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About text tool for comics

User avatar Cezzare
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About text tool for comics

Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:05 am
Hello! Since I saw the post about the features being worked now for next versions of Krita I've been thinking about some of them, specially about the text ballon feature. Now, a while ago I readed also a post in a blog about comics with FOSS, and there the author showed how he utilized Inkscape to add text balloons. Lately I've been also checking about what has been told about vector shapes in Krita and have some thoughts and questions about it.

A couple of months ago I worked in a local newspaper and had the chance to look and take part of it's workflow, which was this one:

Jounalist's text -> Chief editor -> Area editor -> Style and orthographic correction -> Design department.

This workflow can be adapted to comic book lettering, but using the comic's dialog from the script instead of a periodistic note.

Writer -> Editor -> Style and orthographic correction -> Text balloon mounting.

In the newspaper, once the text was ready after the style and orthographic correction, the design team simply loaded the text file and formated it, now, this is where my doubts start:

1.- Could it be possible or is it planned to allow loading text files as sources for the text balloons? An idea would be to supply Krita with even a plain txt file with only the dialogs, perharps identified with markings, so the software could count how many "dialog entries" are in the text files.

2.- The "dialog entries" could have different identifiers, specifically three: Dialogs, narrative text and onomatopoeias.

3.- The arcticle in Krita's home page about GSOC mentions that the new text tool should be able to contain styled text, now, if that's the intention maybe the different styles could be handled as the painttop presets.

4- One thing is having the text file loaded and all of it's entries identified, but then there's the vector text handling, here I can think of two posibilities:

a).- Link each "dialog entry" to a text shape, be it a ballon or box, or simply a blank text shape allocated in the canvas, this would require, firstly, the text shape to be able to have a style. Then, both the shape and the dialogs should be numbered, so the program knows which ones link to each other.
b).- Automatically create the shapes; the user could choose a specific text style for each different text type in a given comic project, then, at the moment the text is loaded and the entries are identified, the program could create individual text shapes and and put them on the canvas, with the preselected style. Another option would be allow the user to put the the shapes one at the time after the program has the the text entries identified and formated.

5.- For text importing it's possible to use common text scanning with C++ for plain text files, and for odt, rtf or other formats maybe it's possible to use the text importing engine from other calligra apps, but, is it necessary to use Karbon's vector handling for the text shapes? I'm still reading about it, but once I readed here in the forum that vector layers in Krita didn't support CMYK color mode because they depend on Karbon's vector hadling and it didn't support CMYK either.are

I've been talking mostly about text shapes and not about the balloons and there's a reason for that, and it's a bit subjective: their shapes can be vey different, in my opinion having predefined ballons shapes woulnd't be so useful, in any case it would be more useful having the option to transform a vector shape, be it a square, a circle, a balloon, into a text container, capable of holding a styled text or applying a predefined style to an input text.

So, these are my particular thoughts about it, but I'm not sure if there's actually a detailed summary about the features planned for Krita, a place to consult a detailed roadmap aside from the mailing list and the irc channel.

Also, I guess the dev. team have been checking resources documental about the matter, but taking a look at the work of letterists, Nate Piekos is a well known one in comic book industry and with very intersting material about this subject about this subject in his site, specially in the articles section :D :http://www.blambot.com/index.shtml .

And last but not least, I'm eager to read, I know I'm maybe talking here with very little knowledge about Krita's development and team, but I want to know more, and believe me, I'm very grateful to the devs. as they always take the time to answer my questions, no matter how dumb they're sometimes.

EDIT: When I said "dumb" I was refering to my questions, I just realized it could be misread, sorry.

Last edited by Cezzare on Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.


valerievk
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Re: About text tool for comics

Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:47 am
If I've understood correctly, what you're proposing here seems much more suited to designing newspapers than designing comics. With comics, the script is always written and reviewed First, and added to the image Last, or close enough to last (after you're have plenty of time to review the text further), so I don't see the point of having a separate text file (especially since you're forced to create an extra layer of annotation, plus you lose immediate visual feedback + on-canvas tweaking). For comics, I think the text-balloon system in programs such as Libre Writer would work well enough for example.

With newspapers though, it's true that the content isn't necessarily finalized immediately, the text layout is more dense and more confusing, and the text writers are completely separate from the visual planners, hence the benefit of separating text and layout.

in any case it would be more useful having the option to transform a vector shape

The problem is the alignment and the little triangle part sticking out. If you need to get creative with the shapes, the best option is to draw it yourself.
User avatar Cezzare
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Re: About text tool for comics

Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:46 pm
Yeah, perharps you're right, the idea just struck me, I guess. Discard the text input file, XD, however, the only point I would defend is that the shape of most speech balloons isn't very even, just look at comic book pages, pŕofessional ones, there's actually a rule to fit texts inside a speech balloon, but very often is not possible to follow it so strictly, two text balloons with exactly the same amount of text not neccesarily will have the same shape, and balloons can be floating in the middle of a panel or merge with the page and/or panel borders, and this is not just a case of making "creative text balloons", is a very common way to work; another possible approach is having shapes with many anchor points, so it could be easier to adjust them to text.
And the so called rule is suposed to be this:
Image
The text usually should stick to the yellow square as much as possible, but as the letterist can't always change the text of balloons beyond styling (it's not really his job) or the size of the panels, the result is having to play with balloon's size and proportions.


User avatar Deevad
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Re: About text tool for comics

Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:01 pm
Cezzare wrote:[...] there's actually a rule to fit texts inside a speech balloon[...]
Image

Thanks ! I didn't knew this rule, good tip to save negative space inside speechbuble.

The idea of exporting text/reinjecting ? Why not... More a Scribus task as you describe it in my opinion.
I setup a workflow like this years ago for a client between Indesign PDF ( with special forms field named) to export XML text data to a PHP website.
It's heavy and really specialised, also the time won is not really high and glitch appears often because of non WYSIWYG result .

I guess it's easier if you want to correct, translate, or edit a comic speech bubble to do it directly inside the *.kra file. If you are affraid of the weight of the file, or for copyright issue ; I imagine you can share only the text layer ( and ,for exemple, a layer to show area limit ) ; they are probably easy to reimport on the top of the stack of your 'full' project.


valerievk
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Re: About text tool for comics

Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:17 am
Wow! I learned something! That's an interesting rule, thanks! :D I wonder if there are any other programs that allows you to do that automatically?
User avatar Cezzare
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Re: About text tool for comics

Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:38 am
Been thinking... what about allowing to paste text automatically? lets say I'm checking the script in whatever text editor, select the text I want to use for the speech bubble, copy it and then paste it directly in Krita, the interesting idea here would be having Krita to automatically create a text shape when it detects that the user is trying to paste text, similar to the way it can generate a new layer or image document when the user pastes or drags an image in Krita's window.


TheraHedwig
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Re: About text tool for comics

Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:20 pm
Okay, I had to figure out what my login for this forum was, so it took me a while before I could answer, but I wanted to answer, because I have OPINIONS on this.

1) The general workflow of a comic is:
Story Design > Script > Thumbnails/Storyboard > Sketches > Inking/Text > Colouring, toning, etc. > Finishing touches for publishing.

I would like to pull your attention to the Thumbnailing/Storyboarding area because it is, in my opinion, the most important part of making a comic.
In illustration and film, thumbs and storyboards in are important in trying out composition, conveying ideas and generally experimenting without wasting too much effort and time. In the comic variant, this is also where the position of the text is decided, because text-balloons are part of the composition, and in comics, composition is king. (So text, theoretically speaking, should NOT be added as last, amongst balloon affecionados this is the crime of the nineties computer letterers, because slapdash bad text-image intergration kills the flow of a comic, and thus kills the narration)
Indeed, there's people out there who skip the scripting stage and go straight into thumbnailing because it works better with their brain.
For me, I think the new flipbook function might be the key in future comics-creation in Krita.(Though I have yet to try it)

2) For team-production of comics, it might be an idea to allow text-export of balloon text and subsequently import of the same. This way the script can be handed to the artist for thumbnailing and subsequently to the editor for editing, then when the editor is finished, it can be imported into the page easily.

3) If we are suggesting features for this anyway? Support for handwritten text?
As in, opposed to fonts, there's a little GUI for setting up some writing guides where the artist can write away. Maybe this can be intergrated with the existing assistant system? (Like, making an assistant composed of a text-balloon with lettering-lines, so that both the balloon as the text can be 'drawn by hand'? I think this'd be useful in the case of comics that use a less tight style than common.)
Here's an example of traditional handlettering: http://www.blambot.com/handlettering.shtml

If I'm not making sense, please do say so.

EDIT: just noticed some thing were already noted, so I'll just stress the point that text should not be considered as last in a comic.
It's an insult to the basics of visual story-telling to do so.
User avatar boudewijn
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Re: About text tool for comics

Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:32 pm
Ah, yes! I really appreciate your input. I only thought in terms of translations, but that is my programmer's background... But I actually tried to make some comic book storyboards myself some time and my experience did bear out what you said. Doing storyboarding/page layout really right is going to be a really interesting project! $DEITY give us more hours in the day!

 
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