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Thread: "And he looked around, and saw that he was new..."

  1. #1
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    Post "And he looked around, and saw that he was new..."

    Greetings to all!
    I've been lurking around here for a few weeks and finally decided to sign up. The site is fantastic--I wish I had found it sooner.

    About me: I've been drawing maps as long as I have been able to hold a pencil, which, in my case, is approaching 30 years now. Unfortunately, "real" life has prevented me from really getting into it like I would have liked. I've only recently looked into the electronic realm of map making. It's as if a whole new world was opened before me.

    In any event, despite calling myself "The Cartographist" (a handle from several other forums prior to me finding this one), I am in no way in the same league as many of the people who post here. I hope that I do not offend.

    I have two questions, for anyone willing to answer them:

    1. Can somebody please explain to me the big deal about Campaign Cartographer? (Before I am stoned to death, let me explain myself, keeping in mind that my personal biases probably are the reason for this question.)
    * MOST of the work that I have seen generated from it doesn't really impress me.
    * This is a personal bias, but I prefer to look at maps on paper, and, unless I am mistaken (which is very possible), to print most of the work from that program would kill the average ink cartridge in about ten maps. I would much rather have a decent map on a piece of paper, than a very detailed, colorful map that I could only look at on a computer screen.
    * In MOST of the work that I have seen from CC, the result is a map that looks, well, computer generated, i.e. technical or futuristic and not "fantasy". What is the point of having a map of an ancient shrine to the elven gods if it implicitly looks like it was created using technology?

    2. For those members who may be professionals who post here, is there any etiquette with respect to plugging their work or professional activities?

    I sincerely hope these questions don't offend; I'm just trying to find my way in the world.

  2. #2
      pyrandon is offline
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    Welcome! I'm glad you signed up and I hope you contribute often and much. Never be afraid to ask questions, offer advice, or even post tutorials on your specialties! Plus post two million maps for us to enjoy!

    I cannot answer #2 at all, but on #1 "The Grand Debate" between CC and other apps has been mentioned here before, so I do not think you will offend in raising it as long as you're open, honest, and kind (which you obviously are!) Also, this is a good place to ask since I think we boast perhaps the most talented CC users as members here, so you will get the absolutely best possible answer to your question.

    Much of the answer to your quandry lies in the differnece between raster and vector apps. I myself use Photoshop because I find it fits my predelictions toward free-hand maps. Also, the ease of use in CC's symbol sets is in my mind the program's most powerful attribute. Finally, IMHO there is usually some nostalgia and personal history wrapped into most CC users' love of the program; what I mean is that Profantasy, being the best of the early mapping programs, drew many users "way back when" who are still loyal to the program today.

    Those are my two bits' worth; I'm sure others will be able to round the edges out for you, too. In general, though, I think it's true that the artist/cartographer is more important than the user. A great user with a good eye could create a nice map in CC3 or Photoshop or GIMP or... Perhaps not every one is to every single person's tastes, but still the quality is there. Look around our board and hopefully you'll see what I mean.

    Once again, welcome!
    Last edited by pyrandon; 11-25-2007 at 08:56 PM.
    Don
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  3. #3
      thebax2k is offline
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    Welcome Cartographist! It's always great to see another enthusiast join the board. After being amazed by NeonKnight's incredible creations, I'm curious to see what your handrawn pictures look like (if you feel up to posting any).

    I'm sure Arcana, Ravells, and Pyrandon (wow, he posted even before I finished this) will be posting their answers to your CC question shortly, but from what I can see, Campaign Cartographer is valued because it's a specialized cad program that enables you to turn out decent maps in minutes to hours instead of tens to hundreds of hours. The basic maps that come out of it do look a bit sterile and computerized, but if you poke around the Guild, you'll find a lot of folks here who can start with a CC image, or something from the Gimp, or that city/town generator that was linked to recently and manipulate it into something amazing. One of the "themes" that runs through many of the Guild's threads is being able to turn out slick, sharp maps in a relatively small amount of time--CC can help you do that.

    Good luck mapping and welcome to the Guild.

  4. #4
      Robbie is offline
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    2) Due to our latest rise in popularity (site use has increased a LOT lately) we're starting to hash out how we're going to handle things like freelancer advertisements and competitive advertisements and cross-site proselytizing...More info coming soon...

    1) As for CC...I've even got it listed in my sig, but its slowly starting to disappear from my radar given some of the work I've seen from some of the illustrative cartographers on here.

    Welcome aboard!!!
    Robbie Powell - Site Admin

  5. #5
      jaerdaph is offline
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    Welcome, TC! Glad to have you here.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Cartographist View Post
    1. Can somebody please explain to me the big deal about Campaign Cartographer? (Before I am stoned to death, let me explain myself, keeping in mind that my personal biases probably are the reason for this question.)
    * MOST of the work that I have seen generated from it doesn't really impress me.
    * This is a personal bias, but I prefer to look at maps on paper, and, unless I am mistaken (which is very possible), to print most of the work from that program would kill the average ink cartridge in about ten maps. I would much rather have a decent map on a piece of paper, than a very detailed, colorful map that I could only look at on a computer screen.
    * In MOST of the work that I have seen from CC, the result is a map that looks, well, computer generated, i.e. technical or futuristic and not "fantasy". What is the point of having a map of an ancient shrine to the elven gods if it implicitly looks like it was created using technology?
    No offense taken. I've been using Campaign Cartographer for about ten years now. I think it's important to remember that, first and foremost, CC is a roleplaying tool to aid non-artists to make maps for their roleplaying games. It isn't meant to be a graphics uber-program like Photoshop or the GIMP that the industry pros and many very talented amateur enthusiasts like you will meet here use for their maps. This is not to say you can't push CC to it's limits, like many of us here are doing. CC3, the latest version, has made it easier for the non-artist gamer to make maps in less amount of time while hiding the powerful CAD engine under its hood. But that engine is still there ready and waiting for those who want to put the petal to the metal and experiment with their own styles and creations.

    There are many styles of maps, from simple two color black and white drawings to elaborate photorealistic renderings like you'll see here, all of which are a matter of preference. Some folks like the photorealistic fantasy maps, others prefer the look of hand drawn maps. It all comes down to personal preference and the genre of the RPG (not to mention your ink cartridge budget!) I suppose.

    I don't consider myself an artist and first came to CC to aid my gaming experience. But over time, CC has become for me a hobby unto itself separate from gaming because I really enjoy the time I spend using it experimenting and creating, not necessarily for something I plan to use in a game. I always enjoyed making RPG maps on graph paper when I was a kid (and there were no PCs yet). CC appealed to my non-artist mindset with its CAD engine (rooted in science and engineering).

    With that said, membership in the Guild combined with CC3's new and improved support for raster images, however, has helped me to get in touch with the artist I never knew I had inside me. I've just begun experimenting with the GIMP, for example.

    Anyhow, I hope that makes sense. I look forward to seeing your work soon.
    jaerdaph
    JUST ADD HEROES An ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying Game Blog by Joe "jaerdaph" Bardales

  6. #6
      NeonKnight is offline
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    Welcome;

    As most others have said, CC and it's latest CC3 is useful to aid the non-artistically inclined to make a maps.

    As to the sterile maps, well, that is (in my opinion) more a limit of the mapper not the program.

    I find CC3 so versatile one can use it to quickly make maps like the old D&D Mods of yesteryear (in fact, I know Jeardeaph has been helping out the Profantasy folks to bring this out as the December addition to the annual), to complex maps. These can then be exported to other software like Photoshop, GIMP etc to tweak even further.
    Daniel the Neon Knight: Campaign Cartographer User

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    MY 'FAMOUS' CC3 MAPS: Thunderspire; Pyramid of Shadows; King of the Trollhaunt Warrens; Demon Queen's Enclave

  7. #7
      Valarian is offline
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    Campaign Cartographer, as others have said, aids the artistically incompetent (like me) to produce half decent maps. Thos who have a modicum of talent can also use Campaign Cartographer to produce maps, but of much higher quality. The difference is that CC3 is a CAD package (using vector graphics) rather than an art package (using bitmaps). The difference then becomes ability to zoom in to the image without losing any sharpness.

    For examples of what an artist with talent can do with CC2/CC3, just have a look at Allyn Bowker's website. He tends to use Campaign Cartographer and can get amazing results without resorting to post-work elsewhere. (Although sometimes going in to Photoshop for post-work would probably be easier)
    http://www.darkleagues.com/fantasymapping/index.html
    http://www.darkleagues.com/fantasyma...ique-style.htm
    http://www.darkleagues.com/fantasyma...rlandviews.htm
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  8. #8
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    Default Thanks, All, and Well Met

    Thanks for the various views on CC. It's really nice to go someplace new, ask a question, and have several people answer it almost immediately.

    Thanks, Valarian, for the links. Allyn definitely does some impressive work.

    Hopefully, I'll get something in the forums for people to take a look at.

  9. #9
      ravells is offline
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    Welcome to the Guild! I don't really have anything more to add to what has already been said. Like Arcana, I was a long time CC2 user but I now prefer using dedicated vector and raster drawing software instead. The biggest gun in CC's arsenal is its symbol library, which you will not find in programmes like Inkscape/illustrator or Gimp/Photoshop unless you make your own.

    If what you are after is a 'hand drawn' finish, then you might find that you are better off drawing your own individual symbols. The reason for this is that the human eye is incredibly adept at seeing repetition and when it sees it, 'computer generated' immediately springs to mind.

    CC does allow you to create your own symbols to complement the existing symbol library, but (and this is my own view) I always found editing and producing new symbols in CC2 quite difficult.

    If your preference is to look at maps on paper, then I would suggest you look at hand drawing your maps, scanning them and then editing / colouring them with a raster program like Gimp or Photoshop. To my mind this combination has delivered the best of both worlds for the creation of artistic, handrawn looking maps.

    If you would like to learn a little more about software options, have a look at this thread.

    Enjoy your stay at the guild!

    Ravs

  10. #10
      pyrandon is offline
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    Cartographist, I'm giving you some rep because in just a few days of your having joined our community, you have posted often and been both friendly and helpful to absolutely everyone. You are a great member here!
    Don
    GM, Westaven
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    __________________________________________________ _______
    "Keep your mind in hell, but despair not." --Saint Silouan [1866-1938]

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