Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Text and Speech bubbles
Meechi at 7:25AM, July 24, 2007
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I created a Photoshop template for my comic pages that has a “dialogue” folder in it. In the folder I have a layer for my speech bubbles, and above that is all of my text. On the “bubbles” layer I have the “stroke” layer effect. I type in my text. Then I use the elliptical marquee tool on my bubbles layer and surround all my text, holding down Shift for multiple selections. Then I grab the polygon lasso tool and make the tails for the bubbles, again holding shift for multiple selections. Then I got to “Edit” and then “Fill,” fill it with white, or the foreground color of choice depending on what it is..and there you go, text and speech bubbles.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:58PM
RabbitMaster at 8:02AM, Aug. 6, 2007
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So does anyone have any ideas about thought balloons?

“Perhaps you would care to try your villany on a less defenseless opponent?”–Kung Fu Rabbit
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:57PM
polo at 6:09PM, Aug. 8, 2007
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I use adobe photoshop to color and adobe illustrator to letter! Adobe illustrator is pretty easy to use when it comes to lettering!
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:47PM
cartoonprofessor at 6:12AM, Sept. 8, 2007
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RDraconis
And are there any suggestions about balloon placement? I'm ok with how I make balloons- I'm just lost when it comes to putting them.

Obviously the text must not interfere with the visuals but compliment it.
Try to arrange your balloons so that the text leads the readers' eyes through the action… this can take some practice to achieve.
There needs to be a natural flow across the page so the reader 1, does not have to try to work out the sequence of conversation, and 2, maintains the pace and flow of the story.
Try to avoid corners of both panels and pages.
Attempt to work in a ‘snake’ pattern down your page.

When I create a page I type in the text first in Photoshop, having a vague idea of how I want the page to look. (Sometimes I will sketch up a ‘rough’, most times not.)
Placing the text first allows me to work out ‘flow’ of the action and panels structure. note: each section of text must of necessity have its own layer.
Then once I have at least rough visuals in I ‘circle’ marquee each piece of dialogue, create a new layer (called b1, b2, etc) for each text layer and stroke the marquee with 5 pixels.
Then using the pen tool I ‘draw’ the balloon tags, erase the small piece of circle in the top of the tag and fill with whatever colour you want. "Lock' each balloon layer to it's text so you can manouevre each bubble for precise positioning.

I do all the lettering, drawing and colouring in Photoshop.
Hope this helps. I haven't checked out the tutorials mentioned yet. There may be an easier method but I am pretty quick with mine now.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
herio at 9:28PM, Sept. 9, 2007
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whiterabbit
Once I made the transition to shading on the computer, I found this method easiest for me.

1. Create text on a layer above the art.
2. On the art layer, use the eliptical marquee tool to surround text.
3. Using the shift+polygonal lasso tool combo, create stem of the word balloon.
i do that but i stop there and make a new layer make that buble whte and use out line
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:47PM
Kali at 8:37AM, Sept. 10, 2007
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This page helps.

Fenrir says Grrrrrr!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:13PM
Weirdo at 10:19PM, Sept. 17, 2007
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Yay this topic has helped me. But luckily i haven't had to make speech bubbles yet. I fear the time that i will becuse it is coming up soon.


^Cool Avie Kali
Onigiri. I'm a dancing Onigiri.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:48PM
korosu at 3:52PM, Nov. 25, 2007
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PsychoBob has downloadable speech/thought bubble brushes, as well as a crazy amount of other brushes, patters and textures.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:20PM
jimmy_genocide at 7:41PM, Dec. 9, 2007
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ive discovered a hellishly easy way to make speach bubbles… well not so easy to make them but you'll get the idea when im done explaining.

everytime i make a new speech bubble i save the image (without text) as a brush on photoshop (which is where i do all my editing and colouring) once i got a few done in various shapes i ended up using them repetitively in various sizes, which isnt too hard to do in photoshop.

although occassions do occur that i need to make a new one, it makes it a hell of alot faster when i dont need to make new ones… currently i usually only have to make a custom one once and a while

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:09PM
harleytucker at 8:52PM, Dec. 17, 2007
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this page helped me out alot. thanks to all who posted any type of tutorial.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:45PM
Warpedwenger at 5:07PM, Dec. 29, 2007
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www.blambot.com Nuff said…
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:46PM
Darwin at 9:03AM, Jan. 2, 2008
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Blambot's bubbles are nice, they look professional and are pretty doggone verstaile…however…they have limitations. Like if there is a long running conversation between two characters (Say a full page of art), then Blambot's bubbles fall short. I know I used them for a long time.

So I have to say I am much more enamoured with the Subcultured tutorial. The suggestion about saving them has occured to me…but I definitely want to look into that Bubble Brush tool that is mentioned above (will have to wait until I get home again…but I do want to look into it!).
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:08PM
Warpedwenger at 10:24PM, Jan. 4, 2008
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Yeah I dont use em either to be honest. I just draw my word bubbles…But I guess that doesnt work for everybody.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:46PM
Naughtelos at 10:16AM, March 3, 2008
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I recommend Macromedia Flash or Fireworks, it works like paint and it doesn't turn your lovingly sketched speech bubble into a pixelated abomination.
But, for my own comic, I use a little tool in my main creation software, (aptly named Comic Book Creator), but it's not worth trading off your old software for just for speech bubbles.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:09PM
spacehamster at 4:09PM, April 5, 2008
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Feel free to launch a barrage of resounding “DUH”s at me, but if you have access to Adobe Illustrator (and a lot of people who have Photoshop have Illustrator as well), good heavens for the sake of all that is inky and comes in panels, use it.

I've just finally, after literally years of Illustrator languishing on my harddrive unused, decided to give it a try, and trust me, once you figure it out, it's an absolute dream to work with. It did take me a couple of hours of fiddling, pulling out hairs and yelling at the screen to take the hang of it because it was all so alien to me at first, but I think I know what I'm doing now, and it's a thing of beauty. I'm actually going back and re-lettering old pages with it as we speak.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:50PM
warefish at 3:53AM, Aug. 4, 2008
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I sometimes create an entire template (complete with the speech bubles, pannels and text) on MS Word. I create these templates based on a draft that I draw out before hand, then I print the template and draw over it.
Either that or I draw the entire thing by hand, pannels and all.

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:45PM
Aghammer at 8:58AM, Aug. 12, 2008
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warefish, interesting thought… I'll have to try that. I've tried with photoshop and it works but is a pain in the butt. I don't have illustrator at the moment or I would use that (and have in the past). Since my stuff right now is very manual I usually just draw in the word bubbles using a template and that works okay.

Jimmy, another good thought… I might give that a shot as well. Anything that saves me pain and time (which I have very very little of) is appreciated.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:47AM
Aghammer at 9:01AM, Aug. 12, 2008
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For the manual bubble makers (this is NOT a reference to taking a bath) I use templates I picked up at Blick art (http://www.dickblick.com/zz554/75c/).
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:47AM
Jabali at 2:03PM, Aug. 12, 2008
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spacehamster
Feel free to launch a barrage of resounding “DUH”s at me, but if you have access to Adobe Illustrator (and a lot of people who have Photoshop have Illustrator as well), good heavens for the sake of all that is inky and comes in panels, use it.

LOL! I have to agree with this statement. Either illustrator or Freehand are great vector programs that are very helpful to do speech balloons and lettering, specially when you don't have a tablet and it's a lot easier to manipulate Vector Nodes with a mouse.(in case you don't own a tablet)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
pkostrze at 10:14AM, Aug. 13, 2008
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On the topic of vector programs, someone earlier had mentioned Inkscape (http://www.inkscape.org/). I loaded this up a day or so ago and not only is it pretty slick but it's totally free! I've never used Illustrator or Freehand but Inkscape is really easy to use…
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:46PM
Jabali at 2:07PM, Aug. 14, 2008
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pkostrze
On the topic of vector programs, someone earlier had mentioned Inkscape (http://www.inkscape.org/). I loaded this up a day or so ago and not only is it pretty slick but it's totally free! I've never used Illustrator or Freehand but Inkscape is really easy to use…

I tried downloading the installer but somehow the Mac OS X 10.3.9 version of Inkscape doesn't work. I'm sure it's just a glitch. Anyway, as I read in the specs from the webpage it's looks that similar to the various vector based programs available in the market.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
mattchee at 8:40AM, Aug. 15, 2008
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Jabali
pkostrze
On the topic of vector programs, someone earlier had mentioned Inkscape (http://www.inkscape.org/). I loaded this up a day or so ago and not only is it pretty slick but it's totally free! I've never used Illustrator or Freehand but Inkscape is really easy to use…

I tried downloading the installer but somehow the Mac OS X 10.3.9 version of Inkscape doesn't work. I'm sure it's just a glitch. Anyway, as I read in the specs from the webpage it's looks that similar to the various vector based programs available in the market.

I think you have to have X11 installed for Inkscape to work (like gimp). X11 comes on the install disc for 10.4, (and I believe its part of the regular installation for 10.5), but for 10.3 I think you have to download it:

http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/apple/macosx_updates/x11formacosx.html

See how that works…

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:55PM
Jabali at 12:48PM, Aug. 15, 2008
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mattchee
I think you have to have X11 installed for Inkscape to work (like gimp). X11 comes on the install disc for 10.4, (and I believe its part of the regular installation for 10.5), but for 10.3 I think you have to download it:

http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/apple/macosx_updates/x11formacosx.html

See how that works…



That's right, the system gave me a nonworking link, but thanks to this new link you posted I was able to download the X11 file that I needed. Thanks, I'll be posting my views of inkscape on Monday, again, thanks and have a nice weekend.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
Aghammer at 1:49PM, Aug. 15, 2008
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Cause I'm lazy I've been using this with photoshop

http://graphicssoft.about.com/od/photoshop/ss/textballoons.htm

for those pages where I inked without speech bubbles. It's worked pretty good but you don't have the option, by default, for a multiple bubble etc.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:47AM
OrchardHeroes at 10:34AM, Aug. 21, 2008
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I'm a illustrator guy myself, and have been using the elipse tool and then just using the pen tool to curve the point. It's been working well for me.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:22PM
seedyk at 11:50PM, Sept. 2, 2008
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obviously, ive entered into already overdone territory, but i made this tutorial which essentially abuses Photoshops version of the pen tool. i guess it's like using Illustrator, but you dont need to export and import, saving some time.
http://www.drunkduck.com/tutorials/view.php?id=178

last edited on July 14, 2011 3:27PM
Lady of the Lake at 3:21PM, Sept. 4, 2008
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I see that the topic here is mostly about balloons, but since I draw those by hand I really don't mind them too much. What I want to know is how to get the text to look right. I downloaded fonts from online, and they usually look fine when I photoshop them in-but when I upload them to DD they look all kinds of funny.

So my questions are:
Has anyone else had this problem? And if so, how did you fix it?

I've tried scanning the page at multiples of 72 dpi (the size I post at) and I've tried adding the text after resizing the image. After that, I'm drawing a blank…
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
loam at 4:44AM, Sept. 5, 2008
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Hm… I see what you mean…

Well… you said it looks perfectly normal in photoshop?
If so, which format do you save your pages in?

If it looks pixelated in Photoshop as well, you might wanna select the type-tool and look at the menu on the top. There's a small window with a graphic displaying “aa” there (it's next to the fontsize and the alignment symbols), where you can choose between various styles: none / sharp / crisp / strong /smooth.
If it says “none” there, that should be the problem. None actually means that there won't be any half-transparent pixels around the text, which is why it looks so pixelated like it does in your case. Simply change it (I suggest smooth, but that decision is completely up to you).
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:38PM
Lady of the Lake at 10:33AM, Sept. 5, 2008
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Awesome, I'll try that out :)

Thank you so much! <3
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
loam at 3:15PM, Sept. 5, 2008
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you're welcome :)
Good luck, any if it still doesn't work, feel free to leave me a PQ ;)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:38PM

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