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Thread: Labelling the map

  1. #1
      Sierro is offline
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    Help Labelling the map

    Hi,

    I've got to the point with my first map where I'm happy with all the geographical features (following the Saderan tutorial) and I am ready to start with labelling the map. However, I don't know how to go about this. The map is made in CS6 and is 2500 by 3000 pixels at 300 dpi. When using the text tool in Photoshop, the font is huge - it would seem that the text would need to be around 3pt to be at the correct scale which is obviously unreadable! Is this caused by the dpi being set to 300?

    I've done a bit of searching and found references to doing labelling in Illustrator or Inkscape instead. I tried importing to Illustrator and it seemed to have the same problem - the image size was a lot smaller than I expected (not sure I'm explaining this right). I tried it in Inkscape and the size seemed much better but I had lost the ocean layers for some reason (it was land on top of a white background!)

    Are there any tutorials around that explain how to export from photoshop into illustrator/inkscape for labelling the map? I've not been able to find anything suitable myself

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      xpian is offline
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    You are definitely missing some understanding of the basic text capabilities of Photoshop. Doing text in Illustrator or another app is fine, and I won't knock it, but Photoshop is pretty powerful with text all by itself, so if I were you I'd stick with one application for the time being. Don't sweat it: we've all been there, and everybody here was once a total beginner at Photoshop. I remember using Photoshop 3 for the first time, back in 1993 or so, and being amazed...

    Here is a really basic wikiHow tutorial I found by googling around for a minute. It should help get you started, especially with the aspect you seem to be having the most trouble with, resizing the type. How to Add Text in Photoshop: 7 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow
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      Sierro is offline
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    Well, here's an example of what I mean.

    Labelling the map-edrion_text.jpg

    At this scale (2500x3000) typing using the text tool in Photoshop at 10pt is that size. Typing at 10pt into pretty much anything else - notepad for example - is much smaller. Below that I typed something in 3pt as a comparison - ok the font choice is poor (I just grabbed one at random) but the layer effects are pretty much nonexistent at this size.

    I dunno, maybe 3/4pt is ok, it just seems like there must be a better way to do it!

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      Freodin is offline
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    I'd say Photoshop (or simply your settings in Photoshop) uses the standard printing point size. How large a font appears on your screen depends on your dpi setting. If I calculated correctly (most likely not ) a 10pt (about 3,5mm) font would be about 40 px on screen at 300 dpi... and that is about the size on your example.

    So it seems it is indeed your dps setting that is to blame.

    Edit: did a quick test with GIMP. I never printed any maps before, so I never used this feature. GIMP indeed has settings for font size in all kind of measurements - cm, inches, various 'points', as well as pixel. All settings other than pixel, obviously, are influenced by the dps setting of your image. I guess PS has the same options.
    Last edited by Freodin; 09-01-2014 at 06:23 PM.

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      xpian is offline
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    I agree with Freodin: it appears from your sample image that you might have something set a little funny in your prefs, or you have a document with strange resolution. I'm including a screenshot of my PS prefs in the units tab. Is yours the same?

    Labelling the map-screen-shot-2014-09-01-6.24.37-pm.png
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      Hai-Etlik is offline
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    The resolution is a suggestion of how big the image is in "real life" If you have a resolution of 300 DPI, that's just a little note attached to the image saying "this image was scanned at, or is meant to be printed at a size where 300 pixels in a row occupy 1 inch".

    Software that pays attention to resolution (not all software does) can use it to offer measurements in physical units like centimetres or points. It sounds like you are designing this map for display on a screen rather than for printing, so you should either ignore physical units entirely and scale everything in pixels, or set the resolution to something appropriate for a screen; most modern desktop monitors have a native resolution somewhere around 100 DPI.

    If you plan to use Inkscape just for labelling a map otherwise created with raster graphics software, a typical workflow is to export a flattened image, import that into Inkscape, resize the document to match the imported raster, label on a new layer, hide the map image, export a raster image of just the labels, and import that as a new layer in your raster graphics software so you can do whatever raster things you want to it. It sounds like a lot of steps, but it's fairly minor compared to actually doing the labelling.

    Also, make sure to read Positioning Names on Maps by Eduard Imhof. Labelling a map is much harder that it might first appear and this paper gives a good overview of some best practices for attractive, legible map labelling.
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      Sierro is offline
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    Thanks everyone. I'll have a play around later tonight and see what I can do.

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      Sierro is offline
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    It does seem dpi was the problem! Couldn't see an option to set the font size to pixels or anything apart from pt, but that's OK. I followed the work flow mentioned to do the labelling in Inkscape so I'm good to go! Just need to learn how to use Inkscape now

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      xpian is offline
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    I'm glad it's working for you. One cool thing about Photoshop is that, regardless of what units are displayed in the box (the box for type size, for instance), you can just type in whatever units you want to use. If the type is displaying as a size of "72 pt" in the box, and you'd like it to be 2 inches tall in the file, you can just enter "2 in" in the box and it will convert it to points.
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    If you'd like to adjust Photoshop's behavior, you can reset the print resolution in the Image Size dialogue. Make sure you uncheck "Resample image," and any changes to the dpi will only affect the metadata, not the actual pixel resolution.
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