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    • CommentAuthorLadieStorm
    • CommentTime6 days ago edited
    Many of you saw my Oct/Nov Lite Map Challenge: Spyrmenchi Island. I was trying something new... something I called 'color washing' I wanted transparent symbols that I could then tint with color to create the CC3+ equivalent of a water color map. While my first experiment with Spyrmenchi Island turned out pretty cool (even if I do say so, myself!), it was a failure, because it didn't give me the look I wanted to create.

    Well, as you know, Sue caught on to what I was trying to do, and managed to figure out half of what I needed to make my experiment work: How to make Mike Schley's Inks (black & white symbols) SEEM transparent. The idea being to start with a background with a parchment fill on it, and move it down to the bottom of the sheet order, with a multiply mode blend effect, so that parchment fill gives the symbols the seeming transparency, while at the same time keeping their blocking affect, so that one symbol placed in front of another doesn't have the first symbol showing through the second.

    But that's only half of the experiment. The other half is creating the color wash. Now for this, Sue got close to what I was trying to do... She actually sort of hit it with the color effect on her jungle trees for Mayana Island. But what I'm trying to do is similar, but still different. Because for my color wash experiment, it's the SYMBOLS I want color washed... nothing else: mountains and hills, rivers and forests, cities and roads, with possibly the barest hint of color for the ocean.

    Now, one idea is to use the Blend Overlay mode, like in Jochaim's tutorial... and Jochaim, I do plan on using that tutorial at a later date! Those ideas are fantastic! However, it won't work that way for this experiment, because the blend overlay retains the color saturation, meaning it doesn't dull the colors, they stay bright and beautiful.

    But I WANT my colors dulled for this experiment. These color washes are supposed to be tints of color... the bright intensity won't work here.

    So here is a continuation of my experiment with Cordauna Island. And so far it's working out great. Here is what I have so far, an explanation will follow...
      Cordeauna Island.JPG
    Now this is how Spyrmenchi Island was SUPPOSED to look - where the symbols have a hint of color, and the rest looks like the parchment it's 'drawn' on. I can't post my fcw, because the parchment fill I'm using, is one I found and fell in love with at If you don't have it, all you would see is the big red x :/

    I'm creating this effect with a combination of the 'define custom color' button in the colors section, and the effects edge fade inner set to 8, blur set to 15, and transparency set to 35%. Then I'm choosing the pastel color hues, and going into the define custom colors and picking a saturation level that's even lighter than the pastel I chose.

    Now, for this to work, every different TYPE of symbol has to have it's own sheet. Mountains on a mountain sheet, with a mountain tint sheet just below it in the sheet order. Hills on a separate sheet, with it's own tint sheet. Each forest type (evergreens, jungles, decidous, and mixed) will have their own sheets and tint sheets. The ocean will have it's own sheet, and so will the sea.

    I then make the smooth polys to create the color wash. Each poly hugs JUST outside the symbols... but it has to be really close to each group of symbols, and the color wash polys follow the shape of the symbol group - NOT the coastline. In cc3+ when making a world or regional map, you create the contour poly, then place the symbols on top of it... and the contour poly stays inside the land mass. In this situation, the color wash poly tightly surrounds the SYMBOLS, and ignores the land mass edge. This way, once the effects are activated, it looks like the symbols were water color painted, or color washed.

    I will be continuing with this experiment, and I will explain my process as I proceed, for anyone that's interested in making a map like this.
    • CommentTime6 days ago
    This looks great. What do you mean 'choosing pastel colour hues'? I am not an artist, so can you give me a few examples, or post your custom palette. Will watch this with great interest, as I want to do something similar with my Dungroth map.
    • CommentAuthorLadieStorm
    • CommentTime5 days ago edited
    Actually, since I've learned the art of screenshots, I can give you a step by step picture tutorial (never thought I would make a tutorial!) So here is where I started:

    Three things to be aware of as you are doing this:

    1. MOST IMPORTANT - You have to keep the Sheet Effects active to work on your map using this color wash method. As Mouse discovered in another thread, the reason this works is because your background is actually the very last sheet in the order (thanks Mouse!). If your sheet effects aren't active, you won't be able to see how your effects are working on your map.

    2. Your smooth polys for the color wash go around the SYMBOL GROUPS, NOT the land mass. And you create a smooth poly outline as close to the symbol group as possible, so that when you are done, it looks like the symbols are watercolor painted.

    3. Every symbol (or symbol type) gets its own sheet, with a separate color tint sheet right below it in the sheet order. This is what allows you to get all of the different color variations, and of course, you won't get the hard edges if one colorwash tint crosses over another.

    Now, when it comes to the effects, it's not the symbols that get the effects, it's the color tint sheets, and the background sheet. The background sheet gets the Blend Multiply, with the opacity at 100%. The color tint sheets, you can play around with those to get the effects you want, but I use the edge fade inner, set to 8, inner opacity is set at 100%, effect units has the map units checked, as well as the high quality.

    Transparency is set to 35%, but that's my personal choice. You can make your color even lighter by lowering the transparency setting, or make it darker by raising it.

    The last effect is blur, I have mine set at 15 map units, but again, you can play around with that to get the effect you like best.
    • CommentAuthorLadieStorm
    • CommentTime5 days ago edited
    One of the reasons this experiment didn't work on my Sprymenchi map, is because the colors were too intense. I played around with them as much as possible to get the lightest shades, but against a white background, they were still too brilliant to give the pastel effect.

    Pastels are faded, muted, duller versions of the original color palette. Just like if you were to paint with water color paints... you can't really get a vibrant color with water color paints (at least, I never could!), because the water washes out the paint color. It's like a faint dye. It's not like oil based paint, where the tint saturates the base to give those vibrant shades. Mouse mentioned the acid in the colors when using digital paints. They are vibrant, electric, almost neon. So to get the color washing that I'm doing... you need the lightest, dullest of colors.

    But you start with general shades in CC3+ color palette, then you use Define Color to lighten and dull them.
    As you can see above, I started with a light brown color. I chose this particular version of brown, because of the parchment texture I'm using. I knew my parchment colors would contrast well with this particular brown. Then I used the define custom colors, and lightened it even more.
    Next, you create your smooth polys. Remember that you are surrounding your SYMBOLS with these polys, so that when you are done, it looks like you painted them with water colors. Notice my mountains at the top that partially cover my northern coastline. The mountains are fully colored. That's because when I created my smooth poly, I kept it close to the mountain symbol group, but I ignored where the coastline was.
    Oh, here is one other thing to make note of. This procedure should work with any black & white mapping pack. I think CC3+ has more black and white symbols sets than just Mike Schley's, but Schley's black and white symbols are the only ones I have, currently. So I'm using Mike Schley's Inks to create this map.

    Now, if you are like me, when you use Mike Schley's normal overland style, one of the first things you do, is to remove that heavy blue outline around all of your landmasses. As much as I love Schley's style, I can't stand that heavy blue outline for a few reasons. I always fractalize my coastlines, and with Schley's style, that outline is separate, so it doesn't fractalize when the land mass does. Also, it just doesn't look right to me.

    As far as I can tell, however, using this color wash method with the black and white Schley, you CAN NOT remove that heavy outline. I tried to, several times, but each time I did, my island disappeared, even with the glow around it... and without the land mass outline, you have no reference to the rest of your map. Mouse, if you figured out how to remove that outline, without losing your land mass, I would LOVE to hear about it!
    • CommentTime5 days ago
    This is tremendous. Do you make more than one pastel colour. Can you use one of the rarely used rows to house your pastel colours, and if so, I can never work out how to do this.
    In answer to your first question, yes, I make more than one pastel color. If you notice, my hills are a pastel olive green. I used the same procedure to create the pastel green as I did to make the pastel brown. And I will do it again for EACH type of forest symbol, the rivers, the ocean, any rocks or reefs, any towns, cities, or roads. Every separate symbol will receive it's own color tint sheet, and will get a DIFFERENT pastel color.

    As for your second question... I have NO idea, but I would LOVE to know the answer to that as well!
    Oh, one other thing to be aware of. The background you use, needs to be a colored, textured background. As Mouse pointed out on her thread, the parchment backgrounds work really well for this. Now I got my parchment from, but Mouse has created some lovely parchment textures, and I know CC3+ has one or two. I just can't remember which symbol set or style has the parchment texture, but someone here will know.
    • CommentAuthorJimP
    • CommentTime5 days ago
    printed to pdf file. Thanks !
    • CommentAuthorShessar
    • CommentTime5 days ago
    Lovely map LadieStorm!
    It's not finished, yet, Shessar :). I'm just experimenting, that's all :)
    • CommentAuthorShessar
    • CommentTime4 days ago
    Well, even as an unfinished experiment it is beautiful. The colors are so soft and ethereal. I really love what you are doing with it and hope that it is something that you finish.
    • CommentTime4 days ago
    Agree totally with Shessar. I will try this technique after my current map making tasks are finished - just 4 to go!
    Well then, here is the next step. Sea, rivers and lakes.

    I should point out first, that because the sea, and rivers are NOT symbols, they do not need their own color tint sheet. The effects that create the color wash go directly on the sea sheet and the rivers sheet.

    One other thing to be aware of - the colors you chose when creating the smooth polys are NOT going to be exact, once you add the effects. There are a couple of factors that will determine the hue the color wash turns out to be. The first and greatest factor is your background texture. Now I went with this pretty pinkish parchment texture. Because of the blend effect, any color I choose is going to blend with that base color. The same is going to happen for what ever texture background you choose. So you may have to play around with the colors to find what will look good with your particular background color and texture.

    Another factor that is going to change your base color is the Transparency effect. As many members have stated in other threads, the Transparency effect tends to dull the colors you use. Now normally, that can be annoying, especially if you like the particular color you chose... but in this case, that's EXACTLY what you want to happen. The trasparency effect strips the 'acidity' out of the digital colors, which gives that softened look. And the Blur effect is going to lighten your color a bit, giving it that more pastel look.

    That being said, it's time to create your sea, and rivers. We are going to start with the sea. There is a reason for this, which hopefully will explain itself at the end.

    Now, creating the sea around your land mass, is done the same way you would in a NORMAL COLORED map. You choose a color for your sea, then create the contour smooth poly around your land mass. You will, of course, want it to follow the general shape of your land mass, but how closely you follow it is up to you and your tastes. :) Once you have the shape of your sea contour, and the color you want for it, it's time to create the color wash. For this, I used the same three effects, Edge fade inner, Transparency, and Blur. I used the same settings for the sea, as I did for the Mountain and Hill tints.

    So Edge fade inner, set to 8, with 100% opacity, and set to map units. Transparency set to 35%, and the Blur effect set to 15 with 100% opacity, and also set to map units.

    Now that you have your sea in place, it's time to take care of the land mass outline. Remember how I told you that the secondary heavy landmass outline had to stay in place, so that your didn't loose your land mass? Now that you have your sea in place, it's now safe to remove it.

    So click on your land mass sheet. There should be the default black glow on your land mass sheet. If it's not there, you need to add it at this point. So add the glow effect and set it to whatever looks good to you.

    I set my glow as an outside black glow, 12.5 strength, 7.5 blur radius, then set it to map units, and of course, click ok.

    Now, if you fractalized your land mass you will now be able to find places in your land mass and land mass outline where the outline didn't match the fractalization. You will need to zoom in very closely, then use the erase tool to erase that heavy outline. Your black glow is already in place, so once you zoom back out again, you will have a nice, thin, just there outline of your land mass. You can now see it, and play around with it, until you have the look you want.

    Next comes the rivers. First thing you need to know, and I probably should have mentioned it before this point: when you create a custom color, it replaces what ever base color you chose for the map you are working on in the base color palette. That way, if you need to go back to that color again, you can find it. This is necessary for the next step, because whatever color you chose for your sea contour, this is the same color you use for your rivers and lakes. The issue, is that as soon as you click on the river sheet, because you are working in Mike Schley's Inks, the color palette is going to automatically change to black. This is actually a good thing, because it will make the rivers easier to manipulate. Changing the color will come later.

    Before I started drawing my rivers, I moved the river sheet down to just below my hill tint sheet. If you are drawing rivers that pass through mountain ranges and hills, you may not want to do this, it's your preference. One thing you do want to do, is make sure there are NO DEFAULT EFFECTS on your river sheet. Remove those first. Then the next thing you want to do, is draw in all of your rivers. At this point, you are just using the default river drawing tool. You can change width, fractalize, and anything else, after the rivers are all drawn in. But make sure that when you get to the coastline of your land mass - draw your river PAST the coastline and INTO the sea. You don't have to draw it all the way out to the edge of your sea, just make sure your river goes past the edge of your land mass.

    Next, I fractalized all of my rivers. Since these are smooth rivers, you will want to check the smoothing button before you start fractalizing. I usually fractalize my rivers 3 times, clicking on the randomize button each time, but how ever many times you choose to do this is up to you.

    Next thing you want to do, is decide on the width of all of your rivers. Because of the effects you are putting on them, you will want them wider than the default 0.00 width, otherwise they will disappear into the background. How narrow or wide you make your rivers is up to you. I set the line width at 5. for my main river, with the connecting river width at 3. Then for my secondary river I set the line width at 4, with the connecting rivers width at 2.

    Now it's time to change the color of your rivers. You may have noticed, that once you started manipulating your rivers the color in the box beside your sheet box changed back to the color you used for your sea. If not, you may have to manually change it. Then click on the Change Properties button, click on ALL of your rivers, right click Do It. This, of course, brings up the change properties menu. Check the box for the color change, changing your rivers to the same color as your sea, then click okay.

    It's time to add the effects to create the color wash. You use the same three effects - edge fade inner, transparency and blur, but because your rivers are thin, compared to the smooth polys you have been using, you are going to change the values of each effect somewhat.

    I set the edge fade inner to 3 at 100% opacity, and set to map units. Transparency is set to 50%, Blur radius is set to 5 map units.

    Now you create a Lake sheet and move it up to just below your River sheet. Use the same color as you used for your rivers and your sea. Now, instead of the default lake tool, I usually use the smooth poly tool, but that is up to you which you use. Choose where you want your lakes to be, and draw them in. Remember that lakes USUALLY have an ingress and egress... for that reason, I drew my lakes right on top of my rivers. I then randomly fractalized them (with the smoothing box checked) 3 times.

    I then added the three effects to set up the color wash: Edge Fade Inner, Transparency, and Blur, and set the values EXACTLY the same as I did for my rivers.

    And here is the result!
      Cordeauna Island2.JPG
    • CommentTime4 days ago
    Wow - a real work of art, not mapping. I am overwhelmed!
    • CommentAuthorLorelei
    • CommentTime3 days ago
    Lovely work here, Storm. Nice job on the tutorial, as well :) Now, it's time for you to pick a region, town, village, building, dungeon and map for our wonderful community Atlas! Join the club!
    I'm getting there, Lorelei... :) I had to put my laptop away for over six months, which meant no mapping for a while... I'm refamiliarizing myself with cc3+, and trying a few things that I've been putting off for a while. I promise, I will join in on the community atlas, just let me regain my bearings first :D!
    • CommentAuthorLadieStorm
    • CommentTime3 days ago edited
    Okay, with this update, I've added the ocean background, and started working on my forests. I also changed the strength of my land mass glow. I cut it back a bit so it wasn't as pronounced.

    To create the ocean color wash, I first created an ocean sheet, and put it at the top where the background sheet would normally be. then I hid all of the sheets except the background sheet at the bottom. I think right clicked the copy -> copy to sheet/right click Do It. I copied the background sheet to the ocean sheet. I then hid my background sheet, and unhid my ocean sheet.

    Next it's time to set up the color wash. I first decided on my blue for the ocean. I chose a color that was similar to my sea/river/lakes, but was a bit darker. I then used the define color, and using my choice as the base, instead of just going with a lighter shade that would end up mimicking my earlier blue, I clicked around in the color box until I found something that was in the gray blue range. Once I had my base blue, then I went lighter to get a pastel version.

    Now, to create the ocean background on my ocean sheet, I used the rectangular box tool on the right side tool bar. I started in the top left corner of my background surface, and brought the rectangle all the way down to the bottom right corner, covering the entire surface. This makes it look like a big blue box. I then set up my effects.

    Edge fade inner - 8 at 100% opacity, set to map units
    Transparency - this one is a lot lower at 20%. I wanted the color and texture of my parchment fill to show through. Where you set yours at, is completely up to you.
    Blur - is once again set to 15, map units.

    I've decided not to use the symbol trees sheet in my map... instead, I made my own. The first thing I've done, is to click on the symbol options located above the the symbol catalogue, and uncheck the box that says 'symbols choose their own sheets'. I don't want my symbols choosing their own sheets, I want them on the sheet I choose. I then set up my first forest sheet. Remember at the beginning when I said that EACH symbol needs its OWN sheet, and color tint sheet? I renamed my forest sheet to say forest connifer, because decidious trees do not fair as well in colder, thinner air. So the forests in my northern mountain range is a connifer forest.

    Next I've started adding in my forests. Now this is going to be a long, detailed process, at least on my map. As you may have noticed earlier, I spaced out my mountain ranges a bit. The reason why, is because I wanted to create forests in my mountains. I've been all over the US, and every mountain range I've ever seen, is covered in forests. I've NEVER seen bare rock mountains. So I started by adding forests in all of those little spaces I created in my northern mountain range. I made all of my trees tight fit together, then as I got down to the flat of the plains, I used the tree icons that are spaced out a bit. There doesn't seem to be a forest fill, like there is with the colored version, so I used the copse symbols, the single tree symbols and the spaced trees with trunks to create my forests.

    Next, I decided on a color for my connifers, and set up my forest connifer tint sheet, right below my forest sheet. Green is a tricky color to work with, because even the lighter shades tend to be very vibrant... which makes it hard to make a green hue look like a soft pastel. In the end, I used the same technique for the green of my connifer forest as I did for my ocean, choosing a base green, then going into the grayer shades before choosing a pastel version.

    As you can see, I haven't finished color tinting my forest. I've just barely started. Getting the map from my last update to this point took me almost 6 hours to do...because my hands normally aren't that steady! That's one reason why I bought this program, because my hands aren't steady enough to hand draw anything! I used the name smooth poly technique that I did for my mountains and hills, and the same three effects to get the color wash, but the values are different, because the symbols are so tiny.

    Edge fade inner, 1 at 100% opacity, set to map units
    Transparency set to 60%
    Blur set to 15 map units.

    And here is what I have so far:
      Cordeauna Island3.JPG
    • CommentAuthorJensen
    • CommentTime3 days ago
    great to see how this developes! Great inspiration.
    • CommentTime3 days ago
    Very nice. You should make an atlas map in that style.
    uhm... sure! I will admit, I'm more than a little shocked that this experiment of mine has been so well received! It's just something I've always wanted to try, because I've always been partial to watercolors.
    The the mapping continues, and their isn't much progress, as far as mapping, I'm afraid. But there has been a bit of progress in the color washing. I'm beginning to think I may have bitten off more than I can chew! This color washing process takes a lot of time and effort, and even more patience( or in my case, stubborn determination)!

    But it is continuing. As of now I have most of my northern forests color washed, and it will be time to start in the next areas for foresting. Here is what I have:
      Cordeauna Island4.JPG
    • CommentAuthorJensen
    • CommentTime2 days ago
    very beautiful!