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Practical use of the new Fractal Terrains Profantasy Normal Map in Campaign Cartographer?


does anyone have an idea how to use the new FT3+ map type "Profantasy normal map" in Campaign Cartographer (or is this still a feature to come)?




  • What menu ? I don't see that, and I have the FT3+ version installed.

  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 29 images Cartographer ProFantasy
    edited November 16

    It's relevant to the way house roofs are shaded in CC3, so I guess that the intention is to export the shaded relief from FT3 to CC3.

    This is not the same as a 'normal map' in the usual sense of the word, since CC3 normal maps only use green to switch on varicolour options. Roof facing direction and pitch are controlled by red and blue.

  • jslaytonjslayton Mapmaker Moderator, ProFantasy

    The short version is to save a ProFantasy normap map as the _map channel of a symbol PNG. Symbols created in this way will be shaded according to the current global sun direction. You can make nice top-down shaded mountains that way without having to go to another tool to generate the normal map.

  • But @jslayton would it not be a good idea if the whole normal map could be used as a layer and or effect - when imported to CC3+ to use it for shading of the whole map (a flat atlas map, not shaded exported from FT3) to shade the map inside CC3+ using the global sun direction (without having to create single shaded mountain symbols)?

    I think @Loopysue has experimented with shaded mountains symbols using normal maps earlier. I have also given it a try for some time ago to create some shaded volcano islands. If I remember correctly we both encountered some problems at the symbol edges with the transition from the symbol to the background due to transparency issues.

  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 29 images Cartographer ProFantasy

    Yes, I did. The symbol edge issue is why I didn't create a style based on shaded mountains. There was another problem in that the image png was made so bright by the effect of the map file that I had to turn the original images really dark to compensate. Making them dark enough to come out the same basic colour as features done in the same colour but without a map file meant that they were too dark to take very much colour detail.

    I did mine in Wilbur, not FT3. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost them in the transition between my old laptop and new PC.

  • jslaytonjslayton Mapmaker Moderator, ProFantasy

    The intended use case for having the PF normal map feature in FT was to allow quick generation of top-down symbols without requiring an external tool. Because FT can import and color arbitrary height fields, it's possible to generate a normal map for most things without requiring a non-ProFantasy product or weird and unnatural gyrations in an art program.

    Now, CC3+ doesn't have an obvious way to use a normal map (PF or otherwise) for shading for fills and such. Having said that, you can INSERT an image PNG with a corresponding _map file and then use SHADEPICT on it to get a shaded image using a PF normal map. That's how bitmap symbols are made, and you can put an arbitrary roof-shaded image on the map that way. Attached are a couple of images straight from FT that shows how a color image and a corresponding _map file work together (I used the Discworld projection to get a circle).

    The intensity of the shading map looks to be an artifact of a desire to keep the pretty symbol artwork visible. As Sue noted, it's horribly overbright, which washes out the shading possibilities that it could have. It's an old stylistic decision more than a technical one, based on how it was implemented. One of the nice things about PS-style normal maps is that there is still a channel (green) left to do something like varicolor with. Using more common XYZ normal maps would allow the intensity of the normal map to be encoded in the Z (blue) channel, but there wouldn't be a channel left for varicolor use.

  • Thank you @jslayton for this explanation!

    This map is a plain CC3+ output - from a FT3+ world and the shading (of the whole map/world) can now be controlled inside CC3+. Great - I love it! Thanks!

  • ...and changing the colour palette inside CC3+ gives me the same world as an icy one - i only a few clicks... 😊

  • This is a dream come true, @jslayton Thank you

  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 29 images Cartographer ProFantasy

    @WeathermanSweden - Do you believe in coincidences?

    Well, I said just a few days ago that I had lost those shaded mountains I did, and this morning I had one of those FB memory things from this day in November, 2018. It was this pair of images. I might have lost the mountains and all the work I did towards them, but I still have these it seems. If the colours seem strange that is because the image part of both these mountains had to be toned down to a darkish brown to come back to being the same colour as the paper once they where shaded by the map file. So the colours I applied were similarly distorted. They look kind of oddly metallic, don't they.

    I actually made the mountains and their shaded map files in Blender, where I once had a CC3+ map file shader set up. All that is gone too, thanks to Blender updates.

    You can clearly see the edge around the symbol because it has to be cut off rather sharply. And since the only way to make it blend is to have the background uniformly the same all the way around the base of the mountain (no real amount of texturing), I decided it would be an extremly limited style - no more than a 5 minute curiosity and not really much use in the long run.

    Some part of me wishes I had taken more care to preserve that work, since I will probably have to redo it at some point in the future!

    But anyway - that was my experiment into the idea 3 years ago.

  • Oh Sue, I remember those! As you say they look a little bit "metallic" - a little bit like a crushed can...

    But I must admit that I still like them...👍️

  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 29 images Cartographer ProFantasy

    Thanks, André :)

    Things must have changed somehow with the way map files work, since the colour schemes used in the CC3+ maps you made from the FT3 exports above would have been bleached out like my hills were 3 years ago if the system worked the same as it did back then. That is what is making me think it might be worth having another go at this kind of style.

  • If the city of Eskar is the head, that looks a bit like a dancer. I like it !

    Metallic would be good, a buried [star] ship or metal being city.

  • Mike VMike V Newcomer

    When exporting FT3+ worlds in CC3+ styles, _CC3+ xxx it does export fine but none of the sheet effects for the style are there when opening the export in CC3+. How to activate the sheet effects for the exported map?


  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 29 images Cartographer ProFantasy

    I haven't tried this yet, but from what I see I think there is at least a rather wide glow on the coastline sheet.

    To see if effects are switched on, or if you have any effects, click the Sheets and Effects button on the left and pick one of the sheets. If the sheet you have picked has any effects on it you will see them on the right of the dialog.

    You can edit effects using the Edit button to the right, once you have picked the effect you want to edit.

  • Mike VMike V Newcomer

    Strange, after running through the tutorial on world building and running Wilbur. (Downloaded the latest version, 1.90) I has the sheet effects when exporting. Good to go!! The strange thing is that FT3+ is now locked into the window size I used in Wilbur. (Not a complaint since the exports are now outlines in the style and have the sheet effects. Perfect for my use. Just very strange...

  • Mike VMike V Newcomer

    So, it seems like the FT3+ keeps the same window as the last file opened, interesting. No bad, just interesting. Don't remember if the previous version did that.

  • I remember that being a menu setting. My computer is off for the day, so I can't look it up.

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