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I Can't Stop Thinking!
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Still good?
Yup!
46%
 46%  [ 7 ]
Nope!
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Hmm... partially.
53%
 53%  [ 8 ]
Total Votes : 15

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William G
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2005 10:43 am    Post subject: I Can't Stop Thinking! Reply with quote

http://www.scottmccloud.com/comics/icst/index.html

I was going through the archives of these, and I was just wondering if any of you think things have changed in the... four or five years since they were produced.

Has anything become dated? Laughable? Or does it still hold up today as eternal web-wisdom?
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Tim Tylor
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2005 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still seems pretty good to me.

The bit on cross-hatching (no. 3) doesn't stand up too well now - Deadmouse's lovingly-hatched Ballad looks good on a decent modern monitor. As Ballad shows, there can be good artistic reasons for staying with hatching: tone would definitely not have the same feel in that comic.
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Jason Alderman
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2005 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For some reason, this panel, from the first one
http://www.scottmccloud.com/comics/icst/icst-1/14b.jpg
strikes me as still relevant ...because google maps just implemented such a thing.

And while it's a pet peeve of McCloud's (No. 3, Lesson 5: Learn Geometry.), a lot of people are still making quasi-print-page-shaped webcomics, because they make their living by printing them later. Bigger monitors with higher resolutions have probably also obviated this requirement for webcomic shapes...but maybe it's still a matter of opinion.

jason
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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A note on crosshatching: I think Scott's points are still dead-on. Remember that the monitor that a reader is using isn't the main issue with being able to properly replicate an image. The real pitfalls are the compression used in the image file, the image file size and (yes, even now) bandwidth. Scott's point was that crosshatching was a solution to an old technical problem (inability to print color and shading in books) and computers easily and inexpensively overcome that problem. Therefore, Scott suggests that before resorting to crosshatching, we think about if it's what we really want to do and if there might be another approach which might be more interesting or appropriate for the artwork in question.

He doesn't say that crosshatching is wrong or bad or inferior on an artistic level. Merely that it should be thought of as an option rather than a necessity. This is similar to what happened with photography when color film was invented. Black and white photography became an artistic choice.

Far from making Scott's ICST column see out of date, I think that Dead Mouse's work reinforces the point: All the carefully drawn linework is clearly an artistic choice which has been made to enhance the mood. It didn't have to be done this way, but it has been, and that's part of what makes it what it is.
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Haze
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that cross-hatching really helps in terms of art style. It doesn't seem like it's too much of an issue anymore... artists who want that "feel" to their comic go ahead with the cross-hatching, and those that don't usually end up digitally colouring anyway.

However...

I think it applies very well to SCREEN TONE. It's used a lot in manga, sometimes with amazing effect. Since most manga is required to be printed entirely B&W, it's a great method. However, I've noticed a trend of people trying to imitate the manga "style," and they repeat one very bad mistake -- screen tone looks HORRIBLE in digital images, even worse than cross-hatching! Unless your image is at very high resolution, suitable for printing, those dots will interpolate. And instead of having a nice, fresh screen tone to provide the illusion of shades of grey, it produces a murky splotch of grey and black pixels, which tend to form odd patterns when resized (not sure what the technical term for this is called). If the end result is a horrible mess of grey, so why not just use clean greys to begin with? Or ignoring tone entirely and digitally colouring the art? To me this is just as redundant as trying to imitate the C/M/Y/K dots used in colour printing.

After working with manga scan groups, I easily noticed this problem with resized screen tones. After browsing around on some manga-influenced webcomics sites, I got really irritated that quite a few were making this same mistake. All in the name of trying to appear like "genuine manga." If they want to imitate the art style, that's fine, but they should realize that screen tone is just superficial. You don't need it if you're making comics for the web.


Went on a rant there, sorry. Ahem. Cross-hatching good! Screen-tone bad!
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Rip Tanion
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haze wrote:
I think it applies very well to SCREEN TONE. It's used a lot in manga, sometimes with amazing effect. Since most manga is required to be printed entirely B&W, it's a great method. However, I've noticed a trend of people trying to imitate the manga "style," and they repeat one very bad mistake -- screen tone looks HORRIBLE in digital images, even worse than cross-hatching! Unless your image is at very high resolution, suitable for printing, those dots will interpolate. And instead of having a nice, fresh screen tone to provide the illusion of shades of grey, it produces a murky splotch of grey and black pixels, which tend to form odd patterns when resized (not sure what the technical term for this is called). If the end result is a horrible mess of grey, so why not just use clean greys to begin with?
The technical term, I believe, is called a moir? pattern.

Screentones (zippitone, benday patterns, etc) were used in comics for decades until computers came along. And you're right: unless you know how to deftly remove them after scanning, they look horrible and muddy on a computer screen. Back in the day, I was still using Letraset patterns. You had to cut those things with an exacto knife, and then stick them on your artwork; hoping the adhesive didn't dry up, causing the pattern to fall of - or worse, you put the pattern in the wrong place accidently, and then removed it, pulling off ink...or paper.

I realized zippitone and scanners don't mix when I scanned in some of my old artwork in the past couple of years. If you look at the comics I posted up here and here, you'll see what I mean. I was able to minimze the the offending moir? somewhat in Photoshop, but you can see it's still noticable.

Of course, if you realy like the eyecatching effect of zippitone (or duo-shade - that was another can or worms entirely) you CAN reproduce them digitally, and be free of moir?s. I don't know about overseas, but here in the U.S., you're hard pressed to even find zippitone sheets, or duo-shade board (and the chemicals that go with it) anymore. I certainly can't find them by me...and I live in New York, the capitol of commercial art.

I don't know if they do it digitally or not, but the folks who bring you GAAK use the duo-shade effect nicely.

As for cross-hatching: Call me old fashioned, but I prefer, at least for comics, the looks of pen-hatching, and brush feathering, to the smooth gradients produced by Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. But that's an aesthetic preference, I guess.

I also notice that cross-hatching looks a lot better on my new flatscreen monitor, than it did on my old CRT.
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Coydog
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm Monique MacNaughton, the artist half of the aforementioned GAAK and I happen to lurk on this board. I do the "zippitone" effect digitally by laying in simple gradients in Photoshop, then coverting it to bitmap via halftone pattern. I use lines at an angle as opposed to dots for exactly the same technical reasons as have been described here, plus it just fits the style I've worked up for GAAK.

Now, as for my other big project, UNA Frontiers which is now running on Graphic Smash, I use a combination of marker and ballpoint pen. There is a LOT of fine hatchwork here, because that's just the sort of style it evolved into. Ballpoint works beautifully, btw. Recently I went to screen-friendly page proportions in the current chapter of UNAF, but arranged it so that they would create a standard print page when laid out two-up, and made sure each pair, when combined, would read well. It's kind of amusing that until people look at the credits up close, they have no idea that both projects were drawn by the same artist.
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Eric F Myers
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coydog wrote:
Recently I went to screen-friendly page proportions in the current chapter of UNAF, but arranged it so that they would create a standard print page when laid out two-up, and made sure each pair, when combined, would read well.


Why does it have to add up to a "standard" page layout? If you are going to print your comic it doesn't have to be a standard size! I work at the second largest book distributor in North America and I've seen books in every shape and size imaginable. Why can't artist design for the web and for print simultaneously using the one layout that fits in a monitor?
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Coydog
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I print through POD services primarily. Fitting the standard book formats is the cheapest way to go.
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Eric F Myers
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coydog wrote:
I print through POD services primarily. Fitting the standard book formats is the cheapest way to go.


I'm don't know what service you are using but I found this statement over at ComiXpress.

comiXpress wrote:
What size comics do you print?

ComiXpress prints two standard sizes: traditional comic size (6.625x10.25?) and minicomic size (5.5x8.5?). We can also print custom sizes up to a maximum of 8.5x11? at no additional charge.
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Coydog
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to put it out using Lulu.com, which Darryl and I are already doing with GAAK.
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