EucalyptusNow over on the Profantasy community forum posted an excellent little tutorial on creating decorative symbols by tracing graphics from other sources, and we thought it would be great to share this on the blog. So break out your mapping tools and follow along.


This is a tutorial for creating vignettes / decoration symbols out of rounded polygons by tracing existing images.

I’ve more or less stumbled upon this method, after I wanted a spider to decorate a map and could not find one exactly like I wanted, so I drew/ traced it.

Step One: Determine what you want for your map.

Based on the opinion of a certain younger member of our household, I’m going to use a unicorn as an example. It should be suitable as a crest, stamp or as a general map decoration.

Step Two: Find a suitable source image:

This image could be any drawing, picture or even photo. The most important thing is that the general shape of what you want to trace matches what you want.

Please keep copyright in mind if you are planning to use the created symbol for a map you are going to publish. I try to use public domain images whenever possible.

After some searching around, I’ve found this public domain crest on Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Blason_ville_fr_SaintLo_(Manche).svg

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Example MapAs we’ve announced a while ago, we are working on a new Symbol Set by Mike Schley, titled “Isometric Cities” and we are getting close to release now. The artwork by Mike is all done, Sue Daniel has created all the varicolor versions of the symbols, and yours truly is working on the bitmap fills and integrating everything into one coherent package.

The style consists of a large number of isometric building symbols. Each comes in four different views, which can be easily rotated to show the buildings from the four cardinal directions.
Example 2

The symbols range from glorious gigantic structures like the cathedral above, to small details like graves, boats and market stalls. Naturally – because they are all created by Mike – they fit the Symbol Set 4 and 5 styles very well, and can potentially be used to illustrate cities that you’ve already create with Symbol Set 5 in an isometric view.

Example 4

Look for the release Symbol Set 6 at the end of the month or in early November. Of course we’ll announce it here and in our newsletter, so keep an eye on those to not miss this new wonderful Symbol Set by Mike Schley.

Example 3

GenCon Hall in the Morning

Here I am back in Germany from GenCon, finally over the jetlag, looking back at my first transatlantic journey in three years, and trying to think of how to describe the trip.

It’s strange, in most ways it was totally the same as other GenCons (take a look at my detailed description from 2016), but on the other hand it was new and exciting, as I was finally able to meet so many friends again. Seeing them in person is so much different from just communicating vial email, phone and video.

GenConMechTravel to and from the show was mostly painless. I missed a connecting flight on the way to Indy, but got on the next easily and arrived just a little later than planned on Tuesday evening. Wearing a mask all four days was a bit annoying (if of course warranted), but discipline was high, and everyone I know and know of managed to avoid getting Covid at the show, so I count that as a clear win.

It was a bit quieter than usually, with only about 50,000 visitors as opposed to around 70,000 before the pandemic, but still lively enough and the vibes were good. Everybody was just happy to be back at the show.

Downtown Indianapolis has definitely suffered a bit in the last two years, with several restaurants going out of business and other springing up in their place. I did miss the Rockbottom Brewers, as it had been my favorite haunt on recent visits, but we found another great place to eat: Nada’s a Mexican place with excellent salsas and tacos.
Nada Tacos

As usual I didn’t get to game much at the show, but managed to sneak in a session of “The Thing” with Canadian friends on Saturday evening. It’s an excellent adaptation of the 80s John Carpenter movie and we had great fun with it, though us humans lost and brought the alien thing out of Antarctica to take over the world.

If you want to see my personal gallery of pictures with lots of miniature and game pictures, you can find it here.

There are several ways to organize your maps, both inside and outside of CC3+. We’ve previously talked about linking your maps together to make a navigable atlas, and how to index your maps to make them easy to search to find the map you want. Today, I’ll talk about the bookmark feature in CC3+. Using bookmarks, you can create lists of maps, for examples maps belonging together, or maps with a common theme. For example, in the community atlas, I have bookmarks for the different types of maps, for example one bookmark set that contains all the overland maps, one the contains all the dungeon maps, and so on.

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Lews and Harris
“Leogus et Haraia” – Latin for “Lewis and Harris” the twin main islands (or island?) of the Outer Hebrides, as depicted in the Blaeu Atlas of Scotland* published in 1654.

Wouldn’t it be a perfect candidate to reproduce in the Mercator style of CC3+? Well, the mapping project will have to wait a while since I’m headed there for the next couple weeks to take a first hand look. In fact I’ll be hiking the Hebridean Way all the way from Barra in the south to the northern end of the Western Isles at the Butt of Lewis.

PreparationsI’m very much looking forward to an international trip after two years of mostly being confined to our national borders and to stretching my legs on a long multi-day hike again. I’ll keep an eye out for any mapping related topics and share my finds when I’m back. Sue (on the forum and Facebook), Remy (on the forum) and Jeff (on tech support) will be around to help out with any issues. In the meantime, keep up the great mapping!

*Image of the Blaeu Atlas Map taken from the National Library of Scotland and used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence.

If you own a lot of ProFantasy products, or have installed one or more of the large community symbol packs, you will have a lot of symbols. By default, CC3+ will give you easy access to the symbols belonging to the current map style through the symbol catalog buttons immediately above the map window, but sometimes you may wish to search for other symbols not made for the current style, which may fit anyway. But how to best find these symbols? Let us check out a few ways which may be of assistance to you here.

 

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Exhibit HallIt’s been more than two years that I’ve done any travels for ProFantasy and it makes me very happy that I can say that I’ll finally be in the US and Indianapolis again this coming August. I’ve been missing this.

Of course it’s GenCon that is bringing Profantasy and me there. The show takes place from August 4th to 7th as usual at the Indianapolis Convention Center. Thousands of gamers descend upon the city for that event, and I’m really looking forward to seeing many old friends again, as well as wandering the exhibitors’ hall and actually playing some games.

IndyYou’ll find as sharing a booth with our sister company Pelgrane Press again, actual booth numbers will be announced closer to the show. Personally I’ll be at the booth most of the time, demoing CC3+ and talking to any of the map-makers stopping by. Stop by and say hello if you are GenCon this year.

Travelling to Indianapolis can be exhausting, as there are no direct flights to and from Germany. I’ve been stuck at Newark, Detroit and Chicago in the past, most often on the way back as the International flights don’t wait for any delayed domestic ones. But that’s part of travelling and I usually don’t mind it much – it just becomes another story to tell. Still, fingers crossed that my first intercontinental flights in years go off without a hitch. See you in Indy!

Monthly Symbols Example Part 1

Our freely available small monthly symbol sets, created by Mike Schley have been very popular (no surprise there!), and we are now nearing the completion of the first full year. The big example map that I use to try out and show all the symbols has become a wonderful, sprawling mess depicting lots of weird places and happenings.

So far all the symbols have been for overland maps and we are considering a variation in theme once we reach June and the second year of the program. There are still lots of ideas for overland maps, but we would also like mappers to profit from the free symbols, who are not doing so many overland maps.

Monthly Symbols Example Part 2

It will still be Mike doing them, and currently we are thinking of doing dungeon symbols for a while, complementing his Dungeons of Schley style. But of course we’d like to hear from you, what you would like to see in the free monhtly symbols.

Should we stick with overland symbols for a while? Is the idea of Dungeon symbosl fine? Or would you like to see something else entirely. You can also submit more specific ideas for what should be in the sets, like what you would need in an overland map or dungeon floorplan.

Send us an email, post in the comments here, or head over to the Profantasy community forum and reply there.

A few weeks ago, I hosted a live stream taking a closer look at the drawing tools. Making this the perfect time to talk a bit more about the more advanced aspects of the drawing tools and how to utilize them properly and explaining a few things in more detail than appropriate for a stream.

Examples of advanced use of drawing tools is to draw aligned fills, drawing a path and have symbols placed along it or drawing a polygon and having it filled with randomly placed symbols. Basically, a lot of the things you can do using multiple steps with regular CC3+ commands can be automated and streamlined by making a drawing tool for it.

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People who have browsed the Community Atlas website have probably noticed that you can search maps, not just by name, but also by text in the map. So, how to I manage to do that, the maps on the website is just images, right? Granted, there are tools available that tries to understand text in images, but these are not good with noisy backgrounds like a map is. However, the community atlas website is of course backed by the actual community atlas product, the .fcw files themselves, and this is where the text comes from.

This is all done by using an excellent command in CC3+, the create index command. This command was originally made for searching through multiple drawings quickly without the search function having to read each map file every time, but the index it generates is a nice plain text file which can also be used by other tools, such as a web search. If you own products such as the Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas or World War II Interactive Atlas, these come with an index file out of the box allowing you to quickly search the maps therein, but of course, you can also easily make your own index file for your own set of maps.

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