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I'm a web developer who occasionally does design work, though I'm trying to accomplish something else today.


I'm laying out a room and want to be able to create to-scale pieces of furniture. The room itself is 200" x 150".

Currently, I've made a document that I consider a "workable", 5x proportional size - 1000px x 750px. Each time I create a piece of furniture, I have to multiply the dimensions by 5 to keep proportion. That being said, you can imagine when converting multiple dimensions for dozens and dozens of pieces of furniture, it becomes a time-consuming process.

The simplest solution would be to just create a 200unit x 150unit document, that way no conversion needs to be made. But, replacing that "unit" with px, cm, mm, picas, or points either creates documents too small to work with, or too large to work with. Of course, zooming is an option, but then you run into scaling issues.

Is there a way to define my own scale? Or perhaps manipulate DPI so that a 50x50 square in Photoshop appears more like 200px x 200px?

I'm looking for a solution that only has to work on my monitor, not paper - this will not be printed. Using Photoshop CC if it matters.

Thanks in advance.

  • Consider using illustrator, inkscape or some Cad application instead. – joojaa Jan 25 '17 at 18:07
  • I have Illustrator as well, though truthfully I've never used it. Is this easier in AI? I was somewhat aware that photoshop wasn't exactly top-choice for this type of work, I'm just way more familiar with it so I figured it would cut time. EDIT: Realizing now that this would obviously be easier in AI because it's vector-based. Good call, I'll try that when I'm home! – Santi Jan 25 '17 at 18:10
  • Well youd have to use scale in ai too but its easier to use a cm vs meter scale and AI filesize does not blow up for empty space as like pixel editors do. – joojaa Jan 25 '17 at 18:14
  • Well in AI, if I'm "creating" the furniture by simply creating rectangles within Illustrator, then wouldn't I just be able to use a 200px x 150px canvas and zoom in 500% without any distortion? – Santi Jan 25 '17 at 18:15
  • That's the very definition of working with vectors. – usr2564301 Jan 25 '17 at 18:27
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I'm going to answer my own question here:

This question from the onset was just a product of me thinking about things all wrong.

As pointed out by joojaa above, a vector-based program like Illustrator would be a far better choice. Because I'm creating the elements within Illustrator, I wouldn't have to worry about any distortion when zooming in. That means I can make a 200 x 150 document and keep all items true-to-size. To make the document a workable size, I could simply just zoom 500%.

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If it is not to be printed, the phisical dimensions are totally irrelevant so the ppi informations is not relevant either.

It is a strange aproach because you are arbitrary asigning some pixels per furniture, meaning that you are asigning arbitrary pixels per furniture.

This would work for a pixel perfect game for example.

I totally agree a vector based aplication would be far better to use. But if this helps you can use the arrows on the keyboard to move one pixel at a time, but you also can press Shift+arrow to move 10 pixels your image. This means that you could use a 10x canvas, for example a 2000 x 1500 px and still having your 10px precision.

As another tip this means your document is at a resolution of 10ppi, or 10 pixels for each inch.

  • I appreciate the additional information! – Santi Jan 25 '17 at 22:26

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