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    • CommentAuthorSaito S
    • CommentTimeSep 3rd 2018
     
    I had a bunch of specific, detailed, point-by-point questions I wanted to ask here, but I deleted all that because it was making for a really huge post. Going to try to just boil down the problem generally before getting into most specifics:

    Is there an in-depth tutorial on this somewhere? I feel like a baby thrown into the deep end of the pool when trying to work with this aspect of CC3. There are just way too many parts of it that I still don't have any kind of grasp on.

    When should I use File > New > Symbol Catalogs, vs. Open Existing Map > Symbol Manager > New? If I do the latter, how big should I make the drawing window? Does it matter? How do I tell what kind of sizes the symbol will have relative to other symbols in my map? At what point in this process do I use "Define Symbol", and what do ANY of the options in the dialog window that pops up mean?

    Those are just a few things off the top off my head. It's fair to say that I simply DO NOT have any kind of grasp on what the process is, generally, for making a new symbol and then using that symbol (alongside my existing symbols that came with the Annual Styles I use) in a map.

    Note that I did get some info in another thread from a few months back (from posts by Monsen replying to questions I had asked). The information he provided was useful, but I'm still very confused about a lot of aspects of Symbol and Catalog creation/management. I just kinda lost track of that thread and didn't get around to replying with follow-up questions, and the whole symbols thing was so befuddling that I decided to just drop it and focus on other mapping aspects for a while. But I want to get this figured out so that I can make my own symbols/modify catalogs/import symbols, etc. when I need to do so (which will probably be soon).

    Any and all helps is appreciated!
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeSep 3rd 2018
     
    Thanks for cutting it shorter, but now its gone the other way and I need to ask some questions myself :P

    Do you have the Tome of Ultimate Mapping?

    Are you trying to create symbols and catalogues from things you have drawn in CC3, or are you trying to make them using png files?

    What kind of symbols are you trying to create and turn into catalogues (Dungeon, Overland, or City - some of which have two files to shade the rooftops)

    Have you ever watched Joe Sweeney's video about importing png files and creating symbol catalogues, or any other video (so I don't go and re-recommend any of them)?
    • CommentAuthorSaito S
    • CommentTimeSep 3rd 2018 edited
     
    I was afraid that might happen if I made the post too light, aha. But I wasn't sure what to include just yet and the deleted post was really gigantic.

    Posted By: Loopysue
    Do you have the Tome of Ultimate Mapping?


    I'm pretty sure I HAD the Tome, but now I can't find it. Where can I re-download it? I thought it might be in the same area on the ProFantasy site where I can download the software I've purchased, but it's not there.

    Are you trying to create symbols and catalogues from things you have drawn in CC3, or are you trying to make them using png files?

    For the moment, the former, but that's because right now, all I'm doing is experimenting to try and figure out how this works, since I know I WILL want to create some custom symbols for my maps fairly soon.
    It's entirely possible that I will end up using ALL of the following methods to create the symbols I need:
    1. Create a symbol entirely from scratch (e.g. draw it in CC3 using the regular drawing tools)
    2. Take an existing symbol that came with one of the Annual Styles I use and add to it/modify it
    3. Import a PNG file, either as-is, or modify it before use.

    What kind of symbols are you trying to create and turn into catalogues (Dungeon, Overland, or City - some of which have two files to shade the rooftops)

    Technically, Overland and City. However, an important note (that I forgot to mention before!) is that these are for generally realistic, modern maps made with the following two styles:
    -Modern Political: https://www.profantasy.com/annual/2010/june10.html
    -Modern City: https://www.profantasy.com/annual/2007/september07.html

    (I'm not sure why the two links are not clickable links...)
    So the kinds of symbols I'm going to be working with are almost certainly going to be "abstract" - a logo for an airport, a box with letters inside denoting a type of rail service that stops at a station on the map, etc. I'm not working with symbols that are supposed to look like actual things such as houses or buildings, etc., that you'd expect to find in fantasy maps.

    Have you ever watched Joe Sweeney's video about importing png files and creating symbol catalogues, or any other video (so I don't go and re-recommend any of them)?

    I did watch that video, someone linked it in the other thread I referenced in my OP, but I found it focused mostly on the importing process. Which - don't get me wrong - is useful info, but unless I missed something in the video, I didn't see much about the more general idea of "what is the process for creating a new symbol/catalog", which is where I feel stuck; in particular I didn't see anything that would answer my questions above (for example, I don't recall "Define Symbol" being mentioned at all in the video, but it was presented as something I "need to use" after drawing a new symbol in the other thread).

    Thanks for replying!
    •  
      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeSep 4th 2018 edited
     
    Posted By: Saito SI thought it might be in the same area on the ProFantasy site where I can download the software I've purchased, but it's not there.
    It is in the Downloads tab on the Registered Users page, but as with all ProFantasy products, it requires that you have registered the purchase to add it to your account. There is a handy button in the order confirmation to do this automatically, but it is fully possible to not click it. If you own the Tome but haven't added it, you must find and register the serial, available on the order confirmation email. If you can't find that, you can always have your order history resent.

    (I'm not sure why the two links are not clickable links...)
    Links don't get clickable automatically. You'll need to add the html (or BBCode, depending on your post formatting settings) code to make an actual link.

    When should I use File > New > Symbol Catalogs, vs. Open Existing Map > Symbol Manager > New?
    First one is for starting a brand new symbol catalog, second is for creating a new symbol in the currently open file (be it a map or a symbol catalog, whatever you have open in your main map window). Note that the latter option is rarely used, it is generally easier to draw the symbol in the main window and then use Symbols -> Define Symbol instead (Which again defines it in the currently open file)

    for example, I don't recall "Define Symbol" being mentioned at all in the video, but it was presented as something I "need to use" after drawing a new symbol in the other thread
    Define symbol is used when you have drawn something in CC3(+) that you want to turn into a symbol, while if your symbol is a png file you would be importing it instead.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeSep 4th 2018
     
    You seem to want to do quite a lot of different things, though mainly you describe methods that I'm not all that familiar with. Maybe when you have located the Tome and studied the parts of it that refer to making symbols and catalogues, you might ask questions relating to the bit you are working on at the time, which will make it easier for us to focus on that bit as well :)

    CC3 is the most marvellously adaptive app, but sometimes that can be a bit overwhelming because its very adaptiveness means there are always several ways of doing things - none of them 'wrong' (unless they fail to achieve the desired outcome), but some of them are better or less convoluted and time consuming than others ;)

    And now that I know you've already watched the Joe Sweeney vid I won't push it at you again :P
    • CommentAuthorJensen
    • CommentTimeSep 4th 2018 edited
     
    I would like to suggest to watch all Joe Sweeney videos, some of them several times. I learned CC3+ with them, they are great.
    • CommentAuthorSaito S
    • CommentTimeSep 4th 2018
     
    Re: the Tome - Wait, this is a paid-for product? In that case, I must have been been thinking of something else, some other mapping resource, because I don't think I ever bought it (and it's not in my purchase history). I may do so at some point, but not just yet, things are a little too tight right now. So I DON'T have access to the Tome, after all.

    Re: everything else... I think the scope of my inquiry is getting inflated. I'm not trying to do "a lot of different things", as you put it Loopysue. The list in my previous post of different ways to make symbols was based on my understanding of "these are the various ways to create new symbols", and I can't rule out any of those methods yet, as far as what I might be trying to do.

    I do appreciate the replies, but I don't think my questions are coming across correctly. Perhaps I didn't word my posts well, but all I want to do is understand how to create custom symbols, and then make those symbols available alongside the symbols sets I'm already using (from either the "Modern Political" annual style, for my national/province-level maps, or the "Modern City" annual style, for city maps). And how exactly I go about doing that has been completely baffling to me, I've been unable to get my head around it.

    I think I kind of get what you're saying, Monsen, but there is something about this whole topic that I still find confusing. So what I'm going to do is, when I get home, open CC3+ up and try some stuff out, and then follow-up in this thread if I'm still having trouble.

    However, one last question before I leave it at that for the moment: assuming I do manage to create some new symbols... one thing I've seen mentioned repeatedly is that I'm not just making a new symbol, but a new CATALOG, when I open up a brand-new file to work on creating symbols. So that being the case, how exactly do I get any new symbols I make into the same catalog with the existing annual style symbols?
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeSep 4th 2018
     
    I really wouldn't advise modifying the bought product catalogues. Its better to make a new one with your own file name.

    That's a shame about the Tome. It has whole loads of info in it about all of this.

    And don't worry - I'm known for misunderstanding the question around here! :P I have autism and take everything completely literally unless I'm really concentrating. The sort of person that gets a joke about half an hour too late and then falls apart laughing while everyone else looks on in a state of bewilderment.
    • CommentAuthortaustinoc
    • CommentTimeSep 4th 2018
     
    Posted By: Saito SRe: the Tome - Wait, this is a paid-for product? In that case, I must have been been thinking of something else, some other mapping resource, because I don't think I ever bought it (and it's not in my purchase history). I may do so at some point, but not just yet, things are a little too tight right now. So I DON'T have access to the Tome, after all.


    There's a manual that comes with CC3, which has a lot of useful information in it. The Tome is far more comprehensive and detailed, and highly recommended if you're willing to spend the money.
    • CommentAuthorSaito S
    • CommentTimeSep 4th 2018
     
    Posted By: LoopysueI really wouldn't advise modifying the bought product catalogues. Its better to make a new one with your own file name.

    Oh yes, of course - whenever I have modified anything, I make my modification as a new file and make sure to keep a backup of the original, unmodified files around. Gotta play it safe!
    That's a shame about the Tome. It has whole loads of info in it about all of this.

    I'll have to look into it, because that sounds like something I should have! Hopefully soon things will be a bit better on the finances front.

    And don't worry - I'm known for misunderstanding the question around here! :P I have autism and take everything completely literally unless I'm really concentrating. The sort of person that gets a joke about half an hour too late and then falls apart laughing while everyone else looks on in a state of bewilderment.

    No worries! I have a tendency to be too wordy and roundabout, so don't think it's all on you, haha.

    Posted By: taustinoc
    Posted By: Saito SRe: the Tome - Wait, this is a paid-for product? In that case, I must have been been thinking of something else, some other mapping resource, because I don't think I ever bought it (and it's not in my purchase history). I may do so at some point, but not just yet, things are a little too tight right now. So I DON'T have access to the Tome, after all.


    There's a manual that comes with CC3, which has a lot of useful information in it. The Tome isfarmore comprehensive and detailed, and highly recommended if you're willing to spend the money.

    Oh yeah, I think that might have been what I was thinking of. There was the normal user manual, and then some kind of expanded "super manual" that I downloaded, and I'd forgotten that the Tome of Mapping was its own thing that you have to buy, and was thinking of just the larger version of the manual. But as soon as I'm able to, I plan to pick it up, it seems like there's pretty much a universal consensus around here that it's worth having!
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeSep 4th 2018
     
    LOL! We are going to have such a lot of fun trying to understand one another! :P

    I learned how to make my own symbols (a different way to the way you are doing it) by reading the relevant sections of the Tome, and watching that Joe Sweeney vid.

    That was the basics covered. Of course, like with all things, the deeper you dig the more there is to go. About half of what I know right now is thanks to Monsen answering all kinds of stupid questions I've asked on this forum ;)
  1.  
    Not to go too far off topic, and since I think this may be something Saito is going to want to know (and I would like to know!). I've tried finding this in help and TUM, but...

    When importing bitmap symbols, what is the recommended resolution for the bitmaps? And format? (png?)

    Such as, for a dungeon or battlemap symbol, how many pixels per foot (or meter)? 10?
    How about overland symbols?

    I know when you automatically create the VH, HI, LO versions is makes different resolution ones, but the native graphic, what resolution should it be?
    •  
      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2018 edited
     
    Format is always png.

    Resolution depends on map type, given in pixels per map unit (which is feet for everything in this list but overland maps, which uses miles)
    Overland: 20
    City: 40
    Dungeon/floorplan: 100
    Character Artist: 500

    These numbers are based that your symbols are in the VH quality, you can skip this and only use symbols of HI and lower, if so, divide the numbers by 2.5. This may be appropriate if you find images on the internet, since not all images would be a high enough resolution to qualify for VH in the first place. For reference, all the four community art packs (Vintyri, Bogie, CSUAC, Dundjinni Archives) uses HI as their highest resolution.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2018
     
    You can only use png (as far as I know) I don't think the app sees any other kind of bitmap image. That's because png is lossless, even if it can be a bit large in terms of storage memory.

    There are no hard and fast rules about resolution, but the standards used by PF are in the Tome in one of the margin comments. They are 100 pixels per foot for Dungeon, 40 pixels per foot for city, and 20 pixels per foot for overland.

    I usually work out the size of the original artwork by multiplying the dimensions by the required standard resolution these days. I didn't do it with my early symbols because I didn't really understand it back then, but if I'm doing a city symbol these days and I want it to be 20 feet by 30 feet on the map, I draw it 20x40 pixels by 30x40 pixels, or 800 x 1200 pixels. If I was going to do the original of the same small house but make it dungeon grade I would multiply the feet by 100 instead, so it would be 2000 x 3000.

    If (as was the case with the Japanese Temple symbols) I'm actually using CC3 to draw the original symbols, I can draw them any size I like, as long as when I render them to png files for use as symbols I export them at the correct size for the desired resolution.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2018
     
    Another thing to consider when drawing bitmap images to use as symbols is that they are better without any antialiasing around the outside edge, so even if you use antialiasing when you export the symbol, it works better if you clean up the edge. Adding a thin black line around the edge also helps with things like buildings. Semi transparent pixels that are neither opaque nor fully transparent (such as you get if you use antialiasing on an image that has a transparent background) make a mess of sheet effects. Glows and shadows look pretty bad if there's a blurred outline on a symbol.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2018
     
    Sorry Remy!

    Took too long to write my bit, then didn't notice you had already posted :P
    • CommentAuthorSaito S
    • CommentTimeSep 9th 2018
     
    So it took me a few days to get back to this, but... yeah, I'm still lost.

    I did New > Symbol Catalogs, and then on the canvas that was presented to me, I made a simple black box using the "box" tool, and placed the existing Airport Symbol from Modern Political (which, without modification, is a red plane symbol with no boxes or anything around it) inside it. Which gave me this:


    I then used "Define Symbol", picked the two objects, and for the settings in the Define Symbol window, went with this:


    Saved it as a catalog, then opened that catalog with my map, and placing the symbol got me this:


    A black box with no red plane. I also tried making it again, but this time with "Bounding Entity" set to "None" in the Define Symbol settings, but that made no difference.

    SO yeah. I have no idea what made it so I got this empty black box, instead of the box with the plane, once I tried to use the symbol, nor do I get how to use those settings in the Define Symbols window, really. And I also still have zero clue how I would take a symbol I created (or imported) and make it so it's in the same catalog as the existing (default) Modern Political symbols, so they can all be used together.

    Any help is appreciated.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeSep 9th 2018
     
    There is a couple of things which may have made problems for you here.
    - Nested Symbols: I don't know if this is stated anywhere obviously (because it rarely comes up), but you shouldn't nest symbols. That red plane is already a symbol, so by embedding that into another symbol, you nest symbol definitions, which can lead to strange outcomes. What you should always do if you wish to include another symbol in your symbol is to use explode on it first, before defining the symbol. Explode reduces the symbol to it's individual component entities, which are safe to define into a new symbol.
    - Sheets: When you placed that symbol, it probably automatically created a SYMBOL sheets, and was sent there. However, symbols, when made, are single-sheet only. You should collect all entities that are going to be part of the symbol on a single sheet before defining it. The reason for this is to control what goes on top of what, since sheets override drawing order, things may simply not appear in the same order int he finished drawing, so even if your red plane did appear on top when you made the symbol, the plane entity may actually be below the black square in the final symbol. By having all parts on the same sheet before defining it, you would be able to catch this and use the bring in front of/send behind command to order the entities to appear as you want them to before defining the symbols.
    • CommentAuthorSaito S
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2018
     
    Thanks for the insights, Monsen. I'm slowly starting to get the hang of creating symbols, I think... I'll have to work on it some more, and also try some things like importing PNGs, to see if I can do that correctly as well. I'll work on that more this weekend and see if I can get better at it.

    However, there is one other thing I haven't had answered yet, though I've asked about this a few times. What exactly should I do to make sure a symbol is actually available for use? That's one thing I still don't have the faintest idea how to do. It seems I'm creating an entire "catalog" when I draw symbols by using "New > Symbol Catalogs", but the thing is, I don't actually WANT them to be their own catalog. Ultimately, any and all symbols I make for this project (maps of a modern "could be part of the real world" kind of place) need to be able to be used alongside the existing symbols that came with Modern Political and Modern City. So... how would I go about doing that?
    •  
      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2018
     
    If you want to modify the official catalogs, I recommend two things:
    1) First define all your symbols to a new catalog and keep this as your main file. The official catalogs can be overwritten by a patch, so you want to make sure your symbols don't get lost
    2) Take a backup of the official catalogs before modifying them so you don't have to reinstall if you mess them up somehow.

    Then, to get the symbols from your new catalog to the official catalog, open the official catalog up as a map, and open your new catalog up in the symbol catalog window. Now, every symbol you click on in the symbol catalog window (your catalog) will be copied to the catalog you have open in the map window (official catalog). After clicking ont he symbols you need, you can verify by using the symbol manager that they are indeed there (and rearrange them if you need to), then simply hit save to save the updated catalog.


    If you are making more than a 2-3 symbols, I strongly recommend just keeping them in your own catalog file instead of modifying the official catalogs, and instead create a catalog setting (See Symbol Catalog Filters and Settings starting on page 83 of the manual) for your new catalog, so that it will pop up as an additional choice when you use the symbol catalog buttons.
    • CommentAuthorSaito S
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2018
     
    Thanks! I think I follow this process so I'll try it out once I have my airport symbol made (which is one of the major things I'm concerned about - I don't really care for the default airport symbol in Modern Political by itself, so I want to create a different one).

    One question:

    Posted By: Monsen
    If you are making more than a 2-3 symbols, I strongly recommend just keeping them in your own catalog file instead of modifying the official catalogs, and instead create a catalog setting (See Symbol Catalog Filters and Settings starting on page 83 of the manual) for your new catalog, so that it will pop up as an additional choice when you use the symbol catalog buttons.

    So if I'm understanding you here, you mean: instead of adding my custom symbols to the existing catalog, thus making it so that ALL symbols (the default ones and mine) appear in the "main" symbol window, all at once, make it so that the symbol setting buttons would select between the default symbols, vs a separate catalog with my custom ones?

    If I've got that right, then my question is: why do you recommend that? Is there a technical reason, some way in which adding several symbols to an existing catalog can potentially cause a problem? Or is it recommended because most people find it easier to sort larger numbers of symbols with different catalogs?

    If it's only the latter, personally I'd definitely much rather have as many symbols as possible in one single catalog. I don't use those top symbol buttons or the "symbol style toggle" button much - hardly at all, in fact. And I prefer to minimize the number of clicks needed to access different tools.

    Of course, for the moment, it's moot, since I only have a need for 2 custom symbols (per mapping style) right now. But if, in the future, I wanted to create more, it would apply.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2018
     
    Posted By: Saito SIf I've got that right, then my question is: why do you recommend that? Is there a technical reason, some way in which adding several symbols to an existing catalog can potentially cause a problem? Or is it recommended because most people find it easier to sort larger numbers of symbols with different catalogs?
    Ease of maintenance mostly. Official symbol catalogs may be overwritten by a patch without warning, as they are files belonging to the program, not the user. Keeping symbols in your own separate files prevents this. It also makes keeping backup easier, as well as distributing the symbol catalogs (either to other computers you own, or to other people). If you keep your symbols in the official symbol catalogs and they get overwritten by a patch, you cannot simply copy back your copy of this file, since that would also effectively revert the patch, you need to extract the symbols in question from the old backup and then insert it into the new file. Also, if you do wish to distribute the symbols to others, you cannot legal distribute the entire ProFantasy symbol catalog, so you need to go to extra steps to extract your symbols, instead of just having them in a separate file you can freely distribute. (Freely assuming they are your own symbols though, and not a modification of the PF symbols, like you did with the example airport).
    • CommentAuthorSaito S
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2018
     
    Ohhh I see. That does make sense. Thanks!
    For whatever reason, I've had an enormous amount of trouble with the concepts when it comes to symbol management, so I can't say for sure I won't be here asking for help again, but I'll give it a go this weekend.