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  1.  
    What do you use to make your maps? I run a d&d session with some friends and would like something that makes my maps look great. Do you use computer programs or draw by hand. If you draw tell me any secret techniques and if you use programs tell me what they are. Thanks.
    • CommentAuthorJensen
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2018
     
    I use 99% Profantasy software (Campaign Cartographer and add-ons). It‘s very rare that i need additional software like Photoshop, i can build everything i want with CC.
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      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2018 edited
     
    I think most people here are using CC3(+) as their primary mapping software, considering this is the community forums for said products. If you browse around this forum, especially the show and tell sections, you should see some good examples of what this program can accomplish. You can also check out atlas.monsen.cc for more examples.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2018
     
    I am a mixed media mapper. I have a toolbox of all different kinds of software - CC3 and add-ons and annuals, but also GIMP, Krita, Blender, Sketchup, and anything else that seems to be useful.

    The truth, though, is that apart from the odd map here and there where I have used GIMP to make a background for a CC3 map, I use all those other pieces of software almost exclusively to make symbols and fill,s which I then import to be used in CC3 ;)
    • CommentAuthorJimP
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2018
     
    I use Profantasy software exclusively.
    • CommentAuthorShessar
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2018
     
    If it is a map that will have long term campaign significance or a battlemap that can be used in a variety of situations, I use CC3+ and it's add-ons. If it is a map that will only be used for one adventure and then tossed, I draw it by hand either on paper or on a Chessex mat.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2018
     
    What's a Chessex mat?
    • CommentAuthorShessar
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2018
     
    Posted By: LoopysueWhat's a Chessex mat?


    It's a vinyl mat that has a grid on it that can be drawn on with water based markers.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2018
     
    Oooooh….

    Thank you :)
    • CommentAuthorTexas Jake
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2018
     
    CC3+ is a great tool and will do what you want, I believe. If you are looking for other methods to compare it to you could go over to the cartographers guild to see other options. Again, for your application, CC3 is a very good option and you can achieve some very nice results with it.
    • CommentAuthorJensen
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2018
     
    I think most of the people here know the guild, i regularly have a look there to see what others do and to get inspiration from the great maps presented there. But the guild has it‘s focus on cartography, while - in my opinion- CC has it‘s focus on gamers, on role playing games. Sometimes I have the impression, that some people in the guild think about CC maps as some kind of inferior maps (I call them PS snobs ;)). That‘s the reason why I don‘t go there. I love maps made for roleplaying, that‘s why I love CC.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2018
     
    Aw, they aren't so bad :)

    The majority of my Guild friends are PS mappers, and some of them do work that just blows your mind away - but that didn't stop them wanting to be friends with little old Mouse, and I'm talking about back in the days before I became a multi-media mapper - when I was still a 100% pure CC3 mapper :)

    And if you do come across that kind of thing, its usually someone who forgot to grow some manners or mature in any way. The only one I ever had attack me on one of my threads turned out to be a guy who tried CC3 but totally failed to get a grasp of it. He had a reputation personally as being a bit of a CC3phobe. Never had any trouble with anyone else at all.
    • CommentAuthorTexas Jake
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2018 edited
     
    I can understand your comment, Jensen. I am sure there is a some of PS snobbery over there, but there are also those who provide constructive input. You can also make all kinds of varying quality maps with CC3 especially when combining it with other tools. I am making maps for my novels and CC3 provides me a powerful tool to do so rather quickly. I really appreciate that. Through the process of working with it, I have also polished my map making skills. Skills that apply whatever my tool of choice.
    • CommentAuthorJensen
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2018
     
    Mindblowing maps they have indeed and I regularly enjoy them. The other stuff I wrote is just my impression.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2018
     
    It can feel that way sometimes, but the truth is that there are just soooooo many new members every day that new threads by new members do tend to get a bit lost and don't attract very much attention. It gets a lot better if you persevere and post regularly. People get used to seeing your work and will actually start looking for new stuff by you.
    • CommentAuthorjslayton
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2018
     
    One thing to watch out for about art sites (and CG has definitely become an art site) is that they seem to want to value novelty as much as anything else. A hand-drawn map (via pen and paper or painting program such as Photoshop or The GIMP) is always novel. When someone displays a map that was made using the defaults from a program and is made using frequently-seen artwork, then the reception is often about that given to a young child showing a piece of art that's a few lines and stickers plopped onto a page: polite at best. This kind of reception is not because the map is inherently bad, but rather because it's not novel and the impression is that there is little effort put into doing the work. Often, replies will be encouragement to extend what's shown, to try new things, to develop something uniquely yours. Artists seem to have a nasty habit of forgetting that most people are looking for a workable product to meet some other end and that the artistic elements of the map aren't the primary goal of making that map.

    If you look at some of the simple maps done with tools like Inkarnate or the basic CC3+ templates, the ones that get the best reception at CG tend to be those where the person has obviously put in effort beyond making the most basic map possible. This effort usually manifests as some sort of storytelling, either visually on the map itself or in some accompanying piece that describes the map. It also tends to manifest in some desire for feedback about how to improve the map.

    Now that I've wandered far afield from the topic, I'll take a bit of a break.
    • CommentAuthorTexas Jake
    • CommentTimeOct 18th 2018
     
    Good map making is an art, regardless of the tools used or the method of production. The primary consideration is the clear conveyance of information to the viewer. If that is not accomplished, everything else is of little worth. The more you learn about the art of map making, the better maps you will produce, regardless of methods of production. A good map maker can produce good maps whether he or she uses pen and paper, photoshop, or CC3.
    • CommentAuthorJensen
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2018 edited
     
    This reminds on discussions about music, where fans of classical music reject that Hip Hop is art, as DJ‘s only remix the parts of others. I enjoy listening to Beethoven etc. and I enjoy viewing the maps from CG, but for my personal use PF product are the turntables for fantasy gamers :-)

    But to come back HarryKanes initial question: When we play we often come to unexpected situations which makes it necessary to get a battle map immediately, so pen and paper is the common drawing solution. In my group I am the only one who uses CC and I am not the DM, so everything I do is to map the regional map of our campaign after we have played, I just update the new places. We are pretty much old school.

    Besides that I make regional maps from other part of the world we play, following the decriptions of source books. Just because I have fun doing it.
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2018
     
    harrykane140693 asked:What do you use to make your maps? I run a d&d session with some friends and would like something that makes my maps look great.


    That depends on what the map's for.

    For instance, if I'm using print-and-play gaming tiles to construct an RPG setting for a specific scenario, the PDF files for those will often allow the extraction of the tile images, which can be used to construct a mini, annotated, version of the complete layout as a map for the GM in another program. In such a case, I generally use MS Publisher or a similar DTP system, mainly because I've been using those for decades, so I know I can add text and labels quickly, along with any minor amendments to the layout.

    Campaign Cartographer's a far more powerful pure-mapping system though, where you need to construct any other type of gaming map from scratch, or from a hand-drawn original. This is because, with a little experience, it'll help you prepare a good-looking map that can have various options stored in just the one file. So you might want a GM's map with lots of detail about features such as secret chambers, hidden entrances and traps, while the playing party might have discovered a partial map of the same place without those on. From your one CC3+ base map showing everything, providing you've constructed it carefully, you can easily turn off the sheets containing information you don't want the players to see, and print off, or save for on-screen use, that version for them, while still retaining the full map for the GM, for example.

    CC3+ is also helpful when creating construction maps for the GM for use with 3D cast terrain pieces - such as the Dwarven Forge cave or dungeon sets. You do need to make a set of basic drawings for the different floor, etc., pieces first, but that's not hard to do (unless you insist on making photo-quality drawings of them, which my "artistic skills" would never allow!), but once that's done, you can either set them up in a special symbols file in CC, or just use copy & paste on each piece's drawing, and then build your setting template, saving that so you know how you'll need to lay out the pieces for the game.
    • CommentAuthorWESeib
    • CommentTimeOct 23rd 2018 edited
     
    I am new to using CC3+ Very new. I needed map making software that was capable of churning out good looking maps very quickly. The campaign that I am running is published, but it has HORRIBLE, tiny, crap, virtually unusable maps. So, I needed to be able to make my own and I don't want to spend days and days remaking a POS map out of a book. I am slowly working through the Tome of Ultimate mapping. I am not at all good. And I am slow. However, I am getting better with it.

    Fortunately the only opinion I care about is the players in my campaign, and as long as they can read the map I'm good.

    The trick is to have very low standards while you are learning and not give a damn what other people think. :)
    • CommentAuthorScottA
    • CommentTimeOct 23rd 2018
     
    Good mapmaking definitely takes an artistic eye and talent. Those who might look down on CC3+ or similar program or think maps produced from them are somehow not valid or inferior to "real" hand-drawn (or GIMP or PS or whatever) are mistaken. Yes, I have seen a lot of bad maps done with software, but I have also seen some breathtaking ones. A few of our own PF forum regulars produce great pieces of ART.
    • CommentAuthorTexas Jake
    • CommentTimeOct 23rd 2018
     
    Posted By: ScottAGood mapmaking definitely takes an artistic eye and talent. Those who might look down on CC3+ or similar program or think maps produced from them are somehow not valid or inferior to "real" hand-drawn (or GIMP or PS or whatever) are mistaken. Yes, I have seen a lot of bad maps done with software, but I have also seen some breathtaking ones. A few of our own PF forum regulars produce great pieces of ART.


    Basically it come down to this: you get out of it what you put into it. If you put the effort in, you can make some excellent maps with CC3+, and if you put very little into it you can make some pure rubbish with Photoshop (and vice versa).
    • CommentAuthorScottA
    • CommentTimeOct 23rd 2018
     
    Basically it come down to this: you get out of it what you put into it. If you put the effort in, you can make some excellent maps with CC3+, and if you put very little into it you can make some pure rubbish with Photoshop (and vice versa).


    I still maintain that some artistic talent is required, like any other art form. Having been a chef for over 33 years I ran into a lot of people who liked to cook but were terrible at it, regardless of how hard they tried. Its the same with musicians or fine artists. Just because you know how to use the tools doesn't mean you can create something great. As far as mapping goes I'm talking the level of being good enough to be hired for your work for books or games. For most people doing maps for themselves it doesn't matter, and as long as the person is satisfied then that's all that counts. But there are those who are truly artists and create maps as good as any piece of fine art out there.
    • CommentAuthorTexas Jake
    • CommentTimeOct 24th 2018
     
    Posted By: ScottA
    Basically it come down to this: you get out of it what you put into it. If you put the effort in, you can make some excellent maps with CC3+, and if you put very little into it you can make some pure rubbish with Photoshop (and vice versa).


    I still maintain that some artistic talent is required, like any other art form. Having been a chef for over 33 years I ran into a lot of people who liked to cook but were terrible at it, regardless of how hard they tried. Its the same with musicians or fine artists. Just because you know how to use the tools doesn't mean you can create something great. As far as mapping goes I'm talking the level of being good enough to be hired for your work for books or games. For most people doing maps for themselves it doesn't matter, and as long as the person is satisfied then that's all that counts. But there are those who are truly artists and create maps as good as any piece of fine art out there.


    Oh, I am not denying that artistic talent comes into play. My point is the more effort you put into the map, learning how to use the tools of the trade, and develop your skills the better the product you will produce.