ver. 2.5





Color Depth And File Size

An Operational Level Map: Base Terrain

Adding A Hex Grid

Adding Terrain Features

Manipulating Vector Objects

Adding Roads And Rivers

Adding A Rail Line

Adding Compound Terrain Features

Adding Text

Adding Symbols

Obtaining Symbols

Creating And Adding Counters

Designing Counters

Creating a Counter Template

Labels & Transparency

Counter Rotation


Creating Charts & Tables

Moving On

A Tactical Level Map: More Complex Clear Terrain

Creating ADC2 Or CB Hex Grids

Adding Elevations

Adding Depressions

Completing The Tactical Map

Adding Atmospheric Effects

Creating Your Own Patterns

Creating Seamless Tiles

Creating Non-Seamless Patterns

Blending Layers

Using Textures

A Man To Man Level Map: Using Picture Tubes

Final Thought


If you are fortunate enough to have a copy of Paint Shop Pro 7, you can create decent looking wargame maps and counters in a fraction of the time required when using the  CyberBoard or Aide de Camp editors.  I created the demo maps that are part of this package in less than 3 hours.  This paper will walk you through the process and explain the techniques.  Although the features of PSP7 we will be using are somewhat "advanced", the process is not hard.

A note on Paint Shop Pro versions: Versions 8 to 11 are now out, but I  continue to recommendPSP7 icon version 7 (or 7.04, to be exact).   Version 7.04 contains the highly useful Alien Skin EyeCandy 3.1 filters, is fast, bug-free, and uses a modest amount of RAM.  Versions 8 to 11 lack these filters, offer little additional functionality, are noticeably slower, somewhat buggy, and use more RAM.  The marketplace tells the story: as of Sept./07, versions 8 to 11 were selling (new) for $17 to $60.  Version 7 (new) still sells at its original price of $100.



Before we begin, we must address the trade off between color depth (or density) and file size. 


As you create your map using PSP7, you will have to work entirely with a color depth of 16 million colors (24-bit color), as many of the features we will be using are only available in this format.  This raises an issue that needs to be considered at the outset.  Will your final product be displayed in 16 million colors (24-bit color) or in 256 colors (8-bit color)?  If necessary, you can use Colors>Decrease Color Depth>256 Colors to change the image from 16 million to 256 colors at the very end of the map creation process.

If you will be using CyberBoard, version 2, you have no choice – CyberBoard ver. 2 paletteit can only display images in 256 colors.  Reducing your image to a depth of 256 colors tends to cause some loss of definition and raises the prospect of unsightly “palette shifts”, where one or more of your chosen colors is changed to something else you did not intend.  You can minimise this problem by always choosing colors from the CB color palette (included in this package) and by checking the appearance of your map from time to time in the CB Design module as you progress.  Version 3 of CB uses 65535 colors (16-bit color), which largely eliminates the problem. 


Aide de Camp 2, however, IS capable of displaying a map in 16 million colors.  Use that capability if you can. 


Why would you choose to display a map in ADC2 in just 256 colors?  Because of file size – an image with a color depth of 256 is stored in a file just 1/3 the size of the same image in 16 million colors.  Since ADC2 also limits a single map sheet to a maximum file size of 4 MB, your map may simply be too large for a depth of 16 million colors.  To avoid this problem, you will have to reduce to a depth of 256 colors (which poses the same disadvantages explained above) or cut your final map into sections which are each less than 4 MB in size, and then use ADC2’s ability to display multiple map sheets joined together to form one large map. 


It’s your call – is superior color more important to you than file size?  I would stick with 16 million colors if at all feasible.  The demo maps in this tutorial have a color depth of 16 million.


To estimate the file size of your map, find the number of pixels it contains by 1) multiplying the number of pixels per hex times the width in hexes, 2) multiplying the number of pixels per hex times the height in hexes, and 3) multiplying the two resulting products.  The result is an estimate of the number of pixels, and also the size in bytes of the image file if it has a color depth of 256.  Triple that figure to estimate the file size in 16 million colors.


Once you have made that decision, we can begin.  We will create 3 demo maps.  If you make a mistake (and if you are like me you will make a lot of them), just hit the Undo button on the tool bar.  Let's get started.




Map graphics differ significantly according to the scale of the map and the game.  Mountains, for example, should be portrayed differently on a map for a strategic or operational level game than on one for a tactical level or man-to-man game.  To cover the ground thoroughly, we will walk through the creation of an operational level map, followed by a tactical level one, and then end with a bit of practice on a man-to-man level map. 

Let's start by building a demo map for an operational level game.  Open theOperational Demo Map: click to expand Operational.bmp file included in this package and examine it – that is what we will create. 

First, we will create a new image and cover it with our base terrain.  Most of the demo map will be clear terrain, so we will use that.

Select File>New and set the image dimensions to 800 by 600 pixels.  Use a white background color.  Make sure the image type specifies 16.7 million colors (24-bit color).  You should always work in 24-bit color even if you know that you will be reducing the image to 8-bit color (256 colors) before using it in CB or ADC2 or posting it on the net.  This is because many of the more advanced features of PSP7 are only available in 24-bit color mode.  Click OK to create the image.

Set the Foreground Style to Patterns by clicking on the small black triangle and then selecting the Pattern icon, which is the second one from the right.  Click on the current foreground pattern to display the Pattern Selector.  Use the Edit Path button to point the Pattern Selector at the folder where you have stored the patterns in the package that is part of this tutorial.  Then, click on the vertical bar in the Pattern Selector window to bring up a display of the patterns we will be using.  Select the "clear" pattern.  Make sure the scale is set at 100% and the angle at 0 degrees.  Click OK and the clear terrain pattern appears as the Foreground Style.

clear terrain pattern


Select the Flood Fill Tool (the paint can) and then click on the image to fill it completely with the clear terrain pattern.



The next step is to add a hex grid to the image.  Actually, it is best to let CB or ADC2 draw the hex grid itself, as there are certain advantages to that (such as the ability to use the line of sight capability in ADC2).  However, we still need a hex grid while drawing our map for the purpose of placing objects in their proper locations. 

You cannot just draw a hexagonal pattern on the image because neither CB nor ADC2 useshex grid over clear terrain "true" hexagons (where each side has an equal length).  We need to use a hex grid which corresponds precisely with the one used by CB or ADC2.  I will describe later how to create your own hex grid for CB or ADC2 in your favourite size.  For the time being, we will use one of the six CB grids (or 6 ADC2 grids) that I have already created for you.

Use the File>Open command to open up the file selection window.  Then, open the hex grid image "CBHexGrid75Vert", a vertical grid of 75-pixel hexes.  


We are going to draw the various elements of our map in layers.  This gives you far more flexibility than just creating an image in a single raster layer.  Layers can be altered and deleted without affecting the rest of the image.  The visibility of a layer can be turned on and off, or adjusted to create special effects.  A layer can be “locked” to prevent unintended changes to it.

Select Layers>New Raster Layer.  It is a good idea to name each of your layers; name this one "HexGrid".  After you press OK, you will have an image containing two layers, with the hex grid layer selected.  Confirm this by opening the Layer Palette and examining it.  At this point, any changes you make in the image will only affect the current layer.  Nothing you do will alter the background layer at all.

Open the Pattern Selector again.  Scroll up to the very top of the thumbnail image display and you will see the hex grid pattern whose image you have just opened.  ANY open image will be displayed, for as long as it is open, in the pattern list.  Any such image can be applied as a "pattern" to another image.   The fact that the image contains some transparent portions, as the hex grid does, does not prevent its use as a pattern.

Use the Flood Fill tool to completely fill the new layer with the hex grid pattern.  There you have it, a 75-pixel vertical hex grid in the exact shape used by CB.  This will guide us as we create the rest of the map. 

Open the Layer Palette Window and click the small lock icon on the right hand side of the hex grid line; that will protect this layer against any accidental changes by locking it.

At this point, you should save the file.  Be sure to save it as a Paint Shop Pro image (*.psp), because this is the file format which will retain all the advanced features we are going to use.  We will change the file to a Windows bitmap eventually, but it is very important to do all your work on a PSP7 native format file and change it to a bitmap as the very last stage in the process.



rough terrain patternLet's add an area of Rough terrain. Later, I will explain how to create your own patterns; for now, use the ones I have made for you.  Change the Foreground Style to the Rough pattern included in this package.  As always, be sure the scale is set to 100% and the angle to 0 degrees. 


Now, set the Background Style to Patterns and then select the Rough pattern again for the Background Style.  We want the same style in both the foreground and background at this point.


We need to create a new layer but this time it will be a vector layer (I will explain why in a minute).  Select Layers>New Vector Layer and enter the name "Terrain Features". 

Layers can be moved up and down in the image.  We want the terrain features layer to be above the background layer but below the hex grid layer.  Open the Layer Palette window and click and drag the terrain features layer into the proper position.

We are going to draw the terrain features as vector objects.  Using vector graphics provides a lot more flexibility than raster graphics.  Vector objects can be moved, enlarged, contracted, and pulled into a different shape easily.  They are also easier to delete if you make a mistake.

Click on the Drawing Tool, which looks like a pencil drawing a line.  Make sure the Tool Options Window is visible, and then select the first tab of that window.  a rough terrain vector objectSet the type to Freehand Line, the Width to 1, the Line Style to Style #1 Solid, and place a tick beside Antialias, Close Path, and Create as Vector.  Select the second window tab.  Open the drop-down list under "Join".  Now choose the Round style and set the Curve Tracking to 10.  These are the settings we will use for creating irregularly shaped areas of rough, mountains, forest, etc.  In effect, you are drawing a line of "rough" one pixel wide and filling in everything enclosed by the line with a background of "rough".

Draw yourself a Rough area somewhere on the map.  Make it an irregular shape with lots of indentations, etc.  Don't make it too large as we have a number of other objects to draw.  Left click on the layer and trace the outline of your Rough area.  When you get back near the starting point, release the mouse button and the line will complete itself.  Do not release it too soon as the line will be a straight line and you do not want a square edge on your terrain.  At this point, the Rough area is a vector object surrounded by a selection box indicating that that object has been selected.



To select a vector object after it has already been deselected, use the Vector Selection tool that is the last one on the toolbar.  Alternatively, you can select the object from the Layer Palette Window.

For practice, we will delete this object and draw it again.  Hit the Delete button and draw another area of Rough terrain.

Now let's move the Rough area somewhere else.  Place the cursor over the selection point in the middle of the selection box; the cursor should change into four arrows.  Now click and drag the vector object to some other part of the map.

Let's make our Rough terrain a bit bigger.  Place the cursor over the selection point in the upper right corner.  Right-click and drag it outwards.  When you release the mouse button, you will see a larger patterned area.  Now do the same thing in reverse to make it smaller.

Want to rotate the area of Rough terrain to a different orientation?  Place the cursor over the selection point that is immediately to the right of the central selection point.  The cursor should change into two circular arrows.  Click, and then drag the vector object in a circular rotation and it will change to a different orientation.

You can gain even more control over the shape of the vector object by going into Node Edit Mode.  Switch to the Vector Selection tool and select the vector object you want to edit.  Open the Tool Options window and click on Node Edit.  The vector object will change to a single line with small boxes indicating nodes along the line.  You can click and drag on any node to move it and change the size and shape of the object.  To add a node, place the cursor on the line and press the CONTROL key.  The cursor will change to the word “ADD”.  Now, left-click and a node will be added to the line.

From time to time, you may need to make the same change (e.g., a 90-degree rotation) to each of several vector objects.  You can select several vector objects by clicking and dragging with the Vector Selection tool, by selected individual objects while pressing the SHIFT key, or by using Selection>Select All to select all the vector objects in a vector layer.  Then, use the Objects>Group command to group them, after which they can all be rotated, etc., with a single command.  Use Objects>Ungroup to release them when you are done.

Often, you will want to add a terrain feature that is adjacent to one or two map edges.  No problem.  Draw the feature in the usual manner and, when you get to the edge of the image, just keep on drawing.  Swing the line around to the place on the edge where you want to enter the image window again and draw the line back to near where you started.  Part of the vector object is outside the visible area, but it is all "there".  If you wanted to, you could click and drag the entire vector object into the visible area of the image.  Try this technique for the final Rough terrain area, which you will place in the lower left corner of the map.

mountains & clear terrainNow, go ahead and add another terrain feature to the layer.  Leave the top part of the map open as we are going to put some ocean and a coastline there.  Try adding a mountain range using one of the mountain patterns I have included.  These are handled in exactly the same way as the area of Rough terrain. 

Next, we will add forested areas on the right and left sides of the map.  My forest pattern is partially transparent, like the hex grid patterns, so it must be opened in its own imageForest on rough & clear terrain window (as you did with the hex grid).  Once that is done, the forest pattern will appear at the top of the pattern thumbnail display when you open up the Pattern Selector.  Set the forest pattern as both the Foreground and Background pattern and then draw some forests as vector objects in the same manner as the Rough terrain area.  Draw one on top of the Rough area to demonstrate the partial transparency of the pattern.

an urban areaUse the Town pattern to add an urban area.  There are a number of other patterns I have provided; their purposes are obvious from the file names.  Save the file.


Let's add a river.  Set the Foreground Pattern to Deep Water.  Set the Background Pattern to None (select the null indicator on the far right of the small window that opens when you click the black triangle).  Open up the Tool Options window, select the left-hand tab, and set the Line Width to 20 pixels.  This time, clear the check box beside Close Path.  Leave everything else as it is.

Move the cursor down to the bottom of the image then click and drag towards the top to create the river.  Be sure to include some realistic twists and turns.  After you have created it, you will find that it doesn't quite join the bottom edge correctly; it doesn't look like it flows off the bottom edge.  To rectify this, click and drag the selection point in the centre of the object and move the river down until the appearance is correct.

Let's draw a paved road from right to left across the upper part of the map and across the river. We need to make sure that the river vector object is no longer selected.paved road crossing a river  Use Selections>Select None to get rid of the selection box.  Set the Foreground Style to Paved Roads and the Line Width to 10.  Leave everything else alone.  Draw yourself a road that starts at one side of the Window and runs off the opposite side.  Move the cursor a few pixels past the edge of the window so as to create the impression the road is running "off" the edge of the image.  These lines you have drawn are vector objects and can be grouped, moved, rotated, enlarged, contracted, and deleted in the same way I have described before.

As you can see, where it crosses the river, the road is on top.  But let's assume that you had drawn the road first and, when you drew the river, you found that it was flowing over the road.  Unless you want a washed out road, this needs to be fixed.  It's simple.

The answer is to move the road vector object to a higher position in the layer hierarchy than the river vector object.  Let's see how this works.

Open up the Layer Palette Window and click on the plus sign to the left of the Terrain Features layer.  This opens up a list of the vector objects you have created but, at the moment, each one is called "Freehand".  You can, and probably should, rename these, which you can do by right-clicking on "Freehand" and selecting the Rename menu option.

When you rest the cursor on the line for a vector object for a couple of seconds, a small window opens up which shows you the vector image.  Use this feature to locate the road image.  For practice, click and drag it down below the river vector image in the Layer Palette Window hierarchy.  When you release the mouse button, presto!, the road is now underneath the river.  Click and drag the road back into its proper position.

dirt road crossing a streamUse Selections>Select None to get rid of the selection box and then use the Dirt Roads pattern to draw yourself a dirt road feeding into the paved road.  Save the file.



A railway line can be added to the map in exactly the same way as a road or river.  The only difference is you need to use a "Custom Line" that resembles railway tracks.  I have included one for you in the Styled Lines folder.  Use the File>Preferences>File Locations>Styled Lines command to point at the Styled Lines folder I have provided.  Set the Foreground Style to Color and select a suitable dark brown color.

This time, set the Line Type in the Tool Options Window to Point to Point and the Line Width to 2.  Select the drop down list under Line Style and scroll down to select the Railway style.  Check the Antialias box but leave the Close Path box unchecked.

Click at the left edge of the Image Window to start drawing the line. a rail line Move right and down, then click again to end the first track section.  Each time you click on the map a node is added to mark where the section in question will end.  The last node should be placed just below the bottom edge of the image window. If you want to add a curved section of track, left click and then drag to draw a curve in the line section that ENDS where you have just clicked.

Press CONTROL Q to end the line drawing process. 



I use the phrase "compound terrain feature" to refer to a vector object which contains a foreground pattern of one thing and a background pattern of another.  Let me illustrate.

We will draw ourselves a coastline - a body of deep water fringed by a sandy beach.  Set the Foreground pattern to Desert, set the Background Style to Patterns, and then set the Background pattern to Deep Water.  In the Tool Options window, set the Line Width to 15 pixels (the width of the beach) and tick off the Close Path box.  Leave everything else alone.

sandy coastlineNow we will draw our coastline.  Starting from the right hand side of the image near the top, draw an undulating line across the map to the left side.  When you get to the left side just keep on going off the edge of the image and then, still holding the left mouse button down, swing the cursor above the top border of the image all the way over to the right hand side and down close to where you started.  Then release it.  At this point you have a coastline vector object (a "compound terrain feature") which is partly inside and partly outside the image.  As usual, it can be moved, rotated, enlarged, etc.

Let's draw one more compound terrain feature to make sure you've got the concept.  Setstream flowing through marshy lake the foreground pattern to Marsh, the background pattern to Shallow Water, and the Line Width to 10.  Make sure Close Path is checked.  Draw yourself a shallow lake fringed by marsh. 

Now, uncheck the Close Path box, set the Foreground pattern to Shallow Water and the Background pattern to Null, and draw a stream flowing from the marsh to the near edge of the map.  Save the file.


Let's add some text to label a couple of features and give the map a name. 

Create a new vector layer called "Text".  Move it to a position above the terrain features layer and the hex grid layer.  All text will be created as vector objects.  This allows you to manipulate text objects in any and all of the ways described earlier.  For example, you could Group a number of text objects and then rotate them all with a single command.

a location label Let's give a name to the urban area.  Click on the Text Tool (a capital A).  Click on the layer somewhere near the town you have drawn; it doesn't matter exactly where you click - because this is a vector object, it can be easily moved after you create it. 

Set the font to Arial (a nice, clean font with good visibility), the size to 9, and click the Standard Text button.  Click on the Fill Color to open up the Color Palette and then choose pure black.  You can set this numerically by setting Red = 0, Green = 0, and Blue = 0.  This is called the “RGB Value”

Fill in the name of your town in the large text box and choose Create as Vector.  Check the Antialias check box.  Leave Auto Kern turned off.  You may wish to make the text Bold by clicking the Bold button.

When you click OK, the text will appear as a vector object on the layer.  Move it into position and deselect it.  If you don't like its position, you can always select it again and move it.

If you want to change the font, text size, etc., then select the text vector object, click on the Text Tool, and place the cursor over the object.  When the cursor changes to display a capital A, click again and the text entry box will open up.  You can now make your changes.

Let's add a map name in the upper left corner.  Click there with the Text Tool.  This time, seta map name the size to 18.  Set the Fill Color to pure white (RGB = 255, 255, 255).  Save the file.



Let's add a couple of graphic symbols to the map to liven it up a bit.

Create a new raster layer called "Symbols" and position it above the Terrain Features layer but below the hex grid layer.  Go into the folder where you have stored the symbols included with this tutorial and select the symbol called "airfield1".  After it opens in its own image window, hit the Copy button to copy it to the Clipboard.  Then, switch back to the demo map image and select Edit>Paste>As New Selection.  The symbol appears on the tip of your cursor and you can now click on the layer to position it.  Click Selections>Select None to remove the marquee. 

As you can see, this symbol image is partly transparent; that gives it a natural look against the background.  Save the file.

airfield symbolAA symbolbuilding symbolartillery symbolfortress symboltank symbol



Where do we get symbols from?  Assuming you are as artistically challenged as I am, drawing them ourselves is not really an option. 

A variety of symbols are available on the Internet, but the best ones can usually be found in old computer wargames.  This raises aspects of copyright law which are beyond the scope of this tutorial.  Suffice it to say that lifting a few small symbols from an old, out of print wargame that is no longer available commercially is not likely to offend anyone.

Let's assume you have an old wargame with some useful symbols.  The first step is to use PSP7 to do a screen capture of the symbol. 

Run PSP7, select File>Import>Screen Capture>Set Up, and then set the capture value to "Area" and the hot key to F11 (or F12).  Click the Capture Now button and PSP7 will minimise itself and run in the background.

Next, run your wargame and bring up on the screen a scene that includes the symbol or symbols you want to capture.  When you are ready, hit F11 and the cursor will change.  Left click a little above and to the left of the image area you want to capture and the cursor will change again.  You will see a rubber-band selection box with some numbers in it.  These numbers tell you the size, in pixels, of the capture area.  Expand the selection box until it is past the lower right corner of the area you want.  Then, click again and PSP7 will maximise itself and display the selected area in a separate image.  You can now save this image to disk.

The next step is to zoom in and select a rectangular area that includes only the symbol you want.  When you have it, hit the Copy button to copy the image to the Clipboard and the Paste button to paste it into a separate image.

Next, you need to isolate the portion of the symbol you want and render the rest of the image transparent.  Select Layers>Promote to Layer to enable yourself to use transparency.  The area you want to make transparent will probably be an irregular shape, so use the Magic Wand to select the first such area.  You will probably have to play with the Magic Wand Tolerance settings a bit before you get the selection correct; start at Tolerance=0 and slowly increase it if necessary.  This takes a bit of practice.  Leave the Match Mode at "RGB Value" and Feathering at 0.  Clear the box for Sample Merged.

Once you have made a correct selection of the first area to be rendered transparent, you need to extend that to the other similar areas in the image.  (Here, I am assuming that all of the background you wish to make transparent has similar RGB values, i.e., is a similar "color").  To do this, choose Selections>Modify>Select Similar.  This should extend the selection to all portions of the image that are similar.  If it doesn't work, you will have to play with the Magic Wand Tolerance setting or select them individually.  (Note that "Select Similar" uses the Magic Wand Tolerance setting.)

Now hit the Delete button and the selected areas will be replaced with transparency.  Save the symbol to disk as a Paint Shop Pro (*.psp) file.  That's it!  You now have an image that you can use repeatedly on your maps.

Another good alternative, if you own a copy of Corel Draw, is to use the 2 TrueType symbol sets included in that package: the "Military" set contains symbols of tanks, planes, artillery pieces, etc.,  and the "Military ID" set contains NATO symbols.  Once Corel Draw is installed, these symbol sets should show up as fonts in PSP7.

You "write" the symbol onto the map or counter using the Text tool.  Create the symbol as a Vector, so you can scale it afterwards.  In the Text Entry window, select the symbol set, set the size,  and then press the key for the symbol you want. 

You can get an image of all the symbols in the set in MS Word from the Insert>Symbol menu item.  By comparing this image to one of an ordinary alphabet font (do screen captures and print them out), you can infer which key to press for a particular symbol.

Military symbol set from Corel Draw



Let's make a couple of counters.  We will also add them to the demo map although, when we finally save the map for use in CB or ADC2, we will render the counters invisible at that point.  The counters you create will be saved as separate files and can be imported into  into CB using the Design Module or into ADC2 using its Symbol Editor.

Go to the folder where you have stored the counters and counter templates that are part of this tutorial.  Select CounterTemplate50.bmp, which is 50 pixels square and the right size for a 75 pixel hex grid (if there is no stacking of counters - see below).

The template is gray, but you can easily change the color.  Select the Dropper Tool and right click on the gray to make it the Background Color.  Set the Foreground Style to Solid Color, click on the Style box to open up the Color Palette, and choose the color you want.  Then, select PSP7's Color Replacer Tool, set its Tolerance to 0, and double click on the image.  The gray color will be replaced with your selection.

You can easily draw standard NATO symbols in the square outline I have provided on the template.

As an alternative, you can erase the square (select it with the Magic Wand and then replace it with the color of the rest of the counter) and add a symbol to the counter.  Load the tank symbol file included with this tutorial and place the tank image on the centre of the counter in the same way you earlier placed symbols on the map.  Then, use what you learned earlier to place text on the counter (I suggest Arial, size 9, Antialiasing on, no Bold).  I have included four sample counters in two colors in the package.

Gray Armored unitNATO symbol from Corel DrawNATO symbol from Corel DrawOlive Artillery unit

Counters look better if they are "Buttonized".  This gives them a bit of a 3D look that is similar to the appearance of a cardboard counter on a paper map. 

First, you should set the Background Style to Solid Color and the Background color to RGB=192, 192, 192 (gray).  You can buttonize the Background layer (i.e. a raster layer) of the counter by selecting Effects>3D Effects>Buttonize.  This opens up the Buttonize window.  Set the values to:

               Height = 2 pixels

               Width = 2 pixels

               Opacity = 100

               Solid Edge


When you have created your counter, save it to disk as a Windows bitmap (*.bmp) file because you will want it in this format in order to import it into the CB Design Module or ADC2 Symbol Editor.

Let's add some counters to the map to see what they look like on the map.  Create a new raster layer called "Counters".  Place it at the top of the layer hierarchy, above the HexGrid layer.  Load a counter as a separate image, hit Copy to copy it to the Clipboard, and then Edit>Paste>As New Selection to paste it on the layer where you want it. 

You can add some of my sample counters as well.  Save the file.



 We now need to take a more detailed look at designing and creating counters.

 The first question is counter size. 

 Wargame maps and counters seem to look best on a computer screen, most of the time, when they are displayed at the same size as the cardboard maps and counters they represent.  A good, average screen resolution suitable for most monitors these days is 100 pixels per inch.  We will use that as our standard.

 Many typical wargames use a hex size of ¾ inch; translated to the computer screen, thata 56-pixel counter in a 75-pixel hex equals a hex size of 75 pixels.  Most counters are square.  The largest square counter that will fit into a 75-pixel hexagon without overflowing the edges is 56 x 56 pixels.

 That represents about 75% of the hex size.  More generally, we can adopt the rule that a square counter should have a maximum size = 75% of the hex size if it is to fit comfortably inside the hex.

 Most wargames allow counter stacking.  CyberBoard illustrates stacked counters by offsetting each such counter after the first by 3 pixels horizontally and vertically when you use the AutoStack feature. 3 counters, autostacked in CyberBoard (The offset value can be changed by the scenario designer in CB’s Play module.)  Assuming you do not want a stack image to overflow the hex outline, you need to take stacking into account in deciding upon counter size.  You must estimate the largest number of counters a player will typically have stacked in a single hex.  Then, maximum counter size can be calculated by this formula:

MaxCounterSize = (HexSizeInPixels * .75) – (3 * (NumCountersInStack – 1))

 For example, for a 75-pixel hex size where the stacking limit is 3 counters, maximum counter size would be (75 * .75) – (3 * (3 – 1)) = 50 x 50 pixels.  That is the size of a ½ inch counter displayed on the screen at 100 pixels per inch. 6 smaller counters, autostacked in CyberBoard

 How do you fit all the data a counter might contain onto an image of 50 x 50 pixels?  Good question.  Buttonizing uses up 4 pixels in each dimension, so the usable counter real estate is reduced to 46 x 46 – not a lot, considering how much data is sometimes found on a counter.

 You must select a font, size, style & color for each of the data items on the counter.  Legibility is critical.  I have found that Arial is a clean font with good legibility at try this font firstsmall sizes, but by all means try out others.  As for size, the smallest provided by PSP, size 8, is generally the most useful.  (Other designers may disagree – some have used fonts as small as size 6 successfully.)  Data items can be distinguished from each other by text color, Bold characters, and position on the counter; often, you will use all 3.  Color is particularly useful, as it does not increase the space consumed by the text (unlike Bolding).

Things can get pretty crowded on the counter.  There are several things you can do to conserve space.  First, be aware that Bold text takes up slightly more room than normal text.  Second, you should familiarize yourself with the effects of “kerning” and “leading”, two adjustments you can make to text in PSP’s Text Entry Window.  Kerning adjustments push the characters closer together or spread them further apart horizontally; leading does the same in the vertical dimension.  Kerning and leading are the keys to making decent looking counters with a lot of data on them.  As always, experiment and take notes.  I have found a leading value of minus 3 to be generally useful; try minus 25 as a starting point for a kerning adjustment.   One alternative to a negative kerning value is to use the Arial Narrow font, which accomplishes the same thing.  Arial Narrow is the rough equivalent of setting kerning = - 25 for size 8.



 Let’s work through the process for our typical 50 x 50 pixel counter.  The first step is to create a counter template which will be used as the starting point for each individual counter.  That will both speed up the process and ensure that the counters have a consistent style.

 Open a new image of 50 x 50 pixels, flood fill it with a background color, then buttonize it as explained above.  Create a new vector layer on top of the buttonized background.  Save the image as a *.psp file.

 Now, set the background color to your chosen text color (usually black) and the foreground color to nothing.  Select the Text Tool and click on the image to open up the Text Entry Window.  It is in this window that you will make all the font, size, color, kerning, leading, bolding and antialiasing adjustments described above. 

 Set these values:

            font = Arial

            size = 8

Bold = off

Alignment = Left

Create as Vector = on

antialiasing = on

 Note that the Text Entry Window allows you to set Left, Right or Center Alignment for the text:  these buttons align the text with itself so that, for example, a column of numbers can all be aligned to the left.  From the Objects Menu, you can select the Align>Center in Canvas, Align>Horizontal Center in Canvas and Align>Vertical Center in Canvas commands to align the text in relation to the counter.  Each of these alignment methods is highly useful.

 Type a column of 2-digit numbers 4 rows high and click OK to close the Window. 

 Use Objects>Align>Center in Canvas to center the text on the counter.  Zoom in to 12:1.  We see immediately that the text is too long in the vertical dimension.  Place the cursor over the text object until an “A” appears as the cursor, then click to reopen the Text Entry Window.  Set Leading = -3, close the window, and align the text in the center of the canvas again.  Now it is spaced so as to fit nicely on the counter.

 Hold the SHIFT key down and press the Left Arrow key to “nudge” the text towards the left edge of the counter.  Check its appearance by zooming out to 1:1. 

 Let’s do something to make the more significant data items stand out.  Reopen the Text Entry Window for the left hand column, highlight one row, click the Bold button, and close the window.  This will Bold that row while leaving the other numbers unchanged.  In other words, you can Bold selected parts of a single text object.

 Now, we will place a similar column of text on the right side of the counter.  This time, we want to use different colors for each item, so we create 4 separate text objects in 4 differenta 50-pixel counter with 9 data items colors.  Use the Object Selection Tool to pull them into approximate positions, then select Objects>Align>Right to align them with each other.  At this point, if you have zoomed in to 12:1, you can align their bottoms by eye with the text on the left.

 Once you have all the data arranged on a counter the way you want it, save the result as a template.  Typically, you need to create a number of counters of similar appearance with only 1 or 2 data items changing from counter to counter.  Each successive counter can be created quickly by duplicating the template (use Window>Duplicate), double-clicking on the relevant text object in the Layer Palette and changing the text.  Then, you can use Edit>Copy Merged to copy the counter to the Clipboard, switch to CyberBoard, and Paste the image into a new “tile”.

 Creating counters can be tedious in the extreme.  You owe it to yourself to think through the process and do everything possible to shorten the sequence of mouse clicks.  I recommend adding the most often used commands, such as Center on Canvas, Copy Merged, and Select None, to the toolbar (use View>Toolbars>Customize).  Simple preparation of this sort can save you many mouse clicks.  (If you need to perform a certain action on each of a large number of counters (e.g., buttonizing), you should consider using PSP8 or 9, which add scripting as a new feature.)



 When it comes to creating game markers, give some thought to making use of the advantages of the computer.  CyberBoard supports transparency in both “pieces” and “markers.”  The default transparent  “color” is cyan, RGB=0/255/255. 

 The typical cardboard game marker is the same size as a unit and covers it completely.  A more useful approach, in CyberBoard, is to create a partially transparent “counter” which allows some of the underlying image (the unit it is marking) to show through.    I call this a “label.”  Much of the time, a player will not have to select and move a label to determine what unit is sitting underneath.  Downs is suppressed but his data is still visible

 The technique is simple.  Just flood fill the bottom layer with the cyan color and any areas where it shows through will display as transparent in CB. 

 You can also use transparency to advantage when you need to use multiple labels which will sit on top of a single unit.  For a single data labelexample, if you had 4 different status indicators, all of which might be displayed on a unit simultaneously, you could create a transparent square with an opaque border and place the 1st label type in the upper left quarter, the 2nd in the upper right quarter, etc.  Even when all 4 labels areto the ship's left are 5 labels, autostacked in CB sitting on top of each other on the counter, the 4 indicators will all be visible.   (They will, however, be misaligned unless you set the offset value to 0 when creating the scenario in CB.)

 Some labelling can also be done on the counter itself.  The standard counter image offset in CB is 3 pixels horizontally and a 1-pixel colored border differentiates stacked unitsvertically; buttonizing requires a 2-pixel border all around.  That leaves the 3rd row of pixels available to indicate, for example, a unit’s command affiliation.  If you assign distinct colors to units in different commands and draw a 1-pixel wide square 3 rows in, that color will show up in CB when1-pixel colored lines indicate command structure the unit is buried in a stack (assuming CB’s offset value = 3).  

Some board games expect a player to keep track of the changing status of a unit, such as a ship, on a log sheet.  You can usually substitute a screen display for the log sheet, using tracks with the red box is a track indicator labelletters or numbers and a label to indicate the current value.  A square label with a 4-pixel wide border and a transparent center will work well to highlight a given position on a track.

Labels can also be used to good effect on a map.  The changing status of a hex, forcrater & entrenchment labels example from clear terrain to cratered, can be marked by dragging a label onto it.  The label can indicate the current and former terrain type simultaneously by the use of transparency.

Give some thought to how labelling and transparency can make things easier for the player.  Take advantage of the computer.  Effective use of labels can do a lot to make your gamebox both functional and attractive.



  Some games require counters to be rotated to indicate facing.  This gives rise to a potential problem – the counter data may become illegible. 

 the rotated ship's data is illegibleLet me explain.  Any computer graphic image can be rotated “orthogonally” (i.e., by 90 or 180 degrees) without difficulty.  However, if you rotate to ANY other angle there is NO way the computer can display the image with its original clarity.  Small text, in particular, becomes muddled.   Rotating a unit to face a different hexside requires a 60 degree rotation, so the problem cannot be escaped. 

 Consider creating a special “facing” arrow on a transparenta rotated facing arrow background to use as an indicator.  Instruct players to rotate the arrow, not the unit.  The unit data will still be legible; the arrow may look a bit skewed, but no one is likely to complain. 



 When working with any vector object, including text, the question of antialiasing must be considered.  I think I can hear you asking – what the heck is “antialiasing”?

 Computers are good at drawing lines in an orthogonal direction – 100% vertical or 100% horizontal.  When a line (any line) is drawn at some other angle, it will look jagged because it is made up of discrete pixels offset slightly from each other.  the "S" on the left is not antialiased “Antialiasing” is a process by which the computer applies shading to the line in such a way as to smooth out its appearance.  You can examine the effects of this by creating a vector text object (upper case “S” will do) with and without antialiasing and zooming in on it to 32:1 to examine each pixel.  The effect of antialiasing will be obvious.

 PSP always gives you the option of turning antialiasing on or off.  As a general rule, turn it on.  There are some exceptions though.  Very small text may look better with antialiasing turned off.  Or you may want a jagged appearance on the edge of an object for some specific reason.

 When it comes to labels (remember, I mean partially transparent markers), you must turn antialiasing OFF.  Why?  Because antialiasing works by varying the opacity of pixels at the edge of the line, causing them to blend with the underlying layer which, typically, is the transparent color.  Once a transparent pixel becomes blended with something else its RGB value changes and CB can no longer recognize it as transparent, so it displays the pixel.  The result is that your carefully antialiased label will display in CB with an ugly cyan-like border around the text or object.  You have been warned.



The quickest way to create charts and tables for on-screen viewing is to use MS Excel.  It allows you to use text color and shading to differentiate individual rows, columns or values.  Do a screen capture into PSP, convert the image to a bitmap, and load it into CB or ADC2 as if it were a map.  For very large charts or tables, you may have to do multiple screen captures and "stitch" the images together in PSP.



Lets wrap up our Operational Demo Map.  Make sure you have saved your demo map in PSP7 format. 

Now is the time to reduce the color depth of your map if you have decided to display the result in 256 colors.  Use Colors>Decrease Color Depth>256 Colors to do that. If you are using CyberBoard version 3, there is no need to reduce the color depth to 16-bit color; CB will do that automatically when you add the image to the gamebox.  Then, save the map again, this time as a Windows bitmap file.  PSP7 will warn you that all of the layers are going to be merged into one and ask if you would like to continue.  This is the reason for saving the original of your map in PSP7 format first - the bitmap file cannot retain the layers, vector objects, and other sophisticated elements you have been working with.  Select "Yes". 

Later, when you create a final, finished product of your map, you will want to toggle the visibility of the Counters layer and the Hex Grid layer to "Off" if you do not wish to display these components in CB or ADC2.

To view the demo map in CB, run the Design Module, Create a new map, hit the Edit button, click the Base Drawing Layer button, and then load the Demo Map bitmap into CB using Edit>Paste Bitmap From File.

To view the demo map in ADC2, run the ADC2 Map Editor and select File>Create New Map Board.  Click on the "Use Scanned Map" button.  This phrase is a misnomer - ADC2 can actually display any windows bitmap, scanned or not, by this method.  Clear the check box called "Select and Position the BMP Map Sheet", click the Change button, and then load your bitmap file.  Set the Zoom 3 hex size to 75 and the Orientation to "Hex Column".  Hit Continue and bring up the map display in the editor.



Now, let's work on a demo map intended for a tactical level game.  That willTactical Demo Map: Click to Expand give us the chance to explore some different, and somewhat more sophisticated, techniques. Open the Tactical.bmp file included in this package and examine it – that is what we will build now.

Undeveloped and uncultivated "clear" terrain does not usually have a uniform appearance - it is a mixture of different terrain types.  We will build a clear terrain that contains randomly sized and located patches of rough terrain, using layer blending and a mask.  This technique has other uses also; you could use it, for example, to create a camouflage pattern.

Create a new 800 by 600 image, as you did earlier.  Flood fill the image with my Rough pattern.  Then, create a new raster layer and flood fill this layer with my Clear pattern.  Make sure the Clear layer is on top of the layer hierarchy and the Rough layer is on the bottom.

Now, we will blend the 2 layers in such a way as to make random patches of the bottom layer visible.  To do this, we will "mask out" random patches of the top layer. 

A "mask" is a greyscale image (i.e., an image composed only of black, white, and 254 shades of gray).  The mask is not itself visible; rather, it determines which portions of the layer to which it is attached will be blocked, or masked, out of the visible image. 

We will attach our mask to the top layer.  Any portions of that layer that are masked will be replaced by the bottom layer, which is allowed to show through.  A pixel in the mask that is black will completely block out the corresponding pixel in the top layer.  A white pixel in the mask will allow the corresponding pixel in the top layer to show.  A gray pixel in the mask will partially obscure the corresponding pixel in the top layer (i.e., will alter its opacity) so as to allow the pixel in the bottom layer to show partially.

Make sure the top (Clear) layer is selected.  Select Masks>New>Show All.  This creates a mask that is completely white.  Now, select Masks>Edit to allow yourself to draw on the mask itself.  The mask is there, but you can't see it.  Select Black as the Foreground color.

We are going to draw a random, or chaotic, pattern on the mask.  Select Effects>Plug-in Filters>EyeCandy 4000>Marble.  Use these settings:

               Vein Size = 70 pixels

               Vein Coverage = 50%

               Vein Thickness = 70

               Vein Roughness = 50

Click OK.  Then, select Layers>Merge>Merge Visible to blend the 2 layers together as the final clear terrain background.  The resulting layer will be named “Merged”.  Rename it.  Save the file as a *.psp file.

"complex" clear terrain


The next step is to add a hex grid.  This time, I will walk you through the process of making the pattern.

To create an CB or ADC2 hex grid pattern, you must firstHex Grid Pattern Demo do a screen capture of a section of a blank CB or ADC2 hex map with the size and orientation of hexes you want, using the screen capture process described above under "Obtaining Symbols".  To see how much of the map you need to capture, examine the file called HexGridPatternDemo.bmp included with this package.

Carefully select from the captured image the portion that will constitute a "seamless" pattern.  The Hex Grid Pattern Demo has red lines to illustrate where you should place your selection rectangle. (You can assist yourself in the process of selecting the right area by using Guides and the "Snap to Guide" function, which is explained in the PSP7 Help file.)  When you have got the selection exactly right, Copy the image to the Clipboard and then Paste it into a separate image window. 

As you can see, the grid is there but the image is now entirely white. We now need to get rid of the white, so that only the black grid remains. 

Select Layers>Promote to Layer to make the image capable of being rendered transparent.  Select the Magic Wand tool and then click in the centre of any hex.  You have just selected all of the white pixels in that hex.  Now, from the Selections Menu, click on Modify>Select Similar.  As you can see, we have now selected all of the white areas in the image.  Hit the Delete key (or Edit>Clear) to get rid of the white.  Now click on Selections>Select None to get rid of the selection marquee.

A PSP7 pattern containing transparency (as this one now does) must be a native format (*.psp) file, so Save the result as a *.psp file to disk in your Patterns folder.

Now, create the hex grid in a separate raster layer, as you did before, then save the file.



Let's add some elevated ground in the top area of the map.  We will draw this elevation on the clear terrain background.

Open the Layer Palette Window and select the Clear layer.  The changes you will make will only affect this layer. 

Click on the Freehand Selection tool, which is the lasso icon.  Set the Selection Type to Freehand and the Feather Value to 0.  Check the Antialias box.

Draw the outline of the elevated terrain by drawing an irregular shape with the Freehand Selection tool.  The selection should run along the top, right, and left edges.  You can draw one which joins one or more edges of the image in the same way you drew the coastline terrain feature earlier – by continuing to hold the left mouse button down as you move the cursor out of the image frame and back around to your starting point.  As usual, do not release the mouse button until you are near the starting point, to avoid a straight line. 

Now click on Effects>3D Effects>Outer Bevel to open the Outer Bevel window.  Set the following values:


     Bevel = top row, third one from the left.

     Width = 20

     Smoothness = 0

     Depth = 20

     Ambience =  -10

     Shininess = 0

     Angle = 315

     Intensity = 42

     Elevation = 45


Click on the color box on the right hand side to open up the Color Palette.  Set the color to pure white, RGB = 255, 255, 255. 

You will want to retain these settings for future use, so click on the Save As button and save them under the name "Elevations". 

Now click OK and you should see an elevated area of terrain appear in the selected outline.

Click Selections>Select None to get rid of the selection marquee and then repeat the entire process, drawing a smaller selection area in the centre of the one you have already created.  This time, you will not have to enter the Outer Bevel values again as you saved them earlier.  Repeat the process a third time to give the map a hill with three levels of elevation.  Save the file.

The settings given above will place the darkest side of the elevation outline facing towards the bottom right corner of the image.  Note that you can change the Angle setting to place the darkest side in any orientation you wish.

But what if you want to draw an elevation that is not a closed loop? You may need to draw an elevation, such as a cliff side, which is not part of a closed loop or hill.  To do so, first draw a closed loop elevation in the manner described earlier.  Then, use the Freehand tool to select the portion of the hill that you want to convert back into ground level terrain and flood fill (Match Mode=None) it again with the pattern that was there before.  Next, select the Paintbrush tool and set:

                                                                 cliff side

       Shape = Round

       Size = 15

       Hardness = 30

       Opacity = 50

       Step = 25

       Density = 40

       Build-up = On

Now, use the brush to paint the appropriate pattern along the interior edge of the elevation to smooth out the transition area.  Voila – a cliff.



Adding an area of low ground, i.e., a depression, is (you guessed it) essentially the converse of drawing elevations.  In the lower right corner of the map, use the Freehand Selection tool to outline a depression on the Background layer (make sure Antialiasing = On when doing this).

Now click on Effects>3D Effects>Inner Bevel to open the Inner Bevel window.  Set the following values:

         Bevel = top row, third one from the left. a depression

     Width = 20

     Smoothness = 0

     Depth = 20

     Ambience =  -33

     Shininess = 0

     Angle = 135

     Intensity = 45

     Elevation = 45


Set the color to pure white again. 

You will want to retain these settings for future use, so save them under the name “Depressions". 

Now click OK and you should see a depressed area of terrain appear in the selected outline.  Save the file.

When drawing a selection area using any of the selection tools, it is very useful to know that you can add to your selection at any time by holding down the SHIFT key.  You can switch from one tool type to another.  You can create entirely separate selection areas.  For example, you could select a rectangular area with the Selection Tool, then hold down the SHIFT key and use the Freehand Tool to select another area in a different part of the image.  You could then switch to the Magic Wand Tool to select (while still holding down SHIFT) a 3rd area somewhere else.  With all 3 areas selected, you could then Flood Fill them all simultaneously.

If you select an area and then hold down the CONTROL key while selecting another area (using any of the selection tools) the second area will be deleted from the first.  This can be used, for example, to create 2 concentric selection circles for a doughnut-type effect.  I have created an entire castle moat this way.

If you create a useful and complex selection that you want to preserve, you can save the selection itself to disk using Selections>Save to Disk.  Alternatively, you can use Selections>Save to Alpha Channel; an “alpha channel” is saved as a part of the *.psp file itself, which is often more convenient.



Now, we will get some practice by repeating the techniques learned earlier. 

Create new vector layers for Terrain and Text, and new raster layers for Symbols and Counters.  Add an area of Rough to the lower left of the map and 2 forests on the left side.  Draw a river (Line Width = 30) from right to left across the map and add a dirt road (Line Width = 15) which follows the river and then crosses it.  Add a paved road or a stream if you wish.

Use building symbols to place a town near the road.  Label it with text, and label the map itself.  Add some counters.

Let’s draw a farming area in the lower center of the map.  The fields are vector objects -a field make them with the Field pattern in the usual way, but this time rotate each of the patterns a bit for a more realistic look.  Add a couple of farm building symbols.


There are a variety of atmospheric effects you can add to your map, such as fog or mist.  We will choose the simplest one.  We will turn the map into a suitable display for a night-time scenario.

a night scenarioSelect Layers>New Adjustment Layer>Brightness/ Contrast.  In the window that opens up, set the Brightness to -50 and the Contrast to 0.  In the Layer Palette Window, move the Brightness/Contrast layer to a position below the counters, hex grid and text (as we don't want to darken these).  The map is now dark.  If you want it darker still, simply decrease the brightness again by right clicking on the Brightness/Contrast layer in the Layer Palette Window, selecting Properties, and adjusting the brightness downwards.

Tired of looking at a darkened map?  Open the Layer Palette Window and toggle the visibility of the Brightness/Contrast layer off by clicking on the glasses icon.  The layer is still there, but it no longer has any effect on what you see - it is "invisible".  But it will be there if you need it again later on. 

Save the file.  That wraps up the Tactical map demo.  Let’s discuss some techniques for making your own patterns.



Although this is really the first step in the process, I have left it to this point because it is the most time consuming. 

In general, there is no one "right" way to create good patterns.  It is a question of playing around with the various capabilities of PSP7 (which are extensive) until you find something you like.  The most important thing is that you take notes as you go along so that you can easily recreate a pattern that you find usable.  The other key to the process is learning to use the EyeCandy 3.1 HSB Noise Filter.  This filter is your best friend – get to know it intimately.

There is a distinction between seamless tile patterns and non-seamless patterns.  A “seamless” tile is an image that can be “tiled” (drawn repeatedly) onto any size of vector object or selected area without any repetition of the pattern or side lines being visible.  Make a pattern seamless if you can. 

Some patterns, like my stone pattern included in this package, cannot be made seamless without a LOT of work.  The workaround for these is to make the pattern larger than the largest area or vector object that you plan to draw.  In effect, you should never use more than one “tile” of a non-seamless pattern.

There is also a distinction between patterns that contain transparency, like my forest pattern, and those that do not.  The latter can be stored on your hard drive as bitmap files and will appear in the Pattern Selector Window when you search for them.  A pattern containing transparency, on the other hand, must be stored as a *.psp file and must be opened in a separate image window before you can use it.



You may have noticed that PSP7 has a Convert to Seamless Pattern command.  I have not had good results using it, and I recommend you ignore it.

Here is the method I use.  Start by creating a new image of 400 x 400 pixels with a white background in 24-bit color. 

The next step is to add a single color that will serve as the base color, or starting point.  It should be a color that you want to be predominant in the final pattern.  If your map will eventually be displayed in CB in 256 colors (8-bit color depth), then the base color should be chosen from the color palette in question.  In this package, I have included files containing the CB and ADC2 color palettes.  You can use the Dropper Tool in PSP7 to select colors from these palettes.

Let's walk through how I created the Desert pattern.  I started with a buff base color, RGB = 234, 235, 165.  Use the Flood Fill tool to fill the image with this color.

You could, of course, use a uniform color like this for a desert but it wouldn't look very good.  Uniform colors do not have the "random" or "chaotic" appearance of natural terrain.  To rectify this, I used the HSB Noise Plug-In filter that is part of the Eye Candy package included with PSP7.  Select Effects>Plug-In Filters>Eye Candy 3.1>HSB Noise

In the window that opens up, you will see a variety of settings which you should play around with when looking for the right pattern.  For the Desert pattern, after much experimentation I ended up with these settings:

                                Hue variation = 20seamless desert pattern

                                Saturation variation = 15

                                Brightness variation = 25

                                Opacity variation = 0

                                Lump Width (Pixels) = 1

                                Lump Height (Pixels) = 1


Enter these settings, and then click on the Pencil beside the text box to save them under the name "Desert" so you won't have to enter them again.  Then click on the Tick Mark to apply the noise to the pattern.

You may feel the resulting image is okay, or you may feel it needs sharpening, depending on the look you are trying for.  To sharpen it, use the Unsharp Mask.  Click on Effects>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask.  Again, these are settings you should play around with, particularly the Strength value.  As it happens, the default settings seem appropriate for this pattern.  Click on the box in the lower right corner of the Unsharp Mask window to apply the default settings.

The image now looks pretty good.  To create the final pattern, we need to cut out a swatch of it from the centre.  Click on the Selection Tool and set the Selection Type to Square.  Set Feather to zero and Antialias to off.  Then, select a 100 x 100 pixel square from somewhere near the centre of the image.  Hit the Copy button, and then the Paste button to place the selection in a separate image. 

Save the small image as an "*.bmp" file in your Patterns folder.  It will now appear in the Pattern Selection Box when you go to select a pattern.

To get you started, here are some base RGB values and HSB Noise Filter settings which will approximate some of the simpler terrain patterns included in this package:

          TERRAIN                      BASE RGB                HUE    SAT.   BRT.   OPAC.    WID.   HT.


          Clear                          128/183/57               25      25      15           0        1      1  

          Desert                        234/235/165            20      15       25           0        1     1  

          Dirt Roads                 174/146/18              10      10       10           0        1     1  

          Paved Roads            128/128/128            15      15       15           0        1     1  

          Deep Water               36/41/248                15      15       15           0        5     1

          Shallow Water           133/185/243              7        7         7           0         5     1

          Mud                            192/146/48              10      10       10           0         5     2


seamless mud patternNote that the Opacity Variation setting should never be greater than 0 unless the pattern is being applied on top of some other pattern (e.g., Forest on Rough), in which case a fairly high value would be appropriate.



Let’s walk through the construction of some non-seamless patterns.  We will start with the Stone pattern included in this package.

Open a new 400 x 400 pixel image (which assumes that you will never apply this pattern to any area exceeding these dimensions). 

We want to start by flood filling the image with a set of colors found in stone.  Flood Fill this image with the Cave Rock Blue pattern that comes with PSP7.

Those are the right colors, but we need to rearrange them into a stone pattern.  We will use one of PSP7’s filters for that.  Select Effects>Texture Effects>Tiles.  In the window that opens, enter these settings:

                                                 Tile Shape = hexagona non-seamless stone wall

     Tile Angularity = 75

     Tile Size = 8

     Border Size = 1

     Smoothness = 0

     Depth = 1

     Ambience = 0

     Shininess = 50

     Color = white

     Angle = 315

     Intensity = 50

                                                 Elevation = 30

Save the resulting image as a *.bmp file in your Patterns folder.  Try drawing a stone wall with it. 

Want a stone floor?  Do the same thing, but change Tile Size to 32.  a non-seamless stone floor

Want a darker, sandstone color?  Use the Cave Rock Tan pattern instead. non-seamless stone floor, tan

The HSB Noise filter makes the creation of wave-like patterns easy.  Let’s create a large ocean area.  This time, we will build the pattern right in the map image.

Open an 800 by 600 pixel image window.  Flood fill it with a deep blue, RGB = 2, 2, 180.  Apply the HSB Noise filter TWICE in a row, with these settings: 0/0/7/0/30/4. (In order, the settings expressed this way are: Hue, Saturation, Brightness, Opacity, Width, Height.)  The resulting image has a dark, wavy pattern suitable for an ocean area.non-seamless ocean pattern

Want a lake in a lighter shade of blue?  Use RGB = 5, 146, 255 and apply the HSB Noise filter twice, as before.

  non-seamless sea pattern

Looking for a snow-covered landscape?  Flood fill the image with (hmmm, let me think a bit . . . ) white, RGB = 255, 255, 255 and apply the HSB Noise filter twice, as before. non-seamless snow pattern



For many patterns, a much more natural look can be achieved by blending layers.  To illustrate this, we will construct a complex clear terrain pattern.

Start with a base color of medium green, RGB = 0, 188, 0. Flood fill a 400 x 400 image with it.  Add HSB Noise: 25/25/15/0/1/1. 

Create a new raster layer and flood fill it with a gray/brown, RGB = 177, 153, 103.  Add HSB Noise: 10/10/5/0/1/1. 

Switch to the green (background) layer, use Layers>Promote to Layer to make it movable, and then move the green layer to the top of the layer hierarchy. 

Add a mask to the top (green) layer, using the procedure outlined above, and select Masks>Edit.  This time, we will use PSP7’s own Noise Filter (as the EyeCandy filter has difficulty writing onto a mask).  Select Effects>Noise>Add.  Set Noise = 100% and choose the Random option.  Click OK, then apply the same filter a SECOND time.  Finally, use Layers>Merge>Merge Visible to combine the 2 layers permanently.

Now, create a new raster layer and flood fill it with a medium yellow, RGB = 232, 240, 0. clear terrain from blended layers Add HSB Noise: 10/10/5/0/1/1.  Move the yellow layer to the bottom of the hierarchy and apply a mask, followed by noise, to the top layer just as you did earlier.  Do that twice. Then, merge the layers and create a seamless tile. 

The result is a clear pattern containing a good blend of greens, browns, and yellows.



Many terrain types are not smooth, but textured.  My Rough pattern is an example.  Let’s build it.

Start with a gray/brown, RGB = 177, 153, 103.  Flood fill a 400 x 400 window with it.  Add HSB Noise: 10/10/5/0/1/1. 

At this point, we will add a texture.  Select Effects>Texture Effects>Texture.  Apply the following settings:

              Texture = #2

              Size = 100%

              Smoothness = 0

              Depth = 1

              Ambience = -10

              Shininess = 0

              Color = white

              Angle = 315

               Intensity = 45

              Elevation = 30

Let’s blend a bit of clear terrain into the rough.  Flood fill another raster layer with cleartextured rough terrain terrain, then apply Layers>Promote to Layer and move the textured layer to the top of the hierarchy.  (We always want the layer that will predominate in the final blend to be on top.)  Add a mask to the top layer, apply PSP7’s noise filter twice to the mask (as you did before) and merge the 2 layers. 

There you have it – the rough terrain pattern, with a distinctive rough texture.

Another good use of a texture is to make a Field pattern.  Flood fill a 500 x 500 image with medium yellow, RGB = 239, 228, 55.  Apply HSB Noise: 15/15/15/0/2/2.  Then, apply Effects>Texture Effects>Texture with these settings:

               field pattern

Texture = #9

Size = 4

Smoothness = 30

Depth = 10

Ambience = 35

Shininess = 0

Color = white

Angle = 320

                                          Intensity = 50

                                         Elevation = 20

Use Image>Resize (Resize Type = Pixel Resize) to resize the image to 25%. 

Use the Crop Tool to crop a few pixels off the edges, and you have a usable field pattern.

There are other capabilities of PSP7 you should investigate when creating your own patterns.  I have used the Pixelate Effect and the Swirl Filter on some occasions.  Again, it is a question of experimentation and taking notes.



What the heck is a picture tube?  That is PSP7’s name for a tool that can select at random one of several small images, which may be partially transparent, and paste it into your image.  This is the perfect tool for adding trees, bushes and rocks to a man-to-man scale map (which, graphically speaking, is my favourite scale).  Let’s take it for a spin.

Flood fill an image with clear terrain.  This time, we will not bother with a hex grid.

Man to Man Demo Map: Click to ExpandStart by drawing a small, windowless stone building with a wood floor.  Put it in the top right corner on a new vector layer.  Select the Preset Shapes Tool and choose the Rectangle shape.  The Retain Style and Antialias boxes should be left unchecked but the Create as Vector box should be checked.  Set the Foreground pattern to my Stone pattern, the Background pattern to my Wood pattern, and the Line Width to 40 (the width of the walls).  Draw a rectangular building. 

Then, set the Foreground pattern to Wood and the Line Width to 1 and zoom in to draw a doorway on the south wall.  (I leave the windows to you, as an exercise.)  Select both building and doorway, and rotate them a bit counter-clockwise.  wood floor boards

At this scale, larger objects look a lot better if a “drop shadow” is added to them to provide perspective.  Here, we bump up against a limitation of PSP7 – drop shadows can only be added to a raster layer, but the building is on a vector layer.  However, there is a workaround. 

With the building still selected as a vector object, select Selections>From Vector Object. drop shadows That creates a “raster-style” selection box.  Now make the clear terrain layer (which is a raster layer) the active layer.  Select Effects>3D Effects>Drop Shadow.  Apply the default settings and click OK.  The building now looks as if the sun is shining on it from the northwest (top left) around mid-afternoon.  Having adopted this convention about the time of day and the sun position, we must be sure to stick to it consistently on this map.

Create a new raster layer for the trees and the bushes.  (You should get into the habit of placing different types of objects in separate layers.)  Go into your Preferences settings and ensure that your Tubes file location points to the Tubes folder supplied with this package. Click on the Picture Tube tool, open the Tube Selector Window, and select my “Trees” tube (do not confuse it with PSP7’s Summer Trees tube). 

My tube contains 6 (somewhat) different trees.   Each time you click on the image, one of the 6 trees, chosen at random, will be added.  Add 2 or 3 now.  Then, use the Magic Wand to select each tree (set Match Mode = All Opaque, as the trees are surrounded (on their own layer) by transparency) and add a drop shadow to it.

Switch to the Bushes layer, select my Bushes Tube (containing 4 types of bushes), and add some bushes near the trees. 

Finally, select my Rocks Tube (containing 12 types of rocks) and add a few rocks in random locations.  (Acknowledgement: the Bushes and Rocks tubes are adaptations of PSP7’s Summer Trees and River Rocks tubes.)  bushes & rocks from picture tube

Save the file.  That’s it for the man to man demo map, and this tutorial.



Believe it or not, there is still more you can do with PSP7 to create good-looking maps and counters.  This memo gives you the basic techniques, but there are a lot of additional touches you can discover through experimentation.  Try out the filters.  Take notes. 

And, if you figure out how to draw a rail line that doesn’t look like a centipede, send me an email ...



Alex Henderson

Version 2.5

March 23/05