Designing Maps

How to make beautiful and compelling maps for your games

Printing Maps

Wherein I tell you about how to prepare maps for printing.

In today’s modern world it is possible to get a map printed on poster-sized paper quickly and cheaply. Do a little searching and you’ll find that a 24″ x 36″ poster can be printed on the same day for roughly 25 dollars – and probably at your local pharmacy or grocery store or shipping service.

Some services offer printing onto un-stretched canvas. If you can do so and it is within your budget, I highly recommend this as the map will be much easier to roll and transport. Canvas maps are fairly immune to being held in a rolled position for lengths of times and will snap back quickly. If you do get it printed on canvas, make sure that you choose an un-stretched option; otherwise you’ll end up with something suitable for framing (which may be what you want, I don’t know).

When you’re finished with your map – and you’re sure you’re finished – it’s time to get it printed. You want to export the best quality image you can to send to the printer. If your printer accepts PNG files, you should just export it that way. However, these files tend to be massive – easily up to 100 megabytes in size – and your printing system may not be able to handle that, so you should export it as a JPG.

How to Export Maps for Printing
  1. Type <command><option><shift>s to open the “Export” dialog
  2. If you’ve already made a “Quality Print” preset, select that. If not, make one:
    1. Select the “JPG High” preset
    2. Change “High” to “Maximum”
    3. Change “Quality” to 100
    4. Uncheck “Optimized”
    5. Click the little menu icon next to the “Preset” level and select “Save Settings”
    6. Name this “Quality Print.irs” and click “Save”
    7. Ensure that “Quality Print” is selected in the “Preset” level
  3. Click “Save”
Export Dialog Settings
Export Dialog Settings

If you were smart and set your dimensions right, you may be able to print this on a home printer (though at lower fidelity).

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