PDA

View Full Version : Why Illustrator/Manga Studio for Lettering...


Duane Korslund
06-26-2014, 10:54 AM
This has been bugging me for some time. Why is Illustrator/Manga Studio the go to software for lettering?
Or more specifically, why is Vector based lettering preferable to using Photoshop (or another Raster based software)?

Is it because with vectors you can create outlines and thus modify the lettering a little better than you could with raster based? (Photoshop). Fonts are far more customizable this way.
Does it have to do with sizing and print ability? Since Photoshopped lettering would be Aliased and slightly jagged vs smoother if vector?

I've always accepted and practiced lettering in a vector based software, but never got the full story on exactly why. (in writing this, both of my reasons why it should be done with vector make a whole lot of sense.)

DaveyDouble
06-26-2014, 11:00 AM
The bit that bugs me is that, as far as I'm aware, paste-up is still dome in a raster program.

I do the whole thing in SBP, and do digitalnhand lettering (no very widely practised) and work at 11x17, so everything is done at about 150% print resolution.

Duane Korslund
06-26-2014, 11:04 AM
The bit that bugs me is that, as far as I'm aware, paste-up is still dome in a raster program.

I do the whole thing in SBP, and do digitalnhand lettering (no very widely practised) and work at 11x17, so everything is done at about 150% print resolution.

I do the artwork in photoshop 11x17 then the balloons, lettering, SFX in Illustrator.
Of course it would be easier to do it all in Photoshop or SBP.
Of course if you're hand lettering (even digital) there's no need to create outlines to customize...so I could see there being no need for a vector program.

khperkins
06-26-2014, 02:19 PM
This has been bugging me for some time. Why is Illustrator/Manga Studio the go to software for lettering?
Or more specifically, why is Vector based lettering preferable to using Photoshop (or another Raster based software)?

Is it because with vectors you can create outlines and thus modify the lettering a little better than you could with raster based? (Photoshop). Fonts are far more customizable this way.
Does it have to do with sizing and print ability? Since Photoshopped lettering would be Aliased and slightly jagged vs smoother if vector?

I've always accepted and practiced lettering in a vector based software, but never got the full story on exactly why. (in writing this, both of my reasons why it should be done with vector make a whole lot of sense.)Yes one reason its that you can create outlines and modify the lettering. The main reason for using Illustrator is that it has better typography tools than PS. You can letter in Photoshop, but compared to Illustrator, it's a pain in the ass, and won't look as good. (Trust me I've used both.) As for Manga Studio, it makes great balloons, but the lettering process itself left something to be desired last time I tried it (which was one version ago). of course if you are hand lettering, I think Manga Studio would have the upper hand on that, because it's brush engine is awesome.

bramjm
06-26-2014, 10:00 PM
The analogy I'm working with is that, while it's possible to drive a nail with a screwdriver, there are nailguns. They may be more expensive, take some training, but it's what the pros use to create a finished product.

Illustrator is designed specifically for the creation and manipulation of precise geometric objects (type included). Photoshop is designed for raster illustration and retouching. As mentioned above, it's way more difficult and doesn't look as good.

And to the comment about assembling the final artwork in raster, same thing. It can be done, but that's what page layout programs like InDesign are for it'll be easier and give you a better finished product.

paul brian deberry
06-27-2014, 12:56 AM
this might work better in the lettering forum.

JimCampbell
06-27-2014, 03:57 PM
The bit that bugs me is that, as far as I'm aware, paste-up is still dome in a raster program.

Paste-up? How do you mean? Most of my clients get flattened TIFFs of the complete lettered pages that I export from Illustrator and which are usually made up into the finished book by pulling them into InDesign. For Image, I did the InDesign stage as well and their production team just added four pages of Image content at the back. A handful of clients want the lettering ONLY as an EPS file which they overlay on the art in InDesign.

One of the key reasons* for lettering in Illustrator is Photoshop's insistence on turning everything into rich black (usually something like C60M60Y40K90) when lettering black should always, ALWAYS be C0M0Y0K100. It's also harder to control trapping in Photoshop — balloons should have a K100 overprinting stroke, which is complicated to simulate in PS.

And, yes, typographic controls are better in AI. Type handling in Manga Studio, even in v5, is woeful. And I say that as a fan and an advocate of the software.

Cheers

Jim

*Do you see what I did there?

cyxodus
06-30-2014, 04:43 PM
What Jim said.

Here are two images zoomed up to only 800%, the top is raster and the bottom is vector. `Nuff said.

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3898/14545101725_ba0d207e5f_o.jpg

Besides a crisper line, Illustrator is just better at handling anchor points than Photoshop or other raster programs.

Go to my site, Ninja Lettering (hhttp://www.ninjalettering.com/) and take a look at some of the video tutorials to see how it's done in Illustrator.

Duane Korslund
06-30-2014, 04:45 PM
Yup, that pretty much cinches it :)

DaveyDouble
06-30-2014, 06:16 PM
Paste-up? How do you mean?


Well, I've only ever pasted letters over the artwork in Photoshop because I'm a muppet (clearly).

Does InDesign handle raster and vector together? I've no idea as I've never used it.

The example above is very stark, but I was under the impression that the final output to printers and digital was a raster image with a set resolution, making vectors pretty much irrelevant.
As long as you're over-res at the point of creation and setting the final image (and then careful to scale correctly so you don't get artefacts), the ready won't actually see any difference.

Thomas Mauer
06-30-2014, 06:43 PM
Most printers I work with actually prefer vector lettering. Your artwork can be at a lower resolution (say 300 or 400dpi) at a fraction of the file size while creating a crisper or equally crisp result to artwork that's at 600 or 1200dpi.

InDesign leaves your vector and raster art unchanged. Aside from objects and copy you create directly in InDesign, of course. If you want to change either the artwork or your lettering, you do it on the TIFF and AI/EPS files.

You can export a multitude of file formats including layered PDFs for print, JPGs at various resolutions & color modes, and easily change document dimensions without having to do that with each file in PS or AI - provided your AI files use the same dimensions as your art files. InDesign is a tremendous help automating a lot of tasks, really.

Printers and many publishers accept InDesign packages which contain everything needed to print, giving them the option to edit if necessary.

Another big advantage to lettering in Illustrator besides infinite scalability and ease of use is that it's easier and quicker to fix typos (and adjust balloons in the process), and make translations for foreign language markets less time consuming.

JimCampbell
07-01-2014, 05:06 AM
Well, I've only ever pasted letters over the artwork in Photoshop

The main issue with doing that is that in colour pages, PS will automatically convert your lettering to rich black which will look fuzzy in print compared to K100 which, for some reason, PS assumes no one will want in preference to rich black.

The example above is very stark, but I was under the impression that the final output to printers and digital was a raster image with a set resolution, making vectors pretty much irrelevant.

To an extent, this is correct. At some point on its journey to the printed page, your document is going to hit a Postscript RIP and at that point it's all dots. It's true that a vector hitting the RIP will get converted natively by the RIP but there's no real advantage over a 300-400dpi TIFF at the correct (print) dimensions.

For my money, the advantages are much more in terms of workflow, typographic and trapping control. Plus, I have no idea how people using PS cope with complex pages that have an individual layer for every single block of text. My AI documents have four layers: A-Wk; Balloons; Text; FX & Titling, and that's it.

(That said, I was very impressed with the way Curse reproduced for BOOM! Studios and that was done with PDFs of each page that were surprisingly compact — only about 4Mb each with placed 300dpi art and text converted to outlines.)

Cheers

Jim

superggraphics
07-01-2014, 01:46 PM
Another thing to consider is that if you are going to submit a book for digital viewing (think comixology submit) your book will be rejected if it has any non vector based lettering or word balloons... Viewing raster based lettering at 300 resolution gives no pleasure to the reader... G

Kep!
07-25-2014, 12:04 PM
What Jim said.

Here are two images zoomed up to only 800%, the top is raster and the bottom is vector. `Nuff said.

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3898/14545101725_ba0d207e5f_o.jpg

Besides a crisper line, Illustrator is just better at handling anchor points than Photoshop or other raster programs.

Go to my site, Ninja Lettering (hhttp://www.ninjalettering.com/) and take a look at some of the video tutorials to see how it's done in Illustrator.

Perfect.

L Jamal
07-25-2014, 08:49 PM
The main issue with doing that is that in colour pages, PS will automatically convert your lettering to rich black which will look fuzzy in print compared to K100 which, for some reason, PS assumes no one will want in preference to rich black.

I letter using AI CS4. I color using PS CS4.
For my web comic, I color in CMYK and paste the lettering into the color file. The lettering is always K100.
You can see the difference in the blacks below.

http://www.digitalwebbing.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=5480&stc=1&d=1406331843

JimCampbell
07-27-2014, 08:23 AM
I letter using AI CS4. I color using PS CS4.
For my web comic, I color in CMYK and paste the lettering into the color file. The lettering is always K100.

Slightly baffled as to why you're colouring in CMYK for an RGB 'publication', but you're right. I've definitely observed the behaviour I describe, but I may be thinking of an older version of CS, since I can't now replicate it.

So, yes, I was peddling outdated info above *apologies! As long as your PS document is CMYK, pasting from AI will respect your K100 lettering. (It won't preserve your overprints, though.)

Cheers

Jim

L Jamal
07-27-2014, 12:37 PM
Slightly baffled as to why you're colouring in CMYK for an RGB 'publication', but you're right.
Ultimately all my web comics will be print comics.

So, yes, I was peddling outdated info above *apologies! As long as your PS document is CMYK, pasting from AI will respect your K100 lettering. (It won't preserve your overprints, though.)
I have my own PS process that does that.

JimCampbell
07-30-2014, 05:37 AM
I have my own PS process that does that.

The only way I can think of to preserve overprinting is to hold the caption/balloon strokes on separate layer to their fills and set the stroke layer to multiply, and to have any black text over a coloured background also on a multiply layer.

At this stage, the workaround is so involved that it would seem easier to me to bring the art into the Illustrator lettering document than the lettering into the Photoshop art file, but YMMV.

Cheers

Jim

Comics Commando
08-01-2014, 04:02 PM
A lot of noobies assume the paste up is done in Photoshop--thus rendering the vectors moot. Professional paste-up is actually done in InDesign. Far as I know it's an app that straddles both worlds--in layman's terms. I do all my pre-press work in inDesign when prepping printer files for a client. They supply color photoshop files, and I do all the letters in illustrator--then I combine the two layers in InDesign. The art stays raster--the letters stay vector. I output a print file for the printer and they print from that.

Kurt Hathaway
Cartoon Balloons Studio

khathawayart@gmail.com

JimCampbell
08-02-2014, 07:15 AM
Obviously, what works for you, works for you, Kurt, but you're making extra effort for yourself here by having to line up the art and letters in InDesign, given that they're already correctly aligned on the lettering document.

You can save your .AI lettering files with the art in place as "PDF Compatible" and place the entire live AI document in InDesign as if it was an image. That way, art or lettering changes made to your lettering document will always propagate correctly to your print file.

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb36/jimcampbell2000/PDF_Compatible_zps05eb3ca0.jpg

Cheers

Jim

superggraphics
08-02-2014, 07:36 AM
I letter in AI and when I'm finished I just export the file as a PSD file... Never had any problems to date with any publisher... G