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  1. #1
    Guild Applicant
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    May 2010
    Quantico, VA, USA

    Help Vector or raster?

    Trying to decide which to use for maps I will be using for a fantasy novel. The map is going to be very detailed, black and white, and as i said printed in a novel paper back and eventually a larger hardback. Help please i dont know which is which or the pros and cons.

  2. #2
    Guild Adept Notsonoble's Avatar
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    Sep 2008


    Vector graphics biggest advantage is in how computers store them and render them... they're easier to scale and their native format takes up less space on the harddrive (in most cases)...

    Also, pretty much any software you'd use to put the novel together and send to a publisher or printer's gonna convert the vector graphic to a raster format in the end. I'd say go with raster... now if you're looking for someone to do the map... then they'll go with what they're comfortable with... and in the end probably send you a raster image.
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  3. #3
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    St. Charles, Missouri, United States


    Say you draw out a continent and put some stuff on it. Then, when you want to start putting names on things, you find that you have to enlarge it. In vector it's no problem. Then you want to put more stuff in and so you enlarge it again. Then when you want to have it printed you realize that it's too big so you need to shrink it. Again, no problem for vector. The problem is that all of those letters get smaller and smaller and when you print it they come out like blobs. If you want to print out just a section at a time then good. My advice is to do multiple maps...a world map, continent maps, kingdom maps, town maps, building maps. That way you only have to come up with names for stuff in areas where the story takes place instead of populating your entire world with details that no one will ever need or see. Know where your continents are, know where the kingdoms are, know where the story will go, and then just do up some quick sketches that take 5 minutes. That's all ya need to start writing, a rough outline - whether it be for the plot or for the map. Do detailed maps after the story has been written. Then you can decide what maps are important and what are not and that'll save ya a lot of time instead of drawing out every quaint backwater village and naming every little creek on five continents.

    In the end, know what sort of size the book will be and just double that size for your map and never go larger than that...either vector or raster. If you don't know what size the book will be then go with paperback size, around 4 x 6 or 5 x 7. On the publisher side of things I have no idea what the industry standard would be so I don't know what they prefer.
    Last edited by Ascension; 05-10-2010 at 10:58 PM.
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  4. #4
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    I agree with ascension - make a not so detailed world map or region map, and then throw in some smaller maps of where things happen, regions, citys etc. In most novels you only get one map, but I love when there are more.
    The publisher will be pleased to recieve any map, vector or raster - as long as it is good enough to print. So what ever program you are confortable with will work. Just remember if you choose raster that for real printing you have to have 300 dpi resolution, so a 4x6 inches page would be 1200 x 1800 pixels
    It is always possible to scale down (and texts in photoshop remain vector until you print) but its not possible to scale up very far (20-30% and then the quality might start to suffer).
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