When mapping, there are times when precision matters a lot, and times when it doesn’t matter at all and simply eyeballing sizes and positions gives the best result. But in this article, I am going to talk a bit about the former, when we want perfect precision in our work, when we need that road to be exactly 10 feet wide, or entities needs to line up perfectly with each other. In CC3+ we have multiple tools available for that purpose, such as snap grid, modifiers and coordinates. I’ve talked about these things in other places before, but I’ll put all these into the context of precision work here.

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You can’t make a good dungeon without having some secrets, right? Hidden traps, secret doors, concealed corridors, illusory floors, invisible enemies and fake treasure. Now, placing invisible enemies on the map is dead simple (trick being not actually placing them at all) but how can I make a map with a secret corridor that I can reveal and hide at will, and not betraying it’s existence when it is hidden?

CC3+ has nice tools for adding corridors to your map, but you have do decide if they should break the wall or not when connecting to an existing room or corridor. And this is where the challenge begins. It is easy enough to temporarily hide something by putting it on it’s own layer so toggling the visibility of the corridor is easy, but if you chose to have it break the wall when placed, you would still have that hole there when the corridor is hidden. Now, that isn’t actually a good way to keep it secret. On the other hand, if you chose to not break the walls, then there will be walls blocking the corridor even when it is revealed, which look a bit weird, and we can’t have any of that, can we?

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One rather standard feature of most CC3+ maps that I see many people are somewhat confused over or fail to use properly is the screen. For example, I get a lot of atlas submissions that have things sticking out on the outside of the screen. Thus, I thought I would dedicate a small article to talk a little bit about this feature.

The screen is that white polygon that can be found right outside the map border on most maps. But why is it there? What is the intended functionality of it? And how to best manipulate it? And how to avoid it being part of our output when we export our map to an image? I’ll talk about all these things here, to hopefully give you a bit more insight into this feature.

Note that this article is about the screen entity found on most maps, and not the Screen Border sheet effect.

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One of the most powerful effects in CC3+ is also the least used one. And that is kind of understandable, because it is also one of the more complicated ones. So in this article, I’m going to give you a bit of an introduction to the Spatial Matrix Process (SMP) effect (Not to be confused with the RGB Matrix Effect).

SMP is a custom filter where you have a lot of control over what the effect will do, it doesn’t have a pre-defined purpose like the other effects, but can be used to create a variety of different effects. Note that some of the results you can accomplish using this effect is already implemented as separate effects, such as blur.

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While most CC3+ styles have a good selection of symbols, including multiple variations of the same symbols, such as multiple different trees, mountains, tables or statues, you can get into an issue of repetition if you need lots of these symbols.

One of the ways to alleviate this is to apply different scaling, rotation and mirroring to these symbols. Just a subtle change of scale or orientation helps reduce the monotony of a lot of the same symbols. This can of course be done manually, but CC3+ symbol catalogs contain a cool feature for helping with this, namely random transformations. Random transformations are a configurable way to automate this process on a symbol by symbol basis, ensuring that it makes sense for each symbol it is applied to. For example, it doesn’t make much sense to have a random rotation of a mountain in an overland map, that would probably look weird given the isometric view of these symbols in most styles, while a table in a tavern may benefit from free rotation. The same mountain may find use in random scaling to vary it that way instead.

You’ll find that many of the official symbol catalog already use this technique by default, but it is easy to set up yourself, either to apply it to your own custom symbols, or to existing symbols when using them.

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Grids are a necessity when you are making your battle maps and it is easy to add a grid in CC3+ through the Draw Menu (Hex or Square Overlay). And this is quite OK for many maps, but with just a little bit more work, one can make it much prettier. For example, a common desire is to only have the grid visible over the floors in the rooms, where the characters can actually walk. And maybe you have a tiled floor and want the grid aligned to that? In this article, I am going to discuss some of the things you can do with your grid.

 

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Community Atlas WorldThe community atlas project just finished it’s 500th map competition. The competition was all about making a dungeon with a fire an/or ice theme. 18 people participated, handing in a total of 30 maps. The voting is now over, but all the maps can be seen in the voting thread.

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to everyone who participated in the contest.

The winners are as follows, and all won vouchers to the ProFantasy store, sponsored by ProFantasy Software Ltd and JimP from the forums.

Best Map:

Coils of the Cold Coroner by Autumn Getty

2nd Place:

The Temple of the Burning Ice by AleD

3rd Place:

Kristol Caverns by Loopysue

4th Place:

The Fire of Lielt’ma by daperdepa

5th Place:

Klodevig’s Gauntlet by Lillhans

 

500th Atlas Map:

The 500th atlas map was randomly drawn between the maps of the contestants still eligible for a prize. And the winner of this honor was

Fifth Summer Palace of the Winter Queen by Wyvern

 

Great work everyone, and thanks form the Community Atlas Project for all the new wonderful maps for the atlas.

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Color Key is one of those effects that can be a bit difficult to see an immediate use for. Effects like Glow, Edge Fade, Transparency and so on are very clear already from the name, and it is easy to think of scenarios where those effects would be useful. But what of the Color Key, what can we really use it for? When does it make sense to use it? It’s not quite as clear.

I didn’t really use this effect myself in the beginning, but I’ve been using it more and more over the years as I have found that it can really simplify the work process to get the look I need.

The main idea behind Color Key is that it can be used to remove parts of a sheet, allowing the sheet below to shine through. This can be done to punch hole in things, for example, you can use it to punch a hole in the landmass to see the sea fill below (creating a lake), you can punch a hole in the roof or wall of a building to see the interior, you can use it to remove the parts of the grid you don’t want and so on. But instead of actually deleting anything from the map, the Color Key is just an effect that can be later moved or removed, for example making it much easier to reshape that hole in the wall as opposed to if you had actually edited the wall entity itself.

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In my latest live stream, I did use the RGB Matrix Process effect quite a lot for changing the colors of fills ans symbols. I this article, I’ll dive a bit more into this effect and describe it in a bit more detail.

The effect itself is just a basic color-replacement effect, but all those text fields with numbers can look quite a bit daunting when you open it up for the first time, but you can use it to make some nice results. You can see some examples in this older blog article where I also touch briefly on this effect, but today I’m going to explain it in a bit more detail.

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The community atlas is almost at it’s 500th map, and will also be 4 years old this February.

For this occasion, we are having a mapping competition with the chance to win some nice voucher to use on ProFantasy products.

You can read all the details about the competition in this forum post, but the main idea is to create a dungeon with either a ice and/or fire theme.

There will be prizes for best map, and also a prize drawn at random from the submitted maps for the 500th map.

This contest is intended for every CC3+ user, no matter their skill level. Don’t hesitate to join even if you don’t feel your artistic skill can compete with the best. Even if you don’t win any of the prizes for best map, there is also the random draw which anyone could win.

The contest will be running until the end of February. Please head over to the forum post to check the exact details, ask any questions you might have, and have a look at the two maps already submitted.

Please, join in on the competition. It is great fun participating, no matter your skill level, and it is a great opportunity to challenge yourself, maybe do something different than your usual fare. And the more people who participates, the better the contest becomes.

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