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  1. #1
    Trenloe's Avatar
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    Map Making Software - summary

    This thread is designed to hold details of map making software that can be used to make maps appropriate for use in Fantasy Grounds.

    If you know of some software that can be used, please post in this thread with as much detail as you can provide - the details needed are shown in the following table.

    Name Website Platform/OS Base Cost (USD) Cost with recommended add ons Description Pros Cons Examples Notes
    Campaign Cartographer 3 Website Windows $45 $99+ CAD type application designed specifically for mapping - includes layers, custom effects, symbols... Powerful, plenty of add ons, actively developed, designed specifically for mapping, no artistic talent needed, comes with lots of symbols (royalty free if used in maps), online & offline tutorials Learning curve, cost, powerful PC needed if making large maps with effects Floorplans Cities & Overland
    GIMP GIMP Windows, Linux, OSX Free (GIMP) N/A Full blown graphics application. Ultimate flexibility, free, online tutorials Steep learning curve, need to find/organise own mapping objects ???
    Dungeon Painter Online (Pyromancer) Website Anything that runs Flash Free N/A Web browser based quick-n-easy app for creating florrplans, includes WotC D&D like tile graphics Free, easy to use, includes tiles, no software needed, can add own tiles Basic functionality, Internet connection needed, limited map size (although it is pretty big) Info & Examples
    Tiled Tiled Windows, Mac OSX, Linux Free N/A Java based quick n easy app for creating 2D/isometric tiled maps. Includes a large collection of 8/16bit tiles as well as supporting custom tiles e.g. D&D Dungeon Tiles Free, very easy to use and add custom tile sets. Basic functionality but respectable outputs Game Examples
    Photoshop CS5.x/CC Adobe Windows, Mac OSX $10/month $10/month Professional 2D/3D Raster Image software. Includes full suite of support tools, automation, effects and styles. Premium choice for professional artists. Professional quality output. Can be overwhelming at first but has the best performing pipeline. Considered by many to be the number one image raster tool and as such enjoys a plethora of support tools and add-ons. Need to find own library of textures/symbols. Zeus Examples
    Last edited by Trenloe; March 19th, 2015 at 14:25.
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  2. #2
    Trenloe's Avatar
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    Other options (not included in the table above):
    Last edited by Trenloe; July 30th, 2016 at 22:22.
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  3. #3
    Mask_of_winter's Avatar
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    For modern stuff the google floorplanner is quite useful.
    https://www.google.com/enterprise/ma...ery=floor+plan
    You can make 2d or 3d maps and then export in the format of your choice. There's a good selection of item to populate your maps with. It works a lot like Pyromancer but a tad more complex. It's free to use. As for the cons well, like I said, it works with modern stuff only and seems to be limited to room design, could work in some sci-fi too. But it's a good thing, not enough modern VTT maps out there!
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  4. #4
    darrenan's Avatar
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    I finally broke down and purchased Campaign Cartographer/Dungeon Designer yesterday. The first map I was trying to make was a large outdoor tactical map where my PCs would be part of a larger army battle. I found that neither overland mode, nor dungeon mode did exactly what I wanted, but eventually settled on dungeon mode, scattered some boulders, bushes and trees around, put a creek running through the middle and called it good. It took me the better part of 5-6 hours to really get ramped up on the software (watching and reading tutorials, exploring all the options, etc.). Hopefully my next effort won't take quite so long, but I find my initial impression, especially considering the cost, to be overall 6/10. I'm sure my attitude will change with more experience, but I thought I'd post my experience so everyone has a data point in their decision.

    I'm curious, does anyone know what the commercial guys (Paizo, WotC, etc.) use to create their maps?

    Finally, is there a walkthrough somewhere of how to use Photoshop to create maps? Zeus's maps look pretty spectacular, and I'm wondering how much he did using native PS, how much was add-ins or external bitmaps, etc.?

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    Trenloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darrenan View Post
    It took me the better part of 5-6 hours to really get ramped up on the software (watching and reading tutorials, exploring all the options, etc.). Hopefully my next effort won't take quite so long, but I find my initial impression, especially considering the cost, to be overall 6/10. I'm sure my attitude will change with more experience, but I thought I'd post my experience so everyone has a data point in their decision.
    Wanna share your map so people an see what you did? CC definitely takes some time to learn and the real power and tricks come in once you played around a bit - especially using sheets and effects.

    Quote Originally Posted by darrenan View Post
    I'm curious, does anyone know what the commercial guys (Paizo, WotC, etc.) use to create their maps?
    Paizo use a lot of different cartographers (the majority freelance) and they all use different tools to make the maps.

    Quote Originally Posted by darrenan View Post
    Finally, is there a walkthrough somewhere of how to use Photoshop to create maps? Zeus's maps look pretty spectacular, and I'm wondering how much he did using native PS, how much was add-ins or external bitmaps, etc.?
    Zeus imparts a lot of info in this thread: http://www.fantasygrounds.com/forums...-Tactical-Maps Particularly post #12.

    You may want to keep an eye on this for when the books start coming out later this year: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...als-guide-book

    In the end, making great looking maps is not going to be a quick process until you've learned whichever tool/s you'll be using and get together a good library of tiles, bitmap objects, etc..

    You've paid for Campaign Cartographer - stick with it, watch a few more videos, experiment and look at some of the examples, go through some of the step-by-step tutorials, and if you haven't done so already, pick up the Tome of Ultimate Mapping: https://secure.profantasy.com/products/tome.asp which is an awesome CC resource (600+ pages of tutorials) and comes with a lot fo good support files.
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    darrenan's Avatar
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    This first map ended up being not very sophisticated. Not using sheets or effects at all. I really just needed to get it done so all I really did was:

    1. Create a new dungeon, not from template. Set custom size and custom background.
    2. Drop boulders from the Cave symbol set all over the map. Learned how to scale said boulders so that they weren't tiny (why is the default size so tiny?).
    3. Ditto with bushes and trees from the Vegetation set.
    4. Drew a stream down the middle using the water tool.

    That's really it, nothing fancy at all. I'll take a look at those resources you linked, thanks a lot.
    Last edited by darrenan; May 26th, 2014 at 19:06.

  7. #7
    Trenloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darrenan View Post
    Learned how to scale said boulders so that they weren't tiny (why is the default size so tiny?).
    When you first create your map the width x height dimensions you enter should be your measurement units on the map (e.g. feet or metres) not the end pixel size you want. The symbols are then scaled specifically to the map size based based off this "real world" scale.

    The default dungeon map that is created with the wizard is 1000 x 800 feet (pretty large), hence the symbols come out as very small compared to the overall map. What size did you use for your map?

    EDIT: The "DD3 Essentials.pdf" that is installed in your CC3 Documentation directory has a good outdoor areas quickstart guide starting on page 31.
    Last edited by Trenloe; May 26th, 2014 at 19:18.
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    darrenan's Avatar
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    After a few tries, I settled on 300x400. Since this fight starts out on horseback, I wanted plenty of space for them to run, and I figured 80 five-foot squares vertically would be about right (horses have 50ft movement). Also, there are a lot of bad guys (around 20) so I wanted plenty of horizontal space for them to spread out. I think the end result was about right, we'll see how the encounter works in practice (probably still at least a month away at this point).

  9. #9
    A long time ago, I bought a startup little program called Dungeon Demon. It wasn't very spectaular, and didn't have much art, but it sorrta, quirkily funcioned. I just checked on it again, and they've scrapped it and made an online version of it that is now in Beta. Perhaps it's something someone would like to check out. You can find it at http://www.rustyaxe.com/

    A program I actually use is ArtRage, from http://www.artrage.com/. It aims to provide "natural" tools for drawing, painting, inking,... I like its interface. I've attached a map I made with ArtRage to tets it out; it's a rendition of the D&D 4e world, but done in the DnD 3.5 style.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    I also know of Fractal Mapper, found at http://www.nbos.com/products/mapper/mapper.htm. I never played with it much, but I know a few people who seem to like it.

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