Monday, January 17, 2011

MAKING COMICS USING POWERPOINT

So I've been lucky enough to make comics for a few people, starting with of course, my good friends over at PaGaLGuY, who I am indebted to for giving me my first break.

Now when I was first asked to make comics, I bravely tried using PhotoShop. Trust me, I tried.

I failed. I failed more miserably than a lifetime Apploholic trying to use MS-DOS. I failed more than the supporters of the world-famous #Sreesanth502 campaign to drum up support among South African locals. I failed. I spent an hour trying to figure out how to draw a frikkin' box with rounded edges. And let's not even get into callouts and stuff yet.

I gave up on PhotoShop and decided to revert back to the one software I was comfortable with - Microsoft Powerpoint. Yes, yes, I know our dear ol' tool has been the victim of much satire - ranging from those by him, to him. But I swear by it, being a marketing MBA who is now into internet marketing, I average around 2 Powerpoints a day. On slow days.

So it was only natural that for making comics, I employ my tool of choice too. Makes sense, no? Now, a few people (2 nos.) have asked me how I go about doing this. And so, here we are.

1. After coming up with the idea, I draw the thing on paper.


2.  I take pictures of the images using my trusty Nikon D5000, and my 50mm/1.8 lens in black and white. Keeping things to minimal colours helps during editing since I use only outlines. Basic cropping and contrast adjustment is done using that highly under-rated tool, MS Picture Manager. After all this, the photos should end up looking like this.


3. Now I have a Powerpoint template for each set of comics that I make. Seen below is the template I use for the PaGaLGuY comics.



4. Now's the actual time-consuming part - putting the images into the boxes, filling in the blurbs, etc. Powerpoint has some excellent features that allow me to make comics - including the callouts, boxes of all shapes and sizes, and options such as crop and 'send to front' which are invaluable. Resizing images and tilting them to angles is a breeze. Photoshop can kiss my @r$3.

I usually devote one slide to one panel. The dimensions of the panel depend on who I'm drawing for and their requirements (eg: PaGaLGuY has a width limit of 450 px). After putting all the comics together in different slides, things look something like this:


5. I have one master PPT template which has the same width but maximum height. This allows me to 'size up' all the panels together. This makes things really easy so that panels are all aligned properly.


6. Then I do a select-all+copy and dump things into... (as a final act of snubbing Photoshop) MS Paint. Seriously. Of course, it's imperative to save as PNG since saving as JPEG will cause information loss, and will generally look smudgy.


7. I send it over to the kind folks at PG who then put it up.


Now to some of you this might seem painful and would recommend doing everything together in Powerpoint or some comics-making software, but for me this works best. After ideation, the final product takes just about 2 hours.

So yeah. I don't know if anybody else uses (or wants to use!) Powerpoint for comics-making, but if anyone needs help, let me know.

PS: The comic that is shown up here is this one.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

THE YEAR IN, UHM, MS PAINT

It's no secret that I'm a dud with imaging software. Soon after I was contracted for my first professional cartooning assignment, I spent two hours on Photoshop trying to figure out how to draw a frikkin' box with rounded edges.

I told myself to stop dreaming, and came back to the more realistic and reliable world of MS Paint and MS Powerpoint - a combination that has served me well and faithfully, like the Flower brothers have for Zimbabwe cricket (hence explaining why, after they retired, Zim cricket was fucked - because it was deflowered. Teehee)

Okay, moving on.

What I did manage to accomplish, however, was a fair amount of proficiency in MS Paint. Nothing that will be hung in galleries, or even on the house fridge, I reckon. But still.

I've had a bit of fun putting some images together, and here they are for your viewing pleasure (if that's the right word).

Warning: Many of them are Twitter-based. So if you're here from that universe, you'll understand most of them.

This was made for a friend, Arati.



For dear ol' ABVan's artistic side.




If Sidin's book had taken a mildly Star Warsesque turn.





For a friend on Friendship day.
sdfsdf
One



From Iron Maiden (no, really) on Onam day to all Mallus.



And by Pink Floyd on, well...


What if one of India's best bloggers were an intern in Dilbert's office? We'd get @Krishasok, of course.

 And if he were a Hindi film superhero?


What if a quartet of Amits released a legendary 60s album?


And lastly, coming back to Floyd, what if their 9th album had been released in the Facebook era?


Clearly, I have too much free time on my hands.

Happy new year, people.