ComicBook! Review

Too many issues for a comic maker that is not greatly original.

by Pu on July 7, 2011

ComicBook! is a universal comics creator for iDevices that allows mixing your photos and turning them into comics, by choosing templates, applying effects and adding captions and stickers.

Main Features

  • Up to a resolution of 1024×768 pixels (iPad), 960×640 pixels (retina display devices), 480×320 (other);
  • 30+ page templates;
  • 3 halftone sizes;
  • 4 borders;
  • 13 caption/bubble styles;
  • 55 stickers;
  • 9 filters;
  • 7 fonts;
  • AirPrint support;
  • In-app guide;
  • Send via email or share on Facebook, Twitter.

Appotography Opinion

To create your comic, you choose one among the available template pages and either import images stored in your device or use the built-in camera. Templates can be found in the Create menu, at the bottom of the screen. You can move, rotate, enlarge and shrink the images to adjust them to the template’s panels. On top of each panel, you will find the FX menu, containing the various effects you can apply to the imported images. There are nine different styles, some slightly customizable, ranging from sketch to black and white and Warhol-ish pop art. Halftone (small, medium, large size) can also be added.
ComicBook! by 3DTOPO for iPhone and iPad
From the same Create menu where you go to pick the template, you can also select Captions and Stickers. Captions include both speech bubbles and proper captions. Stickers represent sound effects and various other graphics to spice up your comics. By tapping on the item of your choice, you will have it appear on your comic’s page. Tapping once on the chosen item to make it active, you can move it around and affect other features: for captions and speech, you can input a text and set a font face, color and size, while you can only rotate and resize Stickers. By double-tapping, you can delete the item.
ComicBook! by 3DTOPO for iPhone and iPad
In the Create menu, you will also find the Utilities section, from which you will be able to save, upload, email or print your comics, other than read the in-app guide and access ComicBook!’s settings.

The UI of ComicBook! feels somewhat cluttered and not highly manageable; for this reason, getting things right in your creation is not as easy as it should be. Manoeuvring elements is not enough intuitive and trying to fit them in your panels can be really frustrating. The customization for text is very limited and size and colors available for fonts are few. In some instances, after you have performed an action, it’s not easy to make changes promptly.

ComicBook! by 3DTOPO for iPhone and iPad

Landscape oriented comic saved with iPad in vertical position.

ComicBook! by 3DTOPO for iPhone and iPad

The same comic saved with iPad in horizontal position.

Another serious problem concerns the very disappointing saving resolution allowed in ComicBook!. Resolution is not the only limitation, anyway. I found it impossible to send, upload or save properly comics from templates in landscape orientation, as the only thing the app seems to be able to save in this case is the leftmost portion of the page. The issue can be solved by choosing portrait oriented templates or changing your device’s orientation — crazy, I know. Colors in saved comics appear to be somewhat different compared with the ones of your original photos, so beware.

Although the idea is OK, some elements in this app are definitely too similar to Halftone‘s. Hopefully, the developers submitted to the App Store just a rushed version of their ComicBook! and they will fix bugs in the coming versions and allow higher resolution saving.

EDIT – After ComicBook!’s update to 1.0.1, the issue with saving orientation is fixed. Thus we also update our overall score.

Overall

Name: ComicBook!
Developer: 3DTOPO inc.
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad. iOS 4.0.2 or later.
Price: £1.49||$1.99||€1.59
Vote: 3/5

ComicBook! - 3DTOPO Inc.

Jeshua Lacock July 9, 2011 at 12:06 am

Thank you for your review of ComicBook, I am the lead engineer of they product. Note that the issue that could cause the saved image to crop has been resolved by a 1.0.1 version available now as a free update.

I would just like to mention that all products have to start somewhere, and with 1.0 we feel we have an excellent base product to continuously improve on add to.

I would also like to point out that it is in fact possible to fix the misspellings (tap on the caption once to go to edit mode). Also, it is possible to remove the effect so you can adjust the photo again. This is also mentioned in the documentation.

We already have higher resolution in progress (go to the app Settings and you will see there is a switch for high resolution currently grayed out).

We have many exciting features planned and in development for this Product. Please exercise a bit of patience – you won’t be disappointed!

Reply

Pu July 9, 2011 at 3:39 am

Thanks for pointing it out. I have checked version 1.0.1 and indeed now the orientation issue is no more. I have updated the score accordingly.

Keep it up. Looking forward to upcoming updates.

Reply

Jeshua Lacock July 9, 2011 at 1:11 am

One note about looking similar to Halftone, we actually started development on ComicBook! before Halftone was on the App Store. It may be more accurate that both apps have similar elements to this blog entry dating back 4 years before Halftone existed:

http://www.photoshoproadmap.com/Photoshop-blog/2007/09/13/give-your-photos-a-retro-comic-book-effect/

Reply

Pu July 10, 2011 at 5:30 am

Well, obviously nobody was claiming that Halftone invented a style, as nobody assumed they were the first to bring a certain type of comics to the digital format. They simply got there (to the App Store) before others did and users are not given to know who started developing first when they purchase their apps.

Reply

Jeshua Lacock July 9, 2011 at 3:48 am

Thank you. Can update this part to, it is possible:

“fixing misspelling, adjusting the photo to the template, changing halftone size, etc. — is not possible”

If you want to know how, just ask or see our online help.

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Pu July 9, 2011 at 4:17 am

Be aware of the fact that halftone doesn’t update properly after you make changes to its size, unless you change halftone size AND effect. Trying to change halftone size alone doesn’t work always. This is one of the issues I was referring to. I have tried saving to see it was only a preview issue, but halftone isn’t saved correctly either. If it was in your intention to allow switching to one size to the other only in combo with effects you should have stated so in the guide.

Reply

Jeshua Lacock July 10, 2011 at 7:44 am

We intended the halftone to act as a global setting, not as a effect button. However, all you have to do is re-run the filter, and the filters with settings keep your last settings set. So for me at least, it is very easy to change the halftone size. Just change the size and rerun the filter.

Reply

Anthony Florey July 9, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Strip Designer and Halftone are both much better and easier to make comics with your photos. You should correct typos in your in-app help.

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Jeshua Lacock July 10, 2011 at 7:47 am

Of course we are all entitled to our own opinions. Our vision of a ComicApp is different, and we will continue to pursue our vision.

Perhaps you are just used to them; for me it is easier for me to use ComicBook! personally.

Each of those products are not 1.0.0 versions either. We all have to start somewhere.

ComicBook! actually has far more features than Halftone, and the additional functionality does come at a cost. No way around that fact.

Thanks – I wasn’t aware of any typos will flag them for review.

Reply

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