Solutions for a comic production workflow?

I am looking for suggestions on a convenient solution for the following workflow.

  • Scan a hand-drawn panel

    enter image description here

  • Fix and retouch drawing errors (using a small set of simple brushes)

  • Separate elements into layers (using the Magic Wand or manual lasso tools)

    enter image description here

  • Colorize elements (I can create the textures outside the app though, this is not a priority)

  • Add lettering – I currently do the letters by hand, and combine them with a hand-drawn box from a pre-arranged collection.

    enter image description here

All this, of course, in very high resolution and with the end goal of printing.

A very nice bonus would be a well designed organizing solution for the isolated elements, like a library. Integrated versioning (with the possibility of creating quick snapshots of various stages) would be sweet, but it’s totally not a requirement.

I am currently doing this with a bitmap editing program from the Corel range. It works well, but it wasn’t designed for this kind of job and these kinds of bitmap sizes.

Products I’m considering:

  • An older version of Photoshop, like 6 or CS1 (a new one would break my budget)
  • Xara Designer which is promising integrated bitmap and vector editing – I’m planning to give this one a test run, it has a free trial

Products I have ruled out (but I’m open to changing my mind):

  • GIMP because it’s still weak on the print production side of things

Is there any other professional software around that can help me with this? Does anybody know actual, high-quality applications specialized in comic production?

I’m on a tight budget, but I’m willing to spend some money.

I personally need a Windows solution, but for the sake of making this a useful question to others, suggestions for all platforms are welcome.

Answer

The main tip I would give has nothing to do with the software actually. It is simply to scan in black-white bitmap mode. That’s where there are absolutely no shades of grey in the image; all of the pixels are either pure white or completely black. Assuming you’re scanning at a very high resolution, the aliasing won’t be apparent and the lines will be smoothed out if/when you downscale the image later.

The reason for this is because it makes selecting lines and empty areas of the image so much simpler. This will make every other step of the production process much easier. Using the magic wand to select areas becomes trivial, using the fill bucket to fill large areas of color becomes trivial, etc.

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : Pekka , Answer Author : jhocking

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