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Kobold
 
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 Post subject: Tokens on a TV for in person gaming
PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:39 pm 
I am gaming in-person and using maptool to project maps onto a 40" flat screen LED TV (insignia - very inexpensive) lying flat on the game table. The TV is a native 1080p TV, which matches the native resolution of my laptop.

I find, however, that after I make up some nice player tokens (420x420 pixels) that look GREAT on my laptop screen or pc screen (either blown way up, or very tiny on the map), these tokens look like CRAP on the TV. To the point of almost being indistinguishable when I have the TV maptool client scaling at to about 1" = 5' map onscreen using 50 pixel per inch map files.

Do you think this is a result of the TV itself (inexpensive TV), a result of that large of size of screen really needing a higher resolution, or maps needing to be made at 100 pixels per inch instead of 50 pixels per inch?

I would not think the map PPI would affect how the tokens look on screen, but correct me if that is a wrong assumption.

Anyway: based on this setup, I am looking for advice (in order of incremental expenditures) on how to get the tokens to look better on the screen at the table. This is going to be even more important when I try to upgrade to a larger TV or even a touchscreen monitor like the ones from Mesa Muni or Elo.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

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“Evil isn’t the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it’s a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference.” - Harry Dresden


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 Post subject: Re: Tokens on a TV for in person gaming
PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:48 pm 
Probably a combination of all that.

But the first thought I have is that is the big TV and the laptop are both the same number of pixels, the pixels on the TV are much bigger. And that would be noticeable if you're fairly close.

If you can set the resolution on the TV higher, try that. Also try making the tokens much larger (in terms of pixels) and letting MapTool resize them (it will do this automatically if you put them on the token layer).


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 Post subject: Re: Tokens on a TV for in person gaming
PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:30 pm 
It is a combination of factors. First is that your TV is pretty close to 55 pixels per inch in resolution. When you set your map zoom such that one grid square measures 1"on the TV you are pretty close to your 50 pixels/grid of your map so they probably look pretty good if a little soft. Your 420 pixels/grid tokens however are now being displayed with 1/60th of their native number of pixels (3025 vs 176,400 total pixels). That's 1.7%. They are being scaled down too much and with how close you are to the display the TVs large pixels they aren't going to look as good as they do on your laptop (which probably is 90ish or more DPI). The TV is not as crisp and clean as your laptop as it is primarily made to display moving content.

So you haven't done yourself any favors with such high resolution tokens. Try it with some decent looking 200x200 tokens and see how that works.

Going to a 4K TV would also do wonders. Some pretty good deals on them right now with that big football game coming up soon.


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Dragon
 
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 Post subject: Re: Tokens on a TV for in person gaming
PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:59 pm 
A lot of it also has to do with your TV resolution settings.

It's best to turn off a lot of the "feature" graphical settings and turn other settings to "standard" mode. Turn off any "Sharpness" settings or your graphics will look jagged/pixelated. Make sure you haven't messed with your contrast or brightness to the point that it deteriorates your graphic images.

Depending on the brand & model of the tv, you need to go through every single resolution settings to make sure you are not missing any advanced setting options.

A 1080 resolution should be just fine if you have your settings adjusted correctly. I run Maptool on a 55" Samsung with 100px grids at 1920x1080 and it looks just fine. A lot of it is trial and error until you get your TV settings in a way that works well with your Maptool graphics.

BTW, your TV will never look as nice as what your computer monitor is displaying. So don't try too hard. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Tokens on a TV for in person gaming
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:34 am 
Conandy wrote:
I am gaming in-person and using maptool to project maps onto a 40" flat screen LED TV (insignia - very inexpensive) lying flat on the game table. The TV is a native 1080p TV, which matches the native resolution of my laptop.

I find, however, that after I make up some nice player tokens (420x420 pixels) that look GREAT on my laptop screen or pc screen (either blown way up, or very tiny on the map), these tokens look like CRAP on the TV. To the point of almost being indistinguishable when I have the TV maptool client scaling at to about 1" = 5' map onscreen using 50 pixel per inch map files.

Given your description, you've probably got the TV input setup incorrectly... or the the output from the computer that's connected to it.

Oryan77's advice is closest to what might be going on... I'm using a 32 inch 1080p TV as one of my monitors right now, and the specs you're using would look beautiful on my display. 8 more inches would not turn the output into trash. It should still look very nice. Heck, I've connected it to a 60" plasma and a 72" projection at 1080p and been up on it and it still looks pretty good.

Can you provide the exact model of the TV you are using?

Are you using an HDMI cable to connect to the TV?

When you go to your display settings on your computer, what's it reading for the display to the TV?

You want to have the TV set up to be receiving a native digital/computer signal. You want the computer to be displaying native as well.

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Kobold
 
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 Post subject: Re: Tokens on a TV for in person gaming
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:15 pm 
Quote:
Given your description, you've probably got the TV input setup incorrectly... or the the output from the computer that's connected to it.

Oryan77's advice is closest to what might be going on... I'm using a 32 inch 1080p TV as one of my monitors right now, and the specs you're using would look beautiful on my display. 8 more inches would not turn the output into trash. It should still look very nice. Heck, I've connected it to a 60" plasma and a 72" projection at 1080p and been up on it and it still looks pretty good.

Can you provide the exact model of the TV you are using?

Are you using an HDMI cable to connect to the TV?

When you go to your display settings on your computer, what's it reading for the display to the TV?

You want to have the TV set up to be receiving a native digital/computer signal. You want the computer to be displaying native as well.

TV: Insignia NS-40D420NA18 Native 1080p,40" diagonal.
Laptop: Native 1080p and Windows 10.
Connection via HDMI cable from a docking station, USB 3.0 from laptop to dock
computer reads 1080p output to that monitor and TV shows it is displaying at 1080p
I can't tell how to determine if the TV is receiving a 'native digital/computer signal', but it says 1080p/60 Hz when it comes on and senses the input.

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“Evil isn’t the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it’s a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference.” - Harry Dresden


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 Post subject: Re: Tokens on a TV for in person gaming
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:57 pm 
Conandy wrote:
TV: Insignia NS-40D420NA18 Native 1080p,40" diagonal.
Laptop: Native 1080p and Windows 10.
Connection via HDMI cable from a docking station, USB 3.0 from laptop to dock
computer reads 1080p output to that monitor and TV shows it is displaying at 1080p
I can't tell how to determine if the TV is receiving a 'native digital/computer signal', but it says 1080p/60 Hz when it comes on and senses the input.

You have it connected correctly. There may be some marginal improvement to be had by adjusting the TVs display settings.

You said that your map image is at 50 pixels/grid. Ignoring the tokens, does the map essentially look the same on the TV as it does on your laptop?


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Kobold
 
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 Post subject: Re: Tokens on a TV for in person gaming
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:27 pm 
Phergus wrote:
It is a combination of factors. First is that your TV is pretty close to 55 pixels per inch in resolution. When you set your map zoom such that one grid square measures 1"on the TV you are pretty close to your 50 pixels/grid of your map so they probably look pretty good if a little soft. Your 420 pixels/grid tokens however are now being displayed with 1/60th of their native number of pixels (3025 vs 176,400 total pixels). That's 1.7%. They are being scaled down too much and with how close you are to the display the TVs large pixels they aren't going to look as good as they do on your laptop (which probably is 90ish or more DPI). The TV is not as crisp and clean as your laptop as it is primarily made to display moving content.

So you haven't done yourself any favors with such high resolution tokens. Try it with some decent looking 200x200 tokens and see how that works.

Going to a 4K TV would also do wonders. Some pretty good deals on them right now with that big football game coming up soon.

I think you are on to something, but making the tokens a lower resolution doesn't really help much. Attaching some images:

Bottom one shows the tokens displayed on my TV at about 2" in diameter. You can see the details pretty well, but the difference between the top 420x420 tokens and the bottom 200x200 tokens is negligible after maptool scales them to the grid. At this size, you are seeing approximately 110 x 110 pixels (12,100 pixels) being used to display each token.

Middle pic shows the tokens displayed on the TV at 1" in diameter. As you can see, details all smudge together at this size, regardless of the initial token resolution. So although making 420x420 tokens may be overkill, the scaling of the images done by maptool doesn't seem to affect them much differently based on the initial token resolution. At this size, each token is getting 55 x 55 pixels (3025 pixels).

First pic shows the tokens on my laptop displayed at 1" in diameter. Tons more detail than the TV.

Of course, the laptop has about 146 pixels per inch vs the 55 pixels per inch of the TV (so 21413 pixels vs 3025 pixels per token at 1"), which is why, I suppose, that even if I scale my laptop screen down to where they are very tiny on screen, they still hold onto the details. 3/8" of an inch on my laptop screen represents the same pixels as 1" on the TV screen.

So I think that probably gets to the bottom of things....mostly. I still think the TV's inability to display images as cleanly as a laptop is a factor.

So, my takeaway is that I should probably figure out how to make some simpler tokens with less detail that display better at 55 pixels per inch on the TV, or get a 4k TV.

Anyone have any other thoughts?


File comment: Displayed on laptop at 1 size. Top are 420x tokens, bottom are 200x tokens.
Laptop 1 inch red.jpg
Laptop 1 inch red.jpg [ 242.63 KiB | Viewed 174 times ]
File comment: Displayed on TV at 1" size. Top are 420x tokens, bottom are 200x tokens.
TV 1 inch top 420 bottom 200 red.jpg
TV 1 inch top 420 bottom 200 red.jpg [ 467.21 KiB | Viewed 174 times ]
File comment: Displayed on TV at 2" size. Top are 420x tokens, bottom are 200x tokens.
TV 2 inch top 420 bottom 200 red.jpg
TV 2 inch top 420 bottom 200 red.jpg [ 370.29 KiB | Viewed 174 times ]

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“Evil isn’t the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it’s a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference.” - Harry Dresden
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 Post subject: Re: Tokens on a TV for in person gaming
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:16 pm 
I think you have it. High-res tokens with lots of fine detail just aren't going to look good when displayed at a much lower resolution and TVs aren't as good as computer monitors.

I would say that the 200 pixel tokens do look better but only marginally as that one token on the left is so very busy.

Going with tokens that start out a lot closer to the target display resolution will have less issues. That doesn't mean taking 400 pixel tokens and scaling them down but actually starting with images that look good at 100 pixels or less. Use the portrait image in the token config to display the nice image and go with recognizable for the base image.

Or get a 4K TV. :)


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Kobold
 
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 Post subject: Re: Tokens on a TV for in person gaming
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:19 pm 
Solved my issue for doing tokens on the TV.

I took the same token files created at 420x420 pixels, and used Photoshop to resize the image to 50x50 pixels, which is pretty much exactly the resolution displayed on the TV.

For the record, they look incredibly crappy and pixelated on screen in photoshop at this size. But....

Photoshop does a much better job of scaling the image nicely than maptool does. The photo below shows the end result as the bottom tokens in the picture.

Top tokens created as 420x420 png files.
Middle tokens created as 200x200 png files (scaled down in photoshop from the 420x file).
Bottom tokens created as 50x50 png files (scaled down in photoshop from 420x file).

The difference in how they look on screen is dramatic. The image on the right could still use some touch up (face details smeared quite a bit), but the left image, which has much more detail, is a ton better.

Lesson learned: let photoshop (or gimp or whatever) scale the images to where they will be 1:1 ratio at the desired display resolution of the target output device rather than letting maptool do the scaling internally.


File comment: Displayed on TV at 1 inch. 420x tokens on top, 200x tokens in middle, 50x tokens on bottom.
TV 1 inch 420 - 200 -50 red.jpg
TV 1 inch 420 - 200 -50 red.jpg [ 410.38 KiB | Viewed 172 times ]

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“Evil isn’t the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it’s a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference.” - Harry Dresden
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 Post subject: Re: Tokens on a TV for in person gaming
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:07 pm 
Conandy wrote:
Photoshop does a much better job of scaling the image nicely than maptool does. The photo below shows the end result as the bottom tokens in the picture.

Well, yes, having an image displayed at the perfect res without MT doing any dithering will make the image look better... but there is more going on here for that output to be so bad. Maptool does not dither an image that badly. And, besides, it would look as bad on all 1080p monitors if that was the case.

You can go ahead and resize all of your tokens, but it's not the root of the problem.

In looking at your monitor manual I'd try a couple things:

1) Make sure you turn off "Overscan". TVs will handle 1080p signals from broadcast and computers differently.
2) Try plugging the HDMI cable into some of the other HDMI slots. Are you using the HDMI 1/ARC port?
3) Try turning "Off" auto-sensing on your TV and selecting a computer input manually.
4) Try running from the laptop, directly into the TV.
5) Try a different HDMI cable.

That monitor *might* not display from a computer very well... but most these days are pretty comparable for something this basic (until you start considering things that MT doesn't need like a gaming rig or production rig would want.) I've used about 10 different TV's and Monitors with MT and only found one that didn't take a native 1080p signal well and produced bad output. Some, however, took some playing with the TV's setting to get it to display properly. You can't trust that it will just plug-n-play (especially with cheaper TVs.)

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 Post subject: Re: Tokens on a TV for in person gaming
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:14 pm 
Full Bleed wrote:
Conandy wrote:
Photoshop does a much better job of scaling the image nicely than maptool does. The photo below shows the end result as the bottom tokens in the picture.

Well, yes, having an image displayed at the perfect res without MT doing any dithering will make the image look better... but there is more going on here for that output to be so bad. Maptool does not dither an image that badly. And, besides, it would look as bad on all 1080p monitors if that was the case.

You can go ahead and resize all of your tokens, but it's not the root of the problem.

In looking at your monitor manual I'd try a couple things:

1) Make sure you turn off "Overscan". TVs will handle 1080p signals from broadcast and computers differently.
2) Try plugging the HDMI cable into some of the other HDMI slots. Are you using the HDMI 1/ARC port?
3) Try turning "Off" auto-sensing on your TV and selecting a computer input manually.
4) Try running from the laptop, directly into the TV.
5) Try a different HDMI cable.

That monitor *might* not display from a computer very well... but most these days are pretty comparable for something this basic (until you start considering things that MT doesn't need like a gaming rig or production rig would want.) I've used about 10 different TV's and Monitors with MT and only found one that didn't take a native 1080p signal well and produced bad output. Some, however, took some playing with the TV's setting to get it to display properly. You can't trust that it will just plug-n-play (especially with cheaper TVs.)


Thanks. I figured there was more to it than just maptool, but I was able to quickly get better results with that simple fix. I will work through your troubleshooting suggestions, and let you know what I find out. Thanks a ton for the help.

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“Evil isn’t the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it’s a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference.” - Harry Dresden


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 Post subject: Re: Tokens on a TV for in person gaming
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:08 pm 
Full Bleed wrote:
Conandy wrote:
Photoshop does a much better job of scaling the image nicely than maptool does. The photo below shows the end result as the bottom tokens in the picture.

Well, yes, having an image displayed at the perfect res without MT doing any dithering will make the image look better... but there is more going on here for that output to be so bad. Maptool does not dither an image that badly. And, besides, it would look as bad on all 1080p monitors if that was the case.

You can go ahead and resize all of your tokens, but it's not the root of the problem.

In looking at your monitor manual I'd try a couple things:

1) Make sure you turn off "Overscan". TVs will handle 1080p signals from broadcast and computers differently.
2) Try plugging the HDMI cable into some of the other HDMI slots. Are you using the HDMI 1/ARC port?
3) Try turning "Off" auto-sensing on your TV and selecting a computer input manually.
4) Try running from the laptop, directly into the TV.
5) Try a different HDMI cable.

That monitor *might* not display from a computer very well... but most these days are pretty comparable for something this basic (until you start considering things that MT doesn't need like a gaming rig or production rig would want.) I've used about 10 different TV's and Monitors with MT and only found one that didn't take a native 1080p signal well and produced bad output. Some, however, took some playing with the TV's setting to get it to display properly. You can't trust that it will just plug-n-play (especially with cheaper TVs.)


So, in order:
1. I had played with overscan being on and off prior, with no visual change, but I am now keeping it OFF.
2. I switched from HDMI 2 to HDMI 1/Arc. IF there was improvement, it was hardly noticeable. I had been using HDMI 2 because it is on a better location on the TV relative to my laptop.
3. Turned auto-sensing OFF. No noticeable change.
4. Ran cable directly from laptop to TV. This made the overall picture look different, for sure, but mostly in color temperature type of shift, not picture quality. It didn't noticeably change the token effects I was homing in on.
5. Tried different HDMI cable. No effect.

What I did play with quite a bit that DID have an effect: Sharpness. The default sharpness setting was 50 (seems to be a range of 0 - 100). With sharpness down to 0, my original 420x420 tokens look much better and have much less dithering artifacts, but my 50x50 tokens look smudgy and soft. At 50 sharpness, the 420x420 tokens show a lot of dithering artifacts, but the 50x50 tokens look sharp.

The best looking tokens remain the 50x50 ones with sharpness at the default 50 setting. Sharpness being the only TV control setting I could adjust that had any affect on how the 420x420 tokens look on screen. With sharpness down to zero, though, the 420x tokens are actually useable, much more so than they were before.


File comment: sharpness at 50 (of 100). 50 x tokens on bottom, 420x tokens on top.
Sharpness 50 red.jpg
Sharpness 50 red.jpg [ 439.33 KiB | Viewed 149 times ]
File comment: sharpness at zero. 50x tokens on bottom, 420x tokens on top.
Sharpness 0 red.jpg
Sharpness 0 red.jpg [ 397.67 KiB | Viewed 149 times ]

_________________
Andrew Grover

“Evil isn’t the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as Evil, maybe more so, and it’s a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against Stupid. That might actually make a difference.” - Harry Dresden
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 Post subject: Re: Tokens on a TV for in person gaming
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:34 pm 
I found most of the dither errors has to do with the aspect ratio, if not tv native. Another thing that can effect that is if you adjusted the screen to fit properly on the tv. I have a tv as my monitor and some models work better than others. Make sure your output from laptop is 1920x1080 @ 60hz. You can view the resolution while connected to the tv with your display settings. Make sure scaling is 100%. You can view/change the Hz under the display adapter properties, monitor tab.

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 Post subject: Re: Tokens on a TV for in person gaming
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:53 pm 
So in the end you've still reached the same conclusion which is:

When you are targeting a TV for a display device, create your tokens (and other content) at or near the resolution of the display device.


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