ATTENTION ALL USERS: Please do not post comics, pictures, or anything along those lines in this topic. I’ve set this up as a source of tech support for the SC community, so please don’t clutter the topic to show off your work- there are other topics/forums for that. If you do need assistance and need to provide an image, please just post a link instead of the image itself. Also please don’t quote lengthy posts (especially this guide), just copy the relevant section and add the [quote][ /quote] tags yourself.
This guide covers the basics of using MSpaint to make stripcreator style comics with the various art that people have posted for use in the forums, in the quickest, easiest and most effective way. If you already know how to use paint, then skip the first part, which deals with how to use the program features.
I might make some more guides later covering how to draw/modify characters and backgrounds, how to use the basics of Photoshop, and some of the more difficult tricks, but in the meantime if anyone has any general questions feel free to post here or PM me for anything that only applies to yourself.
How do I open MS paint?
How to use Paint
Once you open up paint, you will see a large white area- this is the canvas on which you can paint. To the left you will see these various buttons:
If you’ve never used paint before, take the time to try out each button and just make a bunch of squiggles to see what they do.
In addition to the buttons, a standard menu appears at the top of the window. Most of the options you should know, but there are some helpful ones to be aware of:
Edit-Undo: It doesn’t need explaining, but know that it’s there- you’ll need it.
Image-Flip/Rotate: Makes chickens rain from the sky.
Image-Stretch/Skew: Makes said chickens all wobbly-like.
Image-Invert Colors: Go on. Press it. You know you want to.
Image-Attributes: This section will let you change the size of your canvas area (very handy), and convert from colour to black and white. Stay away from the black and white- you can’t go back and it literally uses only black and white, no grey.
Image-Draw Opaque: Throughout this guide I refer to this as ‘transparency’, this is just another way to turn it on and off (very important).
How to make a comic in Paint.
The important thing when making a comic in paint is to do as much as you can in Stripcreator. If you want to use an SC background, make a comic in SC using the ‘height’ props instead of characters, then just add the characters in paint. The same works for characters if you use no background.
The next most important thing to do is make sure you have transparencies turned on (from the sub-buttons on the Select tool- see the button descriptions guide), so that you can paste only the things you want to use.
To transfer the partly finished comic from SC:
• Press the ‘Print Screen’ key on the keyboard with the comic onscreen, open Paint, and use ctrl-v to paste it in. If you haven’t donated and can’t delete comics, don’t “make” the comic, just set it up and copy from the ‘make comic’ page in SC.
• Now use the selection tool in paint to drag it to the top left corner (you may need to zoom in (magnifying glass button) to get it nicely in the corner- get it close first and use ctrl-a to select everything once you’ve zoomed in).
• Drag the little blue square in the bottom right corner of the paint canvas (the area where you can draw) up to the corner of the comic (again, zoom in after it’s close).
Now you have a blank comic to work with.
To add a background or character:
Open a new window in paint (open the program again from the start menu).
Bring the desired background/character up on the screen, use print screen to copy it to the new paint window, and repeat the steps above so that it’s the only thing there. With a character use the selection tool to delete anything around the character.
If you are adding characters only: Use the Select tool to select the character, ctrl-c to copy, then go back to the original window with the partly finished comic. Now paste the characters over the top of the comic. Save it somewhere, host it, and you’re done. IMPORTANT: If a character has white in it, the white area will become transparent along with the background. There are two ways to fix this.-
• First option: Refer to the guide below for adding text bubbles (this is the best way to do it, but is a little more complicated)
• Second option: Open a new paint window, and use the fill tool to fill the entire canvas with a colour that hasn’t been used in the character or the background (usually the fluoro green is the one to go for). Now paste the character onto the green, making sure that transparencies are turned on. Un-fill the area outside of the character (right-click with the Fill tool), leaving only the character on a white background. Copy the character into the comic (leaving the bright green inside the character). Finally, just un-fill all the bright green areas from the character in the finished comic. TIP: The best way to un-fill a lot of one colour is to select that colour as the primary colour, and white as the secondary colour. Then right-click with the eraser tool, and drag the cursor over the bright green areas.
If you are adding backgrounds: Bring up the original window, select everything and copy it. Open up a third paint window, and drag the blue square in the bottom right up near the top left corner (so that it’s really small). Now paste everything from the original window into the third window. Now go back to the second window (the one with the background), use ctrl-a to highlight the background, and copy it. Go into the first window and paste the background over each panel (so that it covers all of the white, the characters and the text). Finally go back to the third window, select all, and copy. Return to the first window and paste this over the top (this will put the characters and text back over the backgrounds you’ve just put on the comic. Save it, host somewhere and you’re done.
TIP: If at any time you see white anywhere that it’s not supposed to be, this means you don’t have transparencies turned on. Click on the selection tool, then on the bottom of the two boxes that appear below.
Making a comic using no SC art:
If you are making a comic that doesn’t use any stripcreator art the first thing to do is to make a blank comic in SC- no characters or backgrounds, and copy it to paint as per the start of this guide. Then use the steps to add backgrounds and characters, only with one exception- make only background only, and add the characters directly to that background. Copy the background with the characters directly into each panel of the blank comic to save making each panel individually.
To add text bubbles only:
This is a little tricky, so follow the steps precisely.
Make a blank comic in SC- no characters or backgrounds. Type in the text as normal, so that only the speech bubbles show up. Use print screen and copy to transfer it to a paint window. As soon as you paste this into a paint window DELETE it. This will make the paint widow the exact size of your screen.
Now double click on the light grey colour box in the colour palette. This will bring up a new window. Click on “Define Custom Colors”. On the right hand side you will see a bar that fades from black to white, with a little black arrow to the side. Click on the arrow and drag it ALMOST to the top. You want the numbers in the little boxes below to be between 250 and 254 (NOT 255- the maximum- which is pure white). This creates a grey so light that it looks white, but which won’t be transparent.
Use the Fill tool to fill the entire canvas with this very light grey.
Now paste the text bubbles (that you copies with ‘print screen’) into this window, making sure that transparencies are turned on. This means that all white areas will now be a very very light grey.
Use the Fill tool to un-fill (right click) everything outside of the text bubbles (where the background normally is, the area outside the comic, and the comic frame itself- in that order) so that all that is left are the text bubbles. You might not be able to see anything change when you do this, but what you are actually doing is changing the very very light grey areas back to white, so they’ll be transparent again.
Use the select tool to select all of the text bubbles, then copy, and paste onto the rest of the comic.
These steps might seem weird, as everything will look the same after you’re done as when you started, but they are important as they fill everything that was white inside each text bubble with a light grey that looks white, but which won’t be transparent when you paste it onto the comic.
TIP: If you are making a series of comics with the same characters, pre-make the comic and save it without text, so you can just add the text in for each new one. If you are using the same characters but different backgrounds, do the template with the characters only, or if you are using one recurring character just make the template with that character only.
Creating new headers
One of the best things about making a comic in paint is that unlike SC you can add your own touches, such as a custom header. To do this you will need to design the header yourself. The easiest way to do this is to just play around with the buttons in paint until you get the hang of them, then have a go at designing something and adding your own text over the top.
The idea is to create everything outside of the backgrounds in the comic. Make sure to leave the background areas blank- this way you can just copy the entire header onto the comics you make. The best way to do this is to create a blank comic in SC, copy it to paint and crop everything else, and then fill the background area with a colour you won’t use- such as the fluoro green. You can then delete everything else and just work around the green rectangles.
TIP: If you do make a new header, or anything else for that matter, I’d suggest keeping the proportions the same as Stripcreator. That way you can copy in the existing backgrounds without having to change anything, and most importantly, so that the speech bubbles are already the right width for each panel. You can change things around, but if you do you’ll end up creating a lot more work for yourself.
Tip: If you want to use particular characters a lot in these comics, make a separate template for those characters, so that you can just copy the whole template onto any comics you want them in. The best way to do this is to create a canvas that is 250 pixels wide and 350 pixels high (the size of the backgrounds). To do this press ctrl-e, and change the numbers in the width and height fields.
Well that just about covers the basics. Using this guide you should now have no problems customising your comics in paint.