Hi from a new member!
I've been lurking for a while and finally decided to introduce myself and pose a few questions. My first question really revolves around a time issue. I'm new to the hobby and I really just want to create some decent looking maps for my D&D encounters and maybe a world map also. I know that there must be a time:quality correlation somewhere so how do you manage that aspect of the hobby. The second question I have really relates to a software issue (which in a way relates to my first question). I know that there's no "wrong" software to use and I don't want to start a this vs. that flaming thread :) So with that being said I've tried GIMP, the Fractal Mapper 8 tutorial (plus the 255 page Vintyri tutorial), and AutoREALM. I found GIMP kind of hard to use and maybe that's because I don't have a degree in the Graphic Arts. AutoREALM is a nice idea but I have a heck of a time working with it. So I've narrowed my choices down to FM8 and CC3 with the Dungeon and City Builder but I'm having trouble deciding. Given that money is tight, Is CC3 with the add ons REALLY worth $140? I mean I can get FM8 for $40 and it seems like an alright program through the tutorials. All I want to do is make some decent looking battle mats and maybe a world map. I won't be making posters or other professional type stuff. So with that long winded introduction which do you think think that be better suited to my needs and budget?
If you could just provide a little direction I would be more than grateful.
Thanks in advance for your assistance
Time to create a map is different from everybody. I am one of the fastest mappers you'll meet. I can create most maps in a day or two, but then I am a professional and create dozens of maps each month. Some people take weeks to do one map, it all depends on your familiarity with software, the understanding of techniques and knowing what you want ahead of time.
Software is just as individual. Even if you think GIMP requires a graphic arts degree, it doesn't. Just follow the tutorials in this forum and you'll learn GIMP for your needs right quick, but you have to follow the step by step tutorials to 'get it'. Sure is complex, but simple software is generally too limited. Campaign Cartographer is a great suite of programs, but it is CAD and it does have a steep learning curve. If you want to make maps quick - I think you're better off doing the tuts for GIMP as GIMP is free open source software.
GIMP is a great choice if you don't mind a little struggle right off the bat. It's powerful and (once you get the hang of it) easy to use. It's what I use and I think I turn out some decent stuff. That being said CC3 is an awesome program and makes making very nice maps easy. If I had the extra money to spend (which after being out of work for almost 7 months and being a single father I don't) I would get it simply for the City Designer software. It's a personal choice but it's hard to beat free. And there are plenty of other GIMP users in this community that would be glad to help you along. :)
Well, ALL my maps are in CC3, and I love the software. Course you may hear the same by the FM8 people too. If you can try the demo version of the software's offer: http://www.profantasy.com/library/demo.asp
Hi guys, thanks for the welcomes and for getting back to me so quickly. Thanks too for the advice etc. I ponied up the $45 for CC3. Like anything else I found out that finding the right software to use is a compromise. I bought CC3 mainly because I actually like the cartoony map style. Like a few of the people on here I don't particularly like the interface, but once you get used to it it's not so bad. As for the learning curve I do agree that it requires a bit of time and effort to learn, but what doesn't? I've only been using it for a few days now, and I'm no expert, but I think I have many of the basics down. One of the things that I don't like is that it's difficult to select just one entity. Maybe it's just me though. We'll see how I like it in a few weeks and that'll determine if I buy the city maker and dungeon designer. I'm rambling again and I don't want to take up too much of your time so I have just one last thing to ask. Do you have any tips on using CC3? They would be much appreciated :)
Well, if you have questions about CC3 and its add ons, NK (NeonKnight) is your Go To man. Not the only one mind you, but he skims the forum looking for "CC3" in the subject line and will usually be able to answer most (if not all) of you beginer questions. So I would suggest starting a WIP (Work In Progress) thread and if you have any questions about how to do things in CC3, ask them there. WIP threads are also more likely to get help from other sources as well. Not just on the software techniques, but also suggestions on appearences and geography as well.
Welcome to the Guild, by the way, and enjoy the voyage to the (soon to be charted) boundless Imagination.
Oh, and by the way, don't be worried about flaming around here.....very heavily frowned upon don't you know.....we all want to help make great maps and to help people learn how. :) The help you will get in the WIPs are all offered with that goal in mind.