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Thread: Maps for Printing - Tips?

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      Gidde is offline
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    Question Maps for Printing - Tips?

    Mostly this is a question for GamerPrinter, but I figured I'd post it rather than sending a PM since it's a question that probably comes up pretty frequently. I looked through the threads for one that already had the info, but couldn't find one.

    Today I showed my Mom my random practice continent, and she fell in love and asked for a version of Middle Earth in that style for her wall.

    However, when I tried printing the one I had a few days ago, it was way too dark (and too low-res) for a paper version.

    If I'm making a map for the express purpose of printing and framing it, what dpi should I make it, and should I keep the colors a lot lighter or did my printer just suck?

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      Redrobes is offline
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    If you want to know what DPI to set to make a map and what to set it to for printing the map then I would suggest you read my lil ole tut here.

    [Award Winner] Bitmapped Images - The technical side of things explained.

    (specifically, bottom of post #4)

    If you want a high res middle earth then I have this one which is from the ME-DEM (Middle Earth Digital Elevation Model) group of which I am one of the admins. That's a free map of V1 and its very high res.

    January Entry: Middle Earth

    V2 is in progress. If you want to know more about this then its www.me-dem.org
    Last edited by Redrobes; 09-07-2009 at 06:13 PM.

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      Gidde is offline
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    Thanks for the tut link, that really helps!

    Your ME looks fantastic, but she was quite specific about the style lol ... plus I get more practice without having to think up place names

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    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    Post Print resolution...

    I have successfully printed maps from CC3 for example that were only 72 ppi in resolution, still that is very limiting. I would suggest 200 ppi as the very minimum, but in both cases only if the map is created in large format at that resolution. I much prefer 300 ppi for the files I print, but having learned that most applications (GIMP and others) files that big are problematic at best.

    In almost all maps I create the size posted here are 100 ppi, but scaled at 24" x 36" or larger. Since I rely on a vector app for my map creation (Xara Xtreme Pro 4.0) I export 100 ppi for posts here, but am able to create a 300 ppi JPG or TIF at full dimensions for printing. If you can successfully create maps at this scale and resolution, that is best.

    However, in the real world 200 ppi is the minimum for best printed quality. So everything depends on your hardware and software's capability.

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

    Kaidan setting of Japanese Horror (PFRPG) Google+ community

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      Gidde is offline
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    Thanks to you both! I think I'm going to end up shooting for 200 dpi (since it is going to be on the wall and viewed from a distance, I'm thinking 300 isn't necessary).

    GP, I'd like to have a discussion about hiring you to print the thing when it's done ... do you prefer PM or another method?

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      xequar is offline
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    As a question, did you print using a CMYK colorspace or an RGB colorspace? CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow blacK) is better for printed applications, whereas RGB (Red Green Blue) is better for video/monitor/electronic display purposes.

    Basically what happens is in CMYK (subtractive), if you mix all the colors together, you'll get black. If you take yellow ink and blue ink and red ink and mix them all together, you'll get a very dark color. If you add more ink, the mix gets darker. In RGB (additive), if you mix all the colors together, you get white. It's harder to visualise, but when you add the outputs of the red gun, the green gun, and the blue gun in, say, your old CRT monitor, you'll get a very light color. Add more light, get a lighter color.

    In Photoshop (and should be in GIMP, as well), there is an option that allows you to convert from one colorspace to another. Being in RGB while you were printing might explain why your colors looked so much darker when you printed.

    I hope this helps!

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    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    Post Ah, my printer user 12 colors

    For me, I prefer my clients sending me RGB files, as the software automatically converts that to the appropriate color format and depth. My large format printer uses 12 colors to print: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Photo Cyan, Photo Magenta, Gray, Photo Gray, Medium Gray, Red, Blue, Green.

    I can print up to 2880 x 2880 dpi.

    CMYK conversion is usually too complicated for the average user to work with, I make the final decision and the print device accomodates.

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

    Kaidan setting of Japanese Horror (PFRPG) Google+ community

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    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    For printing at home, your colors will always be darker on the page than they were on the screen. The quality of the paper you use is as important as the quality of the image. Don't let the printer driver adjust anything you don't have to. That is, scale properly in Photoshop prior to starting the print, and in the Color Handling, change "Printer Manages Color" to "Photoshop Manages Color."

    And remember that what you see on the screen is a lie. Unless you have the means to profile both your monitor and your printer, you're only going to be able to guess at what the actual image will look like. Be prepared to make 3 - 5 prints before you get one that looks the way you want it to, and learn to love the Curves adjustment layer.

    And after you've spent the time and material to make 3 - 5 test prints on your inkjet with expensive paper, you'll realize what a good deal professional printing is!
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
    http://www.bryanray.name

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    Post At least I know what I'm doing...

    Lucky for me, I've been printing for so many years that once I open a client's map file, I know to up the brightness 12% and print and I can come very close to what is on the monitor. I almost never need to print more than one time per job. Sometimes when I get files that are consistently pastel in colors or otherwise very subdued, it is more difficult to get an exact print equivalent to what is seen on the computer screen.

    I don't profile my monitor to my printer, I do it all by eye.

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

    Kaidan setting of Japanese Horror (PFRPG) Google+ community

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      xequar is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamerprinter View Post
    For me, I prefer my clients sending me RGB files, as the software automatically converts that to the appropriate color format and depth. My large format printer uses 12 colors to print: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Photo Cyan, Photo Magenta, Gray, Photo Gray, Medium Gray, Red, Blue, Green.

    I can print up to 2880 x 2880 dpi.

    CMYK conversion is usually too complicated for the average user to work with, I make the final decision and the print device accomodates.

    GP
    Ah, that's really interesting to know. Forgive me, as I wasn't trying to step on any toes or anything. Once upon a time, I know Photoshop had a (probably pretty crude) function buried in a menu that would convert an RGB space to a CMYK space, and in the few times on the job (I work in video, and I used to use Photoshop daily for graphics) when I had to print something off for a client, that CMYK conversion yielded better results.

    Like I said, I apologize if I was stepping out of line.

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