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View Full Version : [Award Winner] Basic CC3 Concepts explained



NeonKnight
07-21-2008, 03:32 PM
OK, I see this come up a lot, so here we go, delving into the depths of some of the concepts of CC3:

SHEETS & LAYERS

So, what is the difference between the two? Well, back in the early days of CC (DOS version) and later CC2, there was no sheets, only layers. Layers was a way of editing maps, and is still very useful in making maps. Layers has no effect on where something is placed on a map. In this I mean, the FOREST layer does not always appear on top of the MOUNTAIN layer. But LAYERS is wonderful tool for the map maker.

First, by putting all MOUNTAIN symbols on the MOUNTAIN layer, I can now LOCK that layer (in CC3 this called FREEZING), now, no matter what I do in another LAYER, I will never by accident screw up that LAYER. The LAYER you are currently working is always THAWED (Unlocked).

Additionally, let's say, I am designing a player handout map I want for all the players in my group, but I don;t want each map to be the same. So, I want a map for the Dwarf PC, and another map for the Elf PC, another for the Cleric, and a third for the Mage. I of course, want a map for myself as a DM. Here the beauty of the LAYERS function shines. I make my main map that all PCS will have a copy. I then make 4 layers for the map, and so I can always keep it straight for myself I label each LAYER: Dwarf, Elf, Cleric, Mage. Now, on the Dwarf Layer I put symbols and items of interest for the Dwarf Player. These are old dwraven strongholds, Orc & Giant lairs, etc. I do the same for the Elf (denoting hidden forest glades & groves, etc), and the Cleric and mage players.

No I just hide those layers except for the corresponding layer for each player. So the Dwarf player gets a map wth everything shown + the Dwarf layer, but not the elf, cleric or mage layer. I do the same with the other three as well.

This is, in a nutshell the main use of LAYERS.

Later when CC2 pro was released, they introduced SHEETS (it may have been present earlier in CD2, but I can;t think that far back ;)). SHEETS are seprate from LAYERS and each SHEET has all of the LAYERS properties on it, but each LAYER may not be present on any one SHEET. Confused yet?

The easiest way to envision SHEETS is to play let's pretend. Let's pretend you have a big stack of transparencies, and you want to draw a map by hand using these transparencies. You start with the bottom transparency, and on it you color the whole thing Blue to represent the ocean.

Then, on top of that sheet you put a new sheet of transparency. Because these are transparencies, you can see the blue from the bottom sheet. On your new sheet, you draw out the outlines and fill them in for the Land masses. You can now see two things. Land sitting on top of water.

OK, but that is pretty blah. You want some features on that land. So, we put a new sheet down and on that sheet we draw mountains, and then another sheet for forests and on and on we go.

HEY WAIT! I hear you shouting out. Couldn't we just do the same with LAYERS? Sure we could, We could have everything all on one sheet (and I used to that back with CC2), but we are loosing out on the power of CC3. Each SHEET in CC3 can have different effects applied to it. We can make the land have a faint glow to it, so it stands out against the ocean better. But a glow on the rivers to make them look nice, and another glow on the TEXT so it stands out on the map. Can't do that if all map elements are on the same sheet?

But remember what I said about all layers existing on all SHEETS? Lets use TEXT as an example. Let us say I want all TEXT to have the same property (a slight glow, a drop shadow, and the slightest of blurs). The easiest way to do this is to put all my text labels on the same TEXT SHEET. But I don't want to see my City names if I don't have the CITY sheet. Sure we could make multiple sheets for each type of label and apply the same effects etc. BUT, there is an easier way! TELL US HOW NEON! Ok, make a new LAYER not a sheet, because all layers exist on all sheets, we simply need to make a LAYER called CITY NAMES, and we can now type in our city names on that sheet (just make sure when you do so you are still on the TEXT SHEET). Now, when you want to hide all the CITIES and their text, you need to only hide the CITY sheet (or layer if you made them on a layer), and the CITY NAME layer. Everything else is still there.

In our next tutorial, I will cover basic editing.

waldronate
07-21-2008, 05:06 PM
A CC3 sheet is a container that holds drawing items. It controls the order in which things are drawn; that is everything on one sheet will be drawn, then everything on the next sheet, etc.

A CC3 Layer, on the other hand, doesn't control the order of drawing. In CC3 a layer is simply an attribute of a drawing item that gives control over some other attributes such as visibility.

If you're familiar with drawing packages like Photoshop then you will likely be very familiar with CCx's sheets. What CC3 refers to as "layers" will likely unlike anything you have dealt with in other packages. When Profantasy was asked some years back why sheets are layers and layers are unfamiliar the answer was along the lines of "we were calling them layers long before these upstart drawing packages were whelped and that makes our terminology correct!"

CC3 is powerful, but the terminology and operating techniques require unlearning if you've used a typical modern GUI software suite before.

töff
07-21-2008, 05:13 PM
Holy sheet.

It sounds like you have a 2D grid, one dimension is Layers, and the other is Sheets?

Meh, brain malfunction, cannot ... under ... stand ...

(And I don't even use CC.)

ravells
07-22-2008, 12:16 PM
So as I understand it an example might be that you have a map with two sheets and many layers one of which is a mountain layer.

You have mountain 'a' on sheet 1 and a mountain 'b' on sheet 2 (which is above sheet 1), but both mountains can be assigned to a single mountain layer.

By selecting the mountain layer you can edit all the mountains regardless of what sheet they are on. By selecting sheet 1 you can edit mountain 'a' only and by selecting sheet 2 you can edit mountain 'b' only... is that right?

NeonKnight
07-22-2008, 01:11 PM
So as I understand it an example might be that you have a map with two sheets and many layers one of which is a mountain layer.

You have mountain 'a' on sheet 1 and a mountain 'b' on sheet 2 (which is above sheet 1), but both mountains can be assigned to a single mountain layer.

Yes, both mountains can exist on two seperate sheets, but be on the same layer.


By selecting the mountain layer you can edit all the mountains regardless of what sheet they are on. By selecting sheet 1 you can edit mountain 'a' only and by selecting sheet 2 you can edit mountain 'b' only... is that right?

Yes and No. If you have the MOUNTAIN layer THAWED (unlocked) you can edit all the mountains. If you ONLY want to play with the mountains on sheet 1, you must HIDE sheet 2 (you cannt look sheets), and thus you cannot see or touch the mountains on sheet 2, even though they are on the same layer.

ravells
07-22-2008, 02:50 PM
Oh...can't you FREEZE layers in CC3?

töff
07-22-2008, 04:42 PM
So a CC sheet is a Photoshop layer.

So um ... what's a CC layer, again?

*st00pid* Is it anything like a sublayer?

EDIT: Hey, is it anything like Layer Comps in photoshop?

töff
07-22-2008, 04:49 PM
Layers in 3DS Max are not really layers, either. They are more like alternate planes of existence. They have nothing to do with "what's on top of what." They are just collections of objects, and they can be hidden/shown wholly, or their objects can be hidden/shown singly. The sequence of layers in the Layers panel in meaningless -- you can't "put a layer on top of another".

Is a CC layer anything like that?

Valarian
07-22-2008, 04:54 PM
So um ... what's a CC layer, again?
A CC3 layer is just a logical grouping of objects. It allows a group of objects placed on the map/drawing to be selected, frozen or hidden.

Valarian
07-22-2008, 04:55 PM
Layers in 3DS Max are not really layers, either. They are more like alternate planes of existence. They have nothing to do with "what's on top of what." They are just collections of objects, and they can be hidden/shown wholly, or their objects can be hidden/shown singly. The sequence of layers in the Layers panel in meaningless -- you can't "put a layer on top of another".

Is a CC layer anything like that?
Just so ... yes. Except the bit about the show/hide singly when it comes to the objects. If you hide the layer, it's all or nothing.

NeonKnight
07-22-2008, 05:32 PM
Oh...can't you FREEZE layers in CC3?

You can FREEZE (lock) and THAW (unlock) and HIDE layers.

You can only HIDE Sheets!

ravells
07-22-2008, 07:13 PM
Ahhhhh gotcha!

NeonKnight
07-23-2008, 01:39 AM
So, to follow up, when making a map in CC3, one may likely have the following sheets (for an overland):

BACKGROUND
COASTLINE
LAND
COUNTOURS
FOREST
RIVERS
STRUCTURES
TEXT

The top item, BACKGROUND would be the bottom sheet as it is the first sheet drawn, then the COASTLINE SHEET, etc, down the list. So, remember, the TOP sheet is Drawn first.

LAYERS in CC3 are as Valarian said, merely groupings of associated items/symbols. For example, when I am drawing city maps, I may have 3 or more different sheets for buildings (Low, Med, High) to represent the different shadow lengths they all cast, but I would have only one LAYER for those buildings called BUILDINGS.

NeonKnight
07-23-2008, 08:15 AM
OK, so we be a rating. Was this info/simple tutorial about Sheets/Layers useful?

Please rate.

JoeyD473
07-23-2008, 03:20 PM
Though I understood Sheets and Layers in CC3 before this I thought this was a very good tutorial. I hope you do a lot more CC3 tutorials soon

dittotb
07-23-2008, 08:39 PM
Excellent explanation of each. The folks over at PF use the term layers that way because many CAD programs use layers that way.

jreiswig
07-25-2008, 01:33 PM
I've used every version of CC (including the old DOS one) and this tutorial is nice. Sheets are the best thing to happen to CC in a long time.

loydb
08-20-2008, 04:05 PM
I just think of it as:

sheets == layers ala' Photoshop
layers == symbol grouping for ease of mass manipulation of similar entities

jaerdaph
08-22-2008, 12:51 PM
A CC3 Sheet is really like what you expect a layer to be. A CC3 Layer is more like a category. Whenever I see the word "layer" in CC3, I mentally replace it with "category".

NeonKnight
08-22-2008, 09:35 PM
Well, programs like Photoshop and what not have been around only since around 1988 at the absolute earliest (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photoshop), while the FastCAD program CC3 and it's predecessors are based off have been around since 1979 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FastCAD ). Cam[aign Cartographer came out in 1993 and uses the FASTCAD engine.

So, I believe they were sort of locked into the use of LAYERS at the time of initial development.

jaerdaph
08-22-2008, 10:52 PM
So, I believe they were sort of locked into the use of LAYERS at the time of initial development.

Yeah - sheets were a later addition to FastCAD, and Profantasy initially took advantage of them specifically for starship deck plans in Cosmographer, where each sheet would be a different deck, all within the same drawing. Now that sheets are used for effects in CC3, Cosmographer will most likely require you to do different decks in their own FCW drawing file. Not a bad tradeoff, though. :)

goatdealer
11-03-2008, 04:44 PM
Fantastic explaination of sheets and layers. Very clear, I learned a lot from the tutorial and it inspired me to learnt how to rep :!:
Keep up the good work.

teef
07-05-2009, 05:47 AM
forgive me for being a bit thick but i'm still trying to get this straight.

1) would it be correct to say that you'd use a Sheet for, say, 'Waterways' and individual Layers for, say, 'Navigable Rivers', 'Non-navigable Rivers', 'Important Streams' and 'Canals'?

2) or a Sheet for 'Settlements' and individual Layers for 'Cities', 'Towns', 'Villages', and 'Encampments'?

3) but all Layers are visible on any Sheet, right? so 'Canals' could be visible on any other Sheet too, like a Coastline Sheet for instance?

4) so in other words any Layer can be visible on any Sheet, but the Sheet you choose to display a given Layer on would normally be one that ... what. logically gathers a number of related Layers together?

if i've got this messed up please feel free to correct me.

NeonKnight
07-05-2009, 06:30 AM
forgive me for being a bit thick but i'm still trying to get this straight.

1) would it be correct to say that you'd use a Sheet for, say, 'Waterways' and individual Layers for, say, 'Navigable Rivers', 'Non-navigable Rivers', 'Important Streams' and 'Canals'?

Correct


2) or a Sheet for 'Settlements' and individual Layers for 'Cities', 'Towns', 'Villages', and 'Encampments'?

Correct again


3) but all Layers are visible on any Sheet, right? so 'Canals' could be visible on any other Sheet too, like a Coastline Sheet for instance?[Quote]

Yes and No. see below.

[quote]4) so in other words any Layer can be visible on any Sheet, but the Sheet you choose to display a given Layer on would normally be one that ... what. logically gathers a number of related Layers together?

if i've got this messed up please feel free to correct me.

No prob, it is a little difficult of a concept to wrap one's head around.

Let try this.

Image you are drawing a map, and you have decided to use many sheets of transparencies. These are in Campaign Cartographer: SHEETS

You place down your first SHEET, and color the entire SHEET, BLUE. You call this sheet OCEAN.

You then lay down on top of that SHEET another piece of Transparency. Because it is transparent, you see the entire BLUE OCEAN SHEET underneath.

on this SHEET you colour in large light green blobs and call this LAND

You then place another sheet on top, and color in some GREY MOUNTAINS, then another sheet with DARK GREEN FORESTS, and a final sheet with again BLUE RIVERS.

Now for simplicity we used the same BLUE PEN to color the rivers.

Now we want to make copies of this many sheet map for our friends. We collect the SHEETS and place them in a photocopier. The copier will copy what we have. BUT, we can select certain colors to omit, and we decide to omit the color BLUE when we press the copy button. The next image that comes out will not have Blue Oceans or Blue rivers. This is because they are the Blue 'Layer'.

Now that was little simple, but lets imagine now that we wanted to label that map. We could label the oceans on the ocean sheet, and the mountains on the mountain sheet, etc, but if we did that, any effects we apply to the individual sheet gets applied to all entities on that sheet, regardless of what layer (color) they are.

Suffice to say, in CC3, you can draw an entire map using only ONE layer (Say a BLACK PEN), Just like you could draw the entire map on only One Sheet. But CC3 really shines when you have like you said above, a single Sheet for features (Settlements with a CITY Layer, a TOWN layer and a Village Layer). You hide the settlement sheet, and everything is not shown, or you could only show cities and towns but not villages but hiding layers.

teef
07-05-2009, 11:28 AM
thanks for the reply, good to know that i've got part of this straight. and i do think the transparencies concept is a great approach to this.

i confess that i haven't got the Blue Pen/Black Pen thing clear in my head but that's okay. i think it might be time to sally forth with CC3 and do a little learn-by-doing.

Midgardsormr
07-05-2009, 08:11 PM
The pen analogy was maybe a bit too abstract.

Sheets are a functional construct. They determine the order in which things are drawn on the screen and which object are affected by which effects.

Layers are an organizational construct. They can be used to place related objects into groups, regardless of which sheet they are on.

You might have a "buildings" sheet and a "building shadows" sheet and a "building roofs" sheet, each with different effects, but all of the houses, house shadows, and house roofs in one layer called "houses" while the shops, shop shadows, and shop roofs are in another layer called "shops."

Functionally, all the buildings will behave the same way no matter what kind of building they are. Making a new sheet for each different kind of building wastes both system resources and time. Putting different kinds of buildings in different layers, though, enables you to hide all of the houses or all of the shops, while the rest of the objects on those same sheets (but different layers) remain visible.

teef
07-06-2009, 12:47 AM
ah, that sheds a bit of light! i like the organizational construct VS functional construct idea, the first time i can remember seeing the two differentiated in this way. thank you.

NeonKnight
07-06-2009, 01:06 AM
Thanx Midgardsormr.

Sometimes when I try and simplify an explanaition, I simplify too mach and make it worse.

Papitun
08-02-2009, 12:19 PM
Sometimes when I try and simplify an explanaition, I simplify too mach and make it worse.

Not at all. I wouldn't have been able to understand Midgardsormr's explanation properly if it wasn't for your in depth analysis.

I now understand sheets and layers! Many thanks to all.

bloodymage
11-14-2011, 05:44 PM
I'm trying to wrap my head around this software since I purchased it years ago. It's giving me fits, but I'm a stubborn old goat and I'm tryin' like crazy to learn, but it's a difficult go for a fellow in my condition.

Neorael
04-07-2012, 11:51 AM
Thx u all. I'm new at CC3 and all the explanations help me a lot :)