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Thread: Hello and Printing Question

  1. #1
      Forceflow is offline
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    Question Hello and Printing Question

    Hello! I am brand new to the board and I cannot say how excited I am about finding such a wealth of resources all in one place. I just started playing D&D and was stumped about how I was going to handle all the maps until I found out about the Cartographer's Guild through Penny Arcade. Anyway, I'm psyched to be here.

    The question I have pertains to the printing of many of the maps that I've found and would like to use. Obviously, the maps need to be printed to scale to be used with minis and the like, but I am somewhat of a dunce in this particular area of technology, with almost no knowledge at all about how this should be done. Is there a tried and true way that I don't know of, or is case-specific depending on each map that I'd like to use?

    I hope I'm not repeating a question asked again and again but I searched the forums and did not find an answer that I found satisfactory. Any and all help is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2
      Redrobes is offline
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    Normally the file contains some information which is the real world size it should be printed at but its often not correct and in any case not all file formats contain the same information.

    If you want the tried and trusted way then look at the map and extract the perceived real world scale it should be. Thats easy when it has a scale bar or a 5ft grid or something like that but otherwise you will have to guess based on houses, carts, trees and whatever to give you an idea of the scale of the image.

    Count it all up and get a real world width for the image. Get the pixel width of the image too. So say its 45ft wide image and a 1000 pixels.

    Now get the scale of your miniatures which is usually 1:60 or 1inch = 5ft and that would mean that your map of 45ft needs to be printed 9 inches wide.

    1000 pixels / 9 inches is 111 pixels per inch.

    If your printer can be set in DPI or PPI then thats the value to use or else set it to print 9 inches wide. With a sheet of A4 or A3 you can usually tell by the print preview whether it will be about right.

    We all seem to like PosteRazor here for chopping larger images up and turning them into multi page PDFs with the right sizes built in for direct printing. That might be another easy option.

  3. #3
      jfrazierjr is offline
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    There are quite a few options. In addition to PostRazor mentioned, you could also use print services. Gameprinter (username here) does printing and shipping as well as selling of some specific content maps that you might find useful. Unfortunately, I don't have the link to his site handy ATM.

    Another option is to not print the maps at all and use a Virtual Table Top application. This is especially good if you have some form of external monitor such as a big screen TV or projector OR all players use computers during the gaming session. Redrobes actually writes one such application (Viewingdale, link in his signature) and there are many others on the market, both pay and a few free. Personally, I use Maptool(RPtools.net) along with a projector when playing with my face to face group. Another good thing about using VTT's is that you can play with people all over the world (or say an old friend who lives half way across the country). Different VTT's have different features as well as price, so you may want to spend some time looking at them (most of the commercial ones offer a short time beta for try out reasons. )
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  4. #4
      NeonKnight is offline
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    If the questions are directed towards my maps, I have done the majority of the work for people confused about how to print the maps to scale. Believe it or not I am one of those folks.

    So, when I make the maps (Thunderspire, Pyramid of Shadows and now Trollhaunt), I am making the maps and then I save them at scale. In other words, if the map is to be 12 inches by 10 inches, then I take the map into photoshop and make the image size 12 inches by 10 inches, thus a person only needs to print at 100% to make the map usable for minis.
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  5. #5
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    Post Gamer Printshop here!

    Hello, I run an RPG Map printing shop called Gamer Printshop, link in my Sig.

    You must understand that many of the maps posted here are made for use on a computer monitor only, and less effective as printed maps. Some maps, most of mine, are specifically designed with large format printing as the intended final step for use.

    Resolution, scale, dimension all become issues when printing to large format. Our January Mapping Challenge was all about large format printed maps, and to many members it was a new experience trying to design with print in mind. Thus many of the maps do not print well in large format - just so you understand.

    My printing charges are $2.99 per square foot, up to 42" x 72"+ in size. I print b/w, grayscale, full color, and offer subsequent lamination and shipping. Note if you order any of the Cartographers' Guild maps for printing, $1 of purchase goes back to the Cartographers' Guild - so that's worth doing.

    Any further questions, send me an Email or PM. Email link below.

    GP
    Gamer Printshop - We print RPG Maps for Game Masters!
    http://www.gamer-printshop.com

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      Forceflow is offline
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    Let me say before I write this that I'm writing it from my phone, so please excuse any typos or choppy sentences.

    First, thank you all so much for all the different options!

    I think I am first going to attempt to print some maps at home or locally (I know the owner of a local office and printing supply store), and if that fails I will see about ordering them!

    I have considered trying a VTT, and had a look at RPTools program, the name of which escaped me at the moment. I like the idea, but as a brand new D&Der, I'm afraid it will only complicate my learning and teaching the rules. All of the players I'm with and myself are all jumping in blind and since it was my idea I'm DMing. If I have the wrong impression and it's much easier than it looks, someone please correct me and I'll investigate furthur. For all I know it could help bridge the gap between table top games and video games that we're all familiar with.

    Thanks again for all the info! And if anyone else has any more input please don't be shy!

  7. #7
      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forceflow View Post
    Let me say before I write this that I'm writing it from my phone, so please excuse any typos or choppy sentences.

    First, thank you all so much for all the different options!

    I think I am first going to attempt to print some maps at home or locally (I know the owner of a local office and printing supply store), and if that fails I will see about ordering them!

    I have considered trying a VTT, and had a look at RPTools program, the name of which escaped me at the moment. I like the idea, but as a brand new D&Der, I'm afraid it will only complicate my learning and teaching the rules. All of the players I'm with and myself are all jumping in blind and since it was my idea I'm DMing. If I have the wrong impression and it's much easier than it looks, someone please correct me and I'll investigate furthur. For all I know it could help bridge the gap between table top games and video games that we're all familiar with.

    Thanks again for all the info! And if anyone else has any more input please don't be shy!
    It's(Maptool) much easier than it looks. There ARE some hard to learn features, but they are NOT required to use the application, ie, you can ease into them as you learn about them. I am not going to try convice you one way or another in terms of to VTT or not to VTT, but if you try a VTT and like it, you will be like "how could I ever do this the old slow way again!" if you ever have to play without a VTT.
    My Finished Maps
    Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
    My Tutorials:
    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

  8. #8
    msa
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    If you are just starting to play and you do not personally love fussing with technology, don't go the VTT route. I play a lovely game with my high-school group that, over the last decade and a half, have spread themselves over the continental US. For us, VTT's (we use fantasy grounds) works very well--its smooth, clean, and utterly functional.

    That said, its always a hassle to get it working, and if 3 of us weren't complete tech nerds we would not be nearly as good with the UI. There were definite growing pains the first three sessions, and you won't be immune to them.

    Printed maps and minis (even bottle caps and pieces of broken glass or whatever) are going to serve you much better for your first gaming experience. They are simple to manipulate, easy to understand, have few UI problems (expect for the previously mentioned glass shards). Plus you'll have a lot more fun without one more aggravating thing to figure out.

  9. #9
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    I guess I'm a little confused. I tried downloading most of the Keep at Shadowfell maps over the weekend. He had DPI info for the images (many were 72). The problem is, when i tried to print them in PosteRazor, they came out with the squares either way too big or way too small. In one case, my players had to use the small six sided dice to represent their characters (a different color for the monsters).

    I can't set a DPI for my printer (or PPI). I have the GIMP available for printing as well. Is there some better detailed directions for how to print available?

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