September 4, 2007

With today's comic...

...comes a new era for George! ...Kind of!

Today marks the first release of a George comic done with the "new" style of coloring I've taken to using. Basically, I used to export the line art from Flash to Photoshop in .png format, flatten the file, use the magic eraser to delete the white background, and start adding color to the characters with the paint bucket tool. When all that was done, I'd add a little stroke around the outside of the characters, and also apply a slight bevel/emboss effect to make them look a little bit "3-D," and finally put a dark offset layer over the top of it to add a little shadow effect. Basically, I wasn't taking a very proactive route in making my comic look good; I just blasted it with Photoshop effects to try to make it look good.

I've realized that if I really want to make the strip stand out, I have to put more time into the coloring process. This means taking more care to be sure that all elements of the characters are COMPLETELY colored in (no little gray pixels here where lines meet color), and adding shadows completely by hand instead of just covering all the characters with a smoky gray layer which robs them of their vibrant color. There are other subtle differences I won't completely go into detail with here, but suffice to say the comics take a little longer to make now, but in my opinion, look much better. Also, I'm allowing the comics to be taller...the panels are 20% taller than before, and I'm going to let talk bubbles float up above the tops of the panels a little if necessary. This will lessen the "cramp" factor I sometimes run into when making strips. All this change is forcing me to really put more time and effort into the strip, and you know what? I'm having a lot of fun doing it. Every comic feels like much more of a creative process now, instead of just going through the motions to push out a new product every few days. I hope people notice the difference. And if they don't...um...well, refer them to this blog post, will ya?

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