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Gamerprinter
08-07-2007, 11:22 PM
Being different than most map-makers, and self-taught using software not intended for map-making.

I own both CC3 and Dundjinni, but find the former to complex and difficult to learn (not user friendly at all), and the latter as a clumsy tool for map making.

The reason I use Xara Xtreme is because it is a full graphics application - I use it for web graphics, PDF book creation, RPG maps, logo design, sign design, etc.

When you place a mountain or tree in either CC3 or Dundjinni, you can't really go back later and make a change, unless you "undo, undo..." your way back to the object, and subsequently destroy everything you created after that object.

With Xara Xtreme, I can go back to the first object I created, rotate it, enlarge or delete without affecting the rest of the map.

Anyway, I've included a page on my site to show you samples of three terrain maps I've created using Xara Xtreme - check it out if you like!

http://www.gamer-printshop.com/cartographers.html

There's a link to a free trial download of Xara Xtreme, plus I've included to tutorial I created using Xara for map-making.

Oh Mr. Admin - I'm posting another link, but this one is just for pics...:o

ravells
08-08-2007, 05:16 AM
Yup, I am increasingly preferring my vector app (Serif Drawplus - which looks a lot like Xara Xtreme) to my paint app (PSP). I now tend to do most (if not all) of my work in Serif and add finishing touches in PSP. As you say, it is so much easier to make corrections and changes with vector apps. One day I hope to graduate to Illustrator but I find Serif Draw+ so easy and intuitive to use, it'll be a while yet.

Gamerprinter
08-08-2007, 09:12 AM
Adobe Illustrator, although the "industry standard" for years and years, especially for professional graphics work - is a program I have, have used, and don't use anymore. IMHO - Illustrator sucks.

Don't get me wrong its feature rich - but if you're familiar with say creating bevels in Photoshop, its not too hard, but its a multi-step process. With Serif or Xara its a one-two step process.

Don't knock Serif or Xara because of the extremely low prices.

Adobe products are priced way out of reality.

Don't think you need to graduate to Illustrator - in fact, it more like getting a demotion than a graduation. Just my honest opinion.

pyrandon
08-08-2007, 10:06 AM
Adobe Illustrator, although the "industry standard" for years and years, especially for professional graphics work - is a program I have, have used, and don't use anymore. IMHO - Illustrator sucks....Don't think you need to graduate to Illustrator - in fact, it more like getting a demotion than a graduation. Just my honest opinion.

Ouch! While I agree that the price of the Adobe products are ridiculous (they have set the cost at the demand & it seems to work for them, though silly for home users). But the people at whom these applications are aimed are industry professionals, meaning they are staking their very livelihoods on the functionality of these programs. If they were as poor as you suggest, these people would surely jump ship ASAP & find something else that works better, especially if the cost is lower.

That being said, your assessment may be valid for the casual user or simply the graphics aficionado (of which I am one), but even then I would say the Adobe "knock offs" (such as GIMP and Inkscape) would be a more apt solution if (and only if) one has the time and patience to fight up the learning curve. Look at the Guild here, for example: almost without exception the best maps utilize one of these programs (for post-work touch-up at the very least).

I am not knocking Serif or Xera here at all, for I'm sure they're great programs; just offering a little tempering of the vehemence of your criticism. :)

Take care!

Gamerprinter
08-08-2007, 10:33 AM
I base my opinion regarding Illustrator on the fact that I am a professional graphics designer. I've been working graphic design since 1981. I've been using digital graphics software since 1989. I've used Illustrator versions 7 - 10 over 6 years of use.

They were the only show in town so they could charge premium prices. Being long established they can maintain their price range. Which doesn't mean the price is justified - especially now since there are so many high quality vector based applications out there.

Really, the best software is whatever works best for you. If you've never tried Illustrator and are working with a budget - look at Xara Xtreme or Serif DrawPlus, long before spending $500+ for illustrator.

If you love Illustrator, that's great! Its just I don't love Illustrator - not at all.

ravells
08-08-2007, 10:47 AM
My wife works with lots of creatives in her job and I was amazed at how many professionals use Serif products in preference to or in conjunction with the 'big boys'. For me, the biggest advantage that Illustrator and PS have is that virtually every magazine or book that's published which deals with that type of application is written for PS, Illustrator and Painter users.

Ravs

Gamerprinter
08-08-2007, 11:14 AM
Good Point!

Industry standard software has far more industry support than the low-budget apps - there is no doubt that this is true.

Kind of the reason I'm creating Tuts for Xara Map-Making, since Xara has no idea they have a map-making app (!)

Again, I'm a different sort of bird, I never read software manuals (falls asleep after half a chapter). And I never use or read tutorials - I never think to look. I just dive into a brand new application and figure it out as I go along. I will review a function, that I can't figure out, in the software manual, but that's the only time I crack the book open.

I love Xara, because it only took 1 afternoon to figure out the software. Granted there are a few features that I didn't discover or look for, until months later - so in a way, I'm still learning the software. But I could figure most of in one sitting and started creating maps almost immmediately.

You're right Illustrator has more industry support. I don't support, just good software.

RPMiller
08-08-2007, 11:19 AM
When you place a mountain or tree in either CC3 or Dundjinni, you can't really go back later and make a change, unless you "undo, undo..." your way back to the object, and subsequently destroy everything you created after that object.

This is an incorrect statement regarding CC3, and I think Dundjinni as well, but I don't own it so can't vouch for the accuracy. Anyway, CC3 is a CAD application. It is entirely vector based and every object is fully editable. You better believe that you can go back and make changes at anytime.


... industry professionals, ... especially...

I fixed the tags for you. ;)

Gamerprinter
08-08-2007, 11:41 AM
Maybe you're right about CC3 - I have the program and I am definitely still a newbie, I am certainly a fan of Profantasy, though.

I've just run into that "can't go back and fix my mountain" problem on more than one occasion. Perhaps there's an easy fix, that I don't know about. It isn't obvious though, I've looked.

Yes, CC3 is a CAD program and vector based, but the mountains I'm referring too are PNG graphic files placed in the mountains layer of CC3 not CC2.

Because I'm a member of the CC2 Yahoo Group, I get this constant flood of endless tiny problems, operating system issues for the software. I've never seen graphics software with so many bugs before. The idea of CC3 is great, the masters using it are masterful. But the newbies trying it out, will like me run back to software I am familiar with.

If you got a fix for CC3 objects placement issue - tell me. And I'll stand corrected.

RPMiller
08-08-2007, 12:06 PM
Maybe you're right about CC3

Yup I am. Trust me. ;)


I've just run into that "can't go back and fix my mountain" problem on more than one occasion. Perhaps there's an easy fix, that I don't know about. It isn't obvious though, I've looked.

Yes, CC3 is a CAD program and vector based, but the mountains I'm referring too are PNG graphic files placed in the mountains layer of CC3 not CC2.

That absolutely doesn't matter. The symbol itself is still a vector based object. You can select it just like any other entity in the map.


Because I'm a member of the CC2 Yahoo Group, I get this constant flood of endless tiny problems, operating system issues for the software. I've never seen graphics software with so many bugs before. The idea of CC3 is great, the masters using it are masterful. But the newbies trying it out, will like me run back to software I am familiar with.

If you got a fix for CC3 objects placement issue - tell me. And I'll stand corrected.

CC3 is in its infancy so there are going to be bugs, not to mention they are trying to do something that CAD just wasn't made to do, and yet are achieving success with each passing month. I'm on their beta team so I can attest to the fact that it is much improved before it gets to its release stage. ;)

As for the fix, you really haven't stated what your exact problem is. Once you do that I can probably help you. If you are talking about simply repositioning a single symbol:

1) Click the Move button
2) Click the edge of the symbol
3) Click where you want to place it
4) Right click-->Do It.

Of course there are the shortcut keys to command line to do the above as well.

Robbie
08-08-2007, 06:52 PM
I bet more than anythign his mountain problem is related to entity order...and isn't there a reordering tool specificaly for reordering mountains from top left to bottom right or something?

I'm still a CC3 user, though a lot of the amazing work I've seen done in graphics apps here is turning me otherwise. I don't believe in touting one program over another really though because its all a matter of what you're comfortable with. I spend a lot of time over at the CGTalk forums, and I've learned that software choice is NOT a factor in artist capability.

RPMiller
08-08-2007, 07:00 PM
Yes, there sure is. Unfortunately the command is escaping me right now. I think it is symorder?? I'm at work so can't check to be sure.

I don't ever use it as I tend to always place symbols in the correct order to begin with.

Gamerprinter
08-08-2007, 07:17 PM
I've already said it, but "The best software, is whichever you are most comfortable with."

I met a pro designer once in 1996, he used a Mac, though not a power mac, he only had 16 MB RAM, and used a 3 year old version of PS. This guy was creating professional covers for People Magazine and others.

Its not what you've got, its what you can do with it, that counts.

Masterful artwork is created by masterful artists, not software. Software is just a tool - your brain and imagination is what makes for wonderful maps!

True some software is easier, more powerful or more feature rich - tools help artists work, but in the end only the artist matters.

Gamerprinter
08-08-2007, 07:23 PM
I guess this thread has turned into a discussion on comparative mapping software.

In the begginning, I was just trying to show you what I use, and what I create.

So what do you think of the terrain maps in my link? True they are not exciting places like dungeons and castles, rather its just generic natural terrain - a GMs aid, more than a feature map, but...

Any comments on the work?

Robbie
08-08-2007, 07:23 PM
I've already said it, but "The best software, is whichever you are most comfortable with."

I met a pro designer once in 1996, he used a Mac, though not a power mac, he only had 16 MB RAM, and used a 3 year old version of PS. This guy was creating professional covers for People Magazine and others.

Its not what you've got, its what you can do with it, that counts.

Masterful artwork is created by masterful artists, not software. Software is just a tool - your brain and imagination is what makes for wonderful maps!

True some software is easier, more powerful or more feature rich - tools help artists work, but in the end only the artist matters.

Winning post right here.

Robbie
08-08-2007, 07:29 PM
I guess this thread has turned into a discussion on comparative mapping software.

In the begginning, I was just trying to show you what I use, and what I create.

So what do you think of the terrain maps in my link? True they are not exciting places like dungeons and castles, rather its just generic natural terrain - a GMs aid, more than a feature map, but...

Any comments on the work?

Ahh...good point, lets get back on topic...here ends the software discussion in this thread...

Your maps...I like the concept, and they look good, and I bet they look even better printed largely...My only complaint is they seem to be lacking some depth...I think that comes from the lack of or inconsistency of shadowing from vegetation. Its mainly the vegetation thats unsettling to me at first glance.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not declaring the maps as failures or even as unsuccessful, quite the contrary, they're great! I hope I'm not coming off as seeing the maps negatively.

As for your concept, reuseable tileable printed game board pieces...awesome, thats good stuff, and with the rise in miniature battles and miniature gaming, they certainly have a place!

Gamerprinter
08-08-2007, 10:58 PM
When I posted these sample maps I've created using Xara.

What I didn't say, were these map sets 8 double sided 11 x 17 maps have geomorphic edges. The trees at top and bottom edge of map are the opposite halves of each other, same on the left and right edge.

The purpose of the maps sets is to create an "endless" variety of terrain layouts, but the graphics all match no matter how you place them. Of course 11 inch sides must match (you can't place an 11" side against a 17" side), but you rotate any map 180 degrees, or flip upside down - a new terrain is created and the edges still match.

Had I used a 4 pm shadow, to enhance the 3D effect, if a map lined up was rotated 180 degrees, its 4 pm shadow would point a different way.

I didn't use actual 3D shadows, instead, kind of a high noon, halo shadow to imply shadow, but unrealistically casting a larger shadow than the plant casting it.

Its a work-around for the map placement issue for the product to work.

I call them Endless Terrain Battlemaps.

Anyway, I didn't mention this before, as I'm not trying to "sell" anyone my maps, just showing examples.

Good eye for noticing that aspect of these maps!8)

Gamerprinter
08-12-2007, 01:56 PM
Here's several Xara Xtreme Map-Making Tutorials, that I've created in the past months as part of my monthly newsletter, Gamer Resource...

An intro and map setup:
http://www.gamer-printshop.com/resource/issue-2-tutorial.pdf

Advanced tutorial:
http://www.gamer-printshop.com/resource/advanced-tutorial.pdf

Pics & Files for the Advanced tutorial (.zip file)
http://www.gamer-printshop.com/resource/advanced-tutorial.zip

:idea:

keithcurtis
08-20-2007, 12:12 AM
I've already said it, but "The best software, is whichever you are most comfortable with."
ůsnipů

Excellent post. My work experience is pretty similar to yours. Graphic design since 81, Digital pre-press and composition since '86. Although I am an Adobe and Macintosh man through and through, I support just about anyone's choice of work method. Results count more than anything else.