Phanzanu's Typesetting Guide

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  1. phanzanu

    phanzanu Head Typesetter
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    -work in progress. PM/discord me for any comments/suggestions/violent reactions-


    :twirl:
    ☛ How to Typeset ☚
    by phanzanu/phanpy
    In this guide/tutorial, I'll be sharing how I do things. This won't be the best way to do it, or the way everyone should do it. This is just the way that works best for me. Some things though, I will stress should be standard, so watch out for those.

    I am not a Typesetter/Letterer by profession, so I can and will make mistakes. Feel free to point those out or discuss any topics in the comments below when I open this thread.


    ☆ ★ Table of Contents ★ ☆
    Advanced Font Manipulation
    Changing Fonts for Different Moods/Dialogue Type
    Remember to maintain a consistent pixel height for all your fonts
    SFX​
     
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    Last edited: Nov 16, 2016
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  2. phanzanu

    phanzanu Head Typesetter
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    ☆ ★ Software and Settings ★ ☆


    Adobe Photoshop

    This guide will only feature Adobe Photoshop, which is what I use for typesetting. Adobe Photoshop CC will be the version appearing in most of the screenshots. If you use something else, this guide is not for you. If you use MS Paint, only God can show you the way, my child.



    Layout

    upload_2016-9-7_15-17-15.png

    This is my Scanlation workspace. If you use Photoshop for other things like painting or graphic design, I suggest to create a new workspace (1) specifically for scanlation/typesetting, so you can save the panels you use most often right there in their usual place. The panels I use most often are Character/Paragraph (2), Layers (3), History/Actions (4), and Tool Presets (5).

    upload_2016-9-7_14-54-47.png

    These are the Character are Paragraph panels. Those labeled in red are the basics you need to know when typesetting.

    * Always set anti-alias to Smooth.
    * Always start off with the alignment Centered.


    The other settings don't need to be touched until you're comfortable handling the basics.


    Settings

    upload_2016-9-7_15-0-59.png

    Go to Edit > Preferences > Units and Rulers.

    * Set Type to Pixels.


    Shortcuts

    Here's a pretty nifty PDF for Photoshop CC keyboard shortcuts. Other shortcuts you can edit yourself by pressing ctrl+alt+shift+K. You can also set keyboard shortcuts to your Actions when you create one or by double-clicking the action itself.

    upload_2016-9-7_15-14-11.png
     
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  3. phanzanu

    phanzanu Head Typesetter
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    Typesetterer

    Introduced to me by Abby, this software saved my scanlation life. It's seriously. That. Good. Here's a quote from its website:
    Get Typesetterer from its website here. Make sure you read through the page Using It to know how to, well, use it.


    Though, Here's the Basics on How to Load Your Script

    upload_2016-9-7_15-28-35.png

    You can either copy-paste into the region above or load the script from a .txt file. Then click on Parse.

    upload_2016-9-7_15-31-48.png

    Once parsed, you're giving settings to edit the text with on the right side of the window. When you're done there, click Onward.

    upload_2016-9-7_15-39-52.png

    Link your pages together. Scroll through the PSD/page matches to make sure everything's matched correctly. Then click Launch.

    upload_2016-9-7_15-50-7.png

    This will launch your default Photoshop software and a Typesetterer overlay that mimics the Photoshop GUI. Remember that your focus should be on the Photoshop window, not the Typesetterer overlay, to make it work. Make it a habit to click the button at the lower-left corner before starting (this saves and closes the current page before it opens another).

    Typesetterer has two panels: Text and Styles. F1-F4 help you navigate through the Text panel while F5 and some other shortcuts are for the Styles panel. Read here for more info as well as how to use the shortcuts. I will only include how to use the Text panel in this tutorial.
     
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  4. phanzanu

    phanzanu Head Typesetter
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    Font Managers

    This is not a requirement, but I prefer using a font manager to organize my font collection. This makes it easier to search for font styles (like handwritten or spooky fonts) as well as helps lessen the software startup load on your system by having too many installed fonts.


    NexusFont

    The one I use right now is NexusFont, a free font manager for Windows. You can get it from its website here. It allows me to sort my fonts as well as to temporarily install them whenever I need them. Take some time (an hour or more) to sort through your fonts and play around with the software and see if it's something that works for you.

    upload_2016-9-7_16-5-39.png

    It's up to you how you use your font manager. Just remember that for NexusFont, only the fonts in the Folder or Collection you click on will be temporarily installed for use.


    Any suggestions for Mac?

    The internet is your friend.

    :snooty:
     
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  5. phanzanu

    phanzanu Head Typesetter
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    ☆ ★ Font Resources ★ ☆

    The internet is a big place and has lots of fonts swimming around, both for commercial and personal use. Here's a few sites where I get my fonts from:
     
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  6. phanzanu

    phanzanu Head Typesetter
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    ☆ ★ Typesetting ★ ☆


    01: Create a Typesetting Folder

    upload_2016-9-15_0-15-9.png
    This is for organizational purposes and help yourself and your QCer navigate the sea of layers. You might want to set it as an action with a shortcut so it'll be easy to do before you start on every page.


    02: Use the Raws as Reference

    upload_2016-9-12_13-57-42.png

    A good cleaner will give you a layer or group that you can hide/unhide to easily take a look at the base raw page. You'll need to do that for the following:


    Looking at text placement

    The script won't tell you where the texts are, just a general idea of what kind of text they are. You'll need to check with the raw to know that, for panel 4 above, there's an SFX on top of his head and a side-text by the arrow, left side.


    Looking at font style

    It'll also give you a guide on how to style the text.

    * General rule of thumb is to stick as close as possible to the original style of the mangaka.

    upload_2016-11-16_19-49-6.png upload_2016-11-16_19-49-39.png

    upload_2016-11-16_19-53-8.png upload_2016-11-16_19-53-29.png

    upload_2016-9-12_14-6-37.png upload_2016-9-12_14-7-5.png

    upload_2016-9-12_14-9-25.png upload_2016-9-12_14-14-38.png
    Amelie pages typeset by Abby


    Looking at font size

    Original manga typesetting usually maintains a baseline font size. Some series however, like Amelie above, have very stylistic typesetting from the get-go. You'll see lots of font size changes that help emphasize or de-emphasize text.
     
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  7. phanzanu

    phanzanu Head Typesetter
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    03: Input Text

    Click-and-type vs Text Box

    There are two ways to input text in Photoshop using the Type tool (T). On regular shaped bubbles, I like to use the text box. In a bubble, I like to (1) start making my box from the top left corner and dragging it down to the bottom right. (2) Paste in your text.

    upload_2016-11-16_20-7-12.png upload_2016-11-16_20-8-9.png

    (3) Don't forget to fix the shape of the text to make a rounded more-vertical shape that fits the bubble. After that, (4) do some manual adjustments to move the box up, down, left, or right with the Move tool (V). You can do this by using your mouse to click-and-drag or by using the arrow keys in the keyboard. Remember that moving won't work using the Text tool unless you press ctrl to temporarily switch to the Move tool.

    upload_2016-11-16_20-9-19.png upload_2016-11-16_20-8-33.png

    The box method is quick and easy, and it only needs some manual adjustments to make it look good. However, it's not that flexible when it comes to shaping the text itself. There are special bubble shapes that need more flexibility when inputting your text like the one below, and we'll have to do a complete manual input for that.

    upload_2016-11-16_20-22-16.png

    If you do the box method here, it'll look too cluttered on the right side where the border of the other panel pokes in. If you move the text a bit more to the left, the bubble looks unbalanced.

    upload_2016-11-16_20-24-0.png upload_2016-11-16_20-25-1.png

    What you can do is manually adjust the text and add lots of spaces to nudge the text around to make it look like this:

    upload_2016-11-16_20-27-57.png upload_2016-11-16_20-28-5.png
     

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  8. phanzanu

    phanzanu Head Typesetter
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    04: Basic Bubble Shaping

    Manga bubbles are different from western graphic novel bubbles. In the western style, the bubble is wrapped tightly around the text.

    upload_2016-9-15_0-22-38.png
    The Wicked + The Divine

    For manga, there's a lot of empty white space between the text and the bubble.

    upload_2016-9-15_0-28-23.png
    Tenshi no Tamago

    It probably has something to do with when the bubbles are made (before/after penciling/inking/scanning), but I don't have any knowledge on that so let's skip it.

    For manga scanlation, what you're aiming for is a tall, round block of text that fits the bubble shape with a good margin. Compare the two images below.


    upload_2016-9-15_0-39-2.png

    Please avoid doing the above. The text is too big and crowds the bubble, making it hard to read.

    upload_2016-9-15_0-41-46.png

    This is more aesthetically pleasing because (1) there's a good margin between the text and the bubble outline, (2) the rounded text shape complements the bubble shape, and (3) it looks more like the original spacing we find in the raw.



    Hyphenation

    Other typesetters avoid hyphenation like a plague. "Never hyphenate unless absolutely necessary." By hyphenation, I mean this:

    upload_2016-9-15_0-51-54.png

    Which is something you can do to reduce the amount of empty, white spaces in this:

    upload_2016-9-15_0-56-15.png

    That said, typesetters avoid hyphenation because it makes it harder to read the text. This goes against the typesetter's job of making the text aesthetically pleasing and easy to read. Therefore, always ask yourself after hyphenating: can I easily read what I just made? If it made you pause or read it again, it might not be a good idea to hyphenate that word.

    Here are some criteria I follow when I hyphenate:
    • It's originally made up of two words: Ipponyari-san, Haruki-chan, fly-swatter, war-mongering, type-setting, lamp-post.
    • It can be easily read even when it's split up: Yama-guchi, Ma-myuuda (between two kanji, I infer this from the kanji/furigana in the raw), baka-neko, you-kai, apart-ment, com-plex, cabi-net.
    Try not to hyphenate words with only one syllable.


    Okay, so what if hyphenation is the only way to go (ex., with very thin vertical bubbles)? Then, try to hyphenate in one or both of the areas below.
    • Between two consonants: kind-ly, bat-tery, mis-sion, ex-cite-ment, ir-respon-sible.
    • Between a root word and a prefix or suffix: work-ed, teach-er, tax-able.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 16, 2016
  9. phanzanu

    phanzanu Head Typesetter
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    05: Basic Font Manipulation

    Pick a Baseline Font Size

    What you'd want to do next is take note of the font size you used to make those good-looking bubbles above. Say, it's Zud Juice 18/auto (font size 18/leading auto). What I do is start with that as a baseline font size/settings and use that for all my bubbles of the same type (say, speech).

    upload_2016-11-16_20-45-44.png

    Then I make a tool preset that I can use whenever I make a new speech bubble.

    upload_2016-11-16_20-47-25.png

    From that, I just increase or decrease the font size and add other effects as necessary.


    Using the Character Panel

    Highlighted below are the ones you'll be using to change the style of the font (regular, italic, bold). The ones at the bottom portion are faux bold and faux italic. Some fonts don't have an included italic and bold version, but Photoshop can still apply a "fake" italic and bold version of the font. Try and experiment because a real bold and a faux bold won't always look the same, and one or the other will look better for different fonts and bubbles.

    upload_2016-11-16_20-52-4.png

    Next is leading, highlighted below. Some fonts look good with auto leading, while some need manual readjustment.

    upload_2016-11-16_20-59-3.png upload_2016-11-16_21-0-21.png

    Now, let's see what happens if we tweak the leading a bit. At 13/13, the text looks too tight.

    upload_2016-11-16_21-1-53.png upload_2016-11-16_21-2-13.png

    At 13/18, the leading is way too big. Nope, nope, nope.

    upload_2016-11-16_21-3-7.png upload_2016-11-16_21-3-22.png

    Take note of two sweet spots when it comes to leading: it's either auto or the same as the font size (ex: 18/18). If the font you're using makes you tweak the leading too much to make it look good, find another font.
     
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  10. phanzanu

    phanzanu Head Typesetter
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    06: Advanced Bubble Shaping

    Bubble shaping is, basically, all about placing your text at the very center of the bubble it belongs to, be it narration or speech. However, there are a bunch of bubble outlines that make it hard to do just that. We're tackling some of that below.

    Joint bubbles

    Joint bubbles are what we call two bubbles connected together.

    upload_2017-2-9_12-21-1.png
    Koisuru Nante

    The fact that they're joint mostly doesn't have an effect on your typesetting - just place the text in the center of their respective bubbles. However, there are some cases where it can be difficult to place the text correctly. Joint bubbles like the ones below that are too close together tend to have problems with readability.

    upload_2017-2-9_17-39-8.png

    What I do is I make sure the baselines of the two texts do not intersect. If the two texts are on the same baseline, the readers' eyes can inadvertently flick over to and get distracted by the words on the other text bubble. If they're on different lines, it's harder for the eyes to get easily distracted.

    upload_2017-2-9_17-20-53.png

    If you can, try making a layout where bubble 1 starts out higher than bubble 2. That helps make it more natural for the reader to follow the Japanese right-to-left writing system.

    upload_2017-2-9_17-26-13.png

    * Keep the font sizes as close to the other as possible.

    If it's not possible, like in the case above where one of the bubbles has way more words than the other one, try not to make the difference in font size too big. While having different font sizes per bubble can make the page look organic and alive, it can also look very messy, cluttered, and unprofessional. Keep in mind as well that a dramatically smaller font size can express that the speaker's voice has become quieter or that the speaker is whispering. Likewise, a dramatically larger font size can express that the speaker is shouting.

    An exception to this is when the manga itself originally had different font sizes for effect/emphasis. See below for examples.

    upload_2017-2-9_17-34-34.png
    upload_2017-2-9_17-35-2.png

    upload_2017-2-9_17-37-45.png
    upload_2017-2-9_17-39-33.png

    Boku to Kimi no Taisetsu na Hanashi
     

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  11. phanzanu

    phanzanu Head Typesetter
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    Border bubbles

    Border bubbles can be nasty in that they sometimes do not leave enough room for your bubble to maintain a good rounded shape with centered alignment. The joint/border bubble below is something I found while reading some manga last week.


    upload_2017-2-10_16-39-31.png

    This is a sad example of how to do joint/border bubbles in that both texts aren't centered in their respective bubbles. Note as well that the text in bubble 2 is almost halfway inside bubble 1. I tried fixing it into something I think looks better.

    upload_2017-2-10_16-42-37.png

    First, I manually put the text inside bubble 2 (as in I did not use the text box). This is important for border bubbles because we'll do a bit of manual tweaking with the alignment using spaces. (Note that spaces at the end of a line don't show up in text boxes while spaces at the beginning of a line do. I just made it a habit to type manually whenever I feel like I might manually adjust the spaces in my text.)

    upload_2017-2-10_16-49-14.png

    Note at the red arrows that there are a couple of spaces typed in in front of the lines. This will nudge them a bit to the right of the original centered alignment. This ensures that they won't be sticking too close to the left border.

    upload_2017-2-10_16-51-31.png

    The above is what it would look like without the spaces. Note how the DOING is already touching the border. This is something that should never happen in regular speech/narration bubbles.

    upload_2017-2-10_16-55-36.png upload_2017-2-10_16-54-5.png

    A tweak that we can do as well to make an aesthetically pleasing shape without letting the text touch the border is to adjust the tracking (highlighted VA above) and/or the horizontal scaling (highlighted T above) of the line that's too wide. Adjusting the tracking will make the spaces between the characters narrower or wider. Adjusting the horizontal scaling will stretch or squish the whole line itself, including the characters. A good guide is to try not to go below 95% or above 105% in horizontal scaling. A bigger change looks unnatural and brings about unnecessary emphases in the text.

    Lastly, type in the text for bubble 1 (the easier bubble). If you'll notice, bubble 1's text is shaped like an hourglass instead of something roundish. This is to complement the shape of bubble 2 (the harder text bubble). I had to make do with a DOING YOUR line poking out in the middle, so I made sure there would be enough space in bubble 1 to make up for it. That's why the narrow line A CRAZY is also in the middle.

    upload_2017-2-10_17-32-54.png

    Annoyingly thin vertical bubbles

    There are several ways to approach annoyingly thin vertical bubbles.

    One way is to decrease the font size to make the words fit in the bubble. This isn't always ideal when the font size becomes too small that it's barely readable.

    Another way is to just type the text vertically. It's not the best method because top-to-bottom text is hard to read in English, but if all else fails, this is your last resort.

    My favorite method is to let the text go past the bubble borders and add a stroke.

    upload_2017-2-10_17-10-1.png

    Why not just hyphenate everything? Hyphenating too much isn't advisable because it makes the text hard to read due to the cuts that interrupt the flow of the words.

    Note from Avelys: @phanzanu Another method for vertical bubbles (learned by Ayne from Evil Flowers) is by just manually making the box wider. Helps a ton. Should probably ask assistance from a cleaner/editor or quality checker.
     
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  12. phanzanu

    phanzanu Head Typesetter
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    Advanced Font Manipulation

    Changing Fonts for Different Moods/Dialogue Type
     
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    phanzanu Head Typesetter
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