?

Log in

 
 
02 June 2015 @ 11:53 pm
The Dialogist  
image

I have created a script! MWA HAH HAH.  This is actually nothing new, I in fact frequently create scripts, but this is the first one I’ve cleaned up enough to release on the internet.


This is a script for Illustrator CS6. It may work in other versions. My “comic method” is usually to do the layout and speechbubbles in illustrator (or photoshop) before I start drawing, sometimes even before I start thumbnailing. Even if you don’t add type until after you’ve drawn you’re pictures, this script should still save you a bunch of work.


You can purchase DialogistAI_1.1 on GumRoad for quite a reasonable sum!


If you’re afraid of commitment or are unable to make online purchases, you can try DialogistAI_ALPHA for free. It makes no speechbubbles and has no clever input panel, but it will get yer dialog into AI in neat little chunks just the same.


Both of them also come with DialogistPSD_ALPHA, for Photoshop purists and Illustrator Not Havers. It’s also totally bare bones – this script actually started in Photoshop before I learned how much better Illustrator is at these kinds of things. It’s also a pretty huge resource suck and may freeze your program. If there’s interest, I may work on a more developed version for PS, at least in terms of text parsing. I don’t think scripting speechbubbles in PS has much use, since it’s faster to remake them than to edit a raster object.


The following is how I use the script as part of my method, it also just includes a lot of shortcuts and tricks for illustrator I rely on that you may enjoy!



Step 1: Isolate your dialog into individual lines in a text files.


Step 2: Open the script in Illustrator. You may need to ‘OK’ a dialog box questioning your commitment. Change any of the preferences you would like to customize the formatting.


Step 3: Select your text file.


Step 4: Success!


image

image

The script builds groups with each line of dialog and its corresponding bubble. Try messing around with the options, you can get different bubble treatments.  You can even just turn the speech bubbles off and use this script to bring any text you want, for any reason, and have it in scalable ‘paragraph’ style text. Confession… I did totally change the speech bubble color in the grey one, so you can see it. But don’t fret! I will show you how to do that with amazing speed in mer moments!


image

Once I bring the bubbles in, I use the hot keys “V” and “A” rapidly and constantly. “V” lets me grab the entire group, drag them around, resize them together. “A” lets me grab either the text box or the speech bubble on its own. Then I can adjust the individual points of the speechbubble, or hit “V” while I’ve got one of the selected to resize it on it’s own.  The script is pretty good at figuring out how big each speechbubble should be based on the options you entered and how long the line it’s grabbing from the text file is, but I still go in and clean everything up when its made choices I don’t like.


Using the Select > Object > Text Objects, I can grab all the text items in the document, and change their font, colour, whatever. the Dialogist makes it’s own layer, so just lock other layers if you’ve got more type hiding around.


If I select one of the speechbubble, I can go to Select > Same > Text Appearance to grab all of the speechbubbles, and change their colour and stroke, and apply styles.


image

image

 


At this point I go around putting my speechbubbles where they belong. I’ve already got my panel set up drawn as stroked rectangles with no fill.  At this point, if I’ve already done rough thumbnails, I’ll have that locked on a lower layer so I can put the bubbles exactly where they need to go.  But I frequently do this step first, so I can see how much space all my dialog is going to take up before I even start thinking about what’s left on the page to fill in, and I can see if my script is too wordy or if the pacing is terrible and I need to re-write anything.


When I’ve got ‘em where I want em’, I run around wildly adding tails to everything! (If I want. Actually, I usually print off these templates and trace over the speech bubbles by hand, using the auto-generated bubbles as reference. But this works too!)  Then I painstakingly stick all the tails I’ve drawn into their proper little group. :p


image

But once they are with their buddies, I can use the Pathfinder > Unite tool to make them all one shape, like I did here with these two speech bubbles I wanted to smack together.  Yes, this will absolutely work even if you don’t organize them into the right group first – but then choas reigns once you start pathfinding them, words get stuck behind bubbles, oceans turn to blood, swearing abounds.


image

Ta da! Final product!


image

….except it’s not, is it?  There’s no pictures in there. That’s up to you, obviously, but for me, I don’t usually draw comics in illustrator. So I either copy-and-paste pr ‘Place’ everything into a Photoshop document as a smart object.


image

image

Now usually I’d print this file, use a light box to draw everything while seeing this layout underneath, scan it back in, and line up the scan behind this layout. For the sake of this tutorial, I’ve just made a new layer and bucketed white into all the gutters, plus a new layer at the bottom and scribbled in stick figures roughly based on the script I bullshitted!  Since my layout and speechbubbles are a smart object, I can just double click the layer to re-open it in illustrator and adjust things like tails and placement. Sweet!