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Thread: Large Scale Map Printing

  1. #11
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    That's why I prefer to work in a vector app like Xara instead of an image editor like GIMP. Vector is just lines of connected points and bezier curves, but then Xara allows me to fill it with a photo texture while rotations, resizing and controling texture repeating, apply a feather, transparency, etc. Howver doing all this is resolution independant.

    I start with a defined measured drawing area, say 18" x 24", use a dot grid to keep scale in mind as I create my pen tool drawn shapes, I use as high a resolution fill photo texture as possible, so I can work at any size (there are resolution issues with texture fills.)

    Once I complete a map, then I export to JPG, PSD, TIF, PDF, PNG and determine the ppi resolution at that time only. I did not have to think about resolution as I create the map, only at export to final image format does resolution matter - and I can export 300 ppi or 50 ppi, as two different files.

    Image Editing apps like Photoshop, GIMP, and other "paint programs" force you to determine resolution at the start of the file creation, and that becomes the only optimal file size, changing ppi resolution on the fly can create artifacts in the pixel display due to different number of pixels describing the original. If you start with screen resolution blank map - you can't effectively print it a high resolution at large scale, as it will become horribly pixelated.

    This problem is not an issue using vector apps. I can export the same map to large format, high resolution, as a MapTool ready 100 ppi PNG without artifact or pixelizatino issues, as a vector is resolution independant until export is required to final format - for each of its intended uses. More versatility. And not sucking as much resources, hardly at all, as multi-layered image files in GIMP or PS. I'm not knocking image editors. I use them often, but usually with intended texture fills before I import to Xara, or as post-editing work (almost unheard of for me, almost), then the file is in its intended file size - I can do things with image editors, that Xara cannot.

    Because of different philosophies in map creation between vector hybrids and full image editors - its always a stumbling block when trying to print customer maps, not being able to make your final map whatever resolution you want at the moment almost seems alien to me, really.

    Its one of the many reasons, I prefer mapping in vector versus image editors, despite the masterpieces created by them in this forum. Keep in mind I do use image editors often and "fluently", its just not my preferred weapon of choice.
    Last edited by Gamerprinter; 06-20-2010 at 05:06 PM.
    Gamer Printshop - We print RPG Maps for Game Masters!
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  2. #12
      OldGuy is offline
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    I was torn between using PS and CC3 to create my large scale map but was leaning towards PS. Next I determined that a 36" x 36", 300 dpi drawing is 10,800 x 10,800 pixels. I have a pretty decent notebook with lots of memory and a kick ass video card. Still, PS was huffing and puffing enough for me to see that wasn't the way to go. (largely in part to it being v7 I'm sure).

    I used my old map as a background in CC3 so I could trace polygons over the png image and get the main features copied over. Got a good start already and no more fighting huge file sizes. The resolution-independence is a nice bonus.

  3. #13
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    I also like the resolution independence and use Illustrator for logos and such - but with a map like mountain realms its just about all textures - and as such, you become dependent upon resolution. If I'd made it in Illustrator and added texture there then resizing it would still mess the the textures as they would needed to be scaled up. If that shouldn't be a problem, then I'll have to work with HUGE textures as they should be prepared for poster size (if needed), but they should still "fit" when scaled down, so the look of them don't screw up the map - think trees in perfect size for the map, should still be in perfect size no matter if the map is printed on a business card or on a poster
    regs tilt
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  4. #14
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    Ah, but I build everything including mountainous terrain my vector app, texture heavy or no, vector works fine for creating that.

    GP
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  5. #15
      tilt is offline
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    so you draw a mountain texture in vector?
    regs tilt
    :: My art on Deviant Art :: My mapping blog tilts fantasy maps :: My work Catapult - Perry & Gehrke - EasyTruckIT ::
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  6. #16
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    Yes. Even my hand-drawn top down regional maps have these kinds of vector mountains under the lineart, though I tend to use color clouds rather than texture maps for the mountain surface textures, but yes, still created completely with vectors. Sometimes I stack several vector mountain shapes with bevels and feathering to achieve the best final look, but all in vectors.

    Here's one of my few, digital only/vector only regional maps featuring these kinds of mountains:
    http://www.cartographersguild.com/sh...anta-complete!

    GP
    Gamer Printshop - We print RPG Maps for Game Masters!
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  7. #17
      tilt is offline
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    looks good - a little more edgy than my mountains and lesser textured. The forests looked textured though
    I'm just trying to find a smart way to do things - although I love photoshop, big maps draw hard on my machine, but it is mostly a compromise about getting the look/details you want and how many megs the comp can take
    regs tilt
    :: My art on Deviant Art :: My mapping blog tilts fantasy maps :: My work Catapult - Perry & Gehrke - EasyTruckIT ::
    :: Finished Maps :: WIP Cartographia - Breakwater -Market -Lands of Twilight -Battle City :: Competion maps Iron Giant ::
    :: FREE Tiles - Compasses :: Other Taking a commision - Copyright & Creative Commons ::
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  8. #18
      OldGuy is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamerprinter View Post
    Yes. Even my hand-drawn top down regional maps have these kinds of vector mountains under the lineart, though I tend to use color clouds rather than texture maps for the mountain surface textures, but yes, still created completely with vectors. Sometimes I stack several vector mountain shapes with bevels and feathering to achieve the best final look, but all in vectors.

    Here's one of my few, digital only/vector only regional maps featuring these kinds of mountains:
    http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?2572-Continent-of-Celanta-complete!

    GP
    I absolutely *love* those forests! any chance of a tutorial?

  9. #19
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    Maybe I'll work on something for a forest tutorial sometime this week.

    GP
    Gamer Printshop - We print RPG Maps for Game Masters!
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  10. #20
    Guild Journeyer Gracious Donor PokealypseNow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tilt View Post
    I remember when the printers/plotters worked with 72 dpi, so you could make a poster from a simple A4 quality... If I should make a poster in 300 dpi, its gonna be a heavy file when I work in PS
    Quote Originally Posted by OldGuy View Post
    I was torn between using PS and CC3 to create my large scale map but was leaning towards PS. Next I determined that a 36" x 36", 300 dpi drawing is 10,800 x 10,800 pixels. I have a pretty decent notebook with lots of memory and a kick ass video card. Still, PS was huffing and puffing enough for me to see that wasn't the way to go. (largely in part to it being v7 I'm sure).

    I used my old map as a background in CC3 so I could trace polygons over the png image and get the main features copied over. Got a good start already and no more fighting huge file sizes. The resolution-independence is a nice bonus.
    I work in Photoshop and have the same problems with my 30' x 40' 300dpi map and so to get around that, I cut up my development into numerous different layers - one for labels, one for landform shape, another for texture, color, borders, etc. In total, I think I have around ten separate Photoshop files that I work from to create the final map.

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