By Aaron Lee
plasq's Comic Life is a fun Mac OS X app that makes photo comic creation easy. Its image editing features make it easy to transform a photograph into comic artwork, while graphic design options let you tweak the appearance of your comic pages.
Comic Life 3 (the last major rev) introduced a script editor that lets you create stories right in the app. It's simple to take your words to the comic page thanks to new SmartScript technology. Graphics options for strokes, fills and opacity make it easy to create impressive designs. Comic Life 3 also introduced a re-engineered editing engine that allows two-up display of your comic, element grouping, find and replace and master page.
The collection of parametric filters range from simple line drawing to full on movie-style rotoscoping. They allow a range of effects. You can knock out image backgrounds with the integrated Instant Alpha tool, making it a breeze to build a scene with layered photos. The blur control lets you add depth in your multi-photo scenes.
Graphic design options allow you to, as mentioned, further enhance the appearance of your comic pages. Element strokes include various dash and brush options for a hand-drawn look. Balloon control offers a variety picker that presents variations on most balloon types, fully positionable inter-connecting tails, and adjustable balloon tail widths.
Fill options include halftones, speed lines and textures. You have independent opacity control for professional style balloon and caption designs. Elements have fully adjustable global opacity.
What's more, you can "rough up" your pages with new page texturing effects. Lettering is bolstered with a 3D effect to make your titles really stand out and enhanced bezier curve control for precision warping.
Comic Life isn't a must-have app. But it can bring some fun to your Mac. It requires Mac OS X 10.6.5 or better. It's available on the Mac App Store and plasq's website for US$29.99. A 30-day demo is available for download from the plasq site.