View Full Version : How do I make very large maps? Which software should I use?

08-18-2011, 03:22 AM
My goal is to make world map of my fantasy world and then all maps of kingdoms with more details. First i began with photoshop - it is very powerfull (but there are a lot to learn). Then I began with CC3 - its very nice, but there is a problem - i can't draw a coastline log enough - after about 1/4 i can't add any more point (my map is very big - i was going to build huge map with detailed coastline and then divide it to smaller ones). Second thing is editing - I can't find any method of editing existing coastline - add more points etc.

What program is better for big maps?

08-18-2011, 04:08 AM
Hi Razyda,

I've changed the thread title to reflect your question. I don't use CC3 but how big a map were you planning to make? Photoshop and CC3 work quite differently, Photoshop is raster and measures by pixels - people here make maps which are some 8,000 pixels across which is considered large. CC3 is vector and is size independent but it sounds like you have run up against a limit imposed by the software.

I don't use CC3 but usually with vector programmes you can edit lines by moving nodes.

But what I am most curious about is how big you want to make your map and how you are measuring the size of it.

08-18-2011, 04:28 AM
Thank you for editing - thread title - now its better.
I was going to create world size map (8000x6000) and then divide it on smaller one (size of Europe, and then France, England etc.). Lets call it top down metod and I was going to use it in CC3 map - but i can't.
In photoshop i cant decide: top - down metod or to draw small kingdoms and then connect them into one bigger (down -top metod).
What resolution will you recomend in photoshop? And which metod would you recommend?

08-18-2011, 04:37 AM
photoshop has a limit of 2 gigs (at least up til CS3 which I use) - I've hit that with my 16000 x 12000 map I'm currently working on, I'm getting around it by flattening stuff and saving as a new file. What are you going to use the maps for, if you're only going to print them on your own printer 200 dpi would be adequate, but if you plan to print professional then go for 300 instead.
Another option is using Illustrator or Inkscape which works in vector and therefor can be scaled up and down without loss/pixelation.
Personally I would work top down, its easier to make the whole continent and make that look good, then divide it up into countries after using the landscape to help decide where the borders go. :)

08-18-2011, 05:54 AM
My ViewingDale software is designed to do this job where you put in images at different scales and it allows you to zoom into one and it automatically loads in more images to make up the world until you get a seamless world. We have a large community driven world here on the guild called the CWBP and here is a video with the app running that through it. The maps were made by members here and I can put them in and scale them to fit.


There are other apps which do a similar thing but I wrote mine because I did not think that any of the other similar solutions coped well with this problem esp when you need to edit these zoomable landscapes.

Really tho it comes down to just how much detail you want and need to go into. You could do this with a vector app but even tho vector lines scale matematically it makes it harder to draw them with detail at all levels and still expect the app to cope with a zoom of the whole world. You need something where it knows about how to pick the detail and area for the bit of the map you need to look at. 8K x 6K is big but its not really really huge. You wont be able to zoom in all that far before you will start to run out of pixels for more detail with a single image. I would definitely recommend having different pixel scaled layers for your map. Just work out the actual meters/feet per pixel. If your doing a world with only 2000 miles across then 8K means 1/4 mile per pixel. Small towns will be one pixel on your map !

08-18-2011, 08:07 AM
About CC3 - I don't have any problem with CAD like programs (I work at Autocad) but problems with editing things - lets say I want to change a little bit a coast line - I didn't fine any solution for that. I will go harder way - Photoshop.
My map will be on my own (and my friends) use - on our RPG campain. My goal is map like those made by Andreas Blicher for Warhammer (look at http://www.windsofchaos.com/?page_id=27 ). I like black and white ones becouse they are very clear. I am beginner at Photoshop and reading all passilble tutorials on this site and others.
I will most likely make one map 8kx6k of continent, then use part of it as help in background to draw more detailed kingdom maps (most likely 6kx4k for large kingdoms). My maps are going to be printed on A4 - are those resolutions ok?
Before that I have decided to make some small maps to learn Photoshop.
Pixel - miles is a good idea -thanks.

08-20-2011, 05:28 AM
photoshop has a limit of 2 gigs (at least up til CS3 which I use)

You can safe your large files as .psb instead of .psd. That should be already included in CS3.

That way my largest file (12k x 12k px) with tons of layers had 5,xx gb.

08-22-2011, 03:23 AM
This is my first training map.
Done mainly thanks to training on this site :)
Thanks all :)
Any feedback would be appreciated

11-01-2011, 07:53 PM
Thank you for your suggestion of using .psb file formats. I had been previously working in a 8000x8000 odd pixel document with something close to 700 dpi. Although my computer is powerful, for some reason it just couldn't handle the psd file well - even though it was only 300 odd MB's. As soon as I saved it as a psb everything just loaded and worked far more efficiently. Thanks!