PROCESS: Gary Clean-up

Good news all!
 Gary, Chapter 4 should be ready to start in about a week or two.  In the meantime, please take a look at the digital half of production for the last page of Gary, Chapter 3.  If you missed the other part of this process, just click the ‘process’ heading to the right and you’re sure to find it.
So… as I mentioned before, my digital process is a tad strange and very basic.  It is tailored to the way I like to work.   By no means is this method perfect for everyone’s style.  I’m curious to hear other folks process as well!
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SCANNING
First, I scan the inked 11″ x 17″ pages.  I’m using an old canon scanner I’ve had since 2003, but it’s holding up ok.  I am limited in scale, as it is legal document size.  So I scan in sections (usually a panel or two at a time).  I’m scanning into Photoshop CS  (an older version, but it does what I need).  I scan at a much higher resolution (400 dpi) than probably necessary.  I prefer to have some leeway with scale.  Also, I scan in ‘grayscale’ mode.  In talking with some of my other comic maker pals, I found that many scan as bitmap (or b/w).  I’ve tried some setting recommendations, but in the end I feel that I lose some of the finess of the linework when I scan bitmap.
Since I scan in grayscale, some adjustments are necessary to keep the lines from being too ‘fuzzy’.  I do this using ‘levels’ and ‘brightness & contrast’, trying to brighten my whites and my gray’s blacker without losing those nice whispy edges of my brush lines.  I should also mention that I’m working in layers, not channels (which is also a popular method), as Gary is only planned for b/w.
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PANEL BORDERS
After I’ve composited the page back into a whole, I add panel borders in a new layer and get rid of the little marks around the edges of the page.  Of course, I had already drawn borders on the physical page, but prefer to have the clean digital borders on this particular project.
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CLEAN-UP
Then I start clean-up!  I finally purchased a wacom tablet & pen this last year, so the amount of cleanup I do digitally has increased.  This is due mostly to ease of use with the wacom.  I’m using a 6.5″ x 11″ Intuos 3.  I create a new layer called ‘fixes’, in which  I use the brush tool to work around the image and… well… fix it!

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DOT PATTERNS
After I get the line work where I want it, I add the halftone/zip-a-tone patterns as another layer (with ‘multiply’ setting).  The patterns I have are a mix of self-made and downloaded from anime websites for free.  Sometimes I know what I want from the beginning with the patterns, but other times I just play to see if it works.
In this case, the dot patterns were not adding anything to this page so I nixed them.  After that I’m pretty much done.  I save the page in a smaller flat state as a jpg or png for posting, but keep my large ‘raw’ version intact.  When I collect Gary, as I did with book 1 (and soon in book 2!), I sometimes return to the pages to make adjustments for the purposes of cohesion.
I’d love to hear how the rest of you work!  More to come soon!
-Tyrell
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3 Comments on “PROCESS: Gary Clean-up”

  1. What in the hay?! How long have you been blogging? Totally added you to my reader. Love this!

  2. […] and then I do some cleanup in Photoshop (I’m still using CS).  The cleanup is basically the same cleanup I do on the pages (adjusting levels and fixing smudges or inconsistencies).  Occasionally I’ll clone a letter […]


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