How to Represent Elevations in a Top Down DD3 Map?

Hi Guys,

I was hoping to get some advice from the more experienced map makers, that is everyone except me, on how to represent elevation changes for outdoor, top down view, battle maps drawn in DD3.

The sort of thing I have in mind is to create an effect like this:

My limited knowledge is prodding me toward using Sheets (as this seems to be the answer for almost everything 😊), but I’m not really sure how. I was thinking of setting up a sheet with a single line and then using it to cast a shadow (as per Ralfs live mapping video) but I’m not then sure how this will interact with Global Sun when I turn that on for general shadow effects. I also thought about creating a sheet with a filled shape of the underlying terrain and then changing the hue/saturation/light to give a shadow effect, but then I don’t think this will really work. At this point I get confused and end up scratching my head and reaching for coffee…

Any thoughts please?




  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 28 images Cartographer ProFantasy

    Using sheets is probably the best way if you are quite happy to draw the shaded extent as a polygon shape.

    The global sun only affects:

    • how CD3 buildings are shaded, and
    • which direction the shadows fall from objects on sheets with Wall Shadow, Direction sheet effects.

    It doesn't affect the artificial shading you add using a sheet with black polygons on it. That sheet might have a Blur effect, and then a Blend Mode effect that is set to multiply. Transparency is controlled from within the Blend Mode.


    An alternative that isn't quite so flexible is to use a Bevel Lighted on a sheet on which you then draw polygons of texture or one of the semi-transparent fills. If you adjust the bevel to a huge width and use masses of smoothing you can get recognizable hills. However, the width of the shading won't vary.

  • Thanks Sue, I'll give it a go and share my results.


  • Here is my attempt at similar not too long ago:

    I mention in a later comment the sheet effects I used. I mostly just remember it took a lot of fiddling with a lot of effects to arrive at the result.

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