Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Text and Format Tips for Print Comix
El Cid at 8:36AM, Nov. 10, 2009
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I've never seriously considered getting any of my comics printed, largely because up to this point all my work has been degenerate filth that I should probably be locked up for. But I'm planning on doing some more mainstreamy type stuff in the near future and, even though I have no real plans on printing any of that either, I'd at least like to future-proof it by making it printable should I make that decision later on. I was wondering if anybody had some advice on how to best ensure that the text comes out crisp and clear? I usually do my speech balloons in Illustrator and import them back into Photoshop, but I think that's a waste of time because Photoshop just rasterizes them anyway. If I'm doing something for print, should I do the final version in Illusrator? What format should it be in?

Or am I worrying too much about nothing? I just recall hearing from somebody who had his comic printed once that the artwork came out fine but all the text was kinda blurry.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:20PM
Darth Mongoose at 8:31AM, Nov. 12, 2009
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If your comics aren't printing well, it's usually not a format problem, but a size problem. If you're working for print, you want to be scanning/creating pages at 300dpi at very least. 600dpi or even 1200dpi (if you're crazy and have a flashy computer!) is preferable for pure black and white work such as screentoned manga.

Try to make sure that your files have been created at 300dpi or more. They'll be enormous when opened with photoshop because in pixels, their size will measure in the 1000's. Also, make sure if possible that they're at the exact size in cm/inches that you plan to print at (so if it's A5 with a 3mm bleed, you want the pages to measure 148x210mm plus 3mm on each side for bleed, so add 6 to each = 154x216. Finally, use a format your printers will like, such as tiffs or pdfs (some printers like psds, it's best to ask before printing)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:08PM
mattchee at 11:23PM, Nov. 12, 2009
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Given how often this topic of resolution/print comes up, I thought I'd write a blog post about it to help folks in more detail without have to type it out a bunch. Literally, like today. ha! Hopefully it helps:

http://inkoutsidethebottle.blogspot.com/2009/11/viva-la-resolution.html
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:55PM
El Cid at 5:44AM, Nov. 13, 2009
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Thanks y'all! I'm already very familiar with resolution issues (I worked in a photo lab for several years, so I've had to explain this stuff to people like a million times), but my major concern was just the text thing, mainly that I was told that Photoshop's rasterized text prints crappy and I was wondering if anybody else had ever noticed this before? I've never paid much attention to it until now.

It seems like Ka-Blam prefers their documents in TIFF format, so I guess no matter what you have to rasterize and export at some point, since Illustrator does not save TIFF files (or at least my version doesn't).
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:20PM
mattchee at 8:29AM, Nov. 13, 2009
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Typically, for lettering, I do all of the lettering in Illustrator, and then import the illustrator file (JUST the words and balloons, I turn off the image layer) into photoshop as a raster file and just drop that on top of the art. Keeping in mind that your art is 300dpi and you import at 300dpi, I have no complaints about this method– and I print with Ka-Blam frequently.

Lately, since I've started using Manga Studio to draw my comics, I've been using their internal lettering tools– but I will tell you, I prefer the results from the above method.

I don't really have complaints about photoshop's text.. I've made plenty of print ads and other print materials soley in PS with their text tools, and have been happy with the quality. The AI into PS MAY result in cleaner type– but I prefer the method mostly because its way easier for me to manipulate the text and dialog balloons in Illustrator.

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:55PM

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