This is part 3 of the “Creating a New Map Style” series of articles.

It’s been far too long since the last part of this article, so let’s hurry up and take on the next step in creating a custom style for CC3+. After setting up the template and adding new bitmap fills, we now need to look at the new symbols.

011 Symbol Catalogs1. Setting up new catalogs

The first step is to set up one or more new catalogs to hold the symbols. For this example, I’ll take the Worlds of Wonder style’s catalogs and create a copy under a new folder /Symbols/Maps/Worlds of Wonder BW/. I rename them to remove the CA145 (the Annual issue number).

I won’t go through the details of drawing or importing new symbols here, and for the example, I’ll just edit the existing Worlds Wonder symbols to be grayscale instead of coloured versions of themselves.

When that’s done let’s make sure the map loads one of these catalogs when it opens. Go to File > Drawing properties and open the map note “OnNewMap”. Basically this is a macro that gets executed when someone creates a new map from the wizard template. Change the line
“CATALOG @Symbols/Maps/Annual Worlds of Wonder/CA145 All.FSC”
to
“CATALOG @Symbols/Maps/Annual Worlds of Wonder BW/Mountains.FSC”
and do the same in the OnOpenMacro map note. This macro defines what happens if someone just opens a map based on the style.

012 Catalog Settings2. Creating Catalog Settings

One of the more obscure things to do when creating a new drawing style is to set up the catalog settings so the catalog buttons open the correct symbol catalogs for the style. To do so, click the All Drawing Tools button on the catalog toolbar and then the “Advanced” button on the dialog. The dialog should then look the one on the left here. It lists all the available catalog settings that match both the master filter and the setting filter. We will need to create a new master filter and the settings to match.

Deciding on a master filter, I will make it “WBW” (for Worlds of Wonder Black/White). I select each of the setting entries I want to duplicate in turn and create a new one based on the current one, where I replace the “CA145” with “WBW”. These will not appear in the list for now, as they don’t match the master filter.

I then type in the new master filter “WBW, and the settings appear as shown on the right. All your new settings will show up. Go throguh them in turn and make sure they load the correct symbol catalog. You can also set the properties that get set when the respective button is pressed. That by default the overland catalog toolbar loads the following six settings: Border, Coast, Mountains, Natural, Structures and Vegetation. Everything else, like Cartouches have to be loaded through the All Catalog Settings button.

Now we need to set up the master filter itself, as so far we’ve only decided on its name. Right click the Symbol Style Toggle button on the left toolbar and choose “Master Filter Settings”. Rename Filter 1 to “WBW” and save the setting under the same name.

014 Master FilterNow we just need to tell the template to load the master filter on startup. As above, go to the OnOpenMacro and OnNewMacro map notes and change the line
“SYMICONFLOAD CA145”
to
“SYMICONFLOAD WBW”.

And that’s all for setting up the symbol catalogs for a style. Depending on how many new symbols and catalogs you create it can be quite a bit of work of course, but the basic procedure is always the same.

In the next article – which hopefully will not take quite as long to follow – we’ll look at setting up the drawing tools of the new style.
015 Symbol Catalogs

The Purple BoxA Purple Box

The second-hand store around the corner of my 1995 midtown apartment always had interesting merchandise. Most evenings on my way home, I would jump off my bike at the store and look at the various new items they had in stock for the day. Since they were second-hand I often asked myself questions around previous owners and I found that the items with all their diversity often told small stories.

One night a small purple box still wrapped in plastic had appeared in the store window. Campaign Cartographer for PC, 3.5”. A few days later the floppy disk fired up my MS-DOS. A: DIR, CC.EXE and a land called Jaw Peninsular appeared in 16 beautiful colors on the screen of my Compaq 486.

I have always loved maps and the imagination they spark at the first glimpse. I longer to wander and explore these foreign lands, and a great fantasy map is for me a medium to get closer to that experience.

Now I was able to create the maps myself, learning that the experience of creating fantasy maps is one of asking questions as well. Who lives there? Why do they live there? What do they trade in? Who threatens them? Why?

Answering these questions makes the world come alive, and fantasy maps reveal their stories while you draw them.

World Building

Earlsdale started like that 25 years ago. A small feudal region in the center of the world. Three Duchies fighting for power and a cursed kingship that none of them dares to claim. While fighting each others, the surrounding empires to the east, west and south would expand. Soon their agents infiltrated Earlsdale only to be followed by their armies. War had come to Earlsdale.

Earlsdale was in 16 colors! It’s a shame, I lost the floppy disk and internet was not really a thing with lots of images back then. I would have liked to see it today. Nevermind.
The map changed not only because of updates and new symbols set for Campaign Cartographer, but because the players of my gaming group (same group of friends since 25 years) helped to shape the world in our regular sessions ever since. They answered many of the questions. Adventure sites were added. It happened that a city was burned down. Once the players invested their fortune to build a small keep (Liederburg, east of Schlandern). I added the keep in the CC2/Symbol Set 1 version of Earlsdale back in the days.

So Earlsdale is not the final map, it is only the current state. It is a still image of a 25 years world-building project, that keeps asking questions. We answer them as we explore. The Duchies of Earlsdale evolves and still keeps on revealing its story, since the players entered “The Royal Oak Inn” in Siegesbruck (south-eastern part of the map) in 1995.

There were even rumors at the last gaming session, that the “Tower in the Lake” near Ahnendorf, had sunken into the sea. It has been several years since the players were in Ahnendorf. I don’t know the answer yet, but time and adventure (or a new update/style for CC) will tell.

What you will be looking at below is the CC3+ version of the map. I have collected some of the basic steps and techniques I have used in the following tutorial.

Mini Tutorial

Background

I use the default settings of CC3+ with the Mike Schley overland symbols. For the background I prefer a slightly darker style with more variety in texture. An easy way to accomplish this is to add two new sheets with textures. The first texture is used to get a darker and richer green color, as well as to add more texture into the background. The second texture (Texture 2 below) is used for even more texture and by that variety of the overall background. The sheets effects are key for these overlays, and I use the transparency setting with low opacity (15-25%) to get the result I need.

Textures

Mountains & Hills

Next up are the mountains. In a regional map like this, I like to add some variety in size of the mountains. I use a scale from 0.5-2.5 on the mountain symbols. When the mountains are placed, I use the default mountain- and hills fills drawing tools, as well as the mountain- and hills background drawing tools to fill areas around and between the mountains. The “hills background” drawing tool works well also to create plains to add even more variety to the background. I then add some hill symbols manually around and on top of hills fills and backgrounds and place them on a new sheet. The key for this technique is moving all these sheets beneath the background texture sheets I created above. That way they blend in perfectly with the color and texture of the background. Add another sheet for hill symbols that will need to be in front of mountains or other symbols and place them above the symbols sheet.

Mountains

Ocean, Rivers and Wetlands

Oceans and rivers are now placed with 3-5 different thickness levels (0.75 to 3.5), ranging from narrow at the mountains and broad at the sea. I add a dark green color to the “Outer Glow” sheet effect. Remember to add some broader areas in form of lakes and wider river areas. I add the ocean in the south with the same settings as the river, but with a darker texture for sea contours in deeper areas. I add another sheet for marshland and swamps, but this time keep the following sheets above the background layers I created earlier. The texture is another one from Herwin Wielink overland style (from the Annuals and one of my favorites), with transparency effect and inner edge fade to nicely blend in.

Rivers and Wetlands

Vegetation

For the forest I use another texture than the default as forest background. I create the drawing tool and a new sheet using this texture and add transparency and inner edge fade like for all background elements. I place tree, jungle and swamp symbols on the entire map. Quite a click feast, but its worth it. Remember individual and small clusters of trees everywhere on the map where vegetation is present, like on the foothills of mountains, along rivers and later on in front of settlements.

Vegetation

Civilization

Now my favorite part starts – the structures. I like to vary the structures as well, mixing them a bit up by using combinations of them (castle, hamlet, village – makes a good town). This might not be realistic in scale, but it looks good and creates variety and adds individual character to a settlement. I play around with scale here within the range of 0.75-1.25 and use the mirror function for even more variety.

Around settlements I place farmlands on a new sheet, again adding transparency and inner edge fade effects to blend into background layer, and to avoid sharp edges of the smoothed polygons. Roads are placed between settlements, with a brown outer glow effect. I now place the last structures such as bridges, castles and other sites of interest.

Structures and Roads

Labels and Finishing Touches

Labels and finishing touches are an important part. I create the labels as symbols in various sizes, with a paper background texture. Square corners for cities, towns and villages, round corners for castles and sites and areas. I do various sizes to reflect the size of cities and to match length of the site names. Important cities have shields. I then add sheet effects, such as shadows and outer/inner glow. In the finishing touches I play around with texture and sheet effects to get a result that matches with the overall mood and colors of the map. I add the title (font: “Ode”, Adobe Fonts). Compass and scale bar is added. I export the map in a large format (7300×5903 pixels in this case). I then add the image to a zoom application, customize it and then upload the files to my webspace.

Labels

Final Map

You can see the full map in the zoom application here: Duchies of Earlsdale.

Full Earsldale Map

I should probably dedicate the map to the person that sold the purple box at the second hand store back in 1995. Oh, boy! You missed out so many stories.

If you are interested in some of my other maps, check out mapventures.com.

Happy Mapping,
Grimur Fjeldsted

About Grimur

Grimur is half-icelandic, half-german and lives with his wife and three kids in Germany’s northern most city Flensburg. In his daily job he heads up communications and marketing in a global technology company. He began to create maps in 1995 when he was studying, and he has been part of the Campaign Cartographer community ever since. He enjoys experimenting with styles and creates all his maps for the same home-brew setting. Besides being with his family or making an occasional fantasy map, he enjoys good coffee, history, design, boardgames and all things digital.

This is part 2 of the “Creating a New Map Style” series of articles.

After we have decided on a style to create last month, let’s take a look at creating the first new pieces of artwork. One of the defining aspects of a style are fill styles it uses.

WoW Bitmap Fills1. Creating new Bitmap Fills

Let’s take a look at the bitmap fills used in the World of Wonder style, which serves as the basis for our new style. Open the CC3+ program data folder in Windows Explorer: C:\ProgramData\ProFantasy\CC3Plus and find the subfolder /Bitmaps/Tiles/Overland/Annual Worlds of Wonder/. You’ll see that it includes 9 different fills, with at four different resolutions each.

New Bitmap FillsCreate a new folder under /Bitmaps/Tiles/Overland/ called “Annual Worlds of Wonder BW”, then copy the VH resolution file of each fill over to the new folder. Remove the _VH part of all the file names. Now you can open up the individual files in a Bitmap editor (like Photoshop or Gimp to edit the textures. I’m doing some very simply operations here, converting the files to greyscale to match our idea of a black and white stlye, and I rotate some of them and/or apply a photo filter. Of course you can be as elaborate as you want, even creating complete new graphics, but for the purpose of this tutorial I’ll keep it simple.

Importing Fills2. Importing the New Fills

Let’s get the new fills into our map template. TO do so, we need to start CC3+ and load our template /Templates/Overland Maps/Wizard/Annual Worlds of Wonder BW.FCT. The select Tools > Import bitmap fill styles from the menu.

The import bitmap fills dialog comes. “Browse” to our newly created source folder and select one of the files. Check the “Create other resolutions option and set “Scaled” to 1000.00 for both width and height. To differentiate the new bitmap fills from the old ones, change the “Suffix” to _BW (for our black and white style). Then click OK and let CC3+ do its work.

Imported Fills3. Changing the Existing Fills

There are only a few entities in the template that use the old (coloured) fill styles, but even if there were more, it is easy to change them:

  • Right-click the Change Properties button and choose Change Fill Style.
  • Right-click on the map to select, then choose More > Fill Style.
  • Right-click to bring up the fill style dialog and choose “CA145_Parchment” from the Bitmap Files tab. Click Ok.
  • Right-click and choose Do It.
  • Right-click to bring up the fill style dialog again and choose “CA145_Parchment_BW”. Click Ok.

You’ll see that the parchment border of the map has turned grey. You can now do the same for each of the existing fill styles, but for this map you really only need to do it for the CA145_Ocean fill, as that is the fill of the background rectangle.

The template now shows a greyscale version of the old one and that’s how we wanted it to be. Next time we’ll start of converting the symbols of the style into the new look.
BW Template

The Symbols in Area command was introduced in CC3+ long after most of the basic styles were created, meaning it is not used in those styles’ drawing tools. But since it is very useful for creating terrain features like scattered woodlands, why not set up some new tools to make use of it? In this little article I’ll take you through doing exactly that. As an example I’ll create a scattered deciduous woods for the Mike Schley overland style.

Symbols in Area1. Setting up the Symbols In Area command

  • First, load an existing or start a new Mike Schley overland and choose the Symbols in Area command from the Draw menu.
  • Click Browse and load the Vegetation catalog from /Symbols/Maps/Mike Schley/
  • Set the settings as shown in the screenshot on the right, then Save the setting under \System\Fillers\MS_WoodsDecid.symfill

If you want to test and possibly adjust the settings, draw a smooth polygon on the map and use the command on it after clicking OK in the Symbols in Area dialog.

Drawing Tools2. Creating a new Drawing Tool

Now we need to set up the new drawing tool for this setting.

  • Right-click the Terrain Drawing tools button and click the Advanced button.
  • Select the tool Terrain Default, Forest Decid and click New.
  • Name the new tool “Terrain Default, Woods Decid” and save it.
  • Click Command to Execute and enter the following macro:
  • SYMFILLLOAD @system\fillers\MS_WoodsDecid.symfill
    SELSAVE
    SELBYP
    SYMFILLM
    SELREST

  • Save the tool and you’re good to use it.

Preview3. Creating a Drawing Tool Preview.

You’ll notice that the tool doesn’t have a preview at this point. That’s because a macro-using drawing tool needs a little FCW file (CC3+ map for the preview. Let’s create this as a bonus step – it’s not really necessary but useful.

  • Load the foilowing FCW file in CC3+ from your Programdata folder (which might be different from the path show here): C:\ProgramData\Profanatsy\CC3Plus\System\Drawtools\Overland Mike Schley\Terrain Default, Forest Decid.FCW and save it in the same folder under the name Terrain Default, Woods Decid.FCW. This is the same file name as the drawing tool we created, only with a different file extension.
  • Erase all trees from the file, but leave the gray background.
  • Use the Symbols in Area command with the settings we’ve previously created, then Save the map.

And that’s all there is to creating a scattered woods drawing tool. You can do the same with pine or jungle trees, or any type of symbol you want. Here is an example created with the new drawing tool:
Example Woods

Worlds of WonderWhile Campaign Cartographer offers a wide range of different drawing styles to use, sometimes you just want that special look that anybody else uses, and few things are more rewarding than creating your own unique mapping style. We have covered some of the process of doing this in the first Annual Volume, but quite a few features have been added to CC3+ since then and the Annual issue couldn’t cover all possible options in high detail.

So I thought that a publicly-available article series might be a good way to document the process step-by-step and in higher detail than an Annual issue can. It should also give everyone the opportunity to pitch in with questions along the way. So, let’s get started…

1. What map type to use?

The first decision to make is what type of map style we want to create. A city style? One for floorplans? I know what I’m going to do for this article, my favorite type of maps: an overland maps style.

001 Folder LocationLet’s take a look at what styles are already available in CC3+. To do this you need to open the CC3+ program data folder in Windows Explorer: C:\ProgramData\ProFantasy\CC3Plus. If you installed CC3+ in a custom location, you will need open that folder. If you don’t see the ProgramData folder at all, it may be “hidden” in Windows 10. Make sure to activate the option “Show hidden files/folders” in Windows Explorer and it should appear.

Now navigate to the Templates subfolder, then Overland Maps, then Wizard. Here you see all the different overland wizard templates listed. Each template consists of three files: The CC3+ template (FCT extension), a preview bitmap (the PNG file) and a short text info file (TXT). For most of the file you will see two sets of 3 files, one for metric units and one for imperial ones. As the template forms the basis for a map style, we will need to create a new set.

2. Creating a New Wizard Template

002 WoW FilesI find it easiest to start a new style based on an existing one. It might only be vaguely similar, but copying an existing style makes it easier to not forget necessary bits and pieces and gives you a set of styles to start from. That means we need to decide what style we want to create at this point. I am thinking January’s World’s of Wonder style would look good in black-and-white, so I decide to create such a style for this article. I locate the three files (for imperial units) in Explorer as shown on the right.

003 WoW BW FilesSelect the three files and use the clipboard to copy them (ctrl-c, then ctrl-v). Windows will rename these copies by appending “- copy” to the filename. Rename all three to the name of your new style (e.g. Annual Worlds of Wonder BW.*). Make sure the file names are all exactly the same, except for the file extension. We won’t worry about the metric version of the template yet – we can create that much later when most of the work is done.

3. A New Drawing Tool folder

004 WoW DrawtoolsAfter the template, the next important part of a style is the set of drawing tools to go with it. Again, we can create a new one by copying an existing set. Navigate to the ProgramData\ProFantasy\CC3Plus folder again and then go to System\Drawtools\. You will see a folder for each drawing style. Again, create a copy of the folder “Annual Worlds of Wonder” and rename it to “Annual Worlds of Wonder BW”. We don’t need to worry about the files in the folder at this point.

4. Setting the Template to the new Drawing Tools

Now it’s time to open CC3+ for the first time. Navigate back to the Templates/Overland Maps/Wizard and double-click the template file Annual Worlds of Wonder BW.FCT to open it in CC3+. Naturally it still looks exactly like the Worlds of Wonder style, as it’s just a plain copy of it. Select File > Drawing Properties from menu to open the Drawing Presets dialog. In the Drawing Style section select the new “Annual Worlds of Wonder BW” from the list. Basically this tells CC3+ which folder to choose the drawing tools from when you click the drawing tools buttons on the left-hand toolbar. If we now make changes in this template on the its drawing tools, they won’t affect the original Worlds of Wonder style but be restricted to the new Worlds of Wonder BW style instead.

If you have your own ideas for creating a style you can already start tinkering with the template and the drawing tool. We will continue in the next article with changing the bitmap fills that the style uses. If you have any questions concerning this article and creating your own drawing style, feel free to do so in the comments below, or – for easier discussion and more help from other users – go to the forum thread I have created for this series of articles.

The Continent of Dorina
Dorina

A brief note about this article

The main reason I have never written about the special effects I use in my maps before now is because they have to be applied differently on each new map I draw. Differences in map style and the random variability of the way I chose to warp the colour scheme each time have made it very hard to nail down any particular method to the point of there being a right or a wrong way of doing it, and it’s nearly impossible to make a definitive set of instructions when nothing is set in concrete. I have often used similar combinations of effects on similar sheets in different maps once I discovered a useful result by experimentation, but I don’t think I have ever used exactly the same settings on any two maps. So what follows is more a train of thought and an explanation of my method as I develop two example maps of the same place in two different styles in tandem. However, and having said that, there are a few simple instructions on how to generate and process sea contours in the first of the special effects to be described.

This article focuses on two versions of the continent of Dorina shown above in the Mike Schley style (MS) and the Herwin Weilink style (HW). I have chosen these styles because they are available to all CC3 mappers, and because they are so different in nature that the special effects will have to be applied differently to each one. By describing this process and providing the finished FCW files for reference purposes, I hope that those of you who have requested tutorials about how to get similar special effects to mine in their own maps may at the very least gain some useful information and ideas.

The effects I will be working on in this article are oceanic contours, global colour shifts, contrast adjustments, snowfields and something I’ve called ‘midnight’, which entirely changes the nature of the map in a way that makes it vaguely reminiscent of a view seen under brilliant moonlight.

First off, then, I should probably start with the basic stuff – how much I have already warped the default styles to produce the initial maps before we get started on the special effects. Please note that for some reason I set the scale of these maps completely wrong, but it was too late to go back and start again by the time I got to the finishing touches. I didn’t realise until I was adding the scale bar and it was out by a very large factor.

Dorina - Mike Schley styleDorina – MS

The MS style is beautiful in its clean and radiant pastel colours. Unfortunately for me it is those very same pastel shades that make doing the kind of special effect I do quite difficult to achieve on an MS map. While I can appreciate the loveliness of many very different styles my personal taste tends more towards richer, darker colours. If you open the Dorina – Mike Schley.FCW file you will see that the sheets have been dramatically altered, so that while I tried very hard not to take it too far away from the intended appearance as to be unrecognisable as an MS map, I have used lots of Adjust Hue/Saturation and RGB Matrix effects. I have also swapped out some of the textures for others in the same set and changed their colours accordingly. I love the grassy texture of the Marsh_MS fill, and so I have abused it by using it for anything that is at all grassy in nature. There are other fills I’ve substituted, but even though I’ve bashed it about quite badly (and I cringe to think of what the purists would say) all the fills are MS fills and part of that style. There is nothing there that doesn’t come from the Mike Schley mapping style.

Dorina - Herwin Wielink styleDorina – HW

You might think the HW style is made for me, with my already stated preference for darker, richer colours, but my taste is less subtle and a couple of degrees lighter in tone. I have done exactly the same thing with the HW map as I’ve done with the MS style – lots of colour changing sheet effects aimed at making everything a little brighter than before. I haven’t swapped out so many of the fills, but I do very much like the grassland fill and I’ve used it in several shades on different sheets. There are couple of sheep and cows and a horse that remain from the MS version where there is no HW equivalent.

Continue reading »

Worlds of WonderBelated welcome to the Cartographer’s Annual 2019! Why belated you say? Well, the January issue has been available since a few days before the New Year and subscribers have already created maps with the new style!

If you haven’t done so yet, head over to your registration page and download the January issue to try the new “Worlds of Wonder” overland style. It makes use of a great new set of bitmap fills and over 100 symbols to create beautiful worlds, continents and countries. Previews for the February and March issues are also available.

You can subscribe to the Annual 2019 here. If you are already subscribed, the January issue is available for download on your registration page.

Part I: Foundations of the map

‘Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there as an age undreamed of. And unto this, Conan, destined to wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow. It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga. Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!’
Robert E. Howard, “Conan the Barbarian”

It was back in the 90’s: We were young, we played RPGs and we listened all evening to one album – the Soundtrack of ‘Conan, the Barbarian’. We played Das Schwarze Auge (The Dark Eye) and Ruf des Warlock (Call of the Warlock – RdW).

RdW was released in 1991 and is heavily influenced by the novels of Tanith Lee, especially by the Tales of the Flat Earth series. You can breathe the spirit of the 80’s and their special way of high fantasy, which was a ‘fantastic’ fantasy and not a ‘realistic’ fantasy, like a lot of contemporary fantasy literature tends to be, with a focus on character development instead of creating fantastic places and persons.
While Das Schwarze Auge became the big German rpg success, RdW is a niche game. As far as I know there are only a few people left playing RdW and sooner or later it will probably be forgotten. Maybe with my maps I play the role of a bard, singing the tales of a lost world. If it is so, I do my best that this song will be dignified. For this sake it is on me to be the chronicler and so I want to invite you to follow me and to let me tell you of the days of high adventure.

The map I make is a regional map of the northwestern part of the world of Tanaris, the world of RdW. When I make a new map, I usually start in the Jon Roberts Overland style, as it is my favorite one. But from the start I use the immense freedom CC3+ gives its users.

For some time I wanted to try the mountains by TJ Vandel (Annual issues 81, 84, 106, 107, 119 & 120), so I added these catalogs to the mountain symbols button to make the mapping process easier.
The next step is to choose a background. I delete the default frame and choose a parchment background. My resulting starting point is this:
WIP1

It is always a great moment to see the blank parchment in front of me: The world is empty, the story unwritten, and it is on me to create. So let’s go! Continue reading »

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

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/

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