Friday, April 11, 2008

Wanted Software Guru

To consult on developing a pdf reader or just explain to me why we can't just goddam print comics and books so they're formatted landscape-wise when delivered as pdf etc. to fit the media space that is now the predominant information delivery system for the entire fucking planet. Oh, website integration would be a plus, but frankly I think Flash readers are shit.

Pay is crap, but you will be very famous, probably, when this all shakes out and I betray you.

Contact kfmonkey@gmail.com

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Because publishers are cheap and don't care enough to produce final PDF files in two different formats...yet.


Mark Wise
vandegraaf@earthlink.net

colin said...

View -> Page Display -> Two-Up Continuous

Or do I entirely mistake your meaning?

Sebastian H said...

Colin: I think he means the 4:3 (or 16:9) display aspect of the standard computer monitor, vs the 8.5:11 aspect ratio of the printed page.

But I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

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colin said...

Sebastian: Yeah, but 17x11 is pretty close to 4x3. Once you take into account the tool bars and stuff, it's pretty much the same. It's a bit small for a comic book (on my monitor anyway), but about right for a paperback.

With comic books, well, redesigning for a different aspect ratio would be a pretty big deal. Might as well just design it for the web in the first place. (In which case you wouldn't be putting it out as a PDF.)

I feel his pain, though. Comic book previews in PDF format are not very satisfactory at all, because monitors aren't often big enough to fit a full page at an appropriate size, let alone two.

Glenn Hauman said...

You have a few interesting questions, ones we bump up against all the time at ComicMix.

If I understand your question, though, you're asking why we just can't read an existing portrait mode comic in landscape mode on screen. The short answers:

* We can, in double page mode. Most screens aren't big enough for that to be decent resolution.

* We can turn the screen. Easy for a laptop; see ComicBookLover for the Mac at comicbooklover.com.

Or you can do what we did and build an entire comic reader in Ajax instead of Flash, which we can't stand either. You can see the reader in action on this new Jon Sable Freelance story.

Unless you're telling me you want an offline comic reader that does all the neat things that ours does. Hmm... there's an idea.

Oh, and if there's something you don't like about our reader, tell us. So far, most people seem to prefer our reader over Zuda and Marvel's, but we're always looking for feedback.

Glenn Hauman said...

Or: are you talking about why books aren't printed in landscape mode? There are reasons for that too, mainly doing with cost, folding and cutting machines and familiarity. See the collected 300 for examples of why and why not.

Matt Forbeck said...

I published a hardcover, landscape-format RPG book a few years back, Redhurst Academy of Magic. It confused the printer for a few minutes, but it didn't cost us any more. The only real complaint anyone had with it was that it didn't fit nicely on a bookshelf, but since I wanted it to stand out, I was okay with that.

Scott Kurtz does his PvP printed comics in landscape format too, I think.

RAB said...

People always seem to assume that a landscape-oriented print comic book needs to be bound on the left border. Publishers have managed to produce landscape comics with the spines running the long way, i.e., on the top, and I don't recall any readers having their heads explode from the stress of trying to read it. Though that sort of thing was probably hushed up. Two examples off the top of my head are a John Byrne Fantastic Four and the New X-Men Annual from 2001, though it's been done many other times.

The online-only publisher Flashback Universe does all its downloadable cbr comics in landscape, and if they add a print on demand feature they'd presumably end up using the above format. I'm not mentioning this as a plug but to point out that if older companies are locked in to an old way of doing things, that leaves open opportunities for newcomers.

Kristi Wachter said...

Presumably the publishers who "can't" publish PDFs in landscape format are people who don't have Macs. Or something.

I chose File -> Page Layout and clicked Landscape, then chose File -> Print and chose Save to PDF. Poof - a landscape-formatted PDF.

Does that qualify me for guru status?

Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, the pirated versions of comics handle any number of configurations. The format is CBR, just a zip file full of images. The viewers detect whether it's a two page spread or not and automatically join the two images into one and adjust your display settings as appropriate. You can rotate your monitor 90 degrees to maximize regular pages too, and then scroll sideways for the spreads.

Anonymous said...

Observation: Binding landscape format books on the top margin makes it hard to hold them open and hard to flip pages. I like it only for books that need to lie flat such as spiral-bound notebooks or certain kinds of manuals.

The current typical trim size and binding of mass market paperbacks and hardbacks isn't an accident. They're the end product of a long evolutionary process. (And they're read by another product of a long evolutionary process. What a coincidence.)



Mark Wise
vandegraaf@earthlink.net

Cunningham said...

Rogers and I have had this discussion before, but I like www.issuu.com.

If you click on "fullscreen" you can easily flip pages etc... I want to see the whole page on my screen at once and not have to scroll sideways or up and down. It limits the experience. If i have to zoom I will, just as I will hold a comic closer to my eyes to see the detail.

Yes, it's flash based, but it's simple and intuitive (and really easy to upload files to! Hint hint!!!!)

I also understand the need for a downloadable version for those times you're not connected to the web. That would be something. Imagine an old Flash Gordon Sunday page (which was landscape and took 1/3 of the whole page) filling your computer screen.

Re: Printing and binding in landscape. The top can be scored and glued properly in the binding process so that the book lies flat.

Another area I think webcomickers are missing out on - besides lack of decent publicity for their work, is the idea that if they are giving away the comics for free then why not upload the files in as many different formats and sites as possible to increase readership across the big broad board of the web? You don't find ASK A NINJA just on their site - it's everywhere AND REFERS PEOPLE BACK TO THE SOURCE....

Greg H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg H said...

I think many publishers/creators still have the print ideal in mind as they format their work (any other reason why Freakangels would be a vertical page?). My comic is available on the web as a double-page spread, but since that seems to make everyone's eyes bleed, most readers want the hard copy.

The web ain't great for reading comics, yet, (issuu makes my eyes bleed too), but it's great for distributing them.

Cunningham said...

"I think many publishers/creators still have the print ideal in mind as they format their work."

And webcomickers have to get away from that mentality that print is the end-all and be-all of comics. Jason Stoddard had a post up about this as it relates to scifi, but the same applies to comics:

http://tinyurl.com/3rn3og

And it will apply to pulp.

Greg H said...

That mentality will exist as long as looking at a comic on the screen is such a lesser experience than reading it in print.

It is much easier to get your comics online, but reading them online is like trying to have sex in a snowsuit. Until the experience is as good, print will be the holy grail.

Which I think is what Rogers was on about in the first place.

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