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Shadowfane
08-06-2006, 07:37 PM
Hello all,

This is my first post on Cartographer's Guild (hopefully first of many) - great site, hopefully this will become a rich resource and friendly community for cartographers of all ilks.

I am also new to Campaign Cartographer, having recently purchased CC3, and I have to say that I was a little underwhelmed by the 'off-the-shelf' capabilities of the program - not to mention frustrated by the lack of an (easy to follow) tutorial and the alien (to me) mode of operating compared to other drawing programs.

So it was with great pleasure that I came across Patrice Dumas' tutorial. Whilst not showing me how to use the basic tools of the program, which i picked up as I went through the tutorial by trial and error - it did open my eyes to the power and versatility of CC3. Thank you Patrice!

I have produced maps professionally before, and Patrice's map style was similar to things I've done in Photoshop and CorelDraw. Of course, the beauty of CC3 is the fractal pens to get that organic and natural look! Overall, I'm not decided on which I program I prefer - they each have their pros and cons, obviously, and I am as yet still unfamiliar with CC3.

I'd like to share my first map done in CC3 - something I'm working on for an adventure module for the Midnight Campagin setting (by Fantasy Flight Games). It's not finished yet; it still needs a border and a few bits and pieces aren't ideal yet, but I would welcome your comments and suggestions.

I cheated slightly, adding the symbols and text in CorelDraw after doing the textures in CC3. It does look better in colour, but as the Midnight products are all done in grayscale (which definitely fits the setting if you are not familiar with it), I've prepared this one in grayscale too (with just a spalsh of colour ;>).

Cheers!

Shadowfane
(Iain J Brogan)

PS I have a full colour version if you'd like to look at that too.

Sir Alain
08-06-2006, 07:51 PM
That looks nice! I would be interested in seing the color version. :)

Shadowfane
08-07-2006, 03:20 AM
Thanks, Sir Alain.

Here's the colour version. Both maps are lower resolution jpg files for ease of uploading. Obviously the colour version looks nicer (and clearer); this will be a downloadable product (freebie, actually!) so I could include the colour version rather than the greyscale, which would be neccessary for a print version.

I'm not sure the rivers and lakes work as is; what do you think?

Cheers,

Shadowfane

Sir Alain
08-09-2006, 04:29 PM
Ah, now that I like! Although both look very nice!

ravells
08-10-2006, 06:13 AM
That CC3 drop shadow effect is going to get really popular! It does make maps look gorgeous.

Have you tried making a clearing in the forest around the lakes and rivers and applying the drop shadow effect? Not sure if that would improve the map or make it unnecessarily fiddly.

The only other suggestion I have is to consider making the width of the river larger from the confluence of the two tributaries.

Otherwise I have no suggestions only praise.

Ravs

Shadowfane
08-10-2006, 04:54 PM
Thanks guys!

I agree about the river thickness and the lakes. It is principally laziness is stopping me going back and 'cutting away' the forest about the lakes at the moment as it means redrawing many of the contours. I've not worked out how to (significantly) modify an existing polygon in CC3 yet - PS or Corel, no prob, but this CAD way of working is counterintuitive for me!

btw, if you want to check out more about Midnight, FFG have just revealed they are making a movie! (http://www.midnight-film.com/) :o I'm so excited, especially as it doesn't look too chessy (as I feared it might be). Now I'm really regretting writing for the setting as a freelancer and not for royalties :P

Once I've made the changes and rethought out my border idea I'll post it up.

Thanks for the encouragement!

Cheers,

Shadowfane

Shadowfane
08-14-2006, 06:39 PM
This is more finished now - I created a ripped parchment with the Midnight motifs in the border, overlayed the terrain and gave it a hand painted look with brushed out edges and brush strokes for the texture.

Rivers are a bit better now I think, but I didn't 'cut out' the forest as everytime I tried in CC3 it crashed on me (Grrr!) Eventually I gave up as I can't be bothered to redraw all the contours from scratch. CC3 does seem really unstable - that wasn't the first time it crashed on me on a regular basis when messing with fractal paths and polygons.

The text I added in CorelDraw as that has superb text fitting capabilities.

Hope you enjoy, comments welcome (particularly about the text).

Cheers,

Shadowfane

ravells
08-15-2006, 06:45 AM
I love the faded edges of the map just inside the border and the torn corner.

I'm curious, what can Corel Draw do with Text that CC3 can't? CC2 (I assume CC3 also) has a text on a curve function - what other functions did you use/need? Kerning?

Cheers

Ravs

Sir Alain
08-17-2006, 03:27 PM
Man! That is just outSTANDing! I just love the torn parchment. Was that also done in Corel?

Shadowfane
08-17-2006, 06:12 PM
Thanks guys! :)

Sir Alain, the torn parchment was done in Photoshop, as was the faded, brushed out edges of the map. The text was done in CorelDraw.

To answer your question, Ravell, I'm sure CC3 can do everything Corel can with text, it's just I don't know how to do it! :D I found it easy to draw the main part of the map in CC3 and then apply the effects and add text using Photoshop and Corel.

I need to get to grips with these more advanced functions in CC3, but time and the seeming instability of the programe have prevented me so far.

Glad you like the map guys. If you have any thoughts on font style I'd be interested - I'm happy with the faded white text, but the others, not so much. It doesn't seem quite right. I wish I'd spaced the 'N' and the skull compass out a bit more as well. Unfortunately, I 'burnt' it into the parchment so I can't easily move it without deconstructing the image and replacing the parchment with a fresh sample. (not too much of an issue but I just don't have too much time at present).

Btw, if you want the parchment for your own use, let me know and I'll send you a copy (as jpg, png or whatever format you'd like). My email is shadowfane AT ntlworld.com.

Cheers,

Shadowfane

ravells
08-18-2006, 06:29 AM
Just a guess, but is the reason for the font looking not right that it has remained a pure black while the rest of the map has been faded?

You might be able to use photoshop to very subtly erode the edges of each of the letters and fade them a bit?

Just a guess...

Ravs

Sir Alain
08-18-2006, 01:43 PM
If you saved first as a PSD, and used layers, you should be able to go back and redo the parts you don't like. That said, I still can't really see anything wrong with it. It's very visually pleasing, through and through.

Shadowfane
08-21-2006, 04:54 PM
Good idea Ravels, I might try that.

Yeah, I can go back and replace the parchment layer, unfortunately I'd have to redo the border as I burned it (and the skull and north) into the parchment layer. I could patch it up I guess...but as you say it looks fine really, I'm just striving for perfection! I am happy enough with this version, it being a first attempt at a number of new techniques (not to mention programs!)

Thanks for the feedback, guys.

Cheers,

Shadowfane

PS are we the only three on these boards? It seems aefully quiet! Is there somewhere else cartographers hang out or are we just very few :o

RPMiller
08-23-2006, 03:04 PM
Very very nice! I love the 'organic' feel to the map and the coloring really gives it a lot of character.

Shadowfane
08-23-2006, 05:22 PM
Cheers, RP :D

This is another from the same module I'm working on - probably not how it will end up, but I'm playing around with the look of the map 'burnt' (or sepia inked) into a fragment of cloth or parchment.

Sir Alain
08-24-2006, 01:15 AM
By the lord Harry, it just gets gooder 'n gooder!

BTW in response to an earlier post: In PS you can also keep your background on one layer and do the burns on a layer above it. Then just play around with the blending modes...

Shadowfane
08-24-2006, 07:54 AM
Thanks, Sir Alain, I hadn't realised that. I did keep a copy of the blank parchment, but not the parchment + border, so after I (IMO) fluffed the positioning of the skull and the 'N' it was a bit of a pain. I actually solved the problem by just 'cloning over the skull, but I'll remember your suggestion for next time!

On the last map, I'm waiting to get a graphics tablet as I'd like to do a strip of parchment (longer than it is wide) with a side view of the castle at the top and the floor plans underneath. I could do it by mouse, of course, but I think it would be easier with a tablet. Now to decide which one to get!

Cheers,

Shadowfane

ravells
08-24-2006, 09:43 AM
Superb!

I use a Wacom Intuous (A4 size) - and I love it. I am trying to get to grips with Painter IX so I opted for a larger tablet. Many people say that the A5 size tablet gives you all you need (and is in fact more convienient to use than an A4) at a smaller price. Not having tried the A5 size I can't really comment.

I was expecting to be totally blown away by the tablet as many have been but in practice find myself using it in combination with the mouse quite frequently.

Cheers

Ravs

RPMiller
08-24-2006, 11:50 AM
I like the direction you are going, but I'm undecided about the "clean" look of the map mixed with the "natural" look of what you are shooting for. I'll be watching intently to see how you mesh the two.

Sir Alain
08-25-2006, 03:32 AM
Another thing you can monkey around with in PS: You can drop your map on a layer above the parchment and change the blending mode on the map itself. If I remember correctly, burn mode does just exactly that, burns the image into the background, giving it that organic look. Overlay and screen do some pretty interesting effects too...

I've been drooling over a tablet for quite some time. Maybe soon LOL

Can't wait to see whatcha do next Shadowfane! :)

Robbie
08-28-2006, 09:38 PM
I just got a tablet froma coworker and am hoping to experiment with some tablet tracing.

I see in Dungeon Magazine, a lot of maps that look hand drawn, but I recognize a lot of the buildings from CC2...so I think I want to try that concept also.

Anyway, sorry for the OT, thats a nother topic altogether. These maps look amazing shadowfane. the burnt parchment one looks REALLY good, but may be a bit over 'shopped...I'm not sure though. But I sure ain't complaining.

Talamar
08-29-2006, 04:26 AM
Hi Shadowfane

I love the parchment map, it's really great. I think the idea, how you have done the forests on the map is really great too. In this way, the map doesn't seem to be overloaded with trees, but one get a good image of the surrounding forrests though. Great Deal!

One question:
Would you provide us with the parchment background as a file (perhaps in png)? Perhaps one with the midnight symbols and one cleaned out?
That would be really great though, but if you don't like to share the parchment file, I woudl understand that too.

Anyway, you could give some hints how you created the parchment background.

Shadowfane
08-29-2006, 03:37 PM
Hey Chaps, thanks for all the positive feedback!

I've had to lay off the map making for a while as rl has got rather busy, but I'll be back into it shortly, and with a new idea to try thanks to your suggestion, Alain.

Arcana, let us know how your Adventures in Tablet go. When I get mine we can comapre notes (FANTASTIC site by the way, cheers!).

Ravells, would you recommend the A4 Inutous then? That was the one I was thinking of going for.

RPMiller, would you expand a little on what you meant by clean mixed with natural? Please be specific about what doesn't gel for you - these are very much works in progress (both the style and using the programs) and I'm always interested in other opinions. Ta!

Talamar, thanks for the kudos! I'm more than happy to share the parchment file. How am I best to do that? Is there a particular way you'd prefer larger files to be stored on the site, Arcana?

Cheers,

Shadowfane

Robbie
08-29-2006, 04:31 PM
Check it out...my google ads are startign to make sense...this page has Links to Wacom and other digital pen software sites...yay google!

Note: This is not a hint to click on banner ads. They're there merely out of propriety...I don't require ad revenue to run the site (yet)

Talamar
08-30-2006, 05:07 AM
@shadowfane:
if the file is too big to post it here, just send it to me at talamar@dnd-gate.de

thanks a lot

ravells
08-30-2006, 05:12 AM
Well I primarily got the tablet for 3d modelling and when I was asking around as to which was the best size tablet, most of the pros I talked to said that the A5 size tablet was actually more convenient for them (it takes up less room on your desk and you don't have to move the stylus as far), but at the end of the day it's a matter of personal preference.

They did recommend the A4 size if you were using applications like Corel Painter where you needed more control over sweeping strokes.

To a (wo)man, however they all said get the Wacom Intuous.

Ravs

RPMiller
08-30-2006, 09:56 PM
Shadowfane, I'm referring to the clean textured map in a medium that hints at being handdrawn. Does that make sense?

Talamar
09-09-2006, 06:42 AM
@Shadowfane:
1. I sen doyu an PM regarding the parchment files (aee post above)

2. what about making som short explanations / tutorial how you did those finde forest in that map.
thanks

Shadowfane
09-09-2006, 07:05 PM
Hi guys,

Sorry for my absence, I've been really busy.

Talamar, I've sent you the parchment file.

As to a tutorial, well I followed Patrice's tutorial on using CC3 to do contours; deviating from his suggested workplan only really by adding a drop shadow on the 'lowest' layer to give that 3D effect. Oh and putting in a texture. I then exported the file as jpg or bmp and opened it in PS to apply various effects to get the look I wanted. TI'll see about writing down exactly what I did (if I can remember ;))

I'll get back to this thread later next week, when I can.

Cheers,

Shadowfane

Talamar
09-10-2006, 03:29 AM
okay thanks so far.