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Girltron
04-03-2009, 11:15 AM
Hi all, I'm totally new to Fractal Terrains 2 and CC2 Pro, which I just bought off Ebay. I'm also new to the process of building permanent, non-thrown-together utilitarian type maps of my fantasy world. I've concieved of a plan to unify and make concrete a lot of what I've brainstormed about this world and I need to first build the planet, then create maps from it.

I plan to create maps with an art style reminiscent of the Western early modern period of cartography, mid 1500's especially. I want to build my own fill/symbol sets for each map, because I also want each map to look like the work of a different cartographer. A little ambitious, eh? I'm hoping the project will inform my culture building process and suggest good NPC ideas and historical figures (explorers, etc).

I'm handy enough with Photoshop and Illustrator. I have older copies of those too, PS 7 and Illustrator 9.0.1 I believe. This version of Illustrator doesn't save directly to PNG file type which I think is what CC uses (?) so I'll have to get a file converter I guess among other things. I have lots of original examples I've found for style and symbol ideas. Now I just need to know how to DO this!

I'm curious how many of you pro's do something similar and I'd love to get some links to people who have already, so I can look at the process and result, and educate myself as needed.

Korash
04-03-2009, 01:06 PM
There are quite a few WIPs that tackle the world building part of what you want to do. Try looking in that forum for how they go about it. Maybe something will strike a cord with you.

Girltron
04-03-2009, 02:48 PM
Thanks, I will, though primarily I'm asking here about the map creation part of the puzzle. Replicating the Renaissance map styles. Doesn't anyone here like to make their own brushes (or whatever you call them) in CC? Or is there a better way? I wanted to use CC because I could export my FT data.

Midgardsormr
04-03-2009, 04:10 PM
Vandy recently started converting a lot of terrain symbols from antique maps.

My advice is to take your Illustrator objects through Photoshop and save as PNGs there. Then look for a tutorial on creating symbol sets for CC.

I usually go the other direction, though: I use CC to get a layout and export a very simplified image from there, which I then process more thoroughly in Photoshop.

You will probably find yourself limited using CC2 because it doesn't handle bitmap textures. Maps made there tend to look quite cartoony. CC3 improved things significantly in that regard, but I still prefer Photoshop for texturing and effects.

For some help getting Fractal Terrains to do what you want it to, check out the first part of Waldronate's "There and Back Again" tutorial: http://www.ridgenet.net/~jslayton/ThereandBackAgain/index.html

NeonKnight
04-03-2009, 04:37 PM
I'm not sure, but if I am correct, CC2 does not PNG's for it's symbols, but rather, the symbol is built internal to the CC2 engine.

Once you have recieved your copy of CC2 and registered it with profantasy, there is a document on the registration page you can download that will teach you a lot about CC2 and how to build symbol files for the software.

Girltron
04-03-2009, 04:43 PM
Wow Midgardsormr, that's a brilliant solution. I could basically trace the CC map in Illustrator or Photoshop depending on the effect I wanted (mainly Illustrator) and get the correct hand drawn look while maintaining accuracy. SO EASY thank you!

That's exactly my complaint even with the CC3 images I've seen; very cartoony and not what I expect a map to look like. I want an ink-drawn effect (all those maps seemed to focus on hatching) with occasionally a brush painted fill in certain areas. The other thing is I'll have the opportunity to add complex designs to the sheet surrounding the map too; especially for my overall world map, which I'd like to make very ornate.

My biggest reason to use CC and FT was I'm not clever enough to either invent broad geographic/climactic patterns that make sense, or to transfer those ideas to a map freehand with any accuracy. I'm a stickler for scale, etc. My husband has always hand-drawn maps for any homebrew campaign without worrying about such things, but I can't! I just cannot visualize things right. Hence exporting from FT to CC and then from there I can get artistic with it.

I began experimenting with the process this afternoon and I expect to have some basic sense of the thing by this weekend. I'll be certainly posting my progress here. Thanks!

Girltron
04-03-2009, 04:59 PM
Ah Neon, that makes sense to me, because as I say PNG format wasn't even an option with my version of Illustrator, which is probably of a comparable age to the CC2 Pro. I'll check it out; particularly when I get to the City and Dungeon designer, which I also picked up, and I'm sure I won't want their prefab stuff. It'll be fine for quick and dirty sheets to get ready for a short game session, but not for "keeper" maps in my opinion. And there'd be just too MANY of them (floor plans, street maps, whatever) to go for the multistep hand traced process. I'll just build my own encyclopedia of standard artifacts and use those. Anyway with floor plans I'd want them to look more like solid forms and less like a line drawing, and that's something I think CC can do fine, from the look of it.

Midgardsormr
04-03-2009, 07:41 PM
That's exactly my complaint even with the CC3 images I've seen; very cartoony and not what I expect a map to look like. I want an ink-drawn effect (all those maps seemed to focus on hatching) with occasionally a brush painted fill in certain areas.

Although Campaign Cartographer does lend itself to a particular look, it is not terribly difficult to make it produce a more satisfactory style. For instance, my very first CC3 map was this one: http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=19&pictureid=112

I didn't like the "standard" style, either, so I immediately looked for something to change it. The result isn't historical, but it does look like something that could be produced in-world. The only parts of that that did not come from CC3 were my line drawings, two textures (which I did apply in CC), and the text, which I applied in PhotoPaint because CC doesn't anti-alias text.

Anyway, if you have specific questions on the CC end Neonknight, Gandwarf, and jaerdaph (when he's around) are a tremendous help. And since you're working with both FT and Illustrator, you might search for HandsomeRob's atlas tutorial; he takes data from FT and creates professional-looking maps in Illustrator. Those maps look like a modern atlas, but it wouldn't be terribly difficult to make a new old-world style using his basic approach.

I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with. Have fun!

jfrazierjr
04-03-2009, 10:20 PM
Another thing you might want to consider, given the age of your PS/Illustrator is to switch over to GIMP/Inkscape(this is making the assumption that you can't/won't upgrade the former due to the big price tag.)

Ascension
04-03-2009, 11:16 PM
Don't go over to the darkside of Gimp :) My Photoshop version is CS which is like 6 to 8 years old and I don't know what 3 and 4 can do that mine can't (for mapping that is).

jfrazierjr
04-03-2009, 11:19 PM
Don't go over to the darkside of Gimp :) My Photoshop version is CS which is like 6 to 8 years old and I don't know what 3 and 4 can do that mine can't (for mapping that is).

Well... she did say that her Illustrator did not do png's or something to that effect, so it really would be nice to not be hobbled like that. Besides....GIMP will one day rule the world, so the sooner you accept this, the less it will hurt in the end.

Sigurd
04-03-2009, 11:20 PM
The 'cartoonyness' of campaign cartographer is really a function of the chosen images used in the maps you've seen. Other choices, especially more recent stuff with PNGs greatly improve maps. (An over-riding problem is CC2 is a lack of the transparency pngs provide.) There's no getting around the affects of using someone else's art in your work - its going to look like your sources. In exchange you get shorter production time and a reliable quality of components.

CC3 is a distinct improvement on many levels.

I'm not a CC user but I was impressed with the latest version.


Sigurd

Girltron
04-06-2009, 06:36 AM
Haha on the GIMP/Inkscape vs. PS/Illustrator tussle. We've got Inkscape too, but I never checked out GIMP. Our version of PS does allow PNG so I'm fine with it; to be honest, though I've played with newer versions, I cannot see that they offer anything new I really need. I'm relatively snobby about not using filters and so on, and so the basic tools remain pretty much good enough for me. I don't work in an industry that makes me be a power user or anything.

As for Inkscape, it's a reasonable suggestion. I know Illustrator better, but I'll try both. I'll also do a search for HandsomeRob's tutorials, because that sounds awesome.

I loved what Vandy's doing. I'd rather draw them myself in vector format than scan and retouch, though; just a preference, because it's line art.

And heck yea! I use ooooold versions because who can afford latest and greatest Adobe products? Yikes!

jfrazierjr
04-06-2009, 10:53 AM
Haha on the GIMP/Inkscape vs. PS/Illustrator tussle. We've got Inkscape too, but I never checked out GIMP. Our version of PS does allow PNG so I'm fine with it; to be honest, though I've played with newer versions, I cannot see that they offer anything new I really need. I'm relatively snobby about not using filters and so on, and so the basic tools remain pretty much good enough for me. I don't work in an industry that makes me be a power user or anything.

As for Inkscape, it's a reasonable suggestion. I know Illustrator better, but I'll try both. I'll also do a search for HandsomeRob's tutorials, because that sounds awesome.

I loved what Vandy's doing. I'd rather draw them myself in vector format than scan and retouch, though; just a preference, because it's line art.

And heck yea! I use ooooold versions because who can afford latest and greatest Adobe products? Yikes!

You may want to give the latest version of GIMP a try anyway. Even for things like straight up line art, there may be some things GIMP does well that PS does not(or perhaps not in the version you have). Yea, the filters are were most of the love is put in when a new version of PS/GIMP is released.

Girltron
04-06-2009, 06:25 PM
I actually downloaded the latest and greatest of GIMP and Inkscape this morning. It's worth a look, and I like the idea of open-source software anyway. GIMP looked quite promising. I seem to recall Inkscape wasn't totally a replacement for Illustrator yet, but it's been some time since I used it.

RobA
04-06-2009, 06:45 PM
I actually downloaded the latest and greatest of GIMP and Inkscape this morning. It's worth a look, and I like the idea of open-source software anyway. GIMP looked quite promising. I seem to recall Inkscape wasn't totally a replacement for Illustrator yet, but it's been some time since I used it.

If you have the bandwidth to spair, try http://screencasters.heathenx.org/ for general purpose inkscape video tutorials.

That will give you a good feel for where the program is.

-Rob A>