dnd mapper trying digital approach
Thank you all for the helpful website and cool maps gallery. I have been reading Cartographer's Guild on-and-off for a couple years, studying especially recently, and finally decided to Register, join, post and say hello, and thanks. Seems like there is a wave of Introduction posts from new people like me, saying thank you, introducing ourselves, and mentioning what we are working on map-wise.
Always loved maps, don't we all! Many maps hang on my walls and in my collections. I admire the cartographers of print and online published maps. Real world and fantasy RPG (old school D&D and Tolkien inspired are favorites of mine). Atlases of the real world are cherished and studied, along with Google Earth and Google Maps. AD&D world settings like Forgotten Realms (many box sets with poster maps) and third party published or creative-commons shared maps, are all excellent for looking over, as well.
For some decades since childhood I have created novice handdrawn maps, occasionally. Mostly dungeon maps on graph paper, overland maps handdrawn not-to-scale.
Recently I am trying my hand at digital map making. I have Photoshop and Illustrator with moderate training. I use them for work, and I know they are plenty powerful for creating maps from scratch, but I think it would be fun to work in a map-making program instead of starting with a blank page. I'm interested in the fantasy map making software, for faster world creation and displaying at different map projections, then zooming in to campaign-level, regional level, and city-state level.
Currently trying the 14-day trial of Fractal Terrains, and interested in trying Campaign Cartographer -- might buy, both from ProFantasy. Also looking at NBOS products, Fractal Mapper.
What I am trying to do, restated --- Create a whole world overview, view it as a globe, zoom in and make a map of a continent level. Then zoom in, make a regional level map. Then zoom in, make a state map. Then zoom in, make a city-area map. Each map with more detail, but not needing to detail the whole world at the regional detail amount. This world is completely made-up, however, as DM, I am fitting some module settings into the landscape, and I have certain restrictions for where these towns, environments, climates, should be located in relation to each other. Example: Coastal town with lizard swamp nearby, mountains off to the North. Some of the usual tropes to get the variety of overland settings. Then be able to overlay a nice grid (probably hex, with smaller hexes inside it), and be able to demonstrate and measure distances.
Any overview tips on how to approach this ^^ would be welcome. Which software, which tutorials, which add-ons or macros or annuals or styles to start with? (From lots of reading online, I currently lean towards buying CC3, along with Fractal Terrains. Also I am picking up on the tip of getting a Wacom tablet to try with my Photoshop.)
Thanks for making this forum as a place to find tips and answers, and ask when I have specific questions!