Councillors in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray face talks after no overall control was won.
Voters have left some councillors with coalition talks
The SNP doubled its councillors in Aberdeen to 12, the Lib Dems dropped five to 15 and Labour lost three to 10.
In Aberdeenshire, the Lib Dems lost four to 24, the SNP gained seven to 22 and Conservatives gained three to 14.
Moray saw the SNP rise to nine from three as the independents lost overall control. Orkney and Shetland both remained independent.
The results mean Aberdeen is a hung council, after the previous Lib Dem and Conservative coalition. The Conservatives gained two seats to five.
Aberdeen's Lib Dem leader Kate Dean told BBC Scotland that councillors would have to get round the table to thrash out a deal.
She said: "I do not think we are in a position to rule anything in or out for now, and then exchange manifestos to find common ground for the benefit of Aberdeen."
In Aberdeenshire, the result means the previous Lib Dem and independent coalition does not have a majority, with the SNP and Conservatives making gains.