View Full Version : Proportions and Scale: Questions

02-05-2010, 12:29 AM
So, I'm new to the whole map making thing. I've only recently started making my rough drawings into real attempts. And a problem rises...proportions and scaling.

How do make sure my little buildings are a realistic size? How do I scale the world map so distance can actually be judged? I'm worried my ratio will be way off. I don't want my castles to be the size of a village! Any tips or suggestions would be really helpful. I want to figure a few things out before I try to recreate it in Photoshop.

(Note: I'm a perfectionist that obsesses over the details.)


02-05-2010, 12:35 AM
Well, one important step would be to first decide how much distance a single pixel represents. If you're drawing a full world, each pixel might be as big as 5 miles or more, whereas if you're mapping a small town, maybe each pixel is 5 feet. Once you've decided on that, it's pretty easy to figure out how long something you've drawn is, using either the measuring tool or the histogram :)

02-05-2010, 12:23 PM
Thanks! I dug around and found a thread about making a scale on PS. I didn't know that it could do that! :D

02-05-2010, 01:31 PM
Well, to buildings, depends on time period. For around a middle ages period, a good reference is a a standard dwelling is around 15 feet by 20 or 30 feet.

02-05-2010, 04:59 PM
When it comes to drawing a castle on a regional map then you'd best forget trying to get it properly to scale. Regional maps cover hundreds or thousands of miles and the actual scale of the castle would be less than one pixel so that's why we exaggerate...just to give the map some flavor and indicate what sort of style the castle has. It's meant to convey information and if you want to focus on the distance between things as being accurate then just use little dots. Now if you were doing a town map, then you'd have to have things fairly accurate so one pixel equalling one foot would give you no headaches.

02-05-2010, 10:27 PM
Wow! Thank you all so much! That's really helpful. :) Using dots is a good point...I didn't think about that. I'll have to play around with the scale. I like being able to know the distance a character would have to travel from one place to the next.

02-05-2010, 11:18 PM
Take a look at this thread: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?3391-Plausible-Distances-Populations