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Panpa Bulletin : May 2006
44 | PaNPa bULLETIN May 2006 SOFTWaRE MaTTERS KeVIn SlIMP I'm in a familiar predicament. There are at least a dozen new software applications on my desk, all waiting to be re- viewed. There's backup software, drive rescue software, photo edit- ing software and word processing software, not to mention a pile of books. I decided to go with the most unique looking box. Comic Life, by Freeverse Software, fit the bill.At first, you might think this is an application a newspaper would never use. Not so, my friends. I installed and opened the application. Within fifteen minutes, I had created my first comic. The comic pro- vided with this column was my second effort. It took about ten minutes to cre- ate. Let me tell you how it works. After installing the soft- ware, I immediately opened Comic Life. The workplace was very user friendly. Ba- sically, the left half of the screen is the template for your comic. I counted 16 templates to choose from, or you can create your own. The right half includes a li- brary of photos and all the tools. Comic Life gets its photos from your iPhoto li- brary. Yes, this application is only available on the Mac platform. I added the pho- tos I wanted to use to my iPhoto library, then headed back to Comic Life. Laying out a page is as simple as dragging photos from the library into frames on the template. Once in the frames, pictures can be manipulated by dragging a handle, much as you resize photos in pagination appli- cations. Each 'cell' of your comic contains an image. Comic balloons, bubbles and boxes are added to cells by choosing styles from the bottom area of the work- space. Text is created within each balloon or box. You can even move a balloon's tail by moving it with your mouse. My favorite aspect of Comic Life is the ability to use filters to create a 'look' for your comic. I selected Colour Pencils to give my creation the look of an old- fashion comic book. When completed, files can be saved in tif, jpeg and other formats. Why would a newspa- per be interested in Comic Life? First, it's an easy way to be creative with adver- tising. Let's face it. We only have so much time to spend on each ad. Why not dazzle your client with an ad that looks hand drawn, but takes only ten minutes to create? And second (are you sitting down?), The price. Comic Life retails for $30 US / $35 CAN / $50 AUS. I can't re- member a product that of- fered so much potential at such an affordable price. Comic Life is available from most Apple software vendors or you can order it from www.freeverse.com. For more information, visit www.freeverse.com. Book covers Creative Suite gamut I've written reviews of books on just about every aspect of Adobe's Crea- tive Suite. Recently I had a chance to review Using Adobe Creative Suite 2: The Only CS 2 Book You Need, by Michael Smick. In 986 pages, the author provides detailed information con- cerning Photoshop, Im- ageReady, Illustrator, InDe- sign and GoLive. It might not be the only book you'll ever need, but it sure covers a lot of ground. I appreciate the way the author offers simple explanations about what tools do, then supplies step by step instructions so users can begin using them right away. From Que Pub- lishing (www.quepublish- ing.com). $50 US / $70 CAN / $80 AUS. ISBN 0-7897- 3367-6. Kevin Slimp is the director of the Institute of Newspa- per Technology in Knoxville, Tennessee. Designing ads dosen’t have to be dull Kevin Slimp opened Comic life quite by accident, and found a piece of software that can make ad design fun. My favourite aspect of Comic Life is the ability to use flters to create a ‘look’ for your comic. I selected Colour Pencils to give my creation the look of an old-fashion comic book.