How To Make Comics With Photographs
How to make comics with photographs.
Comics and cartoons have traditionally been produced by drawing them, rather than using photographs to make them.
Since drawing is being practiced for thousands of years, and photography for less than two hundred, that’s not surprising.
Perhaps when photography is being practiced for thousands of years, making comics with photographs might be the norm.
The first thing to do when preparing to make a comic with a photograph, is think of a good idea.
Think of what photograph, or photographs you will use.
What caption you will use. Will the caption be in the form of a speech or thought bubble.
Or will the caption be across the bottom or top of the comic.
For this comic I chose two photographs.
One is of a toy dinosaur shot against a white background.
I shot this and several others to use in a comic strip I used to produce.
The second photo is a landscape showing some mountains and a lake.
To produce this comic I used three different software programmes.
Graphic Converter is great to assemble an image in.
Paintbrush I find very useful in preparing text to add to comics.
ON1 Raw is one of the top photo editors.
I’m using the 2018 version of ON1 Raw.
There’s a new 2019 version available that I haven’t used yet.
You don’t have to use these programmes, use the ones have and are used to.
Starting the project how to make comics with photographs
First I opened the the dinosaur photograph in Graphic Converter.
The dinosaur was facing to the left. In the comic I was going to create I wanted facing to the right.
Under Picture in the menu, I scrolled down to Mirror and I clicked Horizontal.
This flipped the dinosaur to face in the opposite direction.
Instead of facing left it’s now facing right, the way I wanted.
I didn’t want the whole of the dinosaur in the comic so I pulled it to the left.
I positioned it so that some of it’s tail is out of the frame on the left.
It’s legs weren’t required either so some of them are missing at the bottom.
I saved this image for further use in showing you how to make comics with photographs.
Using the Perfect Brush
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After that I reopened the last saved dinosaur image in ON1 Raw, in the Layers section.
I wanted to extract the dinosaur from the background. While the background is white, ON1 Raw doesn’t see it as transparent.
They have a tool called the Perfect Brush. This brush makes the bits of the image you don’t want transparent.
They have another brush called the Refine Brush.
I went over the edges of the remaining image after using the Perfect Brush, with the Refine Brush.
This tidied up the rough edges left by the Perfect Brush.
At this point the dinosaur had been extracted from the image.
While it had been set against a white background, it would have been the same against another background.
The part of the image that had been cut away had a chess board like pattern.
This is strong all around when everything that should be gone is gone.
Any part that isn’t showing a strong pattern will need another rub of the Perfect Brush.
Using a landscape photograph
The next step in how to make comics with photographs involved introducing the landscape photograph.
I opened it into ON! Raw. In the photo I used there were some people and cars in it.
They were in the distance, and small, and probably would have been hidden in the actual comic. Still I didn’t want to take that chance.
The last thing you expect in a comic is reality, so I just ignored the road. It wasn’t very noticeable anyway, while the people and cars would have been.
Anyway getting rid of them was another excuse to use another of ON1 Raw’s tools.
This one was the Perfect Eraser.
It removes an item and fills it in with what it thinks should be there.
Looking at both photos
Look at the two photos the one with the figures and the one without.
It’s done quite a good job. There’s no obvious sign that there was vehicles there.
The facility to do this is present in many photo editors. It’s a fantastic, and so very useful tool.
I saved the new version of the image. When you’re saving a photo after altering it always use the save as command rather than save.
If you use save you will replace the original and if you haven’t a copy, it’ll be gone.
You may not think you’ll need it again, but if you do, you won’t have.
Use save as and either give it a new name of save to another folder. It’s even better if you do both.
Assembling the comic before adding text
I still had the dinosaur image that had been extracted form it’s background open.
If you’re having a go at this project using ON1 Raw you will need to keep it open.
You see if you don’t, you will have to extract it with the Perfect Brush again.
Once you save and close it the background will become opaque again.
You will need to have it open in the Layers section.
Next I brought in the version of the landscape without the figures.
I opened it in Layers also, and added it as a layer.
It was visible in the panel on the left of the screen.
I just dragged it over the dinosaur image.
A tiny icon of both images appeared in the panel on the right hand side.
The tiny version of the landscape photo was stacked above the one of the dinosaur.
Now I just placed the cursor over the landscape icon.
I dragged it down slowly over that of the dinosaur.
When it was about two thirds of the way over the dinosaur icon, I let the cursor go.
The landscape image was now placed behind that of the dinosaur.
This bit may take a little practice
The first time I did this while making a comic it didn’t work.
It took a few goes to get it to work properly.
If this happens to you, just do it again.
It looks easy and that you should get it right first time and It is.
The trick is knowing when to release the cursor. With practice you’ll get it right every time.
I saved this again as a new image.
This is the visual part of the comic completed. It’s a bit rough.
If I had been editing the photo for a different reason I would have finished it much better.
I would have seen that shadows matched, and that the colours looked natural together.
It would have looked as much as possible like one photograph.
This was a comic and I don’t think they need the same refinement and finish as other images.
They look funnier and more authentic as comics if they are a little unfinished.
What you want is a little humour. If you achieve that in making comics with photographs, it looks great.
Getting the speech bubble ready
To continue showing how to make comics with photographs next I’ll show how I added the text.
I did this in the form of a speech bubble.
I’ve never met anyone who’s ever met a dinosaur so I can’t say for sure that they couldn’t talk.
But I really doubt if they could, but I’m allowing this one to.
Paintbrush is a fairly basic graphic programme.
I find it good for adding text to comics along with Graphic Converter.
It’s possible to use text in ON1 Raw 2019 but not in 2018.
Graphic Converter has text capabilities but I find this way much easier.
I created the text in Paintbrush. The font I used was graphite std at 72pt.
I dragged a rounded rectangular shape over the text.
Then I added the pointy bit to turn it into a speech bubble.
To make it into a thought bubble just add three decreasing circles instead of the pointy bit.
You can add the three circles in Graphic Converter rather than Paintbrush.
I saved the speech bubble to be used in Graphic converter.
That’s all I used Paintbrush for. It was so little that it hardly seems worthwhile.
It’s a very easy programme to use, and it does what it does well, and I find it indispensable.
It may be just as easy to do it all in Graphic Converter but I didn’t find it so.
Bringing it all together
I finished it in Graphic Converter from this point.
First I created a new blank canvas.
This has to be the exact same size as the landscape photograph, and dinosaur image created in ON1 Raw.
It doesn’t matter what size they are, but they do have to be the same size.
Open the saved comic image also.
I looked at both images now, the comic and the blank image.
I tried to imagine where to place the speech bubble in the blank image to line up with the dinosaur.
It needed to be so that the bubble was pointing at the dinosaur’s mouth, or it’s head at least.
When I thought it was in the correct position I left it there.
Then I made all the blank image, except the speech bubble active by clicking the wand tool inside it.
Next I copied the entire comic. Now I used the paste into selection command in the edit menu.
It was where I wanted it to be. If it hadn’t been, I would have used the undo option in the edit menu.
This would have reversed the last action and left the image with only the speech bubble inside.
I would have repositioned the speech bubble and tried again.
Sometimes you have to practice
I’ve made comics many times so I can position the speech or thought bubble easily enough.
When I started it didn’t always work so smoothly.
I often had to try two or three times before I got it right.
As with most things the more you practice the better you get.
I saved it now. I like making comic strips.
The first time I encountered them was in Sunday Newspapers when I was five or six years old.
I liked them from the very start and couldn’t wait to get my hands on them every Sunday.
I drew them by hand when I was young. None of the ones from back then survived.
After I got my first computer I drew them with software.
I used a programme called Claris Works on an Apple Mac.
Unfortunately that programme doesn’t exist anymore.
Recently I made some with photographs.
I published some of those on another website.
I haven’t published any for some time, but I might get back to it.
Over to you now
I hope you liked this article on how to make comics with photographs.
I hope you have tried or will try to make your own.
You don’t have to use two photographs, you can just use one.
You can use a photograph of an animal or bird and add a speech or thought bubble.
Don’t use people in the comics you make.
You won’t offend any animals but I can’t guarantee the same with people.
Life is so much easier if you don’t offend people.
What you do with the photo might not offend you, if someone else made the comic using your photo.
We’re all different and some people get offended easily. It’s easier to stick with animals.
Down thee years many comic strips and cartoon films have been produced using animal characters.
I might be infringing copyright if I mention any well known animal cartoon characters, but I’m sure you know some.