SmithMicro, the people who bring you MangaStudio, AnimeStudio, Poser and other great creative apps, are introducing a new comic and manga development program this week at SDCC called MotionArtist. For the time being, MotionArtist is in beta mode, and I received an advanced preview copy to play with.
At first blush, MotionArtist is a great idea and I’ll review it more thoroughly as I use it. While programs like MangaStudio, AnimeStudio and Poser let you make comic and manga content, MotionArtist’s purpose is to help you turn existing content, including digitized versions of graphics and music created with real media, into an enhanced comic-viewing multimedia experience.
Here is the final version of the project used in this tutorial (opens in a new window): Captive Manga Page 6
Like any beta software it has some bugs. Here’s one I discovered pretty quickly, and a simple method for getting around it.
1. Here is the basic page we would like to start with. Notice that the top two panels have no lettering. So I’ll have the lettering fade in using MotionArtist. You can see the live area for this frame outlined in orange.
2. While MotionArtist has incredible tools for creating lettering and balloons, I wanted this to be as identical to my original page as possible. I created the lettering balloon as a transparent PNG, cut out from my original page. By removing as much background as possible from the left and right sides of the balloon, I avoided any issues with having to line up the balloon with the background pixels of both the first and second panels.
3. By importing the lettering image, I can place it in the frame and have it fade in at an appropriate time to lead your eye to read it when I want you to read it. At this point, I can place it where I want to using the camera mode to visualize exactly where it will appear once it’s rendered.
4. However, due to a rendering bug, MotionArtist renders a ghost image of all imported images during QuickTime export, including those imported using Import Background.
5. To circumvent this, simply create a transparent PNG that is much larger than your final camera view. Create a very wide null area around the pixels you want to have show up in your panel. Since the null pixels will not be shown in either the QuickTime or HTML exports you can make the image as large as you like, so long as the final PNG is larger than the camera view.
6. When imported, the oversized PNG will display exactly like my first version. You can adjust the PNG to make sure it is larger than your camera view. The image will be outlined in orange and have resizing handles on the corners and midpoints on the border sides.
7. If you zoom the camera out, you can see that, although you don’t see it in the final rendering, the image ghosting still occurs. The blue area is my oversized transparent PNG. The red area is the transparent PNG’s ghost. The green area is the full page ghost image, which we don’t ever see in the final export in any case.
8. Here is the final export, with no image ghosting visible.
With a little foresight, you’ll be able to make awesome movies out of your comics using MotionArtist without encountering any ghost image issues.
The final version of the project used in this tutorial (opens in a new window): Captive Manga Page 6
The comic used in this example is my webmanga, Captive. You can read it at CaptiveManga.com
I create art. My influences include Japanese traditional and modern art and design.