View Full Version : Output size and format

03-21-2009, 03:06 PM
Hi forum,

I am quite new to this site and jumped right into the march challenge. I've seen all WIP's and am impressed. Wow. But there is one thing which somehow is making me wonder. When doing a professional job, I always ask myself (or client) this question first:

What is the final size and for what medium?

In this case here, I beleive there is no point to produce bigger maps than the average monitor can display. I know, the bigger the more details. But with these rivers for example, what's the point getting so much detail that the rivers don't show when trying to view the whole map when fit to width. You end up with a complete different impression of your work viewing it with different zoom.

I am not saying we should limit anything. I agree that for maybe personal use, you want to produce these maps and print them out later to plaster your whole wall.

But I beleive that every detail pertaining to challenge rules should be recognisable in full width without zooming.

Or maybe the rules could state more clearly for what size and medium the final result may be used for. Or if grids are used, give a scale unit.

I am sure most agree that you plan your work differently for an A5 page (printed) or a webpage (width 900 pixels). Also makes the deciscion for raster or vector graphics (or mix) easier.

Hope not to make enemies with this post here...lol. It's probably best to not limit anything as you can make the most out of your imagination and your PC's processing power!!! I have a good machine (2MB memory can do a lot of graphics). It's just too much freedom to compete for me...lol.

Like to hear what others think.


03-21-2009, 03:18 PM
There was a long tutorial I wrote about stuff which resolution and image sizes were discussed.


I think that the rules don't say what size you need to make for the challenges but something about screen size is fine. Some people make maps bigger than can be seen on the screen because they might print them out and the DPI required is higher for a printer than most screens. That's covered in the tut. Also we might not be viewing the map at 1:1 ratio and I use a zoom browser for my maps which does not have a fixed view scale.

If your still in doubt then do something about the ole 1280x1024 type size which should be fine.

03-21-2009, 03:46 PM
Thanks for your reply.

It helps a lot to know how large images are viewed by some to make the right design deciscions.

Your tutorial will get my full attention. I am glad to have found this site that is full of new and intresting knowledge.


03-21-2009, 06:49 PM
You're a new guy, so not being harsh, this isn't the place to post this question - should probably go to the general discussion forum.

So a CL should move this.

Regarding size and format - if a map is only going to be viewed on a monitor for use as a VT app map, you're probably right.

Know this though, all the maps I create are intended to be printed large format from 18" x 24" up to 36" x 48" and larger. All my maps are designed this way. In my thinking why would anyone limit themselves to 900 pixels? But then, I run an RPG map printing shop, and I'm just skewed that way!


03-21-2009, 09:50 PM
And the other issue with "full screen" not zoomed is the resolution of your screen!

I like to work at 19201200, but when on my notebook am only at 1400x1050.

-Rob A>

03-21-2009, 11:13 PM
Not sure if I am in the wrong thread as my question was about how big a map should be or when viewed zoomed in or out will distort the overall picture for the challenge. Please mods, move this thread to the appropriate section.

It never occured to me that the entries for the challenge would be used for anything else but the challenge. Or even printed. I got proven wrong.

But just for the judging process, shouldn't all the entries have a common format then. I assume that every entry here will be judged on screen looking at it to fit the screen and zoomed in all over the artwork.
I am just saying is that if I entered a competition knowing that all the end results will be printed on A2 or even A1 and then judged, I would most definately aproach the challenge in a different way. After all a line size 1 or 2 pixels on a 2000 by 2000 pixel size image would never show on screen when fitting to width.

Didn't mean to stir things up. Should have maybe just asked how the entries will be looked at and judged. Or better asked for advice what would be the best size and resolution. Sorry if it came across badly.

I am for less rules to further creativity...lol. I was only battling with myself looking for the best size to work with. As I mentioned in another thread, I am battling with layers and the distortions I get when flattening, getting different display when viewed at 25% or 100%. But that's another story.

Just want to add, been only here for 2 days now but I know this is gonna be one of my favourite forums. Great tutorials, great help, great artists and most important...great artwork to look at.



03-22-2009, 03:33 AM
No worries, nothing stirred.

Most challenges are not intended to be so narrowly focused. The idea is usually some theme or specific goal in mind, but how a map is designed, sized, etc. is really up to the individual cartographer. Creativity is as important as technical application of your intended style and goal. If the rules are too restrictive there's less room for creativity.

Challenges are generally pretty open. Some maps could be made at much lower resolution, as long as the results meet the requirements and otherwise impresses the members at voting time, you've got a chance to win.

Just because someone's map is huge compared to yours doesn't mean that will work against you. Do your best at your intended map, that's all.


03-22-2009, 06:14 AM
Not to mention that the main purpose of the challenges is that it's a friendly arena for people to produce a map to a deadline so that they have an incentive to finish it. You will see that in the WIP threads people taking part in challenges help and offer advice to others, which is how we want it to be.

Because the challenge is really there for people to improve their own mapping skills, I guess we don't like to put too many restrictions on sizes / formats etc which would (IMHO) needlessly make the exercise more complicated for participants and might put them off from taking part.

Bear in mind also that not everyone has the same sized screen as well.

03-22-2009, 09:47 AM
We have had in the past challenges where there are size restrictions but generally I don't think it matters. So long as its big enough to show off the work then that's all that matters. Some people have more memory and computer power than others, some apps use more resources than others.

Usually the challenge entries are wildly different from each other where the size comparison between them is the least of the differences. This month there is a template so were all getting similar patterns.

03-23-2009, 03:04 AM
For the March challenge specifically, since the template was 750x750 pixels, I opted to keep that format.

03-23-2009, 09:54 AM
We debated on a specific size, but determined against it. The main reason (though we have had some specific challenges in the past that did otherwise for good reason) is that people have vastly different hardware capabilities. Ascension for example starts most of his maps at 3000x3000 or larger. However some people just can't do that with their older hardware or low amount of RAM in a raster application such as GIMP or PS. So, generally, unless the challenge specifically says make it this exact size (which will be rare), then feel free to make the image at whatever resolution and image depth you need to get you vision on to paper(so to speak.)

If you want to see one that had a specified limit, check out the challenge we did in (I think) August 2008 which was to make dungeon times to be printed. The idea was to be able to print to standard paper, trim the white edges off (or overlap) and assemble multiple tiles to make a dungeon on the fly. We have also had one where we created map for a VTT use and you could make it any size you wanted as long as it was larger than X AND the filesize was below Y.