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Thread: What resolution do you design at?

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    Professional Artist Cunning Cartographer's Avatar
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    Question What resolution do you design at?

    Currently knocking up various battle maps for sale on DriveThruRPG and I was curious as to what resolution other people design their maps at. As a graduate that did Graphic Design I always used to design at 300dpi, the pdf guidelines on DriveThru say 150dpi and I know from talks with Torstan that he designs some of his maps on DriveThru at 100dpi simply because designing them at a larger scale would take a lot longer (and honestly with the size and detail of some of my poster maps I think my own computer would set on fire). I've been designing at 100dpi but I'm starting to wonder whether this is going to lead to a terrible print (they're designed at 1" square size so they don't need to be upscaled).

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    I don't even know where to find/set the DPi thingy

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    If you're using Gimp or Photoshop you set it when you create a new file (or can change it through the "Image" settings [PS]). Default is 72dpi and that's basically the default for screen/web.

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    I Don't know for GIMP, but in PS, it's in Images/Image size.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cunning Cartographer View Post
    Currently knocking up various battle maps for sale on DriveThruRPG and I was curious as to what resolution other people design their maps at. As a graduate that did Graphic Design I always used to design at 300dpi, the pdf guidelines on DriveThru say 150dpi and I know from talks with Torstan that he designs some of his maps on DriveThru at 100dpi simply because designing them at a larger scale would take a lot longer (and honestly with the size and detail of some of my poster maps I think my own computer would set on fire). I've been designing at 100dpi but I'm starting to wonder whether this is going to lead to a terrible print (they're designed at 1" square size so they don't need to be upscaled).
    300 DPI is the standard resolution for print, though for poster sizes, 150 DPI looks a fine resolution. I would say that's 200 DPI or higher is ok for non poster maps Going under this value would give some low/bad quality prints.
    Last edited by - Max -; 01-30-2014 at 10:08 AM.
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    So... which one makes a better picture? The 300 or the 72?

    I'm so lost..

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    For print, the more DPI you have, the more quality you have. 72 DPI is a standard resolution for web/screen use while 300 DPI or higher is standard resolution for professional print.

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    Well... all mine are at 72 dpi, then, I suppose, since I never messed with that...

    Does that affect why my images look really bad when I make them smaller to fit the forum size limit? (Wait does higher dpi affect the file size too?)

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    I use a vector drawing program, so drawing units for me is in inches - at the design stage, there is no such thing as pixels, and resolution is meaningless.

    Once the entire map is created at whatever dimensions in inches, such as 8.5 x 11, 18 x 24, or 36 x 96 inches, only upon export to a graphic file format does resolution come into play. In whatever format I choose (usually JPG), I export at anything between VT scale 50 pixels per inch up to 300 ppi. If the map was intended for use in a Virtual Tabletop application, I would export at the best resolution for that given application; Roll20 is 70 dpi for example. Because the map is in its designed file format (.XAR) I can freely export multiple resolutions and file formats from the same design. I don't usually need to rescale the map for any reason, but as a vector file, I can do this as well. That is if the design was created at 18 x 24, I could easily rescale this to 36 x 48, prior to export.

    300 ppi resolution maps are intended for print, while all smaller resolutions are for either downloadable PDF scale (96 ppi), or other specific VT required ppi resolution.

    @Jalyha - dpi definitely affects the file size. Consider that Anna Meyer just sent me her most recent Greyhawk map for printing, its a PDF at 36" x 48", 300 ppi and the file is 460 MB in size. She had sent me an uncompressed JPG and that was over 1.6 GB, but I had problems sending that to the printer.
    Last edited by Gamerprinter; 01-30-2014 at 11:01 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jalyha View Post
    Well... all mine are at 72 dpi, then, I suppose, since I never messed with that...

    Does that affect why my images look really bad when I make them smaller to fit the forum size limit? (Wait does higher dpi affect the file size too?)
    DPi affects the size, yes but 72 DPI should be enough quality for a web use like in this forum.

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    I generally export to 100 ppi on these boards, though the maps I have been posting to my G+ page, and any of those maps reposted here, are all 300 ppi, but at scales of only 8.5 x (up to) 22 inches for pictorial tutorials, and up to 11 x 17 for map scale. When I post a 100 ppi file, it can be up to 24 x 36 inches, posted here direct - and almost always as JPG.
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