Webcomic Workshop #5

This week, the podcast is covering the following:

  • Ken: What file formats are you guys using and do you think it will be the format that we’ll be using in 2 years?
  • Antoine: Planning T-Shirts for Conventions + Which company to go to?
  • Byron:  I want to discuss “acceptance by your artist peers”. This also ties into chatting about style briefly, or lack thereof in my case.
  • Dawn: Are female creators in artists alley intimidating to approach, or is this actually better for their business? (ie: female creators ARE their own booth babe)
  • Antoine’s Drink of the week: A Portuguese Red Wine called “Chaminé”
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  1. I’m just starting to listen to the podcast but I’d like to correct something that Ken said first thing, which is that there’s a loss in image quality with PNGs, but they support full 24 bit color (and optionally an 8 bit alpha channel which makes them amazing for web application, not that that’s particularly useful for webcomics). It’s also a lossless format, no artifacting. Really the only drawback is the larger filesize.

    • I think what he means is that there is a loss if you need more than 24-bit color, say, if you come from a 32-bit image with (as he said) lots of gradients. Even if your image “only” has 16.8 million colors, that’s 0.03 million more than what 24-bit color supports, so you’ll see some loss.

  2. Loved the podcast guys and gal! Getting the comment “I like your style” does feel good, but at the same time I hunger for more… What did you like? What can I work on? I guess it might be hard for folks to put into words what they like, especially when they aren’t professionally trained (I know I have a hard time describing things I like in other artist’s work!!)

  3. I know I’m late to the game here but I was just listening to this podcast today as I go through the archive. I like what I’ve heard so far.

    I wanted to comment on the conversation about file formats, specifically on getting artifacts if you save the same jpeg file over and over. Why not just edit the PSD file (or whatever proprietary format your image editing program uses) and then re-save it as a jpeg optimized for web? That way you don’t get any loss no matter how many times you tweak it.

  4. I’m late coming to this one, but a comment on file formats:

    To echo what DaveB said, 24-bit PNG is the way to go. JPG is nice for file sizes, but the compression does nasty things to your image quality unless you’re saving at 100% quality in which case the compression and file size isn’t benefiting you. PNG-24 has much better color retention than compressed JPG, doesn’t fuzz up the way compress JPG’s do, and PNG’s scale cleanly when they’re displayed at smaller sizes by your browser (desktop, mobile, iPad, etc). So for example, a 600px wide JPG displayed in the browser at 200px will look chunky and pixelated. The PNG won’t, since the PNG format allows for really smooth scaling.
    While I understand the concern for smaller file sizes – this is something I deal with daily in my “real” job – these are art files, so a larger file size is perfectly acceptable.

  5. Late to the game, but wanted to comment about the PNG format as well . . .

    I switched to PNG about 4 years ago and haven’t looked back. I actually save in the PNG-8 format, not PNG-24, because I very rarely use gradients in my particular style. Plus, the difference in color between 8 and 24 is so slight I barely even notice. (Note: The rare times I do use a gradient, I save it as PNG-24 and just eat the higher filesize and apologize to my two visitors who are still on dial-up.)

    But saving in PNG-8, my files are almost always SMALLER than both GIF and JPEG (at “High” compression or higher; anything lower is just madness for comic art) and I get the benefit of no JPEG artifacts in the image.

    For example: If one of my comics is about 70k as a PNG-8 it ends up being about 75-80k in GIF and about 90-110k in JPEG [High] or 130k+ in JPEG [Very High]).

    This method doesn’t really work if you use gradients (unless you don’t mind gradient diffusion), but for greyscale, flat colors with/without flat shading, and especially pure B&W, PNG-8 is definitely worth checking out.

  6. I work as an Engineer, and in my specialty if 10% of the people in the room are women it’s a high-estrogen day. Of the ~100 engineers in my office, only 4 of them are women. So I look at the reality, and then I look at the numbers. For decades, the number of women graduating in Engineering has been 25%. SO WHERE ARE THEY?

    Turns out, most women don’t stay in engineering once they get into it. I read a study that reported a big factor in why women leave is that they feel alone and isolated. And it’s true. People often don’t know what to do with me, a “lady that ain’t like other…lady…uh…engineers…” so they either treat me as inferior or keep me at arm’s length. I’m fortunate that my current group is very non-discriminatory and welcoming, but I haven’t always been so lucky. And if I hadn’t joined this group when I did, chances are pretty good I wouldn’t be an engineer any longer either. So it’s a revolving door. Women come in, women go out, and nobody sticks around long enough to change things.

    Maybe the reason there are so few women at cons is as simple as what that little girl said to Dawn: There are no girls here.

    Which makes being a woman creator and being active in cons and communities that much more important.

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