BAM! SNAP! POW! Creating a superhero is fun and exciting. Enshrining him in your own comic book is almost as amazing as having your own superpower. Comic book software is designed to help you make your own comic book regardless whether you are just starting out or are serious about having your work published. Perhaps you are ready to take your characters to a whole new level and bring them to life through animation – there's comic book software for that!
After reviewing many different types of comic software, we have chosen Manga Studio, SketchBook Pro and Adobe Photoshop CC as our top picks for comic book software. These products are good enough for the pros and come with so many impressive illustration tools, file formats and features it's hard to surpass them. Below are highlights of some of the tool and features we looked at as we reviewed comic making software. Don't forget to check out our Learning Center for even more articles on comic book software.
Creating a comic book requires several different elements working together to make a fantastic story. When choosing comic-making software, it is important to know that most programs focus either on illustration or on script. There isn't any comic software currently available that can do both, so you will have to use multiple programs and toggle your designs between the two if you want to create a stellar comic book, just like the professional comic book makers.
Illustration is the most important aspect of comic books. Look for comic creator software that has as many illustration tools as possible. If it has different drawing utensils, such as pencils, markers, pens and paintbrushes, make sure that each gives you the strokes and desired look for your design rather than just being a thicker stroke of each other. Pattern brushes are helpful in creating depth, shadows and textures – elements that help your images pop, especially if you want to create 3D images.
Tools that blend color and shade are important for erasing hard lines to give your characters and backdrops softness. Freeform shapes is a tool not commonly found in comic software, but it does come standard in the best comic software. Character templates are a fun tool if you find that creating heroes is difficult to do freehand. It's also possible to find software that lets you create your own illustration tools, just in case it doesn't have exactly what you need.
There isn't a lot of comic book software that includes script tools. Very few have word balloons; most require you to create them freehand. Many comic book programs let you include a few words, or maybe a line or two using their simple text editor. However, most don't have the ability to support dialog, check spelling or change font styles, size or color.
There are comic book creation programs that focus more heavily on script rather than illustrations. These programs will have spell check, a dictionary and thesaurus, and font editing capabilities. Script-focused comic software will allow you to import text from other programs, and save in picture formats to include with your comic book design.
Finally, dual dialog is a unique script tool that lets you line up dialog and action script side-by-side. This is useful when you want to create another comic book frame and need to remember where it goes. It also helps if you want to animate your comic book, so you can take notes of how the story flows between the images and the text.
Each comic book program has its own distinctive features. Layers let you separate backgrounds, characters and objects from each other while still being able to view them as a completed comic book frame. You can also edit each layer separately without worrying if you will accidentally smudge the other designs.
Some comic maker software is compatible with electronic pens and tablets. This lets you draw with strokes and movements that are more natural and comfortable than if you are constrained to an upright screen and bouncy mouse.
The ability to import images is a nice feature; better yet if you can also adjust and edit those images, even if they were created in another design program.
Since you need to use multiple programs to include both illustration and script in your comic book, it is important that you can save and export your files in formats that are compatible with each program. Some comic software is restricted to saving image files such as JPEG and TIFF. Other programs let you save and export in document-friendly formats, such as PDF, making it easier to flip and edit your designs between illustration and script comic book software.
Help & Support
Most comic creator software is easy to install with simple step-by-step instructions. Basic support is included within all of the comic book programs we reviewed. It's helpful, though, to know whether the developing company has personalized assistance in case you run into a problem installing or running the program. While all comic book software companies have email support, only a few offer telephone support and even fewer have live chat available. These support options could be important if you need help quickly and don’t have the time to wait for an email response.
Whether you are just beginning to sketch a superhero, ready to publish your own comic book or wondering if you can re-create the amazing anime dancing in your head, there is a comic book program that is just right for you.