Howdy. I have a few CC3 questions:
I have CC2 Pro and the Tome of Ultimate Mapping. I barely know how to use CC2 and am thinking of upgrading to CC3 and diving in. My main uses in 2009 will be mapping:
* The fantasy world I'm making
* Small outdoor regions (25 sq mi down to 1 sq mi)
* Outdoor encounter areas
* Fantasy planes and weird areas
* Small planar regions and encounter areas
* Making smaller maps of Ptolus neighbourhoods for my D&D campaign
Here are my questions:
* Does the Tome help with CC3? Should I maybe learn CC2 with it first then upgrade to CC3? Or are there better tutorials out there for CC3 and I can just upgrade, throw away the Tome, and start learning.
* Is Fractal Terrains a valuable add-on for what I want to map this year?
* What about City Designer, and the Fantasy Symbol Set?
* Any other add-ons I should consider?
Thanks for the help!
The only advice I can give:
- IF you decide to upgrade to CC3 you'll gets lots of symbols. Check them out first and then decide if you want any of the Symbol Sets.
- City Designer 3 is very great addon I think, but only if you plan to map a lot of cities, towns or large neighbourhoods.
I have no experience with CC2, the Tome or Fractal Mapper. When comparing maps between CC2 and CC3 the maps made with CC3 always look better. I am not sure if the features are a lot better or just the graphics.
The Tome's support files are not compatible with CC3, but I understand that most of the tutorials and such within it are still very useful. I don't have it, myself; I'm going to wait for the update, so don't take what I say about that subject as gospel.
Fractal Terrains is very nice if you need worlds completely from scratch or you want heightmap data. If you already have an idea of how you want your world to look, then I'd skip it for now.
City Designer is a wonderful product, but I think you might actually want to look at Dungeon Designer first--that's where you're going to get a lot of help for encounter-level maps.
Also, take a look at the Cartographers' Annual. Each month has a nice tutorial that produces a new and significantly different style. Most of them are overland maps with CC3 alone, but there are also some months with further support for Profantasy's other products.
Wow, Good questions, and I have good answers, BUT, I am alittle pressed for time. I will COME BACK and answer later today.
OK, gots some time to answer questions.
Originally Posted by JohnnFour
Hard to say. Depends on what your uses are. It can make a mean, mean world map, and exports it to a file format viewable in CC3. Very useful in my opinion, but again, hard to say how much use you will get from it.
City Designer/Symbol Sets
CD3 is VERY useful. As said above once you become skilled in it's tools, you can crank out cities in no-time flat, and that is extremely important. The symbol sets are another great add on. Great to get additional symbol styles for mapping, especially the DD3 symbol add-ons.
As to other Add-Ons I cannot say enough about if you can I highly, HIGHLY recommend purchasing the annuals. These are basically monthly tutorials/Symbol Packs/Templates etc that give new ways to do things in CC3. Sure you could try and figure it all out yourself, but some of the add-ons from the tutorials are features that exist only if you purchase the annuals.
Wow, you pop up everywhere, eh? ;)
My advice is to use the Tome with CC2 for awhile. Climb the software's learning curve and get used to the interface. If you like the results, upgrade to CC3. If not, you've saved the expense and have cash for another cartography package.
The Tome is excellent, but not 100% applicable to CC3. That said, CC3 improves on several CC2 functions. What I read most from new users is that the interface is difficult and that they have a hard time producing quality maps quickly. CCx takes time and practice to learn, so be prepared to expend some effort.
CC3 is easier to use than CC2, but but not as valuable without the annuals. There are a number of user-created tutorials, a lot of CCx support on the web, and the quick-start PDFs are more than enough to give you confidence to experiment.
Fractal Terrains is good, but not fully integrated with CC3. I also find its climate model lacking, and there's no plate tectonics (if you're into that kind of detail). On the plus side, it offer the best selection of map projections, excellent export functions (particularly to CC2), and the ability to customise many parms.
City Designer and Fantasy Symbol set aren't essential for what you're doing, but they'll give you faster and easier options. As others suggested, I'd recommend Dungeon Designer. One thing that CCx doesn't do well "out of the box" (and doesn't cover in the add-ons) is a good local map tool (smaller than sub-continent, larger than city). Maybe that's an upcoming annual...
I've used CCx since the DOS days. While it's never disappointed, it's not the first tool I reach for when I need a map in less than 3 hours. If you're looking for a worthy competitor, I could suggest nbos' Fractal Mapper (www.nbos.com). It doesn't have CCx's level of precision, but offers an easier interface, is highly customisable, and integrates with the Inspiration Pad random generator. There's also a tie-in script with the Random City Generator software, so you can create random settlements of any size in record time.
Let us know what you end up with. Cheers,
Thanks for the great advice. I think my main requirement is dungeon/building/location maps, so I'll hold off on the terrains stuff.
Definitely gonna check out the annuals.
I'm warring with CCx vs. Photoshop now. Buying PS gets me some map capability plus website graphics plus synergizes with a bit of my day job. Price is a barrier. I wonder if eBay has people selling older versions of PS because they've upgraded. Just thought of that! I'm off to eBay now!
An excellent idea. I haven't found a whole lot I wanted to do with Photoshop that I couldn't do with version 7.
If you can get hold of Photoshop CS for cheap enough, though, you can upgrade to CS4 for only $200.
There's actually tons of stuff up on eBay. Buyer beware though, I suppose.