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    • CommentAuthordelugeia
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2019 edited
     

    I have a digital setup and use MapTool (v1.5.4) from RPTools.net for running my games. I have recently begun using Campaign Cartographer (with City Designer 3) for creating my maps and wanted to find a way to export my maps to use in MapTool. It has been a while since I used Roll20, but I recall the process and believe it would be similar.

    The other threads I found on this topic were sparse and outdated. So I figured I would share what I did in the hopes that others may benefit and some of you may be able to provide pointers for improving my process.

    In short, I created a grid to make it easier to export blocks of the map and then placed those images in the background layer of MapTool. Getting blocks to be the exact size so they could be seamlessly stitched together was the biggest challenge.

    Here's what I did…

    0) Math

    I wanted to have a big map with reasonable detail. Since this is for a city campaign, I was more interested in something that looked good at a distance, but would also suffice as a grainy battle map. I decided to use image files that were 2500 x 2500 pixels that represented 500 x 500 feet. Therefore 5 pixels per foot (25 pixels per 5') in MapTool.

    If you want a higher resolution, e.g. for a dungeon map, just adjust the numbers as you see fit. For example, you could have the 2500 pixels represent 250 feet for 50 pixels per 5'.

    I would advise against individual images larger than 2500 pixels. At least on my setup, CC starts to take a long time to render and MapTool begins to choke and chug. Your mileage may vary.

    1) Create Grid System

    In CC3+, I created a grid so that I could use snap points to more easily export (Save As...) the sections of the map.

    • right click on Grid, Ortho, or Snap to bring up the "Select Grid System" dialog
    • click New…
    • select 2d Rectangular, and Continue...
      • Name: MapTool Grid
      • Snap Divisions: 1
      • X-Spacing: 500'
      • Y-Spacing: 500'
      • Grid Center: 0,0
    • click OK
    • recommend selecting a more visible Grid Dot Style so it is easier to see
    • click OK to finish

    2) Match the Export Size

    Since I want these 500' x 500' blocks to be exactly 5 pixels per foot, 25 pixels per 5', the export needs to be exactly 2500 x 2500 pixels.

    • select Tools > Options...
    • click BMP, JPG, PNG from the Import/Export Options
      • Width: 2500
      • Height: 2500
      • Resolution: 25 (though I don't think this actually matters)
      • Antialias: 33% (or whatever suits your style)
      • uncheck Crop Image to Aspect Ratio
      • the others don't matter as far as I can tell for my needs
      • click Save and name (e.g. MapTool Export 2500)
    • click OK to finish

    3) Export (Save As...) the Map Blocks

    Next we will export the map blocks. To get that exact fitting, make sure you have both Grid and Snap enabled with the MapTool Grid we created enabled. I also created some coordinates (A B C, 1 2 3) beyond the map edge to make it easier to keep track of the blocks.

    • zoom way out so you can see the grid points outside your map
    • make sure you're showing all your layers you want visible
    • make sure you Activate Sheet Effects (right click Sheets Button > Effects On)
    • select File > Save As... (Ctrl+A)
      • Type: Rectangular Section BMP
      • Name: block-a1.bmp (for example)
      • click Save, which will take you to the picker
      • pick one corner of the "A1" block (should be easy with Grid+Snap)
      • pick the opposite corner of the "A1" block
    • the export will render the block (my settings required it to do 4 passes)

    Repeat this process for each of the blocks. I advise picking names like block-a2, block-b1, etc.

    Now Over to MapTool!!!

    4) Set the Grid Scale

    Since the default in MapTool is 50 pixels per 5' and I chose a lower resolution of 25 pixels per 5', I need to adjust the map for this lower resolution. Pretty easy to do though...

    • select Map > Edit Map…
      • Distance Per Cell: 5.0
      • Pixels Per Cell: 25
    • click OK to finish

    5) Drag, Drop, and Arrange Blocks

    A warning... MapTool (at least mine, v1.5.4) does this wonky thing when dealing with large image files. When you drag a large image on to the map, and then adjust its position, it sometimes "jumps" back to where it was. I don't know any way around the bug, but I've found that once I save the file its fine.

    • make sure your background layer images are set to Snap to Grid (Edit > Preferences)
    • select the Interaction Tool and then its Pointer sub-tool
    • select the Background Layer
    • drag the files from a file window on to the map (I prefer this over adding one time items to my resource library)
    • arrange the images to make your map
    • grumble if/when things snap back unexpectedly and then arrange them again
    • save the file

    Once you've done this, be sure to stick to doing things on the other layers (e.g. Object, Hidden, Token). I really wish they had a way of locking certain images in place.

    DONE!

    There you have it. This worked well for me and I hope it is useful knowledge for others.

    WHY BMP FORMAT?!

    One final note... Those of us that use MapTool a lot, typically see things in PNG format, not BMP. While you can certainly do everything I've mentioned with PNGs (just select "Rectangular Section PNG" when saving in CC3+), the BMP files are about half the size and since that's CC's native format it doesn't require the extra conversion step in exporting. MapTool handles BMPs just fine as well, they just aren't historically as web-friendly. If you want to use PNGs, go for it! They might even be necessary for Roll20.

    •  
      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2019
     
    Thanks for making this writeup. I've linked it from the Interesting, Important and Helpful topic so people can find it in the future.