PDA

View Full Version : CC3 Continental Map: The Northlands



Midgardsormr
09-09-2007, 12:52 PM
Hello, everyone! I thought I would start a work-in-progress thread by way of introducing myself. The attached map is just barely begun, and it is my first attempt at computer-assisted mapping.

I started by scanning a hand-drawn coastline into Corel PhotoPaint. I then printed a few copies and used tracing vellum to make new layers with mountains, forests, rivers and lakes, and roads & towns. Each of those sheets was scanned in to PhotoPaint, and I began trying to combine them. I quickly realized the limits of my skills--my artwork was marginal, my scans were awful, and it took me far too long to get anything accomplished in PhotoPaint.

So, I downloaded CC3 and began the work again, saving only the coastal outline and using the fractal tools to trace over it. I've obviously got quite a way to go, but I thought it might be interesting for ya'll to watch a beginner's first map go from start to finish, and maybe I'll get lots of help along the way to speed my learning process.

So, here it is. I'll post here again if I run into major difficulties or when the map has progressed significantly. In the meantime, many thanks to Arcana for providing this community, and thanks to everyone for all the terrific advice and techniques I have gleaned so far.

jaerdaph
09-09-2007, 01:32 PM
Woo hoo more CC3 people! Welcome, Midgardsormr! :)

I think posting your first experiences and progress with CC3 is a great idea and will be of great use to others who might be interested in purchasing the program.

Quick question - is the map you are showing all CC3 output or is it just the landmass outline on top of a scanned image? If it's all CC3, I have some suggestions for you.

I've been using Campaign Cartographer in one form or another for about ten years and I love it. And CC3 is leaps and bounds 1000 times better than the first version I purchased.

ravells
09-09-2007, 02:06 PM
Does CC3 support a tablet and pen?

Ravs

jaerdaph
09-09-2007, 02:21 PM
Does CC3 support a tablet and pen?

Ravs

Yes it does quite nicely. It even has configuration and calibration commands, and commands to turn it on and off within the program.

Caveat: I haven't used a tablet with CC3 yet, but I used to borrow the Wacom at my old job and have used it with CC2 Pro.

Midgardsormr
09-09-2007, 02:33 PM
Quick question - is the map you are showing all CC3 output or is it just the landmass outline on top of a scanned image? If it's all CC3, I have some suggestions for you.

Thanks for the welcome. That's all CC3. Once I was done tracing the scan I deleted it. There is a very small amount of edge glow along the coastline. I haven't played much with the glow effect; I just saw it mentioned in another thread and thought I'd throw it on there to see what it did.

Any and all suggestions are welcome!

jaerdaph
09-09-2007, 03:16 PM
Here's my initial thoughts and suggestions.

The mountain symbols - those are the single color "hand drawn" symbol set. Those look best IMHO on black and white maps or black ink on parchment background. They look neat in browns (and other colors) too, but usually on projects you want to look like someone drew by hand. I would suggest you look at the vector symbol set ("old school" CC2 Pro style symbols) with grey mountains that include some shading. While these too are hand drawn, they are also slightly shaded and include more colors. The reason I'm suggesting that is because you chose a vector style landmass and ocean color.

I'd also suggest you consider changing the blue outline of the landmass to black - I think that might make it stick out better.

I can't really see the details of the lake, but are you using one of the newer CC3 style raster PNG fills for that? If so, you might want to make it the same or similar "solid" color to the ocean.

I'm having trouble seeing the coastline glow. There's also other things you could try, like adding a slight drop shadow to the land mass to make it stick out more.

So in short, pick a "style" you want to emphasize, but at the same time, don't be afraid to experiment. :) I hope this was somewhat helpful.

Midgardsormr
09-09-2007, 04:32 PM
That blue outline is actually the glow effect. I am punching the radius way up and changing the color, as you suggested. Now I am noticing that there is a sort of bevel along the edges of the landmass. It wasn't as noticeable when the glow was the same color as the background, but it really stands out now that I have a blue line between the dark glow and the now-cream-colored land.

The lakes are use the "ocean" fill style. I'm assuming that's what you mean by a raster fill? I agree that the lakes and ocean should match, so I made a huge contour object with the fill and sent it to the back. That also had the pleasant side effect of hiding the default compass rose and scale bar.

I haven't gotten very far with the rivers because I am not entirely sure how they work. Right now they look great on the wide view, but if I zoom in they remain hairlines. How do I add some volume to a line that remains an open path?

Well, I could probably go on with more and more questions, but I think I'll take it in bite-sized pieces for the time being. Here's a new image:

ravells
09-09-2007, 07:58 PM
Yes it does quite nicely. It even has configuration and calibration commands, and commands to turn it on and off within the program.

Caveat: I haven't used a tablet with CC3 yet, but I used to borrow the Wacom at my old job and have used it with CC2 Pro.

Thanks! I have CC2 Pro (although I haven't used it for awhile) and will give it a try with the tablet. Apologies for threadjacking.

Midgardsormr, I really like the way your map is going and am looking forward to seeing more. For C&Cs jaerdaph has said pretty much everything I was thinking and more, so no further comments from me.

jaerdaph
09-10-2007, 12:36 PM
ravells: glad to be of help - just go to CC2 Help and search on "tablet" and you should find more info about getting started.

Midgardsormr: Your map is looking very nice. :) The color scheme works great, and the hand drawn symbols look nice on the creme colored landmass.

For rivers, I have two suggestions: One thing you could do is redraw the landmass so that the rivers are cut into it. That way the ocean background will show through and everything will be uniform. You'd have to cut out the lakes too rather than draw lakes. Otherwise, if you like the rivers you have now (which look good as is), You can always change the line width of the river after you draw it. *Right* click on the Change Properties button on the left side, select Change Line Width from the pull down menu that shows up, select the river(s), right click and select Do It, then type in a new width (try 0.5 first) and hit the Enter key. Zoom in and out to see how the river looks up close and at full zoom, then change the line width again if you wish to try something else. The default CC2 Pro style line width on the river drawing tool is 0, which looks the same up close and far away.

Keep up the good work. :)

Midgardsormr
09-11-2007, 11:42 AM
Thanks for the pointer about right clicking on Change Properties. That's been quite useful!

I still have not discovered a way to get rid of that beveled edge on the landmass. It's not bugging me so much now, but I know when I make the political version of this map it will.

Also, is there a way to cut a hole out of the center of an object? I liked your suggestion of cutting the rivers and lakes out of the landmass to let the ocean show through, but I couldn't figure out how to do it without pulling points from the coast. I tried using Trim Inside, but that did not work.

Instead, I changed the line width and found out that I could add a fill to a line that has a width greater than 0. I think I am going to move the rivers onto a different sheet, though, since the glow has turned them black.

One further question: is there a way to save a view of the map with a different zoom level? When I start doing detail work, it would be nice to be able to show just the areas I am working on rather than the entire map.

jaerdaph
09-11-2007, 12:31 PM
Thanks for the pointer about right clicking on Change Properties. That's been quite useful!
Awesome - right clicking on a lot of the buttons in CC3 opens up whole new possibilities.


I still have not discovered a way to get rid of that beveled edge on the landmass. It's not bugging me so much now, but I know when I make the political version of this map it will.

Are you using the default sheet effects from the map template or are these effects you added? What you can do (either way) is left click the Sheets and Effects button, check Activate Sheets, select the sheet with the bevel effect on it on the left side of the box, uncheck the effect on the bottom right side of the box that you don't want to see on your political map, then hit OK. That lets you turn off individual effects on a sheet without turning off all effects on that sheet or all effects on all sheets in the drawing. Of course if you don't want it at all you can just delete the effect from the list. It only will get deleted in the current map and not on any other maps you might want to create later.


Also, is there a way to cut a hole out of the center of an object? I liked your suggestion of cutting the rivers and lakes out of the landmass to let the ocean show through, but I couldn't figure out how to do it without pulling points from the coast.

There is a (somewhat involved) technique called multipoly to cut a hole in something, but thinking about it more, you really don't need to do that. If you have a lake that doesn't connect to a river or the ocean, just draw it as you did before. If you have a lake with river that doesn't touch the ocean, again draw it the same way as a single poly with the river protruding out. Rivers and lakes that eventually go to the sea would be part of the landmass outline with the river jutting into the interior of the poly up and around and back down to the outer coast again.


One further question: is there a way to save a view of the map with a different zoom level? When I start doing detail work, it would be nice to be able to show just the areas I am working on rather than the entire map.

There are a series of Zoom/View navigation buttons in the upper right corner of CC3. You can zoom in, out, zoom extents, go back to your last view etc. They work independently of other commands, so you can actually be in the middle of a drawing command, select one of those to zoom where you want, then go back to the drawing to finish the command you were working on. Play around with them on your map or an example map (you can't really hurt anything with them) because it is the best way to learn. The buttons look like magnifying glasses.

Midgardsormr
09-11-2007, 04:05 PM
The zoom controls are no problem. I was just wondering if I could output a jpg of a zoomed-in area. I suppose I could use Print Screen, but I'd feel compelled to take it into PhotoPaint to crop out the interface.

Concerning that bevel: I am using the default effects, plus a dark glow on the coastline. Per your advice, I started turning things off to see their what they were doing; the bevel was caused by the Spatial Matrix Processing. A little obnoxious to have something like that on by default, but I can deal. Is there a tutorial anywhere that details how to use that effect? The help file is a little obtuse in that area.

Next step is to lay in the roads and cities. Roads are easy, but for the cities I'm going to try to define some of my own symbols, just so I can muck around in a new part of the software. I'm starting to get the hang of things, I think.

NeonKnight
09-11-2007, 07:57 PM
I love the map, but.....(it's not a huge But, I'm currently sitting on it :P), I try to steer clear of the Fill Styles. The are nice for quick and drity, but if you look on your map, and it is a beautiful map, the fill style gets 'cut off', so you have mountians at the top of the fill style with no peaks.

The other think is, Fill Styles have definite descernable pattern to them, something when I make my own maps I am able to keep clear of by changing up the symbols, their positions etc.

Other than this one, small critique, I likey very, very much!

jaerdaph
09-12-2007, 10:05 AM
The zoom controls are no problem. I was just wondering if I could output a jpg of a zoomed-in area. I suppose I could use Print Screen, but I'd feel compelled to take it into PhotoPaint to crop out the interface.

Ah, gotcha. Here's what I do to get PNGs, JPGs or BMPs out of CC3, be it the full map or just sections of it. At the command prompt, type this command: wbs. wbs will ask you for a first corner (click on it in the map or type in a coordinate), then it will ask you for the opposite corner, (again click on it or type in a coordinate), and then a Save Bitmap Section box will pop up. Select the file type you want to save as (PNG, BMP or JPG), give the file a name and click save. If you have Snap on, that will work with wbs if you want a little more percision control when selecting the corners. If you need to change the output settings of the JPG/BMP/PNG file, go to the Tools menu, Options... and click on the BMP, JPEG, PNG button and you can do it from there.


Concerning that bevel: I am using the default effects, plus a dark glow on the coastline. Per your advice, I started turning things off to see their what they were doing; the bevel was caused by the Spatial Matrix Processing. A little obnoxious to have something like that on by default, but I can deal. Is there a tutorial anywhere that details how to use that effect? The help file is a little obtuse in that area.

Yeah, a lot of the templates and template wizards have default settings for the sheet effects that assume you are just using the standard symbol set/style/drawing tools in CC3. Since you are effectively creating your own style, the settings might not be right for that. I'd love to see Profantasy add an option to add or not add pre-set sheet effects in templates you create with the wizards. There isn't really a lot of help available yet for the different sheet effects yet. What I do know I've learned from the CC user mailing list and from experimentation, trial and error. I have to admit that Spatial Matrix Processing is a bit of a mystery to me.


Next step is to lay in the roads and cities. Roads are easy, but for the cities I'm going to try to define some of my own symbols, just so I can muck around in a new part of the software. I'm starting to get the hang of things, I think.

That's very good! It gets to be very addictive after awhile, especially when you are learning new things the software can do and master things. :)

I also want to suggest that you try placing symbols for the forests and mountains rather than relying on the fills to do so. While it is a little more time consuming, I think you might be happier with the results.

Midgardsormr
09-15-2007, 12:30 PM
You guys weren't kidding about the improvement I'd make by hand-placing symbols! I haven't revised the forests yet, but I did the mountains, and the difference is enormous.

The map now has a few cities and roads. There are more than these in the game world, of course, but I am restricting the information on the map to what I've actually got in my notes so that I can keep things flexible as I build the campaign.

The labels were made with the font Dauphin. I need to do some work sizing and placing them still, and I need to find a way to display a very large "Imperial Vendria" across the top portion of the map. My attempts at that label so far just have not looked good.

I gave up on defining my own symbols for the cities for the moment. It wasn't going the way I wanted it to, so I thought I'd put that off for a while. The dots work just fine for now, and my time is better spent on other things at the moment.

I would also like to replace the neatline. Any suggestions? I've got one idea, but it's a bit too florid for this map--I'm going to save it for the city map I've got planned.

NeonKnight
09-15-2007, 02:34 PM
The fill styles work good for 'bulk', well, filling, of large areas, and you can kind of campflague it with other hand placed fill symbols.

Also, don't outline your fill styles for less impact.

jaerdaph
09-15-2007, 03:30 PM
Your map is looking very good. :) I like the font you are using, and using the circles for cities is something I've always liked on overland fantasy maps (and the black triangle as well).

I must admit I had to look up what a neatline was to learn it was another word for map border. This is why I love this list - I learn something new about cartography everyday! :) Right now I can't think of any suggestions for that - perhaps some sort of wood or stone tiled fill and use a bevel sheet effect on it? Perhaps when the map is closer to completion inspiration will strike us. :)

Midgardsormr
09-15-2007, 04:56 PM
I had a nice block of time to work on the map today, and naturally I ran into a brick wall.

I'm really interested in doing something different with the forests. Hand-placing mountain symbols did wonders, but doing the same for the forests is not looking good to me. Part of the problem is I just don't much like the look of the line art symbols. I've been looking through some of my novels for inspiration, and the forests that look best to me are the ones that look like a sort of solid, tufted shape, perhaps with some texturing. Of course, an awful lot of maps seem to omit the forests entirely, which suggests that it's a somewhat widespread difficulty.

Any suggestions on how to make a nice looking forest in that same line art style?

ravells
09-15-2007, 05:21 PM
Could you scan one of the pictures from the novel? That would give us a much better idea as to what you're after.

jaerdaph
09-15-2007, 11:51 PM
Any suggestions on how to make a nice looking forest in that same line art style?

Do you mean something similar to these maps?:

http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/wd_maps/FRposterLarge_150.jpg

http://www.webcomicsnation.com/users/chuckwhelon/pewfell/world/Midworld/midworld_map_flat_sml.gif

http://www.gamerdad.com/images/RPG_accessories.CC3_Map.jpg

If anyone has techniques for creating something similar to those forests in CC3, I'd be interested as well.

Midgardsormr
09-16-2007, 03:23 PM
Yes, that's it precisely! Thanks for saving me the effort of trying to get a good scan out of a tiny paperback novel. There are two things that need to be solved to do it: creating the tufted border and getting a decent texture across the top of the forest. I'm experimenting with applying the hue/saturation/lightness effect to some of the bitmap fills. I haven't found a solution yet, though.

ravells
09-17-2007, 08:21 AM
If you have photoshop or similar, you might want to try this:

Go to Mayang's free texture site (http://mayang.com/textures/Plants/html/Moss%20and%20Lichen/index.html) and have a look at the moss and lichen textures.

There is a really good one here (pic below) which looks like treetops. You might want to 'cartoonify' it a bit in photoshop so it doesn't jar against the general style.

At the end of the day, though if you're after that illustrative style, then you'll need to draw it (unless you're a photoshop genius). I'm not familiar with CC3, but it'll be pretty much drawing the boundary of the forest giving it a fill and then drawing your tufts on top of it - I would guess.

--------

Looking at the forests in the really big map (the first one that jaerdaph) posted, this is what I would do to make the forests:

1. Draw the outline and fill it with the main green colour.
1a (Optional - if you want texture) Copy and paste the outline on top of itself to a new layer and use a cloud or noise texture filter (or you could try the mayang texture below). Set layer to overlay (or multiply) - best just running through them all and seeing which layer filter works best - and reduce the opacity of the layer to suit.
2. Copy and paste the outline on top of itself to a new layer and make the fill transparent. Use an 'inner glow' effect using olive drab and set the level to overlay. Adjust transparency to suit. Use the paintbrush tool to put in little additions to the inner glow so it doesn't exactly follow the outer border.
3. Copy and paste the outline again to a new layer and do an inner glow with a very dark green. Set the layer to dissolve and move down to about 30% transparency, that will give you the dots around the inner border. Put in the other little dots further into the forest by hand.
4. Merge the layers when you are done.

I'm afraid I don't know if CC3 has the abilities to do this, if it hasn't you can always use Gimp (which has) and import the image into your CC3 map. As you will see, a really good way to generate rich textures is to copy a shape, paste it on another layer and give it a different fill while setting the layer to overlay or multiply (mainly).
----------

Looking at the second Link that jaerdaph posted, to me it looks like a straight drawing job (sorry). It would probably be a lot easier to do in pencil and to scan that into the puter.

---------

The third link is a little small and hard to see, but it looks like what the cartographer has done is to draw the outline and apply a cloud filter fill using different tones of green and then applied a drop shadow to the shape.

---------

Ravs

http://mayang.com/textures/Plants/html/Moss%20and%20Lichen/lichen_or_mould_closeup_4260148.JPG (http://mayang.com/textures/perl/preview.pl?image=lichen_or_mould_closeup_4260148.J PG)

NeonKnight
09-17-2007, 12:36 PM
http://www.gamerdad.com/images/RPG_accessories.CC3_Map.jpg

If anyone has techniques for creating something similar to those forests in CC3, I'd be interested as well.

Well, what's interesting is the third map (the one above) specifically says it was done in CC3, so I would be interested in knowing how it was done as well.

jaerdaph
09-17-2007, 01:02 PM
Well, what's interesting is the third map (the one above) specifically says it was done in CC3, so I would be interested in knowing how it was done as well.

I just discovered it's actually the first map in the Profantasy CC3 product page gallery. :oops:

The map is labeled as "The Southern March (custom CC3 overland map by Allyn Bowker)" Here's a larger version:

http://www.profantasy.com/images/cc3/gallery/gallery01.jpg

Allyn Bowker compiled and contributed heavily to the Tome of Ultimate Mapping for CC2 Pro and I believe he is still active on the CC user's list. Unfortunately, this example map isn't included with CC3. Perhaps I should bug him about sharing? >:)

Edit: You can actually download the CC2 Pro version of Allyn's map here:

http://www.profantasy.com/library/default.asp?PP=9&Start=10&Image=12

The Tome of Ultimate Mapping has drawing tools and instructions (for CC2 Pro though, it hasn't been updated yet) for making this kind of Forgotten Realms 3e style map.

jaerdaph
09-17-2007, 01:17 PM
If you have photoshop or similar, you might want to try this:

Go to Mayang's free texture site (http://mayang.com/textures/Plants/html/Moss%20and%20Lichen/index.html) and have a look at the moss and lichen textures.

Good stuff, and thanks for the link. :) I needs to find the time to learns the GIMP. :(


At the end of the day, though if you're after that illustrative style, then you'll need to draw it (unless you're a photoshop genius). I'm not familiar with CC3, but it'll be pretty much drawing the boundary of the forest giving it a fill and then drawing your tufts on top of it - I would guess.

Yeah, I think hand drawing in CC3 would be the way to go. The Tome of Ultimate Mapping (which kept me up reading in bed to 3 am last night) has some tutorials and tips on doing this which are pretty much what you just said.

I'm going to try playing around with some stuff today as time permits and post results back.

ravells
09-17-2007, 01:24 PM
I've just resigned myself to the fact that there's always 'one more' piece of software to learn. 3d modelling is even worse!

The mastery in Allyn's CC3 map's forests (to me) is the consistency of 'wiggle' he has in the forest border. If it looks right, nothing jars the eye. I'm not sure if he used the 'fractalise edge' function to do it, but from memory of CC2, fractalising didn't give you that sort of wiggle (although there were some esoteric looking settings you could play with). The rest of it looks pretty straight forward, just a green fill with a bit of texture - possibly a copy and paste of the same shape on top with a paintbrush type texture (it looks like the same texture used in the Wastelands to the north) and the opacity turned down. Finally add a drop shadow with high opacity with the light source at about 300 degrees or so.

Ravs

RPMiller
09-17-2007, 02:17 PM
I remember when he posted that. It is 100% done in CC2 if memory serves - he was quite adamant about being able to do that - and he used the bitmap fills for everything which he loved. I haven't seen a post from him in ages on the list, I forget why he stopped posting though.

jaerdaph
09-17-2007, 04:27 PM
Okay, I made a lot of different types of forest samples today, some with sheet effects. Here's a sample of something I did that might fit the hand drawn style in Midgardsormr's map. This doesn't use sheet effects.

Very simple, really. Just a solid green color fractalized polygon outlined in black, and path lines in a darker green color within the shape.

jaerdaph
09-17-2007, 06:51 PM
I remember when he posted that. It is 100% done in CC2 if memory serves - he was quite adamant about being able to do that - and he used the bitmap fills for everything which he loved. I haven't seen a post from him in ages on the list, I forget why he stopped posting though.

Hopefully they have him locked away in a dungeon somewhere updating the Tome of Ultimate Mapping to CC3 so we can get the tools to make the CC3 version of that map! Seriously though, I hope he's doing well.

Midgardsormr
09-17-2007, 10:26 PM
Thanks for the input. I was coming up with something similar to what you've done there, Jaerdaph. I was thinking about keeping the green very unsaturated, to match the very subtle coloring of the mountains and hills, and putting in a large hand-drawn tree to reinforce that the area is a forest.

I just need to figure out how best to get the tree into CC3. At the moment, I'm having trouble with the transparency at the moment--do I need to explicitly define an alpha channel in a png?

In terms of the forest borders, I've been experimenting with the displacement effect, and I think it might get the job done. Eventually. If not, I can try sketch mode, but I'm not terribly confident in my ability to draw with a mouse. Maybe I should buy my wife a tablet for Christmas...

I'll try to remember to post some images tomorrow morning.

jaerdaph
09-18-2007, 10:59 AM
I just need to figure out how best to get the tree into CC3. At the moment, I'm having trouble with the transparency at the moment--do I need to explicitly define an alpha channel in a png?

Is your hand drawn tree a PNG with a transparent background layer? How do you plan on getting it into CC3 - by just inserting the file?

If so, from Draw menu in CC3 select Insert File... Click the Bitmap Options button on the bottom of the Insert File box that pops up. Select Alpha Transparency on the Bitmap Options box that pops up and click OK to close that box, then navigate to your PNG file location in the Insert File box and click Open. You will then be asked to select first corner and second corner for where you want the bitmap to appear in the drawing.

That's the easiest way to get it in there. You could of course define it as a symbol, but that's a little more involved.

I'm not the best person to ask about PNGs and layers and transparency before they get into CC3, but I do know what to do with them once they're in CC3. :)

Midgardsormr
09-18-2007, 01:22 PM
Well, it seems that PhotoPaint cannot export a PNG with transparency, so I pulled out Fireworks. Here's the tree if anyone wants it:

Midgardsormr
09-18-2007, 02:04 PM
And the most recent version of the map, with a new approach to the forest.

jaerdaph
09-19-2007, 09:47 PM
This is looking very nice - keep up the good work. :)

Midgardsormr
09-20-2007, 11:17 PM
Thank you!

I think I've got all the information on the map that I need at the moment. Now I'm trying out some decorative elements, starting with a new compass rose inspired by one posted by Sir Alain in another thread.

Comments are welcome, as usual, and I'd like some suggestions about what to do with the land fill. I'm not wild about the flat color. Anyone got a texture that would look good there?

jaerdaph
09-21-2007, 03:21 PM
Well, it seems that PhotoPaint cannot export a PNG with transparency, so I pulled out Fireworks. Here's the tree if anyone wants it:

I've saved this image because I think the style of the tree would look very appropriate on maps I want to make for my Colonial Gothic campaign. Thanks! :)

I have Fireworks myself (and use it as my primary graphics program pre- and post-CC3). I have a question for you. Is it possible to open up a black and white GIF, JPG or BMP file in Fireworks (which would then be on a single layer) and then "convert" all the white pixels on that layer to transparency (leaving the black and any other colors untouched)? I'm hoping it can be done directly in Fireworks and I'm just not seeing where to do it. I have a bunch of black and white images that I'd like to make black and transparent and save as PNGs so I can use them in CC3.

jaerdaph
09-21-2007, 03:23 PM
Thank you!

I think I've got all the information on the map that I need at the moment. Now I'm trying out some decorative elements, starting with a new compass rose inspired by one posted by Sir Alain in another thread.

Comments are welcome, as usual, and I'd like some suggestions about what to do with the land fill. I'm not wild about the flat color. Anyone got a texture that would look good there?

The compass rose looks excellent! Do you have a PNG for the ship you want to share? (hint hint nudge nudge ;))

As for the land background, how about a textured parchment?

Midgardsormr
09-21-2007, 05:51 PM
Here are the ship alone and a version with the compass points on it. And a brief tutorial:

Setting Index Transparency in Fireworks MX (6.0):

First, make sure you can see the Optimize window. In the Export File Format drop-down box (upper left), make sure PNG-8 is selected. (If you select -24 or -32 you only get alpha transparency options.)

You should now see a drop-down box that says "Alpha Transparency." Change it to "Index Transparency." At this point, you can click "Rebuild" to see a box full of colors that Fireworks thinks are in your image. You should play with different selections in the Indexed Palette window to tweak your results. For line drawings, I like Grayscale, but obviously color drawings will probably benefit from one of the adaptive palettes. For ease in dealing with the color table, sort it by luminance.

Before you go on, you should select the "2-Up" view in your main window so you can monitor the results of your changes.

Now, at the bottom left of the Optimize window are three eyedropper tools. The right-most sets the initial transparent color. The middle one adds more colors to the transparency index, and the left-most removes colors from the index. Set your initial transparent color with the right eyedropper, then start adding colors with the middle one. I suggest you use the color table for precision's sake.

If your source image is anti-aliased, you will probably need to select several colors in order to reduce the haloing effect--that's the problem with index transparency.

When you are satisfied with your results, you need to export the image. Simply saving it, even though it may already be a png, will not allow the transparency to show up in other applications.

--
I hope that helps. If the image is simple enough, though, you could set alpha transparency and then just use the magic wand and delete button--that's how I did the tree.

Midgardsormr
09-21-2007, 06:00 PM
I've been playing with some textures and the Transparency effect today.

The northern forest has a solid fill, and the larger forest has a texture. I can't decide which is better for this particular map. I do like the way the transparency gives a watercolour look.

jaerdaph
09-22-2007, 01:50 PM
Thanks for the transparency tutorial - it's really opened up a whole new world of possibilites for me. Have some rep too!

I like the new landmass background you chose. I think it makes everything on the continent stick out better. It really works well with the new textured forest you've come up with - I'd stick with that.

Your map is looking better and better. Kudos for not being afraid to try new things and experiment. :)

pyrandon
09-22-2007, 02:59 PM
Coming along nicely! Keep it up!

Midgardsormr
10-04-2007, 02:06 AM
I haven't had much time to work on this lately, but here's the most recent rendition. I've been working on a new border, but it's slow-going. I'm afraid I have a long way to go before I am competent with CAD. I also intend to add at least one more line drawing in the space above Jurel.

edit: hmmm... Pretend the extra scale bar isn't there and the rose is up the corner. I hadn't meant to export the entire map.

terrainmonkey
10-04-2007, 08:59 AM
this looks good so far, you're doing great. i'm not sure the drop shadow around the continent is necessary. it looks as though the continent is floating over the water, instead of being part of it, if you see what i'm saying. perhaps just putting a border on the land would be better and make it more "Realistic". just a thought. but as a whole, this is good! :)

Midgardsormr
10-04-2007, 09:22 PM
I tried playing with the coastline glow--you're right, it does make it look like the continent is floating. Turning it off causes the water texture to overpower the land, even if I outline it. I tried changing the color, but that altered the mood too much--I rather like the dark, gloomy feel it has right now.

I'll keep fiddling with it, but if anyone has any suggestions, I'd welcome them.

I wanted to make some comments on how I arrived at the water texture. Originally, I was using one of the water bitmap tiles that came with CC3. When I saw those lovely sea textures in the Mapping Elements forum, I snatched them and applied one. They were too stark, though, and the oil-painting look did not match the rest of the map. So I put the original ocean texture back in underneath the new texture, reduced the new texture's opacity to about 40%, and desaturated it a little bit. I then used the Texturize effect on the upper texture with the same parchment bitmap I used on the land.

The end result was a marked softening of the new texture and the disguising of the old one's obvious tiling. There may yet be some tweaking to do with it, but I think I am mostly satisfied with the water.

I might take a break from this for a while and try my hand at the new challenge. Perhaps a new project with a deadline will give me some inertia.

RobA
10-04-2007, 10:52 PM
I tried playing with the coastline glow--you're right, it does make it look like the continent is floating. Turning it off causes the water texture to overpower the land, even if I outline it. I tried changing the color, but that altered the mood too much--I rather like the dark, gloomy feel it has right now.

Other than trying a light colour (which would be consistent with a "shallower is lighter idea") I'm not sure what else to suggest that would keep it dark....other than darkening all the water.

-Rob A>

ravells
10-05-2007, 06:21 AM
I don't know either...maybe a very slight bevel / emboss on the coastline?

Do have a go at the monthly challenge, Bryan. The deadline really helps to concentrate the mind into producing a finished result and to cut down on 'fiddling around' time wastage (something I'm very guilty of).

Midgardsormr
10-06-2007, 03:26 PM
Alright, I've outlined the coast, changed the glow to a light blue, and darkened the water. Here it is. I think I should give myself a little while to grow accustomed to the new look before I decide whether or not I like it.

Hmmm... Now it's a radioactive power-mad chicken...

Airith
10-06-2007, 10:44 PM
Are those mountains from CC2/3? Or can I get them somewhere? I want to use them in one of my maps :)

Midgardsormr
10-06-2007, 11:14 PM
They're from CC2. I'm at work right now, though, so I can't check the path.

I think the relevant directory is called "Line," though.

Midgardsormr
10-29-2007, 02:26 AM
Well, after my embarrassing failure to work my challenge entry through completion, I have done some more work here. I think this shows some progress on the coastlines issue, I fiddled with the labels a bit, and I started working on the new neatline. Comments, of course, are welcome.

The coastline solution is as follows: a fractalized contour filled with a light blue, opacity reduced to 25%, a 30 px blur, and a light blue glow. Below that, I placed another, wider fractalized contour filled with the same light blue, opacity at 15%, 30 px blur, and the same color glow. I then placed a dark grey interior glow on the land.

RobA
10-29-2007, 10:46 AM
Would it be possible to post a close up of a section of coastline? I'd like to see the details ofthe technique you describe.

Thanks!

-Rob A>

Midgardsormr
10-29-2007, 12:10 PM
Certainly.

Midgardsormr
10-31-2007, 05:27 PM
Alright, I think I have taken this almost as far as I can go on my own steam. Here is a link to a full resolution png:

http://www.bryanray.name/queen/img/northlandswithborder.png

What needs work? Do the colors look good? Are there stylistic issues? Is there anything I can do to push it to another degree of quality?

Any and all constructive comments are welcome!

RPMiller
10-31-2007, 06:10 PM
The land appears to be floating because of the bevel. Otherwise, looks pretty good.

RobA
10-31-2007, 07:35 PM
The only thing I am unsure about is the giant tree in the forest. Does it mean something, or is an artistic embellishment?

-Rob A>

RPMiller
10-31-2007, 07:39 PM
I believe that is an embellishment to indicate the green is forest.

If that is true, then I would remove the mountain symbols and do a similar treatment to the mountain area.

RPMiller
10-31-2007, 07:45 PM
Ok, the more I look at them the less I like the rivers. They are too bright for the muted colors of the rest of the map and are a bit jarring to the eye. That could also be an aliasing issue as well.

I would suggest making the rivers match the large lake/inland seas that you have.

Midgardsormr
11-01-2007, 12:11 PM
The rivers is an easy fix.

Yes, the tree is an artistic embellishment, both to add some individual character to the map and to reinforce that the green area is forest. The mountain symbols wound up looking pretty good, particularly when zoomed out, but I never could get the tree symbols to look decent.

I had been intending to add another piece of line art in order to make the map a bit more cohesive, but I dropped that idea owing to my lousy drawing skills. Now I am thinking I should try again; another icon-like drawing would make the tree less of an aberration.

My wife suggests I should draw a new scale bar, as well, since the ones that came with CC3 don't fit this map at all.

Okay, now I've got some things to work on. What about the border? I'm looking at it with fresh eyes this morning, and I think the stark black-and-white isn't working.

edit: Did some updating. Here's the new map: http://www.bryanray.name/queen/img/newmap.png

ravells
11-01-2007, 12:46 PM
I agree with you about the border, Brian, I'd be inclined to tone the colour down as well. The black is very dominant. It also looks like there are aliasing problems with the text and this is particularly noticeable on the smaller font sizes.

What sort of line art did you have in mind?

Ravs

Midgardsormr
11-01-2007, 01:00 PM
Unfortunately, CC3 doesn't seem to have much in the way of anti-aliasing controls, though it's entirely possible that I've missed something. It might be worth my time to remove the labels and redo them in a paint program.

The drawing I am attempting to make is a man on a horse in profile, to represent the semi-nomadic horse herders of Jurel. It will go in that wide empty space to the north of the Jurel label.

ravells
11-01-2007, 01:08 PM
Ah...I've been banging onto profantasy for years about anti-aliasing. It wasn't there in CC2, guess it didn't arrive in CC3 either. That was one my biggest turn-offs for CC2, the only way around it (which I could find anyway) was to export the map at a huge resolution and then scale it down in a paint program. I would definitely re-label in a paint program.

For your horseherders were you thinking of a style similar to these (http://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/ChalkFigures.htm)? it would be really cool for it to be a label but an actually land feature as well. The style doesn't look too complicated and you could just trace over a picture from the web?

RPMiller
11-01-2007, 02:25 PM
Definite improvement with the rivers. Still looking overly jagged though... I don't understand why it would be doing that since it is vector to begin with. I must be their png algorithm they are using. I could have sworn we pointed them to a better one about a year ago.

Midgardsormr
11-01-2007, 11:55 PM
Ravs: An interesting idea. I've filed it away for the future. In this instance, I'm looking more for an artistic flourish on the map, not something in the terrain. I've attached a reference image (my apologies to Kevin Long and Palladium Games). That's roughly the outline I'm working on. I'll be discarding much of the detail and shading, of course, and the armour will be entirely different.

RPM: I neglected to smooth the fractals, so they were composed of a series of line segments. The aliasing is still troublesome, but at least a little bit of the jagginess has gone away now. I'll try bumping up the resolution a bit to see if that helps, too.

Failing everything else, I'll give that Orton Effect referenced in another thread a try. I'll upload a new map later. Possibly tomorrow--I want to work on the drawing before I fire up CC3 again.

Midgardsormr
11-02-2007, 12:30 PM
This version of the map has 20% more resolution, the river and lake fractals have been smoothed, and I modified the corners of the neatline.

http://www.bryanray.name/queen/img/newermap.png

It's getting rather unwieldy with the increased resolution, but it looks like that white line across the forest finally went away!

jaerdaph
11-03-2007, 02:43 PM
Wow - this map sure has grown and steadily improved since I last saw it a month ago. Great work. :)

Midgardsormr
11-03-2007, 07:22 PM
Thanks; it's good to have you back.

I tried the Orton Effect and a couple of resampling techniques to reduce aliasing using Corel PhotoPaint, but I haven't much liked the results--all it's done so far is make things blurry. Since it's most noticeable in the text and compass rose, I have exported the map without those elements and am working on putting them back in with the paint program. Unfortunately, PhotoPaint 8 doesn't have the capability of producing curved text, so I may have to do some prestidigitation there.

The horseman icon is coming along, also. The guy actually looks a little bit human this time around.

Jaer, do you see anything that needs improvement?

jaerdaph
11-03-2007, 09:35 PM
Unfortunately, CC3 doesn't seem to have much in the way of anti-aliasing controls, though it's entirely possible that I've missed something. It might be worth my time to remove the labels and redo them in a paint program.

Yeah, font handling in CC has always driven me nuts. One thing I've learned over the years is to never size and place text with the snap button on - always "eyeball it" until it looks right and don't be afraid to Undo if it doesn't. Once I get something I like, I use the eyedropper (for the Like command) on it so the font format and size are set automatically to that the next time I need to place text of the same format and size. You can always use Like again if you have different fonts/formating/sizes in the map that you need to duplicate.

I think the ability in CC3 to use sheet effects on text is a definite improvement though. I just wish CC3 had a text "drawing" tool that would automatically set the sheet and layer to the appropriate TEXT ones. I always forget to change the sheet and layer when I place text and end up losing it.

With CC3's ability to import PNG files, though, using programs like Fireworks to create text with effects is definitely another option to consider.

Midgardsormr
11-05-2007, 11:41 AM
The labels have been redone in PhotoPaint. The large curved label was exported from CC3 and composited with PhotoPaint, so it's still got aliasing problems. I used the Orton Effect to try to soften the jaggies a bit.

The only thing that remains now is the horseman, and I think I will call this map finished. I have no idea how long it will take me to come up with a drawing that I like well enough to risk diluting the rest of the image.

http://www.bryanray.name/queen/img/evennewermap.png

ravells
11-05-2007, 12:19 PM
Looking great!

RPMiller
11-05-2007, 04:36 PM
So what is the story/geography behind River Almalen's switchback?

Midgardsormr
11-05-2007, 09:07 PM
Do you want the reason or the rationale? The reason is bottom-up design. The rationale is that there is an ancient, mostly eroded mountain range that runs N-S through the northern Almalen Forest. The lake and river that merges with the River Almalen just before it enters the sea are in what used to be an old subduction zone--the medium-sized central peninsula east of that lake will one day break off into its own island, having changed direction millenia ago.

Or something like that, anyway. I imagine if I'd started the map with the geology things might be different. But I didn't. So they aren't.

RPMiller
11-05-2007, 10:30 PM
I was referring to the northern most part of the river that forms the upside down "U". Is that curving around the top of the mountain range then?

Groovy. It is definitely an interesting formation and would easily cause adventurers to get lost if they were trying to use it to get their bearings.

Midgardsormr
11-06-2007, 01:04 AM
Yep. The high areas extend out from the forest, ending about where that lower-left city is. The eastern part of the 'U' then flows down into the old subduction valley.

I probably ought to give some thought to seismic activity, but I don't anticipate the campaign taking much longer than a couple of years in game time. I may package the world info for distribution when I'm done with it, though, so I may need to revisit the matter some day.

Navigation in that area might have been difficult long ago, but nowadays it's pretty densely settled, with a well-developed and maintained road network.

Stay tuned for a more detailed map of that part of the world--As soon as the new City Designer is released I'm going to try an interesting map of the Imperial City and environs.

Midgardsormr
11-08-2007, 04:29 PM
The map is complete. There is a new thread posted in the Finished Maps forum.

Midgardsormr
11-12-2007, 12:17 AM
A quick comment on the horseman image, since the quality is obviously a bit higher than the other two drawings:

For the ship and the tree, I used Fireworks MX to create a transparent image, then imported that into CC3. CC3 doesn't scale bitmaps very efficiently, resulting in a lot of jagged, broken lines. For the horseman, I used CorelPaint to composite it on the final export from CC3. Corel did a much nicer job of scaling, and the transparency tool did a very nice job anti-aliasing the drawing against the map.

In the future, I'll save this kind of element for post production. In fact, I may very well try recompositing this map. I'll likely have to do a revision eventually anyway when the campaign reveals some more towns and cities.