Comic-Con ’09 – Great Costumes, Cool Software, No Gadgets

We headed over to this weekend’s Comic-Con ’09 at the Javitz Center in New York, in search of some gadgetry. Unfortunately we were rather disappointed by the gadget turn out, granted it is a convention centered on Comics, Manga and other geeky stuff – But we figured we’d find something tech-worthy. Regardless, we can’t help but show off some of the awesomely geeky costumes that some attendees were wearing on the show floor.

However, what we did discover that was tech worthy, was on the software side of things. It turns out that there are a whole bunch of programs out there that are designed to help geeky creative folk become more productive.

Manga Studio Debut 4
Designed for Manga and Comic artists artists, Manga Studio lets you sketch, scan and import artwork. From there you can add on special effects. The software is designed to use with a mouse or tablet, and of course you’re likely to take the most advantage of it by using a tablet. Manga Studio provides over 2,300 screen tones to add to your sketches. It also gives you the ability to fill and color your sketchiness using advanced shading tools and pattern brushes. The software also comes with word balloons, and it gives you the ability to add focus and speed line effects for expressing moods and motions. Manga Studio also comes with 160 pre-built page templates, or you can make your own. When you’re done with your creation, you can export your work as jpg, bmp, psd, tga, png, tiff and pict files. Basically, you get everything you need to create your own professional comic. The software is available for Windows or Mac and retails for $49.99, while the professional version, Manga Studio EX 4.0 retails for $299. The pro version lets you do other cool stuff like importing 3D objects.

ArtRage Deluxe 2.5
Perhaps our favorite of the bunch, is ArtRage Deluxe 2.5. We’ve heard of ArtRage before, but seeing it in action is a different story. Whether you’re a professional artist, or jut someone who likes to draw or paint for fun, ArtRage has something for everyone. Designed to use with a mouse or tablet, the software lets you sketch, paint, blend and draw -without all the messiness of using real world tools. Paints even smear, smudge and blend just like real paints. The wealth of “art supplies” that come with ArtRage is mightily impressive. You can create masterpieces using oil paints, pencils, chalk, and glitter. You can also use stencils and rulers, scale, rotate, move and corp accordingly,
Photoshop users will appreciate the ability to create and import layers and effects from Photoshop. There is also a neat tracing paper function so that you can sketch over a photo or drawing. Other abilities include the option to adjust canvas grain, color and metallic options, as  well as the ability to blend and mix metallics with other media. ArtRage Deluxe retails for $49.99 and is available for both Mac and PC.

MashON SPORE Comic Book Creator
There was other comic book creation software being shown off on the show floor, but this one is solely for SPORE fans. The software lets you take your SPORE creations and develop comics for them via a simple drag and drop interface You can drop in text with text balloons, sound and video. Once you’re done you can email it to friends or post you’re ingenious creation on your Facebook page – or wherever else you’d like. The software retails for $29.99 and is available for both Mac & PC.

Anime Studio 5
Another cool software app that we got to see a demo of in person at the show was Anime Studio 5 which lets you sketch, scan and import graphics which you can in turn animate and add audio soundtracks too. The software comes with everything you need to have your own little animation studio. And the animations can be output to Flash formats aside from regular video formats. The software also seems a lot more intuitive to use for character based animation than Flash itself, so this can be a great alternative if you’re someone who creates a lot of character based flash animations. The software retails for $49.99 ad is available for both Mac and PC.

So there you have it, If you were looking for comics or just wanted to learn how to make your own without even being that artistically inclined you were in luck at Comic-con or if you just wanted to dress up as your average day Ninja, that worked too.

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