Gimp or Photoshop as a follow-up? or not needed? Annual OSR style

I realize I'm probably using the tip of the iceberg with CC3+ and I need to be more patient and really delve into the program...Every time I try it feels like a few hours lost with nothing gained. Frustration!

I usually do black and white maps--the Annual OSR style map system. Some people I have talked too say they have to 'clean up' the map using GIMP or Photoshop or something. This completely frustrates me as I would rather learn one program to be able to 'clean' up maps or whatever. I have only experimented a little with the layers/sheet effects. I thought it wasn't really needed for black and white. But someone 'cleaned up' one of my maps and made it look excellent (using GIMP). Things just popped better and was more clear. I figure there must be a way to do that with the CC3+ I just need to get some patience and figure out the sheet effects? If so, what are some good sheet effects people use? OR do I have to learn a second program to make awesome maps?! (no disrespect to CC3+ as I think its a great program).

It's also a challenge, and I think I'm semi-successful, but is there a bullet point list of getting maps into a jpg that are 300 dpi or better? I've messed around with it with the advanced functions and the grid partially disappears or is jacked up, or some of the map images (cliffs) are blurry. I'm tired of battling can I make my maps less blurry and look awesome when I publish them for an adventure? I need 300!! Why is it such a pain? Can anyone explain it like they would to a child?



  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 24 images Cartographer ProFantasy

    I sometimes use GIMP and CC3 in combination myself, but most of my maps these days are pure CC3 because most of them are new style example maps.

    It would help if you showed us a 'before' and 'after' image so that we could say whether something done in post processing was possible in CC3.

  • MonsenMonsen 🖼️ 44 images Cartographer Administrator
    edited April 5

    As Sue says, it would be nice to see what you are after. CC3+ can do a lot, and personally, I never post-process in an image editor, but it is often a manner of choice. People very proficient in PS or GIMP and new to CC3+ often resort to doing it that way because they find it easier to attack from the known angle rather than learn something new. And while CC3+ have lots of options, there are also some task an image editor can do better/easier in post, although I find these few. But knowing what you are after is important, 'clean up' isn't a spesific process, it is just a general term than can mean just about anything.

    I need 300!!

    What size of image are you after here? 300 dpi by itself doesn't really mean anything without also knowing what dimensions you need.

  • MalrexMalrex Newcomer

    Thanks guys...yes, an example would probably be helpful!

    Here is the before:

    Here is the after:

    The symbols seem more clear and sharp after the "clean-up" (sorry, not sure what else to call it). I'm guessing I need to experiment more with some of the sheet effects (I've tried a bit but there are a lot of options)?

    For 300 dpi, I work with 8.5 x 11 size images, sometimes half pages. Also on bigger maps I'll zoom in and just a 1/4 page when I discuss the areas.

    I feel like this all should be capable in CC3+ and the problem is user error/lack of knowledge. Some tips would be great.


  • MedioMedio Surveyor

    Well, PS has some image filters both in quantity and quality than no other program (CC3+ included) can even match. That´s a fact. I think some filters were done, probably High Pass among them. There is also some contrast fitler added to give it more sharpness.

  • MonsenMonsen 🖼️ 44 images Cartographer Administrator
    edited April 5

    It is true that PS have more filters, but most of what you need is doable straight from CC3+, and can often be done with less work since you can manipulate how the entities are rendered, instead of just working with the composite image.

    Keep in mind that CC3+ isn't a bitmap editor like GIMP is, so some things have to be done in a completely different way, for example you can see he has filled in the interior of your rubble symbols with a light grey and added some grey splotches to serve as shading for the staircase.

    I can't really go into details about everything, that would make a very long forum post, but here is how you can do several of the things in CC3+ that have been done with this map.

    First of all, the walls have been given a shadow. This serves to enhance and let them stand out, and can be done with the wall shadow effect. I am not sure if your map actually have wall entities, bit difficult to see, but an easy way to produce the walls is to take a copy of the background sheet as well as your floors, place those copies on the WALLS sheet and multipoly them together. This will result in a large polygon with holes in it matching your floors. Now, you can add wall shadows to that.

    The grid seems to have been made a bit thinner and made grey (or transparent, gives the same end result) instead of black to give a less intrusive feel. Grids are usually zero-width lines, so to make it nice and thin, it is best to export a somewhat high resolution image in the first place. Images, as opposed to CC3+ drawings, have a finite number of pixels.

    The numbering have all been erased and replaced with smaller text. No reason why you can't do that right in CC3+. The original map also seems to have white circles around the numbers. Not sure if that is from an effect or an actual circle, but this was removed in the cleanup, but if you don't need them, no need to have them in CC3+ in the first place.

    The symbols seems to be slightly blurred in the final version. This can easily be done with the blur effect in CC3+.

    The symbols have also been filled with a grey color in the fixed version. This is slightly more difficult in CC3+ since you can't fill areas the same way as with a bitmap editor, but what you can do is to overlay a partially transparent gray polygon in CC3+. You'll need to draw all these small polys and make sure they fit the symbol though.

    Looking at the modified map, it is also clear that multiple things have been done with with it, this isn't a one click job from some filter, so even if the processes do take some manual work in CC3+, it isn't like they wouldn't do the same in GIMP/PS/etc either.

    As for the export, 300ppi @ 8.5x11 is just 2550 x 3300 pixels. Shouldn't be an issue exporting that from CC3+. And the export settings dialog allows you to either input the pixel values directly, OR you can input 300 ppi into the dialog and the print size in inches, both options work just fine. You find the export options dialog by clicking Options AFTER selecting an image file type in the save as dialog, but before clicking save.

  • MalrexMalrex Newcomer

    Thanks Monsen! Will mess around some more.

  • The sheet effects live mapping sessions helped me a lot getting away from post-processing with Gimp just by understanding the various available tools in there and reminding me that there is a place to put effects on the whole map.

    One thing that is still a bit easier to "play around with" in GIMP are the hue/saturation and the equivalent of the RGB matrix values, because in GIMP it is a bit more visual with sliders that give immediate feedback in a preview window as you adjust them.

    CC has the capability to make those changes but it tends to be a bit more purposeful and putting in values rather than just pushing sliders around and seeing what happens.

  • MedioMedio Surveyor

    Image treatment software is faster/easier to work on, surprise surprise, image treatment. But CC3+ afaik can also do most of the work so no need to learn to use GIMP if you really learn to do it in CC3+. Of course, for those who did learn already GIMP or PS, the usual thing will be doing the post image procress on such programs because it´s faster and well, we´re used to.

  • I make B&W line art style maps almost exclusively. I have most or all of those CC3 styles. I am not an expert, but what I can say is that most or all of the PS map I can do with sheet effects. I really do not know much, but given the fact that with essentially being a noob that I can make the PS map means that you too should be able to make that directly in CC3 with just using sheet effects.

    One thing that I learned is that each map style has a tutorial. So I do those to learn. It also helps me learn about the different sheet effects. For example, the walls can be done with either wall shadow, directional or a glow effect. You can alter the grid color, width, and transparency easy enough.

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