Post-processing Map to Age It

Greetings. I saw a video about post-processing a map to make it look old, crumpled, and faded. The node-based processing software in the video seems to be unsupported, so I ask for input.

I have a nice, big map from CC3. I'm relatively new to CC3, but the map looks great. It's full-color in the default fantasy style. I want to put a section of it in the frontispiece of a novella. I'd like it to be sepia (or like it) and maybe weathered. The GIMP is great, but maybe it's a bit overkill and hard to reproduce exactly every time I need this.

Can anyone recommend post-processing software or another method to do quick, reproducible weathering?



  • LoopysueLoopysue ProFantasy 🖼️ 39 images Cartographer

    There are lots of different things you can do, but possibly the easiest if you happen to have an image of an old piece of parchment is to import that image onto a sheet that has a Blend Mode sheet effect on it set to multiply right at the bottom of the list of sheets (on top of everything else in the map).

    I expect lots of others will come along and recommend more ways of doing it that are equally good, but that is one way of doing it within CC3.

  • CC3 has the RBG matrix process that you can set to sepia. There are parchment backgrounds as loopysue mentioned.

    As for GIMP, I think the question is what to do you mean by hard to reproduce exactly everytime. As it, sometimes does not work? Or that each time it is a bit different? If it is just a bit different, it should be that way because no two distressed effects will be the same. Simply load it up and select old paper and if you want distressed edges or not.

  • About GIMP, I mean that I'm not a macro person, so hitting those saturation and hue sliders is cumbersome. It's not prohibitive, just clumbsy for me personally. I know, that's a silly excuse.

    I understand the sheet and matrix ideas. I'll try that. Those ideas seem very useful.

    Thank you!

  • jslaytonjslayton Moderator, ProFantasy Mapmaker

    Do you have an example of the effect that you're trying to achieve? Or a link to the video you discussed?

    Will the final result be in color or grayscale? Will it be printed in a four-color process on glossy paper or on black and white halftone on newsprint? There are a very large number of possibilities in the realm of "distressing" and some look better with color reproduction (e.g. texturize, sepia color conversion, and color parchment backgrounds) but likely look awful with black and white, while others look better with simple black and white linework (e.g. Displace).

  • I can't find the video. Arrrgh. I thought it was Mr. Sweeney, but I don't see it on YouTube now. I'll keep looking.

    The final result can be low-saturation sepia or greyscale. I'm not set on anything yet. It'll be likely epub only, and the main requirements are for it to be reproducible for possible subsequent books and consistent so that one doesn't look markedly different than others.

    I planned to use the original for personal RPG use, which is why I didn't start with monochrome. I never really intended to use the original map for anything else, but I've been soooo impressed with CC3 that I now want to use it for everything.

    Thanks again!

  • I am not sure what version of GIMP you are using. I tried a more recent version and didn't like it. I am using 2.8. I think this should be in the newer versions as well.

    1. Load image
    2. Click on filters
    3. Scroll down to decor and then click old paper.

    That will create a distressed paper/parchment look along with altering the color to sepia/gray level. You can select the paper color you want. There is no messing with hue or saturation or any of that. Of course, if I want gray, I just click on desaturate.

    If you don't want to modify it that much, then CC3 may be the best option with just adding the RGB matrix to the entire drawing. You can use the presets. If you want to learn what all of those values mean, then you can even tweak those.

    In my experience, the parchment background in CC3 works best for more like drawing styles than others. But maybe you will like it with other styles as well. If I have more involved styles, I use GIMP because I prefer the results.

  • edited February 22

    Here's what I started with:

    The following output is completely from CC3. I cropped it to just the section that I needed, then I added a crumpled paper on a new sheet, added transparency, and then did a custom RGB matrix for the entire thing. It's not 100% sepia, but more like halfway. I saved the matrix so I won't have to remember anything. It fits my needs right now.

    Thanks all for the ideas and support!

  • LoopysueLoopysue ProFantasy 🖼️ 39 images Cartographer

    It looks ok.

    For a slightly more integrated appearance try adding a Blend Mode sheet effect to the sheet with the paper on it, set to Multiply. Temporarily switch the transparency off and see what you think.

  • I'm pretty sure I'm doing something wrong. I disabled transparency, and I added a blend mode with multiply to the sheet with the paper. It behaves like blend mode doesn't do anything. I changed the opacity anywhere from 0% to 100%, and nothing changes.

  • LoopysueLoopysue ProFantasy 🖼️ 39 images Cartographer

    Ah. Sorry!

    You will have to switch DELAYDRAWSYM to 0 (zero) before it works. Type the command on your keyboard and press return, then enter 0 when you see the command line response. Then refresh.

  • OK, done. Here's a screenshot.

    It looks similar, but a little darker. I'm going back and forth between thinking that lighter text glow is better, and then thinking that the darker glow looks more "realistic." I then tried disabling the RGB Matrix, and this makes it look even darker but with more contrast.

    I actually like this! Do you know of a way to decrease contrast so that it looks a little faded and not just sepia?

    Thanks for the ideas! I appreciate the help.

  • LoopysueLoopysue ProFantasy 🖼️ 39 images Cartographer

    If you mean decrease the harshness of the wrinkles, reduce the opacity setting on the Blend Mode effect.

  • I mean something like a contrast and brightness adjustment effect. I need to look at the list when I get back into CC.

    Again, this is doable in the GIMP, I know. I simply love the idea of moving a symbol, then saving as jpg and I'm done. CC3 is so easy, and that makes me want to do all this in one UI if it's possible.

  • LoopysueLoopysue ProFantasy 🖼️ 39 images Cartographer

    I'm not sure I know for sure what you want, but I did write a blog a while back about achieving various map effects here:

    There is a bit about increasing the contrast (number 3), and if that's not what you meant there are several other effects that might be the one.

  • Oooooh. That's an interesting idea. I'll try that.

    Thanks again!

  • jslaytonjslayton Moderator, ProFantasy Mapmaker

    There are many tutorials on the subject of "Color matrix" out there on the web, but most of them are geared towards the full RGBA+c transform (a 5x4 matrix) rather than the simpler RGB+c matrix that CC3 uses.

    Starting from a "Unity" transform, the boxes marked in blue will result in a contrast operation (for example, setting them all to "2" will stretch the contrast by 2x). Using different values will adjust the contrast of each color channel individually.

    The blood-color boxes are the brightness operation. Values greater than 0 will increase the brightness (up to about 1 for solid white), while values less than 0 will decrease the brightness (-1 should be solid black). Using different values for each channel will adjust by a specific RGB color.

    The white boxes control how much to mix in the other channels for the output. For example, a nice perceptual gray will be obtained by multiplying the input RGB color by the vector { 0.3, 0.59 0.11 } (it's the "Gray" preset and sets those values down each column). A warmer brownish grayscale value can be obtained by increasing the amount of red and yellow while decreasing the amount of blue (it's the "Sepia" preset). You can get a cold bluish grayscale value by starting from "sepia" and swapping the R = and B = rows.

  • I've been working on this off and on for a few days. I appreciate all the help and input.

    I experimented with matrices, and I think a scaled unity matrix (contrast) and adding brightness is exactly what I needed.

    The multiply blend mode gives the texture underneath. This is a success.

    Now to actually finish the text. That's another story...

    Thanks again.

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