Exporting coloured topographical maps from FT3 to CC3+(by André Franke)

In FT3 you can simply change your colour scheme by loading a new one. With some minor limitation this is now also possible for your topographical maps in CC3+. Here are some supporting files:

Exporting coloured topographical maps from FT3 to CC3+

Fractal Terrains 3 (FT3) is a great tool to create new worlds or to visualize our own – earth. Here I will focus on how you can export a topographical map to Campaign Cartographer 3+ (CC3+) and change its style easily.

When you export contour maps from FT3 and CC3+ you usually get the expected results – as long as you use the predefined colours from the built in palette or standard colouring schemes that follow with FT3.
FT3 to CC3+
Color PaletteAs soon as you start to use non predefined colours in your map the export from FT3 to CC3+ will give unexpected results.

The built-in colour palette in FT3 matches the default palette used in CC3+. As long as you only use the predefined colours when you design your own style for topographical maps, the colours in both FT3 and CC3+ will match. As soon as you start to use your own or blended colours, the result in CC3+ will look different and usually not match your style anymore.

How to use other colour styles

With the November 2019 issue of the Cartographer’s Annual come several very useful and inspiring colour schemes by the artist Sue Daniel. These where actually made for use with Wilbur (another very handy application by Joe Slayton, the creator of Fractal Terrains). She also gives an example of a colour palette for CC3+ that can be used to colourize your imported height contours from FT3. But you have to do it the manual way – one by one.

While you can change the look of your maps completely in FT3 only by loading another colour scheme, you have to colorize each contour again from scratch in CC3+. You also have to adjust the 256-colour palette when you not find your favourite colours that match your style.

Color Palette 2This had me thinking about a workaround. There must be a way to skip the manual work of colouring contours and there should be also a possibility to make it much easier to change the
style of your map – just only by changing the colour palette in CC3+ which has become much easier since Profantasy introduced the new command PALLOAD.

Sue used 10 colours for different sea depths and 25 for altitudes. She replaced “unusual” colours in the 256 colour palette of CC3+. Why not expanding those colours ranges was one of my first thoughts. Why shouldn’t I force FT3 to use a certain colour instead of leaving it up to the program itself (trying to find a matching colour)? And how could several colour styles be used without having to export a map several times from FT3?

I decided to use 32 colours for altitudes and 16 for the sea. If you always use colour no. 223 for the lowest land level and no. 192 for the highest one then you make use of exactly 32 colours for altitudes. The same applies when you always use colour number 224 for the sallowest sea and no. 239 for the deepest. This way you use 16 colours for the sea. (Note that I changed the order of colours for altitudes over land compared with Sue’s approach).

If your world is between -32.000 ft and 32.000 ft – what are the needed depths and altitudes to be exported from FT3? If you want to have equidistant high levels then we have 32.000 ft / 32 colours = 1.000 ft / colour (and for the sea 2.000 ft, because we have only 16 colours here).

Export ColorsSo in this case you have to set up a Campaign Cartographer Export in FT3 that exports 32 altitude levels from 0 ft to 31.000 ft (32 levels, the last one reaches up to 32.000 ft).

You force FT3 to use colour no. 223 for the first level – 0 ft. For the second level 1.000 ft use no. 222, for the third one no. 221 and so on. Concentrate on the numbers and do not get disturbed by the pink/purple or nearly black colours that you select when setting up the template. Then you generate 16 levels of depth from -32.000 ft to -2.000 ft and force the level -2.000 ft to choose colour no. 224, the next lower level uses no. 225 and so on. This is the most time consuming part of this procedure.

If your world expands from let’s say -4.800 m to 4.800 m you have to define another Export template with 150 m steps for altitudes and 300 m steps for the sea. Unfortunately you cannot change the height levels afterwards. You have to delete existing ones and have to add new ones when you have copied an existing template. Basically you can set up your heights and depths as you wish – as long as you follow the procedure above with exactly 32 levels for the altitude and 16 for the sea.

You may object that setting up an individual export is as time consuming as having to colourize each contour separately. You are right as long as you only want to create a single map and do not want to change the style of it afterwards. Until now there are only quite a few colour palettes available for CC3+ and almost all existing colour schemes in FT3 do not match the above approach with 48 colours.

Purple ColorsSo my personnel challenge was to create colour palettes that fulfill my requirements and the matching colour palettes for CC3+. With a little programming my PC did this job. And now you can take a look at your exported map. When you still have the default palette loaded it will look like the one on the right! This is not quite the look we wanted – but it is the style we defined in our FT3 to CC3+ export template!

And now to the fun part: Start loading the new specialized colour palettes and see what happens. Download some example color schemes for FT and CC3+ here.

ComparisonWe start by typing PALLOAD into the command line and press enter. We press enter once again – no entry given for the palette name. A file selection dialog opens and you can pick the colour palette of your choice – here I use the one with the same name that I used for my FT3 visualisation. It’s the Wilbur Old Map style – based on an idea by Sue. (Eventually you have to press enter two times again before the effect takes place).

Compared to the original map (generated in FT3) this one exactly matches our style in CC3+. Finally, you can change the style easily only by loading another colour palette – and there are quite a lot to choose from. Your map gets a totally different look in no time…

Here are a couple examples in the Dark Parchment and Arctic styles.

Dark Parchment Example
Arctic Example

About André alias WeathermanSweden

André has been working as a forecaster southwest of Sweden’s Capital Stockholm for many years. While weather maps were his daily duty he always had a big favour for astronomical and topographical maps as well. He is fascinated by fantasy worlds and loves all the incredible maps presented by the community. Since he has been back to his roots in northern Germany he runs a little campsite together with his parents south of Lübeck. Despite the weather and the stars he is also interested in 3D rendering, photography and nature, where he spends a lot of time with his dog.

2 Responses to “Exporting coloured topographical maps from FT3 to CC3+(by André Franke)”

  1. This is wonderful, Andre! 😀

    Thank you so very much for sharing it.

  2. Excellent piece of work! Definitely plan to put this use on my world map.

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