Hatshepsut 3dWelcome to the April newsletter, dear cartographers! We have some news on the Dioramas add-on and the Source Maps series this month, a run-down by Remy on the new update for CC3+, Sue finishes her parchments and scrolls tutorial, while Pär Lindström starts his own on overland mapping.


  • Take a look at what’s on the cartographer’s desk: Dioramas Pro can now be installed with CC3+, Dioramas 3+ is in the works and Source Maps compatibility updates will be available soon.
  • Update 16 is available on the registration page to bring your version of CC3+ up to 3.82.
  • The April issue of the Cartographer’s Annual 2018 is available.
  • The May issue of the Annual can be previewed here.



Italy CoastlinePär Lindström is a Swedish fantasy cartographer and map-maker and long time contributor to the Cartographer’s Annual. His maps appear in a wide-variety of Swedish and international role-playing publications. Here is his take on creating an overland map in CC3+.

I’ve used Campaign cartographer for a long time and have made more maps then I can remember, both for personal use and for commissions. This will be part one in a series where I will describe the process I use while making maps.

First of all you have to have an idea of what you are going to map. I usually find inspiration in many different places, it might be that I’m playing an RPG with my family and we need a map for the next session or it might just be an idea that I want to put on paper, or in this case digital paper.

Paper SketchFor this tutorial I’m going to make a map of an area that I’m calling the Three River Kingdoms. It’s an idea I’ve had for a while of an area where you have some kingdoms all separated by three large rivers.

The first thing I do before I start to map is to sketch the map on paper. You can do this both with pen and paper or you can do it digitally. The important thing is that you can have the finished sketch in digital form.

So why is this important? Well I find it so much easier to work in Campaign Cartographer 3+ (CC3+) when I already have a clear idea of what I want to complete. Especially since the order you put down symbols in are quite important. Of course you can change the order of the symbols via the commands “Bring to front” or “Send to back”, but putting things in the right order from the beginning makes your work go much smoother.

New Map WizardI usually start out by looking at some nice coastlines in Google maps, borrowing from mother earth usually gives you a much better looking map in the end. You can of course make up your own coastline if you want to but I prefer borrowing because it gives me a better end result. In this case I’ve used an area in Italy. Don’t be afraid to move things around a bit, I moved the large Island and rotated it a bit for example.

When I have the area I start drawing on top of it, sketching out some key areas like forests, mountains and rivers. Just so you will know where to add in symbols in a later step.

Next I create the file in CC3+. Since I’m making an A4 map and the pixels of an A4 map in 300 dpi is 3508×2480, that is also the size I’m making the map in CC3+. The reason for this is that when I import the sketch I know it will fit perfectly in the map.

When the map is created I’m adding a SHEET that I name SKETCH. This is where I want to place the sketch map I made earlier. Make sure that the SHEET is placed second to the top just below the SHEET BACKGROUND.

Sheet SetupCheck that the SKETCH SHEET is selected and Click Draw/Insert file from the menu and add in the file. To do this you need to first left click with the mouse in the top right corner on the map and then move the mouse curser to the bottom left corner and left click. You will now have a SHEET with your sketch map.

Now it is time to start drawing the actual map, which I will cover in my next post.

Pär lindström – CC3 user for ten years and creater of a handfull styles for the annuals. Follow his mapping days at www.instagram.com/imaginarymaps/

Dioramas ProWhat have I been up to recently, you may ask? Well, I will answer, I’ve been working to make Campaign Cartographer 3 obsolete. But, I hasten to add, only by updating everything to work with CC3+!

Campaign Cartographer 3 and CC3+

When we release a new version of Canpaign Cartographer, we go through a long process of making all the add-ons compatible. While the process continues, users need to keep CC3 and CC3+ installed to use all our add-ons. That process is nearing its end.

Dioramas Pro

The only standard add-on that wasn’t available for CC3+ yet, is Dioramas Pro. While we are also working on Dioramas 3+, we decided to release the compatibility update for Dioramas Pro, so you don’t need to keep CC3 installed for that single add-on. That compatibility update is available on the registration page now, among the other Diorama downloads. It allows you to use all the existing functionality and example maps in CC3+.

This removes the slightly frustrating issue that the popular Fantasy Mapper bundle still required you to install CC3 if you wanted to use all of its assets.
Dio 3 Textures

Dioramas 3

But of course we don’t want to stop at that. The main project I’ve been working on is updating and expanding Dioramas into a true version 3+ product, with expanded bitmap support, drawing styles and everything. To that effect, Sue Daniel has created new tiling bitmap textures to greatly expand the range of available “materials” that can be used for the models, from straw-covered floors, via adobe walls to roofs of corrugated tin.

Dioramas 3+ will be our next big release and we are excited to see all our drawing add-ons updated to full version 3 standard.

Which brings me to the final products that need to be updated: the Source Maps series.
Bellegarde 3d

The Source Maps

Remy has created compatibility updates for SM: Castles, SM: Temples, Tombs and Catacombs as well as SM: Cities and is working on one for the World War 2 Interactive Atlas. I’ve created the setup files for the formerthree and these are currently in beta-testing and – barring any major issues showing up – should be available next week.

After Dioramas 3+ we’ll be looking at giving the Source Maps products the “version 3+” treatment, though we are not entirely sure how that will look yet and how many new maps it will entail. We’ll keep you posted, but in the meantime here is a little sneak peek how parts of it may look:
Hatshepsut 3d

Hm, what to pick from the huge amount of beautiful maps posted over the last month!? This is really the toughest job, let’s see…

Gurnic: A Kingdom in Erdan’s World
by Medio is a gorgeous use of the DeRust overland style from the Annual Vol 7 with some custom symbols added.
Continue reading »

Example ScrollWelcome to part 3 of Sue Daniels’ tutorial on creating parchments textures and scrolls in GIMP, where she explains various options of how to produce scroll images from the textures created in part 1 and 2. If you haven’t done it yet, you should first follow part 1 and part 2. As this part is somehwat longer and more involved, we’re providing most of it as a pdf download instead of directly on the blog. Let’s follow Sue along…

This tutorial describes how to use a flat piece of parchment to create a very simple scroll viewed from directly above, using the GIMP.

Due to the length of this tutorial I shall assume that many of the actions used in Parts 1 and 2 of Making parchments and parchment scrolls have been absorbed into the recent memory of interested readers, and that I do not need to repeat them in similar detail here. Where this is the case I will simply list the path in bold text, rather than showing it as a screenshot.

Again, because this tutorial is relatively complex and quite long, I have provided two source files here for you to use, so that you have the materials used in the making of this tutorial. These are the parchment and table top textures that Profantasy has kindly agreed to host. Both these images are my own originals and Royalty Free. They may be used for any purpose you wish.

The numbering of the steps in this tutorial continues from the end of Part 2, so we start at number 37. Words in bold in the instructions are menu items, layer names, or settings in dialog boxes – depending on context.

Continue with the pdf…

About the author: Sue Daniel is active as a cartographer and artist both on the Profantasy community forum and the Cartographer’s Guild. There, she has won 1 Lite Challenge and 3 Main Challenges, and just recently one of the annual Atlas Awards for most creative map in 2017. She has produced many beautiful art assets for CC3+ (such as the “Sue’s Parchments” Annual issue) and mapping in general that are free to use for anyone.

Update 16 to CC3+ just released (get it from your registration page), and with it comes a long list of added commands and fixes. Let us have a look at those new commands, and discuss how to use them in your mapping efforts.

I’ve divided this post into two different sections. The first part describes the new features that are useful in your mapping, while the second describe the more technical commands. I recommend you give both sections a view, but many users will probably want to just glance over the technical section and see what is relevant for them.

Do note that all the new commands in this update is presently only available as command line commands, which you must type manually on the CC3+ command line, they are not available in the menus or toolbars yet. Don’t let this discourage you however, as using a command from the command line is just a case of typing in the command on your keyboard and hitting enter (as long as you are not currently in the middle of another command). The rest is just doing as the command line tells you, which you should be familiar with from many other commands already.

The Fun Stuff

Contours from raster images

So, let us start with one of the more exiting additions to CC3+. Previously, if you wanted to import a map you had drawn in another program into CC3+, you would have to import it as a background image, and then manually trace over it with the drawing tools to recreate the map in CC3+, as there was no way for CC3+ to generate proper drawing entities from your image, such as landmasses.

However, with the new CONTOURSM command, this has changed. To start out with expectations for this command, what this command does is to find edges in your image, where edges are defined as transparent vs non-transparent pixels. This makes it a nice command to automatically convert an image of a landmass into a CC3+ polygon, but it is not a general solution for converting any kind of image and get all the details converted to CC3+. So, what this command mainly does is that it saves you from manually tracing the outline of your landmass. For anyone who have done this with a complicated landmass, they should quickly realize how big of a time saver this is.

So, to explain the use of this command, here is a brief mini-tutorial on its use. I will take an image of an island and turn that into a proper CC3+ editable drawing entity.

Note that even if this tutorial uses a landmass as an example, the use of this command is not limited to landmasses.

    1. Before we begin in CC3+, we need an image of our landmass. I’ve used the below image for this. However, as I mentioned above, CC3+ detects the edges based on transparent vs non-transparent pixels, so I can’t just insert this image. I need to edit it in an image editor first, and make the seas transparent and the landmass a solid color. Since this is a CC3+ tutorial and not a tutorial on image editing, I won’t go into the details here, but generally you should be able to just load the image into your favorite image editor, and then use the magic wand or similar selection tools with a reasonable tolerance to select sea areas and make them transparent. The second image below shows my landmass after this process.

Continue reading »

CA136_DyranorFor the April issue we are looking up into the sky to view the stars and find the patterns they make.

Inspired by the work of Alastair McBeath (Wyvern) and with his permission, we have taken the star charts he created for the Community Atlas project and converted them into templates, drawing tools and symbol catalogs for the Star Charts mapping style. These allow you to map out the night sky spanning over your fictional world and connect the different stars to form constellations, adding to the myth and wonder of the world.

If you don’t want to place hundreds of stars by hand, the Star Charts style makes special use of the new Symbols in Area command to let you automatically and randomly fill the sky with stars of different magnitudes and colors. You can then use the included drawing tools to connect the most significant stars to form constellations that spring out from the jumble of lights in the sky. Check out the issue’s details on the Annual 2018 web page.

MyrklundAlso see a preview of the Annual’s May issue and its Myrklund overland style by Glynn Seal.

You can subscribe to the Annual 2018 here. Once you have subscribed, the March issue will immediately become available for download on your registration page.

Attention: This Annual issue needs the latest update for CC3+ to work. Please log into your registration page to download and install Update 15 for CC3+.

Welcome to part 2 of Sue Daniels’ tutorial on creating parchments textures and scrolls in GIMP, where she explains various options of how to vary the resulting parchments. If you haven’t done it yet,
you should first follow part 1.

Part 2 – Optional extras

Varying the basic technique

CTRL + Z is your friend. This is the ‘undo’ button, and I use it all the time. This handy keyboard shortcut makes experimentation so much more rewarding.

Varying the basic technique is a good way of producing a wide range of parchment or paper textures. Varying the initial colour at step 4 is the most obvious. You might also experiment with the opacity of the plasma layer, or alter the modes of both the plasma and noise layers just to see what happens – there is a whole range of possibilities.

Making a parchment that is other than square

There is a very good reason why the basic parchment tutorial was done as a square. While everything else works fine, the Plasma filter used at step 7 distorts if your file has a long side. In the extreme case this is what happens:

This file was created four times as long as it is tall (1000 pixels x 250 pixels). The plasma layer looks like it’s been stretched sideways, and is no good at all unless you really want the result to look stretched for a particular effect you have in mind.

Fortunately, it is relatively easy to remedy this problem.
Continue reading »

After Joe Sweeney’s and Tony Crawford’s tutorials we have now a third excellent and prolific YouTube channel. Josh Plunkett, who also administers the CC3+ Facebook community, provides an excellent set of starting tutorials for CC3+ and its add-ons. Check it out here:

Tokens on Battle mapWelcome to the March newsletter, cartographers! We have a preview of a new product line, Remy’s monthly article, Sue Daniel continues her tutorial and Jon C Munson II tells you how he imitates the art of Mike Schley.




Be sure to check out our community forum and the CC3+ Facebook user group for discussions, help, suggestions and many, many maps.

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