As you might have noticed I really like to make city maps. I don’t know why but I just love to see how a blank paper slowly turns into crawling streets and vast parks. It makes my imagination really spin.
Most of my city maps I make in the program City designer 3 (CD3) from profantasy. It is a great program with a huge toolbox you can use to make the creation of your cities a much smoother experience. To make the maps more unique I also like to edit them a bit in Photoshop afterwards.
When I bought CD3 my first impression of the program however was quite different. You can easily describe it in one word, overwhelmed. Just the sheer number of tools and objects made me fear for my mental health. The first time I started the program I think I just closed it immediately.
So how did I go from there to where I am now? Well the answer can actually be divided in three parts. First of all practice. I started out quite small with a little village and first after a couple of small practice maps I went for the bigger cities or towns. Secondly I looked up some tutorials, especially Gandwarfs tutorials over at the cartographer’s guild where extremely helpful. Thirdly there was a black and white city style released in the 2010 annual from Profantasy.
So what was so great with the black and white city style? First of all you get a very nice tutorial in every edition of the Annual, this makes it very easy to learn a new style, you can just follow the steps described. For me this meant a lot when it came to learning CD3, because I could in this way quickly pick up the different tools to use.
Secondly the amount of objects decreased quite a lot in the black and white city style compared to the coloured styles that were included in the actual program. This might sound a bit odd but the good thing here was that suddenly the program didn’t feel as overwhelming as before. When the choices in objects decreased, it kind of made it easier to grasp the program and find what you were looking for.
The map included in this post is a map that I made while trying to learn CD3. It was one of my first experiments to make a really large city map. I especially experimented a lot with the random street tool in this one. The random street tool is really a great help when you quickly need to fill and area with many houses.
When I was done in CD3 I opened the file in Photoshop and added some cliffs on the northwest side of the city. I also draw my own arena object to add to the city, I really missed that object in the style. As a finishing touch I made the map sepia coloured and placed the map on a paper background.
Well after that I just continued doing city maps and slowly the interface started to make sense and nowadays I rather feel that the there are too few objects in the program then too many 🙂