View Full Version : Map scale

11-20-2009, 08:36 PM
I have been experimenting with some of the custom brushes available on this site and I find that many of them are incredibly large. I can't help but wonder if my map scale is too small or if I should just scale down the brush. What would be the typical scale for a world map in Photoshop?

Also what are peoples thoughts about mountain ranges that follow coast lines? Realistic or no?

11-20-2009, 09:25 PM
It's always better to make things like patterns and brushes too large and then scale them down because going the other way leaves the edges jaggy. There is no typical scale and sizes vary as well. For the purposes of our forum's software there are limitations to the size of image that can be directly posted. Generally, that size is a maximum of 4000 x 4000 pixels but there is a further restriction of file size which is 4.7 megabytes. When saving as a jpg in PS you can turn down the quality of the image to reduce file size or you can just resize the image to something smaller (again going up produces jaggies). For larger images you can always zip them or host the image on another site and provide a link (like Deviant Art for example).

I usually use the high end of the limitations so that I can squeeze in as much information as possible but other styles look very nice done smaller...so that is up to you. Maps like battlemaps that would be used in Virtual Table Tops can be any size so long as they fit certain aspect ratios of ppi to feet (you can search the forums for posts on what those scales are).

If you are referring to the content of the image then we use a rough outline of Worlds - Continents - Regions (as big as a nation or as small as a county) - Towns/Cities - Dungeons - Structures/Buildings/Ships. For a world map you might have 1 pixel = 5 miles and for a battle map you might have 1 pixel = 2 inches...it's all up to you. Those of us who post non map artwork, like people and drawings, have no regard for pixels whatsoever so scale is thrown out...we just make it up :)

The only real things you ever have to consider is dpi (dots per inch) if you want to print something (300 is good, 600 is better) or ppi (pixels per inch) if your maps are only going to be seen on monitors (for that 100 is good enough).

11-20-2009, 09:33 PM
Thanks for the info, Ascension. I was just finding it tedious to scale down each brush (in the case of mountains and hills) but I guess I need to learn some more patience.

11-20-2009, 09:47 PM
Scale the brush down then make a new one out of it and call it "Mountain 1 small" or something like that. To make a new brush preset, open the Brushes window, make any changes you want, and then in the bottom right there are 2 little icons; a trash can and a square within a square...click on the square one.

11-20-2009, 10:56 PM
Hah! Such an easy solution. Can you tell I am a complete noob with Photoshop?

Thanks again.

11-21-2009, 12:17 AM
Another option would just to be work on a larger initial image size with the brushes as they are, then scale down the final image.

That's how i've been working lately, however i find my standard sizes for a starting document to be getting larger everytime I work on a new project (i'm up to 3500x3500 now, whee)

11-21-2009, 12:24 AM
It's also handy to know that right-clicking while in the brush tool will bring up sliders for brush radius and hardness, which is quicker for big changes to the brush than using [ ] or going up to the tool settings bar.

Regarding your question concerning mountain ranges, it helps to know why such ranges form. Mountains often form at the edges of tectonic plates, where one plate slides under another or two plates are crashing into each other and the earth piles up at the junction. The Sierra Nevada and Andes ranges are examples of the former, and the Himalayas are an example of the latter. I'm not sure how other inland mountains like the Rockies and Ural Mountains formed, being so far inland from the edge of their respective plates.

Mountains also form as a result of volcanic activity, which typically occurs near the edge of plates, but can also happen in the middle of a plate, like Hawai'i.

Anyway, since the edges of landmasses often coincide with the edges of tectonic plates, it is not uncommon for mountain ranges to mimic the coasts.

11-21-2009, 07:23 PM
If your pasting a lot of brushes down which are all the same with maybe some size changes or some rotations applied then your better off with a stamp based app instead of a raster or vector one.

11-21-2009, 11:58 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions!