View Full Version : Need Thoughts on New Campaign Map - Scale & Size

08-02-2008, 08:17 PM
Ok, I'm trying to get inspired to work on a new long term D&D 3.5 Campaign for my group.

My current focus / hope for inspiration is a world / campaign map. I hope as the world develops it will help with ideas for fun and new campaigns to be run it.

I will be using primarily Photoshop CS3 to work and have access to Illustrator as well.

I want to generate a basic world map that I will then be able to pick one section of to detail and use for the initial campaign. While having the rest to refer to or use down the road.

I'm using the Render > Clouds filter in PS to generate random land masses since I don't have any specific plans at this point.

My first thing I want to make sure I have right is my scale and size, any suggestions or links to helpful information would be great. This includes Image size / DPI / Scale and anything along these lines I may have forgotten about.

I plan on the main display of the map to be via PC, maybe a few prints but not many.

I'm looking for a semi-realistic world, but will not be looking at tectonics, tides, ect mainly going for cool looking that does not break the suspension of disbelief for your average gamer the first time they look at it.

I hope at least a small part of this made sense.



Steel General
08-02-2008, 10:20 PM
While this (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=2229) tutorial may not necessarily help you with scale,etc. I found it extremely helpful when trying to create a continent(s) with Photoshop.

08-02-2008, 11:51 PM
Thanks for the link.

I actually had found that one a while back and plan to use part of it for my design.


08-03-2008, 02:15 AM
In the meantime, I think you should check out the thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=2607)where the use of Google Earth is discussed. I'd no idea until then that you could overlay your own images on the globe of earth. When I found out, I downloaded it, threw a sample from the world map I've been working on into Google Earth, and began to get a really good sense of the world I've been creating.

It was hard for me to really contemplate how big my continents really were until I saw them on the planet, then started measuring point to point. Assuming you plan a world of a similar size to Earth, this could be a really useful tool. Sketch something up and paste it on Google Earth. If you leave the earth continent outlines in, you can get a sense of scale by comparison. Then, you can zoom in, too.

08-03-2008, 02:01 PM
Thanks for the suggestion I will check that out. That should help a lot with the size/scale issues I've been having.

The other big thing I'm trying to figure out is what resolution I should do my images at?


08-03-2008, 07:03 PM
Resolution is a function of the use you intend to put the images to. You've said that your primary use for the world map will be on a computer screen, so you should keep in mind your viewport, which will likely be around 1000 - 1200 pixels in width. So you need to size the image so that if you want to be able to see, say, all of your western continent, that continent needs to be no more than 1200 pixels in width and 900 pixels tall (depending on your monitor resolution).

While creating the image, I'd even recommend working at a resolution significantly higher than your target--that will make it easier to place elements right where you want them, and you retain more detail for zooming in on an area later on.

Since you said you have access to Illustrator, I'd suggest you get your coastal outline in vector format so you can zoom in on it for regional maps more easily. If you decide to stay solely in Photoshop, though, it's possible to gain resolution on your coastlines using the "Not-so-random coastline" techniques when you zoom in.

One other thing--if you want to get good prints at some point, decide on the size and quality now. Gamerprinter recommends 120 - 200 dpi for a poster-sized map print. 36" X 24" at 200 dpi is 7200 x 4800 pixels. So that's probably your absolute maximum necessary resolution. 10 X 8 at 300 dpi is 3000 X 2400 pixels. 10 X 8 at 120 dpi is 1200 X 960, which is a decent size for screen display as well, if you want to be able to see the entire width of your image on the screen at once.

08-03-2008, 11:01 PM
Midgardsormr - thanks for the specific #'s on how they would impact the various uses of the maps. That what I was looking for and hope I can use it to start at the right scale for all the options I want later down the road.