New to CC3 and confused

Hi all,

As stated in the topic, I'm new to Campaign Cartographer and have purchased CC3. I've followed the tutorials but find that the program and its interface is kind of unwieldy and a bit unintuitive in some of what, to me, should be rather obvious things.

I've recreated a map for a game project I'm working on, have the major continents in place and so forth but am finding it difficult to continue basically because I have no clue what I'm supposed to be doing or how to get anything to work/look the way I want it to, if at all.

In specific...
I've added a map grid, which will be used to help set map coordinates in the future and also as a visual reference. The problem I'm having is that I can't seem to select anything else without also selecting it. I've tried to find a way to freeze it or make it unselectable, but to no avail. I've tried to figure out how to get it on its own layer so I can perhaps isolate it that way... which leads me to the next problem...

I see people talking about layers, adding them and such.. I cannot find any such functionality. I've dug through every menu and tried a number of things that I felt might be it, but it wasn't. So.. as of right now, if I were to continue with adding features, they'd all be going on the same layer, at least that's the way it seems... which leads me to the next problem.. I've looked in the help, but nothing in there was of any help either.

I cannot seem to select individual objects after they're placed. It's almost as though they're rasterized onto the map as soon as I add them and I cannot select them to move, scale or rotate them. I can sometimes draw a selection box around them, which results in both them and the grid overlay being selected. From there, I can't do anything to them. My only option is to try undoing them - which seems to be a gamble. Sometimes undo works, sometimes it doesn't; it's a toss-up and there's no way of distinguishing why it does or doesn't. When it doesn't work, I have to re-load a backed-up version of the map and start over... which is becoming frustrating. I have entire mountain ranges, forests, deserts and so forth to add... and I'm getting stuck on the first mountain I try to add.

Finally, it seems like when I open an options window to look at something and then close it.. as soon as I click on the map to do anything, the window I'd just closed keeps popping up, which also makes no sense and is frustrating.

I don't know... maybe I'm just not "getting" the way this program works but at this point it seems very unintuitive, very un-user friendly and very obscure in how exactly it works. It seems like all the functionality is buried in secrecy and just figuring out *how* to do something takes many times longer than actually doing.

Can someone please help shed some light on this for me? I can see that CC is a good program, but if I'm struggling with its most basic functionality, none of that matters.

Thanks in advance.


  • MonsenMonsen Administrator 🖼️ 46 images Cartographer
    I'll try to group my answers into a few broad categories here. You had a lot of questions there, so I'll try to answer them all. Feel free to ask for more clarifications.

    Most drawing functions automatically places entities on a layer all by itself. For example, when you place a grid (assuming you used the Hex/Square grid overly feature, or selected that you wanted a grid in the new map wizard), it is automatically placed on the HEX/SQUARE GRID layer. To manipulate the layers, look at your status bar at the top of the window. One of the indicators there should start with a "L: ". This is the layer indicator, and tells you what layer you are currently on. All new objects that doesn't automatically select their layer by themselves end up on the selected layer. Now, click on the layer indicator. This should bring up the layers dialogue box. Each layer has three options. The first is SELECT, which makes it your current working layer. Only one can be selected at a time. The second box is HIDE, which hides the layers and all entities on it. The third box, FREEZE, leaves the layer visible, but you cannot select or manipulate the objects on this layer. You'll want to either hide or freeze your grid layer to make sure the grid doesn't get selected accidentally when working.

    Also note here that if you manage to place an object on a frozen layer (some commands allow this), you cannot select or manipulate this object until you unfreeze the layer.

    Last window popping up
    This happens because when you just click on the map without first selecting a command, CC3 conveniently repeats the last command for you. In some cases, this doesn't make much sense (like with option windows), but usually, it is a very great help.
    Just remember that the CC3 way is to select a command, then click on objects on the map, not the other way around, and you won't have this happen to you.

    There are a couple of important points about selection. Firstly, as mentioned above, the entity you try to select must NOT be on a frozen layer. If it is, it cannot be selected.
    Secondly, objects are selected by clicking on their edge, or by dragging a selection rectangle around them (Note that in CC3 you don't drag by holding down your mouse button. Just left click once where you wish to start the selection rectangle, then once more somewhere else to finish it). Clicking in the middle of an entity does nothing.
    When selecting, CC3 also select all objects that have their edge where you click (or are inside the selection rectangle if you used that). Try clicking somewhere on the edge of an object where this is the only object. You can also manipulate your selection by holding down control while clicking to deselect something. Right clicking while selecting also brings up a popup menu with a lot of advanced choices. For example, selecting Combine -> Not, then selecting Color, right click, then click on a color in the popup, will remove anything from your selection with the color you selected.

    The reason CC3 is so different from normal paint programs is that it is based on CAD (Computer Assisted Drawing) software. CAD software has traditionally been a bit different from other kinds of drawing software. It is this that makes CC3 as powerful as it is however, and well worth the effort of learning it. Besides, CC3 is incredibly much easier to learn than software like Photoshop or similar, which is supposed to me much more "standard"
  • edited June 2008
    Hi there and thank you for your help/info.

    I went back and tried to implement the things you said...It's just not making sense to me. Nothing's working intuitively at all. I put down a volcano and then wanted to put down some hills to "surround it". To do this, one set has to be behind it... No matter what I did, I could not get the hills to go behind the volcano. I selected the function first, drew the selection box (after several tries of clicking for the start point of the rectangle, it finally let me do this; I swear the tools are moody in this program) and selected the hills... tried to right-click > "Do It". Nothing happened. I pressed Ctrl-R to refresh... nothing.. they're still on top of the volcano. I tried it again several times with no success.

    Then, somehow, without un-checking the "Freeze" option for it, which I'd set as soon as I went into the program again, it started selecting the overlay grid out of the blue. So even *that* isn't working right.

    I honestly do not know how anyone gets used to this program. But after weeks of trying to figure it out, opening the program, trying to get it to work and closing the program in frustration I'm ready to give up and find a more intuitive solution.

    I understand where yo'ure coming from with it being a CAD based program as I was learning AutoCad in school and went to school for 3D Animation, using a variety of different programs... 2D Vector apps like CorelDraw, 3D programs like 3DS Max and so forth. On my own I've learned Blender3D and other apps. All of them had their own learning curves, but none of them were as unwieldy or unforgiving as CC3 is proving to be. Saying it's "more advanced" is not an excuse for it being unintuitive. I'm not a dumb individual and can pick things up fairly well - when they make sense. This program makes absolutely no sense. I don't care how "powerful" or "complex" it is under the hood, without an intuitive interface that *enables* the designer - not fights them - a program is rubbish.

    Sorry to say it, but after giving it try after try after try, going through the help files, going through the tutorials, etc... the only conclusion I can come to is it was a waste of my money.
  • Place the mountains first, then the volcano.

    They are oth on the same sheet, symbols.

    You could change sheet, then select the mountains, and put them on the symbols back sheet. They will now be behind the volcano.

    The Cartographer Suite, and its tutorials, on your registration page will help you.
  • Check out the DD3 Tutorials. They should give you a good idea as to how it all works.
  • RalfRalf Administrator, ProFantasy 🖼️ 18 images Mapmaker
    Hi Wolfsong,

    sorry to hear that you're having such problems. I've put together a list of helpful resources, perhaps that can help you out.

    The most central thing to remember is the Command > Object order of things in CC3. If you want to move an object, you first select the Move command and THEN the object to move. Once you've wrapped your head around this, most things fall into place.

    If you really can't get your head around it, you can switch the order of things: Go to Tools > Options and activate "Left-button pre-selection". Now you can select any numbers of objects first (click on their edges to select them, then right-click to finish selecting) and then choose the command to execute.

    Layers are accessed through the "L: LAYER NAME" button on the top properties bar. Just click on it, and you get a dialog where you can hide, created, freeze, etc. all layers.

    Hope this helps a little.
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