In CC3+, you can make maps in many styles. Out of the box, CC3+ comes with at least 6 different overland styles, as well as a simple dungeon and city style. Depending on what style you choose, your map will look very different visually.

You’ve probably already learned that some styles are just better for some types of maps, and that is indeed one of the points with the different styles, to provide good options for many different kind of maps, but also to provide variety.

Of course, even if CC3+ comes with many styles, and many more are added if you own the various add-ons, symbol sets and annuals, part of the great flexibility of CC3+ is the ability to customize it to your needs, and one of the things you can do in that regard is to create new styles or customize existing ones to fit your needs. So, let us have a look at what a style really is, and what elements make up a style.

This article will provide a detailed overview of the process of creating your own style, but it does assume some familiarity with some of the processes

Elements of a style

Each style is made up from the following elements, all of which should be familiar to you already.

  • Bitmap Fills: Almost all styles need fills, and unless you are designing a vector style, these will be bitmap fills. Fills are a very prominent part of any style and are a major factor in setting the visual look of the style.
  • Symbols: While you can make a map without using symbols, most maps do use them. Symbols are usually designed to match the fills of the style.
  • Drawing Tools: These tools are set up to draw various shapes, such as landmasses and terrain, using the fill styles defined for the style.
  • Effects: All styles have their own unique set of effects, tailored to that style of map.
  • Template: The template is the glue that brings all these elements together. Bitmap fills are referenced from the template, macros load the correct symbol settings, the correct set of drawing tools is set as a property in the template, and effects are embedded in the template, ready to activate.

Note that almost all styles have all the elements above, but they can be shared among several styles. For example, both the bitmap styles in SS3 uses the same bitmap fills, but they have their own unique set of symbols. You can also make a style that collects multiple styles into one.

Let us dig into these elements and see how to make them

Continue reading »

CA138 The Old CityFor the June issue and the half-way point of the year we have a new set of symbols by Pär Lindström. Not a full drawing style, but a fantastic addition to existing city maps – a set of ruined buildings. Need to depict some of the ancient ruins your thriving trade city is built on? A village was just recently burned to the ground and your looting adventurers are sifting through the rubble? Those mossy stones on the hill beckon a party of treasure hunters? Don’t worry, the City Ruins symbol pack has you covered.

More than a hundred new symbols allow you to map those old town ruins, or that big rubble city quarter in detail and style. The accompanying mapping guide discusses how best set up the included symbols with sheets and effects.

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

The LandmassThis is the second part of my series about making an overland map in Campaign Cartographer, you can find the first part here.

Next step is to start drawing the land. At the moment we only have a water background and a SHEET with the sketch map. Select default landmass by clicking on the icon in the top left corner of the program. Fill in the land as it is in the sketch map, once you are done you will see the land texture as its SHEET is on top of the sketch. Now is also the time to fill in all the islands if you have any. Also remember that the sketch map is a sketch, if you feel like you want to change anything just do that, I for example added in some more small islands that I thought made the map look better.

When you are done you wont see the sketch map so you have to hide the SHEET with the land texture. To do this click on the SHEET and EFFECTS icon and mark the Land SHEET with an H in its right box, as in the picture. You will now be able to see the sketch map again.

When I start adding symbols to a map I always start in the upper left corner and work my way down while going from left to right. In this way I will always get the symbols in the right order, which will make it much quicker to finish the map. In this first step I’m only adding all the big strokes that means mountains, forests and rivers, just so that I’ll get a grip of the map. I also try to not make the terrain too square because that will make the map look stiff and boring. You want to have a map that feels organic, it will make it look much more alive. This is especially true when it comes to the rivers. Straight rivers don’t look god, try to make them curved so you will get a sense of that they are flowing. Also remember that rivers always branch out upwards. That means that you will have many starting points but only one end point. The only exception to this is if you have a river delta at the end where the river will meet the ocean.

Details addedAt this point the map looks rather empty so it is time to add in some more details. A good thing to do is also to hide the sketch maps SHEET so you can see all textures for your map. When I say details I mainly mean to add in some extra trees where the forest ends, adding some hills at the mountains edge and creating some deltas at the rivers. Don’t do too much at this stage since we will add in more details in the next step when it is time to actually start shaping our kingdoms. In my map I also added a volcano and some mountains on the right side map, mainly to get a better balance in the map. At this stage the main goal is to have a good base map that you can continue working on in the next step, that is when we will turn the map into a finished product.

Current Map

City of SanctuaryWelcome to the May newsletter, dear cartographers! We have news on the Source Maps series this month, another update for CC3+, two detailed articles on scale and scaling of maps by Remy Monsen and Glynn Seal, the second part of Pr Lindström’s series on overland maps and Maps of the Month from the user community.

News

  • The Source Maps series of products (Castles! Temples, Tombs & Catacombs! and Cities!) are now compatible with CC3+.
  • Update 17a is available on the registration page to bring your version of CC3+ up to 3.84.
  • The May issue of the Cartographer’s Annual 2018 is available.

Resources

Articles

Here is another collection of maps that have caught our eyes since the last “Maps of the Month” post. They are taken from the CC3+ Facebook community and the ProFantasy forum, and as usual are just a quasi-random selection from the multitude of maps that have been posted. Enjoy!

Western Rhaema by Andrew Hunter is a wonderful example of a “first map in CC3+. Andrew used the Mike Schley Inks symbols for a beautiful black and white style for his “Songreaver’s Tale” books.
Western Rhaema

With the Mymercia Maximus Colony Joshua Plunkett creates an unlikely merget of his hobbies of map-making and ant-collection. The map itself is also a merging of two styles: Vertical dungeons with Mike Schley’s Ink and Par Lindstrom’s B&W Dungeon.
Mymercia Maximus Colony

Vindell’s Tower by Luke Ó Scolaidhe is a great example of that is possible with Perspectives 3.
Vindell's Tower

The Isles of Vecta (or Wict) by Pete F depicts a far-future, post-apocalyptic version of England’s Isle of Wight.
The Isles of Vecta

The City of Sanctuary by Sue Daniel is a work in progress for the Community Atlas Project, but it already shows off wonderfully how to use sheet effects to depict height differences in a city map.
City of Sanctuary

The Source Maps series of products are for the most part collections of pre-drawn maps and adventure material that can be used stand-alone material. But they also contained templates, tools and symbols for use in CC3 to make maps in the same style yourself. Up until now these where not available for CC3+.

We are very happy to announce that we’ve now created compatibility updates for all three Source Maps products to install with CC3+. If you own one or more of these products, you only need to log into your registration account to download the respective “Setups for CC3+” from the product list.

Just be sure to install the latest update to CC3+ (Update 17) before these compatible Source Maps setups, as they require it for some new resources.

SM CastlesSource Maps: Castles!

Whether your characters need a stronghold, your villain needs an impregnable bastion, or your miniatures need a fort to besiege, Source Maps: Castles! is what you need to fire your imagination.

SM:Castles offers twenty-five archetypal castle layouts with surroundings and 3D views. Based on floorplans of the historical castles with conjectural detail, the plans paint a complete picture of these fortifications in their heyday. SM:C also offers you drawings, oodles of historical detail and fantasy adventure material to use in your favourite RPG.

SM: Temples...Source Maps: Temples, and Catacombs

Whether your priest needs a home, your vampire needs a crypt, or you just find sacred sites fascinating, Source Maps: Temples, Tombs and Catacombs is what you need to fire your imagination.

From the majestic Great Pyramid to the prehistoric megaliths of Stonehenge, SM:TTC gives you twenty five of the finest sacred sites you’ll find anywhere. With detailed floor plans, 3D views and surroundings, plus incredible historical and adventure material, this is an unparalleled resource for game masters and historians.

SM: CitiesSource Maps: Cities

Whether you want to sneak through dank alleyways, offload loot in a bustling market, or simply take in the grandeur and intrigue of the big city that you crave, Source Maps: Cities will kindle your imagination.

From the splendor of ancient Babylon to the squalor of medieval York, SM:Cities gives you the magic of eight fully-mapped cities and more than 70 urban floorplans, from immense temple complexes to Viking halls and longboats.

These updates leave only one product in our list that’s not compatible with CC3+ yet: The World War 2 Interactive Atlas. But rest assured, that situation won’t last long!

What is the scale of this map?

Sense of Scale 1

It is difficult to tell. There are no scale markers, scale bar, or grid overlay. The only things we see to gauge the scale is the graphical representation of the trees and the river. The river could be 3 miles wide or it could be 100 feet wide. We do not know. The trees narrow this down a little as we could assume a tree is 100 feet tall and take it from there. Still a guess, but we are getting more of a sense of scale.

If we assumed the river was 1 mile across, the trees would also be roughly a mile high, and the map confuses us because the trees are shown at a more exaggerated scale.

When a map needs almost no scale indications other than the graphical representations, it works best. The interpretation of the maps relationship between features becomes easier, and after all, that is the job of a map.

There is nothing wrong with having features out of scale compared to each other and then having scale bars and reference dimensions, but it tends to make the map feel odd if the features aren’t at least, to some degree, realistically scaled. If you have fun creating maps, that is the main point.

Here is a photo I took whilst coming in to land at an airport in England. Look at the trees. They look like broccoli.

This image is a great reference for how trees, fields, buildings, and roadways might look on your map of a similar scale.
For those interested, this is the location on Google Maps: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.3593088,-1.8766505,2134a,35y,90h,38.86t/data=!3m1!1e3

I can also highly recommend looking at the following resources to see how features look from above the ground:
• Google Maps – https://www.google.co.uk/maps/ (switch on terrain view). It also has a ‘tilt’ 3D feature that allows you to see features in oblique aerial view.
• Bing Maps – https://www.bing.com/maps (switch on aerial view). Also note that Bing Maps has a great ‘bird’s eye view’ feature that can help with oblique aerial views.
• Google Earth – https://www.google.co.uk/intl/en_uk/earth/. This really is a great tool in the mappers arsenal.

Measuring Tools

The above resources also allow you to measure distances and can be invaluable when you want to know how large half a mile, 5 miles or 40 miles looks from the air. Specifically, Google Earth has tools that allow you to place and measure the areas of circles, polygons. This is incredibly useful in garnering a sense of scale.

Scaling Trees

Let us take a quick look at trees. We all know what a clump of trees looks like, but they look different depending on how far away you are from them. If the map is a battlemap or a regional map, then representing trees (or other features) at the correct relative scale is important to aid a sense of scale for the map.

Let’s take a look at some differing sketches of trees that we could use to represent on a map.

Some links to ‘Top Down’ views of trees in order of proximity to the ground:
1. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.7441187,-2.0406674,164m/data=!3m1!1e3
2. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.7439175,-2.0401621,389m/data=!3m1!1e3
3. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.7435139,-2.0385929,1151m/data=!3m1!1e3

Some links to ‘Oblique Aerial’ views of trees in order of proximity to the ground:
1. https://binged.it/2GbdNRA
2. https://binged.it/2Gat5WQ
3. See photo from aircraft above.

A more advanced technique for top down forests, but much quicker and easier for large areas of trees is to use digital tools. In this example, I am using ArtRage 5, but the tools are available in programs such as Photoshop and Gimp. I am selecting a particle type brush in a green colour. The brush is set to have a little colour and luminance value variance.
A Sense of Scale 4
I can then add some ‘drop shadow’ effect to the layer upon which this was brushed.
A Sense of Scale 5
This gives it a sense of depth.

When upon a background, it completes the illusion of a forest from a much higher vantage point and becomes more suitable for regional maps.
A Sense of Scale 6

Scaling Mountains

We can apply the same kind of ideas to mountains. Here are some links to mountains at various distances from ground level:

Some links to ‘Top Down’ views of mountains in order of proximity to the ground:
1. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@47.1627293,12.1812876,12246m/data=!3m1!1e3
2. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@47.0934801,12.2144138,49403m/data=!3m1!1e3
3. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@46.8237988,11.0920616,234301m/data=!3m1!1e3

Some links to ‘Oblique Aerial’ views of mountains in order of proximity to the ground:
1. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@47.0566826,12.1812876,15142a,35y,37.4t/data=!3m1!1e3
2. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@46.4817889,12.1445335,85076a,35y,34.55t/data=!3m1!1e3
3. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@45.470392,11.5212508,246225a,35y,30.96t/data=!3m1!1e3

Think of mountains as a series of ridges and then valleys either side. Water flows down into the valleys and lakes and rivers are often found here, as well as glaciers into colder and higher areas.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@46.561726,10.7213714,12602a,35y,37.57t/data=!3m1!1e3

So, let’s take a quick sketch look at how we could represent mountains from varying distances from the ground. In the examples below, isolated mountains can be represented as shown on the left, and ranges of mountains shown as those on the right. The centre top is a more illustrative version of a mountain range.
A Sense of Scale 7
A little bit of shading adds to the illusion.
A Sense of Scale 8

We have another digital technique for top down mountains, which is again much quicker and easier for mountain ranges. In this example I am using ArtRage 5, but again, the tools are available in programs such as Photoshop and Gimp.

I am using a brush which some opacity, so I can build up layers and has some pressure sensitivity.
A Sense of Scale 9
Then the magic bit. We use layer effects to add an ‘emboss, inside’ effect. Me make the contours sharp and as deep and as tall as possible using the ‘Radius’ and ‘Depth’ effects.
A Sense of Scale 10
We can also adjust the ‘Radius’ down to turn the whole thing just as easily into a plateau.

A little bit of background and we are looking more realistic.
A Sense of Scale 12
We can add the forested areas like we discussed earlier to this same mountain range and finish off with some texturing to the trees and mountains.
A Sense of Scale 13
The sense of scale for the above is much more evident.

We can use similar techniques to create a lone mountain too, by stacking mountain layers on top of each other.
A Sense of Scale 14
And with woodland added to help with the scaling.
A Sense of Scale 15

It is even possible to take images created like the above and use as textures in 3d software. SketchUp is a fabulous bit of free software and can be used to lay images (textures) onto the faces of models (https://www.sketchup.com/products/sketchup-free). You would use the SandBox Tools: https://help.sketchup.com/en/article/3000130
A Sense of Scale 16
When rendered, these can be very attractive gaming handouts.
A Sense of Scale 17
A Sense of Scale 18

Conclusion

So, in closing, given the above comments and the vast array of tools available, the key bit of advice is to look at nature using the available resources at your disposal. From that, you can graphically represent features that fit the scale of the map you are working on. This in turn should make it more intuitively interpreted.

Thanks for reading, Glynn

Glynn is the owner of MonkeyBlood Design & Publishing. Specialising in cartography, artwork, graphic design, and layout for the table-top gaming industry, Glynn is also a published author and has run two successful Kickstarter campaigns for game setting materials.

When working with maps, scale is one of the more important concepts to get right. For example, it is quite important if the distance between two cities on your map is 10 or 100 miles, and it can be quite important for what can be found in the dungeon depending on if the doors are 3 feet wide or 30 feet wide. No matter what you map, you’ll want to know what scale it is in. To accomplish this in the best possible manner, an understanding of how scale works in CC3+ is important, because as long as you do it right, you’ll have a much easier time using all the various tools and features of CC3+. For example, if you just draw that corridor an arbitrary width, and just state that “this is 5 foot wide”, that may work fine initially, but when you later try to add a 5’ foot grid you start to get in trouble because you need to figure out what size to tell CC3+ to draw your grid in. If you instead had been using scale properly all along, and the corridor was actually considered 5’ wide by CC3+, specifying the grid size would be as simple as just telling CC3+ to use 5’. This is just one of many examples why you should care about scale, and care about it from the very beginning of your map, not as an afterthought. CC3+ has lots of tools that helps you do your mapping, and there is no doubt that a lot of these works best when used at the correct scale.

In this article, we’ll have an in-depth look at the many instances where you encounter scale in CC3+ and explain how to work properly with these values, and hopefully demystify scale a bit. I expect a certain degree of familiarity with CC3+ for readers of this article, so I won’t be explaining where to find every button or menu element.

Map Scale

One of the first things that meet you when you create a new map is a prompt that requests the dimensions of the map (If you chose to base your map on a pre-defined template instead, you would see these values in the file names of most template you can choose from). Before providing the appropriate values, it is very important to understand what these values are. And this brings us to one of the most important aspects about scale in CC3+. In CC3+, your map is expressed in real-world units. CC3+ isn’t concerned about the size of your exported image or the size of your printout, CC3+ is interested in the actual real-world size of the area the map represents. So, if you plan to map an island that is approximately 700 by 300 miles in size, well, then you make a map that is 700 by 300 in size (or a bit more to make room for some ocean around it). Same if you make a battle map for miniatures, if the area covered by the battle map is 300 by 200 foot, then you enter 300 x 200, NOT the 8 by 11 inches the paper printout measures.

At this point you DO NOT care about print or pixel sizes, that is something you care about later when you are ready to print or export your map, not when you make it. Those of you familiar with working in image editing software may thing at this point, but wait, doesn’t the size I select now impact what quality I can make the map in?’. This is true for an image editor, because if you make an image 1000 by 800 pixels, it won’t be high enough quality to fill a sheet of paper when printed. But this is NOT true in CC3+. The size you pick here isn’t a pixel size and isn’t a limiting factor for final export/print quality, it is simply the size of the map. So, to re-state what I wrote above, in CC3+ your map is expressed in real-word units, so make to fill in the values according to the real-world size of the area you plan to map. Also note that the size of the map you specify here is not related to memory/CPU use when working with the map. There is no performance difference with working with a 10 by 10 map compared to a 10000 by 10000 map, the only things that effects performance is the amount of details you put into your map (and you can easily put as much detail into that 10 by 10 map as the 10000 by 10000 map if you so choose).

Ok, so we established the map dimension are in real world units? But what units are they in? miles? Km? yards? Feet? Inches? The short answer here is that it depends on the map type. For overland maps it is miles (or km for metric maps), while for city and dungeon maps, it is feet (or meters for metric maps). There are maps that uses different units of course, such as star maps which uses units such as parsecs, light years, and astronomical units. I won’t concern myself more about this for this article, because these also follows the same rule as above, the map size should be expressed in the real world size of the area to map, and the exact unit type follows from the type of map you are going to make. Just remember that fact, and use the values the template expects, such as miles (or km) for an overland map, and not feet. And don’t use print or image sizes, like inches or pixels. If you are unsure about what the correct unit is for the kind of map you picked, you can always check it by going back to the previous page in the wizard, the unit type is listed right below the preview image.

Now, the above is the simple explanation, and the one you should keep in your head for everyday use, but it will help you to understand a bit of how CC3+ treats units. CC3+ doesn’t really care about miles or meters or inches or whatever. In reality, all maps are specified in something called map units, which is the working unit of CC3+. That 400 by 300 foot dungeon, for CC3+, it is a 400 by 300 map unit map. That 400 by 300 mile overland map? Still a 400 by 300 map unit map. This system in CC3+ is what allows us to create any type of map we want, because we can simply define a map unit to mean whatever we need it to (The definition must be consistent within any one individual map of course). You’ll se term map unit being used many places, such as in effects dialogs, and the important thing to remember here is that one map unit means whatever unit your map is in. So when you set a shadow to be 10 map units long in a dungeon map, that means that the shadow will be 10 feet long, while doing the same in an overland map would result in a 10-mile shadow. Continue reading »

The Pirate CoastFor the May issue of the Annual 2018 we have a classic overland mapping style, created by Glynn Seal, who previously created the Havenland style for the Annual, and is a prolific rpg map maker and rpg designer (check out his MonkeyBlood Design & Publishing website).

The Myrklund style consists of more than 150 highly detailed symbols and bitmaps textures, that combine into a beautiful hand-painted look. The 4-page mapping guide gives you a detailed walkthrough of creating an overland map in this style.

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

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.

News

  • 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.

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