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Author Topic: This sounds kind of stupid, but...  (Read 6726 times)

meganjo23

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« on: 06 Mar 2005, 12:08 »

... I need some serious help.

You see, at my dear old school, we have a little thing called 'Senior Projects'. This is a project(duh) that you have to do during your senior year(agian, duh) or you fail out and everyone hates you cause you ruined the system.
So, basically, you can do whatever you want for your project, so long as you learn from it. my thought process for deciding what i wanted to do was something like "Well, I should do something that I already like, and something that's origonal and that not a lot of people know about" For some odd reason, this led me to webcomics. My problem? I know NOTHING about webcomic, other then the obvious things.
I already have a basic story line, with characters, and all that jazz, but... well, can anyone help me out with the other parts of it? I have no idea how to get the stupid thing on the internet and make a webpage. I need to know if my idea is actually a good one or not, although that can wait for a while. Also, just basic tips and pointers would be awsome.
Thanks to anyone who can even begin to help me with this.
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est

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #1 on: 06 Mar 2005, 12:21 »

my questions would be "are you a decent artist, or do you know one?", "do you think you can write a semi-decent story?", "do you think you are disciplined enough to update regularly?" and "will you enjoy doing it?"

if you can answer "yes" to all of those, then i'd say that the webcomic is a good coice!  if not then maybe something else would be a more productive Senior Project.

if you are not sure whether or not you're going to keep it going, then maybe you could start off at keenspace, as they give free hosting for comics.  they plaster ads all over the place, but if you don't find a decent alternative then at least it'll get your project up and running.

good luck!
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meganjo23

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #2 on: 06 Mar 2005, 14:03 »

Thanks est, that actually helped a lot.

Also, would anyone be willing to give me good feedback (constructive critism and all that jazz) on this when the comic is actually up and running (which wouldn't be for a few weeks)?
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torg

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #3 on: 06 Mar 2005, 14:08 »

sure, we all will do... :)

i dont know, if a webcomic does actually have to post ne strips on a regular base... in my opinion any comic, that is posted onm the web is a webcomic. think of 'copper'. i'd say, it's a webcomic, although new pages are posted when they are done...usually not more often than once a month, if at all....
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ElRodente

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #4 on: 06 Mar 2005, 16:12 »

sure, im well used to dosing out some good ol' C&C


edit: and i suppose that for decent mars you would have to be at least semi regular
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Primate

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #5 on: 07 Mar 2005, 06:36 »

Many schools, especially at the college level, have a web presence and many set aside space for their students. Even if they don't usually make space for their students, they might for a school project. So you might want to talk with your computer department for getting your website hosted.

For designing your webpage, you'll either need to get a program that will let you design your page and then translate it into HTML, or you need to learn HTML and style sheets. Style sheets are supported by all the current versions of the web browsers (although I've had glitches with Internet Explorer and relative positioning), and have largely replaced the spaghetti HTML code that resulted from using tables. Jeph's site here is an excellent example of how HTML and style sheets can be combined to make a simple, solid site with nice tight code. Check out my site http://www.phantaststaffing.com for HTML and style sheets with lots of image files. And check out http://www.drdevious.com for the mess tables make if the page is complicated enough.

Any pages HTML code can be viewed using your web browser. While on the page, you'll want to look at the page's source (the command is usually under the view selection). To get a look a most of the bits that make up a page, you can download it to your computer (File > Save As) and get most of the images, HTML code, and style sheets that make the page. The HTML and style sheets can then be examined using the computer's basic text viewing program (Notepad, Wordpad, Simpletext, etc.). The basic ones tend to be better at this, as the advanced programs (Word, Wordperfect, etc.) tend to want to display the webpage rather than the underlying code.

You may also want to learn PHP (a server-side programming language that's a distant relative of C), as that's what most of us use to run our comic archives. It's a lot simplier than trying to manually update pages every single day.

As for making art, it depends on how much you want to spend. You can draw them manually, scan them in, and translate the images into GIF format using the programs that come with most scanners and/or digital cameras. Or you can spend money and get a tablet (assume around $100 bucks) and a copy of Photoshop Elements (assume around $60), which gives you quite a bit of flexibility. Or you can do a combination, and scan your basic images and then using Photoshop Elements to clean them up, color them, and letter them, all of which can be accomplished using a standard mouse.

Let us know what else you might need. My email is in my profile if you want to ask me questions that would bore the rest of the board to tears. :)

Pat
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meganjo23

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #6 on: 07 Mar 2005, 17:09 »

The actual drawing of the comic is no problem, as I have a very good friend who has agreed to be payed for drawing them. I can scan them in, and then with a mix of MS Paint and a photoshop, get them web ready.

As for the web page... that will be the main problem. I have no clue how to do that, and Primate's wonderful explaination, while it did help some, made my poor mind so confused. I wonder, if i go with Keenspace, do I have to mess with all that stuff? I'm not trying to take the easy way out, it would just be nice to have an escape route.

If anyone's interested in hearing my idea for the actual comic, then tell me, and I'll share for some nice constructive criticism.
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cri

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #7 on: 08 Mar 2005, 01:14 »

Well, let's hear it. :)
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Primate

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #8 on: 08 Mar 2005, 06:05 »

Quote from: meganjo23


As for the web page... that will be the main problem. I have no clue how to do that, and Primate's wonderful explaination, while it did help some, made my poor mind so confused. I wonder, if i go with Keenspace, do I have to mess with all that stuff? I'm not trying to take the easy way out, it would just be nice to have an escape route.

If anyone's interested in hearing my idea for the actual comic, then tell me, and I'll share for some nice constructive criticism.


I'm afraid no matter where you go, you'll either have to build your webpages yourself, or get someone else to build them for you (not that unusual - if you look around, you'll notice that many webcomics credit someone else for building the site).

There are webpage design programs out there (google: web page design software), and you should also be able to find them at stores like Best Buy or OfficeMax if you're more comfortable going to a store to get them. Often, the programs are part of or bundled with a webhosting offer, which would solve the problem of hosting your site. I'm afraid that isn't the path I took, so I can't make any specific recommendations on what to use. If you go this route, remember that these programs are less complicated than your average video game, so it's not like learning them is an impossible burden to the average computer user.

The only real problem with those programs is that the HTML code they create isn't as tightly written as coding done manuaully. That wastes bandwidth, which ultimately means it wastes money. Of course, when you consider how cheap bandwidth has gotten, we're talking a difference in pennies, but I'm still a dinosaur who's online with a 26K modem.

If you want to learn HTML, most public libraries and general bookstores carry both books for beginners and reference books for every command in the language. There are also a ton of references online for the language. A quick google search turned up http://www.htmlgoodies.com, which includes primers for people starting from just knowing how to turn on the computer. The search also brought up http://www.w3.org, which is the site that maintains many of the internet standards, including the HTML commands available. It's a bit more for established programmers, but it's still useful if you're willing to wade through it. And remember, HTML started out just as a way of making your basic text files look pretty, so it is not the hardest language to learn, and is actually a much better language for learning how to program than BASIC was back in the day.

Okay, so all this is a bit intimidating when you don't have a teacher who has written out a lesson plan and is willing to drag you through it at an hour at a time, but the whether your writing a story or building a website, it will become managable as your work on it. Trust me.

On the second bit, feel free to share the details of the comic with us, but brace yourself. Even constructive criticism isn't fun. And no matter how good you are, even at your peak, there will be people who won't like your stuff. But remember, if they don't like it, that's their loss. The most important critic should be you. You're work should be up to your standards first, espicially if you're doing something like a webcomic, where there's no editor or publisher with a monetary stake in the work. The fans will find you. Just keep working at it, and you'll even get better. Produce, and you are wonderful, even if not universally admired. Try not to be completely insufferable, but I'd rather enjoy the work a tempermental artist than try to drag even better art out of someone unwilling to show it around.

Probably too preachy, but a lack of self-confidence has killed even more projects than a lack of work ethic. Share with us, meganjo23. :)
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meganjo23

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #9 on: 08 Mar 2005, 15:52 »

You guys are so damn helpful. And since you asked for it, here's my idea for the storyline/characters/etc.

Characters- I kind of knew I needed two guys and two girls, to balence things out and basically make things easier for me with the storyline-writing part. This way, I'll have the opportunity to do all guy strips, all girl strips, and co-ed strips. (Taken out of contect, that is one odd sentence). So for the two girls (who are based off me and my (female) friends), I have Lindsey, who is the cynical, level headed, sarcastic one. Kind of like Faye, only a teenager. Then you have Emily, who's the blond. That's the best way that I can describe it. She's like the opposite to Lindseys personality. For the guys, there's Marcus and Nick. They both love video games (no, it is not going to be a gaming strip). I can't really think of how to explain them. Nick is a Canadian who has his own apartment (p.s. the strip is set in Maine, where I live). Marcus is the dorkier one, who likes the ladies but doesn't ever really do anything about it. Nick likes the ladies and lets them know that he likes them. They're all around 18, all seniors in high school. If you want to know more about the high school, it's based of mine (MCI-http://mci-school.org)

The story line is kind of hazy at the moment. What I have so far is that they're going through they're senior year, like me, and that the strip is just going to follow them going through the year and getting into shit. It's going to start out early in the school year, and go through all the events, like prom, Winter Carnival, homecoming, and so on until graduation. It sounds sappy and gross, but it's kind of based off of Loserz. Eventually, after I get some character development done, I'll start creating some tension between Lindsey and Nick. They'll like each other and all, but Lindsey's all sarcastic and jaded, while Nick, sorry to say, is a womanizing basterd. I know the story needs more development, but until I start actually getting the strips written down one by one, I wont know that much more.

So, bring on the CC. I need it, I know, and so long as you aren't a basterd about it, I'll take it in stride.

p.s. Anyone have any idea's for a title?
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Primate

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #10 on: 10 Mar 2005, 12:29 »

Sounds like you have a solid starting point, with both characters and setting. Be aware that you'll be working in an already well established genre in webcomics (peer group social interactions, although most are college or townie rather than high school). The upside is that there's already an established audience on the web for such fare. The downside is that you're work will be immediately be comparable to all the other strips in the genre. Tracking a whole year should be interesting, since most strips tend to be frozen in time, ultimately limiting how much the characters can grow.

Don't worry that you don't know every single in and out of how your story will go. There's a school of thought even among novels that the end should be a mystery to author until they near the end. Even if you decide on an ending now, you'll discover a lot of details that grow into the story as you write it.

(In case you're curious, the other genres commonly found in webcomics are video games, fantasty, and Doonesbury rip-offs. I'm the last two.)
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meganjo23

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #11 on: 13 May 2005, 14:09 »

So, hey, update time!

I decided that I was definetly running with the webcomic idea for my senior project. I have the website (sort of) and I have an artist, but I'm still having some issues.

My question right now is, does anyone know how to get an image on the webpage built by Angelfire Webshell? Cause I've been messing with the whole thing for a while now, and all I've learned is that I can honestly say that I have no clue what I'm doing. If anyone can give my any help, it would be greatly appreciated.

EDIT- holy crap, I figured it out. I feel so stupid now, all I had to do was change the format of the file.

Anywho, anyone that want's to see the first panel of the first comic can go to http://www.angelfire.com/comics2/lowschool/c1-draft.pdd. Not much to look at atm, but as time goes on I'll get the whole thing up there for you people to see.

DOUBLE EDIT- yeah, now i feel even dumber. can anyone give me fun linking advise? that would be awsome.
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Primate

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #12 on: 15 May 2005, 05:56 »

Two comments on linking. If you're going to put the link at the end of a sentence, don't put the period at the end, as some programs try to include the period in the web address. The link as written tries to pull up a file called "c1-draft.pdd." which doesn't seem to exist. I removed that final period to check "c1-draft.pdd" but that wasn't there either.

So then I tried it without the filename.
http://www.angelfire.com/comics2/lowschool/
Without a file name at the end, most hosts try to deliver the default file of index.html or some varient on that name (my own website delivers index.php). In your case, it brought up what looks like the main page for Lowschool.

I also tracked down your first panel without the rest of the page at
ww w.angelfire.com/comics2/lowschool/panel1.jpg
but Angelfire blocks direct linking to the image. Oddly enough, if you cut and paste the address into your browser, it comes up fine. Interesting. [Edit: I inserted a space into the w's bit, cause the board kept making it into a link, and I don't see a point in making a link that doesn't go anywhere]

Hope that helps.

Oh, and the art looks fine. It lacks the spit and polish of manual or computer inking, or the more developed style of Piro's pencils for Megatokyo, but the drawing indicates more talent than what fuels the art on my comic. Can't comment the writing though. 'ZZZ...' just doesn't give me enough to work with. ;)
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meganjo23

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #13 on: 16 May 2005, 13:35 »

Yeah, I fixed the link thing. That was tricky, but i just had to keep messing with it until i fixed it.

And any comment on art should go to SarcasticStare, as he's the one drawing it. That reminds me, I need to start harping on him, cause he's only got two panels done on the first comic, and this is due friday.

As for the text, I get how to download fonts from the internet and all, but how do i get it to work in actual programs? I'm having issues with that, and for now I'm using Bradley Hand. As for the actual words and stuff, the only thing that I'm worried about is having it sound to unnatural, but I think that will work itself out as I do the rest of the comic.
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Sideways

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #14 on: 16 May 2005, 13:51 »

Quote from: meganjo23
The actual drawing of the comic is no problem, as I have a very good friend who has agreed to be payed for drawing them. I can scan them in, and then with a mix of MS Paint[/b] and a photoshop, get them web ready.

As for the web page... that will be the main problem. I have no clue how to do that, and Primate's wonderful explaination, while it did help some, made my poor mind so confused. I wonder, if i go with Keenspace, do I have to mess with all that stuff? I'm not trying to take the easy way out, it would just be nice to have an escape route.

If anyone's interested in hearing my idea for the actual comic, then tell me, and I'll share for some nice constructive criticism.


NO MS PAINT!!!!!

It is evil.

Photoshop only!!

As for your webpage, see if you can get a hold of a good webpage publishing program.  I can't think of one, by name, but I know that they exist.  My brother made a webpage to show pics of him, his wife, and his kids using some program published by Adobe.

If you ever want tips for Photoshop, this forum is a good place to start.

For the webpage, surf around, look for some webpage publishing software, check Adobe's site out, and maybe find a forum specifically for html / java / etc coding/programming.
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Primate

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #15 on: 17 May 2005, 05:27 »

Don't know how Windows handles fonts off hand. Mac's keep all their fonts in a single folder where all your programs can access them. Doing a quick search on the computer I'm running suggests Windows does the same thing at C:\WINDOWS\FONTS\  Put your font file in that folder (and unzip it first if it's compressed).

And now for the too much information bit. Of course, those instructions assumes that the program you're using looks for fonts there and can understand the format the font is stored in. The font I use for my comic is in a newer format and some of my old programs on my Mac can't understand it.

Hope that helps.
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Sideways

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #16 on: 17 May 2005, 07:09 »

About fonts, this site is the shiz:

Blambot

I use 'Fanboy Hardcore' in my comic, because it is one of the nicest fonts for resizing.  I can drop it down to a fontsize of 3 and it's crystal clear.  Photoshop does search your C:Windows/Fonts folder, so anything you get from Blambot (and put in your fonts folder) will immediately be accessible from Photoshop.
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meganjo23

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #17 on: 17 May 2005, 09:21 »

I have font downloaded in the fonts folder, I just can't figure out the whole unzipping thing...


Also, the program I'm using is kind of old.  (Adobe Photodeluxe). Maybe that's the issue....
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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #18 on: 17 May 2005, 09:31 »

right click on the zipped file, then extract all into the fonts folder.
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Primate

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #19 on: 18 May 2005, 03:07 »

And if that doesn't work, google Winzip, download its shareware version, and try it again.

(It is possible to make files smaller to make moving them around faster over the internet. However, in its smaller state, the file will not run as it is supposed to. So the file needs to be extracted into its bigger state. If you already knew this, this part may be redundant, but it never hurts to make sure you know what we're talking about.)
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meganjo23

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #20 on: 19 May 2005, 14:28 »

Thanks, I got it all worked out and now have Fanboy Hardcore on my computer and working.


Holy crap... this project is due tomorrow and right now I'm working my butt off making a spiffy poster. Wish me luck so I don't make a fool of myself tomorrow...
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Primate

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #21 on: 20 May 2005, 05:11 »

luck!
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Sideways

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This sounds kind of stupid, but...
« Reply #22 on: 20 May 2005, 07:30 »

Yeah, I like Fanboy Hardcore quite a bit too.

I've also downloaded a few others, for use in titles/sound effects/etc.

I know some people do their text/lettering with other programs... I just use photoshop for everything.
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