Does Size Settings Matter for Output?

In terms of exporting a map for printing purposes, is there any difference between a map set at 240 x 180 and 2400x1800? In graphics programs, the larger sizes will mean more DPI, thus higher quality. Yet, much of CC3 is vector. In theory that means it should not matter. But I also know that there are bitmaps used. The default size of symbols often depend on the dimensions that the map, but does it affect anything else?

Essentially if someone were making a map only for looks, does the map size matter at all, or is it just the ratio of length/width that is going to be important, i.e. a map 240x180 will look exactly the same exported as a 2400x1800 map?


  • MonsenMonsen 🖼️ 46 images Cartographer Administrator

    It doesn't matter at all. Units in CC3+ are meant to represent real world sizes, so you make the map in 240 x 180 if it is 240 by 180 miles (or feet/meters/kilometers depending on map type) or 2400 x 1800 if it is 2400x1800 miles.

    For an overland map, symbol scale will vary, as you pointed out yourself, and many drawing tools have line width expressed as fraction of map size, meaning they will vary too.

    For dungeon/city maps, the larger map will give you a larger area to work with, since symbol scale don't vary with map size.

  • jslaytonjslayton Mapmaker Moderator, ProFantasy
    edited October 1

    The export resolution makes a huge difference when exporting a map because exporting a map converts it from the internal vector representation to a raster representation. A higher resolution export can capture more detail than a low resolution export.

    An example:

    (yes, I don't have a lot of stuff loaded on this machine).

  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 28 images Cartographer ProFantasy

    If you were using a vector style it really wouldn't matter what size you printed it, other than it being necessary to consider the Level of Detail. A town map printed on A4 would be better drawn to just show just the outlines of the buildings, whereas the same town map printed the size of a wall would look a bit blank if you didn't add all the chimneys, lose tiles and bird's nests. That's Level of Detail, and it's important to get it right for the size of the end product.

    A style that makes use of bitmap fills and symbols is limited by the resolution of the fills and symbols, so you have to be careful not to print it so large that the individual pixels of the original artwork start to show. This has nothing to do with the resolution of the print. You can't print a symbol that is 100 x 100px at such an enlarged scale that it is effectively 1000 x 1000 px and expect not to see the enlarged pixels of that tiny symbol as little squares.

    The best way to find out is to print a small sample of the map at the desired size and see how the bitmaps hold up.

  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 28 images Cartographer ProFantasy

    Sorry, Julian - me, Remy and Joe seem to have trebled up to make a super ninja all in one go. I never saw the other two comments before I made mine, and wasn't warned about new comments either!

  • I would have any export resolution set to 300 PPI. I am assuming I should also set the export size to me the size of the printed map to maintain the appropriate number of pixels. Also set it is to use very high for any symbols.

    Is there a way to determine vector or bitmap for a style?

  • MonsenMonsen 🖼️ 46 images Cartographer Administrator

    Yea, setting PPI to 300 and the print size to the page size will cause the pixel size to be calculated automatically to fit. Setting it to Very High before export isn't required, for a high quality export this will be very high anyway.

    To determine Bitmap or Vector, just look at the symbols and fills. Vector cannot approach the same detail level as raster images. If you are unsure, you can explode a symbol. If it turns into an image and nothing more, it is a raster symbol, but if it turns into tons of tiny entities (lines, polygons), it is vector.

    Note that saying vector OR bitmap can be a bit of a misnomer. A CC3+ polygon is still a vector entity even if it uses a bitmap fill.

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