Comic Transcription for People Who Hate Typing
Submitted by Vas Littlecrow Wojtanowicz on September 29, 2011 - 12:08
I hate transcribing existing comics that were saved as flat files or did not have formal scripts typed up. I really do. I know that transcripts are useful for making comic pages easier to find on search engines. Transcripts give accessibility of my material to blind site visitors and foreign language readers. That didn't stop me from procrastinating on this valuable task. I just despise typing that much.
I cut and pasted the text I wanted transcribed as a transparent layer on a canvas with a transparent background. The software I used was PaintShop Pro. Removing the text from the images increases accuracy in transcription.
I put the text in the order I wanted it to appear using a single column. I found that using more than one column might confuse the OCR, leading to more errors. If you are clever, you should put the dialogue for more than just one comic on each transcription page. You'll have fewer pages to convert that way.
Because the optical character recognition has trouble reading light text on a dark backgrounds, I used the “Negative Image” effect to make the text readable. The I filled the background layer underneath with a color matching that of the color in the negative image's background. If you use white text ballons for your comic, this step is not needed. Just flatten it before saving and you are good to go.
Once done, I saved the graphic and uploaded it. When the processing was finished, I corrected any errors (which were very few.) The next step was to cut and paste the text into the transcription box. I used the "What Did They Say?!?" plugin to add headers, scene action and dialogue directions. I was able to transcribe the entire English language version of the SOUP Wars website, in just a few hours. Normally this task would have taken me days.
I hope people looking to do webcomic transcriptions will find this tutorial useful.