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    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 16th 2020 edited
    I decided to get it over with and convert it to game colors. The background is palest green (color 95). The contours start at pale brown (46 - 200m), then skip every other color to really dark brown (32-900m). I turned on the rivers (blue obviously), the Inner German Border, and the hex grid.

    It occurs to me in this quick view, I would probably benefit by moving starting the contours at 43 (200m) and end them at 36 (900)
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeApr 17th 2020
    It's looking really good so far :)
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeApr 17th 2020
    Impressive, Mike!

    The latest iteration does highlight the fact the contours and hex grid don't match, of course, so does that mean you'll need to simplify the contour mapping to work for the game? (I'm not even mentioning the river lines here, naturally - oops, just did; sorry...)
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 17th 2020
    Thanks Sue and Wyvern.

    The contours, rivers, forests, and roads are not intended to correspond to the hexes. I will adjust the roads so they don't cut across tiny (a size determined soley by me) will not provoke debates about how far a unit can move.

    The hexes are large: 6cm wide/3km). A unit is assumed to occupy the best terrain in the hex for its mission. Detailed LOS is not going to be worried about overmuch. The hex size is to force the players out of their comfort zone to consider broader aspects of military operations. A single Cavalry Troop of the era can pretty much control a 3km zone and an attacking Russian Regiment can be in as little as 3 - 5 km when making the divisions main attack.
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 17th 2020 edited
    OK, earlier in the thread Monsen convinced me that using the real world distance for the map is better than manipulating the map so it will print out in the configuration I am interested in. So, I selected the SS3 Modern Political Map (Metric) and input the map size as something close to 58 km wide and 71 km tall.

    For the current map, I want it to print out at 51 x 17 inches so the map sheet prints edge to edge without any white space at the top and the bottom. To print the map, I then said I want to have the map be printed on a 3 x 5 grid of 11 x 17 inch map sheets and I said use Paper Distance = 1 and Map Distance = 1. This prints out the map with the correct number of sheets, but the printed map does not display the desired area;it cuts off about 1.5 hexes off each side of the map. Unacceptable.

    Clearly I need to scale the map differently. My attempts to calculate the size for the Map Distance merely frustrated me, so I started to guest (yes, Brute Force and Ignorance [BFI] raises its ugly head again). Having adjusted artillery I immediately try to go over (blank space all around the map) to short (less and less cut off hexes) and get to the point at which Map distance = 1.24 fits the height quite well, but gives me about 3 inches of blank space on each side, which I do not want, because I want to have the map extend to the sheet edge.

    Before I would get the actual map into my photo editing program and determine the operational area I wanted to cover for the game and I would crop the image to cover that area. I would then measure how big the map was and decide how much space I wanted it to take up and it varies based on how many meters I want to have a hex cover. For example, if a hex is 100 meters, and the grid square is 1 cm wide, I resize the map so the grid square is 10cm. If I want the hex to be 1 inch in diameter I calculate any adjustment, then cut the map to cover the final map layout and resize it so it is at the correct physical size when printed (say a 2 x 2 sheet grid that is 34 inches wide and 22 inches tall.) (Yes, this is confusing to be reading the map in metric and then changing it to a "standard" size in inches).

    I craft the map, proof it, and print it. Poof! The map prints in the correct size with the right number of pages. Next, since the printer can't print the image edge to edge on 11 x 17 inch paper, I order Cute PDF to convert the file to images, then take each sheet and paste it into a template for a 12 x 18 inch sheet of paper and they cut it for me.

    However, after a lot of calculation and reading and re-reading the blog tutorial written by Monson and examining the manual, I am befuddled. Obviously at the start I sized the map in a manner such that the size is not compatible with printing out the map in the size I want.

    What I am faced with doing is printing out the file such that it is in some other number of sheets (say 5 x 7) and scaled 1:1, export the PDF as images, reassemble them in my photo program, resize it, and then cut the thing again or print out a map that has blank space around it or has hexes which are cut off. Both are bothersome to me.

    I was also advised that I can't use the measuring tools if I don't input the "actual" size which doesn't much bother me because I am concerned with the hex size that I want in the final product and don't really need to measure inside the CC3.

    Sometimes I can master quite complex tasks and sometimes seemingly things that are simple are quite impenetrable.
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 18th 2020 edited
    This view of the map shows pretty much everything: Contours, roads (improved, light, medium, heavy duty, Autobahn, rivers and streams, railroads, inner city and out city zones, industrial area, forest cover, parks, orchards, swampy/boggy areas. I also adjusted the contour line color so it is in the middle of the color band for the browns.

    It's pretty much done except for final editing, which will include:

    Adding trails to allow a little better mobility to those forested areas not penetrated with roads.
    Adding railroad tunnels.
    Comparing 2000 era road network to the 1970s era network and remove/downgrade roads as needed.
    Adjusting roads so it is obvious which hex they are in (unlike rivers/streams, and roads which I don't tend to adjust much). A hex by hex process.
    Assigning mobility codes to each hex (Go, Slow Go, Restricted, which affects speed and provides modifiers to combat). Another hex by hex process. This takes into account forest cover, slope in a hex, and cities/towns.
    Adding the names for cities, roads, and watercourses, and probably contour elevations, as well as some point elevations.

    At some point, I may have to relook the contour interval and place contours at the *50 meter intervals. Also to make it easier to find the interpet altitude, make the odd numbered contours a different thickness than the even numbers.

    Appreciate any comments.

      CF MAP 20200418 Top.JPG
      CF MAP 20200418 Bottom.JPG
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 18th 2020
    This is a close up at approximately full size of my squadron's sector which was hexes 0312 - 0412 - 0511- 0512- 0413 - 0313. My positions were in 0512 in the forested intersection in the west corner of the hex.
      CF MAP 1_11 Sector 20200418.JPG
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeApr 19th 2020
    I'm struggling to see the hexes in places, Mike. If they're game-critical, I think maybe they need to be more obvious. The black roads seem too dominant right now especially, but also where there are lots of contour lines, the hexes just vanish.

    I don't know what the 1970s roads near the Western side of the border were like, but I know I was surprised the first time I visited what had been East Germany in the mid-90s to find many stretches of roads in the countryside were still cobblestone-paved (this was around the Berlin-Potsdam area).
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 19th 2020
    The hexes will probably be changed to black or a darker gray. The black roads are actually gray with the outline in black, i'm gonna change them all to gray. Many times though, after printing, things that look to faint to be seen or look garish display nicely. And my printer is different than the professional ones so it's somewhat of a crap shoot.

    There were places where roads in the country were still cobblestone. Once I was on a Roman Road that had no modern pavement.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2020
    A subtle white glow on the hexes with the hexes right on top of everything but the text will help to lift the grid to the front without making it oppressively dark. Those black roads might be better not quite so very black.

    You now have the job of juggling the appearances of everything until it all looks ok. Maybe make a list of things in order of visual importance and try to start with medium-dark grey as the darkest, working down towards pale at the bottom end of the list. It would help if the roads were all the same colour.

    Difficult to see what is what with all those many different colours involved.
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2020 edited
    I have changed the grid to black. It is much easier for me to see than the gray. I suppose it would be true for most gamers, but many games have the grid very faint in order to not detract from the map.

    The black roads were actually gray outlined in black. I have switched them just to gray.

    Roads need to be different colors so the players can easily distinguish one class from another because you can move faster on heavy duty/all weather roads than you can go medium, light duty, or improve roads (those topped with gravel or light concrete) or trails (just smoothed dirt, of which I have none at the moment)

    I have prepared for you three views. This is about the size the paper map would be printed. One hex is 3km/6cm tall.

    First is the topongraphical Map with the Grid and IGB displayed on top. You can see the map is very detailed. Now, just for fun, picture it at night, in the rain, with a red or blue lens flashlight, and grease pencil (china marker) scribbled on top of it. :)

    Second is the CC3 map with all the layers turned on without the map background turned on, so it is white as the base color. Just by only modeling the 100m contours, the map is much simplified and you can see I have not included nearly all the roads, much less all the other fine detail the skilled German mapmakers have added.

    Third is the CC# map with all the layers turned on, including the background which is shade 95, the lightest green. I tried it earlier with the lightest shade of brown, but that washed out the other contours. Right now the contours are sort of in the middle of the brown shades. I could move them so they are all on the upper side of the brown shades.

    The Red circle is my position as before.

    Question. Interestingly, enough I was able to remove the black gray roads merely by selecting all of them and changing them to just gray. But when I try to change the border from Red with black outline to no outline by changing the color and/or the size of the border, it keeps the outline. Other than redrawing the road, is there a way to just easily remove the outline? Of course, redrawing the line is trivial compared to doing contour lines.

    Thoughts? Opinions?
      Grid with  Map.JPG
      Grid with CC3 no background.JPG
      Grid with CC3 and Background.JPG
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2020
    It's a difficult one all right.

    The problem is that real world published map styles have been honed over many decades to be what they are - perfectly balanced in every way with just exactly the right emphasis on everything. Harmony. If you change just one little thing on that published map, perhaps made all the contour lines a bit darker than they are, it would fall apart and become pretty unreadable.

    So what you are doing is a thousand times more difficult to get right, because you aren't just changing the contours, you're changing everything - the entire style. And you are attempting to achieve the same kind of balance that took the professionals many decades to get right. Your mapping is spot on. No problems there. But here are a few of my thoughts on the colour scheme.

    - The white background is better than the green one.

    - Try putting all the roads on one sheet and adding an Outer Glow sheet effect to that sheet. Make it a very thin black glow with little or no fade. that should give you the black outline without any extra entities to deal with, and can be adjusted or switched of with just a click.

    -The orange and yellow roads are distractingly bright. I get that the red road has to be highly visible, but the others could be toned down a bit to match the colours of the original map. The white ones should be white. With that Outer Glow I mentioned above they will still be visible against the white background.

    - Make those contours zero line width and make them all the same paler brown? I know that doesn't help you decide what altitude you are at, but is knowing the actual altitude really important? They will already show you if you are moving perpendicular or across a slope.

    These are just suggestions, Mike. Don't listen to me if you disagree :)
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2020 edited
    Thanks for the detailed feedback. I need that sort of thing, especially with colors since I am mostly color blind, I need loud colors to distinguish most things and small gradients are practically invivisible. It's fortunante each color has its own number in the pallete. 1970/1980s maps were not as detailed as these newer maps. It must be computers. Or aliens. Maybe both.

    I toned down the orange and yellow roads. It may also help to make them the same size instead of making the Autobahn one width, heavy duty an other, and so on. On the 70's era maps the Autobahn and heavy duty were both red, just different widths (most of the time) so that would not be a huge problem for me. The yellow roads were red and white. I am totally unsuccessful in duplicating that because when I use those dashed lines, the individual dashes are all over the place and not consistent. The roads are currently on different sheets so they pass over each other in the correct manner. Once everything is settled, that would not be so important.

    While you don't need to know exactly how high you are, you have to know if you have line of sight between two hexes. If they are all the same color, then you won't have any real idea and I don't think the 0 width lines are discernable, but I could make them 0.005 instead of 0.01. I have to think about that. The alternate is to fill in the contours. I like that look, but I shudder at the work involved in converting the existing lines into paths since they are made up of segments. Experimentation.

    Glow. I don't know about it. More experimentation.

    I always listen to the comments people make about maps. There is a certain amount of artistry required and to paraphrase Wellington from the movie Waterloo, "If there is one thing I know absolutely nothing, its artistry."

    Here are toned down roads in the same area and scale (almost) as the previous bunch.

    Edit: The second shot below is still more changes. I changed Orange to a lighter shade of read (the Autobahns too, but they aren't shown) and reduced the diameter of the the formerly Orange roads, yellow, and gray roads to 0.015 while leaving the Autobahn at 0.2.
      Grid with CC3 no background roads adjusted.JPG
      Grid with CC3 no background roads color changed.JPG
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2020
    I wanted to post some other maps covering the genre I am working on, so I e-mailed two of my fellow developers if I could post samples of their maps. (To be fair, I advised both of them on aspects of game design, but our approaches to maps and the game rules/engine are different.) They both use professional artists while I am using just me. :) Both their games model a much larger area than mine.

    First in Compass Games' Fulda Gap by Adam Starkweather. His map is based on 1:00000 maps but one hex is 500m and is 2.5cm wide, about 1:25000 map. Can be much more detailed than the 1:50000 ones I use, or at least there is more space between contour lines. :) It is not normally used by the US Army (1:50000 is the standard). Like my game, this is US Companies versus Soviet Battalions. His contour lines are more stylized than mine.

    Second is Thin Red Line's Less than 60 miles, by Fabrizio Vianello. His map uses a 1:500000 Joint Operational Graphic, hexes are 5 miles and are 2cm wide. His scale is US Battalions versus Soviet Battalions. What makes Fabrizio's game interesting is that if the tiniest bit of bad terrain is in a hex, that is what the hex is. :( Needless to say, a magnifying glass and bright lines are in order. I use 4 power flip down telescopes over glasses with my reading prescription in them, sort of like what use see dentists using.

    The area from my maps above are contained in the shots below, but they cover more ground. My game only models the covering force portion of the game, which is only 8 - 12 km deep as opposed to all the way to Frankfurt.
      Fulda Gap.jpg
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2020 edited
    I wanted to post some other maps covering the genre I am working on, so I e-mailed two of my fellow developers if I could post samples of their maps. (To be fair, I advised both of them on aspects of game design, but our approaches to maps and the game rules/engine are different.) They both use professional artists while I am using just me. :) Both their games model a much larger area than mine.

    First in Compass Games' Fulda Gap by Adam Starkweather. His map is based on 1:00000 maps but one hex is 500m and is 2.5cm wide, about 1:25000 map. Can be much more detailed than the 1:50000 ones I use, or at least there is more space between contour lines. :) It is not normally used by the US Army (1:50000 is the standard). Like my game, this is US Companies versus Soviet Battalions. His contour lines are more stylized than mine.

    Second is Thin Red Line's Less than 60 miles, by Fabrizio Vianello. His map uses a 1:500000 Joint Operational Graphic, hexes are 5 miles and are 2cm wide. His scale is US Battalions versus Soviet Battalions. What makes Fabrizio's game interesting is that if the tiniest bit of bad terrain is in a hex, that is what the hex is. :( Needless to say, a magnifying glass and bright lines are in order. I use 4 power flip down telescopes over glasses with my reading prescription in them, sort of like what dentists use.

    The area from my maps above are contained in the shots below, but they cover more ground. My game only models the covering force portion of the game, which is only 8 - 12 km deep as opposed to all the way to Frankfurt.
      CSS Fulda Gap Map.JPG
      Less than 60 miles close up.JPG
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2020
    I agree with Sue about the white background being preferable as the clearer version, Mike.

    I'm still struggling to see how all the detail squares with this being a game map, however. The hexes just don't seem to have any purpose right now, beyond providing a degree of scale. The two other game map samples you've shown throw this into even starker perspective, I think, because to a large extent in both, that hex grid is king. That's pretty much how it should be, as even where there are variations off the hex grid in the Less Than 60 Miles map, I'm guessing those won't have a significant game effect; just makes the map look prettier (or less clear - I'm undecided on the point, as not knowing how its mechanics run).

    It's interesting to see how both the Fulda Gap and Less Than... map-makers have tackled the river-line-as-hex-delimiter problem, making the rivers look naturally winding while still showing clearly which hex edge is affected by their presence.
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2020 edited
    I am going with white, but I may test print with the green or light brown.

    Hexes. Well, this is an evolution for me. Long ago (like 2014) I started with hexes = 1000 meters. This didn't give the right feel for me because a cav troop would never occupy such a small space. It would be for a platoon. I went to 1500 meters, which was better, but still was a little small for the cavalry troop and in all but extreme circumstances too small for a Soviet Regimental Main Attack, which normally is 4 - 6 kilometers, but could be as large as 10 - 12 if it is not the main attack. In order to defeat a regiment, you need to mass 3 - 5 companies in front of it. With the size hexes I started with, this results in huge stacks of units, plus all the other markers you have. Plus I needed more counters to show a unit was doing something on an extended front. Then different units would need different size zones of control.

    My fingers and tweezers just aren't good enough for that. Thus I ended up with a 3 km hex. Just big enough for a Cavalry Troop, and by putting the counter on the Hex edge, you can cover a 6 km zone.

    The larger hex allows one to spread the counters out so they are easier to see and manipulate. There isn't a real need to place them in "the real" position, becaues the players will have to assume the units have "found" the best place within the hex for them to use.

    This first photo shows the difference between a M4A3E8 Sherman's range in WWII with an M60A1/A3 and/or TOW Missile range in 1970.

    The second shows a shot of the map using 1000m hexes (about 2cm tall).

    The Third shows a shot of the map using 3000m hexes (6cm tall).
      WWII VS 1976.jpg
      1KM GRID.JPG
      3KM GRID.JPG
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2020
    Continuing on, this shows a single Soviet Regiment attacking a cavalry squadron. The Regiment is making the Division and Army Main Attack, he has units conducting reconnaissance, attack by fire, he's placed artillery targets on the US guys, the Regimental Artillery Group is a hex behind. The 2nd Echelon Regiment is marked so he can exploit if the regiment breaks through.

    The US player has cleverly placed an obstacle belt in the hex (which is countered by the Engineer unit) and has massed 2 troops against the attack in the central hex and the two troops on each side can range the fight. Artillery is raining down on the enemy and the unit in the center is the Corps, Regiments, and Squadrons Main Effort. They are all fortunately dug in. The Squadron's supporting artillery is deployed slightly to the rear.

    if this was a 1km grid, then many of these counters would be piled in the same hex. I'd hate to see how crowded it would be and stacks would be falling off everywhere.

    This picture also shows the counters face up. They are normally displayed face down and only turned over when identified and/or in combat. There are a number of decoy counters to deceive the other player and the players will also be able to use blank counters underneath real counters so one can not easily discern what a given unit is doing. I want to have good fog of war going on.

    1000m hexes would be fine if I was doing US Platoons against Soviet Companies, and if I wasn't trying to maneuver 8 US battalions with 8 artillery battalions in direct support, plus the air cavalry squadron of the Regiment, against the four divisions of 8th Guards Army and all the Army Troops.

    I think this does a better job of showing the effects of combat power today and will be easier for the players. But perhaps it won't work out well in testing, although they guys that have done a little for me like it.

    In Less Than 60 and Fulda Gap, you have bigger counters and larger than normal hexes, but you still can end up with 6 - 10 counters piled up in a stack. 3-5 for units and 5 - 7 for markers.

    Each hex is going to have a dot in it (sort of like the Fulda Gap map, but I didn't know he was doing it when I thought of doing it for mine) that tells at a glance what the movement rate is through the hex, and applies the modifiers for target acquistion and combat. No need to look at a terrain guide to know what it is. Nor do you have to really follow the roads and the rivers are included in the colored dot.

    The Army uses a similar system using a 1:100000 map with 10 km hexes (10cm each) and has US battalions versus OPFOR battalions, but the brigades in general manuever in a single block and the game is designed to get the officer students out of their very tactical frame of mind (positioning vehicles/platoons) and instead positioning battalions/brigades. The whole rule book is only about 10 pages, but they also play double blind and with umpires.

    But who know? I'll have to see how it tests out more. maybe I go back to 1000 m or 1500m hexes.

    I will be adjusting the roads and rivers somewhat to avoid have teeny-tiny intrusions into surrounding hexes and I might move the contours a little. But for the most part, the units are distributed throughout the hex and again, on the "best terrain".
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2020
    I quite understand your reasoning, Mike, but I'm just not seeing what the purpose is of all the very detailed terrain features you've so laboriously constructed, given that each hex's effect on the game is still going to be dominated by at most a couple of significant features only, like "main road", "trees", "elevation", "built-up area", etc.

    To be honest, for the array of counters being used per hex, and the kind of detailed understanding of the effects of terrain you're aiming for, I think you might be better switching to a tabletop tactical game with 3D models and more-nearly-actual terrain pieces, or simply a paper map of the genuine terrain, to allow the level of close-action detail you're after, without hexes. The hexes are more or less redundant at this level of complexity, given also things like the weapon ranges involved.

    It feels like you're trying to get the hex-game to do too much; showing the strategic level of a large area of the front line, yet at the same time, wanting to show detailed tactical operations within each individual hex's area. I think it might be better to concentrate on one or the other.
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2020 edited

    I appreciate and understand your feedback. Just overlaying the grid over the real maps is not a possibility for me because the German's copyright their state/national maps and prohibit scanning, except for the military. While I am okay with scanning to use as the basis for my map, I can't just scan the maps and overlay the grid. Though the thought is tempting. Sigh.

    If you remember, the 1:100000 version did not have contours and for various reasons I became convinced they needed them. I am conflicted with taking them out again on this version. Fortunately, it is easy to do.

    I don't think 1/285 scale armor models would scratch my itch. They are great for my MBT modules that I also make, but then those have 1 inch hexes = 100 meters and the maps look empty due to the space between contours and such. And plastic/metal models would be prohibitively expensive for me and the customers.

    Here is a shot of the map at full scale with the contours off. Much less busy and it might be good enough. If I was an artist, perhaps it would look good with 19th century contours like Napoleonic, Civil War, and American Indian battle maps. :)

    Edit: I think that laying the hex overlay on top of the base map would not appeal to gamers. If I was just catering to Army/USMC officers, I don't think I'd have any qualms about it, except for copyright issues.
      Grid with no contours.JPG
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2020 edited
    Well.... since you mention Napoleonic wars, there is always the option to do this in the Ferraris Style?

    Only joking! I think that given the area it would probably take you at least a couple of years to map every field and tree with it, and I'm not sure you really want to go down to nearly 1:10,000 scale!

    So, I've been thinking about these here contours, and I've been looking at that map several images up the thread where the contours are filled. I think the only option here is to reduce the sheer buzzy-ness of the linework (which is complicating the appearance of the hexes) is to do away with as many lines that you can that aren't roads, rivers or bits of hex grid. To do that you would need to fill the contours. I don't really like filled contours with filled forests, but that map I've been looking at seems to get away with it, so how about filling the contours with the palest browns, starting with white as the highest altitude and going down through the browns as far as you need to go, one step at a time? By my reckoning you could get away with that as long as you didn't have too many contours. You don't want to end up getting too dark.

    I don't even think you need a line around the contours - just plain filled polygons underneath the forests, but with the forests blended to the contours using a Blend Mode set to Multiply, perhaps. Try it and see.

    I would leave the settlements and rivers and roads completely opaque and not have the contours show through them. That would be too much of a muddle to cope with visually.
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2020
    What we have here, ladies and gentleman, is a cartographer perched on the horns of a dilemna.

    I agree that the contours should not be transparent. fortunantly, it shouldn't be very hard to add filled contours.

    That said, the road network and maybe the waterways can be thinned. I didn't put all of them in to this point.
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2020 edited
    Hey Sue,

    So you are an advocate of light color at the highest altitude and darker as you get lower? There are only 8 contour lines drawn, but I would then want a layer drawn such that the 200 level is the next to darkest layer I use.

    So, if I go with browns, then I get the below: color 46 at the top and 39 at the bottom. I might have missed one, but that's the idea.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2020
    How about a background of relatively pale brown with all the contours in Solid White 10 on top of that? Do they really need to be so very very different in shade? Surely it is more about an indication of height and slope than a clear set of steps.

    This is 4 sheets.

    -Base of brown
    -Contour levels on one sheet drawn in Solid White 10
    -Forest with Blend Mode set to multiply and 40 percent opacity
    -Roads with black Outer Glow effect.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2020
    Admittedly it means that you will have a basic background of brown, but if you go for the palest you can get away with it won't be so very dark. I think I did 9 contours there. Did you say you only had 8? Well, you could probably do with a slightly paler brown than that. Remember that you can always adjust the colour palette to give you exactly the right brown. Just remember to attach it to your drawing before you save it and shut down for the night.

    The reason I am suggesting that you start dark at the base is because the hills stick up out of it in white as if they are closer to the sun. The eye sees it better than when its the other way around. Dark hill tops look like holes in the ground.
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2020
    I like it.

    How can you draw the contours all on one sheet and have them all be the same color of white? I have to follow the previous lines.

    Below is a start where the lowest elevation is darkest (<200 meters, the river bottom), then the 200 meter line, then the first work on the 300m line. the bulk of the color is the 200m line Only the closed contours are drawn at this point on the 300m line. You can see where I will be drawing the 300m contours.

    I guess I could color them all in the same shade going up and if they are transparent(?) they will get darker as they go up?

    As to the delightfully subtle shading, I need a little more spread because I am color challenged and my 65 year old eyes with their cataracts out are quite as good as they were before. (although the world is brighter and the ladies were all prettier after I had them out.)

    I like the black outlines on the roads, but I fear it will look bad on the map. How does it know how to skip the intersections where the white road is under the red road?
      Filled contours.JPG
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2020
    Of course, I could use a faint green on the bottom instead of brown? After all, this is Europe we are talking about, not the American Southwest which has a lot of desert and its brown even in Kansas. Kansas is a drab state sometimes, as you know if you watched the Wizard of Oz. (I like it though. I need yearly visits to the Great Plains as well as the Everglades.)
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2020
    Actually, although it would mean having the contours on separate sheets, it might be better to do it that way so that you could make them all solid white and have a transparency effect on each one set to 10% as you said.

    That way, you could adjust the transparency settings if the step was too subtle - remembering to set it the same for each contour sheet.

    I think you have started WAY too dark there, but leave it as it is and just concentrate on setting it all up to start with. Your contours will have to be converted into solid polygons.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2020
    You could do it in any colour you like, as long as its not overpowering the rest of the map. Browns, greys - that sort of thing. Green is probably not a great idea, since the forest is also green.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2020
    I have attached the FCW here so that you can see how it works.

    The Solid White 10 is a transparent fill.

    The roads are all on the same sheet, so the Outer Glow will only glow on the outside of the entire extent, meaning that it never cuts across a road.

    I think you have an attached colour palette on this FCW that I created to be less harsh than the default palette. You could use that one if you like.
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2020
    So, when I look at Fred 2, I don't see anything because the whole screen is white. You clearly have cast some spell, because when you turn on Fred 1 and 2, you see the color gradation. How do you know what you have done or did you just guess?

    Also, if you do this on 10 sheets say, and the first is color 1 (brown) and the other 9 all use White 10, why don't they get darker on the way up?

    Almost all of the contours on my map are merely lines. When I finish the 300m layer, there will be one long continuous contour that defines most of the terrain on the layer, except for those that are closed. And not all the lines making up that one contour connect with each other so there are gaps and/or overlaps. And they are very complex in outline.

    At any rate, I guess the way I would approach this is when I am done, select a color. Change the color on all sheets to that color. Then set each sheet to 10% opacity (90% transparency?) and see what happens.

    I really like the forest. It looks much better than it does on my map, which of course, I have not tried to adjust yet.

    Sadly, I cannot tell the palette on Fred apart from my palette. And they taste the same. :)
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2020
    OH! I see. White does get 'darker' but because of the brown, it somehow looks like it gets brighter (because when I do it with the brown shade, it gets darker as it goes up).

    On the other hand, I can see them both as crests or as holes. I think it has something to do with learning to be able to read stereoscopic photographs without a stereoscope.

    And with that, I can see why starting with Green would be a BAD IDEA.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2020
    Fred 2 is the sheet with all the contours on it in that previous file. The reason you can't see them when you look at them in isolation is because they are white, and the window background is white.

    Imagine that you have a brown table, and that you are cutting out your contours on the finest grade tracing paper - so fine that its almost but not quite totally transparent. As you add each contour the tracing paper layers get thicker, and the table becomes less visible through them, until you add the last one and you can't see the brown table through it at all. The tracing paper is white, so it looks white. That is how the shading works in this file.

    I have attached a second very similar file using only filled polygons - no special transparent fills in this one. The contours are separated onto individual sheets. All are simple white polygons, and all have the same transparency sheet effect on them.

    LOL! And believe me - the palette really is quite different ;)
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2020
    Okay. I see that.

    Now, what I don't see is how you know where the other contour lines are as you go up slope and the lines get smaller and more concentric.

    So,it looks like to me I will have to first convert each contour layer with its own shade of brown. What it looks like when I finish doesn't really matter, but they go from shade 39 at bottom to 47 at the top). So I finish them all and it looks "right".

    Then I go to the lowest layer (which for the sake of argument is Brown (Shade 39) and I convert it to very light brown (shade 47).

    Then I go to each one and change it from whatever shade of brown it is (say 40 for the next to bottom layer) and convert it to white and its transparency to 10%. Save it.

    Repeat until I get to the top.

    So if I look at them with the sheet effects off is just some sort of white blob, surrounded by that light brown background.

    Then, I activate the sheet effects, click OK, and then the thing will look like a work of art. Or at least different and cooler than my different shades of brown and more like your Fred Map.

    So by Pallette, do you mean the display you get when you click on the color patch next to the sheet layer or do you mean the stuff you get when you click on the right hand box named FS: Solid? I do see a marked difference between the choices on Fred1/2 then on my map in the Bitmap Files selection.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2020 edited
    Sorry Mike

    I must not have explained it right at all.

    Try to forget all that stuff about colouring the contours. The only contour that has a colour is the lowest of them all, and that one will be your brown/grey or whatever colour you want the whole set of contours to be. That is your BACKGROUND sheet.

    The rest of the contours are all white polygons. Each of them sits on a sheet of its own and has a single transparency effect that makes it only 10% opaque (90% transparent). that means if you add just the first white contour (which will actually be the second lowest level in your map because the brown is the lowest level), it will be a white blob siting on top of the brown background. But because it has a transparency effect that makes it only just visible most of the brown will show through it - just like if you put a single sheet of fine quality tracing paper on a brown table that was cut to that exact shape of that contour.

    Then, when you add the second contour (the third lowest level in your map) on the second contour sheet, as a second white polygon, that will be like a second sheet of tracing paper set on top of the first, but smaller than the first, so that you will see the table top where there is no tracing paper, a slightly paler table top in places where there is only one contour covering it up, and a slightly paler table top again where there are 2 layers of tracing paper covering it up. Through both of these sheets of tracing paper you will still be able to see the brown of the table top, but to a lesser degree the more tracing paper you are looking through.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2020
    The colour palette is the grid of colours you see when you click the colour block in the top bar. It shows you all the colours you can use in this particular map.

    I have customised the palette in the example FCWs I uploaded here to give a smoother less harshly 'in your face' palette. The reason I mentioned it was because the steps between each colour patch are less severe and you might stand a better chance of picking exactly the right shade of brown for your background colour.

    The background sheet is the only contour that needs to be coloured, but it has to be the right colour - the palest brown or grey you can get away with and still be able to see the gradations between the contours on top of it.
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2020
    Sue, you are doing a fine job of explaining. I think I am not phrasing my question correctly. And we probably don't think the same due to the difference in our backgrounds.

    The way I am approaching this task, I think is a little different than just drawing new blobs on a map. I already have the lines drawn, and they are properly arrayed so they are nested. First, I need to convert them from lines, which in many cases are not connected or overlapping, to polygons instead of lines so they can get filled in. As you can see I have started that process. Whether I can use the system to trace them, convert them to paths then to polygons, rather than just apply brute force and ignorance to do the job remains to be seen.

    So, first I get the 2nd lowest sheet converted and looking right. If I do it wrong, it fills in the 'wrong' way. It's brown so I can see it.

    Then I do the other sheets (300m - 900m) the same way. Turn on all the sheets, make sure they are correct and provide the same picture.

    Then I change the fill on the first shade to the lightest shade of brown there is.

    Then I individually change the shades on the other sheets all to white in turn and and then turn on the sheet effects.

    Then it is done!

    break break break break

    What I do not get is when you drew the FRED1, you drew all the white polygons on the same sheet. How did you keep track of where the first polygon was? How do you place all the subsequent polygons so they are inside the lower one as you go up? (I dunno, maybe you go down.) And the examples are very simple, not the highly complex lines I have. When you just display the white polygon layer, its white.

    At any rate, no matter how I get there, the white stacked polygon idea is great.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2020
    Ok. I think it is me who caused the confusion. Sorry!

    I gave you two alternative methods in two alternative files.

    The first file used a special transparent white fill, which works just like tracing paper even when you draw polygons on the same sheet.

    The second method uses simple white polygons which have to be drawn one per sheet, and it is better for that. The reason it is better is that you have more control over the amount of transparency for each contour. So instead of being stuck with 10% opacity as you would in the first case, you can alter all the transparency effects in the second file to 12% or some other number - all according to how much you need for you to be able to see the difference between the different contours when the effects are turned on.

    Two files - two separate methods. The second one is best. Please ignore the first one.

    Now for the drawing logistics...

    You can convert the lines you have drawn to paths by right clicking the Fractalise tool and picking Line To Path, then selecting a whole contour at once and converting it.

    When all the contours are paths you can join separate segments of path together by using another tool in the same right click menu from Fractalise, and that is Combine Paths. This tool occasionally joins the wrong ends of two paths, but you can correct it using the shortcut keys F and S as directed by the Command line at the time of joining the paths.

    Once the entire contour is joined up into just one long path (or several islands that are one path), you can convert them to polygons using a third tool from the Fractalise right click menu - Path to Poly. This conversion will fill the resulting polygon with whatever fill you had selected at the time you drew it, which means it would be a miracle if you ended up with a white polygon. You will need to change the fill using the Change Properties tool to Solid, and white.
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2020 edited
    Sue, I am not deliberately trying to be stupid or obtuse. The question is not so much about how to draw the polygons or connect them.

    The question is, How do YOU maintain your situational awareness to know how you are placing these very faint white polygons on top of each other so they provide the correct picture when completed?

    As I progress through the sequence perhaps my lack of understanding will become clearer.
      White sheet of paper.JPG
      Brown sheet.JPG
      Brown sheet with white polygon.JPG
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2020 edited
    Here I turn the thing transparent. I can barely see the polygon now. In fact, I don't really think I see it all.

    Nevertheless, add some more layers. No transparency

    Then turn them all transparent. Are they even there?
      Brown sheet with white polygon transparent.JPG
      Brown sheet with white polygon 5 layers.JPG
      Brown sheet with white polygon 5 layers transparent.JPG
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2020
    I think I see it now.

    You will need to work with the sheet effects turned on, and to refresh the screen after each action.

    I do this by rocking the mouse wheel back and forth one notch just quickly. It forces a redraw without having to hit the refresh button all the time.


    Just as a side note here, I recommend starting with a much darker brown for the background sheet while you are working on the contours, or you still won't see very much even with the sheet effects on. You can change it for a lighter brown later on when the contours are all there.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2020
    Sheets, NOT layers!

    Each contour is on its own *sheet*. Each sheet has its own transparency effect set to opacity of 10%.

    Start with the background much darker for working on.
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2020
    Now, I make the brown sheet darker.

    NOW I can see what I was doing. The question I have is how YOU MAINTAIN your situational awareness of where the polygons are when you are drawing them freehand?

    The question may seem silly, but I assure you I am being serious and I hope I am not just being stupid. I can see how I can approach the problem. Draw the polygons in order Red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo, violet, white, gray, black, and stuff, then at the end, switch them all to white in turn and make them transparent. How do you do it?

    I meant sheets, not layers. My use of layers comes from us hanging acetate overlays with index markers on them and attached with velcro or holes in the acetate located at specific places so we can be assure that everyone's overlays would lay on top of each other so the graphics all line up. If you use thick lines and do not position the overlay very precisely, you can end up with huge gaps through which the enemy can penetrate and cause mischief. we called the individuial overlays layers.
      Darker Brown sheet with white polygon 5 layers transparent.JPG
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2020 edited
    Notice that I lost my SA about where the stuff was at as I drew the additional polygons on their seperate sheets. Perhaps I made a mountain out of a molehole.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2020
    Ok. Well, I'm still not really getting it I don't think, but I just watch where the line that I've already drawn has gone and come back around to meet it.

    I have the advantage that I don't have to follow a predefined course. I just draw.
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2020
    OK. That makes sense. I guess a way to do it would be to draw the things in white with a small outside line (0.001) and then when you are finished with it, set the width to 0.000000 and all works well.

    Thanks for indulging me and penetrating the frontal slope of my brain case.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2020
    I think, Mike, that I confused the issue early on by presenting two different ways of doing it. So you can blame me ;)
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2020
    A little progress here after Sue gave me a lot of coaching. I have partially completed most of, if not all, the smaller closed contours on the map in various shades of brown. The next step is to complete the outer, really windy contours that are anchored on the map perimeter. The three top most sheets are complete as well as the bottom two. There is at least a day's work (maybe one sheet a day, I find the long contours exhausting) to get the ones in between finished, but I think I'm through for the day. This is, of course, only an intermediate step before I choose a light brown or green color for the base layer and then convert all the other sheets to white, highly transparent fills.

    We'll see how it goes.
      Filling contours.JPG
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2020
    Looking forward to seeing the final result, Mike :)
    • CommentAuthormike robel
    • CommentTimeApr 26th 2020 edited
    I have now completed most, if not all, of the smaller closed contours, leaving the ones that connect to the edge and meander all over the map. Below you see the result of the 500m level. The top left large polygon, not particularly complicated, took me 40 minutes to do. The first 20 minutes, I mistakenly used the smooth path instead of the smooth polygon. So here, we are, the first attempt at converting to a polygon. I, probably mistakenly decided the difference between a line and a path, was a path was a single continuous line whereas the "line" is a series of disconnected lines. SO I select Line to Path, click on DO IT, then watch the cursor spin for a bit and YAY! The program crashes. Foolishly I did not save before I pushed that button. So, power it up again, open the file, and making sure I have selected smooth polygon, proceed to spend another 20 minutes retracing the line from south to north. Tension builds as I near completion. Will I mistakenly push the right mouse button. I finish the final click on the west edge of the map, with baited breath push C to make it a corner, scroll the map down to the first point in the south, push C for another corner, and then, breath held, right click, and LO! it draws.

    I think I need some bourbon. I'm not doing the other one tomorrow.

    someone will ask, "Mike, why don't you just use trace?" I dunno. All these new fangled inventions. Sometimes I am just a Brute Force and Ignorance guy, and I am really never sure which paths to take. The big one to the south is many lines that sometimes join neatly, sometimes overlap, and sometimes have a large gap. I guess I just don't trust the software to do for me what it hopefully does for the rest of you.

    Anyway, this next polygon completes the 500m level and there is just two more to go. That's why the second shot below looks a little empty. The darkest layer is 100M and the lightest is 900m
      500m level.JPG
      All levels thus far.JPG