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Text and Word Bubbles

Text and Word Bubbles

  Text and word bubbles are, of course, the important parts; It's the diaglog. Without it, your story is all visual.  In manga, it's helpful to let people know what's being said and who says it.

  This is one of the more mangled aspects in webcomics; For being so easy to do, and do well, people take short-cuts.  You see a lot of comics or manga with plain computer fonts, which. . .just don't look right.  For some reason, slight, fine text kind of makes the rest of the lines heavier; The varying shape of letters based on sentence structure also don't tend to break apart well, so using one shape (Typically, all capitals), tends to look better.  Obviously, this doesn't apply to most writing, and in a plain text, can make your characters seem more like they scream.  Most people assosciate these same fonts with those used for their own interpersonal communications, so using a different one helps make things distinct.  I which I could phrase this better, but, eh, that's the best I've got at the moment.


  That said, I recommend searching for comic and manga fonts before you head up this step; Installing them and using them is different on a Mac, which I use, than a PC, which most people will probably be using, so I hope you're aware of how to do that; Many font sites provide easy instruction.  

  Whatever font you pick, make sure you're allowed to use it for free; My own font of comic is Digital Strip by BlamBot, who allows small or indie comics, or those self-made and published, to use it for free, whereas big name publishers have to pay.  Under BlamBot's lisence, I'm even allowed to sell my comic, for profit, and not have to pay for the font, which is great if I decide to print and sell this in book-format at, say, conventions.  All the fonts I used I found on other, simular free font sites; There's billions.  Go find some.

    That said, select the font you want and type in your text; You can move this around, so don't panic if it's not exactly where the text will be.  Just click and drag it.

  Hopefully, you have a script pulled up that you're simply copying and pasting from; If you aren't, you may've added hours as you try to recall dialog.  I've been there and done that.  Have a script.

  If you can, it may do you better to change the script's font to your intended comic font; I personally don't do this, though I should, as it makes reading the script somewhat of a pain, and reading it, I prefere to read it in a plain font.  That's just me, though, and it'll save you a few seconds to change your own script's font so it won't need changing when you paste it.

  You can see that using the Text tool and typing pulls up these options.  If you notice, you window is in a tab of Character Settings (Meaning the font), next to a tab called Dialog Balloon Settings.  Guess where I want you to go next?  Go on.  Guess.

  Yeah, Dialog Balloon Settings; Click that bad mother and you'll see some new options to play with.

  My guess is you'll have some idea of what these do and are for, but I'm not assuming anything.  We'll go in depth.


  The first thing you'll want to do is Select Dialog Balloon From Materials, to determine the shape of the balloon.  Don't worry if the lines are too thick, you can set them thinner.  Try to keep the same balloon for the same type of stuff.

  For example, I use blocks, in the first chapter, for most of Julian's reflective thoughts; They were also somewhat narritive, as, even though Julian really isn't the main character, he's the one driving this story plot-wise.  Julian's thought set the stage for what's happening, and also indicate Julian is recalling this event from later on; When it's really determine or important, so much as that the reader knows these are more over all or over story thoughts, rather than the thing Julian thinks at some exact moment.  Sometimes the narritive may pop in and provide a more over all thought to an event; If Julian's looking back or thinking at the moment, in those instances, typically isn't important, as it's more for artistic/creative/story-telling effect than 100% normal seriousness of the rest.  These are also a better option if Julian is currently engaged in conversation with other people, as the obvious difference in shape makes sure no one will mistake, somehow, a thought for speech, or a thought to belong to the wrong character; With correct writing, who'se thought is who'se isn't hard for a reader to distingush who's been paying attention.  You can't treat each page as if the reader is brand new after a certain point; Each story has a flow, and the read has to pick up on yours eventually.  Done carefully, I think this works.

  But here, Julian's thoughts are immediate and in the moment; The story has caught up to his present time.  For all we know, he may not recall this.  Regardless, I used a thought balloon in the more typical-sense for this text, as I wanted the reader to know right then that's what Julian was thinking.  Not from a later point or even an outside observer to himself and actions (As people tend to do when they get nervous and overthink), but right then.

  In the hall, his thoughts are blocks again; These are, again, more over all, him talking to himself mentally, so the distinction is okay, I think.  These aren't on the fly; They tend to be more deep and bold within minds.  Julian, in that case, is mentally psyching himself up to knock, so he's trying to talk himself calm.

  For regular speech, I tend to use a typical bubble with a more width than height; Manga Studio includes a butt ton of different bubbles, including those used for Japanese manga (With more height than width), and a slew of random, decorative ones.  I used one of the random decorative ones for any explaination of a story jump; If I suddenly cut to a scene that took place earlierthat's the bubble I'll use to put "Earlier" inside of.  These time skips, typically used for reflection, aren't always inheritantly obvious to a reader, so say something, dammit.


  For sounds, to let the reader know it is sound, I don't use a bubble, just a font.


  Now we have our bubble; Most of the options are pretty forth-coming, so I'll jump onto the tail of the word balloon; The little thing that let's the reader know what character said what.

  To the right we have the typical Dialog Balloon Settings box, with the focus being on that top row of buttons.  You can see, toward the bottom, the balloon itself with the text inside it, in place on it's page where it will remain.

  Now, Julian is thinking, not speaking, but I'm showing you the tail for the purposes of teaching.  Deal with it.

  You have two choices; A tail with a curve or a straight jab at the speaker.  I like curves, and this is the harder of the two, so I'm going with that for our example.


  With that button clicked, go to the page and click, hold, and drag/draw a line from you bubble to it's speaker.

   I try to do this in one go or stroke, but I believe it's easy enough to enlongate if need be.

    Now, let go of the mouse button.  You should get something like this image to the right, of a tail, with blue blue line joints meeting at a white square with a red outline.  Selecting and moving the white square changes the curve on the tail's severity and direction.  Swing it around and see what it does.  The curve is really up to you; I like to curve up from the bottom, but maybe you don't, I don't know.

  Click the square at the end of the blue line will let you adjust that ending point; You may be able to drag it out and make it longer, you might not.  if you screwed up, you can click that little Trash Can icon to delete the tail as currently being worked with.


  And that's a finished page.  At this point, you can Export the page and/or entire story via File to Export.  Make sure you're exporting in 300DPI.  I suggest pixel settings to export if you're doing webcomics, but it's entirely up to you; I don't like to resize the images after.

  From here, publish your manga, somehow, somewhere.  I suggest the vast, untamed internet.


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