Photoshopping the Buffer

The Schlock buffer has slid below 10 again… clear down to 7, in fact, but I’ve actually made some critical progress. See, over the weekend my usual image editor, LView Pro, went wonky on me. The brush tool would no longer paint. While I’m relatively sure this is the sort of thing that can be resolved with a simple re-install, the discs weren’t handy, and I figured I was pretty close to knowing Photoshop well enough to be able to do Schlock coloring with it.

So I killed several hours on the learning curve, and finally reached the point where I could do everything in Photoshop I used to do in LView pro. Then I cranked out a week’s worth of updates, and Monday’s comic is the first of those.

Photoshop is not only more powerful (I knew this), but it’s also more fun to use. Time permitting, you’ll start seeing some slightly fancier coloring in future strips. But not on Monday’s strip. Or Tuesday’s. In fact, I don’t think you’ll see much special until, oh, Saturday.

That said, LView pro appears to be a better tool for reducing the images for the web. I’m not sure why this is, but after going through all the bicubic and bilinear reduction options in Photoshop, I couldn’t get small Schlock strips as readable or as clean as I could with LView Pro. That’s okay. The wonkyness is in the brush, not the resizing of images.

Schlocktoberfest is completely colored now. I’m glad to have it behind me, and I’m ready to charge ahead with the next chapter in the story.


18 thoughts on “Photoshopping the Buffer”

  1. Are you using the Save for Web option of PS? Putting them four-up to try various compression levels is an amazing thing, imo. 🙂

    Er. Or perhaps you mean what you say when you’re saying it’s _just_ the image resizing that’s doing it. :hems and haws: I do not know, in that case. Bicubic is double plus good, I presume.

  2. Photoshop doesn’t, by default, save PNG’s with good compression. Switch over to Indexed mode when you’re done and then save to web as PNG’s.

  3. Found the same thing with resizing. This image was shrunk with photoshop…

    This image was shrunk with Jasc Paint Shop Pro…

    I did make some changes between the two resizings, so some of the differences are due to me playing. The difference in the yellow framing circle (photoshop image has a case of the jaggies) is due to the resizing.

    Besides looking better, the Paint Shop Pro is a smaller file. Don’t ask me the reason… I just work here.

    Yeah, try gimp. I don’t like it, but you might. It is free after all (except for the time playing with it).

  4. I use “Exorcist” for PNG conversion, and it’s the final step before uploading. It’s a nice, drag-and-drop batch utility, although honestly I don’t know why I bother with PNG anymore. I think the intellectual property issues with GIF have lapsed, and interlaced GIF IS a nicer way to provide images for people with slow connections.

    My post-coloring image work looks like this:
    1) Save as flattened TIF for maximum compatibility with other apps. The original PSD goes in an archive somewhere.
    2) Open the TIF in LView Pro. Resize to 725 pixels wide.
    3) Reduce the paletted to 256 colors, non-dithered.
    4) If the image won’t be noticeably impacted, reduce further to 128 colors, again, non-dithered.
    5) Save as GIF.
    6) Drag the GIF onto the Exorcist.
    7) Upload the PNG.

    In theory, I COULD go straight from PSD to PNG using Photoshop. Like I mentioned above, Photoshop does not reduce the image from 6000 pixels to 725 pixels as smoothly as LView does, even using the Bicubic options (yes, I tried all of them.)

    GIMP is out of the question. The only folks I’ve heard say nice things about it were freeware or GNU zealots, and those folks have zero credibility on UI matters. Besides, most publishers prefer to have PSD or layered TIF. It’s good business sense for me to work with the software the rest of the publishing industry uses.

    1. The GIMP’s user interface isn’t bad if you’ve never gotten accustomed to how Photoshop works. It’ll get the job done. OTOH, if you’ve already *got* Photoshop and are comfortable with it, the only reasons to use the GIMP are political.

      You’re not alone in thinking Open Source developers have serious issues dealing with UI design. Eric Raymond’s experience with configuring CUPS is atypical only in that it produced a good reaction from the community.

      1. Heh, yeah. You heard my comments on the Linux desktop alternatives at Penguicon and Linucon, I think. Upshot, “usable” is not the same as “user-friendly.”

        Photoshop is not a good example of user-friendliness, but once you understand a few basics about the interface (right-clicking on tools, using hotkeys for tool-swapping, moving the panels around, navigating the History) there are jillions of tutorials out there that will show you how to do *exactly* what you need to do. GIMP lacks this level of community documentation.


    2. I end up using the “Save for web” utility and play around with it to optimize the image vs file size.

      I tend to use gradients in the backgrounds for skies and things, so I start with 256 dithered, and then start cutting the file size back, trying non-dithered, then 128 dithered and non-dithered, checking out the image in a case by case basis.

      You don’t use gradients much, so non-dithered is almost certainly the way to go for you. 🙂

      1. Dithering KILLS the LZW compression in GIF files. If there were a way to dither the gradient, but keep the flood-fills solid, I’d use more gradients.

        As it is, I’ll likely start using more gradients (it’s much easier to do it in Photoshop than in LView Pro), and I’ll either non-dither those (if the gradient looks okay striated), or I’ll save as low-loss JPG.


    1. This is a good thing. It means that I’m writing the characters believably enough that people get attached to them. I take a lot of pleasure knowing that.

      To quote Skull the Troll: “GLEEE!”


  5. I must have missed something, somewhere; did you not have a colorist for a while, there? What happened that you are now coloring the strip again, yourself?

    1. Jean had repetitive motion injury problems, and couldn’t keep up any more. She did beautiful work, which I aspire to be able to reproduce on my own someday.

  6. Lossy PNGs for fun & profit

    If you’re still reading entries this far back, have you given
    >Meesoft Image Analyzer
    a shot. I’ve found it’s more efficient than anything else I’ve tried at compressing images.

    But the real doozy is…wait for it…lossy PNG compression.

    Mmmmm, shiny!

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