I haven’t been able to participate, as I would like, in the ds106 Summer of Oblivion, but I have been following with rapt attention. I know everyone has moved on to the audio projects ( I’m listening now), but when I posted my entry to assist in the finding of the missing Dr. Oblivion, I had received a few requests to share the process of creating the work. I was interrupted in my reply by some blog redesign setbacks, among other things (both digital and analog), but I wanted to get back to make this post.
It all began while traveling through Kansas one day ….. no, no, that’s another story.
Oh yeah. I was about to ask my middle school students to tell the story of the depression. While I have never assigned a Powerpoint preso, I knew that that was what they were going to want to do and I had only a few lives left. I was ready for something else. So I was thinking about the Graphic Novel.
So where should we start.
First, the story. The most important thing in storytelling, but not really part of this post.
Second, the images. I am not an artist, so I knew, due to limited time and talent, there was no way I was going to produce enough images for an undertaking. After shuffling through the interwebs, I decided to hit the National Archive for photos from that time in U.S. History. There were a number of photos and resources available for use.
Then, came the design process. We found a number of resources using Photoshop to produce the graphic novel look. For example. But being in the school system, we did not have Photoshop nor did I have any hope of purchasing a number of licenses for the class.
I next moved on to GIMP. I had used the software previously and was pleased with its use for my needs in the past. After tinkering with it for a while I still had not been able to get the look I was actually looking for. See below. I started with my black-and-white image from the archive:
and taking it through the following manipulations
Colors > colorize (hue=31, Sat=44, lightness=0)
Layers > duplicate layers
On the duplicate layer
Filters > Artistic > Cartoon
Set Layers Mode – Overlay then adjust Opacity
I was able to produce the following:
It’s not exactly what I was looking for, but I believe GIMP may still be a viable option with a little more work.With the right manipulations and filters, I think I can get closer to what would pass for the graphic novel look. With the images done, the other thing you have to consider is the font design and layout. Again, there are tutorials to assist in this part of the design (though some of the fonts are additional purchases), but now this begins to make this a design project rather than a storytelling project. I know. Design skills are important, but in this project I needed I needed something with a low level of entry for the design aspect.
I had seen my then 11 year old daughter creating some comic book panels on the older mac we had and I remembered that the older macs had Comic Life Lite bundled with the pre-loaded software. So I asked her to show me some of her work. I started playing around it for a while and lo and behold, it produced a pretty good product…..
and a page from the novel looked something like this.
Because I had the Lite version of ComicLife already installed on the Mac, I was offered an upgrade to the Deluxe version for $9.99. What a deal! Additional fonts, layout and export options. Even purchasing outright I believe, now Comic Life 2, is about $19.95. The drawback … it’s pretty much a unitasker.
So, for the Dr.Oblivion poster, I used the MPEG Streamclip (beta) that we used in the Animated GIF lesson. I downloaded the three video clips from Youtube and created individual JPEG files of one “frame” from each video. I dragged the clip into ComicLife, edited it using the “70’s Style Rag Newspaper” attribute on the images and added the text. And, there (no wizardry involved) it is..
While the cost is low (relative to, say Photoshop), it’s still not free. If anyone has more success using GIMP, I would love for you to post about it.