View Full Version : What size/resolution do you choose when creating your maps? Why?

01-29-2011, 12:08 PM
I was thinking, this morning, about why I make my maps at such high resolutions. I think it comes down to my photography years, and how having a larger negative (I shot up to 4x5) produced a better end-result in terms of clarity, colour, and tone (more or less); this influenced my choices in lenses and film type as well. This has carried over, for me, into my imaging on computers from the first hand-held rolling scanner I purchased (in the 80's...wow) to a joyful jump to and EGA graphics card (while lusting over the Targa 256 colour cards I could never afford) to making files as large as I can, knowing I can always reduce them well, but rarely enlarge them without losing quality.

When you're making your regional or local map, floorplan or diagram, what influences your choice about resolution, scale, etc? Do you have a default you always use (working at 1x or 2x final output resolution (when you know it) is one I commonly hear and use myself for some of the final image manipulation of photos) ?

01-29-2011, 12:32 PM
I always make my maps as big as the largest I can conceive of printing it * 300 dpi. For instance, my current map is sized to 22" x 22" - so it's 6600x6600. That way, if I want it small, I can shrink it, and if I want it printed huge, I have it. Because you're right, enlarging is not really an option. *Edit: I don't usually go to 2x final resolution, because I usually work at 300% zoom (pixel for pixel on a ~100px/inch screen) or higher (200% zoom on that).

01-29-2011, 12:38 PM
I've been using 300ppi for pretty much everything since that's what I understand is best for print. Lately I have been wondering about trying 600ppi but I think my PC will dog out on me :( I know I need an upgrade in a terrible way.

I'm still having issues with all this. For some reason, despite what I my software says, my printer always comes out wrong. I can take it to the print shop and it will be fine so there must be some crap setting in my OS or printer driver that is hosing me but heck if I can find it. Gimp says it's 8.5" x 11" but it doesn't come out that way. I know if my printer uses 600dpi and my image is 300ppi it'll be wrong but even with the printer set to 300dpi it doesn't work. I've sort of given up on printing anything at home at this point. I would start a thread about this but I have no faith I can fix this.

Of course, I don't think that has anything to do with your original question so just stick with my first sentence :)

edit: After reading Gidde's post I am left wondering if I'm thinking wrong again. In Gimp for instance, doesn't what it says under "print size" or "scale image" when you select Inches mean anything? Because it'll say 8.5 x 11 but it doesn't come out that way.

01-29-2011, 01:02 PM
For the most part I have to deal with low PC specs and need to keep my files within a certain resolution to ensure stability. When it comes to battle maps I usually go for around 100 ppi because it works well with VTT's and 100 ppi isn't to bad print wise regional and such I do 150-200ppi. If I had a kick ass PC i definitly would do 300 ppi.

01-29-2011, 01:42 PM
@ Jax: It does mean something, but not for printing in Gimp. I've never been able to print out of Gimp to a specific size. So what I do when I want it to come out the size I specified is save it as a flat file (.jpg, .png, depending on the use) and open it in either a word processor (a little counterintuitive, but it works) or Firefox if it'll fit on one page. Then I print it from there.

01-29-2011, 02:01 PM
I tend to jump around as far as scale goes. The computer I use (which is not mine at the moment) can handle some pretty ridiculous scale like up to about 10,000x10,000 although I never go that big. As far as resolution I just started doing things at 200ppi just in case I ever feel the need to print anything. Generally I scale stuff to whatever "feel" i'm trying to create going bigger as the area size goes up but never dropping below say 1500x1500 I hope that made some sort of sense..:)

01-29-2011, 03:10 PM
I develop my maps as vector images, hence no resolution until I rasterize them.

01-29-2011, 05:06 PM
I usually default a new document to 4096 x 4096px, mostly because that's the size at which I do most of my texture painting. I'll commonly crop it down from there, though; I like having some nice margins for slop-over.

Jax: Keep in mind that you can't actually print 8.5 x 11" unless your printer can print edge-to-edge. Try designing at 7.5 x 10" instead and see if you can get a correct print that way (1/2" margin on each side. Most consumer printers should be capable of that.)

01-29-2011, 05:59 PM
Thanks for the responses. I appreciate an insight into the minds of others!:D

01-30-2011, 10:32 AM
Before I came to The Guild I did all sorts of various sizes, from 1000 x 1000 to 25,000 x 12,000 @ 600. Since coming here I've sorta defaulted to 4 by 4k @ 300 due to the limitations here. Obviously that doesn't fit entirely on the screen so I do my basework at zoom - fit to screen just to get things in. When I start refining and doing detail I always go at least 200x zoom. I have this habit of when I look at other people's stuff I always zoom in 200 - 400 to see the details or what techniques were used so I sorta transferred that thought to "if someone wants to look at my work, and they do what I do, then I better make it as good as I can". I also have another bad habit from when I was younger of always putting things in either very faint or very small or subliminally so that I always know it's there but others don't (mainly a protection thing) - but if they find it it's sort of like a lil treasure hunt. I don't do that so much now because I don't really care all that much about protection anymore - I just put my name on it and be done with it but I still like to put in small things for treasure hunting from time to time. When doing icons and other graphics it will vary depending on the size - from 200 to 800 zoom. Text I always do at 100% to maintain legibility but since nearly all free fonts are screwy I zoom to at least 300 to properly kern them, or size individual letters, adjust the baseline shift, etc. The main drawback to working so obsessively detailed is that things usually come out small and therefore don't print very well. Someday I'll correct that but it's not like I get a billion commissions that require me to do so. So, for me, as long as it looks good on screen and zoomed in then I'm happy.

01-30-2011, 02:29 PM
If drawing on my tablet, I like to work at 50% larger than then the requested sizer and resolution, then scale down the final by 2/3. I find it smooths out the rough bits better.

If working on something like a tileset where there is more control needed I work at 100% of the required size and resolution so I know nothing will get lost or blurry in resampling.

-Rob A>