This instructable deals with another of the useful mechanics of webcomics production: how to take a sketch on paper, and make it into a nice-looking image for web - and possibly print - presentation. The process I use cribs parts from a dozen other webcomic processes, and of course doesn't apply to work drawn entirely on the computer, say using a tablet. I do that also, and will create an instructable for my fully-digital production methods if you folks would like to see one.
So let's get started! I am going to scan, clean up, and color the artwork I drew for the first tutorial in this series. For other resources related to webcomic creation, I recommend checking out the links in the intro to that Instructable.
UPDATE 12/29/2008: after reading this tutorial, do yourself a huge favor and check out this photoshop plugin mini tutorial at WebComics.com. The plugin they're demonstrating is a tool that helps you do much of what this tutorial is about, and you will probably be VERY HAPPY to use it instead of having to tediously flatting your comic by hand (as this tutorial sort of shows you how to do).
If you don't use Photoshop, you can always try the PS plugin with The GIMP by using the PSPI Gimp Photoshop Plugin plugin, another one of my own tutorials. I will try it myself and report back.
Tony Piro taught me something today... I need to re-learn color flattingg and update this tutorial. Whee!
UPDATE 1/23/2009: I love the Open Source community.
I tried the PS plugins above in the PSPI plugin for GIMP, and they didn't work. And so I posted about my plight to a GIMP scripting wiki about needing help replicating these plugins in the scripting language that is native to GIMP.
and someone came through. Hopefully his script will be accepted into the official GIMP Plugin Registry as Flatting Tools, until then if you would like to try the script yourself, let me know and I'll see if I can redistribute it to you. Thank you, Rob!
UPDATE 2/12/2009: The GIMP plugin is now part of the official registry: http://registry.gimp.org/node/14051
This is the best GIMP plugin ever. Thank you Rob and Saul!
Step 1: Sidebar: I Am a Linux Geek
Where I can, I will address major differences in the process for Linux users and Windows users, as long as it's not too confusing. Sorry MacOS users, I have never done this with a MacOS-based computer. If and when I do, I'll update this tutorial.
Another caveat here is that under Windows, every scanner has its own software package and no two are alike. There's a standardized way to do this under linux OSes because scanning is always done with the same software package, SANE. I will try to address this complication for my Windows-using readers when I can.