen with VBL working properly. There's no reason why they should not be the ones opening the door - but they won't know of any obstruction on the other side. Doing it like this means that there is no need for the DM (or players) to say anything about it - they just do and the doing is visible. Same principle when FoW is operating and they are returning past the door; do they remember exactly how open/closed they left it? No need for the DM to say anything (risking inadvertently drawing attention to something significant), no need for rolls.

dormouse
05-06-2009, 07:20 PM
I think a lot depends on what you want from your mapping app.
Are you creating a map/floorplan or a bird's eye view/satellite image?
Do you need to know where things are relative to each other or do you want flickering shadows cast by every torch?

I think that's what I was trying to say when I came into this thread. The best app for you will be determined by the outcomes you want and how easily you can achieve them in each app.

torstan
05-06-2009, 07:24 PM
Ah, if it's the players opening the door then I can entirely see why you'd want to specify those details. I was thinking the DM would do it, and they of course know how far the door can open.

I agree about things hinging properly. It's nice that they already do - as long as you make sure your door pngs have the hinge at the centre.

RPMiller
05-07-2009, 01:38 AM
Yea, GMs open doors. This is not a computer RPG it is a tool. Just like any tool, you have to use it the "right" way. Sure, I agree that it would be cool to allow players to open doors, but the reality is that it just simply isn't worth the time and energy to "fix" something that isn't really broken. GMs should always have the ultimate control over the game and that means the map as well. Visibility within the room is easily controlled by leaving the existing VBL in place, opening the door, drawing a new VBL line over the door and erasing the part that is "open". However, once VBL can be attached to symbols then that process will go away and will behave like you said, but the GM will still be opening the doors.

dormouse
05-07-2009, 02:59 AM
Yea, GMs open doors.

...

I agree that it would be cool to allow players to open doors, but the reality is that it just simply isn't worth the time and energy to "fix" something that isn't really broken. GMs should always have the ultimate control over the game and that means the map as well.

Visibility within the room is easily controlled by leaving the existing VBL in place, opening the door, drawing a new VBL line over the door and erasing the part that is "open". However, once VBL can be attached to symbols then that process will go away and will behave like you said, but the GM will still be opening the doors.

This may be a current state of play in the MapTool view of the world - but I do want my players opening doors when it is they who are opening the doors. Just as I want them to act on objects when they are the ones acting on objects.

Not
Player saying "I'm going to open the door"
GM - "How far"?"
Player "1 foot, slowly"
GM opens door 1 foot.
Player "OK, I'll open it another foot"
GM opens door another foot.

You may like that level of 'control' as a GM, but I don't. When everything was done with words, that's the way it had to be. Doesn't really have to be like that now.

And I don't want to have to be drawing and erasing VBL lines just to open a door. That is something that can be automated as part of the door object. I want to be free to concentrate on the game too, not spending my time concentrating on working the technology.

RPMiller
05-07-2009, 11:58 AM
Just curious, how many times have you played a game using a VT, and how many different VTs have you used? I am referring to actual game sessions, not just trying them out.

dormouse
05-07-2009, 06:37 PM
BRPG (since 2005). Up to that point VTTs never seemed to have enough about them to be worth using. No idea of how many sessions in total, but it has to be a lot by now. All basically f2f with different computers and monitors. Certainly not saying it does everything I want, but that doesn't stop me knowing what I would like a VTT to do. We've looked at others, MapTools (started Aug 2006) more than most, but never got into campaigns with them.

RPMiller
05-07-2009, 06:48 PM
Do doors work the way you indicated above in BRPG? I only played one session with BRPG about 2 1/2 years ago I think it was. Maybe longer than that, I would have to go check to be sure.

dormouse
05-07-2009, 07:32 PM
No. The key issue (as with MT) is the VBL (MT terminology). For it to work as I want, it needs to be a property of doors and walls, and probably settable as a property to any object (and some objects will allow just a little visibility); once that's there, and I'm sure it will come in all VTTs - well, BRPG & MT definitely, then I think everything else follows. For now, the DM has to control all changes in the FoW (reveals etc) as things happen, except for light source movements. But it is clearly something that can be automated.

Slightly complicated by the fact that the VTT will recognise no features of the base map and the DM will have to set that up for use in a way that the VTT understands. Would probably require defining walls specifically (so that door properties can easily be defined as they will always(?) be attached to a wall at a hinge) as well as other unmovable objects.

BRPG has come a long way in the last two and a half years - as has MT - but there is still a lot further to go. :D

RPMiller
05-07-2009, 07:42 PM
I think the problem is easy enough to solve. Once VBL can be attached to stamps then the door will inherently block vision. Once that is done, the GM only needs to give the player permission to manipulate the door stamps. The possible issue with this is what does the GM do, when I player just goes up and opens a door even though it is locked? Or, what if players accidentally open a door that they are actually not at yet, because it has been made visible? I still have a hard time swallowing that players should be allowed to open doors. It is just so much easier for the GM to select that door and then Shift+Mouse Wheel it open. Next to no effort and insures that accidents don't happen.

dormouse
05-07-2009, 07:56 PM
The possible issue with this is what does the GM do, when I player just goes up and opens a door even though it is locked?

Can't happen until the GM unlocks the door.


Or, what if players accidentally open a door that they are actually not at yet, because it has been made visible? I still have a hard time swallowing that players should be allowed to open doors. It is just so much easier for the GM to select that door and then Shift+Mouse Wheel it open. Next to no effort and insures that accidents don't happen.

Depends on your group and GM. This isn't something that would happen with us. Again couldn't happen unless the door was unlocked. And no intrinsic reason to believe that the players are more likely to make mistakes than the GM. And if it is done by using the mouse, it is hard to see how this could be done by mistake since it would all be visual.

In which case, I think spontaneous combustion might be appropriate ;)

(And I'd do it. And they know I'd do it. And they don't :) )

And sometimes players want to open a door that the rest of the group don't want opened. If they can sneak off and do it when they are not looking, they can. Not so easy if they are spotted having a private word with the GM (agreed probably only an issue f2f).

OTOH, for groups that want GMs to be door openers there's no reason why they can't do that. All groups are different.

RPMiller
05-07-2009, 08:23 PM
So, what you are saying is that the GM is still going to have to click each door to unlock it before the player opens it. Why not then, as the GM, simply open it while you are on the door? I'm not seeing the cost savings in having the players being able to open the door. Is it only to avoid, opening it a little by little? If that is the modus operandi of the players, then I would suspect that the GM would just do it by default, asking, "More?" after each movement. That would also put the blame on the GM should a finger slip and send the door crashing open. ;) Like you said, I think it definitely is just going to have to be a group thing where folks just do it how they do it.

Regardless, the original issue is pretty much taken care of as soon as VBL can be bound to a stamp, and that is done once Trevor double checks the code and puts it into the build. So, I believe we have the issue licked at least as far as MapTool is concerned.

dormouse
05-08-2009, 04:01 AM
I'm not seeing the cost savings in having the players being able to open the door.

Cost savings don't come into it. It's all about illusion and control. This is the reason for using VTTs like BRPG and DJ scale graphics rather than simple DC scale maps in f2f in the first place. Or having visuals instead of the old text adventures.

As much as is possible the players, should be able to take action without having to have discussions with the GM. Obviously the best answer to the GM having to unlock the door is to add locking/unlocking to the door properties with player control so long as they make the correct role; similarly for detecting traps etc etc. Again, it will come. But the first stage is getting the VBL sorted and have the players able to open the doors themselves so that they can make decisions on how fast and how far to open depending on what they see as the door opens. And, if they are doing it themselves, it can all be in real time (the GM being busy working any NPCs in the room instead of opening the door) which creates much more suspense.

And the doors don't have to be locked or unlocked. Decisions about that can be taken by the GM. Generally its not something we use for movables as everyone is in character all the time rather than trying to push the game mechanics.

I'm not trying to make comparisons between BRPG and MT (or any other VTT here), just saying how I want a VTT to play. Other people are much more interested in complex dice rollers for different systems (not something I understand at all; much easier to convert everything to simple probabilities and work those if the system is very complex) or having the VTT facilitate strict rules for initiative etc in combat (again, I can do without that). It's all a question of choice. It is clear that BRPG is more orientated towards the visual illusion than MT - and this is not a question of VTT mechanics or capability (MT does seem capable in this respect) but of the community - since such a large proportion prefer tokens to top-down, not something they'd do if visual illusion were the main driver; I'm certainly not saying that one approach is better than the other, they have different advantages and disadvantages and it is all a question of choice.

Immolate
05-30-2009, 11:14 AM
I am new enough that saying what kind of software I "use" is probably wishful thinking. I can at least say what kind of software I "have" at my disposal.

In my history, most of my experience has been with vector-based software. although I've toyed with everything from 3d to raster-based over the years. None of it is extensive or deep.

The tools I currently own are Campaign Cartographer 3, Dungeon Designer 3, City Designer 3, Fractal Terrains and Perspective, all from Profantasy. I also own Paint Shop Pro X, recently "upgraded" to Photoshop CS4. I have Inkscape and MSPaint like everyone else.

I've created a couple of maps on CC3, one for practice and one for a website my wife hosts. I've owned PS Pro for years so I have tinkered with it some. Oddly enough, I probably have the most hands-on time with Fractal Terrains as I've played with it in the past on several occasions and devoted a few dozen hours overall to getting it to do what I want. I only recently bought it.

I also have a trial version of Dundjinni on the computer, although my focus is more toward overland maps as opposed to tactical scale or (so far) cities.

mrrkyl
08-12-2009, 01:59 PM
I checked "Raster" (PSP) and "Vector" (CC2) although I should clarify that I currently create/design my maps with CC2 and only modify them with Paint Shop. When I initially began playing ADnD online (via chat & whiteboard) I used DC1.4.1 (interior dungeon/structure & some town layouts) and PSP (rural/regional areas) to create the maps for my weekly games. I stopped mapping with Paint Shop because I find it much faster to use Campaign Cartographer. I've been doing this for the past 6 years, and, although there might be better software currently available, all of my gaming needs are met with what I've got. I should also add that I do not create maps to be works of art; my maps are a gaming utility to illustrate what words can't do better.

Skaryn
08-13-2009, 06:48 AM
I am fairly new to cartography in general, so when I initially did some googling, I found dunjdinni and campaign cartographer 3. I am a programmer by trade, this means by law my art skills are horrible :P I will admit I am intrigued by the realistic maps I have seen done in PS, I will probably give those a whirl here soon.

For my maps to be used in my Persistent Browser Based Game (PBBG) I am developing, I will use Dunjdinni and Bryce, with Photoshop for some touchup for the maps the characters can move around on. I recently sorted out 10 gbs of art to be used in dunjdinni, but the world/continental/goverment maps needs to be completed in CC3 first. If a player wants to see their location in the world, or region, the CC3 maps I am building will work fine.

Mark Oliva
08-29-2009, 01:43 AM
This poll is a bit whacky in categorizing Dundjinni, CC3, etc. as vector programs. Dundjinni isn't a vector program at all. CC2 was a pure vector program, but CC3 let's one do raster, vector or a combination of both. The same is true of Fractal Mapper 8.

ravells
08-29-2009, 04:34 AM
Sadly there doesn't seem to be a way to edit the poll.

Quillz
09-02-2009, 09:48 PM
I use Adobe Illustrator CS4 whenever possible, as I prefer to generate my drawings in a vector format, rather than raster.

jerriecan
09-10-2009, 02:23 PM
I use Adobe Photoshop CS - I've tried some others, but PS is what I have the most experience with.

Jerriecan

Juggernaut1981
09-10-2009, 07:15 PM
As I mentioned in my September Challenge entry, when I do my maps I use a combination of AutoREALM (probably Vector?) and GIMP with a tablet laptop (Fujitsu Lifebook T Series)

Generally the process is:

#1 Stick in all the big features (land, rivers, etc)
#2 Export into JPGs the icons available in AutoREALM (because I don't know how to export the individual icons in AutoREALM so I could use them as brushes in GIMP)
#3 Build a number of layers in GIMP to deal with the different sections of the map (oceans, landscape, roads, structures, map-notes/labels)
#4 Tweak around by inserting layers and fidgeting with their interplay to get the effects I want. Fidget with colouring,etc.

mearrin69
09-10-2009, 08:07 PM
Hi all,
I'm pretty new to making maps - been doing some of the tutorials here over the past week or so - but I'm not totally new to graphics software.

Specific to mapping, I have purchased (but barely used) Dundjinni, Fractal Mapper, and Astrosynthesis (I guess that sort of counts). I use Fireworks for web work but like the way it functions so I've used that quite a bit as a GM for making and editing images to use in-game...and I've also made a couple of maps with it. I also have Photoshop and Illustrator (not current versions) but I've never used them for mapping until recently (using PS for tutorials found here). I have a very old version of Painter but haven't used it for mapping either...not sure if it even *would* be useful.

Beyond 2D, I've used a number of modeling and rendering apps - ranging from Sketchup and Silo all of the way to Maya and Max. I'm tangentially involved in the 3D content creation world (as a business analyst) and have had the opportunity to use review units of a lot of this stuff and have bought quite a bit more just because it interested me. I'm considering trying out 3D to render objects for maps (buildings, trees, etc.) to see if I like the look. trueSpace 7 (now free, I think), and maybe some others, allow you to render to PSD layers and I think that'd be useful for this.

Since coming here (one week maybe) I've bumped into some new apps like Wilbur. Hoping to try these out when I get time. I downloaded and took a brief look at Wilbur but have to admit I didn't get a chance to check it out fully - looks cool though!
M

Tom_Cardin
09-18-2009, 07:13 PM
Ok lets see here. I really lean on 3D Studio Max heavily to do everything from vector lines to shapes and shading, you name it, I do it in there. Then I take what I have rendered into Photoshop and do the main compositing of elements, close up pixel work and color overlaying.

I use illustrator as well in the same capacity as Max, though not as much...most often when the art is going to have to get very large or is going to be printed at multiple sizes, honestly I have more control over the vector lines in Max though.

I also use both a mouse and a wacom cintique...mouse everywhere that I just have to move something, navigate, transform etc. But when I have to get down a natural line or push pixels I am using my stylus. Nothing has improved my workflow more than the Cintique.

I am a professional artist anything that improves production and workflow is really desireable.

Cartography is a long time hobby of mine but only recently has it come to the computer. I have drawn maps for Dungeons and Dragons since the early 80's and before that I had a keen interest in geography and cartography in school. At 15 I navigated a family trip across country using a good old Rand Mcnally road atlas...we only got lost once, when my Mom followed the instructions of a truck driver outside of Pittsburgh.

As much as I love creating art on the computer, I am still sketching and drawing all the time as well. Many of the maps I have for D&D are quick sketches so that players had a basic understanding of the layout. It is going to be fun to take some of those and really bring them up to finished quality on the computer.

Elothan
01-22-2010, 01:01 PM
Well, since I got a bit more involved in mapmaking since I first answered the poll, I guess IŽll have to list a bit of the software i use.

Nowadays I mostly play around with CC3, tryng to learn it, and unlocking the power inherent in it, but I still rely on Raster software like GIMP for some things in post-CC .
The software I use is more dependent on what type of map I am (attempting) to make, so I change software pretty frequently (always up for new suggestions).
But my most Important tool is my Wacom drawing tablet, giving me a lot more precision than a mouse.

jlvoideater
07-11-2010, 09:10 PM
I always used Dundjinni, but have to use GIMP until my laptop is fixed. I have an Ubuntu laptop and Macbook, but I only have the PC version of Dundjinni.

Redrobes
07-11-2010, 09:26 PM
Try Dundjinni under Wine for Ubuntu. I was really surprised with how much works with it. Since Dundjinni is all GDI based it really ought to work real well. Cant think of a reason why it wouldnt.

Flawedspirit
07-24-2010, 11:40 AM
I currently use Photoshop CS3, sometimes in conjunction with hand-scanned images. But when I make my maps, I usually just keep the ideas in my head and invent on the fly.

Mercutio
09-01-2010, 12:46 PM
Started with Paint, then Microsoft PowerPoint (yes, really), and then found AutoRealm, which I only used a couple times and just didn't like. Got turned on to Dundjinni 5 or 6 years ago and used that exclusively for a couple years, then started to do post-Dundjinni work in GIMP (which I initially used just for photo retouching), and now use GIMP almost exclusively.

I used to use a mouse. Then I got a Bamboo Fun for Christmas, which I used for almost a year before my toddler got a hold of the pen and broke it. Desktop's in storage, so I'm relegated to my netbook (temporary housing necessity) and the touchpad, which sucks, or a mouse if I can swipe my wife's from time to time. I will gladly purchase another Bamboo when I can scrape the money together.

Midgardsormr
09-01-2010, 02:44 PM
You can buy a replacement pen instead of having to buy an entirely new tablet: http://www.amazon.com/Wacom-EP150E-Bamboo-Pen/dp/B000XJJRIY/ref=sr_1_12?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1283363031&sr=1-12

Benjamin385
10-16-2010, 11:42 PM
I use Adobe Photo shop as well as gimp.

someguy
10-20-2010, 09:03 PM
I use GIMP, i also trying to learn blender.

I fiddle with google sketchup, but i can't seem to get the hang of it.

Most of my writing is done in Open office, as are most of my covers.

RocketDad
10-24-2010, 02:55 AM
I rely on Adobe Photoshop Element 5.0
And graph paper.

tribunal88
11-29-2010, 05:34 PM
Check out http://rptools.net/

This is by far the most comprehensive campaign-building suite I've ever seen (and it's free!!!). It's ridiculously easy to use and there's even a tutorials website with video. There's even tools for managing initiative, tokens and dice-rolling (if you have people who are convinced that "their dice are cursed" as we sometimes do). It even functions as a server you can remote into so if you have sick friends that don't want to leave the house, they can connect in and play along from the couch at home.

SandmanNet
01-06-2011, 02:13 PM
Hello everyone. These are the tools I use for map-making.

Photoshop and Illustrator (CS5) are obviously my two main weapons of choice. Illustrator is perfect for creating coastlines, walkways and paths and even house outlining. And for tapered rivers and other items that are mathematical objects even when drawing them freely.

Painter is an awesome tool with a pretty high threshold to create natural looking paintings and sketches. Photoshop has gotten increasingly better by the years, so I'm not using Painter as much as I used to.

I try not to "cheat" too much. I.e. not using drop shadow on layers, not using layer effects on a too obvious way. I can use pattern overlay to add a gritty looking feel, but the opacity is usually set very low and I'm rarely satisfied with the result. I'm the kind of guy that draws pretty much everything by hand. You can see examples in my threads and in the Myst Book Project in my signature. I do just as much drawing with pen and paper as I do with a Wacom as well, so I am pretty experienced with doing things manually :)

I live and die by my Wacom tablets. I have the A4 Intuos3 (looking to buy a Intuos 4 wireless now) and two Cintiq 21UX, one at home and one at work. These are amazing tools and I couldn't do anything without them.

So, that's that :)

Vile
02-23-2011, 10:00 AM
Hmm, I guess I could have ticked "Vector (bought) as well as "Raster (bought) and "Scanned hand-drawn maps", because I do use AutoCAD as well as Photoshop (and a bit of SketchUp). Oh, that's "3D modelling" as well, then. I use all three for my work (landscape architect), otherwise this would be a bit of an expensive hobby. I like AutoCAD for outlines - coasts, contours, roads, etc. - which I can then port into Photoshop or SketchUp. If you can get hold of AutoCAD survey bases, especially if they include topography, you cant tweak and edit them into something pretty believable.

inellgilsta
02-24-2011, 04:56 AM
I am using adobe photoshop because I'm more comfortable using it.

dpmcalister
03-09-2011, 12:14 PM
These are the tools I'll be using for my maps:

Paint Shop Pro 7: I bought this about 8 years ago when I started designing websites and, even though it is a bit old (;)), it still does the job for me. I'd love to try PhotoShop but the price is too much for my small wallet :(

Dundjinni: Received a copy of the Platinum Edition when it was first released to review and have kept using it ever since. Mainly small scale maps, but I did reproduce a keep from a Hellfrost (http://www.tripleacegames.com/HellFrost.php) scenario I ran (as part of the Triple Ace Games Demo Team) at UK Games Expo last year. Printed it out battlemap size, laminated it, taped it all together, and then cut out each room so I could place them down as the players entered them. I still have the laminated version and I think (hope?) that the original is still of the hard drive of my old laptop (the only bit I could salvage from it :()

Fractal Mapper 8: I was able to pick up Fractal Mapper 7 on eBay for a couple of pounds and liked what I saw so bought the upgrade to v8. Not had a chance to create any proper maps with it yet, but I'm looking forward to learning :)

Wacom Bamboo One: I've treated myself to this tablet and pen to help in creating maps because I find it very difficult to drawn landmasses with a mouse. I don't actually get to use it until my birthday in 3 weeks (as it's, officially, a present) but I did get a quick play with it when it first arrived (to make sure it worked, of course ;)). I can see that it'll take a little getting used to, but I'm hopeful that it will be better than the mouse.

Hungry Donner
04-22-2011, 02:44 PM
For the last several years I've done a lot of map work with Google Earth - I created a blank image overlay to cover up the Earth itself and then use the line tools to 'draw' my maps. There are a lot of advantages to using GE this way: it lets you easily work on a global scale, you can toggle layers on an off (political boundaries, locations, biomes, terrain, etc.), and it's very open to tweaking. Unfortunately no matter how sophisticated the work ends up it looks pretty awful. :)

I started a new project a few weeks ago and it involves a lot of global scale work that GE is well-suited for. However I'm also hoping to dust off GIMP and start incorporating some better looking material as I progress so my maps look good too (especially with the smaller and more detailed locations that GE doesn't handle as well).

Mark Oliva
04-23-2011, 02:24 AM
Fractal Mapper 8: I was able to pick up Fractal Mapper 7 on eBay for a couple of pounds and liked what I saw so bought the upgrade to v8. Not had a chance to create any proper maps with it yet, but I'm looking forward to learning :)

You might want to check out our free, 222-page PDF tutorial Raster Mapping With FM8. It covers a lot of material that isn't in the official NBOS tutorial. You can get it at:

http://www.vintyri.org/vintyri/vccindex.htm

Seraphine_Harmonium
05-02-2011, 02:58 PM
I make maps by hand, and I have GIMP for editing.

Paul Swateridge
05-22-2011, 04:31 PM
I have been using Corel Draw and Corel Photo Paint for several years now. Is there any advice others can give concerning these pieces of software?

Ascension
05-22-2011, 05:24 PM
We have many members using Corel but they haven't made any tutorials (that I can remember). The Corel programs seem to be fine (as good as anything else on the market) but many things from Gimp and Photoshop just don't have similar equivalents in Corel. So in a way, you're on your own but in an other way that is kind of cool since you can be the mad scientist experimenting with and creating things that we mainstream program users can't.

Paul Swateridge
05-22-2011, 05:39 PM
Thanks Ascension. I'm trying to upload an old vector drawing I did some yeras ago but it just will not upload. Any advice on this?

Ascension
05-22-2011, 08:36 PM
Our forum software can only process certain types of files and only ones so big in terms of megabytes and in terms of actual size. When you are on the screen to browse to your file to upload there should be a list of accepted file types and sizes there.

SushiDave
05-23-2011, 09:33 AM
:) Hi! I am new to the site here and excited about sharing notes & ideas with fellow mappers & GM's in the Fantasy Realm setting. I have been using Fractal Mapper since version 6 and love it. Kudos to Mark Oliva and all the resources he's provided to mappers using the FM series. There are a few minor problems I've run into with FM, but nothing that can't be worked around. And of course, like a greedy user - have no shortage of items on my wish list. But? All in all, I find FM to work well for my needs.

Paul Swateridge
05-23-2011, 11:38 AM
Hi Ascension. The file type and size were fine (jpg and 234 kb) but I found the reason. Seems like it will not upload if the files are nested too deeply in the windows file system. Move it 'nearer' to the root of the drive and it uploaded fine. My first album has begun! Now, back to painting the mountains I stared last night...

Rythal
05-23-2011, 10:06 PM
I have been using Corel Draw and Corel Photo Paint for several years now. Is there any advice others can give concerning these pieces of software?

Hey paul

I did a tutorial on corel photo paint a while ago ( quite a while ago) for X3. There is a link in my signature, under My Tuts.

Edit: Here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?9214-Corel-PHOTO-PAINT-Tutorial-I&p=101325)

Redrobes
05-24-2011, 09:39 AM
Hi Ascension. The file type and size were fine (jpg and 234 kb) but I found the reason. Seems like it will not upload if the files are nested too deeply in the windows file system. Move it 'nearer' to the root of the drive and it uploaded fine. My first album has begun! Now, back to painting the mountains I stared last night...
Hi Paul, Good to see you here ( a local man :) ). This is interesting about the file system. I believe that it would be quite possible that this is the cause of upload issues. Some people have trouble, others do not and this could explain it. Perhaps the upload file string is too small to handle the full path for some people. I will bear that in mind when offering advice on why people have upload issues. I would not have thought of this as a solution so well done.

Paul Swateridge
05-24-2011, 11:16 AM
To Rythal: thanks. I'll give it a look later

To Redrobes: glad to help. Thats what these forums are for I believe

cantab
07-09-2011, 09:46 PM
Wow...206 posts and not a single mention of GIS software. That's what I use. Specifically, QGIS and GRASS. I guess it's kind of a steep learning curve; I used Arc in my university studies so got a start there.

ravells
07-10-2011, 07:15 PM
Ah.... the reason for that was that when I made the poll I knew far less about mapping with software and the Guild (a very small place at the time) was concerned mainly with making fantasy maps.... so GIS didn't feature on my radar. I'd love to amend the poll, but I don't know how without deleting all the results we've got.

cantab
07-10-2011, 08:15 PM
Well it seems that GIS software is indeed very rarely used for creative mapping. It's perhaps not the best-suited software, since it tends to be oriented towards working with real-world data than creating stuff from scratch, and it's not geared towards "artistic" maps. Proprietary GIS software is costly, and it's only in the last few years that there've been quality free offerings besides GRASS (which even by GIS standards is perhaps tricky to use).

Programs like Campaign Cartographer are I guess technically GIS software, but taking a very different approach and obviously one designed for creative mapping.

Hai-Etlik
07-10-2011, 08:26 PM
Well it seems that GIS software is indeed very rarely used for creative mapping. It's perhaps not the best-suited software, since it tends to be oriented towards working with real-world data than creating stuff from scratch, and it's not geared towards "artistic" maps. Proprietary GIS software is costly, and it's only in the last few years that there've been quality free offerings besides GRASS (which even by GIS standards is perhaps tricky to use).

I've made occasional use of QGIS and GDAL in map making here at the guild, and I'm intermittently playing around with JTS.

farvardin
07-18-2011, 02:49 AM
It's not really easy to use GIS software because they are not as flexible as a vectorial or bitmap drawing would do. At the moment I'm looking how to use JOSM to create my map (don't really know if JOSM can be considered GIS software), and render it with tools designed for OpenStreetMap. I've posted a sample of what I did there: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?5409-A-world-without-name

I'd be curious to see what can be achieved with QGIS.

pujarir
08-24-2011, 12:09 PM
I am new here on the forum & looking for recommendation of software which can do aerial image stitching with geo referencing along with it, I tried Map Cruncher but found that it needs all 31000 images anchored & it does not stitch instead it tiles them correctly whereas I need 1 large image from the 31000 images.

I have video footage from which I have extracted jpeg frames (total 31000 frames)


I have the following question if any experienced cartography expert can answer them.
1. Is there a software which can do image stitching with few anchored images lets say I geo reference(anchor)1000 images out of 31000 frames, will all the images stitch around the anchored images correctly?

2.When I stitch the images rows the straight flight path appears curved, I don't know why the conventional stitching program are making it curved, Any reason for that?
38026
I hope you can advice me the right software to do such large stitch & geo reference it correctly.

jfrazierjr
08-24-2011, 12:47 PM
Because it's mapped to a sphere? If your images were centered on the equator, then that would be the only place it would be perfectly "straight". Unfortunately, I can't recomend any specific software. Google Earth does some of this type of stuff... but I have no idea if it can do everything you are looking for or not.

ravells
08-24-2011, 12:53 PM
Hi pujarir,

Although we have some people here who do GIS type work, most of us draw maps of imaginary places so we don't come across issues like this. While you might get an answer here, I suggest that you also post your query on www.cartotalk.com which is a bbs for professional 'real world' cartographers who might be able to help.

cantab
08-24-2011, 01:18 PM
If your photographs are systematic - all the same size and all the same distance apart - you could create the world files - that hold the georeferencing information - automatically.

pujarir
08-24-2011, 03:13 PM
Because it's mapped to a sphere? If your images were centered on the equator, then that would be the only place it would be perfectly "straight". I thought so but wanted to confirm the same to be the only reason for this curve.

pujarir
08-24-2011, 03:14 PM
Hi pujarir,
I suggest that you also post your query on www.cartotalk.com (http://www.cartotalk.com) which is a bbs for professional 'real world' cartographers who might be able to help. Thanks I will post there now hope some software can do such thing.

DrLight
12-27-2011, 09:11 AM
I also use Pro Fantasy 's CC3 and packages, and have NBOS's Fractal Mapper and astrosynth but I haven't used them in a while

leleyx
01-09-2012, 06:58 AM
Just wanted to drop by and leave my s/w of choice, so far I've been using GIMP to make some dungeon maps, using torstan's tutorial, I have played a little with my friend's CC3, which seems awesome to make overland maps. Reading the forum so far I've been thinking of trying out Inkscape some time soon.

Theo R Cwithin
01-17-2012, 02:26 PM
I've been using Seashore (http://seashore.sourceforge.net/The_Seashore_Project/About.html), sort of a stripped down GIMP for MacOS. It's quite a bit simpler than a full version of GIMP but not well-supported anymore. It's the tool I've been using to teach myself the very basics and crank out a handful of simple maps for gaming.

kiriona
01-19-2012, 11:54 AM
Previously, AppleWorks, then Photoshop Elements (4). Now, GIMP. I also recently downloaded Inkscape, which is slooow. But then so is GIMP. Maybe that's what happens when your latest map is 4743 x 2803. :|

As for why... well, arguably, software is completely wasted on me. I've been drawing maps (by hand) since as long as I can remember but probably one of the formative experiences of my life was encountering the USGS 7 1/2 minute series of topographic maps around age twelve, which I became mildly obsessed with replicating. Being a complete weirdo (>.>) and not knowing anything about how to actually use raster editors I just took out the pencil and paint bucket tools and started drawing contours. With a trackpad. Thus, while I still have GIMP and Inkscape and while I have been drawing maps for a long time it's still fairly accurate to call me a newbie since I haven't seriously exploited any of those programs' full potential. Probably.

Ian Pikklock
02-18-2012, 11:24 AM
I've been mainly using GIMP lately and with the help of some tutorials here I actually managed to get some results. I also baught a tabelt a few years ago, but I don't use it regulary.
This Semester I wanted to take an course named "GIS for historians", sadly it collided with antoher course I had to take, so I continue to remain ignorant to the subject.

Caleth
03-05-2012, 11:30 AM
I use Photoshop, just because that is what I learned to use, long ago. I am frankly intimidated by the learning curve that GIMP seems to have. I also make extensive use of Fractal Terrains since nothing I draw can even come close to the generated landforms.

I am including Tablet and pen since I do most of my artistic endeavors on an old HP convertible tablet with the nifty Wacom-enabled tablet screen. I only rarely draw by hand though because the results are always depressingly craptacular.

Anemone
03-08-2012, 07:40 PM
From 2004 through 2010, I worked on a Windows system and primarily used PaintShop Pro, with a Wacom Intuos stylus and tablet. I had Photoshop Elements, but I liked PSP better because it handles both raster and vector; I also tried GIMP but the interface was not working very well on my system, it was difficult to "grab" items, etc.. In 2010, I moved to an Ubuntu desktop and though PSP works fairly decently on Wine, I started using GIMP more, especially when I discovered that newer versions worked much more smoothly, at least on Linux. I added Krita and Inkscape to my tools for vector work and also discovered MyPaint, a sweet little Open Source painting program that lets me do art much more "naturally," allowing me to work as on paper. I finish the work on GIMP for layer effects.

Joshua
03-25-2012, 02:05 PM
I started out with CC3 and Adobe Photoshop (since I already had it). Since joining this site, things are changing a bit. I'm still using CC3 (I find it to be a really cool program the more I get into it) but I also got a Wacom tablet. Now that I have it, I'm starting to use Photoshop more, but as I read more and more things here, I am thinking of switching to GIMP and also tinkering in Inkscape. I'm considering this since the version of PS I have is CS3, and I'd rather have new software to better use the tutorials around, but I can't afford an upgrade of Adobe products.

Just to put it out there, the more I use the Wacom, the more I love it!

Aurynn
04-11-2012, 02:42 AM
Hello everyone, I am new around here and have to say that I admire the community and resource and knowledge base you have built here.

As to the discussion - for those who would like to use CAD, but are not willing to pay the ridiculous prices of AutoCAD and similar I have an option - progeCAD. I am using it at work for years now. The full version is priced at less than 1/10th of the AutoCAD and they have a free non-commercial version with 2D only that is called "progeCAD SMART!". It shares commands with AutoCAD (it is built at IntelliCAD platform as is AutoCAD) and the only difference I have found is that it uses the interface very similar to AutoCAD 2007 compared to the newer AutoCAD versions. I am using it in combination with Inkscape as it can be easily printed to .pdf via a built-in printer.

Good mapping to all. :-)

Kearnaun
04-30-2012, 04:02 PM
Mapping Software I use? Well, I'm doing 3d modelling most of the time. Specifically I use Blender for just about everything, for better or for worse. Of course I'm not oposed to scanning hand drawn maps. Although honestly I only did that for my one page dungeon contest submission as of late. I tried drawing a map with pen and tablet using OpneCanvas, but I'm not quite comfortable enough using my tablet.

w01derdog
05-08-2012, 10:06 PM
I love cc3 and it was one of the hardest things to learn (so far anyway). Honestly Joe Sweeny's Video tutorials HELPED A LOT!!!!!!!!

Rodan
06-07-2012, 10:35 PM
I had purchased a copy of CC3 after coming across their site, and I agree that I wasn't so interested in the symbols as much as the quick ability to put together a map. I then observed PS and taking hand drawn work, and even having the ability to splice large pieces of work together seamlessly. This took me through a one year digital graphic's course to learn both PS and Illustrator. I also like to use Adobe Indesign to put together several graphs into one book. I'm looking forward to really start working and gaining the experiance to place what I dream onto this media.

Schneden
06-19-2012, 01:18 PM
Greetings,

I'm a writer with zero experience in GIMP, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc., and I can't draw for sheit. What I do have is a fertile imagination and a hankering to start making maps. Is CC3 a good place to start? Anything that allows me to drag/drop/point/click is preferred.

Thanks!

Brian

Gidde
06-24-2012, 11:55 AM
Welcome to the Guild! CC3 has a pretty steep learning curve. If you can deal with that, it's a fantastic program. If not, however, I'd recommend downloading the GIMP (it's free: http://gimp.org) and perusing the Tutorials forum for GIMP tutorials you like. That will get you started very quickly.

Schneden
06-25-2012, 12:36 PM
Thanks for the tip!

Hexenmeister Raven
06-26-2012, 01:56 PM
I'm using the CC3, also Bryce and Hexagon. I have no talent to draw something by hand, so if I need new symbols for a map I usually make it with a 3D programm, then use Gimp to give it the final touch and then put it into my mapping program. :D

@Schneden: If you feel inspired enough to read through one or two documentations to learn CC3, it shouldn't be too hard to learn, you don't need things like the command line as a beginner. Btw, CC3 was my choice exactly for that reason: I have no talent to draw. ;)

imredave
07-21-2012, 01:17 AM
Well I kind of gave up on Campaign Cartographer after version 2, as most of the key clicks are the exact opposite of Autocad which I use at work (drove me crazy). Most of my maps are done with Paint shop Pro (version 8 ) although I do a lot with colored pencil and scanners. I like Paintshop pro because I can work with both vector and raster layers in the same drawing. My wife makes fun of me because I keep buying mapping programs (including dujini, and fractal mapper, as well as campaign cartographer), she manages to produce gorgous maps using Windows paint (her favorite program, because it less features to confuse her and can cut and paste with one less click that Paintshop Pro)

vorropohaiah
07-21-2012, 04:08 AM
Photoshop and a cintiq for me. wish there were more tutorials for vector mapping as i cant quite figure out the advantages, option it offer cartography

Juce734
08-06-2012, 03:17 PM
Right now I don't have any software to make maps. Been thinking of DLing Gimp but I know nothing about it really other than it is a nice substitute for photoshop basically. Where can I find tutorial for this program and a safe download of the program? Sorry and please excuse me for being a newb if this is posted in the wrong place.

Hai-Etlik
08-07-2012, 12:00 AM
Right now I don't have any software to make maps. Been thinking of DLing Gimp but I know nothing about it really other than it is a nice substitute for photoshop basically. Where can I find tutorial for this program and a safe download of the program? Sorry and please excuse me for being a newb if this is posted in the wrong place.

This isn't really the right thread but you can get GIMP from the GIMP website: http://www.gimp.org/ which is linked to in the second post of the List of Mapping Software (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?1407-List-of-Mapping-Software) sticky thread near the top of this forum. You might also want to try Inkscape which is a ways further into the thread: http://inkscape.org/

LindaJeanne
08-20-2012, 08:38 PM
I find vector a lot easier to work with than raster, though raster is good for touching up. I've played around with CC, but keep ending up back at Inkscape.

kethoth
09-30-2012, 01:13 AM
I am looking for some new software. I have been using MapTools, which was a great free product with lots of real gaming functionality, but it is a limited tool that just sometimes doesn't save your work...

So, that said, I am torn. I thought that CC3 was the best thing on the market for making DnD maps (I will be doing a lot of towns and outdoor maps that I want to have professionally printed). I am willing to spend a few hundred dollars to get the right software. For that money, what is my best option?

Korash
09-30-2012, 02:13 PM
I think it all depends on the type of look you are after, and how much time you are willing to dedicate to learning a new program. There is no instant mapping program that (as far as I know) will present you with anything worth while without some work and time investment. If you are used to CC3, I would stay with that and try out some of our tutorials for it. Also, my understanding is that MapTools is more of a VTT program, which is better at displaying finished maps for play than the creation of the maps themselves. If you would rather be creating maps from scratch (or nearly so) then I would suggest downloading GIMP and possibly Inkscape to see if you prefer to using Raster or Vector programs. If you want a start to your city maps, try getting RPGCityGenerator for somewhere. It is a free down load with a current link somewhere on the site...

In closing, with the time and effort required to learn a program, why be willing to spend money when there are plenty of free (or close to it) programs out there that can do the same, if not better in some cases. Esp. if this is for personal use, and not intended to be a money maker.

mssandhu
06-16-2013, 11:38 AM
I have recently started using GIMP. The Layers Technology was an eye-opener! It allows you to start with a concept in your mind and build it up into an image step by step...almost like doing a good modular OOP program! Of course I am too new to it to say much more at this stage.

Hai-Etlik
06-17-2013, 11:50 PM
I have recently started using GIMP. The Layers Technology was an eye-opener! It allows you to start with a concept in your mind and build it up into an image step by step...almost like doing a good modular OOP program! Of course I am too new to it to say much more at this stage.

If you like thinking in terms of "objects" then Vector graphics or even GIS might fit your thinking even better.

psywarrior
06-27-2013, 05:22 PM
Does anyone know of a decent mapping tool for a android based system?

Thorf
08-16-2013, 12:53 PM
For many years I've used Illustrator almost exclusively for all my mapping, and the vast majority has been hex maps. I bought Manifold for its georegistration and projection features, but aside from that I didn't even go to Photoshop for anything. I was always planning to move beyond the hex maps for world maps, but the nature of my project meant that I never got to that stage.

However, recently I have decided to expand my skill set for a new project I'm working on, and I've been exploring raster software, and especially software that lets me work with height maps. So far I've primarily been using Photoshop and Wilbur, with Manifold and G.Projector for reprojection, and Illustrator for vector work (mostly coastlines and graticules). I'm planning on involving Fractal Terrains 3 at some point, though so far I prefer Wilbur for its high resolution capabilities as well as being able to work on a world split into smaller parts.

It seems I may be in the minority here at the Guild for my love of GIS and hyper-realism in my fantasy mapping. It would certainly be easier if I didn't worry about such things, but I just can't help it. ;) As a result, the programs I would most love to have are MAPublisher and Geographic Imager, which enable GIS-type features in Illustrator and Photoshop respectively. This would also allow me to ditch Manifold, which does the job, albeit in a roundabout way.

Finally to round things out I sometimes use InDesign for presentation, mostly for making PDFs when text or images are involved and Illustrator is not quite up to the job.

Justin Russell
09-18-2013, 04:54 PM
I use Photoshop CS5 but I am fairly new to it. I don't know much about it and would like any help/tutorials in learning the program. I also have illustrator if a certain method calls for that too.

nikwriter
09-30-2013, 04:07 PM
I use Photoshop CS5 but I am fairly new to it. I don't know much about it and would like any help/tutorials in learning the program. I also have illustrator if a certain method calls for that too.

I used CS3 and there could be a world of difference between the versions. I had a rudimentary knowledge of the program, but this tutorial taught me its true potential. It uses two other programs (Fractal Terrains, which has a free demo that should work fine for purposes of the tutorial, and Wilbur, which is free). Give it a try; the photoshop part is toward the end but I think you will be surprised by the outcome :) I am certainly impressed with it, and know a lot more about PS now.

Besides, it was designed by one of this guild for a mapping company as a tutorial. Check it out:

The Genesis of Israh; A Tutorial (http://www.worldofgotha.com/PF_TUTORIAL/israh_index.html)

robert1649
10-05-2013, 05:00 AM
I like Photoshop and painter, but Gimp blow me away when first started to use it.

Wingh
11-05-2013, 07:15 AM
I am starting to use photoshop ans illustrator to make maps (instead of using them to make my architectural renders and presentations) with my Bamboo tablet, but I also used symbol driven softwares in the past. Nevertheless, most of my maps are drawn by hand.

Colematthews
01-16-2014, 12:03 AM
So, you can freehand draw a map and make it look better on Gimp? I think that sounds like something I could try. Awesome.

Bowchikawowers
02-09-2014, 10:43 AM
I currently use photoshop cs6, there's a world of difference between it and cs5 which is what I was originally trained in! It's a wonderful program for painting and you can get some nice effects, but it's pretty processor heavy. Especially if you get into higher res images and lots of layers (which I do) my poor computer spends about half my work time choking some days. Can anyone tell me how Gimp compares in that department? And if I know photoshop well am I going to have issues adjusting to it?