Please increase the font size slightly

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Please increase the font size slightly

Postby Simons Mith » Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:37 pm

I'm finding the font size on book 2 just a smidge too small, particularly as it's not the most readable of typefaces. At this early stage I can't tell whether you intend to switch to bigger text when the characters' lines are shorter, but whatever you do please don't go any smaller than whatever values you have used for the first two pages. Increasing the 'minimum font size' you use by a point - or maybe even just half a point - would be a significant help.

I'm running at 1280x1024 on a good-quality 17" monitor. I admit, I really don't know what the 'typical' desktop standard is these days ...
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Re: Please increase the font size slightly

Postby dannom » Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:41 pm

Making the font bigger might not be practical. If you zoom into the .jpg you can see that the edges of the font are blurry.
This look less like anti-aliasing and more like compression and or scaling artifacts.

Experimenting with .png or other lossless formats might improve clarity in the font edges and thus readability. PNG also generally provides good compression for pictures like web comics that don't have the detail density, color pallet of a photograph.
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Re: Please increase the font size slightly

Postby raphfrk » Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:07 am

dannom wrote:Making the font bigger might not be practical. If you zoom into the .jpg you can see that the edges of the font are blurry.
This look less like anti-aliasing and more like compression and or scaling artifacts.

Experimenting with .png or other lossless formats might improve clarity in the font edges and thus readability. PNG also generally provides good compression for pictures like web comics that don't have the detail density, color pallet of a photograph.


I think the issue is that there is a "master" version of the image that is only available to people who donate.

The free version is a scaled version of that image. The whole point is that it is a reasonable quality version (and in fact they increased the resolution since book 1), but if you want the best quality, you need to pay for it (by buying the books and/or subscribing). Downsampling processes tend not to work well with text fonts.
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Re: Please increase the font size slightly

Postby Lady Nerevar » Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:14 am

its a printing issue, not a "you gota pay for it" issue. the font for book 1 looked ok on screen, but when printed out it is GIANT, forcing Rob to reletter all of book 1 for publication. Book 2 is lettered in such a way that it will look fine when printed.

im running the same resolution, on what looks to be a 17" monitor, and i can read it fine :/ maybe open it up in a different window and zoom in?
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Re: Please increase the font size slightly

Postby Simons Mith » Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:21 pm

Yeah, choosing a good compromise that works both on-screen at ~72 dpi and in print at ~300dpi is tricky, but I'm afraid I still don't think the current Erfworld font size is a good choice. The first thing that occurs to me is that ErfWorld is primarily a web comic, and getting it into print is a secondary, bonus consideration. If the web-comic doesn't do well enough, it'll never get into print, so assuming it will is perhaps tempting fate slightly. So I feel it ought to be optimised for screen not print. I should stress that I'm looking at things from the point of view of the comic itself, not the creators' bank balances (may they ever increase).

The second thing is, I looked at several other online comics for comparison, and Erfworld's text appears to be smallest text in use anywhere and in the hardest-to-read font. That's a definite warning sign. Even the Order of the Stick, which is the only other webcomic I had handy that uses sentence case in its speech bubbles, looks like it uses a slightly larger text size, and Comic Sans is a significantly clearer font than the Erf font, much more restful on the eyes. Girl Genius and Nodwick, which have been in print for years, use all-caps and a larger, clearer font. Thunt's 'Goblins' is the same.

Looking at my printed material, Order of the Stick is again the only handy one that uses lower-case text in speech bubbles, and Calvin and Hobbes, Batman Tales of the Demon, DR and Quinch and Halo Jones all use quite large text in all caps. It's, well probably around 11-12 point, judging by eye. I haven't actually measured, but the text is quite large. It's also telling, I think, that pretty much all the old-time printed comics I've got use all-caps because it helps readability. Only Order of the Stick bucks this trend, and OOTS, like Erf, started out on the web. And OOTS in print is still in nice clear Comic Sans, of course. Batman Year One does have some lower-case text, but I'm sure it's at least eleven point, and from a quick skim the rest of the dialogue does appear to be all-caps as is common practice in comic-book land. I do have other wierder stuff like Sandman around somewhere if I need to dig 'em out, but the evidence I've found so far is already quite compelling.
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Re: Please increase the font size slightly

Postby Simons Mith » Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:28 pm

Found two more: Irregular Webcomic and Darths and Droids. One looks like Comic Sans, the other's Helvetica or something, but speech bubbles are in their own 'dialog band' which takes up a full third or the strip.
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Re: Please increase the font size slightly

Postby balder » Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:35 pm

Are you talking about the comic as it appears on the main page? Or the archive? In the archive it is currently unreadable as it loads because it was set to a 700 pixel image. Harknell is changing that this week, but the 900 pixel image will pop in a new window if you click it now.

If you are talking about the way I am lettering the 900 pixel image at full res, then you're out of luck. That's how it's going to be.

250 hours of my November (or more) is currently being devoted to the brain-numbing task of relettering all of Book 1. Why? Because when you print the lettered-for-web version that ran on GitP, it looks terrible. Absolutely gross, unprofessional, and awful. Like it has elephantiasis of the speech balloons. Far, far too much of the art is blocked out. It probably prevented us from getting a yes from the editors at major publishing houses. When you buy Book 1, I want it to be as beautiful as possible, and to block as little of Jamie's art as possible. So I am doing this horrendous amount of painful work instead of, say, doing NaNoWriMo and writing a new Erfworld novel.

It takes four to six hours to letter a page of Erfworld. I am not going to letter Book 2 twice. Absolutely no way. I am lettering it at book resolution, and increasing the file size as you view it on the site. If that's not enough, we may look at some other solutions but they will NOT involve me lettering each page twice. I can't tell you how godawful this work is. And no, nobody but me can do it. There are a thousand small decisions on every page that I would just have to re-do if someone other than me did it. I'm sorry.
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Re: Please increase the font size slightly

Postby balder » Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:38 pm

Simons Mith wrote:Found two more: Irregular Webcomic and Darths and Droids. One looks like Comic Sans, the other's Helvetica or something, but speech bubbles are in their own 'dialog band' which takes up a full third or the strip.


Go to Zuda and read some actual graphic novels, not webcomics. That would be a fair comparison.
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Re: Please increase the font size slightly

Postby dannom » Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:13 pm

raphfrk wrote:
dannom wrote:Making the font bigger might not be practical. If you zoom into the .jpg you can see that the edges of the font are blurry.
This look less like anti-aliasing and more like compression and or scaling artifacts.

Experimenting with .png or other lossless formats might improve clarity in the font edges and thus readability. PNG also generally provides good compression for pictures like web comics that don't have the detail density, color pallet of a photograph.


I think the issue is that there is a "master" version of the image that is only available to people who donate.

The free version is a scaled version of that image. The whole point is that it is a reasonable quality version (and in fact they increased the resolution since book 1), but if you want the best quality, you need to pay for it (by buying the books and/or subscribing). Downsampling processes tend not to work well with text fonts.


Just to clarify. I know there is a larger version. I was just suggesting the most practical approach is to try changing the way the web image is produced. Different types of scaling algorithms could be used to produce different, maybe better results, but I suspect the easiest thing to try with likely good results is to use the png format instead of jpg.

Its a minor issue for me in any case.
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Re: Please increase the font size slightly

Postby MarbitChow » Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:00 pm

Simons Mith wrote:I'm running at 1280x1024 on a good-quality 17" monitor. I admit, I really don't know what the 'typical' desktop standard is these days ...

I'm running on a 1920x1200 on my laptop (which, according to the specs I just Google'd has a 15.4" monitor), and I'm having absolutely no trouble reading the text.
If the issue is legibility, I'm not sure what to advise from a technical standpoint, since I'm seeing no issues.

(Well, ok, technically the issues that I'm seeing are all quite clear, and I can't wait for the next issue to be published.)
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