Your Opinions of the Importance of SFX Lettering

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Your Opinions of the Importance of SFX Lettering

Postby 2old4yaoi » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:41 pm

I would like to get some opinions here of the importance of SFX type-setting from the folks @ DMG. How much work do you think should be put into this? I have been impressed with the SFX type-setting skills of my wonderful letterer & some of the published DMG works (as well as some of the printed ones from the DMP cos). They can clone the fancy font styles of the original Japanese SFX into the English translations.

However, when I look at some other best selling manga titles out there i.e. Betrayal Knows My Name & Drops of God etc, they had choosen the keep the original Japanese SFXs intact and then put in the English SFX translations at small, boring & insipid fonts - just so enough that the readers know what the SFX are supposed to represent or mean. It is something that even I can easily do in word or paint whatnot.

The latter case would definitely have been much easier, saved a lot of time & labor. For the aforementioned titles, I doubt that they have detracted from the sales volumes. So I will appreciate it if DMG and/or fellow guild members here can provide guidelines or give opinions on how much focus, labor & time should be given to the SFX lettering works.
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Re: Your Opinions of the Importance of SFX Lettering

Postby Shaphina » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:49 pm

My view on sound SFX is what would I like to see as a fan ans to try to achieve that. I looked though various manga to see how others did the SFX. Personally I don't like the small side note like SFX style and so I will put in the extra work to take it up a level. (I've seen that small style in "Black Butler" and I felt it was lacking something. I have found its a great manga so far but I was just annoyed at the SFX.) I can't copy most of the original Japanese font styles but I try to get something similar looking/feeling and make sure the coloring is the same. Really, the SFX style I really liked when I saw it was when I looked at "Honey Colored Pancakes". The SFX are there, matching the Japanese, but they are tucked in/beside the original so if you don't look close it seems like it is part of the original.

That is for the larger stuff, the smaller stuff is replaced.

That is my personal view on how to do the SFX.
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Re: Your Opinions of the Importance of SFX Lettering

Postby kozato » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:03 pm

This is purely from a fan's perspective, but I like seeing SFX lettered prominently in a way that meshes with the original Japanese art when possible. I think small text does feel like an afterthought! The more interesting and engaging you make a book, the more people will want to buy your work, so I think effort into SFX is definitely the extra mile you can go to set yourself apart!
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Re: Your Opinions of the Importance of SFX Lettering

Postby Shroud » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:37 pm

I also don't like the tiny afterthought SFX. I think the Japanese and English SFX translation should complement each other. As a fan, I appreciate the extra mile gone through when its done. As a typesetter, I know it's a pain and not always possible to duplicate as well as incredibly time consuming. But pride in craft and knowing that the effort put in isn't wasted as it's appreciated by the fans, makes it worthwhile. I think it's one of those differences between an acceptable effort and an outstanding one...the details tended to...
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Re: Your Opinions of the Importance of SFX Lettering

Postby chirechan » Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:23 pm

I'll chime in with a dissenting opinion. I'll start off assuming that the SFX are not being redrawn. I could rant forever about ungrateful readers and losing days of your life to redraws, but I'll spare you that much at least. A less bitchy/moany perspective is that I think the SFX are part of the manga-ka's art and should remain untouched.

So the next question is how to subtitle the SFX. I've found that a lot of panels quickly become too cluttered and busy when you add the English SFX in lots of fonts and vertical text and stuff. Some people pull it off brilliantly, and sometimes the result is illegible. Personally, I prefer unobtrusive translated text near the original SFX that lets the original SFX convey the "style" and "intent". I like it in the panel, though, and not in the margin like a translator note. I very much dislike when the SFX is transliterated (I think I saw it in a Yen book?). Like all tools, however, I think it really comes down to the skill of the letterer. I've seen good and bad versions of just about everything (except transliteration) XD

The one place where I waffle is with handwritten SFX. Those aren't really art and so could be erased and re-typed, but here is the crux of my dilemma - consistency. To me, it's inconsistent to leave some SFX while erasing others. I worry it will look like I was lazy and left the big SFX but redrew the little easy ones. So for DMG, I've been subtitling them ALL. I'm still not 100% sold on this, so feel free to convince me otherwise :P
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Re: Your Opinions of the Importance of SFX Lettering

Postby payang » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:12 pm

I'm not really particular one way or another...so long as there is an actual translation somewhere. I think it was BLU books (I could be wrong, as it's been a crazy week for me) that I've read where the original Japanese SFX were left, but no translation of it was noted anywhere. As nice as it is to see the original Japanese there, it's pointless if I can't read/understand what it's saying, even if it's just a SFX.

I feel, if the letterer feels that he/she is skilled enough to replicate it and find suitable fonts to match the original, then it's fine to erase and redraw as necessary. However, if the letterer doesn't feel comfortable with it yet, then leaving it with an English translation somewhere is just as good. Either way, it doesn't take away from my manga reading experience, as I still, eventually, find out what it is that's there.
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Re: Your Opinions of the Importance of SFX Lettering

Postby Shroud » Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:52 am

Just a quick note...under DMG production guidelines, SFX outside of bubbles are not to be erased, merely translated.
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Re: Your Opinions of the Importance of SFX Lettering

Postby 2old4yaoi » Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:30 am

@shroud

That is just a guideline. I personally feel that if there is space constraint and the SFX outside the bubbles are too small, I have asked my letterer to replace them. I have used a lot of more recent DMP/June printed & digitized mangas for reference (my faves are the Tyrant & Finder series), and I am seeing similar judgement calls.
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Re: Your Opinions of the Importance of SFX Lettering

Postby Shroud » Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:20 am

Yes, but otherwise, they are left. I asked about this once, and was told if at all possible, they were to be left for uniformity with all other DMP editions. Obviously, not always possible, and guideline rules have to be bent.
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Re: Your Opinions of the Importance of SFX Lettering

Postby 2old4yaoi » Sat Mar 10, 2012 4:57 pm

I agree - guidelines should allow flexibility for the sake of legibility & neat, uncluttered look sometimes.
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