Making New House Symbols in CC3+ by Sue Daniel – Part 2

This is part 2 of the “Making New House Symbols in CC3+” tutorial by Sue Daniel. Read part 1 here.

Download the full tutorial in pdf format here.

Drawing the map file

Show all the sheets, set the snap grid to 10’ grid 2 snap, and copy the whole house to one side, leaving about 30 feet between the original and its duplicate. Zoom in on the duplicate, edit the label to show that it is the map file, hide all the sheets except the two ***Separation shadow sheets and delete the shadows from the map file drawing. Show all the sheets again and delete the chimney pots.

Using the change properties button move the entire map file drawing to the MAP FILE OBJECTS layer, and make the MAP FILE OBJECTS layer the active layer. Right click the hourglass button on the left and choose Move to Sheet, and move all the parts of the house as follows:

IMAGE ROOF – level 1 -> MAP ROOF – level 1
IMAGE RIDGE – level 1 -> MAP RIDGE – level 1
IMAGE ROOF – level 2 -> MAP ROOF – level 2
IMAGE RIDGE – level 2 -> MAP RIDGE – level 2
IMAGE ROOF – level 2 -> MAP ROOF – level 2
IMAGE RIDGE – level 2 -> MAP RIDGE – level 2
CHIMNEY -> MAP CHIMNEY BLANK

You should now have something that looks like this, with a white line defining each section of roof.

Using the change properties tool, change the fill of all the roof ridges and the chimney stacks to solid white.

Back when we aligned the fills and amended the automatic shading for the image file drawing, that amendment only worked for the textures. As soon as you change the properties of these aligned fill polygons to a solid colour the shaded polygons will show again and affect the blue and red values of the map file drawing, so we need to undo the alignment on all the parts of the roof that are aligned.

To do this make each of the 3 ***MAP ROOF sheets active in turn, and explode all the roof parts that are aligned on the active sheet (not the ridges or chimneys) so that the texture falls back to its default state. It is important to be on the right sheet for each roof part or the explosion may have unexpected results.

Open the colour palette and look at the top row of map file colours – the one with four colours in it.

The first map shade (178) is correctly set up for a north facing roof of standard pitch. Select it, and change the properties of the north facing rooftops to solid colour and shade 178. The second map shade (179) is set up for an east facing roof. Change the properties of all the east facing roof parts to this shade. This is how mine looks at this half way stage.

The third and fourth map shades are for the south and west facing roof parts respectively. So when you have finished changing the properties you should have a map file drawing that looks something like this.

And that’s all there is to it. The map file drawing is now complete.

Rendering the files

Create a new folder in the C:\ProgramData\Profantasy\CC3Plus\Symbols\User folder to be the home of your new house symbol. Mine is simply called “My Houses”.

Ensure that you have the 10’ grid 10 snap grid active and set to Snap, then use Save As… from the File menu, and pick Rectangular section PNG as the file type. Click the Options button in the Save As dialog and set the Width and Height dimensions to the dimensions you calculated for the render area rectangle, and which you should be able to read off the map. The filename you want is above the drawing.

Turn OFF the Antialias option.

Click ok and ok again, and when prompted for the first corner of the rectangle by the command line click on the bottom left corner of the rectangle around the map drawing, and then on the top right corner when prompted again for the second corner.

When this is done pan back across the map and do exactly the same thing for the image file drawing.

Making the background of both files transparent

Open the GIMP and go to File/Open and navigate to the My Houses folder where you saved your rendered images from CC3.

Open the image file.

Click the magic wand tool in the toolbox on the left hand side and make sure the Tool Options in the panel below the toolbox are set up so that the Mode is set to add to the selection, none of the boxes are checked, the Threshold is set to 130, and the Select by is set to Composite.

Then zoom in really close to anywhere on the left hand edge of the image by pressing CTRL and scrolling the middle mouse button, and click on the white area away from the house.

You should be able to see a black line down the edge of the image if you have zoomed in close enough. You need to click this with the wand, and also the white line right down the extreme edge until all the area that is not part of the house is selected in an area of ‘crawling ants’.

Go to the little thumbnail of the file on the right hand panel and right click it.

Select Add Alpha Channel from the drop down list, hover the mouse over the image in the main window again and press DELETE on your keyboard. This should entirely clear the background from the image file and leave a chequered pattern in view.

Don’t worry about the fact that the area is still selected. Go to the File menu, find where it says “Overwrite House 01.PNG” and click it.

Close the open file without saving it. You have already overwritten it with the new transparent version of the image file.

Select the wand tool and lower the Threshold setting to 50, then repeat this entire process for the map file, remembering to click the wand tool in all the islands of white in the middle of the map image. Make sure that all the white parts are gone.

Importing the new symbol

Go back to CC3+ and click the little button on the left under the Options button on the catalogue browser. There may already be symbols in there, but just ignore these. I have purged my own map of unused symbols just to make things a bit easier to see.

Open the Symbol Manager (menu item).

Click the Import PNGs button.

In the second dialog Browse to the My Houses folder in the Source folder box and double click on either of the files in the folder. The Highest Resolution should be set to 40 pixels per drawing unit, which is the default resolution for a city map. Check the Create other resolutions option and set the Symbol origin to the bottom right corner. Then click OK and wait for CC3+ to do its thing.

You will receive a short message letting you know that 1 new symbol was imported. Now check the view in the catalogue browser and scroll down to see if you can find your house waiting to be pasted.

And there it is.

Your new symbol has no specific settings, so you will have to manually choose the SYMBOLS sheet before pasting it to get the shadow around it.

You can carry on drawing and adding new house symbols in the same file until you have all that you want.

To make proper use of your new symbols you will need to make a catalogue of them. How to do this, and how to add the full functionality of a regular CD3 house symbol is covered in the Tome of Ultimate Mapping, and in part by a range of tutorials available from the sticky resources thread at the top of the Profantasy forum.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial, and that you get at least one new house symbol out of it. If you have any problems creating your new house symbols please drop by the Profantasy Forum and let us know. Have fun 🙂

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.

6 Responses to “Making New House Symbols in CC3+ by Sue Daniel – Part 2”

  1. From Part 1:
    > Blue = the pitch or steepness of the slope (ranging from Blue = 128 to Blue = 255, where 255 is flat, and 128 is vertical)

    What is the exact formula for converting pitch in degrees into the Blue level of the map? According to the palette used on the template, a pitch of 45° is a Blue level of 171. This is *not* half way between 128 and 255. I would like to create a custom mapping palette that includes 30° and 60° pitches so the right equation would be helpful.

  2. Hi Dalton 🙂

    Its linear.

    I don’t recall saying that 161 was 45 degrees – only that it was the same as the standard Profantasy pitch shading. I think the only time I mentioned 45 degrees was when I was describing how to draw the initial plan of the house?

  3. Does this make the formula Blue = 255-(pitch × 128/90)? So Blue=171 would be a pitch of 59°? That would make pitches of 30°, 45° and 60° equal Blue levels of 212, 191 and 170 respectively. Sorry if I assumed the default roof pitch was 45° but that seems to be the standard around here. I associate 60° pitches with alpine/arctic snow conditions and 30° ones with areas having little or no snowfall but some rain. Climate does affect architecture so flat roofs may be practical in arid climates but not in others.

  4. LOL! Formula’s actually give me a headache 😉 I am no mathematician, so what I did well over a year ago was create myself a spreadsheet that did the calculations for me. The spreadsheet rounds things up every time, so I have 171 as being equivalent to a pitch of 60 degrees.

    I didn’t pick this pitch, remember – I analysed the existing map files for the already published Profantasy house symbols. I think this relatively steep pitch may have been chosen because the lower angles are not as noticeably shaded and do have a tendency to look a little flat compared to expectations. The perceived pitch appears to be quite a lot less than the mathematical pitch (if you see what I mean). For steeper rooftops you may need to go as low as blue = 149 (mathematically that’s 75 degrees by my spreadsheet, but visually it looks a lot less than that).

    One of the big things about the pitch shading is that the steeper angles do seem to make the rooftops extremely dark. That’s why I tend to stick fairly close to the PF standard 😉

  5. Okay, that makes sense. I’d love to see that spreadsheet though: using my formula rounding up 60° still equals Blue level 170 (I rounded up already). 30° will change to 213 though but 45° is still 191 (if my calculator isn’t lying). For me mapping and math go hand-in-hand: I still find it odd that the SHADEPOLY commands don’t shrink the Y-axis of the bitmap fill by the cosine of the pitch. 😉 (BTW, good work on the “City Domes” CA supplement; the way you curved shingle/tile bitmap fills on some of the domes was quite interesting.)

  6. As Remy Monsen once said to me (though not these exact words), a couple of points either way doesn’t make any noticeable difference at the visual level, because the human eye isn’t all that great at picking up on tonal differences. Approximately right is usually perfectly acceptable 😉

    Thank you 🙂 Those particular domes were rendered from Blender models with the intention of curving the roof textures more realistically in the 3D environment. These things aren’t possible (yet) within CC3, though I notice that controls for them are present but inactive in the EDITSHADING dialog. Maybe they will be eventually? I don’t know. Only Profantasy can answer that question.

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