Comic Life Magiq

Posted: June 2, 2008 in Mac OSX, software
Tags: ,

 

Comic Life Magiq (CLM) is an upgrade to the Comic Life that comes free with most recent macs, but it is not a Mac only program, you can also get it for windows, (
) but the upgrade – the Magiq part – is Mac only, and Mac OSX.5.2 or better as well, something to do with the way it uses leopard’s core technologies to create graphics. I became aware of CLM because of an email from Plasq telling me about the latest and greatest and offering “special pricing” for users of the Comic Life program – whether it was pre-installed or purchased directly from them, you get the discounted price, which is nice, since many other developers don’t offer upgrade pricing on pre-installed software. So after watching the video on their site i was interested enough to want to play with it myself and run it through the ringer.
You start off easily enough, just open the app and select a
Template
or
Panel Layou
t, drag it into your work area and then start pulling in pictures. You can change the background colour or fill pattern very easily if, like me, you are not a fan of the stark white backdrop to your comic. Or start off with one of the pre-configured templates, it has colours and layouts all ready done for you to create a quick and easy comic.

 

One thing i noticed, that i’ve noticed with other programs as well so its not just a complaint with CLM, is the lack of ability to just browse for photos without having to add them to a predefined folder. I have some photos on my desktop in a folder for instance, but to use them in CLM i have to put them in the iPhoto directory. Maybe i didn’t want to have them in there, i should be able to just open a browser style window and point to anywhere i have my photos.
Tool-tips? Where are they? For me, i like the ability to hover over an icon/button on a tool bar and get a tool tip. I hate reading manuals and always find it easier to just jump in and start playing, and tool tips would be a huge help when trying to do this with CLM. I wanted to remove a panel from one of the layouts, so sure enough, click on it to make it active and then press delete. boom. gone. n.p. but then i wanted to stretch the previous panel to fill the void and the program wants to keep the aspect ratio of the panel so as i stretch it it gets taller, which isn’t what i want to do at all. i just want it to be wider not taller. After playing with all the modifier keys –
Option, Shift, Command
– i found that holding Command and dragging the middle of the panel i wanted to change worked. I tried to use the program’s
Help
but i couldn’t find the info i needed when i tried to search for a way to stretch the panel.

 

Aside from the small issues i encountered, the app is pretty straight forward in its use as far as the comic book making part of it goes, and its worth the price of admission for the fun you can get from that part alone, but this is only one small part of the abilities of CLM. The ease with which you can manipulate images is something to experience and it will figuratively blow you away once you start playing with it.
Within this somewhat simple looking app is the ability to cut an object or person out of a photo by simply placing a
Keep
line (the green one) inside the area you want to keep, and then a
Discard
line (the red one) on the outside of the area you want to get rid of and then let CLM do the rest. Voila. You have a cut out of the object you want to superimpose onto another photo or background within your comic. For me i decided to really tax CLM and use an image that had very fuzzy edges, a picture of my chicks. I mean who doesn’t looking at chicks? 😉 the fuzzy edges were obivously a little much for the app to process and detect well so i ended up with some artifacts around the edges. Using a more precise Keep line may help. Also using an image that was not all feathers may be better too.

 

It worked pretty well until i decided to delete the page, since i was just playing with the app to see the capabilities and limitations and didn’t want it in the finished comic, that’s when it hung. I could tell it was having some issues since i heard the fans on my MacBook running at full tilt. I’m using a 2ghz Intel MacBook with 3 gig of ram so i am well over the minimum requirements for the app to run, but it seems i overtaxed it with the fancy effects and trimming of the object. After years of using computers and playing with and pushing programs to their limits, i’m in the habit of saving frequently so nothing was lost when i was forced to restart the app to get back to editing my comic. Word to the wise, before playing with the power features, save, just in case.
When you are all done you can share your finished comic in a number of ways, email, web, pdf to name a few, so its easy for you to get your masterpiece off your computer and onto the web for the general public, or share it with friends, no matter what OS they use.

 

As for the finished comic – well, once it is truly finished, i’ll be pdf-ing it and sending it out to family and friends, keeping in touch and learning a new program while doing it. Now the big question, will this app get a lot of use? Hmmm, well maybe. It certainly is fun to play with and if you were getting bored with the same old family newsletters and wanted to do something a little more artistic than just sending a couple of photos, then sure, this is a great way to do it, or maybe you have always wanted to create your own comics, then this is definitely for you. For me, its fun, and sometimes that is enough reason right there.

– TCG
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Comments
  1. […] topic.Powered by WP Greet Box WordPress PluginShortly after i posted my review of Comic Life Magiq (see June 2nd, 2008) the fine people at Plasq let me know of the update to version 1.0.1, which in their words “ We […]

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