This popular tutorial is originally made by Red Hawk Scanlations however as their website is not available anymore.
We would like to share this tutorial with improvement in the formatting for ease of reading. It will provide you the knowledge you need to get started as a Typesetter.
Introduction to Typesetting
The first two parts of this introduction about typesetting is mostly focused on aesthetics while the next two parts explain how to typeset with photoshop.
But before that, let’s take a look at a raw page.
As you can see there are different kinds of text: speech inside bubbles, SFX, shouts inside bubbles, text inside boxes, etc.
Typesetting is composed of different aspects that I will try to tackle.
I) The text inside bubbles or boxes:
The shape of the text is an important thing when you typeset, that’s what makes your text looks good.
I think that the best result is obtained when the shape of the text is the same as the shape of the bubble.
If it’s an ellipse then you should try to typeset with an elliptic shape, if it’s a rectangle then you should typeset with a rectangular shape.
You should try to avoid that the text touches the border of the bubbles.
You can manually change the shape of the text using the “Enter” key to do “carriage return”.
a) Font Choice:
I’m not going to go into details in this introduction about the choice of fonts, each site has its own guideline and you can find Red-Hawk guideline in V).
Usually, we try to use one type of font for each kind of text: speech, thought, SFX, etc.
There are different kinds of settings for a text: size, italic, bold, anti-aliasing, all-caps, left align text, center text, horizontal/vertical typesetting, etc.
• The size: I will probably say it often in this introduction but I think the typesetter should try to be as close to the raw as possible.
You should try to be consistent with the size of the Japanese font and not try to fill the bubbles by increasing the font size.
The basic font size for CC Astro City is 13 pt or 14 pt, for Zud Juice it’s around 16 pt or 17 pt, but if the text in the Japanese raw is bigger/smaller then you should increase/decrease it.
If the bubble is really big, the Japanese text with a normal size and the translated text is really short (and only in this case) you can probably increase the font size a little.
You can also decrease the font size a little if the text is long and doesn’t really fit inside the bubble.
• Italic is often used for thought but since in RH the font we use is already italicized, this setting is rarely used.
• Bold should be used when the text is in bold or if you want to emphasize a word in a sentence.
• For anti-aliasing, you should use smooth.
• Never use the all-caps setting (TT) for a font that is already in caps. If the font is in lowercase (like VAGRounded BT) you can use it.
• The text inside bubbles should always be “center text”.
• All your text should be typeset horizontally and you should avoid typesetting vertically if possible.
If the bubble is really slim horizontally, and if the text is only one word that you can’t hyphenate then you can typeset vertically but you must be careful with the punctuation.
3) Position of the text:
You need to center the text inside the bubble.
The distance between the text and the border of the bubble should be the same for the top and the bottom, and for the left and the right.
In the case the bubble is an ellipse or a rectangle, it’s quite easy.
From time to time the bubble is “cut” by the border of the panel.
I can’t really give a rule in this case because I think such bubbles don’t really have a “center”, you have to adjust to make it look good.
You should avoid hyphens if possible even if it means that the shape will look a little less good but don’t try to do it at any cost.
Sometimes you can’t avoid hyphen and it’s fine to keep them.
You can let Photoshop do the hyphenation or you can do it manually (for a better shape)
If you are unsure of how to hyphenate you can use this site.
Example: knowledgeable can be hyphenated this way: knowl-edge-a-ble.
Sometimes you have to hyphenate names with honorifics like “Hayate-kun”. Do it manually with the “Enter” key just after the “-“: “Hayate-” and “kun”.
Never do the “carriage return” before the “-“!
5) The small text inside bubbles:
From time to time there are two kinds of text inside one bubble: a “normal text” and a “small text”.
You should typeset the “normal text” as usual and center it before putting the “small text”.
The small text is often typeset inclined toward the left or the right at the bottom of the bubble (check the raw).
6) Split bubbles:
The bubble can also be split in two, you should then typeset it the same way than in the Japanese raw and try to center the text in each part of the split bubble.
II) Text outside bubbles:
There isn’t really a definite shape since it’s outside a bubble but you should aim for an elliptic or rectangular shape.
a) Font choice:
You can use the font mentioned in the Red-Hawk guideline in V).
• The size: try to match the size of the Japanese text.
• Use bold if the text is in bold.
• Use smooth for anti-aliasing.
• Use “center text” for speech, thought, SFX, chapter title and “side text” inside panels.
Use “left align text” for translation notes and “side text” outside panels.
• All your text should be typeset horizontally. For vertical “side text” outside panels you have to rotate the text 90° clockwise or counterclockwise.
• If the “side text” is on the left of the page rotate the text 90° counterclockwise and if it’s on the right of the page rotate the text 90° clockwise.
• If the Japanese text is in black with a white stroke or if it’s in white with a black stroke (or black background) then that’s how you should typeset it.
3) Position of the text:
For thought or “side text”, the top of your text should match the top of the Japanese text.
For the chapter title, place it where the Japanese chapter title was.
For translation notes, put the text below the panel (with left alignment).
For SFX, put the text below the panel, aligned vertically with the Japanese SFX.
You should also avoid hyphens if possible. It should be easier since you have more liberty for the shape of the text.
III) Basic of typesetting with Photoshop:
When you have to typeset a chapter, you are given PSD files that can be opened by Photoshop and a script with the translation (in .txt, .doc or .rtf) that can be opened by MS Word (or Open Office Writer).
In the PSD you will see several layers:
• A background layer with the raw
• A second layer with the cleaned raw
• A third layer which removes the Japanese text (with redraws of the art when the text was over the art).
The resolution (DPI) should be 72 pixels/inch.
If you hide the third layer you can see the cleaned raw with the Japanese text and you can use it to typeset the translation (for the choice of the font size, the use of bold, etc).
The order of the text inside the panels is from right to left and from top to bottom.
The order of the panels is also from right to left and from top to bottom. It’s in this order that the text will be in the script.
1) Setting the text:
Click on the “Horizontal Type Tool”.
You can create with your mouse a box where you will put the text.
Copy/paste the text from the script inside the box.
You can do the font settings now (see III)2)).
When you’re done with the font settings, click on the move tool and you can now move the text with the directional keys to center it inside the bubble.
You will get this:
2) Font settings:
If you select the “Horizontal Type Tool”, you will get this toolbar at the top:
And if you click on “character and paragraph palettes” you will get this:
If you do a right-click on a text you’ve selected inside a box, you will get this menu:
You can change the font settings with those 3 menus.
3) Rotating the text:
a) Free Rotation:
Select the layer of the text. Go to Edit -> Transform -> Rotate
You can rotate the text with the mouse.
b) Rotation of 90°:
Select the layer of the text. Go to Edit -> Transform -> Rotate 90° CW (or Rotate 90° CCW)
4) Adding a stroke to the text:
Double-click on the layer of the text. Select Stroke and check it.
Choose the size of the Stroke (usually it’s 3px but you can use a bigger Stroke if it’s like that in the raw)
Double-click on the rectangle with the color of the Stroke to change it.
5) At the end:
When you’re done typesetting a page save the PSD.
When you’re done typesetting all the pages, create an archive (.rar or .7z but don’t use .zip) with all the PSD and upload it to a free file hosting websites like MEGA, MediaFire, or Zippyshare
IV) Advanced typesetting with Photoshop:
1) White text with a black stroke, shadow and outside white stroke:
You might encounter text like that:
We will see how to typeset it. Typeset the text in white (and inclined like in the raw)
Add a black Stroke of 2px.
Double-click on the layer, select drop shadow and use those settings:
You will get this:
Right-click on the layer and select “Convert to Smart Object” then add a white Stroke of 3px to the layer. You will get this:
2) Vertical word with a punctuation mark:
Don’t use those methods when the punctuation mark is “…”.
a) With one punctuation mark: ! or ?
In this case, it’s easy. Select the “Vertical Type Tool”
Copy/paste the translation in the box and it’s done.
b) With two punctuation marks: !!, !?, ?! or ??
The first method (I don’t recommend it):
• You typeset the text without the punctuation marks using the “Vertical Type Tool” -> one layer with the text.
• You typeset the punctuation marks using the “Horizontal Type Tool” -> one layer with the punctuation marks.
• You move the layer with the punctuation marks to be “aligned” with the text.
• You typeset the text with the punctuation marks using the “Horizontal Type Tool”
• You use the “Enter” key to do manual “carriage return” after every letter.
• You change the setting for the “leading” in the “character and paragraph palettes”. Use the same number as the font size.
You will get this:
3) Text in perspective:
You might have to typeset the text on a sign or a monitor screen in perspective.
a) Weak perspective:
The perspective is “weak” when the border of the sign or the monitor screen seems parallel. In this case, it’s similar to the cavalier perspective.
This example is a little complicated because there is more than just one line of text. The first step is to typeset each “line” in separate layers.
Select all the layers with the text and go to Edit -> Transform -> Skew
With the mouse change the inclination of the text to be parallel to the border of the monitor screen.
And then adjust the position of each layer:
b) Strong perspective:
The perspective is “strong” when the border of the sign or the monitor screen aren’t parallel like here:
It’s a linear perspective. Here are the different steps to typeset it:
• Typeset the text normally
• Go to Layer -> Type -> Convert to Shape
• Go to Edit -> Transform Path -> Perspective
• Modify the shape of the text by moving the white squares.
Move the white square 1 and 2 so that they are aligned with the middle of the border of the sign.
Move the white square 3 and 4 so that the borders of the box and of the sign converge toward the same point (it’s called a vanishing point).
Go to Layer -> Rasterize -> Shape
4) Inserting a “symbol” (“heart”, “musical note”, etc):
a) Inserting a “symbol” in the middle of a line:
From time to time there is a symbol in the middle of the text, you have to set it using the art.
Take the symbol from the art and create a new layer with only it. Typeset the translation in a text layer.
You will have two layers: one with the symbol and one with the text.
Put the layer with the symbol under the layer with the text, this way the text will be displayed above the symbol and you don’t need to be careful of the white around the symbol that might hide the text if you put the symbol above the text.
Add space in the text where you want to put the symbol.
Move the layer with the symbol to place it correctly.
In this case, the symbol is after the word “Giri” so you have to put it after this word. You might have to resize the symbol to the size of the text to make it fit.
To resize the symbol (if needed), select the layer with the symbol and go to Edit -> Transform -> Scale. Use the same number for “W:” and “H:”
You will get this after resizing and moving the symbol:
Link the two layers and move them together to center the text inside the bubble.
b) Inserting a “symbol” at the end of a line:
The same situation as previously but this time we will put the symbol at the end of a line.
Create two layers, one with the symbol and one with the text.
Adding space at the end of a line doesn’t shift the text toward the left. Right-click on the layer with the text and select “Convert to Point Text”.
The text instead of being inside a box will be above lines.
Now if you add space at the end of a line, it will shift the text toward the left. But before that delete the possible spaces at the end (or beginning) of every line because they modify the centering.
When you’re done, you can add space at the end of the line where you want to put the symbol.
Move the symbol (if needed after resizing it) to place it at the end of the line.
Link the two layers and move them together to center the text inside the bubble.
5) Part of the text hidden by the art or cut by the border of the panel:
A part of the text might be hidden by the art or cut by the border of the panel like here:
The text on the sign was cut by the border of the panel. Typeset the text normally.
At the bottom of the layer palette click on “Add layer mask”
(Another alternative to add a layer mask: select the layer with the text and go to Layer -> Layer Mask -> Reveal All)
Select the eraser tool and “delete” the part of the text cut by the border.
(If you erased a part of the text by mistake, you can recover it by using the Pencil Tool with white color)
You will get this:
6) Text with a pattern:
The text might use a pattern like in this case:
The first step is to identify and create a pattern like the one in the raw. Let’s zoom on the text.
The pattern isn’t perfectly regular but we can still choose a small block to create a similar pattern. Select a small block that we will use to recreate the pattern.
Create a new file (in this case with a size 5 px x 5px) using the block:
Go to “Edit” -> “Define pattern…” and choose a name for the pattern. You can now close the file with the pattern.
Go back to the PSD where you want to typeset the text. Typeset the text normally:
Double-click on the text layer and select “Pattern Overlay”. Use the following settings and select the pattern you’ve just created:
You will get this:
Add a black stroke of 2 px (with eventually a drop shadow):
7) Text with a patterned “shadow” or a patterned stroke:
a) Patterned “shadow”:
Let’s see how to typeset a text like that:
First, you typeset the text normally.
Duplicate the text layer. Select the original text layer (not the copy).
Do a pattern overlay like in IV)6). Move the layer 3 pixels towards the right and towards the bottom. You will get something like this:
The last step is to add a white stroke. Select the two text layers, do a right-click and select Convert to Smart Object.
Add a white stroke of 3 pixels.
b) Patterned Stroke:
In case the text has a patterned stroke instead of a patterned “shadow”, it’s easier. First, you typeset the text normally.
Then you add a stroke but you need to select “Pattern” for the Fill Type (and choose the pattern you want to use).
You will get something like this:
If you need to add a white stroke around it then select the text layer, do a right-click and select Convert to Smart Object.
You can now add a white stroke of 3 pixels.
8) Text following a path:
From time to time the text can follow a path: a spiral path, a circular path, a “wave” path, etc.
a) Spiral path:
Let’s see first how to do a spiral path like here:
First, you need to select the “Custom Shape Tool”.
Then go to the Options bar and select the ‘All’ palette option.
Select the paths settings (second icon in the following pic) and the spiral shape.
You can now create a spiral shape with this tool.
(To make it more visible, I will hide the other layers)
Select the Type Tool and click on the spiral when the cursor looks like in the following pic.
And now you can type the text on the spiral shape.
After typing the text, you can move the position of the text on the shape by using the path selection tool (the shortcut is the key A)
You can hide the spiral shape by doing Ctrl+H. You will get something like this (I’ve added a white stroke to make it more visible):
b) Circular Path:
It’s the same but you need to select the circular shape in the Custom Shape Tool.
c) “Wave” path:
It’s the same but you need to select the wave shape in the Custom Shape Tool.
d) Random Path:
It’s a little harder when the shape isn’t available in the Custom Shape Tool. Let’s see how to create a “random” path.
First, you create a new layer (transparent). With the brush tool (or pencil tool or anything else), you draw the shape (in black) on which the text will be typeset.
Move your cursor over the icon of the layer with the shape and do CTRL+Click. (It will create a selection of the shape. You can also do it with the Magic Wand Tool)
Select the Paths palette and click on the “Make new path from selection” button.
(Note: if the selection doesn’t look smooth then instead of clicking directly on this button, you should click on it while holding the ALT key. This way, you can change the tolerance to 2.0 pixels for example and the selection should be smoother.)
Select the Type Tool and click on the shape when the cursor looks like this:
Type your text, delete the layer with the black shape and do Ctrl+H to get it like that:
9) Special characters:
To use those special characters you might have to change the font just for those characters:
• tilde: ~ (use the Akbar font)
• circled numbers: ①②③④⑤⑥⑦⑧⑨⑩⑪⑫⑬⑭⑮⑯⑰⑱⑲⑳ (use the MS Gothic font)
• em dash: —
• ♪, ♥ and ♡
Red Hawk Font Guideline:
- 1) Text Inside Bubbles:
- Speech: CC Astro City
- Thought: CC Jim Lee
- Box: CC Astro City or CC Jim Lee
- Shout (Inside Spiky Bubbles): Zud Juice
- Small Text: Augie (keep it in lowercase)
- SFX: CC Splashdown or any font that looks good.
- Phone Calls, Audio Texts: Felt (all caps) or GF Matilda Bold (all caps)
- 2) Text Outside Bubbles:
- Speech: Augie (keep it in lowercase)
- Thought/Narration: CC Jim Lee
- Chapter Title: Bernard MT Condensed (all-caps), VAGRounded BT (all-caps) or any font that looks good.
- Side Text: ObelixPro, VAGRounded BT (in all-caps) or any font that looks good.
- SFX and Translation Note: CC Astro City
- Handwritten Text: SF Grunge Sans
Ready To Become A Typesetter?
If you’re ready, take your first step on scanlation as a typesetter with Nekyou.
Download this test (Instructions Inside)
Once you’re done, submit your application via our Discord:
Ping @wordref, @AlexSPx, @egg, or @luke for the next steps.