Let’s Make Manga

I’ve just updated Gimp Book with a couple of new features. The biggest change is probably that it now supports right-to-left reading, for languages like Japanese. This should be great for any manga artists using the plug-in. I don’t know if Gimp is big in Japan, but I would love to get help translating the plug-in to Japanese.

In addition I’ve added support for exporting to Windows BMP images for compatibility with Potrace, among other things, and fixed a number of bugs.

Finally, I’ve moved the software repository over to GitHub, and gotten my own little issues tracker  there, where you can report any bugs you might find or make feature requests.

I’ve also found time to actually use Gimp Book a little, and recently finished a short 9 page comic done entirely in Gimp using Gimp Book. You can check it out over at my other site, queertales.com

First page of my comic Stranger Danger, available at queertales.com

Read the whole comic over at queertales.com

August 14, 2014  Leave a comment

Configuring Wacom Cintiq 13HD with Ubuntu 14.04

I‘ve just replaced my old and trusty Cintiq 21UX, with a smaller and more nimble Cintiq 13HD. The reason why I’m switching has nothing to do with the quality of the 21UX, in fact it’s great for what it’s for, which is drawing, and if that was the only thing I was using it for I would have kept it. The problem is that we live in a small apartment and use the computer screen for everything, from surfing the web to streaming movies and series, as we don’t have a TV, and for that the 21UX is less than ideal as it’s always tilted a little back, and is in 4:3 format. I find 4:3 format screens great for working, but for watching movies I prefer 16:9 or 16:10.

The solution was a wall mounted 30″ Dell screen (which I got at half price because of a scratch on it), and a nice slim Cintiq 13HD that I only connect when I want to draw something.

My working table.

continue reading »

May 3, 2014  4 Comments

Making Comics with GIMP – Speech Bubbles

In this third tutorial on Making Comics with GIMP, we’ll cover how to make speech bubbles. Speech bubbles are an essential part of comics, and come in a variety of shapes and styles, most of which can be achieved with this relatively simple technique. We’ll be using the same ‘Paths Tool’ which we used in the previous tutorial, on how to make Panels and Gutters, but this time around we’ll be be using them to create speech bubbles.

Getting Startedspeech_bubble_layers

The first thing we need to do is to create some text to draw our speech bubble around. Use the ‘Text Tool’, and drag out a an area for the text on your page, and enter some text into it. The text tool creates a new layer for each text element, so it’s a good idea to group all the text elements on a page, in a ‘Layer Group’. Simply hit the folder icon at the bottom of the layer dialog, give your layer group a name, and drag the text layer, onto the new layer group.

Finally, you’ll need a layer for drawing the speech bubbles on, so create a new layer with a transparent background, and call it Bubbles. Place this layer below the layer group containing the text.

continue reading »

March 23, 2014  1 Comment

Making Comics with GIMP – Panels and Gutters

Panels and Gutters, sample page.

The red path indicates the inner edge of the margin.

In this second tutorial on Making Comics with GIMP, we’ll cover how to create panels, gutters and panel borders. Panel borders are the lines around each drawing, or panel, of a comic, while gutters are the spaces between the panels. We’ll start of where we left of in the previous tutorial on page setup, with a page with a margin defined by a path.

If you would rather jump straight in, you can create a new image, and simply select everything with the Select>All (Ctrl-A) menu, and then shrink the selection to how wide a margin you want by choosing Select>Shrink… Finally, convert this selection to a path, by choosing Select>To Path, and you’ll have page you can use as starting point.

continue reading »

February 23, 2014  Leave a comment

Making Comics with GIMP – Page Setup

GIMP is a great tool for making comics, especially when combined with my little GIMP Book plug-in, which provides a simple tool for managing multiple pages.

In this first tutorial in a series on Making Comics With GIMP, we’ll use GIMP Book to set up a template page for our comic. It’s important to spend some time on this template, and make doubly sure that the resolution, margins and size are all correct, as this will be the basis for all the pages of our comic book.

Before We Start

The first thing you need to do, is to decide on what form your comic should take. Is it a web comic, or are you aiming for print…or both. If aiming for print, you need to decide on what format the book will take; is it a black and white manga, a typical four color action comic, or a full color bande dessinée.

For this tutorial I’ve chosen a 7″x10″ full color book aimed at print, at around 64 pages. I’m using print specifications from Createspace, a print-on-demand service, as a reference. If you know beforehand where you’ll be getting your book printed, it’s a good idea to get exact specifications from your printer, which defines the resolution, trim size, bleed and so on.

continue reading »

February 20, 2014  Leave a comment

Bug Fix to Gimp Book for Windows and More

Gimp Book interface

I finally found some time, one late Friday night, to fix an annoying bug in Gimp Book that was introduced some time after Gimp 2.8.4 on Windows only. The bug would cause Gimp Book to crash when you tried to choose a destination folder. The bug is now fixed, so Windows users should be able to grab the latest version of Gimp Book and enjoy it too!

In addition to bug fixing, I’ve added OpenRaster .ora support, both for import and export. OpenRaster is supported by both MyPaint and Krita, and is aimed at being a format for transferring layered images between different graphics packages. I’m looking into using Krita for colouring my next comic, but would like to bring the result back into Gimp and Gimp Book for lettering and the finishing touches. I’m pretty new to Krita, so it will be interesting to see how it pans out.

February 1, 2014  Leave a comment

Jot Launcher Script for Linux

While on the train to Sweden this weekend I wrote a little helper script to make it easier to run Jot under Wine. Previously the process was a bit convoluted, requiring quite a few steps.

You can download the script here.

To use the script, you need the following installed:

  1. Wine with OpenGL support
  2. Jot (32-bit windows version)

The script assumes that Jot is installed directly in you home folder, but you can easily place it elsewhere. Simply open the  script, and uncomment and edit line 13, where it says JOT_ROOT, to point to where you’ve placed it (e.g. ‘JOT_ROOT=/usr/local/share/jot’).

After unpacking the script, place it in PATH. On Ubuntu this would typcally be /usr/local/bin:

sudo cp jot /usr/local/bin/.

Now you can run jot directly from the terminal:

jot YOUR_FILE.jot

This will open a command prompt, which in turn will launch Jot and load your scene. Jot lacks an open dialog, so you always need to point it to a .jot file when you launch it, or you’ll just get an empty scene.

The script was written on Ubuntu 12.04, but should work fine on most Linux distros.

October 14, 2013  Leave a comment

Up Axis Fixed in the Jot Exporter

Thanks to Damien Picard for fixing the Jot Exporter so that the up axis is correct. Jot uses Y up, while Blender uses Z up, which made moving the camera around in Jot rather clumsy.

Damien added a checkbox to the export option, which should be left on by default, unless you want the old buggy behaviour. I’ve left the checkbox in for now, for backwards compatibility, but will probably remove it in the next version, and make Damien’s fix the default behaviour.

August 3, 2013  Leave a comment

Livre Gimp

Gimp Book is now available in French, thanks to Patrick Depoix. He sent me a translated version of the code, which in turn prompted me to add proper internationalization support to make translating easier in the future.

I think it’s very cool that the first language, besides English, that the plug-in is available is French. France is the home of the ‘bande dessinée’, and has produced some of the worlds greatest comic books. Hopefully we’ll see some great French comics come out of Gimp in the near future.

Now, if I could find someone to help out with a Japanese translation, to make it available to all those great Manga artists, that would be a dream come true. Though, I guess it would also mean I would have to implement right-to-left reading, and make Japanese signs work for page names under Windows too. :)

You can get Gimp Book from here.

June 3, 2013  Leave a comment

Boots Easter Commercial

I recently finished work on an Easter version of the Boots commercial we did before Christmas. Again all the CG is done in Blender and rendered in Cycles, with a little compositing done in Nuke.

The commercial uses a lot of the elements from the previous one, but has some stuff moved around, an updated camera animation and lighting and new products. I managed to reduce the render time significantly, by tweaking materials and settings. With shorter render times we decided to render depth-of-field this time around, as render DoF looks a lot nicer than when done in post using depth maps. For me the biggest change was getting a new GPU that supports CUDA, so adjusting lighting and tweaking rendering was a whole lot quicker. It’s nice to be able to move the lights around and almost instantly see the result. Unfortunately our render farm only has low end graphics cards, so the final rendering was all done on CPU’s.

In addition to this updated Boots commercial I’ve used Blender on two other projects recently. Firstly a pack shots for a Toro commercial, and a short ad for Comoyo. I will see if I can post the Comoyo one here in the near future. It’s very short, but uses particles, dynamics and fur, as well as half the deformers available in Blender.

May 20, 2013  Leave a comment

« older posts