PDA

View Full Version : Large Scale Map Printing



OldGuy
06-19-2010, 06:04 PM
I created a small map for my campaign and decided it was time to make a larger one (3' x 3' or thereabouts) and have it printed. Before I started I thought it would be a good idea to look into printing to find out what it would cost and what limitations (if any) the printers may have. Being in a small town with few options, I stopped by kinkos. Their best price was $7.25 per square foot plus $3.00 per square foot if I wanted to have it laminated. For 3' x 3' that comes to $65.25 ($92.25 laminated). He couldn't tell me what weight paper it was other than it was "heavier weight" but not card stock.

Never having done this before I had in my head that it would be around $20 for 3' x 3' glossy card stock. Apparently, I wasn't even close. But $65 for plain paper seems a bit high. What do you folks think?

Steel General
06-19-2010, 07:11 PM
Check w/Gamerprinter to see what he charges.

Gamerprinter
06-19-2010, 07:48 PM
Hey Oldguy!

Except you have to add $10 for shipping (rolled in a tube), I charge $2.99 a square foot printed onto satin gloss 190 gram photo paper, so a 3' x 3' map would cost $26.97. Lamination is $6.75 more for 3' x 3' using 5 mil lamination. I have shipped throughout US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Europe and Asia/Australia. Though overseas shipping is USPS is $16+ and takes at least 15 days, doing it faster costs way too much ($100). Also map prints are pretty light weight, so cost of shipping is more size of tube not weight. A single tube can hold many unlaminated maps or three laminated ones for same shipping cost.

GP

OldGuy
06-19-2010, 08:10 PM
Wow, that's pretty amazing!

I actually wanted two copies anyway so that makes shipping (per copy) even cheaper. Plus I get to go through a CG member which makes it even better. :)

I will definitely go through you when I get the map ready to print.

tilt
06-20-2010, 02:42 AM
Gamerprinter is the man! ;)
by the way GP, what resolution does the printer print in? - I usually work in 300 dpi A4 or A3 so it would be nice to know how big a map that would make in your photoprinter :) - you don't have to calculate for me, the dpi number is enough :)

Gamerprinter
06-20-2010, 04:52 AM
That printer is set at a minimum of 600 dpi, but printers lesser dpi fine, though I can set it for high resolution mode and print 2880 x 2880 dpi. It prints in 12 colors CMYKRGB, Photo Magenta, Photo Cyan, Gray and Photo Gray - using whatever colors the file requires. Its a Canon printer IPF 8100. Though I don't carry the whole inventor of papers, I can get pretty heavy glossy stock, and up to 42 inch wide prints, but I generally carry only 36 inch wide materlal. I carry canvas and fine art paper as well.

GP

tilt
06-20-2010, 08:10 AM
I remember when the printers/plotters worked with 72 dpi, so you could make a poster from a simple A4 quality... If I should make a poster in 300 dpi, its gonna be a heavy file when I work in PS ;)

Midgardsormr
06-20-2010, 01:07 PM
Remember to figure in expected viewing distance. If the viewer is at greater than arm's length, you can get away with less than 300 dpi. I had GP do a poster print for me at somewhere around 150 dpi, and the print turned out great.

Gamerprinter
06-20-2010, 02:26 PM
I've printed 72 dpi photos on my printer and compared to a 300 dpi print, it was noticeably degraded, however, without comparing to the 300 dpi print, it still looked great. Better resolution makes for better results, but the printer still does a great job at any resolution.

GP

tilt
06-20-2010, 04:26 PM
now I allready regretted some time ago that I didn't make the Mountain Realms map bigger, but it was my first digital map so I didn't have much to go on - and the size seemed big *lol*... I've had it printed in A3 and that looks good - but it would have been cool to have a postersize... but I'm also thinking battle maps - they are big but need to be printed for up-close viewing to... so lots of dpi in those :)

Gamerprinter
06-20-2010, 06:03 PM
That's why I prefer to work in a vector app like Xara instead of an image editor like GIMP. Vector is just lines of connected points and bezier curves, but then Xara allows me to fill it with a photo texture while rotations, resizing and controling texture repeating, apply a feather, transparency, etc. Howver doing all this is resolution independant.

I start with a defined measured drawing area, say 18" x 24", use a dot grid to keep scale in mind as I create my pen tool drawn shapes, I use as high a resolution fill photo texture as possible, so I can work at any size (there are resolution issues with texture fills.)

Once I complete a map, then I export to JPG, PSD, TIF, PDF, PNG and determine the ppi resolution at that time only. I did not have to think about resolution as I create the map, only at export to final image format does resolution matter - and I can export 300 ppi or 50 ppi, as two different files.

Image Editing apps like Photoshop, GIMP, and other "paint programs" force you to determine resolution at the start of the file creation, and that becomes the only optimal file size, changing ppi resolution on the fly can create artifacts in the pixel display due to different number of pixels describing the original. If you start with screen resolution blank map - you can't effectively print it a high resolution at large scale, as it will become horribly pixelated.

This problem is not an issue using vector apps. I can export the same map to large format, high resolution, as a MapTool ready 100 ppi PNG without artifact or pixelizatino issues, as a vector is resolution independant until export is required to final format - for each of its intended uses. More versatility. And not sucking as much resources, hardly at all, as multi-layered image files in GIMP or PS. I'm not knocking image editors. I use them often, but usually with intended texture fills before I import to Xara, or as post-editing work (almost unheard of for me, almost), then the file is in its intended file size - I can do things with image editors, that Xara cannot.

Because of different philosophies in map creation between vector hybrids and full image editors - its always a stumbling block when trying to print customer maps, not being able to make your final map whatever resolution you want at the moment almost seems alien to me, really.

Its one of the many reasons, I prefer mapping in vector versus image editors, despite the masterpieces created by them in this forum. Keep in mind I do use image editors often and "fluently", its just not my preferred weapon of choice.

OldGuy
06-20-2010, 06:35 PM
I was torn between using PS and CC3 to create my large scale map but was leaning towards PS. Next I determined that a 36" x 36", 300 dpi drawing is 10,800 x 10,800 pixels. I have a pretty decent notebook with lots of memory and a kick ass video card. Still, PS was huffing and puffing enough for me to see that wasn't the way to go. (largely in part to it being v7 I'm sure).

I used my old map as a background in CC3 so I could trace polygons over the png image and get the main features copied over. Got a good start already and no more fighting huge file sizes. The resolution-independence is a nice bonus.

tilt
06-21-2010, 11:24 AM
I also like the resolution independence and use Illustrator for logos and such - but with a map like mountain realms its just about all textures - and as such, you become dependent upon resolution. If I'd made it in Illustrator and added texture there then resizing it would still mess the the textures as they would needed to be scaled up. If that shouldn't be a problem, then I'll have to work with HUGE textures as they should be prepared for poster size (if needed), but they should still "fit" when scaled down, so the look of them don't screw up the map - think trees in perfect size for the map, should still be in perfect size no matter if the map is printed on a business card or on a poster :)

Gamerprinter
06-21-2010, 11:28 AM
Ah, but I build everything including mountainous terrain my vector app, texture heavy or no, vector works fine for creating that.

GP

tilt
06-21-2010, 11:31 AM
so you draw a mountain texture in vector?

Gamerprinter
06-21-2010, 12:08 PM
Yes. Even my hand-drawn top down regional maps have these kinds of vector mountains under the lineart, though I tend to use color clouds rather than texture maps for the mountain surface textures, but yes, still created completely with vectors. Sometimes I stack several vector mountain shapes with bevels and feathering to achieve the best final look, but all in vectors.

Here's one of my few, digital only/vector only regional maps featuring these kinds of mountains:
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?2572-Continent-of-Celanta-complete!

GP

tilt
06-21-2010, 12:23 PM
looks good - a little more edgy than my mountains and lesser textured. The forests looked textured though :)
I'm just trying to find a smart way to do things - although I love photoshop, big maps draw hard on my machine, but it is mostly a compromise about getting the look/details you want and how many megs the comp can take :)

OldGuy
06-21-2010, 04:16 PM
Yes. Even my hand-drawn top down regional maps have these kinds of vector mountains under the lineart, though I tend to use color clouds rather than texture maps for the mountain surface textures, but yes, still created completely with vectors. Sometimes I stack several vector mountain shapes with bevels and feathering to achieve the best final look, but all in vectors.

Here's one of my few, digital only/vector only regional maps featuring these kinds of mountains:
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?2572-Continent-of-Celanta-complete! (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?2572-Continent-of-Celanta-complete%21)

GPI absolutely *love* those forests! any chance of a tutorial?

Gamerprinter
06-21-2010, 04:51 PM
Maybe I'll work on something for a forest tutorial sometime this week.

GP

PokealypseNow
06-23-2010, 07:46 PM
I remember when the printers/plotters worked with 72 dpi, so you could make a poster from a simple A4 quality... If I should make a poster in 300 dpi, its gonna be a heavy file when I work in PS ;)


I was torn between using PS and CC3 to create my large scale map but was leaning towards PS. Next I determined that a 36" x 36", 300 dpi drawing is 10,800 x 10,800 pixels. I have a pretty decent notebook with lots of memory and a kick ass video card. Still, PS was huffing and puffing enough for me to see that wasn't the way to go. (largely in part to it being v7 I'm sure).

I used my old map as a background in CC3 so I could trace polygons over the png image and get the main features copied over. Got a good start already and no more fighting huge file sizes. The resolution-independence is a nice bonus.

I work in Photoshop and have the same problems with my 30' x 40' 300dpi map (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?6941) and so to get around that, I cut up my development into numerous different layers - one for labels, one for landform shape, another for texture, color, borders, etc. In total, I think I have around ten separate Photoshop files that I work from to create the final map.

tilt
06-24-2010, 03:33 AM
now you say layers and then you say files - I'm guessing the answer is files since layers wouldn't reduce size ... but don't you have difficulties seing the "whole" when its spread over several documents ... and you'll have to put it all together in the end anyway to print :)

Alyais
06-24-2010, 04:55 PM
Hey Oldguy!

Except you have to add $10 for shipping (rolled in a tube), I charge $2.99 a square foot printed onto satin gloss 190 gram photo paper, so a 3' x 3' map would cost $26.97. Lamination is $6.75 more for 3' x 3' using 5 mil lamination. I have shipped throughout US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Europe and Asia/Australia. Though overseas shipping is USPS is $16+ and takes at least 15 days, doing it faster costs way too much ($100). Also map prints are pretty light weight, so cost of shipping is more size of tube not weight. A single tube can hold many unlaminated maps or three laminated ones for same shipping cost.

GP

Gamerprinter,

Can you print on fabric? Is this possible? I own and run a LARP in Savannah, Georgia and would love to give them a version of our map that is somewhat more period.

Gamerprinter
06-24-2010, 05:00 PM
While there are fabrics available, my printer is not ideal for that. Fabrics are for dye-sublimation or solvent printer, mine is an aquiess inkjet printer. However, I can print to canvas and fine art paper, though both of those are more expensive to print on. Fine art paper is like 50% more in cost, while canvas is $7.50 per square foot, more than double my satin-photo print standard prices.

GP

Alyais
06-25-2010, 12:26 PM
While there are fabrics available, my printer is not ideal for that. Fabrics are for dye-sublimation or solvent printer, mine is an aquiess inkjet printer. However, I can print to canvas and fine art paper, though both of those are more expensive to print on. Fine art paper is like 50% more in cost, while canvas is $7.50 per square foot, more than double my satin-photo print standard prices.

GP

GP,

Thanks for the quick and detailed response! As I said before I am trying to find a way to give my players at Avegost LARP an in-game representation of a detailed and aged version of our map (www.Avegost.com/map) that I'm working on. Released with Dragon Age was a cloth map and I've fallen in love with it. Do you know/recommend of anywhere that prints on cloth?

Thanks for your expertise,
Joe Landolfi

Gamerprinter
06-25-2010, 03:02 PM
Let me check my sources, there are printing houses that do work only for other printers, and perhaps I can get a better deal - and you can still do business with me.

GP

nitheesh
01-27-2011, 05:32 AM
Looks interesting to me ...