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fredart studios - the process behind the madness


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> Book Processing, (was: Thank You)
Talvert
  Posted: Jan 11 2007, 02:09 AM
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I was just thinking about this, but Fred's probably taking a crapload of e-mail of how he yet again missed another comic and how they will never read the comic again. I just wanted to say thanks to Fred for giving us a nice story to read and that the other people need to learn their place and realize who is doing whom the favor. Anyone else who wants to hop on and reply and add on their thanks, feel free, but those of you who are the naysayers, you are not welcome in my thread!

lol, sides, I figure I need to have a good post here, anyway, since my last post spawned this blog entry. http://www.megatokyo.com/index.php?strip_id=827
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The Kingssman
Posted: Jan 11 2007, 11:33 AM
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Well its coming closer to Print Date and Fred has an unfinished comic.

Working in the printing industry, it's hard assembling documents together and get them ready for press.

I'm sure he's getting a cheap bid since he's doing all the work himself, optimizing on his own (as it should be, wouldn't want the printer changing things on their end which chould ruin the artwork)

There's things to consider like bleed of the pages, will artwork ride too much into the spine, will the dimensions fit ok per page? will the pages flow? what about ink density, all this is pencil art and need to make sure to compensate for the +10-20% density gain on press. Of course the more he does things like that on his own, the more control he has that he will get a quality product.

A good example to see what happens when megatokyo goes over to press would be to take a comic, convert to 1-bit (or send it through a fax machine). The pre-press would be trying to compensate that conversion.

I'm not sure what else he has Hawk doing to get this "press ready" but one things for sure, if the press is 8 up, he has to have a # of comics divisable by 4, if its 16 up, then he needs it divisable by 8. Thats why there's things like filler pages.
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Shadowblade Edge
Posted: Jan 11 2007, 04:42 PM
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I agrees Fred is a good fellow and he makes a fine comic.
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Piro
Posted: Jan 11 2007, 11:26 PM
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QUOTE (The Kingssman @ Jan 11 2007, 12:33 PM)
Well its coming closer to Print Date and Fred has an unfinished comic.

Working in the printing industry, it's hard assembling documents together and get them ready for press.

Yes, it is. I don't deal with pre-press issues like you are talking about - the DC folks handle those specifics (i could go into some of what they do but i'd have to go look thru my notes ^^;;) but here's a quick run down of the process

First off, the comics you see online here are a different aspect ratio than the final book size. this is a legacy issue - i just have to account for it. Specifically, the web comic version is taller than the print version, and the print version is wider. Up till about half way through the last book, the format i used to make the comics did not match the print version at all. I had to take the web versions (done in illustrator, pretty much filling an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper - the aspect ratio of the comic matches the japanese Love Hina tankubon trim size) and size them down to the print version (which was based on what Dark Horse wanted me to use). the old processing method required shrinking the comic down, pasting a template over the comic, adjusting all the boundries, etc, etc... it was a nightmare and took forever.

These days i work on a illustrator template that has trim for both web and print versions already in place. Ideally, when assembling the comic, i will account for bleed (1/4" to an 1/8") outside of the trim, but (particularly with my old method of drawing each frame separately) i didn't always account for this bleed. Since i switched to drawing everything on a full sheet of paper, i now have all the bleed already in place.

Anyways, the process is, turning off web trim layers and turning on print trim, extending crop frames to the full bleed for print, moving text away from the page edge to be within the 'safe zone) so that text doesnt get cut off (this can be a pain sometimes), etc.

Usually i do my edits and tweaks and saving the files to the proper filename (for instance, MT5_p021R 0754.eps would be a typical file name - MT volume five, page 21, its a right page, comic # 0745.) while doing all the changes, but since hawk is helping me all i've been doing is going through and catching all the edits, checking each comic to see that it is ready to be processed. One problem i have had to deal with is that about 8 months ago i switched to Illustrator CS2, and when you import a Illustrator 10 file into CS2, sometimes the text renders a little differently, and i've had to adjust word bubbles accordingly. It may not seem to take a lot of time per comic to do all this, but when you have almost 200 files to go thru, it takes time.

Anyawys, once the EPS file for the print version is created, i import the file into Photoshop at 1200 DPI with anti-aliasing off (this means that the text has no grey at the edges and will print sharp). Adjust levels, clean up problems, and the biggest thing - make sure all the art extends to the bleed where req'd. THis is the biggest pain of the process.

once all of this is done, it gets saved to a TIFF file, and these are the pages that DC will take and assemble into the book using Quark. I let the experts deal with things from there on. Book 4 looked pretty good, so they did a good job smile.gif

One other thing i forgot to mention is - the book layout and design is something i do - i manage everyting from a excel file where i map out the pages, the sections, extra material, freetalk, design pages, etc - it is here that i keep track of what goes where, if things need to be moved around, what has been done and what hasn't been done, etc.

All the extra stuff is what kills you. A design page, some text here, a spelling error there, etc. It's mind numbing sometimes, you end up going over the material so many times you are sick of looking at it. The only good part about it is that in the end the books usually look pretty good, so it's worth the effort.

I'm a little brain dead right now from having finished my part of the process - reading, catching errors, fixing errors, moving word bubbles as req'd to deal with the IL10-CS2 issue, saving things to the proper EPS file name, etc. But its done, and that means that i wont have to go back and redo any of the files Hawk is working on. There are a number of them (about 5-8 pages) that i need to do myself because i want to replace artwork or tweak things more seriously.

None of this includes any of the extra material, OSE, SGD and DPD stuff at all. that comes later this month tongue.gif

it's late, but im real glad to be sitting down to draw. Kind of relaxing, actually. Thanks for your patience this week, i hope some of what i wrote there made sense. smile.gif

fredrin

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stsparky
Posted: Jan 12 2007, 12:08 AM
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Fred:

Thanks for sharing the processes involved. And we appreciate that you're doing your best to give us a great product free of cost.
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omnilynx
Posted: Jan 12 2007, 12:12 AM
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And it started working again!
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QUOTE (stsparky @ Jan 11 2007, 11:08 PM)
we appreciate that you're doing your best to give us a great product free of cost.

And for all those tuning in might I suggest that one of the best ways to show your appreciation for that is to purchase some of his products that are not free of cost. happy.gif
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Unholydragoon
Posted: Jan 12 2007, 12:16 AM
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Like any of the Megagear stuff? (Such as my awesometastic N1NJ4 Hoodie I got this christmas)

Please continue your excellence Fred. You are an inspiration to aspiring artists everywhere. Ya done good!
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pandiculator
Posted: Jan 12 2007, 12:41 AM
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Anybody who sweats the little hurts (OMG the comix r a dai late) is out of their minds.

Work takes time and effort, and people who'd skip over a good thing because they lack the patience are plain silly.

Keep up the good work, sir.
~Pandy
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Hellrose
Posted: Jan 12 2007, 01:12 AM
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QUOTE (omnilynx @ Jan 12 2007, 12:12 AM)
And for all those tuning in might I suggest that one of the best ways to show your appreciation for that is to purchase some of his products that are not free of cost. happy.gif

(As opposed to purchasing something that is free).

Yaaaay~ Fred-rin, I will be buying book 5 though. I love the extra stuff at the end.

An hey, this is the first time you've missed a comic in months. No worries. laugh.gif
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Sareth
Posted: Jan 12 2007, 10:35 AM
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As someone who hopes someday to do this for a living too...

Fred, you're scaring me.

I already own books 1-4 and a few posters. I will, however, buy book five with a great deal more respect for what goes into making these things than previously held. Thanks for sharing.
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