A better tutorial for Tablet PCs (or just tablets)

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grim
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:21 am

A better tutorial for Tablet PCs (or just tablets)

Post by grim » Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:22 am

When I first bought Scanahand, I promised I'd help write a tutorial for those of us with tablet PCs. Quite honestly, I did a rather half-hearted effort. Now that High-Logic has graciously upgraded their project (right when I needed it, coincidentally), I thought I might put a little more effort into my tutorial.

If you're unfamiliar with a tablet PC, it's a laptop where you can write or draw directly on the screen using a (very expensive) stylus. I use it for my digital art and to produce a web-comic*. In my web-comic, each of my characters has their own font and having Scanahand makes this a LOT easier. Also, I have some special characters like "æ" and "é". I used to map these to the "@" and "=" keys respectively, but with the new version of Scanahand, I can put them in their proper place, saving me a lot of headache.

Anyway, on with the tutorial...

You can't draw in Scanahand itself, but with a tablet PC (or even a PC with an external tablet), you can make some really good looking fonts.

You have three options when making a template:
A - 1 page of all the old stand-by characters, numbers and symbols (same as the old version)
B - 2 pages of the old stand-by's and a second page with exotic characters like ash (æ) and even thorn (þ)!
C - Get really crazy and make FOUR pages of symbols and dingbats!

We're doing option B.

When you open Scanahand, you're already on "Step 1" so use the drop menu to select the two-page option. Then press the "Save As..." button. This will save the templates as two images.
Scan-01.jpg
Scan-01.jpg (35.64 KiB) Viewed 4194 times
Give your templates a name and use a graphics format you like. I like PNG because it's lossless. Click on "Save"
Scan-02.jpg
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What's neat is, it automatically makes TWO images - one for the first page of (standard) characters and one for the second page of exotic characters. So you don't have to save a second time.
Scan-03.jpg
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I don't know if I'm allowed to plug other software here, but I use a program called Sketchbook Pro, which is good if you want something that easy for tablet PCs and you're not too concerned with high-end features that you might find with Photoshop (which is expensive) or the Gimp (which is free). At any rate, open up the first page of your template and before you draw ANYTHING, make a second layer. That's the layer that you will draw the letters on. DO NOT DRAW ON THE SAME LAYER AS THE TEMPLATE!
Scan-04.jpg
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After drawing a few letters (or even before) save a copy of the picture and make sure of three things:
1 - The format will support multiple layers for your program. In my case, that's TIF. If you use something else, it will probably be PSD.
2 - Give the file the name of your font. In this example, it's BucolicBurp1.tif
3 - Remember that you have to save TWO images, page 1 and page 2. So, obviously, my second file will be BucolicBurp2.tif
Scan-05.jpg
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Unfortunately, I can only post five images, so I'll have to continue this post in a reply...
Last edited by grim on Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

grim
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:21 am

Re: A better tutorial for Tablet PCs (or just tablets)

Post by grim » Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:35 am

Okay, continuing on...

Now, here is why it is SO important that you do NOT draw on the same layer as the template. Frequently, you'll want to shift your letters around so they line up. I'll generate a font at least four or five times, making minor adjustments each time. If you draw on the same layer as the template, it gets really messy - especially if you have the little guide lines. So let's say our "A" was drawn a little too high.
Scan-06.jpg
Scan-06.jpg (24.08 KiB) Viewed 4192 times
If our drawn letters/symbols are on a separate layer, we can move, rotate and scale them to make them line up and fit just right. This makes a lot of difference if we want a professional looking font.
Scan-07.jpg
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Okay, after (and before) you draw all of the letters, save your file in the format that retains the separate layers - in case you want to go back and fiddle with them later. Now, my format is in TIF, which is not supported in Scanahand. So, when I'm done, I have to save it a second time as a format that Scanahand supports. Once again, I'll use PNG.
Scan-08.jpg
Scan-08.jpg (83.05 KiB) Viewed 4190 times
Of course I have to do this for both pages.

FINALLY, we go to "STEP 2", so click on that icon on the left. Under the "Pages:" box, select "Page 1" and then click on "Load". Then select the image you saved of page 1 (for me, BucolicBurp1.png).
Scan-09.jpg
Scan-09.jpg (46.44 KiB) Viewed 4188 times
Then, under "Pages:" select "Page2" and "Load" and select your second page.
Scan-10.jpg
Scan-10.jpg (35.87 KiB) Viewed 4192 times
Almost done. Then click on "STEP 3" on the left, click on "Generate..." and away you go.

The best part about using a tablet PC (or a tablet) is that you can alter the letters slightly without lots of messy smudges. If you want to see some of the fonts I've created, go to my website at www.otterstow.com. The narrative and each character has their own font - although, since I've only posted a few pages, there's currently only two characters.

Anyway, thanks for reading!

/Grim

Dave Crosby
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Location: Enoch, Utah

Re: A better tutorial for Tablet PCs (or just tablets)

Post by Dave Crosby » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:59 pm

I don't have a tablet PC, but your steps look clear and straightforward, so THANKS!
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