TWCL Forum Index TWCL
Forums for The Webcomic List
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Paneling
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    TWCL Forum Index -> Webcomic Gubbins
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
dpat57
Ich bin ein webcomicker


Joined: 11 Aug 2008
Posts: 2629
Location: Sunny/wet/windy Scotland

PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think your comic works okay with 1 panel per page, especially since you have your navigation buttons at the top as well as the bottom, which makes it easy to move to the next page, just keep the mouse where it is, over the next button, and click when ready.

You could as an alternative stack several panels on top of each other (you've maybe tried this) so the reader could scroll down and enjoy reading a sequence, but this takes away the "framing" effect that each panel currently enjoys.

Boils down to personal choice, I think.

I throw individual panels into my browser and let the browser arrange them for me, then take a .jpg snapshot of the whole page for uploading to display sites. No one else seems to do this, so I'm probably not the one to ask about rules for paneling, but I'll be interested in other replies, I'm always looking for a smarter/faster way to do things.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
MindChimera



Joined: 03 Feb 2013
Posts: 317

PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2013 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@dpat - I think I like your idea quite a bit. It wouldn't work for me (at least in this project) but it accounts for different monitor sizes pretty nicely. But it does look a bit odd since blankspace can creep up when the panels are different heights.

As for my process: My general rule is to average about six panels per page. This isn't a hard rule since it's an average, so I often go over that.

First and foremost, I plan out how I want the panels laid as I'm putting the script together. I'll write a whole chapter, then once it's done, go back through the file and label which dialogue I want together in a panel and how big the panel should be. (I have pretty generic notes for sizes, like basic, lrg, split top/bot, full (page), etc. Then after that, I go through again and logically split them into pages.

Planning is really important for me, but sometimes what I plan doesn't actually work once I start putting the page together. Just having that plan is enough to get things off the ground though.

I use Manga Studio 4 EX, and the panel layer with the panel cutter tool makes it really easy to make panels and adjust them.



I tend to cut across first, using the gridlines and space them about six boxes from the center. For the vertical cuts, I typically only have one section that cuts across the center - the reason being that I think different panel sizes helps keep the layout more interesting. How each section is cut depends on what the panel is going to look like though.

I sketch my pages before inking them, and the sketch phase is when I decide how the paneling will look. It's also when I letter, so I can make sure the art doesn't get covered by the bubbles and it all fits nicely in the panel.

I usually make my panels squares/rectangles, but I'll use more diagonally cut panels for two reasons: 1) if two panels have something that's happening at the same time (like on panels 3 & 4 here) or for action scenes, like this:



I haven't had a lot of actiony scenes yet though, so it's more experimental at this point.

So yeah, I'm kind of systematic, and I have to wonder how much of what I do is actually picked up by readers. Doesn't matter whether or not it is, though, I just need a plan.

@vulpeslibertas - I think if you kept the style you have now, that would make your panels really Tumblr-friendly. (Not that I have any idea on how to use Tumblr properly.)
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
MindChimera



Joined: 03 Feb 2013
Posts: 317

PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vulpeslibertas wrote:
Full disclosure, I haven't actively updated my comic for years. I keep thinking I'll get back to it one day.

Yeah, I remember you mentioning that (I think?) in another thread, but figured you might be prepping to come back to it.

As for being bland, I don't think yours are so much, since you were doing backgrounds. I'd figured you were going for a sort of movie-feel with the whole 3D thing and one-shot panels. If you had a lot of blankspace, that would be a problem.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Lavenderbard
^_^


Joined: 12 Sep 2006
Posts: 845
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Paneling Reply with quote

vulpeslibertas wrote:
Does anybody have a system or set of rules for paneling their comic?


I'm not sure I understand what you are asking about.

Are you looking for stuff like "borderless panels generally feel less anchored in time"?
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lavenderbard
^_^


Joined: 12 Sep 2006
Posts: 845
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Based on what MindChimera said...

My layouts are not at all systematic. Anything but.
I take my script and I divide it into pages based on amount of material and story rhythm, and then I sketch out (very roughly) a storyboard of each page.

When I draw the storyboards, the panel borders are generally the last thing to get on the page. First I sketch the people (or objects, if that's what needs to be shown to get the story across), and then I write in the dialog bubbles, and only then do I worry about where one panel ends and the next one begins.

That's also the point where I decide one image needs to be bigger and another smaller, or that I can crop the image differently, or that these two panels ought to be matching pairs, or that I should move this dialog bubble to there, or whatever. I shift things around until the progression though time seems clear, and I like how the page looks.

If I can't achieve both those goals, then I split the amount of script I have into two pages, and try again.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lavenderbard
^_^


Joined: 12 Sep 2006
Posts: 845
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend to work very intuitively, so I've had to think about this for quite a bit before I could come up with any rules that I use to decide what I'm going to do.

I think I have figured out what a few of the subconcious rules I was using are, though. I don't know if they will help anyone else, but for whatever they're worth:

1) The fewer panels, the better.
Whatever I have to say, I try to say it with the fewest possible images.

So, if I have two people talking. And there are no particularly important changes in facial expression, I will have one bigger picture of the two of them, and multiple speech bubbles to go with it, rather multiple small pictures that have essentially the same content, with one speech bubble for each.

Bigger, fewer images makes it possible for me to show detail more clearly. If you aren't into detail, maybe there's no advantage to this rule other than to avoid pointless repetition?

Sometimes I will have one person whose body language and facial expression doesn't change much, but the other person's does. So I might have have a tall thin panel with the one person shown in head to toe, allowing for the full display of the body language, and then have beside that two or three panels with the other person's face, showing the various changes in expression. To indicate that the tall panel is continuous with the panels beside it, I can overlap the smaller panels over top of the big panel, or I can widen the first panel and inset the smaller ones into it.

2) Information sets, should be made into visuals sets when possible. The overlapping side panels of facial expressions mentioned above can be made into a " visual set" by making them the same size and spacing them evenly.

3) Balance is pleasing to the mind and the eye. Symmetry is a form of balance that is very static. Other forms of balance have a greater sense of motion.

I could split my page in half and put one person on one side, and one on the other. That's symmetrical. But the long tall side panel versus the three little panels on the other side, is also balanced, and a bit less "stiff".

For Black Flag I often created non-symmetrical balance, by using diagonal lines, which are even more dynamic, but I don't think I ever used that technique with Scent of Spring. Maybe because Scent of Spring has no action, and so I thought the squarer more static forms of balance seemed to suit the feel of the story better?

4) Shape the panels to enhance the art, rather than shaping the art to fit the panel.

5) The most important stuff should usually be given the most space on the page.

6) Think outside the box.
Not all art needs to be confined to a bordered panel. The overlapping panels mentioned in the first rule created a sense that the first panel was continuous. Another way to create the same effect is to layer panel-less artwork over top of multiple panels. Artwork that is layered over other artwork like this, feels more important than it's size and shape would otherwise indicate, but borderless artwork also feels less anchored in time. (That can be a good thing sometimes.)

During action scenes, I frequently layer one image directly over another with no borders between them, creating a sense of continuous flowing movement.

Having an image break out of it's panel border, can create some interesting effects. It can make an action seem more abrupt, extreme or violent. It can create visual tension and a sense of conflict, as one image invades another image's space. It can probably do other things too, that I haven't figured out yet. Smile

And, er, that's all I've figured out so far.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dpat57
Ich bin ein webcomicker


Joined: 11 Aug 2008
Posts: 2629
Location: Sunny/wet/windy Scotland

PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vulpeslibertas wrote:
Try pressing the Multi-page option in the sidebar.

<slaps head> D'oh! Didn't even notice that!

MindChimera wrote:
@dpat - I think I like your idea quite a bit. It wouldn't work for me (at least in this project) but it accounts for different monitor sizes pretty nicely. But it does look a bit odd since blankspace can creep up when the panels are different heights.

<slaps head again> I should'a taken that into account since I knew that panel was irregular, it needed breaks fore and aft, fixed, thanks. (Then again it was a daft experiment in the first place, I'll avoid in future and keep to my standard panel height... which is defined by the size of my screen as I take a .jpg snapshot.)
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
katastrophe



Joined: 19 Aug 2008
Posts: 287

PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I started the comic I was only using two basic layouts -- three wide panels, or two wide panels and a third split one. This quickly stopped working out for me. Getting more variety has been an... interesting learning process, for someone who's as non-visual as I am.

My basic workflow these days for panelling and structure:

1) Script. This tells me how many panels I'm going to need. I do panel breaks within the scene depending on people's moods shifting, scene changes, people entering/leaving, etc. As Lavenderbard says, you generally want as few panels as possible per page to get your point across -- it's much better to have a single large panel than a lot of smaller ones.

2) Look at the space requirements. How many people are in the scene? How much dialogue do I have cram in there? Is there important action that I have to be sure people see? If there's been a shift in place from the last page/panel, I'll generally also allow more space in the first panel to let people get oriented to where we are, who's there, et cetera. Aside from size, I should know the general shape that would be best for the panel (a wide panel allows for more people and background elements showing; a tall panel is great for small, close groups of two or three people and showing more body language. That sort of thing.)

3) String together the panel size requirements in such a way that I have a page's worth of panels in a reasonably logical flow.

4) Drink. Smile

At one point I had a little flipbook with various layouts, organized by number of panels: it helped a lot when I was struggling with step 3. I've finally gotten a bit better at this but the flipbook still gets grabbed from time to time.

I still have issues with cramming too much dialogue per panel and per page. At some point I started defining the lengths of my pages as "however long they need to be to fit in all the panels", which helped a bit. I also fight a fair bit with flow, but I'm having trouble vocalizing what I do there and may need to come back later with pictures. Wink And of course there's figuring out the camera angles and who needs to be foregrounded in each panel and remembering to leave space for dialogue and such, which is never-ending fun, but a bit outside the scope of the question....
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dpat57
Ich bin ein webcomicker


Joined: 11 Aug 2008
Posts: 2629
Location: Sunny/wet/windy Scotland

PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ttallan wrote:
(See this example of both bad and good panel/balloon combos in a Marvel comic, posted at BleedingCool.)

Verree eenteresting. Yeah a little arrow would have worked well at that split-level point halfway down the page. Although purely by accident, I think, I read the panels in the right order, shifting left through the split-level bit. Maybe I just followed the "Z". Good sample to point at. Even the pros sometimes don't hit the target gold dead center.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
MindChimera



Joined: 03 Feb 2013
Posts: 317

PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I'm with Sylvia, the first page in that example is actually correct as far as I'm concerned.

Text in English reads left to right, then top to bottom; you move horizontally before you move vertically. As far as the panels themselves go, panel 4 (the tall one) comes before panel 5 both vertically and horizontally.

What they did in the first page was actually divide into two major cuts: the first three panels are the top cut, and the rest are the bottom cut. Separate the two cuts, and the order makes sense.

But I can see where the confusion comes from, since the right-side bottom cuts are the same width as the right-side top so seems to lead that way. I think it would read easier if, instead of having the last four panels overlay panel 4, have panel 4 lay over them (as well as the bottom-left corner of panel 3). Or just be wider so they're crowded out more.

As for the second page, I kind of wish that site had put up the version without the red line first, because I'm not sure whether I'd make it through or not, haha. I think I could follow it correctly, but I'd be asking myself the whole time "Is this the next panel?" I would probably miss the helicopter panel though.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
MindChimera



Joined: 03 Feb 2013
Posts: 317

PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dpat57 wrote:
Yeah a little arrow would have worked well at that split-level point halfway down the page.

Nooooooooooooooooooooooo nononon ono onono no nonono on ono ononoo

Arrows are a big pet peeve of mine, haha. To me it's like a big red flag saying "I have no idea what I'm doing" or "I made this layout and it doesn't work but I'm sticking to it."

They really bother me because, in a lot of things I've read, the arrows aren't noticable enough and I miss them. So I end up reading the wrong order anyway, then see the arrows later. It's also one of those little things that sort of takes you out of the story and reminds you it's just a comicbook.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
katastrophe



Joined: 19 Aug 2008
Posts: 287

PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah... I have to admit I had no trouble reading the first comic either. "Across then down" is how I read, always. I've never had a reader complain those were hard to follow either (and my readers are refreshingly good about registering complaints.) And I don't think I'd have made the jump to that helicopter either. Maybe we're just freaks. Very Happy

The one they do complain about is this one:



I've never had a comment if the bigger image is first, but I rarely get away with "down then back up" without at least one whimper that they went across to the big image second and it DIDN'T MAKE SENSE.

I can sometimes help by jagging the second panel to the right a bit, so that it cues the "across" reflex. But by far the better way, as ttallan says, is to lead with the voice bubbles. As I am a klutz I've only just figured this out and I'm still quite clumsy with it, but having a voice bubble that breaks panelling -- pokes into the second panel from the first, or vice versa -- works pretty well, as people's eyes will go with the words. (In my case it probably helps that there's so many of them. Very Happy)

The other type I've occasionally had trouble with:



Here the issue seems to be that, presented with equal-sized panels right and below, the readers don't know which way to go. It seems to be solved pretty simply by resizing:



Doesn't actually matter which is bigger or smaller, this time. As long as it's not the same size as the panel below it, people automatically track to the right.

Just my experience though -- there is always the possibility, nay, the likelihood, that my readership are also freaks. Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
katastrophe



Joined: 19 Aug 2008
Posts: 287

PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iaviv wrote:
@katastrophe - If the readers are confused by such obvious layouts, it might be because they weren't used properly.


This is almost certainly true. I have no artistic ability whatsoever and have spent the past five years fumbling about trying to gain at least some basic skills. *wry grin* Thanks for the example: that's very helpful and I'll have to work towards being able to see/do that kind of thing in my own stuff.

But yeah. I'm a writer. I tend to fall back on voice bubbles and writing for cues, because that's what I'm good at, and any advice of mine should be taken with that caveat in mind. Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
Posts: 3012
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm reading a collection of Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon Sunday strips from 1935, and while they're gorgeously drawn and colored, sometimes he was so careless about panel flow that he resorted to putting little numbers in the corners of the panels to point out their reading order, because otherwise you'd have been completely lost. : P
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Marscaleb



Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 258

PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't "cut" or "draw" my panels into my page; my panels float. I think this comes from my having more interest in newspaper comic than comic books and manga, and newspaper comics always float their panels.

I've gravitated toward a general (though not concrete) method of having 12 panels on a page. By default, each the same size, arranged in a grid.

I'm honestly a bit jealous of the comics that use a manga-style and generate new panels for each page, cutting them into new patterns with a great variety of sizes. I would love to move my method more toward one that allows more freedom.

Now some may look at my comic and wonder what I'm talking about with my 12-panel grid talk. I'll get to that.

So here's my process for a page. I take a script that I have already written, and I put the dialogue into a blank template I made. I have guidelines for my basic 12-panel grid, so I know where to start for a basic panel size. Usually, panels fit into this format just fine. Often enough, I have to make a particular panel bigger, add smaller panels, whatever. Anything in regards to this is usually written in as a note, in the file, as text.
For me, a bigger panel means a wider panel. I haven't made a taller panel in ages. I regret this. But I'm too verbose and I have a lot to try to cram into each page, so it's really hard to arrange a page to have more than four rows.

This is done well in advance before I get around to drawing the page, so I can plan the layouts thoroughly. I create my pages to simultaneously work for both print and web, so I need to account for page breaks in the middle of a web's page, add extra panels into the print version for easier transitions, etc.

When I have artwork to put in the page, I start getting creative. Like I said, I have floating panels. This lets me adjust the shape of each panel individually. I look at the individual panel and try to get a grasp on the emotion of that panel, and craft a panel shape that reflects that emotion. Mundane panels get a simple box. If somethings slightly askew, so is the panel. I often use this as a way to convey more subtle emotions that are sometimes hidden.



Panel 1 was meant to feel very dry and bland, so it's a simple square.
Panel 2 was breaking sharply against that dry-and-bland, it cuts against the first panel, and the background almost lines up but doesn't.
Panel 4 was meant to reflect Cherise's hidden emotion; Danson was leaning in too close to her so I made the panel feel a little cramped. In retrospect, this would have been more successful had I bent the middle inward. (I learn a lot of this as I go.)
In panel 7 Cherise is lying by telling the truth. The panel shape looks normal and understandable, but one corner flecks out.

Of course, sometimes I just like to have fun and make the panels interesting, but I've been gravitating more and more to making the panels reflect a proper emotion, but I still experiment a bit to try to uncover what emotions a particular shape can accomplish.

I also try to pay attention to the negative space, gaps between panels carry emotions as well. I especially see what this accomplishes when I composite a page for the web. While I need to fit everything in neatly for a printed page, when I take those panels out for the web, I have a a change to re-arrange them, and I do.

Here's a couple things I've learned:

FOREMOST: The best format for a webcomic layout is a strictly vertical one:
Example: (Not my comic)

This lets the reader scroll down to see each new panel.
There are two main problems with not using this layout: One, the reader can see future panels ahead of time, potentially spoiling a surprise or a joke. Two, long panels next to regular panels can have content missed. For example:
AA BBB
AA BBB
AA CCC
AA CCC
The bottom of A might have dialogue or other important information that the reader does not see before reading B, because it is cut off at the bottom of the monitor. This is not a problem with printed pages, but it is with web pages.

When I lay out my panels for the web, I keep scrolling in mind and try to make my comic read as best as I can in a vertical layout. Instead of having three panel on a row I might have two. I might stagger some panels just to gently lead them down, so more of the page is not seen until the reader gets to that part.

Other notes:
Circle panels draw a lot of focus. If ever there is something important that the reader needs to see, put it in a circle panel You are literally circling an element of the comic, and the reader will focus on it more.

As was mentioned earlier, size of a panel indicates time. It also indicated focus. You could also say that panel size indicates how long the reader should stare at the panel.
Here's another example from a comic that is not mine. Look at the emotion the last panel brings because of its size:

A small panel is great for a quick quip. A large panel or even a splash page demand big focus. Don't use a large panel unless you have a reason to do so.
_________________
My webcomic: Mischief in Maytia
http://maytiacomic.com/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    TWCL Forum Index -> Webcomic Gubbins All times are GMT + 1 Hour
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group

Hosted by Fluent
The Webcomics List is operated and owned by Ash Young. Syndicate the comic updates.