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Wonderdraft

Description

Absolutely wonderful tool for creating good looking maps without much effort and in short amount of time, especially after update 1.1.6, when area brush was introduced.

It is a specialized software that tailored your basic raster editor tools for cartography needs. You dont need to manually draw land lines and then fill them or anything, whole process is easy and pretty streamlined once you’ve got used to it. It wont let you make custom-grade maps that you may see from people that use programs like photoshop and alike, but it also doesn’t require any experience in drawing from you, because instead of that, you’re creating a composition of objects and layers. Each object is separate, unless you made them a whole for performance reasons.

About performance, it’s really good. I dont remember myself using merge tool, so a bunch of objects are rendered as one, even on huge 8K maps. But be aware, if you dont have enough RAM, it’s going to be an issue.

Requirements

You dont need some sick workstation to run it, obviously. According to Megasploot’s requirement list, you can run it even on integrated Intel Potato Graphics.

All you need is OpenGL ES 3 support and bare minimum PC, with like Core 2 DUO.

I wont recommend using it with such setup though.

My general recommendation, considering current market situation, to go with ryzen 3000/5000 with APU, because you hardly can get a proper GPU. Of course if you’re building new rig and want to use heavy software. Dont bother upgrading if you already have at least 4 core cpu, preferable with multi-threading, because from my personal experience upgrading CPU will greatly affect experience, if previous one was slow, even if it was 4 core one.

Of course RAM. You need enough, and 16 is not.

Megasploot's Recommended|Best Specs

CPU – Intel core i3 – 2.5GHz| i5

GPU – GTX 760|1080

RAM – 4GB|6GB

Anzhc's Recommended Specs

CPU – Ryzen 3600 | no need to go above that

GPU – RTX 3060 | For smooth 8K maps experience i imagine. But even RX 560 will do the trick.

RAM – 32GB | Maps with tens of thousands of objects eat alot. If you dont have enough, it’ll just crash. Trust me, 16 is not enough, if you doing some crazy stuff.

Deep Dive in to toolset

As you can see on right side, in Wonderdraft you have 7 separate layers, which work independently from each other, you can turn their visibility on and off if needed. 

Your main workspace most of the time would be Symbols layer, because it’s where all objects are.

Water and Land are mostly for texture works, coloring, shaping, moving, etc.

Paths are used for roads, or something specific you want to use. For example you can create path that is castle wall(not in standard assets).

Regions are fairly new addition, there you can create zones with color overlay.

Labels is where you create names.

Overlay is very useful layer with different things in it, i’ll get to it later.

Water section

Water Appearance

First button is “Water Appearance”, it’s used to change settings, that are applied to general water texture, which is gonna be main background of your map.

Снимок экрана 2021-10-23 061639

It’s standard HSV for color and then you have mirrors and offsets, which affect how your texture is placed and affected on it’s ends. With all turned off, it’s going to be used just as plain texture with no offsets, it’s hard to explain for me, but let’s just say it’s useful(turning them off) when you tailor texture specifically for map size. Randomization randomizes offsets.

Снимок экрана 2021-10-23 061331

River Tool

Second button is “River Tool” – very useful addition, which alot of other software miss. It let you create slightly randomized rivers, that follow general points where you click.

You can specify what width you want, choose how rough the trail it runs is, and meander distance, which specify how far from center of your trail it can go. Also you can make river gradually grow, or turn that off for wide rivers from start.

Lake Tool

Third button is “Lake Tool” – you probably guessed what it can do. It’s really useful if you dont have specific shape and dont want to use simple blob.

You can change roughness, size and detail of shape. First 2 speak for themselves, third one just make it more rough as well, instead of leaning towards straight lines.

Freshwater Brush

This brush let you manually draw lakes or rivers, or any inland water body. It’s just general brush, nothing really interesting going on there.

You can change only size and roughness, which just change it from round form to slightly, or mostly random.

Eraser Tool

Just going to quickly mention it here, just an eraser for inland water.

Lower image is for tool on the right

Water Color Brush

This one let you color texture of ocean and inland water, if it’s transparent(it has different color setting in other place).

It uses RGB color space for color picking, so you can paint it any you want. It also blending pretty nice.

There are only 3 brush form presets, but it’s enough for general texture work. The same brushes and settings are used for coloring land, so we wont touch that later in land section.

You can change size, opacity and velocity.

Low opacity is useful for blending, velocity changing how often brush form is applied.

You can save your color presets for later work in custom theme in “Theme” menu.

Manual color toggle just let you pic color straight from color picker.

Windrose Tool

Honestly my favorite tool in water section. It let you do those lines you often seen on maps.

It’s probably most complicated tool in terms of it’s appliances as well. Not much Wonderdraft cartographers know trick you can do with them, but it’s really cool, im not going to touch how to make them right now, but you can expect short tutorial on that later 😉

You’ll have bunch of settings to tweak, like amount of direction lines, line width, 2 radius settings, fade out for direction lines, and circle amount for the start point(that’s how you start to make circles, yes, but it’s not all there is to it).

Sadly max inner radius is 1024, so you cant make G I A N T circles, but i hope Megasploot finally add that possibility. I really need it for big maps 🙁

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Windrose Move Tool

Last tool in the water shed is used to move and edit windroses you already placed, that’s it, we covered whole water section.

Land Section

Landmass Wizard

First tool is landmass generator, which can help you start your random map, if you dont have anything specific in mind, i often use it as base for my commissions, if there is no sketch, works like a charm.

You can tweak some settings we already discussed in water section, so we wont stop on them.

You have couple presets for generator to choose from.

Quick note: Equirectangular is supposed to be 2:1 ratio usually if you want to put in on globe later.

Water level let you raise or lower ocean level. Wonderdraft dont use any 3d space afaik, but it does support heightmaps, so if you import one, it will work with it as well.

Landmass Brush

Just round brush that only tweakable in it’s size. It’s boring and we wont gonna talk about it, you rarely gonna use it.

Landmass Eraser

Same as other erasers, but for landmass.

Raise/Lower Landmass Tool

Will cover 2 tools at the same time, because you use them together alot of times, or even at the same time with pressing control button.

Basically it affects invisible heightmap layer and raises/lowers values in it. Better to look at gif of that process.

Special note: Graphic Tablet users would benefit alot, because pressure works with almost all brush tools in Wonderdraft. On gif i used mouse, but i do have couple tablets, and it’s really big difference.

Ground Color Brush

Same as with water color brush, but for land and can color objects as well. Only difference is that you can choose if you want to color specific objects or not.

Lasso Tool

Last tool is used to affect specific landmass you want, by choosing it with lasso. I usually use it to fill land with landmass, when i do rough shoreline of pre-defined continent.

As i already said, you can fill, which is probably mostly used, Erase, Cut(and then paste) and copy(and then paste).

Paths Section

Path tool

This category is basically only this tool.

It let you create paths with chosen style. Can be used to connect cities with roads, creating borders and any other use you find for it.

You can change color, size and random deviation from straight line(also you can scroll through randomization with shift+scroll, that goes for every tool with randomization mechanism).

There are enough native styles in program, though if you need more, you always can do your own or download assets.

Path Move Tool

Before it was only a move tool for paths, but now it also let you edit them.

Symbols Section

Symbol Tool

Here we come to category of tools that’s gonna take most of your cartography work time, because that’s where you finally find objects.

In this particular tool you’ll see singular unique objects.

You can change their size and colors, if objects support it.

In advanced options you can shuffle betweent objects in chosen category(set), mirror them and rotate.

You can go over 100%(up to 400%) and down to 5% if you unlock scale limits in settings.

Trees and Mountains Brush Tools

This tool contains sets of trees that you can use as brush to paint objects, they’llrandomly cycle through objects in set. After version 1.1.6 you can also do it to a whole area at once.

Scale is self explanatory. Rate is adjusting how often objects are placed, density affects “size” of each object in set by that multiplier(or at least i think that’s how it technically works), you can’t see specific “size” of them, unless you go to asset folder and look it up in wonderdraft files(that’s also where you set it for custom assets)

Absolutely everything above goes for mountains as well.

Symbol Eraser Tool

Unlike other erasers, here you can choose what you want to erase, but that’s all the difference.

Symbol Move Tool

With this you can pick any specific object you like and move it, scale it, or move between layers to affect if it’s rendered above or below other objects.

Also you can merge chosen symbols in to symbol group and they’ll be rendered as single objects(you wont gonna be able to choose individual symbols from that goup after that).

Layer note:

You also can place objects immediately on layer you want on their creation by enabling “Layer Management” option in third menu(or second, if you didn’t press any tools yet) on right sidebar, it will appear when you’re in symbol tools category.

Regions Section

Territory Tool

This one is useful for creating political borders, though you would prefer to use path tool, if you dont want to have it go over water, or for showing regions and places.

As with most of other tools, you can change color, size and other things that are affecting looks.

 

Edit Territories Tool

Like with others, you can choose existing territory and alter parameters, and dots to change shape.

Labels Section

Label Tool

How can we skip labels in cartography? Right, we can’t.
Wonderdraft has a pretty good one as well.

You can add your own fonts through assets as well, you wont see half of ones that are in screenshot in basic Wonderdraft.

Fonts are pretty customizable, well, as you would expect.
Color, outline, alignment, curvature, spacingm rotation… Most of things you would want.

After tweaking everything to your liking, it’s possible to save those settings in to a preset, then save in to theme and use in any other map.

Move Label Tool

Let you move labels in bulk, but usually it is not used at all.

Box Tool

Sometimes you want to place names in some ornament, you can do it either through objects, or box tool.

You can change side pattern scale and box tint(white is standard color).

Overlay Section

Trace Tool

Probably one of the most useful tools available in wonderdraft, it let you use any picture as overlay, so you can see what you need right when you work on things

You can do basic changes to it, but to be fair you don’t need more options there.

Frame Tool

Add a frame as finishing touch 😀

Only color and size are adjustable.

Measuring Tool

This one is cool, because you can measure distance between objects, or length of routes, really cool.

Grid Tool

This one is useful, if you need grid(wow!)

Basic customization is here as well.
You can choose between square and hexagonal grid only.

Scale Creator Tool

This one is useful especially for DMs from my experience.

You can create scale in whatever units you want, though it’s up to you to actually scale your map.

It is very customizable, the only thing i’d love to see is possibility to add multiple scales with different units.

The End

Aaaand we’re done with main tools of Wonderdraft! Thanks for reading, if you like this tool and want to give it a try, here’s link to page, so you don’t need to scroll up, if I even placed it at the top of page(I probably didn’t, but i did on previous page for sure).

Official Wonderdraft Page