Today, a quick tour of one of the hidden gems of Photoshop – especially for building and structure mapping: The Grid.
Photoshop has a grid built in. You can reveal it by pressing cmd/ctrl + ‘ Chances are that the default grid won’t be quite what you’re after so here’s some steps for making the grid work for you.
1. Customise the scale
I tend to work on projects with a 1 inch scale. Customize the grid by going to Preferences -> Grids, Guides and Slices. Set the Gridline every xxx pixels to every 100px for a 100dpi image, or every 300 pixels a 300dpi image (or just change the units in the dropdown and set it to have a gridline every inch).
I also set the grid to have 10 subdivisions. This is useful if you need more fine grained control over your grid squares. You should now have something like 1. in the image.
2. Use your grid!
Yes, it’s really that easy. I create a new layer and fill it with black (or TSR blue, or whatever other starting colour you want to begin with for your walls). Then cut out rooms using the select tool and delete to remove the contents of the selection. Here I’m running the walls along the primary gridline. It looks fine, but the problem is that all walls have to be at least 5′ thick. That’s not ideal.
3. Smarter Walls
In this version you can see why I use 10 subdivisions in the grid. I make every wall start 1/10 of a grid square inside the major line. This way, when I want to place internal walls, they are only 2/10 of a grid wide. This gives enough room to place door icons as well. And if I’m going to use a map in a vtt later, I can run the Fog of War down the major grid lines and the players will still always be able to see the walls.
The snap-to-grid behaviour is great, but you can toggle it using shift+cmd/ctrl+; So that will let you freehand, but still have the grid visible. Handy for drawing natural caverns.
More tutorials under the Tips and Tricks archive
If you have any questions, or suggestions for future tutorials, throw them in the comments!