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My Comic wants comments

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:52 am
by Ktflowerm
I've changed a few things, tried to fix the art. Don't know if it tooke ffect yet since I can't get to keenspace and it hasn't updated.

Oh well I guess.

It ate my other post which was a shame since I had lots of good advice I was tryng to follow.


PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:54 am
by Ktflowerm

Huzzah! Joy to da werld.

Leynne I love ya *grins at avatar*

*thinks* Even if if you're not in the comic, and I drew you before I could draw.

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 1:14 pm
by Faub
Well, I'll start things back up then...

You REALLY need to darken your comic. The lines are faint and get lost in the background.
Second panel, his face is almost completely lost.

Notice the eraser marks in the first panel Your lines look smudged and your pages have a dirty feeling to them. Notice the face in the third panel. Either this person is a messy eater or she doesn't use a mirror when she puts on makeup. 8)

I'm going to continue as if you're using either the GIMP or Photoshop. I don't know any other programs but usually you can find something that will work in a similar way.

If you're going for pencil texture and grayscale (which it doesn't appear that you are) you should consider messing with the levels tool as this keeps the pencil quality better than curves. Otherwise, curves or levels will do pretty much the same thing. On one side, you can use this tool to darken your lines. On the other, you can use it to remove the smudges.

Levels will not remove the smudges completely so you will need to go back over your image with the dodge tool to fix things. Dodge is more forgiving than erase as it doesn't destroy your lines as quickly.

As far as artwork, your characters tend to have the talking heads thing going. Basically, you have a picture of your character's head and not much action. This makes it difficult to tell who your characters are talking to. Consider drawing some panels with both characters in them. Also, many people talk with their hands so adding some hand gestured might make your characters feel more dynamic. There's no need to go the full Captain Jack Sparrow route but you might take a look at some comic books or cartoons just to see where the hands go. (Surprise, explanation, laughter, greeting, etc)

I seem to remember someone mentioning they liked the hand drawn text better. I'm neutral on the whole subject, but I do think there are better fonts. Look one a font called Anime Ace. It's an all caps font that looks quite similar to the font used by Vertigo and others. I do know there are people who hate it but since I can't draw text to save my life, it's a lot better than Arial for readability and arranging the text on the page.

When you color you seem to be selecting areas and flood filling. Notice the white areas around the lines of his hair and shoulders. Instead of selecting and flooding, you should try making the lines a separate layer and either using the color to alpha filter (GIMP) or setting the layer to multiply. Either will eliminate the white areas.
Jpeg is great for compression, but it doesn't handle text very well. You should either consider backing off the compression level so the text looks cleaner or saving in a lossless format like PNG or GIF. For either of these formats, you would need to reduce the number of colors. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to do this without messing something up so trial and error is your best bet. Sorry.

It might clean things up a little to use word balloons, separating the text from the rest of the image and placing it on a flat color.
They would also help to structure the text here. I have been told that it's better to have several pages and make the text fit nicely than to try to cram too much text onto one page. (I've already killed one reader by doing this. Brains everywhere. 8) )

I think that's enough. I need to be doing homework right now.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2003 6:37 am
by Ktflowerm
Thank you for your reply. You took a lot of time so I appreciate it. I' ve actually found a legible font to use, unfortunatelly it won't be visible for a few days. I was thinking of leaving the old crappy comics be for now because there are way to many to change and I want to redo most of them entirely. I don't think I'll be up to the challenge until December. I have startd to experiment in saving the file so it stays under 100, while still remaining visible. Anyway, I've gotten the cmic dark enough to suit my tastes but it loses the penciled look.

I was looking at my older drawings, nand even though I couldn't draw as well it appars I could actually use photoshop to color in pictures properly. Odd.

I am also thinking of drawing on a full page, I usually draw on a page folde in half. I am also thinking of drawing it in parts and using photoshop to adjust everything. That would get rid of all the talking heads problem, I could fit more on a page but not worry about fitting it on a page properly. Backgrounds drawn on sketch paper look darker and more shaded so I plan on doing that. Actually I think you were the one who draws like that come to think of it, it would fix a lot of my problems. I switched paper and I no longer draw on coated printer paper, therefore my drawig have been coming out darker even without me pressing like mad.

As it is the prospect of redoing everything causes me to freak out at random moments. On the other hand there are a lot of changes I want to make now that I'm somewhat established. So I hope to ask for advice again once I finish my frantic drawing.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2003 6:40 am
by Ktflowerm
and come to think of it, you pending all that commenting tells me you think there's at least a slight hope for me. So I'll just spend all my free times drawing and I should be done eventually.

I know the story is a bit confusing, unfortunately things don't get explained until the two groups of meet. I am not sure how much to explain in advance, since everyone is going to learn it later; obviously if you need the information now . . .

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2003 10:50 am
by Faub
The comic should tell its story at its own pace, but be sure to go back and reread your archives occasionally. If you find they're lacking in some way it might give you an idea of how to correct the problem in the future.

You've got an interesting concept. I would like it see how it develops.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2003 4:58 am
by Ktflowerm
A few annoucements:

1) I got flash, and now I have an animated banner.
2) I found a great inker :-D (who's sittin right behind me actually)
3) I'm trying out a new style visible around the 2nd of Nov.
4) I'm trilll working on finishing all the extras on my site
5) I'm almost done with Part One and I'm scripting Part 2

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2003 7:27 am
by Ktflowerm
WOuld someone see if I ened to ink. Check out Nov 1 and see if it is sufficiently dark enough. I didn't have to darken it all that much either. I do have an inker now for some of my other type stuff but for Part One I'd rather not ink.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2003 7:59 am
by YarpsDat
doesn't look too good technical-wise.
First two panels have large areas of white, that look like you tried to erase smudges with cg brush, unfortunately large gray spots, and nasty edges ruin the effect.
Jpg compression set to a very high value makes all the lines jadged, and painful for eyes.

Plusses: yup, it's darker allright, and they don't blend with the background as they used to.

My tips:
scan in high res (at least 300-400 dpi), greyscale.
Then adjust on computer: first apply curves/levels.
Adjust the whites to make all light-gray smudges white and thus invisible.
Adjust the dark part to make the darkest line you can make really black (as in #000000), unless you think you don't need to.
Then use brush to erase all mistakes, and smudges that were too dark to be removed with levels/curves.

You can even do this: take 3 layers: your scan, new layer, curves/levels layer
and spray some white on the new layer, in places where the dark-graysmudges are. Use BIG, and very delicate (say 10% opacity) spray.
It will make dark areas ligh-gray and then curves will finish them up,
but it won't destroy really dark lines- so it won't destroy lineart.
That way if you have a line you wish to keep, and a nasty dark spot you need to get rid of in one place, it's no problem.

THEN merge all the layers, and resize to your desidered size.
remember to merge BEFORE resizing.

and then save it as gif/png.
USE EXPORT/SAVE FOR WEB/or whatever it's called feature, reduce the number of colors to 16 (mediancut) for grayscale comics. You may need more colors if there is some color on the page (ie a blood stain), you're going to have to experiment with it.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2003 8:27 am
by YarpsDat
Okay, looke here to see what can be done about your Haloween special.
Notice the filesize is around 70kb,- way less than your JPG.

Look at this detail:
this is how it looks on your scan

this is how it looks after applying levels
I set the levels so that everything above 230 gets turned into white.

notice the nasty gray spot right in the middle
-unfortunately that area was 220-210.

this is how it looks after adding a bit of highlight there-
enough to push the gray area from 210-220 into 230-240
but not enough to significanly affect the pencil line (around 150->160, still way below 230 so it stays dark)

You might notice it's still not perfect- there are little 2-3 pixel dots here and there. If I was working with a bigger image, I would now resize it down, to 1/3 or 1/4 of it's size, and thus all the 2-3 pixel dots would became smaller-than-one-pixel dots, and hence they would be invisible.

BTW, It seems to me that some of the spots are caused by your paper not beeing straight on the scanner surface. Maybe the scanner lid is not fit- you can try putting some empty white pages on top of your pages to press them down, and straighten them up.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2003 9:08 am
by Ktflowerm
Oh ow. Thanks :D that was really helpful. I'll try that when I get home. Also my scanner isn't very nice, so I'll try out that bit of advice too. Once I get everything set I'll probably go back and redo everything. I could get my friend to ink which would work for my other comics but not so well for this kind of style. I was thinking of haivng her ink and than shading with photohop or trying to make my pages look better.

But that's cool. I can keep it lookng nice without losing the character of the drawing. This is the proble with learning photoshop with epxerimenting, without your help I'd be lost or it would take me forever to figure that out.

My first ever flash animation. I've gotta still fix it up a bit, well a lot and add backgrounds. But I think I'm getting the hang of flash . . somewhat.
I've made an anmated banner but it has serious speed issues . . .
heh !_!;;

My opinion:

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2003 9:08 am
by VileTerror looks WAY better than those other two. Not that many of you even bother to listen: but I feel all these bloody short-cuts and edits are really ruining the human element of a lot of fine art. Of course my comic is a self-indulgent satire on such things, don't think me a hypocrite (even though I am).

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2003 10:30 am
by Ktflowerm
I agree with you, in a way. I think I do like the shaded look, but the shaded look is no good if you can't see the comic. Besides it takes out the smudgyness. And makes it look clean and pretty and like I take time. I still wanna keep the shading and stuff since it takes me so long to draw. At least when I redo it that'll be inked and the other storyline will probably have a more dreamy look to it, sort of clean pencil art with shading done with the compy.

My art is terrible for this sort of thing. Too much a cross between sorta real and extreme cartoon. Either way it loses something. It's being pulled in both directions at once.

I know what you mean.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2003 10:50 am
by VileTerror
And hearing it from someone else . . . I've decided to embrace it. Just now.

I'll let you know how it turns out. Maybe fighting isn't the answer when it comes to unintentional style.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2003 10:59 am
by Faub
It's not about the drawing. This is about readying the image (any image) for download on the internet.

When you scan an image at 300dpi you get something roughly the size of a table top. The scanner picks up paper texture and sometimes the drawings on the other side of the paper come through. (Doesn't happen on bristol board, but I'm cheap.) The uncompressed image will be around 8 megabytes. This is wholly unsuitable for the web.

A web ready image is 72 dpi, meaning 72 pixels is approximately one inch on your screen. (This varies with monitor and resolution, of course.) 600 pixels is approximately 8.5 inches or the width of standard letter sized paper (US). This fits on the screen pretty well and it's also 1/4 the size of the 300 dpi image. In other words, work large and shrink your image.

The next consideration is size. Most basic images on the web compliment the website. These need to load quickly so the website can be understood so they should be as small as possible (10k maximum, smaller if you can do it). Comics, on the other hand, can be larger because the purpose of the website is downloading the comic image. Still, smaller is better. A good size to shoot for is 100k. 150k - 200k is a large comic and people will not want to come to your site too often. 500k is abusive. Maybe loading 1 500k image is okay. Reading an archive of 500k images will not happen.

The types of images that compress really well are full color photographs (jpeg) and line drawings (gif/indexed png). The problem is, jpegs compress images with areas with similar color well: photographs. Jpegs do not handle sharp edges well. That's where most of the distortion comes from. (I could actually explain DCT transform and stuff, but that's not really important.) Drawings are much simpler than photographs. Drawings have edges and areas of flat color. GIFs and PNGs can compress these well, but if you start throwing in gradients, blended shadows and such the GIF/PNG pukes and dies. Technically, a PNG can handle 24-bit color that will keep the gradient intact, but it doesn't compress well at all.

The idea is to transform your drawing into something that will compress well for the web. The smudges in actually expand the file size without contributing anything to the image. This is bad. It's better to remove all that unimportant stuff and get the image size down than it is to have a really accurate representation of your original drawing. That's what your original scans are for. If later you want to go to print, you would use the 300 dpi originals without the compression artifacts.

The point is, you are making serial artwork. You need to expect people to load more than one page. Keep that as painless as possible and the people are more likely to come back.

I don't like that idea.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2003 11:43 am
by VileTerror
As can be plainly seen on my site.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2003 11:52 am
by Ktflowerm
There are a lot of people who know how to make it look pretty like that. I don't think I'm one of them. :-( If my art was betterI could be ahppy. As it is it's okay drawing with confused lines and shading.