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Map Printing Help

Elfcrusher

Explorer
Anybody have practical experience printing map images at 1" battlemap scale? How about at a DYI copy/print shop?

I'd like to start with something like this Against the Giants map:
http://archive.wizards.com/dnd/images/mapofweek/May2006/04_MAWMay2006_72_ppi_4yj4.jpg

And print it on smaller sheets that I can then tape together into a big map. But since the copy shop is going to charge me for each color print, I don't want to experiment endlessly once I'm there.

Any advice?
 
I've run all three Against the Giants adventures by using the entire map for a level at once, once by drawing the maps on poster-sized graph paper from Office Max, and twice printing them on 11x17" tabloid paper at Office Max and FedEx. They are gigantic when printed at scale, and a lot of fun to run.

Drawing them was the most time consuming. The tiled poster on a FedEx printer was the fastest and cheapest.

You might need to go to the shop a couple times to get someone who can help. Make sure the clerk knows how to make the poster setting for the prints, so if it doesn't work you aren't charged.

This map is mostly tan and gray. Honestly, I don't think you'll lose much printing it in black and white. I did that for the ice and fire giants adventures and used markers to color key elements.

When you tile a poster to print it as smaller sheets, select the tray for 11x17" tabloid paper rather than 8.5x11" typing paper because that will cut the number of sheets you need to in half. The price should be the same since tabloid is usually just twice the cost of typing sheets. The poster setting will tile the map into sheets that overlap. You can then trim off the white edges where the printer can't print to edge, then tape them together. Office shops usually have a Rota-trim cutter to do it swiftly.

One more thing: this is a 72 dpi image and that will be pretty low resolution when printed at 1"=5' scale. The pixelation will be clear and edges will seem a bit out of focus. But, it generally won't matter too much! The map will be so big people will be sitting around the edges. You can go over map's edges of rooms with a black Sharpie to firm up the soft-focus the pixelation creates.
 

Elfcrusher

Explorer
I've run all three Against the Giants adventures by using the entire map for a level at once, once by drawing the maps on poster-sized graph paper from Office Max, and twice printing them on 11x17" tabloid paper at Office Max and FedEx. They are gigantic when printed at scale, and a lot of fun to run.

Drawing them was the most time consuming. The tiled poster on a FedEx printer was the fastest and cheapest.

You might need to go to the shop a couple times to get someone who can help. Make sure the clerk knows how to make the poster setting for the prints, so if it doesn't work you aren't charged.

This map is mostly tan and gray. Honestly, I don't think you'll lose much printing it in black and white. I did that for the ice and fire giants adventures and used markers to color key elements.

When you tile a poster to print it as smaller sheets, select the tray for 11x17" tabloid paper rather than 8.5x11" typing paper because that will cut the number of sheets you need to in half. The price should be the same since tabloid is usually just twice the cost of typing sheets. The poster setting will tile the map into sheets that overlap. You can then trim off the white edges where the printer can't print to edge, then tape them together. Office shops usually have a Rota-trim cutter to do it swiftly.

One more thing: this is a 72 dpi image and that will be pretty low resolution when printed at 1"=5' scale. The pixelation will be clear and edges will seem a bit out of focus. But, it generally won't matter too much! The map will be so big people will be sitting around the edges. You can go over map's edges of rooms with a black Sharpie to firm up the soft-focus the pixelation creates.
Awesome. Thanks for the help!
 
I would say it's probably worth going to a real print shop (like the kind that prints blue prints etc) and asking them for a quote. The prices for large prints have really come down recently. You might be surprised at the cost when compared to your time, the amount of screw-ups you are likely to have to pay for and the avoidance of frustration...

I have played off of large printed maps like this one and it is a lot of fun!

Please let us know what you end up doing. This will certainly be useful to others...
 
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If you are looking to print them on a plotter roll of paper, Costco has poster sizes for less than it will cost at a copy shop.

Some stores do have a "draft" print option for a lightweight bond paper with only black ink.

When pricing plotter paper printing you want to find the cost by the "linear foot" rather than the "square foot" because then you are paying for the length of the roll of paper used rather than the overall area. Get a price estimate first!
 

Elfcrusher

Explorer
Are you familiar with Posterazor? It may take a bit of fiddling to get each map to exactly 1" squares, but it does precisely what you want.
This rocks!

I haven't printed it yet, but I downloaded it and easily broke my image up into a paginated PDF. It takes some guesswork to get the scaling right, but the final result doesn't have to be exactly 1" squares.

Thank you!
 

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