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      CommentAuthorBerserker
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th 2011
     (9535.21)
    @Audley Strange - I agree that landscape formatting in books is becoming a little more standardized - possibly because of things like works made originally for display online, etc? Ironically, with things like the iPad and Kindle and so forth, monitors ( at least in some specific cases ) are becoming portrait aligned again!!

    Perhaps the absolutely SQUARE format is the next BIG THING?
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      CommentAuthormichaelk42
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th 2011 edited
     (9535.22)
    David Petersen's Mouse Guard books are about 8"x8" (trifle smaller as I'm measuring this one near my desk) but I don't think he does that for any internet-related reason.

    I don't know why the square format in his case, but it seems to work just fine.

    [EDIT: Then I got some time and off my ass and googled Mr. Petersen's explanation.]
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      CommentAuthorAlberto
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th 2011
     (9535.23)
    The way I see it, we can retain MOST of the comics language and the changes made to it are actually beneficial to clarity.


    @Aurora Borealis. Honestly, I don't know. I can't help but think accesibility in webcomics has a price and there's some risk of over simplification. All I'm saying is We shouldn't give up on tools that easily.

    Above, Warren has a hint on how to make page-tall panels work. I'd like to think there's also a way (god knows how) to make double page spreads, or whatever.
  1.  (9535.24)
    Personally I love the webcomics that allow you to just scroll down to read the next page and so on. Keeping everything right there, so those of us with weak internet connections don't have to suffer through laborious page loads again and again.
  2.  (9535.25)
    WARREN -

    This is off topic, but I have to tell you: a comics writer with no visual sense, and no interest in exercising it, is unlikely to become much of a comics writer. Learn to think about and visualise the panel AND the page. Believe me, you'll thank me for this in the end.


    Recognizing that this is off topic, I still fell compelled to ask. Whenever I think too specifically about page layout or visualization, I feel like I'm stepping on the toes (and creativity) of the artist. Is there a happy medium or am I just overthinking this? Do most artists mind being scripted to that level? I spent so many years hearing about "Marvel Style" writing, that I've come to think of that as the standard, and it's hard to push that out of my head.
  3.  (9535.26)
    Marvel-style writing was finally put in the shitter when Joe Q took over at Marvel. The norm there, as I understand it, is now full-script. (I imagine there are exceptions for the few people who can really make Marvel-style sing, like Peter David.) My general advice to new writers is if you can't see your page, you can't write it. The artist cannot be expected to read your mind.
  4.  (9535.27)
    Then I shall start adjusting my scripting style. Thanks for the advice.
  5.  (9535.28)
    I use landscape proportions because that's the shape of the monitor. I size the image according to what I can find out about the most common screen resolutions and internet speeds.

    BUT, I have been thinking about the rise in popularity of using iPhones and tablets for reading the web. A simple flip and your landscape becomes portrait or vise versa. I guess in a way they make the entire question pointless.

    I dunno if that way of viewing the web will take over from the personal computer, but sometimes I think an infinite canvas style scrolling comic will work better with a device that also works by scrolling than it does on a PC. I may put it to the test one of these days.
  6.  (9535.29)
    Further morning thoughts on the topic:

    The horizontal comics I saw often were posted on sites not really prepared for them. For example Drunkduck (where I generally host my stuff) puts so much banners and shit on the top of the screen + people getting carried away with a large title banner for the thing that you sometimes end up scrolling single strips!

    And extra hilarity ensues if the creator forgot that not eveyrone has 1280 or wider screens and the comic "bleeds" off the screen on the sides too.

    On the other hand, once everyone switches to a wider resolution than 1024x768 (and as the old CRT monitors are replaced with LCD ones this is slowly happening) you'll be able to have nice doublespreads. Say, a manga-sized project serialized as 600px wide pages becomes a 1200 wide doublespread on top of a 1280 wide screen. That would work!
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      CommentAuthorVaehling
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2011
     (9535.30)
    Dunno... people don't always use their full screen for browsing, so you'd still have to cater to smaller windows. A cool thing would be if the site automatically directed you to the fittingly-formatted version based on your browser window. Of course, that still wouldn't allow for actual double-page spreads because you'd still need the single-page readability, but wouldn't it be neat anyway? (Also, personally, I think double page spreads are overrated.)

    For the one pagespread I've used in my life, I've rigged ComicPress to choose a different site layout. The single pages are 700px wide, I think, and the double page is 960, so it isn't a real double, but the effect still works. Also, not much text here, so reading isn't an issue. (Link to the page before, for full effect. Again, I apologize it's in German, but this isn't about plugging the comic, it's about the layout.)

    The scene is from a 24 hour comic, and I used the pagespread as a fun way of getting two pages done in as little time as possible. (The dialogue on the page roughly translates to "must gain space".) It's a print comic mirrored online, and I never managed to present that page right (until I found that CP workaround). It's also the last double-page spread I ever made, and precisely for that reason.
  7.  (9535.31)
    I have to admit, I'm currently tending towards a manga-sized page and an implementation of treesaver.js....
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      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2011
     (9535.32)
    @ William George:

    A simple flip and your landscape becomes portrait or vise versa. I guess in a way they make the entire question pointless.


    True, but I think the vast majority of people still do their webcomics reading on lap-or-desktop machines - tablets are still far from ubiquitous, and I can't read anything much more visually complex than a Penny Arcade strip (and props to Gabe's artwork for me being able to read even that) on my phone. If I want to read something with a good amount of text, or heavy detail work, I'll be needing a landscape-monitor computer.

    Another thought: Not all webcomics are drawn on the computer, but most of them see a computer as part of their creation process, whether for letters or colors or just plain clean-up work. This allows the artist to see how the page will look on the screen, and still make corrections for that if they need to. To the best of my knowledge, there aren't any comics being made entirely using a phone or tablet (though I guess I wouldn't be too surprised to learn that there are some), and the only way to know how a page will look on such a screen is to put it up on one - and then, if you need to fix something, you've got to go back to the drawing board or the computer (or both) to fix that, and THEN put it back up on the tablet or phone.

    All this boils down to is that I still think webcomic artists should consider people's primary machines first, and their accessory machines second, when they are considering formats, at least for the near future.
  8.  (9535.33)
    Perhaps the absolutely SQUARE format is the next BIG THING?

    I've often thought this is a pretty interesting idea given you have no clue at this point what sort of device your comic is going to be viewed on.

    But it wouldn't work well for translating it to the standard print comic size (nor does 2 square panels on a page, or 2 x 2. You'd have to go to Gravel-style 2 x 3, which may or may not be what you want on screen).

    Personally I love the webcomics that allow you to just scroll down to read the next page and so on. Keeping everything right there, so those of us with weak internet connections don't have to suffer through laborious page loads again and again.

    Purely from the reading standpoint I've never liked this that much and could never put my finger on why, but then realized how much more I enjoyed reading lengthy text on Kindle with a page-flip as opposed to scrolling on a web page. I think having a discreet page even with variable content size (number of panels, amount of text) in digital has value as a reading cue -- you see a container of content and then drill down on it -- that allows you to absorb the relationship between the pieces of content (panels, sentences/paragraphs/etc) more easily. Or something.

    I'm sort of conflicted on stuff like comixology's "guided view" and other panel-level viewing implementations for similar reasons, even if you're on a small screen. It effects your perception of the relationship between panels which is of course important. But obviously it's still early days and we're all just trying to figure these things out.
  9.  (9535.34)
    A couple of years ago there seemed to be a big concern about fitting content above the fold to avoid scrolling both with webcomics and websites in general. That seems to be going away now that larger resolution monitors are becoming more common and content creators are learning to assume readers know how to use the scrollbar (as long as they are properly compelled to with a sufficient pay off for doing so).

    However, even though larger resolutions are becoming more popular, the iPad -- and I imagine most future tablets-- display browser content perfectly if it is designed for 1024x768. I recently redesigned my web comic site and one of my objectives was to cut out some unnecessary vertical space especially in the header so that it would fit better (though not perfectly) on the iPad while also looking great on desktop browsers.
  10.  (9535.35)
    I'm sort of conflicted on stuff like comixology's "guided view" and other panel-level viewing implementations for similar reasons, even if you're on a small screen. It effects your perception of the relationship between panels

    Totally agree here.
  11.  (9535.36)
    I have to admit, I'm currently tending towards a manga-sized page and an implementation of treesaver.js....


    I favor Floatbox though I'd use Fancybox if I could get it to work with my Comicpress setup.
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      CommentAuthorPatrickBrown
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2011 edited
     (9535.37)
    This is something I've given plenty of thought to. My basic layout is a vertical page divided into three horizontal tiers, which seems to me ideal for both online and print reading. The direction of reading is mostly horizontal, which suits the landscape layout of the screen, gives me enough space to make one page a satisfying weekly unit with enough beats to move the story forward, it's more flexible than a grid, and it also looks good printed. I nicked it from Jaime Hernandez, who uses it pretty consistently. I do break out of it from time to time and try vertical layouts, but I try to use the scroll in some way. For example, in the page below, I wanted to give it a creepy feeling of the man looking the woman up and down. But because of the scroll and the horizontal orientation of the screen, I've been careful to make the the reading direction of the page diagonal, top left to bottom right. How well I've succeeded, or course, is for the reader to decide.

    The Cattle Raid of Cooley page 86

    In situ on my website, I've also designed a navigation bar that fits at the top and bottom of each page, so the reader can click the next page, the previous one, the beginning and the most recent page without having to scroll in either direction. If you've read the page the bottom, you don't have to scroll back to the top to click "next", and if you want to click through several pages at once, back or forward, to reach a page you recognise, you don't have to scroll down to the bottom of each page.
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      CommentAuthorAlberto
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2011 edited
     (9535.38)
    I couldn't resist downloading treesaver.js to give It a try and see It running some comic pages.

    I like It. It's promising, but not user friendly. At least for now. You need to fiddle with the code evey time you want to make an update. Also, you'd have to find a way to generate rss feeds out of this.

    I think this would work a lot better with a landscape format than It does with my pages. I had to squeeze them in there to make It work. The controls are clunky, but that's probably my fault. Arrow keys work smoothly.

    I'm sure someone with a better understanding of css than me would make a lot more out of this.
  12.  (9535.39)
    Just so you know, that doesn't work at all in Chrome/Win7. No clicky.
    • CommentAuthorGregCarter
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2011 edited
     (9535.40)
    Once scroll-wheels became a standard feature on almost all mice I gave up caring about vertical scrolling - both as a reader and a creator. All the comics I read online are "full page" standard type comics. I do several anime cons a year and they have no problem reading full page comics on a landscape computer screen. I won't get into why they are pre-trained to do so, but I use that to my advantage since one of my comics appeals to that crowd. And since we do an open b&w manga style on Love is in the Blood it looks pretty clear even on a smaller screen.

    People's reading preferences are all over the place, so rather than make myself nuts about whether one format will get a few more readers than another I've stuck with the same "traditional" format. And with iPads and other tablets easily made portrait for full-page comic reading it's looking like a good decision at the moment.