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JHickman
09-08-2008, 07:51 PM
I saw this on Immonen's site and thought it would be a good idea to post it:

http://www.immonen.ca/news/archives/1202#more-1202

Draw pretty decent and frame panels like this and you'll be working forever.

Fygar
09-08-2008, 08:05 PM
Damn...I've never seen Manhattan before, now I may have to. All those shots look gorgeous.

Supreme Convoy
09-08-2008, 08:19 PM
Damn...I've never seen Manhattan before, now I may have to. All those shots look gorgeous.

Agreed!

*Clicks over to Netflix*

Ashwin Pande
09-08-2008, 08:21 PM
Shit.

I need to watch this movie.

That was amazing. Thanks for posting that!

andrew french
09-08-2008, 08:24 PM
awesome, i love this movie.

in a lot of ways i try to avoid a cinematic feel in comics, but those are really nice shots.

Run-BMC
09-08-2008, 08:34 PM
Really cool and effective....

until the letterer has to do his job.

andrew french
09-08-2008, 08:37 PM
Really cool and effective....

until the letterer has to do his job.

just letter them yourself!

NeverWanderer
09-08-2008, 08:39 PM
Really cool and effective....

until the letterer has to do his job.

Really? I would think there's plenty of lettering room in those shots.

Run-BMC
09-08-2008, 08:48 PM
Really? I would think there's plenty of lettering room in those shots.

Room is just half of it... tails are the other half.

Also I really like the scene that pulled back and you're almost voyeuristically looking through the trees. But now imagine bubbles on top of the trees and tails leading to tiny heads.

It still works, but the impact is just really diminished.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't consider these types of awesome shots, more like if you're drawing them, don't be disapoointed when you see the lettered page.

andrew french
09-08-2008, 08:52 PM
good lettering doesn't hinder the comic page, it flows with the narrative. it can work with this stuff, maybe it's hard to tell because the idea of a balloon coming out of woody's mouth is terrible.

but still, it could work. that's why a singular cartoonist doing his own lettering creates such nice work.

Blake Sims
09-08-2008, 09:03 PM
That's a good movie. Those were cool shots as well.

JHickman
09-08-2008, 09:06 PM
Really cool and effective....

until the letterer has to do his job.

Nah. This makes it easier for both the letterer to do his/her job and for readability.

TonyFleecs
09-08-2008, 09:08 PM
Shit! All this time I've been ripping off Take the Money & Run.

JHickman
09-08-2008, 09:11 PM
Shit! All this time I've been ripping off Take the Money & Run.

:)

Run-BMC
09-08-2008, 09:23 PM
Nah. This makes it easier for both the letterer to do his/her job and for readability.

I can understand that, but you don't think that some of the panels' impacts would be diminished with tails and balloons?

I think the one that looks like it's in a studio is awesome, with the tiny pocket of light framed by the dark shapes. It's beautiful. Now imagine that with balloons and tails. Yeah it's perfectly legible, but a letterer that's just doing his/her job might not be so careful to preserve the meaning of the black shapes, and even if they were, might not be able to keep the initial impact.

However, as an establishing shot or dialogue break it's perfect.

Also, I don't see how have a third shot with two characters on one side having a dialogue could be easily lettered without tails making things at least a little LESS clear. (Of course I'm not a letterer, but it's stuff I think a layour artist has to keep in mind, as you'd know. Come to think of it, how would you approach it, as someone who's done scripting, layout, and lettering?)

Ashwin Pande
09-08-2008, 09:34 PM
I think Choi has a good point. These look great without lettering but with lettering, especially if there's a lot of dialog going on, the impact of the shot would be diminished.

You could use different colored captions on the negative side of the panel but then the entire point of negative space goes out the window.

One way to do this could be to have dialog outside the panel border... but it would mean making the panel smaller to fit in the lettering outside. Again taking away from the negative space concept.

NeverWanderer
09-08-2008, 09:37 PM
I think Choi has a good point. These look great without lettering but with lettering, especially if there's a lot of dialog going on, the impact of the shot would be diminished.

You could use different colored captions on the negative side of the panel but then the entire point of negative space goes out the window.

One way to do this could be to have dialog outside the panel border... but it would mean making the panel smaller to fit in the lettering outside. Again taking away from the negative space concept.

What about doing semi-transparent word balloons? That could still deliver the dialogue with little intrusion upon the art.

c. page
09-08-2008, 10:00 PM
What about doing semi-transparent word balloons? That could still deliver the dialogue with little intrusion upon the art.

i think the dialogue would lose something there, though. the art behind it may distract.

some of those shots are amazing, and maybe as establishing shots or dialogue breaks they would work, like choi said.

i'm curious what the letterer would say in this. i'd love to hear tom mauer's thoughts.

TonyFleecs
09-09-2008, 12:34 AM
What about doing semi-transparent word balloons? That could still deliver the dialogue with little intrusion upon the art.I really can't get down with the transparent balloons at all. It's an example of the words and art not working together... it looks like they're at odds with each other.

Whenever I see it I think either the artist thinks his shit's impeccable and shouldn't be covered at all or the writer's not confident. But that's probably just me.

mario
09-09-2008, 04:02 AM
um? it is the artists' job to account for the lettering as well. Compose your panels with the balloons already. don't trust anybody else with your composition

NeverWanderer
09-09-2008, 09:14 AM
I really can't get down with the transparent balloons at all. It's an example of the words and art not working together... it looks like they're at odds with each other.

Whenever I see it I think either the artist thinks his shit's impeccable and shouldn't be covered at all or the writer's not confident. But that's probably just me.

I'm sure it's a situational thing, but I know there's a school of thought that feels that making the balloons semi-transparent gives the dialogue a more immersive feel.

I know that for the few comics that I've seen it in (all in the Flight anthologies, I think), I thought it looked cool. Less about the ego, more about the experience, y'know?

TonyFleecs
09-09-2008, 08:06 PM
I'm sure it's a situational thing, but I know there's a school of thought that feels that making the balloons semi-transparent gives the dialogue a more immersive feel.

I know that for the few comics that I've seen it in (all in the Flight anthologies, I think), I thought it looked cool. Less about the ego, more about the experience, y'know?
I've seen it in the FLIGHT books too and I love the flight books. But those stories are mostly written by the artists. And artists who are in animation primarily. So when I see it there, I just see, "The words don't cover up my art in animation, why oh why do they have to cover the art on the comic page?!"

It just seems, and this is just my opinion but it's why I hate it, it seems like you're not embracing the medium.

There's plenty of ways to make your dialogue more immersed in the page. And they all are more artistic than peeking through semi-opaque balloons at the art underneath.

Thomas Mauer
09-09-2008, 10:54 PM
Really cool and effective....

until the letterer has to do his job.


I think Choi has a good point. These look great without lettering but with lettering, especially if there's a lot of dialog going on, the impact of the shot would be diminished.

You could use different colored captions on the negative side of the panel but then the entire point of negative space goes out the window.

One way to do this could be to have dialog outside the panel border... but it would mean making the panel smaller to fit in the lettering outside. Again taking away from the negative space concept.
Hogwash. These shots would be a letterer's dream come true. There's so much negative space in each shot that I could place up to 50 words in each panel. The sheer amount of negative space makes sure that the impact isn't lost. To think that would happen is having no confidence in a letterer's abilities.


What about doing semi-transparent word balloons? That could still deliver the dialogue with little intrusion upon the art.


I'm sure it's a situational thing, but I know there's a school of thought that feels that making the balloons semi-transparent gives the dialogue a more immersive feel.

I know that for the few comics that I've seen it in (all in the Flight anthologies, I think), I thought it looked cool. Less about the ego, more about the experience, y'know?


I've seen it in the FLIGHT books too and I love the flight books. But those stories are mostly written by the artists. And artists who are in animation primarily. So when I see it there, I just see, "The words don't cover up my art in animation, why oh why do they have to cover the art on the comic page?!"

It just seems, and this is just my opinion but it's why I hate it, it seems like you're not embracing the medium.

There's plenty of ways to make your dialogue more immersed in the page. And they all are more artistic than peeking through semi-opaque balloons at the art underneath.

I hate transparent balloons. You're trying to make the lettering invisible, and instead, transparent balloons hit you over the head with a giant mallet that there's a balloon that's covering up art, and the reader has to squint to try and make out what's behind the balloon. If it's 100% opaque, that's a non-issue to readers and they just move on. They don't think about what could be hidden behind the balloon at all - unless it's a crowded panel where you're *forced* to cover something up and it looks ugly (also, inexperienced letterers tend to cover up stuff that's not necessary).

There's an Outlaw Territory I lettered one or two weeks ago. The writer said he didn't like the 100% opacity on the white-fill balloons feeling that they hung in the air and were too separate from the artwork. I didn't really think so but humored him with a dozen variations of slight off-white balloons, opacities on fills and strokes. He decided for 80% fills *and* strokes, with the copy left at 100%. It just looks weird to me and I hate it, but it's his story, so he gets what he wants. The off-white would be a better choice IMO.

Thomas Mauer
09-09-2008, 11:16 PM
To elaborate why I hate transparent lettering so much:

I'm trying to recreate the look and feel of hand lettering digitally, and it's possible that I'm one of a very few letterers who think we should do this. This goes so far that I purposely draw balloons unevenly to get around sterile-looking oval shapes. Every balloon is drawn by hand, albeit with the pen tool in Illustrator. Funny enough, I'm as fast as other letterers who drag & drop balloon templates.

Transparent balloons scream to the world that this is digital lettering. Working the balloon shapes including slightly off-looking tails becomes moot because everybody can see that this is digital lettering to begin with.

I recently read Leslie Cabarga's LOGO, FONT & LETTERING BIBLE (he's one of the most well respected typographers of our time). He wrote that it doesn't matter if lettering [typography & logo design] is created on a scratch pad or on a computer using various software - it's still hand lettering because your hand still creates the shapes, just using a different tool. I agree with him completely on this. But there are degrees between looking organic and looking artificial, and using transparencies slots you in the latter category right away.

Run-BMC
09-09-2008, 11:20 PM
Hogwash. These shots would be a letterer's dream come true. There's so much negative space in each shot that I could place up to 50 words in each panel. The sheer amount of negative space makes sure that the impact isn't lost. To think that would happen is having no confidence in a letterer's abilities.




Sorry if I offended there Tom, but do me a huge favor just for my education. If you have the time, how would you letter a back and forth dialogue between the two characters of the first four photos? Here's a sample script, for example:

character 1: aaaaa bb ccc aaaaa bb ccc aaaaa bb ccc aaaaa bb
character 2: aaaaa bb ccc aaaaa bb ccc aaaaa bb ccc aaaaa bb
character 1: aaaaa bb ccc
character 2: aaaaa bb ccc

As someone who has to figure out layouts, I would think the first four, especially photo 2, would be hard to letter without losing the impact of the layout without balloons and tails.

I know to stay away from panels like photo 2 for example, and it's not a matter of my not giving the letter their due credit, more that I've had editors complain about the layouts on behalf of the letterer, or my seeing something when the book comes out that completely diminishes my intended effect.

Ps. I'm also not a fan of transparent lettering... it's obvious why they did it, doesn't benefit the art in that regard anyway, and makes it harder to read.

Thomas Mauer
09-09-2008, 11:26 PM
Give me a sec and I'll do placements on a few of these balloons. You're right that layouts like panel 2 are a lettering nightmare most of the time, but that's also because most artists don't leave enough room on the right for the lettering. Having the characters centered would be a much better choice there, though.

Back in a few with some samples.

Run-BMC
09-09-2008, 11:33 PM
Give me a sec and I'll do placements on a few of these balloons. You're right that layouts like panel 2 are a lettering nightmare most of the time, but that's also because most artists don't leave enough room on the right for the lettering. Having the characters centered would be a much better choice there, though.

Back in a few with some samples.

Really? See, even that's surprising, because then you'd have a conversation where the two monologues aren't physically connected to definitively make a dialogue, unless the balloons are placed on the figures.

Trust me, I put a lot of thought into the letterers' job... like knowing that having a figure bleed into the top and bottom of the panels makes a letterer's job a little more difficult (which is again why photo 2 seems like a head scratcher)

Ashwin Pande
09-09-2008, 11:52 PM
Yeah I didn't mean to offend either Tom. I meant that the point of negative space is to give a certain feel and if that is covered up in extensive dialog on the writer's part then the letterer has no choice but to fill up the negative space with balloons no? That is how I feel the impact of the negative space might be lost. If a scene like that has to be done then I think it should have a minimum amount of dialog to keep the idea of the blank space alive.

Thomas Mauer
09-10-2008, 12:05 AM
It's all about context. With just plot and no dialogue, you wouldn't compose your pages and panels they way you do. You accommodate the lettering from the start and make the letterers' jobs easier. The writers help you with that by giving you the dialogue upfront. That's why I prefer full script instead of Marvel style plotting/scripting for example.

If there's just two balloons in the second image, you can have one on the left and one on the right of the centered characters. Leaving some space up top helps of course, and in the worst case scenario, you just loop one balloon tail from the top and the other from the bottom to point them at the speakers.

The way you place lettering is also in the context of previous and following panels, so the images below aren't that good of a presentation of page flow. They show how you can get around various obstacles on a page though while not sacrificing too much of the impact of the negative space.

There's a lot more room for dialogue and heavy back-and-forth, but this should suffice. Notice that the balloon tails aren't too thick. If they're too thick, they can look clumsy and claim more space than is necessary. If they're too thin, it's possible that the tails vanish in the artwork. Those over-rendered Transformers comics would be a nightmare, for example.

The balloons could overlap if space is an issue, something I haven't done below. The tails could also be white or black lines, depending on the artwork and color palette - see THE BOY WHO MADE SILENCE or WILLOW CREEK for examples.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3093/2844664983_a03c77ab6f_b.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3084/2845500514_5b8863cc82_b.jpg

Thomas Mauer
09-10-2008, 12:08 AM
Yeah I didn't mean to offend either Tom. I meant that the point of negative space is to give a certain feel and if that is covered up in extensive dialog on the writer's part then the letterer has no choice but to fill up the negative space with balloons no? That is how I feel the impact of the negative space might be lost. If a scene like that has to be done then I think it should have a minimum amount of dialog to keep the idea of the blank space alive.

I wasn't offended. Hogwash is a word I like to use once in a while, that's all. :)

Also, it's up to the writer to trim their dialogue after seeing the artwork to get rid of superfluous junk.

TonyFleecs
09-10-2008, 12:19 AM
Also, it's up to the writer to trim their dialogue after seeing the artwork to get rid of superfluous junk.
I will cling to superfluous junk with my dying breath! :lol:

Also, now I want to read a Manhattan fumetti comic.

Thomas Mauer
09-10-2008, 12:24 AM
I will cling to superfluous junk with my dying breath! :lol:

Also, now I want to read a Manhattan fumetti comic.

:lol:

I read Fritz Lang's M last week. The HC collection came out last month. First I thought it was just stills from the film with lettering on top, but Muth staged his own photos and at different angles than in the film, and then painted each photo as a panel. It's incredible.

Ashwin Pande
09-10-2008, 12:31 AM
:lol:

I read Fritz Lang's M last week. The HC collection came out last month. First I thought it was just stills from the film with lettering on top, but Muth staged his own photos and at different angles than in the film, and then painted each photo as a panel. It's incredible.

Is that the one that comes with a cd?

NeverWanderer
09-10-2008, 12:31 AM
To elaborate why I hate transparent lettering so much:

I'm trying to recreate the look and feel of hand lettering digitally, and it's possible that I'm one of a very few letterers who think we should do this. This goes so far that I purposely draw balloons unevenly to get around sterile-looking oval shapes. Every balloon is drawn by hand, albeit with the pen tool in Illustrator. Funny enough, I'm as fast as other letterers who drag & drop balloon templates.

Transparent balloons scream to the world that this is digital lettering. Working the balloon shapes including slightly off-looking tails becomes moot because everybody can see that this is digital lettering to begin with.

I recently read Leslie Cabarga's LOGO, FONT & LETTERING BIBLE (he's one of the most well respected typographers of our time). He wrote that it doesn't matter if lettering [typography & logo design] is created on a scratch pad or on a computer using various software - it's still hand lettering because your hand still creates the shapes, just using a different tool. I agree with him completely on this. But there are degrees between looking organic and looking artificial, and using transparencies slots you in the latter category right away.

I can understand that, definitely.

But -- and this is just me playing devil's advocate; I'm pretty neutral on the matter myself -- I remember reading a thread on this very message board where the resident cartoonists (I think Donal was one of the specific contributors, but I could be wrong) were exchanging hand-lettering techniques, one of which was the use of tracing paper instead of opaque paper to place the letters on to make the bubble blend in with the backgrounds more.

Taking that into consideration, I wouldn't necessarily say it's a guarantee that the use of a transparent word balloon is going to be obviously computerized. I think it has more to do with the uniformity of the font and/or balloon shapes.

(Btw, that's cool that you specifically draw the balloons unevenly! :))

Thomas Mauer
09-10-2008, 12:33 AM
Is that the one that comes with a cd?

There was no CD or DVD. :(

Thomas Mauer
09-10-2008, 12:50 AM
I can understand that, definitely.

But -- and this is just me playing devil's advocate; I'm pretty neutral on the matter myself -- I remember reading a thread on this very message board where the resident cartoonists (I think Donal was one of the specific contributors, but I could be wrong) were exchanging hand-lettering techniques, one of which was the use of tracing paper instead of opaque paper to place the letters on to make the bubble blend in with the backgrounds more.

Taking that into consideration, I wouldn't necessarily say it's a guarantee that the use of a transparent word balloon is going to be obviously computerized. I think it has more to do with the uniformity of the font and/or balloon shapes.

(Btw, that's cool that you specifically draw the balloons unevenly! :))
Well, it's all a matter of preference, but before digital lettering, the workflow was thus:

Writer, penciler, letterer, inker, colorist.

The letterer would lay out the copy and balloons on the pencils (in pencils), then ink the lettering, balloon borders AND panel borders. After that they'd erase the pencils inside the word balloons before giving the pages to the inker. The colorist would color everything but the balloons since there was nothing to color in there, anyway.

Paste-ups were common and using tracing paper was one option. Far as I know, paste-ups were used for corrections, not principal lettering. I'm not sure how much cartoonists experiment(ed) with them since I haven't seen such examples, though.

Maybe transparent balloons get a bad rap with certain people (like me) because they're so common now, because computers make it so easy to use them, and because they're mostly used by inexperienced people. So the end result usually doesn't look all that good, and that could be what sours me on them more than anything.

NeverWanderer
09-10-2008, 01:03 AM
Well, it's all a matter of preference, but before digital lettering, the workflow was thus:

Writer, penciler, letterer, inker, colorist.

The letterer would lay out the copy and balloons on the pencils (in pencils), then ink the lettering, balloon borders AND panel borders. After that they'd erase the pencils inside the word balloons before giving the pages to the inker. The colorist would color everything but the balloons since there was nothing to color in there, anyway.

Paste-ups were common and using tracing paper was one option. Far as I know, paste-ups were used for corrections, not principal lettering. I'm not sure how much cartoonists experiment(ed) with them since I haven't seen such examples, though.

Maybe transparent balloons get a bad rap with certain people (like me) because they're so common now, because computers make it so easy to use them, and because they're mostly used by inexperienced people. So the end result usually doesn't look all that good, and that could be what sours me on them more than anything.

So the letterer was the middle point of the process! That's very interesting.

And, yeah, I've seen a few comics that are like you say. Sort of unnecessary, more distracting than anything. But I've also seen a few where it really effects the tone of the story. Not so much in the way you see the art behind it, but rather the color. If the coloring of the panel brings a warmth to the scene, the word balloon can sort of carry that warmth through the words. Does that make any sense?

I dunno. I'm just babbling now. And, as I said, I see both sides. It's got it's good points and its bad points, like anything.

Great conversation, though. :)