Creating a Marketplace Adventure: 3 Placing and Aligning your Maps

The previous article reviews everything you need to create and adjust the settings of Pages, the elements where you lay out your battle maps, world maps, dashboards, and play spaces in the VTT.

With that knowledge, we can now start place, resize, and align your Adventure's artwork into the game!

Page Layers

Similar to many image editing software, each Page utilize “Layers” to help separate the various types of graphics that you want. There are four Layers available for every Page.

Below is a Screenshot from Paizo's Adventure Path, Abomination Vault as an example:

a27203d64c6b4e5641b9b06c70714c0a.png

And this next image breaks out the various Layers and shows where all the elements on this Page are placed.

The_4_Layers.png

From bottom of the stack to the top, the four layers are:

1. Map & Background Layer

This layer is intended for objects that will remain static during play, such as a battle/world map or a game board. Players can see this layer, but only GMs can access it.

2. Objects & Tokens Layer

This layer is intended for Tokens or smaller images that the GM and the Players will be manipulating on a regular basis. Image elements placed on this layer receive a special radial menu to allow you to edit Token properties. These properties set tracking bars, status markers, player permissions, vision, and name plates. Players can also use the Drawing Tools on this layer. Drawing and playing with Card Decks also happens on this layer.

3. GM Info Overlay Layer

The GM Info Overlay Layer can only be seen by the GM. This is where you can place drawn notes, map label and marker images, room icons, and hidden monsters/NPCs/traps. The special radial menu available on images from the Objects & Tokens Layer work here too.

4. Dynamic Lighting Layer

This layer is available if the creator of the game is a Plus or Pro subscriber. This is another layer that only the GM can see and interact with. This is where you use the drawing tools to draw walls and other obstructions to affect a Token’s line of sight when Dynamic Lighting is activated. Tokens can be placed on this layer too, but the Players will only see whatever light is being cast by them (if enabled) and not the Token images themselves.

Switching Between Page Layers

You can switch between layers via the Layers Button found on the Toolbar.

Layer_Menu.png

You can also use the following keyboard shortcuts on Windows or Mac:

Ctrl + O / Cmd () + O >> Switch to the Objects & Token Layer

Ctrl + K / Cmd () + K >> Switch to the GM Info Overlay Layer

Ctrl + M / Cmd () + M >> Switch to the Map & Background Layer

Moving Selected Content From One Layer to Another

By default, when the GM either uses the Drawing Tools or drags and drops an image onto the Tabletop, it's placed on whatever the currently active layer is. If you make a mistake and place an object on the wrong layer, you can move it to the correct layer by selecting it and:

  • Right-click over the object (selected objects), and from the “Layers” option in the context menu that appears, select the layer you want to to move the object to.

OR

  • Use the following keyboard shortcuts while the content is selected on Windows or Mac:

    • Ctrl + Shift + O / Cmd () + Shift + O >> Switch to the Objects & Token Layer and move any selected objects to that layer

    • Ctrl + Shift + K / Cmd () + Shift + K >> Switch to the GM Info Overlay Layer and move any selected objects to that layer

    • Ctrl + Shift + M / Cmd () + Shift + M >> Switch to the Map & Background Layer and move any selected objects to that layer

A common use case of this feature is to move Tokens from the GM Info Layer (where they are not visible to Players) to the Objects layer (where they are visible) when you want to "reveal" enemies to ambush the PCs.

Uploading, Resizing, and Aligning a Battle Map

The following instructions for setting up a Square Battle Map will be useful for most applications for any other sort of of art map or backdrop you want to include on a Page. We'll note special use-cases throughout these steps for working with non square battle maps.

If you’re new to Roll20, we recommend reviewing Importing and Manipulating Images so you’re familiar with how to move, scale, and rotate objects on the Tabletop.

Note: Hold down the Alt key whenever moving, scaling, or rotating images around the Tabletop to ignore grid snapping.

Step 1: Uploading Your Map

With the Map & Background Layer selected, pull up your map image from your computer’s file directory and click & drag it to anywhere on the Tabletop. This will upload the image to your Roll20 account’s Art Library and also place it to where you dragged it to on the Tabletop.

Note: There are file size limits for uploads based on your subscription level. Free users have a 5mb per asset limit where Plus and Pro subscribers have 10mb per asset limit.

Step 2: Adjust Your Page Settings to Match the Map

If your map is larger or smaller than the current Page Size (default Page size is 25x25 square units), go to the Page Toolbar and open up the current Page’s Page Settings (see the previous article in this walkthrough for more info).

Adjust the size of the Page and the Grid as needed here. We recommend that if you need to do some fine tuning to align your image to the grid, is to set the Page Size a little larger than required to help with this process.

Another recommendation is to change the Grid Color and its Opacity to something that shows up brightly against the map’s artwork. After aligning the artwork to Roll20's grid, you can go back and set the Page and Grid settings to fit neatly around the artwork.

Step 3: Aligning Your Map’s Grid with Roll20’s

In the following video, we demonstrate the various ways to align a map. We also include instructions on how to do this below the video.

There’s several ways to align a Map’s grid depending on what you know about your artwork.

"I know the exact number of grid units for both height and width of my image"

  1. Right-click on the artwork and select “Advanced -> Set Dimensions” from the context menu that appears
  2. In the Set Dimensions menu, you can choose “Pixels” or “Units” from the drop down. Choose “Units” and input the number of grid units for height and width. Click on the Set button when done to resize the image.
  3. While holding down the Alt key (this turns off image snapping when a Grid is enabled on the Page) click and drag the resized image to align the grids.

"I know the exact pixel dimensions for both height and width of my image"

Ideally, you’ll want to also know what the pixel dimensions for a single grid unit is so you can adjust it under Page Size in the Page Settings. The default is set to 70 pixels high/wide per square grid unit.

  1. Right-click on the artwork and select “Advanced -> Set Dimensions” from the context menu that appears
  2. In the Set Dimensions menu, you can choose “Pixels” or “Units” from the drop down. Choose “Pixels” and input the pixel values for height and width. Click on the Set button when done to resize the image.
  3. While holding down the Alt key (this turns off image snapping when a Grid is enabled on the Page) click and drag the resized image to align the grids.

"I have no idea what the dimensions are on my square map and/or my map isn’t cropped neatly to the grid lines" OR "My map has a decorative border where the and doesn't line up well with Roll20's grid."

For this situation, and you’re trying to align a map with a square grid, we recommend using the “Align to Grid” tool.

  1. While on the Map & Background Layer, adjust your Zoom level to 150% or even larger. You can do this via the Zoom Tool on the Tabletop Toolbar or from the Zoom slider that sits at the Top Right of the Tabletop. You want to zoom in so that you can clearly see a 3x3 (three across & three down) section of square grid on your artwork.
  2. Right-click on your map image and choose Advanced -> Align to Grid from the context menu that appears
  3. Click and drag to trace a 3x3 (three across & three down) square box aligned with the grid on your map (we're ignoring the Roll20 grid for right now). The more accurate the trace, the less fine-tune adjustments will be needed after the image is resized.
  4. When you let go of the mouse button after drawing your square, a new window will appear. If you're satisfied with your tracing, click on the Align to Grid button to confirm and the image will be resized based on the parameters set by your tracing.
  5. This should get your map fairly close to lining up with the grid. While holding down the Alt key (this turns off image snapping when a Grid is enabled on the Page) click and drag the newly resized image to align the two grids.
  6. If the image’s scale is still slightly off, use the horizontal and vertical scaling transformers on your image to fine-tune the grid alignment while holding down the Alt key.

Regardless on your method of grid alignment, once you have the map aligned, relocate it so it's set towards the top left of the Page. That way you can return to the Page Settings menu and resize the Page so its dimensions match your artwork and there isn't any blank space spilling over to the right or behind it.

Step 4: Lock the Map’s Position

While it isn't necessary, it is good practice to lock down any images you don't expect to be moved (like a map image). Once you’re happy with where your artwork is located on the Page, right-click on it and select Advanced → Lock Position from the revealed context menu. This will lock the image down in its current position and a translucent lock icon will appear over it. You can always unlock the image again by right-clicking anywhere over the locked image and select Advanced → Lock Position again to toggle this setting off.

<< Step 2 - Setting Up Pages   Step 4 - Placing Hidden/Secret Objects >>
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