Fantasy Map Making Alternatives to Photoshop

Published by audenjohnson on

Chris Mentzer asked “Where can I find a mapmaker program to make designing Fantasy worlds easier?”

I use Photoshop but that program is not easy to understand, which can be a bit frustrating. Let’s look at other map making software. Most of these aren’t free. This list is by no means exhaustive. I haven’t had the chance to use these programs.

Check out:
Cartographer’s Guild: List of Mapping Software
Role Playing Games: What’s the best software for mapmaking?

During my research I started to notice a pattern, some fantasy map making software start out strong in terms of chatter on forums then I find out the program’s last review was at least 4 or 5 yeas ago.

When you’re researching software, pay attention to when the reviews/comments were written. If you can’t find any chatter written in the past year or two then the program probably hasn’t been updated and may not work with your operating system, unless you’re using an older computer. Reddit and Cartographer’s Guild seems to be a good place to ask questions about map making software. If you find a promising software, ask about it on a forum or group before you buy it.

If you want to find examples of maps created with the software, do a Google Image search for “(Software name) map example.” YouTube is also great too.

Campaign Cartographer 3

“A few simple but powerful tools do it all, and you can learn what you need in a matter of minutes…..Whenever you need designs, whether it’s roleplaying games or wargames, fantasy, modern or SF, CC3 can help you create them. From entire worlds and countries, to floorplans and furniture, CC3 can do it. You can map out your entire campaign world, place your troops in the field, or chart your galactic empire.”

Software Review: A look at Campaign Cartographer 3 Plus


A Gallery of CC3 Maps

“Hexographer was built from the ground up to let you make maps in a few specific styles quickly. By eliminating a large number of cumbersome options general image editors & computer-aided-design (CAD) programs use, Hexographer lets you make a map in a tenth of the time it takes just to learn another tool.”

“The Free & Open Source Image Editor…Whether you are a graphic designer, photographer, illustrator, or scientist, GIMP provides you with sophisticated tools to get your job done. You can further enhance your productivity with GIMP thanks to many customization options and 3rd party plugins.”

GIMP looks like Photoshop. It’s a free alternative to that program but it doesn’t look like it’s easy to use or maybe it is simpler with the right tutorial.
Do you have any map making software to add?

If you have any other world building questions email me at

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