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.

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.
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Campaign Cartographer 3+ is a product in constant evolution, with new features, both small and large, typically gets added for every update. For this article, I want to have a look at some of these features and give a short introduction on how you can start experimenting with them.

Some of the new features have already been covered in other places. For example the new improvements to the Symbols Along command where documented in the February 2018 Annual – Dungeon Walls and I wrote a Command of the Week article on the new Symbols in Area command. For those into macro writing, I have also covered the new Get Extents commands.

Perspective Scaling

Probably the largest addition in the latest update is the new PSCALE commands. These haven’t been added to the menu yet, so you need to type them in on the command line, but they are a series of commands that are intended to help you make pseudo-perspective maps by automatically changing the scale of a symbol depending where it is on the screen. This command was developed in response to several such maps appearing in the forums. Let us start with an example image to show what the command can do.

So, looking at this image, you can see that the symbols closer to the bottom of the image is larger than the ones near the top, which provides a pseudo-perspective look on things. While it is certainly possible to do this manually, this example was made by using the PSCALE commands.

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Jon C. Munson II

Background

The mapping style of Mike Schley is, simply put, beautiful. It is no wonder that Wizards of the Coast sought him out for many of the maps used in their products. His use of line, shading, and slightly muted color do a fantastic job of creating the illusion of a truly hand drawn map with dimensional objects. And, well, for the most part that is exactly what they are – hand drawn, albeit done using programs like Adobe Photoshop and/or others. If you haven’t seen his maps, you really owe it to yourself to take a look at them.

I had always liked Schley’s maps, and wanted to produce a few maps for a module I had in mind for the Dungeons & Dragons group that I run. Knowing how many hours it would take to hand-draw the maps, I looked for a way to cut down some of the time required. Enter ProFantasy’s Campaign Cartographer 3+ (“CC3+”). The program uses a number of Schley’s symbol packs (for example Symbol Set 4 – Dungeons of Schley), and that was perfect for me. Well, almost – I needed further symbols to suit my module. Now I had to figure out how to both create symbols and emulate Schley’s style to produce the symbols I needed. And, I also had to figure out how to get those into CC3+. It turns out it isn’t a hard job, but, it is a bit tricky, and most of the effort is in creating the symbols themselves. Schley’s style seems to be fairly involved, and that complexity is what makes them so appealing.

Personally, I have no idea how Mike Schley goes about making his symbols or drawing his maps. I have, however, studied his symbols and maps to try and figure out how he makes his creations. Despite many hours, I’m still uncertain of his exact process, but I think I have at least a little idea. I discerned enough to be able to put together symbols that are “close enough” to Schley’s style to be good compliments (at least I think so). Frankly, my goal in trying to figure out his methods wasn’t to be a forger, but, rather, to emulate – I had no desire to be “Mike Schley,” though he is an excellent talent to learn from!

Equipment Needed

Though it is entirely possible to use a mouse to create symbols, I strongly suggest obtaining a graphics tablet. I use a Wacom myself, and highly recommend their tablets. I know of others who use Asian variants with success (depends upon which ones though), so you might be able to get a less-expensive tablet to start.

You’ll also need both raster & vector editing software. While I have Adobe CC, there are other alternatives out there such as Gimp and Inkscape. I have briefly used those in the past, however, as I use Photoshop and Illustrator, I’ll be discussing things from the point of those tools. Most of that discussion should translate to another tool, and you may have to improvise with those other tools.

One thing I cannot get into in this article are the components that make up each symbol – you’ll have to experiment and decide what elements make up your objects. A bit of mechanical drawing is quite helpful, and understanding perspective will come in very handy too. Everything is made up of either, or any number of, rectangles, circles, lines, arcs, etc. Do experiment, and use the Internet to find samples, etc.

Image Sizing

CC3+ symbols have four sizes – Very High, High, Low and Very Low. You want to create symbols at the Very High resolution, and CC3+ will take care of the other sizes when you import them. See the CC3+ documentation for details. In fact, reading through the CC3+ documentation, and consulting the forum, concerning creating symbols is definitely in your interest as well.

Analysis

Let’s take a look at a simple chair:

There are several things to note about its construction. First, note that the linework of the object forms the description of the object, and the value variations within the object gives a 3D impression. Many of Schley’s symbols don’t include the value, thus producing the “ink” symbols. Second, note the border around the object, and sometimes an inner border around other objects (like a book on a table), is a little thicker than the detail linework. Third, note that the detail linework, when there is value applied, is usually surrounded by a slightly darker value of the “main” value of the object.
Fourth, note that the object itself has variations in value (mimicking “wood” in this case), as well as descriptive value to indicate 3D depth. Finally, note the color – intentionally set to mimic watercolor, the colors are a bit desaturated (wood also has a desaturated tone by virtue). This does not, however, detract from the richness of the symbols, but rather forms a complimentary feel to the heavier linework. The effect is, in essence, a watercolor wash, and is an important element in Schley’s style.

The linework here is really something to be admired – quite a lot of variation in thickness and style. This gives the hand-drawn look to the symbols and is important in order to be able to produce symbols that would compliment Schley’s style.

Now that we have an idea of how Schley creates his symbols in terms of components, we can proceed with creating our own.

Making Our Own

Creating symbols that emulate Schley is actually not a trivial task. There is quite a lot involved, depending upon the complexity of the object, and does require a little artistic flair – not that one must be an artist to create symbols of course. With a bit of effort, you can get pretty close! The real trick is rendering a 3D feel – perspective is something that really “sells” these symbols. The beauty of working on the computer is you can simply delete or undo as much as you like and try again. You may also find that sketching on a piece of paper to be useful practice too. I did just that with a few symbols I made as I found that easier.

The first thing to do is to on the object to be drawn. I will start with an object I created for my symbol set – a cabinet. This symbol doesn’t involve perspective, so is much easier to create.

After a few experiments with creating these symbols (remember, I’m not attempting to “be” Schley), I decided that I would start with vector outlines for my symbols, and that was more easily accomplished in Illustrator (or a vector program of your choice). Illustrator also has a method by which variation in line can be achieved (through a little deformation) that does a good-enough job of giving us a hand-drawn result.

Now, as with any object, we have to draw out the components. If you look at the cabinet carefully, you can see that it can be broken down into a few rectangles, some circles, and some lines. Draw out the components of the cabinet, don’t worry about making it “look like” the symbol I’ve created – just concentrate on the basic shapes. For the sake of learning, you could just create a simple rectangle for now. Be mindful of the width of the stroke – you don’t want anything too wide, nor anything too narrow. The size of your object will dictate the width of the border strokes. Use Schley’s symbol as a guide for border line thickness ratio.

Once you have the shape(s) defined, the next step is to change the line shape from obviously vector to something a little more hand-drawn in appearance. For that, we’ll use the Effect->Distort & Transform->Roughen. In the next dialog, you’ll first want to check the Preview box so you can see what effect changing the command’s parameters has on your object. The Size slider dictates the amount of “wobble” in the line – go ahead, play with it, can’t hurt anything right now. I use a value between 2 and 4 pixels. The Detail slider dictates the frequency that the Size slider occurs. Again, experimentation is key here. The last option, Points, needs to be set to Smooth. You might, on occasion, use the Corner option, but in this case we want Smooth.

As you can see from the preview, your object looks a lot more hand-drawn. If you like your changes, click OK, and move on to the next step.

Once you’ve gotten your basic outlines created and your object defined, export that out as a PSD and open the file in Photoshop. You should then have a “Layer 1” group that is your vector artwork (now rasterized). If your line work is not grouped, create a new group from those layers (you can name it anything you like of course).
In the case of the cabinet, I wanted to make it appear to be made from wood – you could choose other materials, like various kinds of stone, or clay, etc. Creating the subtle impression of wood grain could be a daunting task – there’d be lots of hand-painting to do. However, there is an easier route – using a color fill and a texture to produce the illusion. So, I first used a Color Fill, choosing a wood-like value. Be careful here, wood is not highly saturated, so stay on the desaturated side of the color picker – less saturation is more. Set the blend mode to Multiply, and set the layer as a Clipping Mask on top of the linework layer. This color will help re-value the texture and give a little more room for experimentation. Then I used a free wood texture set to Multiply (there are loads of these on the Internet). You might notice this will make your image a little darker, etc. Using both Levels and Hue/Saturation, I adjusted things to taste. You do not have to use a Color Fill as I did, you could just as easily re-color the texture using adjustments. How you follow what I’ve done is completely up to you.

After that, I added a new layer on which to create the interior linework. Using the standard round brush, keeping my brush size smaller than my border with (about 1/2 or so, adjust to your needs), I drew in the planks and interior borders of the cabinet. This is where studying Schley’s artwork comes in handy. Notice how he created his lines – where it is long, short, dots, etc. Pay attention to how he demarcates curves, grades, slopes, etc. You want to approach that same style to be in keeping with his overall look. Take your time, and feel free to clear the layer and start over. When you want straight strokes, use the Shift key. Otherwise, feel free to “freehand” the line – we are creating hand-drawn symbols after all.

Once you have your linework completed, add an Outer Glow effect set to Multiply, and choose a color that is close to the wood color you are using. Experiment with how strong you want that by changing the Opacity slider. Use Schley’s symbols as a guide, and, of course, these are your symbols, so make them as you wish.

Your interior linework layer should almost always be your top layer – you don’t want to hide those lines beneath other opaque layers, so most of your work from here will go below that layer in the stack. The reason for this will become apparent as you work, however, what will happen is the painting you do will subtly change the linework appearance in ways that are not desirable. Opaque layers and Screen layers will overwrite/lighten your linework. The linework provides a guide for the shading and highlights, that’s why the layer needs to be near topmost in the stack and the other layers lay below.
If you feel you need more shading in places, create another layer, set its Blend Mode to Multiply, and using a more desaturated color, fill in your shading. You should use the Soft Round brush for this to get a feathering effect.

After that, the next step is to add selective highlights. You want to add subtle “high spots” to various portions of the symbol. Create a new layer and set its Blend Mode to Screen. Using the Soft Round brush again, create those highlights. If you are using a tablet, you may wish to set the brush size to pressure to help create variable line widths.

Now, as the vector linework comes in as a group of vector outputs, you want to make a Copy Merged copy of the vector linework to place on top of the interior linework you completed. This way all of your linework will be topmost – ensuring any painting below does not unduly affect it. If the layer is filled with white, just set the Blend Mode to Multiply (Multiply ignores white).

The last thing I added, and you won’t do this to all symbols, is a little bit of drop shadow. Sometimes this is helpful, but can interfere with CC3+ shading algorithm, so be careful how much you apply. A little drop shadow can help “bed” the symbol in your drawings, so they appear to be a part of the map instead of just a “sticker” upon it.

Once done, you’ll save out your symbol as a PNG file (otherwise you won’t get transparency). The next step from there is to import your symbol into CC3+, and that’s beyond the scope of this article – consult the CC3+ documentation for that, and/or search the forum for assistance.

What I’m Doing With My Maps

The module I’ve created was born from a Wizards of the Coast campaign upon which I started my group. There was a nice hook within for a personal offshoot, so I ran with it and created a 4-map, 80+ page dungeon that my players are still trawling (and thoroughly enjoying). The “Munson’s Mines” symbol set was born from this module.

While I don’t have Fantasy Grounds, or a fancy in-table monitor to display my maps to the players, they do receive a copy of the level once they’ve completed it (and explored enough that I don’t mind if a few areas are “uncovered” as a result). I do rather prefer they do things the old-fashioned way and map their way by hand – provides more immersion factor I think. After they’ve explored everything, I don’t mind handing them a “player copy.” They get to see just where they got confused with directions, and how accurately they rendered the location. They have really enjoyed the module, and really like the maps. I should probably print them larger, as much of the details I’ve put in get lost on an 8.5×11 (A4) sheet.

CC3+ is a fantastic CAD program for mapping our fantasy worlds as it is feature- and, most importantly, symbol-rich, and I hope this article inspires you to create your own symbols to add to it.

I am delighted to accept an invitation from Profantasy to present the methods I use to make parchment and parchment scrolls for use as backgrounds in CC3. I hope that you will find the information useful.

Both these methods require you to have and make basic use of the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). GIMP is a free application and can be downloaded from this page: https://www.gimp.org/

Once you have installed and opened the software, it will be easier for you to follow this tutorial if you set it up so that it looks similar to the screen shots I’ve included. To do that click the Windows menu, and then Single Window Mode.

Your screen should now look like this:

(You won’t have the Script-fu menu item, since this is an add-on I’ve downloaded separately to the main program.)

PART 1 – Making the parchment
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CA129 CityIn the September Annual issue Remy Monsen, editor and author of the CC3+ user manual and the Tome of Ultimate mapping, takes you on a 22-page tutorial on doing extra-large exports from CC3+. Do you need that giant-sized poster for your gaming room? Or want a image for your website where visitors can zoom in to examine the specks of dirt on the houses’ doorsteps? Remy tells you how to do that, utilizing automated scripts to do section exports and image stitching. Take a look at his Snowport city map to see how far you can zoom in there.

The September issue is now available for CC3+ from the registration page for all subscribers. If you haven’t subscribed to the Annual 2017 yet, you can do so here.

Campaign Cartographer 3 Plus has been getting a lot of love on YouTube lately, by an old and a new tutorial channel.

Joe Sweeney has started a whole new series of videos, redoing his classic mapping tutorials with CC3+ as the “Master Mapping Class“.

And another CC3+ user, Tony Crawford, has started his own set of introductory videos on CC3+ and its add-ons on the “Crawford Cartography” channel.

Good news for all fans of Joe Sweeney’s video tutorials: Joe is both updating the base tutorials for use with CC3+ and creating new ones in his “Mapping Master Class”.

Check out his Introduction to Mapping with Campaign Cartographer below, visit his YouTube channel, or directly subscribe to his Mapping Master Class:

Malvin's TowerDo you have an old CC2 map lying around that you really like, but that doesn’t look so good anymore? Does any of the CC2 maps in the ProFantasy user library catch your eye? Now’s your chance to convert it to a splendid CC3+ map with all bitmap artwork we’ve grown accustomed to.

The February Annual issue “Wizard’s Tower” contains a detailed tutorial on how to convert a CC2-style map to CC3+, as well as the showcase example of Malvin’s Tower, a wizard’s abode floorplan originally drawn in 1999!

The issue is now available for CC3+ from the registration page for all subscribers. If you haven’t subscribed to the Annual 2017 yet, you can do so here.

CA116 River of LifeScorching desert, scouring dust storms and bleak landscapes are the daily lot of your adventuring party? Cruel magic has stripped most life from the surface of your world? This month’s Scorching Sun drawing style by TJ Vandel will let you map this kind of landscape in beautiful detail. Click the image on the right to see a high-detail version of the included example map.

In addition to the style, the included mapping guide gives you two tutorials on topics that come up in CC3+ mapping occasionally: How to add islands and lakes on top similar features without them getting obscured, and how to import fill styles from one drawing style into another.

The issue is now available for CC3+ from the registration page for all subscribers. If you haven’t subscribed to the Annual 2016 yet, you can do so here.

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