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Thread: Can I take Photoshop map into Illustrator so it is scaleable Vector drawing?

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    Question Can I take Photoshop map into Illustrator so it is scaleable Vector drawing?

    Greetings folks,

    I have tried the search and trundled through the forums and not seen this subject, but being new perhaps I am doing it wrong . As the subject asks, is there a way to take a map I do in Photoshop into illustrator so I can scale it as I would like to? I have played a fair bit in photoshop but, while I have the program, have done very very little in Illustrator.

    Thank you very kindly for any direction (advice or even link to where I can find what I need ) you can offer!

    With a smile,
    DreamQuestin

  2. #2

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    Photoshop being an image editor has limitations on the pixel resolution at file setup. If you set for high resolution and many inches in scale, it can look good, but ideally once you set your resolution parameters, the resolution is fixed and cannot be easily altered in size. While maps created in vector programs like Illustrator can easily rescale, only those maps entirely created in vector and safely rescale without an problems. If you import a map created in an image editor and import to a vector program it still has fixed pixel resolution, so cannot effective rescale. When I create maps in vector applications like Xara Photo & Graphic Designer I don't even worry about pixel resolution until I am done with the map and at the image export stage, then I scale it in inches to my desired scale, then export at whatever resolution is needed with 100 ppi for Virtual Tabletop apps, or 300 ppi for print. Such features are only available using vector drawing applications.

    Essentially, no, you cannot effectively rescale an image created in Photoshop with best results - image will blur and lose color fidelity if you try to scale it larger.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamerprinter View Post
    Photoshop being an image editor has limitations on the pixel resolution at file setup. If you set for high resolution and many inches in scale, it can look good, but ideally once you set your resolution parameters, the resolution is fixed and cannot be easily altered in size. While maps created in vector programs like Illustrator can easily rescale, only those maps entirely created in vector and safely rescale without an problems.
    That is unfortunate, really. As I said I haven't tinkered in Illustrator at all, but for all the benefits of vector scalability, it isn't the strongest tool to make the maps in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gamerprinter View Post
    If you import a map created in an image editor and import to a vector program it still has fixed pixel resolution, so cannot effective rescale. When I create maps in vector applications like Xara Photo & Graphic Designer I don't even worry about pixel resolution until I am done with the map and at the image export stage, then I scale it in inches to my desired scale, then export at whatever resolution is needed with 100 ppi for Virtual Tabletop apps, or 300 ppi for print. Such features are only available using vector drawing applications.
    Can you, though, take the skeleton of the map, say the initial line drawing, convert that to the vector scalable file illustrator offers and then take it back into Photoshop to add detail on the scaled map? Or am I further ahead to just go nuts with pixel/inch on my world map so I can crop portions for regional maps that are still usable?

    You do some very nice tutorials, btw, Gameprinter! Thank you for sharing your wisdom

    With a smile,
    DreamQuestin
    Last edited by DreamQuestin; 07-12-2014 at 07:59 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DreamQuestin View Post
    That is unfortunate, really. As I said I haven't tinkered in Illustrator at all, but for all the benefits of vector scalability, it isn't the strongest tool to make the maps in.
    I disagree. I am a professional fantasy cartographer having done many commissions for RPG publishers and for my own RPG publishing projects. Although I sometimes incorporate hand-drawn linework that is digitally scanned and imported to my preferred vector application - Xara Designer Pro 9, almost all my maps are entirely created in vector. I never use image editors such as Photoshop or GIMP anywhere in the process of creating high end, professional maps. Arguably some of my maps look like they are entirely or partially created in image editors, and that is not true at all, in my case.


    Quote Originally Posted by DreamQuestin View Post
    Can you, though, take the skeleton of the map, say the initial line drawing, convert that to the vector scalable file illustrator offers and then take it back into Photoshop to add detail on the scaled map? Or am I further ahead to just go nuts with pixel/inch on my world map so I can crop portions for regional maps that are still usable?
    You can always work in multiple applications, including both image editors and vector apps, many cartographers do just that. There are features in vector for instance like creating tapered lines for diminishing rivers or detailed label work, that though can be accomplished in image editors is faster and more easily accomplished in vector. Many cartographers do their labeling, borders and other detailing exclusively in vector, even though the rest of the entire map was created in an image editor. Despite that you are still at the mercy of working in whatever scale and pixel resolution you began with at the start of doing your map in Photoshop or GIMP.

    When I do import hand-drawn linework to vector, I see no obvious need to vectorize it. Rather I keep it in its raster format, apply transparencies and other filters in vector to make it usable as a major element of my map. All my maps include composites of vector and raster objects, while completely created in vector. Why do I need to vectorize the linework, it looks just as good in raster, and as long as the white areas of b/w linework is fully transparent. I don't need the linework to be a vectorized object. When vectorizing you often get unneeded artifacts that are failures in the vectorization process. Its better to keep the raster as raster, though to your original argument raster scales poorly.

    Although I use both image editors and vector in my daytime graphics job, I still prefer and appreciate the powers of vector over anything I might do in an image editor. For me, if I need to adjust the color fidelity or midtones versus contrast, I would do this using curves in Photoshop. So I only use image editors to tweak the color or apply specific graphics filters. I don't actually use it to paint in the detail, that kind of work I do exclusively in vector. I can achieve a very painterly look even only using vector. So for my production process, I see no advantage in using an image editor, and thus never do so.
    Last edited by Gamerprinter; 07-12-2014 at 05:14 PM.
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    Guild Expert Azelor's Avatar
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    Yes it's possible but it depend. If your map is large and have too many details or textures: it's not a good idea. like this http://www.cartographersguild.com/at...ap-znjf9kp.jpg
    The program will separate each color and create a new object with it each delimited by point and lines linking them. You can adjust how sensitive it is to the point where it's impossible (almost) to see that it's a vectorized image but you will have a lot of points. To a point where you vectorize each pixels... not recommended.


    To do this , I have Illustrator CS3, I go in the menu, object, vectorization (should be in the bottom half)
    There you have plenty of options to customize it. Be aware that doing this on a normal map may be impossible unless you reduce the quality. That version of illustrator crash whenever the workload is too great.

    A map like this would be better to vectorize : http://www.adr-intl.com/images/line_map_world.gif
    Last edited by Azelor; 07-12-2014 at 03:01 PM.

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    Greetings and good morrow Azelor!

    Quote Originally Posted by Azelor View Post
    Yes it's possible but it depend. If your map is large and have too many details or textures: it's not a good idea. like this http://www.cartographersguild.com/at...ap-znjf9kp.jpg
    That was my thinking. I actually want an old fashioned Tolkien sort of map, but I have learned how to do the world maps and I was hoping to short cut having to redraw portions of that world to have smaller area'd regional maps.

    Quote Originally Posted by Azelor View Post
    To do this , I have Illustrator CS3, I go in the menu, object, vectorization (should be in the bottom half)
    There you have plenty of options to customize it. Be aware that doing this on a normal map may be impossible unless you reduce the quality. That version of illustrator crash whenever the workload is too great.

    A map like this would be better to vectorize : http://www.adr-intl.com/images/line_map_world.gif
    That is exactly what I was thinking, to vectorize the skeleton of the map so I can up and downscale it to my black heart's little desire then add details in photoshop once vectorized. Does that work or am I further ahead to retrace the regional size area of the world map and recreate it that way?

    Thank you very kindly for your help

    With a smile,
    DreamQuestin

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    I want to second what Gamerprinter has said. While doing most of my published work thus far in raster apps like Photoshop and ProCreate, I've had success creating artwork in Illustrator, Freehand, and Inkpad. There are even apps like Manga Studio that have strong vector sketching tools along side powerful raster drawing tools. You can make beautiful work in many different programs...the tools matter less than the artist who's using them.

    That said, there's nothing so intimidating as the blank canvas, especially when the tool you intend to use on that canvas is unfamiliar to you. I'd recommend settling on a small project for yourself and attempting to complete it in the app you want to learn. Small! Nothing huge or intimidating. And there are so many great tutorials available online to teach you how to do things. Google is your friend. Try "sketching in illustrator" or "drawing with illustrator brushes", etc.

    There are lots of free tutorials online, so I can't recommend paying for one unless you're sure you're getting your money's worth. That said, here is a link to an illustrator tutorial on drawing. Watch the free "intro" video...it shows a few of the things that can be accomplished in Illustrator. Mastering Brushes in Illustrator - Tuts+ Course

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