Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Dramatic scenes
Rimbaum at 9:53PM, Oct. 19, 2006
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Now, while I usually have a fairly good picture of how things should turn out, I know that I can never get too much advice when it comes to laying out a scene on a comic page. Especially dramatic scenes, and how to make ordinary actions and scenes look more dramatic by using different angles.

This is important for me because I do the page layouts on TAE, and want to make every page and action unique and evoke some kind of emotion from the way it's laid out. For example, if one character is bored, I want to basically enhance the feeling that they're bored in the panels they're in.


Are there any tips that people can give me, or will this have to be fairly trial-and-error?
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:08PM
Knuckles at 10:19AM, Oct. 21, 2006
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See the scene in your mind like a movie sequence. Make little temple sketches on scratch paper until you get the layout you like. If that doesn't work, I would suggest looking at some other comics to get a general idea. Since you do a manga-style for TAE, that should be easy for you, since the majority of professional manga, take full-advantage of dramatic scenes as much as possible, sometimes even over-exaggerating. But this would give you a general idea of what it's all about.

Myth Xaran (manga) - http://www.drunkduck.com/Myth_Xaran
Exodus Studios (Games & More) - http://www.exodus-studio.com
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:19PM
Aeon at 10:03AM, Oct. 23, 2006
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It's difficult to put in to words what exactly makes certain panels and layouts ‘emote’ more than others. The simplest esercise you can do is fip through the comics you have around the house. Don't read the text, just look at the panels and analyze how they make you feel, what they communicate to you. Then, read the text, and see if the feelings the pictures communicate were accurate.

Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics has a fairly large section dealing with ways to get feelings from panels, using panel shapes and sizes to create the illusion of time passing, or boredom, tension, or emotion, and I highly recommend picking it up, just to get a new perspective on how to read comics analytically.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:46AM
Ferretshark at 11:41AM, Oct. 23, 2006
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You are talking about dynamic visual language within your panels, camera angles that exude an “oompf” factor.

Check this out as an example of good angles to use:

http://joeljohnson.com/images2/wallywood22panel1600.jpg


Ferretshark
Animator/published illustrator
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:28PM
Mark at 7:12AM, Oct. 24, 2006
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try not to have a too “zoomed out shot” as if its too far away, the reader feels disjointed from the action. Also many short and cramped panels give a sense of speed while long and spaced out panels give a sense of elapsed time.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:54PM
ShadowsMyst at 1:11PM, Oct. 24, 2006
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Drama and mood in a scene are enhansed a great deal by composition, cropping, perspective, and lighting. You can actually create tention and feeling in a scene without ever seeing the faces or expressions of a character if you are using these other elements well.

You really have to consider what sort of feelings you want to invoke in the viewer relative to the characters, as well as how well the viewer can relate to a character at that point, and how the action of the scene is going to unfold. If you want a viewer to feel intimate about a character, a more closeup type shot would be a good choice. Howeever, if the viewers are not introduced with the character or you want the viewer to feel a sense of coolness and non-familiarity, use a long shot. If you want to give a sense of power to one character over another, choose a perspectve that makes the powerful character look taller than the one being oppressed. If you want them talking as equals, find an angle where they are relatively the same height. Lighting is also very important. Heavy shadows and a lot of black feels very ominous, where very bright, soft lights create a comforting, heavenly sense. Hard shadows and light will give things a grittier feel than a softer edge. If you are actually using color, the color selection comes into play. Color invokes moods. Blue is melancholy or night, yellow is dawn or a beginning, red is danger, anger, or passion, etc.

There is quite a lot that goes into it. You may consider looking up some information about movie camera work. It has a lot of good suggestions about composition and lighting of scenes that are relevant to comics, particularly the still camera work.



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last edited on July 14, 2011 3:32PM
Rimbaum at 9:53PM, Oct. 24, 2006
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Thanks for all the suggestions, they're really helpful. I'll really have to check out the book Aeon mentioned, because all I'm working off of right now is intuition (something that has yet to fail me… keyword being YET) and some basic knowledge of how different angles affect the mood of the scene.





But mostly intuition. ^^;
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:08PM
Ferretshark at 5:18AM, Oct. 25, 2006
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Rimbaum
Thanks for all the suggestions, they're really helpful. I'll really have to check out the book Aeon mentioned, because all I'm working off of right now is intuition (something that has yet to fail me… keyword being YET) and some basic knowledge of how different angles affect the mood of the scene.





But mostly intuition. ^^;
Not just camera angles affect the “mood”, but also your coloring! Brighter tones to denote happier, uplifting scenes, and darker ones to denote a more ominous, mysterious, sinister, or other similar scenes.
Ferretshark
Animator/published illustrator
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:28PM

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