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Map alignment and you: Or 101 ways to get your grids in a row.


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So, you have read the help file, watched the video, tried it out, and yet you are still having difficulty aligning your maps. We are here to help. The tools used below can be found in the following help files: Align to Grid Set Dimensions Page Toolbar Zoom and Layers First lets go over the steps to align a square grid map. This assumes you have already placed the map on the map layer and that you are on the map layer. 1) Start by setting your zoom to 150% 2) Next, right click on your map and select Advanced -> Align to Grid 3) Trace a 3x3 section of your map's grid and release and click the align grid button Now for the fine tuning: 4) Hold down the alt key and with the mouse move the map so that the grid is aligned. Doing this in the the top left of the map is the best result for 5a while the center of the map will produce the best results for 5b. 5a) You can use the scaling transformers (light blue boxes at the edge of your map) to resize the map to better fit. 5b) For a more precise (down to the pixel) fit right click on the map and select Advanced -> Set Dimensions. For the vertical map lines if the line is to the left of the Roll20 grid lines then increase the width in Set Dimensions. If the line is to the right then decrease the width in Set Dimensions. For the horizontal map lines if the line is above the Roll20 grid then increase the height. It the line is below the Roll20 grid then decrease the height. 6) Repeat steps 4 and 5 until the grid matches throughout your entire map. I have a hex (H) map. How do I align that? 1) Drop the map onto the map layer. 2) Use the scalers (little boxes on the edge of the image) to get the hex map near the same size as the hex grid. 3) Find the middle of the map by doing the following: Height: count the number of vertical hexes. The middle of the map should be the halfway point. Example: If your map is 60 hexes tall the halfway point is the line between hex 30 and 31. Width: count the horizontal hexes. The middle of the map should be the halfway point. Example: if your map is 80 hexes wide the halfway point is the line between hex 40 and 41. The two mid points should create an intersection which is the middle of the map. This is where you will make adjustments from. 4) Align the intersection at the middle of the map. You can do this by holding Alt and aligning the map intersection to the grid intersection. 5a) We will align the horizontal map lines first. Right click on the map, select Advanced -> Set Dimensions. If the lines (above the starting line) are above the Roll20 grid then decrease the height. If the lines are below the Roll20 grid then increase the height. 5b) You may need to repeat step 4 if the alignment point gets offset (this probably means the alignment point is not the center of the map). Keep repeating step 5 until the horizontal map lines are perfect. 6a) We will align the vertical map lines next. Right click on the map, select Advanced -> Set Dimensions. If the lines (to the right of the starting line) are to the right of the Roll20 grid, then decrease the width. If the lines are to the left then increase the width. 6b) You may need to repeat step 4 if the alignment point gets offset (this probably means the alignment point is not the center of the map). Keep repeating step 6 until the vertical map lines are perfect. For Hex (V) just reverse all of the above instructions that involve width and height or horizontal and vertical. Here are some other tips and tricks: How to get a more accurate Align to Grid as a first step: 1) Increase the Page Size to a very large number (such as 200 by 200). You can do this in the Page Toolbar and adjust the settings for the map you are working on. 2) Set zoom to 50% and then expand the map size to fit the Page Size. 3) Set zoom to 150% and use the Align to Grid tool. 4) Reduce the zoom to 50% and move your map to the top left corner of the page. 5) Decrease the page size to match your map size. 6) Return the zoom level to 100% and follow the fine tuning tips above. I ripped my map out of a PDF and the grid is is too small even when set to 150%! Thankfully this has a simple solution: 1) Follow the above steps to align the map to the grid. 2) Use the Set Dimensions tool to increase the size of the map. Make sure you use a multiple of 2. Example: If your current dimensions are 3640 by 5040 then double the dimensions to 7280 by 10080. 3) Increase the Page Size (in the Page Toolbar) to fit the new size of your map. 4) You may need to double the Grid size and halve the Scale size. You can find both fields in your Page Settings in the Page Toolbar. 5) Make any final adjustments such as using Alt and move the map reposition it if necessary. There are other methods to solve this problem but most of those are more complicated. If you find that using a grid size other than 1 creates a problem fire off a message to me and I can walk you through how to fix this while keeping the grid size at 1. I have a map grid that I know is 64x64pixels. I want to set the Roll20 grid to 64x64pixels. How do I do this? 1) Use the Set Dimensions tool to set the dimensions of your map to a multiple of the grid. Example: if your grid is 50squares by 32squares and uses 64pixels by 64pixels then set the dimensions to 3200 by 2048. This presumes that there are no partial grid borders. If there are you will need to use the Align to Grid tool. 2) In a calculator divide the grid size by 70. This will produce a decimal value. Example: 64/70 will result in 0.91428571... . 3) Set your Grid Unit Size to the decimal value you calculated. This can be found in the Page Settings for your map in the Page Toolbar. 4) Now we need to fix the Scale. Divide the scale you wish (such as 5feet) by the decimal value you calculated in step 1 and put that number in the scale. Example: 5/0.91428571... will result in 5.46875. Click OK. 5) Now hold down Alt and move the map to align the grids if necessary. They should line up perfectly. If anyone has any comments or questions feel free to post them. - Gauss
Since we have so many new users from TTF I am going to bump this. :) - Gauss
I was pulling my hair out trying to align a map, was going to post, but decided to take a look around before I made a new post. Thank you. This should be part of the tutorial, as it's exactly what's needed to get started.
Thanks Patrick, it is why I created it. Were you able to get perfect alignment? - Gauss
Absolutely. It's a scan of a supplement I own, and it's aligned perfectly now.
Excellent, do you have any suggestions to improve my guide? - Gauss
i'm trying to get my map locked onto the frid line, but it keeps snapping off centre and wont go where i want it!! i've taken it to the top left and it doesn't want to sit in the corner, it either overlaps left or right. Same when i take it to the centre. ARRRRGGGH!
ah, found it. clicking on the "ls drawing" button lets me get it just right :)
You can also hold down the ALT key when clicking on a map or token and drag it that way without it snapping to grid.
Is drawing limits the image in certain respects which may or may not affect things. I would stick with the Alt method as Jonathan stated. :) - Gauss
Also... since Riley changed how images scaled (from the opposite side you grab instead of center) aligning gridded maps to roll20's grid is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much easier now.
Gauss, any help on this for us poor schmucks using hexes? I'm not sure what 3x3 is exactly supposed to be in a hex.  I can get about 10x10 hexes to match just about perfectly... but anything larger than that starts to drift off. I realize this is probably a result of imperfect sizing... as the differences become larger and all... *sighs* I'm only using the hexes for overview maps so I guess it's not all that bad... still, really wish I could get them to mesh.
Unfortunately Xan, at this time there is only the set dimensions tool. You can use Set Dimensions to tweak the size but with hex maps this i may take awhile to get right.  If you would like some assistance send me a private message with the link to your game.  - Gauss
Thank you Gauss!  This is BLOODY awesome.  I did not know some of these tools existed!  Thanks for linking them to my blog as I am sure it is going to help a lot of people. Mark
NP, if you have any trouble let me know. You should be able to get very precise alignment.  - Gauss
Phillip W.
Marketplace Creator
Xan said: Gauss, any help on this for us poor schmucks using hexes? I'm not sure what 3x3 is exactly supposed to be in a hex.  I can get about 10x10 hexes to match just about perfectly... but anything larger than that starts to drift off. I realize this is probably a result of imperfect sizing... as the differences become larger and all... *sighs* I'm only using the hexes for overview maps so I guess it's not all that bad... still, really wish I could get them to mesh. Xan.  I'm gonna start working on map packs that will hopefully address the Hex issue by providing tiles with specific proportions to fit the Hex(V) grid (Hex-H has different proportions, not just orientation, so I'm only gonna focus on the V version for now).  The first one just got uploaded to the marketplace today.  I hope to release a dungeon one in the "soon"-ish* future. *trademark Blizzard Entertainment
This should go right into the help manual. I know about the first part but that doesn't work as well. The other methods going in depth are much better for a lot of the strange maps. 
I apologize for having never addressed the Hex issue. I got busy. :)  I will add a writeup for the Hex side of things but unfortunately there is no easy solution. It requires the Set Dimensions tool and a lot of incremental changes.  - Gauss
Hello there, Just wondering if i could put forward an example and if there is a solution (If there isn't, or if this isn't what you consider relevant, then sorry for posting) I've bought a PDF map from Pathfinder (Paizo one) and have been trying to get it to align to the grid. Problem is, while it ends up matching reasonably close near the top left, once you reach the bottom right, the grid becomes so out of alignment that it's half in two squares:
Ivan c., follow the instructions as shown on the video in this link: You will be able to adjust the grid very quickly! :)
Ivan, after using the Align to Map instructions above you should use the fine tuning instructions (steps 4-6).  If you still need help send me a PM and I will come show you. - Gauss
Yup, that worked. Didn't realize it was only showing from the bottom until then. Thanks a bunch
Added a hex map guide to the original post and tweaked a few of the original grid instructions to match changes in Roll20's interface. - Gauss
Leif Egil R.
KS Backer
Added this to the Wiki :-)
Leif, do you have a link? :) - Gauss
Leif Egil R.
KS Backer
Yes, I did slight modifications on the presentation, to make it fit the wiki, but it's basically copy-paste. Also added it to the Tips & Tricks.
I read your original post but I'm not sure my question is covered there. Frankly I'm not even sure how to frame it. The map covers roughly 25  squares by 50 squares, so even using the advanced tools only makes the map zoom in or out, cutting out parts while the squares remain. Is there any way to make the grid be larger? Is that what set dimensions does, because in my case it only seemed to cut out my map again. Also, is there a way to remove the gray shading outside of the grid? I don't feel it adds anything to the game except can throw me off when I'm scrolling on a very zoomed out map.
Timothy, it sounds like you are not making the page size larger to match your map size.  1) Click on the Page Toolbar (blue icon in the top right corner) 2) Click on the Page Settings (blue icon with a 'cog' shape) next to the map you want to alter.  3) Change the Page Size to the size you want.  4) Click 'Ok' If this doesn't help let me know.  - Gauss
I cant even get that far..... I can not find a way to put my map on the screen...................... what do I need to do..?
Kristin C.
Roll20 Team
Shane, just drag an image from your desktop to the tabletop. The image needs to be a JPG,GIF, or PNG and under 5MB in file size.
You can just turn the grid off.
KS Backer
Any chance of getting some video or at least images for how to do this alignment with hexes? I'm very new to Roll20, but eager to give it a try. Of course I need a hex playfield. is the solution listed making the Roll20 squares fit in the image map hexes? Best, Chris
I will talk to Kristin about it. She is our resident video maker.  In the meantime if you send me a join link I can show you. - Gauss
KS Backer
Slowly removing foot from mouth... I now see the option for changing squares into hexes.
This is the best feature I've ever seen. And here I was thinking my map would be sloppy-looking.
Hey there guys! I may be being dense, but I thought I'd ask anyway.  I have a map which I want to use as a background that has a grid on it. My problem is that the scale of the grid is that each square is worth 10ft. Am I going to have to simply estimate a 1.5 by 1.5 square when aligning the grid, or is there an easier way? Thanks!

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Thank you. Followed the instructions as written (understood the concept) and got a perfect result. Here's how I'd have explained the process to myself: 1 - Zoom 150% (Ctrl + wheel up) 2 - "Align to grid". 3 - With Alt+drag, align manually the central square. The error will be more visible the farther away from the center. 3 - Use "Set dimensions" to stretch the map vertically until the top (or bottom) square is aligned. 4 - Stretch the map horizontally to align the sides. 5 - Remember to stretch both dimensions in the same direction to keep proportions.
Ok, So I thought I had a way figured out for aligning a map so that each square on the map was worth 4 squares on the grid, by using align to grid, drawing the 3x3 square and halving the pixel result.  It's sort of worked. The map is roughly aligned so that one square of the map equals 4 in the grid. In the centre.  No matter how much I resize the map, I CANNOT get it to perfectly line up. I'm trying to follow the 'If the map's lines are to the right of/below the grid lines, decrease the width/height and vice versa' rule. But in some parts of the map the lines are to the right of/below the grid, and in some parts the lines are the exact opposite. In some parts they're dead centre... I have NO idea what I'm doing, and would really appreciate a really broken down, idiot's, step-by-teeny-tiny-step guide to fine tuning the map once you've aligned it with the align tool.  This is driving me up the wall. Any help would be very very much appreciated, guys! Thanks! Tom. x
Thomas, please send me a join link and I will come help.  - Gauss

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Thomas M. said: I have NO idea what I'm doing, and would really appreciate a really broken down, idiot's, step-by-teeny-tiny-step guide to fine tuning the map once you've aligned it with the align tool.  By your description, I believe you've stretched the map cells not to the same size of the grid cells but to a common multiple: Imagine the playing grid is 60 pixels wide, that the map grid is 59 pixels wide and that your map has 120 cells. With only one pixel difference, the first cells seems perfect. But the funny thing is that the last cell fits too, because the last map cell goes from 7021 to 7080 and the last grid cell goes from 7020 to 7080. However, after 30 cells, a map cell goes from 1770 to 1829 and, at that location, the grid cell goes from 1800 to 1860. They are completely wrong! The reason for that is that you've got 120 map cells but only 118 grid cells. The solution is to stretch the map the entire width of two grid cells and try again. So do a "Set Dimension", make the map 120 pixels longer and try again. Now, each map cell will have a new width of Width+(Total_Stretch / Number_of_Cells), or 59+(120/120) = 60, which is the grid width. pro tip: You can try at random until it fits, but the way to know exactly how many cells you need to stretch or contract, is to scroll to see how many times the cells get out of phase. i.e.: In the example above, the cells fit at 1, 60 and 120. They don't fit at 30 and 90. Two points of out of phase means you need to stretch or contract the map the width of two grid cells (120 pixels).
Roll20 grids are 70pixels by 70pixels. :) - Gauss
Gauss said: Roll20 grids are 70pixels by 70pixels. :) - Gauss So I guess the reason not to just count the horizontal and vertical cells and "Set Dimension" to 70*H by 70*V, is that many maps have partial cells or non-grid territory on the sides. I think I'd have done the "Align to Grid" by asking the user to select the largest square in which he can reliably count the cells, and then asking for that number of cells. One more step, but I believe people would be able to make at least 8x8 squares by sight (not counting with the finger on the screen :) ). I also think the app is quite well done and by people who seem to know what they are doing, so probably they tested different sizes, saw that it didn't add much to make bigger squares, and/or just set it at 3x3 to reach the largest population.
Thanshin, I am not a Developer, just a Moderator helping people use the tools available.  - Gauss
Gauss said: Thanshin, I am not a Developer, just a Moderator helping people use the tools available.  - Gauss I wasn't implying you were, nor being sarcastic. I sincerely think that the app has been done pretty well. That's why I believe that what seems obvious to me must have been to the devs too, and there must have been valid reasons not to do it that way.
Hey guys.  Thanks for your replies! Sorry for my tardiness, I've been away from my computer. In the end I just disabled the grid and decided to have the players move their tokens free-form. Works just as well, and several hundred times less hassle.  Thanks all the same! Roll20 is amazing, just what I needed to start a long-distance game with old friends!  Yours, T. x
Thomas, if you ever decide to go back to the grid I can show you how to align your map. It doesn't take long once you learn how.  - Gauss
wasnt positive on this but i figured i would ask. how does making my own resources work as far as photoshop is concerned. i am pretty handy with a tablet and pen, and i like ot have a more dimensional feel to a map and i figure a partial slant to map would help but also want to add some personal dimension to my campaign... how do i go about setting up photoshop to work with this? should i do seperate drop in palletes or can i draw a complete map and import minus token items?
Make your map, save it as a JPG, PNG, or GIF (JPG is usually best since it is the least processor intensive) and then drop it into Roll20. The maximum size limit for any single image is 5MB (10MB for paid accounts). Additionally, very large maps should (currently*) be avoided because they can cause lag with people's video cards. Divide a large map up into sections to prevent this. *The Devs have an update on the Development server which reduces the video card lag on large maps. The definition of a very large map varies but typically I would suggest keeping it to about 25x25 squares (or 1750x1750pixels) per map section. Alternately, you can make tiles and drop those in. Note: try to avoid very large file sizes when you make tiles. I have seen some people who have a single tiled map page in excess of 50MB. It can take some players a couple minutes to get into a game with pages built like that. - Gauss
thanks for the speedy reply. shouldnt be to hard to keep the mb down if i am merely taking my 3d render from autodesk maya and then screen printing to photoshop to add some definition and layers masking efects to make it real and playable. on this subject is there a way to make the tokens run between layers of image? like say i had a bridge. and the characters were on the bridge and i was at a angle in my view window. like say from top-left of bridge... is there a way to layer the view so that it seems that the players are between the trusses of the bridge and not just scrolling across the image?
Francis P., within the same layer images can be on top of each other. However, an image on top of another image will obscure the image below. I am not entirely sure what you are asking about regarding the bridge. - Gauss
bridge was just an example, but if you look at a picture of a bridge, you dont just see the road and cars or people on it. you see the pillars holding the structural weight, then the walking/driving surface, and then another set of pillars. if this were recreated in the roll20 game with a slightly angled view an you have a layer of something like the pillars or clouds for example show over the player tokens in the scene? as if you were walking out of view behind the object?