By Brian Boyko
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
When I was working with a Macintosh, I found an amazing third-party program that comes bundled with the operating system – Comic Life, which allows people to publish professionally looking comics from photos and illustrations they’ve made. That’s all it does but it does it well, and I liked it so much I asked Mark Pearson, who does marketing and technical support at Plasq.com to e-mail me when they came out with a beta version for Windows.
That day has arrived, and the beta is open.
Comic Life can be thought of as a very specialized computer graphic layout program – all it does is comics layout. But it does it extremely well, with tools for lettering, balloons, multiple comic book-style panel templates, and a variety of filter effects and styles which allow you to take, for example, photos and make them look illustrated. You can emulate a TV screen, an old black and white document, even that stark black-and-white Sin City look.
Had tons of ideas for a webcomic but couldn’t draw? Why not make it a photo comic? It even automatically prints the even pages first, then prints the odd pages so that you can flip the pages over, and create an authentic-style, two-sided comic book!
Below you can see what I did with some photos from my friends, an idea cribbed from XKCD, and about an hour of my time. Sure, you could do this all in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, but even though I’m proficient with the Adobe suite, it would have taken me hours to do what I did in one hour automatically with Comic Book Life.