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Thread: [Award Winner] Using photoshop to set a scale marker

  1. #1
    Professional Artist Facebook Connected Coyotemax's Avatar
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    Jul 2009

    Default [Award Winner] Using photoshop to set a scale marker

    Note: The following works in later versions of photoshop (cs3 and 4 for sure, 7 is right out)

    Go to your Analysis menu (it is visible still right? you didn't use menu customization to hide it? good!). Move down to Set Measurement Scale, then choose Custom.

    Now you can set your scale however you like! Be careful though, it's not immediately intuitive, I had to mess with it for awhile.. For example, you've decided your pixels are 1 mile across (typical regional map). In order to get the scale bar to display at a size you need I would recommend multiplying each value by 10 or 100 or something similar - saying 1px=1mile, you get a 1px length scale bar -)

    So our example values:-
    Pixel Length: 100
    Logical Length: 100
    Logical units: Miles

    Then tell it Ok, or Save Preset if you think you will use it again.

    Now the fun part, go back to the Analysis menu, then choose Place Scale Marker.

    Under Length, if you place a 1 it will give you a 100 pixel line that represents 100 miles. If you put 2, you will get a 200 pixel line that represents 200 miles, and the text will update accordingly. The other options are entirely up to you (if you plan on making your own scale after you get the basics from this you may not need them).

    Final result will give you the following:

    Now, this is pretty basic, but where this really comes out is dealing with nonstandard lengths that are not so easy to calculate quickly.
    For example, working at 1px equals 35 feet, setting it at those values gives you a 1 px line - so if we multiply each by 10 we get something useful - 10px=350feet. In this case, i set the placement value to 2 instead of 1 (no matter how hard i tried, i couldn't get that window to screenshot, argh) and got the results as shown:

    In a lot of cases, we may want to do a completely different kind of scale as a final result, but this gives us a nice bar of the correct length to work with.

    My finished maps
    "...sometimes the most efficient way to make something look drawn by hand is to simply draw it by hand..."

  2. #2
    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Los Angeles, CA


    I've been meaning to dig into that for a while now. Thanks for doing the work for me!
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist

  3. #3
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Ft. Wayne, IN


    Thanks for posting CM...that will be helpful.
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

  4. #4
    Guild Apprentice Facebook Connected AutumnRain's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
    US of A


    That was something I was looking for! Thank you for sharing

  5. #5

  6. #6


    Wow that was an amazing feature that I never new existed! Bumping by adding a new comment; it might help others. Have some rep!

  7. #7


    Sorry for digging this, there any chance to recover the images on this one?

    I'd like to better visualize this process, since it seems rather useful!
    Drawing skills? What drawing skills?!

    My Deviantart

  8. #8
    Guild Applicant Facebook Connected ErnieTheMighty's Avatar
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    Aug 2012


    Quote Originally Posted by TK. View Post
    Sorry for digging this, there any chance to recover the images on this one?

    I'd like to better visualize this process, since it seems rather useful!
    What'cha mean? The images are right there. Also! Thanks a lot for the tutorial, really helpful!

    For those wondering where to find the Measurement Scale on later versions of Photoshop(I'm using CC 2014), you can find it at Image tab and then Analysis. Good luck!
    Freelance Game Artist & Game Designer
    DeviantART | Steam | Tumblr

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