General Discussion

QUACKCAST 129 - needs your CONTRIBUTION! Subject: Tell us about your comicing technique!!!
ozoneocean at 6:38AM, May 20, 2013
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HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Banes and I would love if you could post in this thread and tell us about your comicing technique.
This fits in with our technical series of Quackcasts when we investigate different comic making tools, like pen and paper, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Toon Boom Studio, Manga Studio etc.
Please tell us about the tools you use to make your comic, its pros and cons, how much it costs, how long it took you to learn how to use it, where other people can get it… all that sort of stuff, we want to know and that info can help others too so please share it!
 
Just post your submissions in this thread or send recordings to ozoneocean at yahoo dot com.
Due date: Thursday the 6th of June
 
ozoneocean at 9:09AM, May 26, 2013
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Hi guys, this is the one we need contributions for now, so if you'd like to tell us how you make your comics we'd love to hear it! :)
 
Genejoke at 12:03PM, May 29, 2013
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whereto begin…
Writing.  
I do too much in my head but have to tae notes, my phone comes in handy via a note app.  scripts when i do them are simpleaffairs, I use notepad.  tried celtx and other software but there was little of no gain.
Traditional art.
I use cheap pads, mechanical pencils, fine liners and sharpies.  
I thumbnail, pencil and ink in one, often inking incomplete pencils.
then I scan in and magic happens.
Then I use the freely available photoshop cs2for more magic.
I alter brightness and contrast to clean up the image, maybe the eraser too.  
I duplicate the layer and set top one to multiply.  Between thoseIadd morelayers and colour s and stuff.  ie more magic.
for lettering I cut and paste from script,if I wrote one.  for speech bubblsI use the elipse, pen tool and stroke function.
3d art…
i'll come back to that.
gullas at 3:25PM, May 29, 2013
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MSPaint foh life, you know what shizzles for brizzlez…. fo sho? 

But in all seriousness I do draw all of my stuff in paint, but for some of the more complicated pages I find it very handy to sketch it up on paper just to get the feel for the poses,scenery etc.. my two pages in the 2012 Radio Play are an example of me planing ahed on paper, before drawing it…
skreem at 4:50AM, May 30, 2013
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I’ve employed a selection of techniques to make my “Comics” whilst I have been haunting DD. But at the moment (to make my Blackened Rags comic), I am using the method I find most fun. I’m sure to the casual onlooker it is as dull as ditchwater but nevertheless here it is in all it’s glory:

1.Stare out of the bus window and think stupid thoughts for later inclusion in said illustrated document, often with emphasis on the continued victimisation of the drippy character Kimberley Pimberley.

2.Rush into office, pretend to be working whilst polluting Google drive with nonsense about Doris and Claypoole.

3.Bide time.

4.Under the cover of night take 1 piece of A4 and fold into 2. 

5.Draw in pencil the overall shape and flow of the page (I’m not very good at this yet, but I have been studying Doctor Strange layouts from the 60’s/70’s which are insanely beautiful.)

6.Ink with a fine tipped pen, paint in the dark bits with a brush and some Quink.

7.Scan image into the computer, lose a lot of image clarity and weep until the hollowness passes. This is the method, do not question it!

8.Photoshop adjust the blacks to make them black black.

9.Speech bubbles I hate. This part is pure torture. I generally lay the text on in red over the image. Then paint the bubble below in white and use a 2 or 3 pixel outer glow effect (in black with the spread dialled down).

10.Whack on comic header.

11.Let it sit on the desktop for a while and cringe at all the spelling mistakes.. then eventually fix them.

12.Upload to website. Finish.
 
last edited on May 30, 2013 4:52AM
usedbooks at 5:55PM, May 30, 2013
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I draw pages with my big PhD (brand name) mechanical pencil, 0.5 lead and click erasers. I also use a transparent ruler, and I draw on standard white printer paper. Nothing special.
 
I have a portable scanner, so I can take it when I have to travel, and my computer is a Fujitsu pen-abled tablet laptop. (I ordered one without the touch screen, a special pen is needed. That way resting my hand on the thing won't hurt anything.) I use both my mouse and tablet pen in editing. It's the best computer I ever owned, tough and powerful enough to play the games I like (nothing hardcore, but it runs Sims 3), mostly a laptop – but I can draw on it. I have a real artist friend who had a blast with it. It was also the most expensive computer I ever bought, around $1600 I think. (I got a customized one. A standard one is cheaper.)  Still not bad since it is an artist tablet, perfect pressure sensitivity and everything while also being just a good solid laptop for games and productivity stuff.
 
I use whatever edition of Paint Shop Pro I currently have. This one is “Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2.” (I started with PSP7; they're all mostly the same.) I got my latest one on a 75% off sale on Amazon. The software is usually $100, so it's affordable for an unprofessional dabbler type. – And it's $30 or less if you find it on sale. I can do all the layers I need and effects and I'm comfortable with it.  It can be glitchy and sometimes decides to freeze and crash for no reason at all, so I make sure to save and reopen a project from time to time.
bravo1102 at 2:58AM, May 31, 2013
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When doing traditional art like I did for the DD Radio plays or Lite Bites I get a pile of paper and a disposable mechancial pencil.  I have many different types so I grab whatever one is handy.  I used to do all my sketching with a 4H pencil and would put together characters, backgrounds and images in no particular order.  I still do roughs with the 4H and then fill in with the mechanical pencil.  It depends on what I'm drawing and how definite I want the shape to be before adding the inks.

Then I'd ink them with a broad selection of markers that I left over including some Sharpie, Prisma Color whatever looks best on the paper I'm using.  Then it all gets scanned into the computer and the panel line art put together into panels and pages in Photoshop.  I like being able to move things around and resizing them so I do panels and even images seperately and then compostie them in Photoshop.  They're all colored or what have you (see the DD Radio play 2012 where I did it all Grey scale) in Photoshop using lots and lots of layers trying to get the textures and effect I want.  I'm free and easy and just play around until it looks like a page.  Then I add the dialogue and resize and rearrange everything because i didn't leave room for the balloons.

I cannot put together a page of panels just drawing as my layout skills just aren't there without being able to cut and paste and resize.  I like to fiddle about until everything is just right and not have to erase everything and start over or mis size something and disrupt the entire flow of the page.  It's a very fluid process.

Now if I had a tablet and actually saved up for one rather than blowing it all on dolls and model kits I might be able to cut out a step or two and make life so much easier.  But I'm too committed to plastic.  Or maybe I just ought to be committed.  Whatever.
Genejoke at 1:27AM, June 4, 2013
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technique for 3d stuff.
The scripting is the same, I sort of do it, ish.  I do a lot in my head or make notes on phone.
Anyway already covered that so.
from my not actually a script I work out what I need on the page.  how many seperate scenes, do I need an establishing shot and so on.  I thumbnail it in my head to a degree.  Due to high poly counts of many of the models I use i cannot make one huge set populated with hundreds of characters.  i have to select what i need and tailor it.  Doing space scenes for BASO is often easy (ish)  planets and spaceships, the only challenge is lighting and scale.  Well not only but he key ones.  I use various different tachniques for space scenes.  I render the planets and ships without a background (usually) and create the starscape in photoshop.  sometimes I create the planets that way too, but less so nowadays as I've created a few planet maps and am getting better at making them look convincing.  By planet maps I mean textures for the spheres, in case anyone was unaware.
For scenes with characters, well I create the set, or select one from my product library.  i don't make many models from scratch to be honest but I often add to sets or mix and match. Once the set is ready I add in the characters who i will place roughly before posing them for each render.  before I render anything comes the lighting, which can be tricky.  Some sets lend themselves to basic lighting techniques that provide great renders, some… do not.  I'm far from a master of lighting but slowly getting better, i think.
Once ready I make a bunch of renders, often too many, or a couple that a very similar as I may not have pinpointed exactly what i want on the page.  Sometimes I'll render a few pages worth of panels before I start putting the pages together in photoshop.
Next step is to open the individual renders in photoshop and tweak them.  after that I contsruct the page(s) and add other stuff and voila!!!!!
Gunwallace at 2:06PM, June 6, 2013
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The major bit of the process for me is the writing, even with the stuff I'm drawing traditionally these days. 
Here's the process for an Episode of Character Development:
Theme: Each episode is built around a vague idea or theme.  Often the title comes first (but sometime last) and guides the episode direction.  I usually have an end point in mind … such as by the end of the episode the characters will be on a raft surround by sharks … and so when I write the episode I know what I am trying to get toward.
 
Draft: I usually sit at the computer and type dialogue exchanges into a basic text editor.  I don't necessarily know who is saying what at this stage, but just type furiously until the arguments and insults of the characters get to the required plot point.  Sometimes the dialogue runs away from me, and one episode becomes two, but I try to edit heavily to avoid that.  More often than not two ideas become one episode instead.
Page Breaks: The next edit tries to chop the dialogue into page lengths, so each page ends with a punchline or a teaser or natural transition point.  If a page seems too long I hack and slash the dialogue down. If it's too short I try to add in more puns or insults within the context of the page.
Layout: Next I open up Comic Life on my Mac, and create six pages of 3 x 3 panels as the basic layout grid, plus the title page.  The script is then typed or pasted into speech bubbles and laid out in order, usually one bubble per panel or less.  If there are more bubbles than that they tend to get edited down again at this point, unless the dialogue is short and snappy, in which case I'm happy to go to two bubbles per panel.  If the draft script was still too short for the page layout then I try to write in extra dialogue at this point.
Text and Panel editing: The next step in this painfully long process is to bold and italicize various words in each speech bubble, and align the bubbles roughly in their panels At this point the 3 x 3 grid gives way to combined panels, double panels, length width panels, and so on … I try to confirm who is saying what at this point, if it isn't already obvious to me. Some characters have traits that make it clear who is speaking, others are less obvious and can be substituted freely.
Photo Time: Then it's time to go play with toys and a camera.  The panel layout informs the shots, and I take multiple angles and multiple shots to make sure I have what I need. Then the photos are uploaded to the computer, and dragged into the waiting panels where they are resized.
Last step: Finally the speech bubbles are nudged into their final positions, with the tails pointing to the correct mouth.  I'm still editing text, usually down, at this point, taking out words, or using something shorter that says the same thing. Then the pages are exported and are ready to be uploaded.
Now it's time to start over again on the next episode …
For stuff I draw myself the process is very similar, but replace the photo taking with drawing.  For scripts others will draw I don't tend to do the layout steps, although the last two things I have written for others has gone through the whole process as the artist requested I give them suggested panel and page layouts, complete with text balloons … which can be a very long process.
David ‘Gunwallace’ Tulloch, www.virtuallycomics.com

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