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Tools for easier word balloons?
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Clint Wolf



Joined: 15 Apr 2010
Posts: 298

PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:25 pm    Post subject: Tools for easier word balloons? Reply with quote

Hi folks,

I was wondering if there were any tools or programs out there that might make for easier and more flexible word balloon creation. Right now Dawn (my wife and artist) uses Photoshop to create and color the art, then I add lettering, there's this trial and error process of trying to create properly sized and oriented ovals and stems, where if it doesn't turn out right Dawn has to delete/undo and try again.

It can be frustrating for her, particularly if we decide on any last-minute changes. She knows Photoshop far better than I do so I'm taking her word for it that this is as good a method as it gets, but I'm wondering if any of you have ideas or suggestions. If it's a third-party program, preferably something free that accepts PSDs (though I'm not sure if Adobe frowns on that), but if it'll truly help our process I might crack open the piggy bank.
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naedalto



Joined: 25 Apr 2010
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:45 pm    Post subject: In my opinion Reply with quote

Please try using Paint. I mean, windows paint. really.

I'm using xp version so I can't do the antialising thing currently,
but as long as I can remember, antialise is possible in windows 7.

Just try.


http://comic.ncity.net
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iaviv



Joined: 03 Sep 2011
Posts: 279

PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well for one thing, you can start using a smaller font. You'll have more flexibility and quite frankly your font is huge. Seriously.
Another thing you might wanna try is actually drawing the balloons. That's what I do, and it's way more flexible. At least the way I do it. You either use the brush or the lasso tool with anti-alias on (or both, I suppose, but the lasso alone is perfect for this). You fill in with white or whatever (most balloons are white). This all has to be on a separate layer from everything, obviously. Then you go to Layer>Layer Style>Stroke and change the stroke to black instead of red. You can also increase the size, because 3 px is probably not enough. And that's it. You can have several different balloons in one layer, but you can also replicate this "effect" easily to other layers if you want to be able to move each balloon more easily. This might not work so well with your wife's style, but it's worth a try.

Hope any of this helps.
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Clint Wolf



Joined: 15 Apr 2010
Posts: 298

PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting that you consider the font size so huge, since it's an absolute mandate from the artist that we never go smaller than the size we have except for certain special circumstances (whispers, etc.). I think it's so it shows up well in feeds and mobile devices, but regardless she put her foot down a long time ago as Supreme Dictator of Visual Judgment on the topic. Even on those occasions when I've tried to sneak it down to 10 point instead of 11 point to squeeze in more of my lofty phrasings, she's noticed Very Happy

So that part of the equation ain't gonna change anytime soon, but I do appreciate the feedback, regardless.
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Casual Notice
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Joined: 18 Mar 2005
Posts: 2959
Location: Oh my God, It's full of stars!

PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the end of CN, I was using Photoshop Essentials, and got pretty good at making balloons quickly and easily. Since photoshop creates every primitive on its own layer, I would set my color to white, and create them under my text. The I'd use a 3-point polygon for stems (the only anoying part was jugling scaling and orientation to get the stem right. Once that was done, I'd flatten the relevant layers and stroke (outline) the layers. The result was pretty good and a lot easier than other things I'd tried.
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Uncle Greedy



Joined: 02 Jun 2011
Posts: 285

PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tools for wordballons? How about a pen, ruler and scanner? Nothing can beat that.
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Traegorn



Joined: 16 Feb 2010
Posts: 157

PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the balloons are a separate layer, can't you just resize and adjust them as needed?
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vulpeslibertas
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Joined: 19 Dec 2005
Posts: 2488
Location: Here and there...mostly there. Sometimes kinda in between.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Traegorn on this one. Just resize the box. Make a separate default image (or three or four) to use for your balloon tails, and paste it in to your comic image so that your tails are always the same size.

You might try more square-shaped balloons and see if that suits you better, although it looks like you already have fair use of your real estate in the balloons.

Your font is on the large size, but not overly so. I wouldn't worry about it too much.
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vaslittlecrow



Joined: 01 Aug 2005
Posts: 744

PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clint Wolf

Might this be of help?

Freebies:
http://max.designwalker.com/webdesign/speech-bubble/

If you are willing to spend some money:
http://www.cartoonsolutions.com/store/catalog/Comic-Word-Bubbles-p-1-c-323.html

I use PaintShop Pro, so vector word balloons are super easy to make. Just select the word balloon you want. Resize at will. Adjust the nodes. Baddabing!
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
Posts: 2923
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I was reading some font article yesterday mentioning that at Marvel they use some version of Illustrator for the lettering--and presumably for the balloons as well. It does seem like something vectors are pretty much made to order for.

But yeah I'd hand draw 'em, personally. Way more fun. :)
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lianne



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really? I hate drawing speech bubbles! Possibly that's b/c I'm terrible at it and I'm never quite happy with how they look. But then, I probably hate it less than I would doing them on the computer...
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dpat57
Ich bin ein webcomicker


Joined: 11 Aug 2008
Posts: 2575
Location: Sunny/wet/windy Scotland

PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rounded rectangles always looked OK to me, and are probably the simplest to create which is a point in their favor, but maybe they're not bubble-y enough for other comic makers. I use ellipses in one of my comics because it suits the fantasy genre (other comics are Sci-Fi). But Paint.NET also has a Speech Bubble option under Effects > Text Formations (a free add-on, available via the Paint.NET forums) which could be worth a try. You can either input text when creating the bubble, or you can make a blank bubble around text you've typed in another layer. The tail can also be added while creating the bubble, or you can select "none" and add a tail manually.



Added: a little step-by-step guide I did, using Paint.NET. The same options are probably found in Photoshop, etc.
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Clint Wolf



Joined: 15 Apr 2010
Posts: 298

PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting, I'll look into that. Thanks for all the tips, everyone!
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TheEpicBeyond



Joined: 25 Sep 2012
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I work in photoshop and I usually enter my text first and then place a layer for bubbles underneath the text layers. That way i dont have to squeeze words into the bubble i wrap the bubble around the words
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
Posts: 2923
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hm oh this reminds me, apparently some people like doing their balloons with a Mac program (not free) called "Comic Life."
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