First what programs you will use to do your maps? Are you doing by hand? Do you want free softwares?
Here is a link to a software company that you may like: http://www.profantasy.com/
I have been looking around the internet, and here, to see if anyone has attempted or completed any maps for Judges Guild - Wilderlands of High Fantasy. I can't seem to find anything so I'm thinking this may be worth taking on. The standard maps are boring and lack the kind of detail I'd like, plus many cities/areas have not been fully mapped.
I definitely don't have the talent that I see represented in many of the projects on this site, but hopefully with some guidance I can produce something worth presenting. So if you've seen anything that I may have missed, please let me know. Otherwise, to those pro's out there, any 'getting started' pointers are welcome!
I've tried the demo version of it but the learning curve seemed pretty steep. I have years of experience with Photoshop, not doing anything grand but I know the software really well. However, I've never done any mapping with Photoshop. I have done some mapping for a Traveller campaign using Hexographer but not sure if I can achieve the level of detail I'd like with it.
Maybe I should take another look at CC3, just watched the tutorial and it does look impressive. Perhaps a combination of CC3 and Photoshop (to fine-tune the finished product).
I use almost everytihng of ProFantasy plus Fractal Terrains 3 to do all my map stuff. The annuals have a lot of good material. But Photoshop is a great tool. Maybe you dont need CC. There is GIMP (its free), maybe you want to take a look on it.
If you know your way around Photoshop then stick with that. You've already won half the battle. Just follow a tutorial or two and you'll be fine and figuring out all your own methods real quickly. In my opinion you are correct about Campaign Cartographer - it has quite a steep (and kind of unintuitive) learning curve. Some of those that use it can create some fantastic maps, people like Gandwarf and I think it's Cereth that is doing great stuff with the city designer but they are the exception.