Phew. I’ve been meaning to do this for over a year now >_>
Typesetting is an extremely important part of editing manga because one of the things readers focus on most is the text. It doesn’t matter how good your cleans are if your typeset is horrible (and vice versa). Likewise, a good script is important too. Don’t be afraid to ask the translator if it’s all right for you to do some minor editing while you do the typesetting. Oftentimes, translators focus too much on individual words and not enough on the flow of text on the page. Consider typesetting to be the bridge between cleaning and translating.
1. Entering text. Choose the Text tool in PS (or hit T). Your cursor now looks like a typical word processing cursor. Click and drag to make a square roughly in the center of your bubble. Your text will now be limited to the interior of that square, and you can type or paste your text. The other option is to just click once and start typing, but I’ve found the auto-wrapping in the text box to be convenient and sometimes pleasantly surprising.
2. Choose an appropriate font. Visit this page for info about choosing your fonts.
3. Choose an appropriate font size. You don’t want your text crowding the bubble, but you also don’t want to make people squint to read it. Also be careful that text in adjacent bubbles don’t smoosh together.
4. Center your text. This may seem like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised. With the Text tool selected, you can hold down the CTRL key and click and drag your text. Alternatively, you can select the Move tool (or hit V) and use your arrow keys to nudge the text box around. What I like to do is make sure the corners of my text box are the same distance from the bubble on either side.
5. Fix the shape of your text. Lots of people talk about making your text a diamond shape, but keep in mind that there are times when other elements may be more important than the shape of the text. By “diamond”, we mean the lines of text should be narrow at the top and bottom and wide in the middle. What you don’t want is uneven line lengths. Photoshop automatically wraps your text within the text box, and more often thant not, you will have to use the return key to push your words around to find the best shape for your text.
6. Be careful with hyphens. Some typesetters like to hyphenate words in order to get the perfect diamond block of text. Some typesetters absolutely hate to hyphenate a word unless there’s no other choice. I prefer to use hyphens sparingly, but whatever you decide to do, try to put the hyphen in the center of the word and not near the beginning or the end. Also make sure there are no leftover letters spilling into the next line, and DO NOT hyphenate one-syllable words.
7. Aim for consistency. Don’t just throw your italics or bolds around at random. Try to match the text on the raw. Lots of people save italics for thoughts or make the text gray instead of black, and bold+italics is usually used for shouting. Whatever you choose, stick with it!
8. Stroke text that’s not on a white background. Black text on a gray background can be difficult to read. Black text on a pattern can be an eyesore, so what we need to do is outline the text in white. After you type out of your text, right click on that layer and choose Blending Options. Click on Stroke. From here, you can choose the color of the outline (usually white), the pixel width of the outline (3 px is usually good), and other settings (make sure it’s set to Outside).
I vaguely remember someone asking about stroking text using GIMP. I came across this tutorial the other day and thought it did the trick simply and quickly: Gimpology
This looks like a pretty good Gimp site in general.
Other miscellaneous pointers:
- Try not to use vertical text. It’s just too hard to read. Keep it for the SFX.
- Use punctuation!! As much as you’re probably sick about people harping on you about grammar and punctuation, it really does make a huge difference in the overall quality of the typeset. Even if the Japanese text doesn’t have any punctuation, you could always add an ellipse (…) to show that the sentence is continuing in another bubble.
- Go easy on the warped text for SFX. All too often, it warps into illegibility.
- The Character palette is pretty straight forward, and if you hover your mouse over a button, the name will pop up. One thing to point out is the anti-aliasing (aa), which you want to keep on Smooth (sometimes Strong is good for shouting, though you can get the same effect from other things like bold or italics).
- I also recommend creating a Layer set (folder) and putting all your typeset layers in there. It often comes in handy down the road, and it keeps your Layers window from getting cluttered.
- Sometimes it can be tempting to just use the Move tool to mush a block of text into an ill-fitting bubble. However, don’t change the text height or width more than ~10%. If you stretch it any more than that, it really stands out from the rest of the text on the page and just plain looks bad.
- If you rotate your text so that it’s running vertically, make sure the bottom is oriented towards the center of the page. show