Map Making

Group to discuss boardgame Map Making. Where amateur and published map makers can discuss and assist each other with techniques and methods used in creating boardgame maps. (not a group for arguments about what map style or software app is best)

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Comment by Tim Allen on October 8, 2009 at 10:46am
That last posting of mine sounded a bit snarky. Apologies.
Comment by Tim Allen on October 8, 2009 at 9:00am
I dont want to sound dumb, but I dont understand this:

"Illustrator is much much better for line (vector) art - which maps and counters are"

John- I've made maps, counters, charts, and cards in Photoshop. They are clearly Not vector art. So why are you saying All maps and counters are?

I'm assuming you mean all Professionally made maps and counters use vector graphics. Is that it?
Comment by John Kantor on October 7, 2009 at 8:37pm
Post a sample. The only time Photoshop would be useful is if you are using photorealistic textures for the background art. And then you should just import the flattened image as a background layer in Illustrator.
Comment by John Kantor on October 7, 2009 at 3:52pm
I don't know how Paintshop Pro handles vectors (if you're using vectors) or layers. Photoshop is very inefficient, both in working with vectors - and then forcing you to rasterize them to layers.

But a lot of layers shouldn't be a problem for Illustrator or Inkscape.
Comment by Gilbert Collins on October 7, 2009 at 3:08pm
How would you guys rate Paint Shop Pro for map creation?

I have been working on a War of 1812 map for about six months or so and I finally have a workable prototype, but I had to make some compromises when the map got to have a multitude of layers. This was because my computers RAM memory was taxed to its limit.
Comment by John Kantor on October 7, 2009 at 2:41pm
Illustrator is much much better for line (vector) art - which maps and counters are. The entire program is designed to make creating vector art easy.

And you wouldn't want to work with giant files in Photoshop - just because of the speed problems.

And bringing Photoshop images into Illustrator gives you more options than rasterizing an Illustrator file and bringing it into Photoshop.

But actually, Inkscape gives you all the capability you need for maps if you can't afford Illustrator.
Comment by Tim Allen on October 7, 2009 at 2:36pm
Yeah, I knew that...but is that's it? Its better because you can scale it to any size without loss and the files are smaller?

I have a new computer with tons of harddrive space. For me, file size isnt an issue. I just build it as big as I can, then I can shrink it down with little or no loss. Yes scaling up can be a problem but thats why I make sure to start out at 200-300dpi.

I thought perhaps Illustrator did things or made things easier...?
Comment by David Wessman on October 7, 2009 at 2:27pm
Illustrator is vector-based so anything you create with it can be rescaled without any loss in quality. Photoshop is pixel-based and resizing anything can cause problems. Also, the Illustrator files tend to be much smaller.
Comment by Tim Allen on October 7, 2009 at 2:14pm
My first thought would be to get a how-to book of some kind- a Dummies book or some such (I love books).

So, if you dont mind my asking, exactly Why is Illustrator great for maps, cards, etc.? I can do all that in Photoshop. Why is Illustrator so much better?
Comment by Kai Jensen on October 7, 2009 at 2:06pm
You can learn some of the Illustrator stuff at or buy training CDs from Total Training. I have tried both - neither are cheap but both are good learning resources. has an option for $25/month, use it as you need it. I like the Total Training CDs because I can go back and revisit a chapter for a refresher when my gray cells just can't hold all the data I need. :0)

I highly recommend taking the time and effort to learn Illustrator. It is a great program for maps, cards, counters, cheatsheets, graphic demo pages... most everything the game designer could want or need. Combine that with Photoshop and InDesign and you are a one-man game design dreadnought!

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