Seeking test images for comic research

Hi, my name is Craig Kaplan.  I’m a Computer Science professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada. I’m using my blog as a convenient place to put out a call to comic artists for test images that we could use in our research.

My PhD student Matthew Thorne is working on software that could improve state of the art digital comic colouring. We’re specifically interested in flatting, in which symbolic colours are assigned to parts of a line drawing in preparation for applying final colours.

Our understanding is that digitally colouring comics is still labour-intensive work, and we have some ideas for making the computer do more of the work for you. To test our ideas, we need to gather a collection of real-world test images that demonstrate the problems colourists face in practice. If you’re a comic artist (or colourist) who uses digital tools for colouring, and you have some images you’re willing to share, we’d love to hear from you.

Here are a few additional details:

  • We’re specifically looking for high-resolution scanned comic line art and/or digital native line art—in other words, raster images and not vector paths. Of course, if you’re willing to share a complete page (say, a PSD with line art in one layer and multiple layers of colours), that would be great too—looking at how you choose to layer your colours could tell us a lot about typical workflow.
  • You should be clear about how much you’re willing to share. Ideally, you’d give us permission to use your images when talking about our research or when publishing scholarly papers. But if you’re willing to provide us with images that are for our eyes only, we’ll happily use them just for testing purposes.
  • If you’ve been saving up rants about deficiencies in software for digital comic production, feel free to share those too. We’re definitely looking for other places where we can contribute new ideas.

If you think you can help, please contact me at csk@uwaterloo.ca.  Thanks!

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