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Thread: Seeking advice/inspiration

  1. #1
      Girltron is offline
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    Question Seeking advice/inspiration

    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.

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      Korash is offline
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    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.
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      Girltron is offline
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    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.

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    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    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/Th...ain/index.html
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      NeonKnight is offline
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    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.
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      Girltron is offline
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    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!

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      Girltron is offline
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    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.

  8. #8
    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Girltron View Post
    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/al...&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!
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
    http://www.bryanray.name

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      jfrazierjr is offline
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    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.)
    My Finished Maps
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      Ascension is offline
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    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).
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