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vertical panel count
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gazorenzoku
Reinvents understanding


Joined: 08 Nov 2001
Posts: 629
Location: Sapporo, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2003 9:58 pm    Post subject: vertical panel count Reply with quote

How many people out there stick to a certain vertical panel count, with some minor exceptions, througout any given story? Like 3 rows per page, or 4 rows per page or whatever.

I used to just go by feeling on vertical panel count (I have no idea what to call this). Then, the other day, I was sitting at the drawing table and I had absolutely no idea what my composition for the page I was drawing was going to be.

I went to the graphic novel center of my house, and flipped through a few comics to get some ideas. And then it hit me. A lot of comics seemed to follow pretty much the same vertical panel count through one story. Some artist change their patterns with different graphic novels, but a lot of them seem to generally keep it the same throughout one story. With the exception of, of course, those crazy "modern" superhero comic panel arrangements that fly all over the page.

Even Italian cartoonist Milo Manara keeps it fairly consistant through one graphic novel, though he changes the pattern with each project. Dan Clowes' "David Boring" is a straight 3. As is his "Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron". The Ultimates is a straight 4. Elfquest moves around a lot, but the base seems to be 3. "The Authority" moves around a lot, but Bryan Hitch's work in the first trade uses 4 as the base. Mike Allred's stuff in "Madman" was pretty much all 3, and now even though his "X-Statix" stuff is a little bit more "modern" and less stable in form, he still uses 3 as a base.

So for a lot of print comics, excluding the in your face, all over the page ones, the base seems to be either 3 or 4.

How do you work? For those who work mainly on web comics, how does the format of the web affect your panel composition? And how does the story affect the panel composition, and vica versa? I find that right now I lean more towards deciding the vertical panel layout first, and then go through each row and structure the individual panel widths to follow the story. So the vertical panel lengths are generally not decided by the story, but the widths are. For now. I will probably change later. But now I am having fun with this method. I am using a 3 panel count for a 9x6 print comic, by the way.

Also: what panel composition do you like in print comics? What don't you like? (And the same two questions for web comics)
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losttoy
Understands reinventing


Joined: 02 Apr 2002
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Location: Ann Arbor, MI

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2003 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An interesting question ...

Right now I have been perioticaly working on a script. At completion, the writer and I plan to submit it to various publishers web or print. Since I have to consider how I want the page to look for both web and print, I have had to take special care to its presentation. I decided to first draw in the standard print comic size. Rather than having all the pages presented on the web together scrolling down, I decided that each page of print should have its own web page. Furthermore, I decided that since I want the presentation of the comic in a way you can see the panels and how they relate to the rest of the page without scrolling, I decided to design the print pages so they can be cut in half, so each 1/2 page from the print version will have its own web html page. This means I either have 2 or four panels verticaly. Is it not interesting how complicated I made this all be for myself?

However this is only for this one comic. Since this is the web you have less limitations as you do with a print comic. If you do not mind your readers scrolling, you can have as many vertical panels as you want ... the same with horzontal. I believe McCloud had various vertial sizes for his Zot online and varied on what his pacing to be.

Personaly, it varies with each comic, each story to each page. Remember if you limit yourself to a format, like I have done above), you can limit your creativity.
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gazorenzoku
Reinvents understanding


Joined: 08 Nov 2001
Posts: 629
Location: Sapporo, Japan

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2003 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

losttoy wrote:
Since I have to consider how I want the page to look for both web and print, I have had to take special care to its presentation.


I have had this problem as well. I decided to go with the vertical scrolling thing. I just slap each page below the next, so you can scroll down and read it similarly to a McCloudain "trail comic" (was "trails" the word that he coined, or was it some other word?). I like this format for two reasons:

1) No need to click between pages. I hate when I finish reading one page, and then I have to wait for the next page to download. With the scroll down method, you can wait for all pages to download and then read a big chunk all in one sitting. I have a relatively slow connection...

2) I love the 9 x 6 format. I just love it. And with the scroll down method, I get to keep that format. I know it is flat out silly, but comics seem to lose a bit of "comic-ness" when they have horizontal layouts. The vertical layout is just so much more... fun for me.



losttoy wrote:
I decided to design the print pages so they can be cut in half, so each 1/2 page from the print version will have its own web html page.


Yeah, this is exactly what I would stay away from. But that's just me, and I might be the odd man out here. Good luck with however you do it!!

But if you are still at the stage where you can consider different ways to do it, I would like to submit the idea of using Flash animation. I recently found that if you set the settings for lower accuracy in Flash when changing a bitmap graphic to a vector graphic, you can really get an incredibly smooth line. It is great! And it works so well for the web, because you don't get any jaggedness that turns to bluriness at low dpi's.

Plus, you can show the entire page on the screen, and then have clickable regions that expand and contract as you click them. I did that here:

http://www.vince-coleman.com/comic_test_enlarge.html

It's just a little test, so the story isn't supposed to wow or amaze, but I figured out how to work it. I'd be glad to teach anyone who wants to know. It's pretty easy, actually. Surprisingly easy.

But yeah, if you decide to go with the format you were talking about, that's great too. Either way, I hope you have lots of fun!


losttoy wrote:
Remember if you limit yourself to a format, like I have done above), you can limit your creativity.


So it might seem. But I feel that limitations can be the backbone of the artistic persuit. Without a limitation, you have no art at all. What size do you "limit" yourself to? What media do you "limit" yourself to? What time frame do you "limit" yourself to? Every consideration, every decision, needs a limitation by nature. When I was at art school the teachers used to give us limitations for each project, and one teacher said in a response to complaining about limitations that someday we will long for a set of easy limitations like we were getting at school. The teacher sets the time frame, the canvas size, and sometimes even the color scheme. These are all exciting limitations because then you get to work your magic within them. Well, anyhow, this is how I feel. Others might feel differently.

But I treat the limitations of the page layout the same as that teacher wanted us to treat art-school project limitations. And at the same time, of course I am always free to change things around and ignore the limitations since there is no teacher telling me what to do. Which is why it is so great to be out of art school!! You get the best of both worlds!

Anyhow, good luck with your project. Let me know how and where I can see it when it is ready to be viewed.
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William G
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Joined: 15 Jan 2003
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Location: South central...Korea. Word.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2003 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For webcomics, my layout tends to be one vertical by forty horizontal.

Back in the olden days when I was thinking that my comics would be seen by my "LEGIONS OF FANS" on dead trees, I stuck with the classic three vertical panels, with the variations coming in the number of horizontal ones.
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gazorenzoku
Reinvents understanding


Joined: 08 Nov 2001
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Location: Sapporo, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2003 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey, I see you live in Korea and are coming to Japan. I have lived in Sapporo for 4 years. If you come here, look me up. Send me an e-mail if you want to / can hook up.
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losttoy
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2003 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Vince, you are right about Flash. However since I do not have a copy of the program, nor do I know how to use it ... it's good old bitmappy lines for me (sigh).

I decided for this comic since it is a page by page thing that i wanted the reader to click for next page. I guess you are right about loading time, but I can't think it would too slow for the readers to not enjoy it anyways.
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gazorenzoku
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Location: Sapporo, Japan

PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2003 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok, hope you have fun with it. Let me know when it's up. I look forward to it.
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