Saturday, September 16

Flexibility and Control

Currently I'm in the process of trying out different ideas to see how they "play" so to speak. During this process I'm trying to have an open mind and not restrict myself to ideas that has already been proven.

If the comic book studio (I'm open to name suggestions) is going to be a success the system needs to be highly flexible and give the comic creators more control than they have with the current tools of the trade.

There must be flexibility so that you are never forced to work in a special way or use a special method to create your comics. I wouldn't want to create something that makes for "cookie cutter" results. We're not looking for a new "lens flare" filter or anything like that.

Adding control does not mean to make it possible to draw straight lines. More control could be making it easier to draw expressionistic artwork that you can't distinguish from hand drawn artwork. It's easier to sketch on paper than it is to ink on paper but in the digital world we can use the mechanics of sketching to control inks as well.

There are a couple of tricks you can use to control if the artwork you're working on is "correct". I think most of us have tried the mirror trick, holding up a drawing in front of a mirror to see the drawing for a different point of view. Such a feature is easily transferred to a digital studio but we don't have to stop there.

The DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering Comics talks a lot about the principles of colors and how colors work together and I want to integrated these theories in the studio as well. Making it easy to check the colors on a page for color value, or saturation or temperature would be useful.

It would also be great if you could try out different colors next to each other and then adjust the color swatch and have an already painted area update in real time. In other words, if you paint with a color and then make changes to that color swatch all artwork that is painted with that color should also be updated.

In Photoshop this is usually done by painting on different layers but this is a solution that comes from the fact that Photoshop is used to handle high definitions photos. If we're coloring for comics we apply one color at the time so we can keep a channel of every individual color that has been applied to the artwork. This means that we can go in and adjust colors individually at any point. The finished product will have the same number of colors, it's just that we're given more control over how they are mixed.

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