February 27, 2006

Software Endorsement: Comic Life

Last year, on a lazy Saturday, I read a product review on Plasq's Comic Life, which was one Mac OS X application, unavailable for Windows, that took advantage of the Mac's inherent tilt toward design, and mimicked the ease of use and layout of Apple's iLife applications, enabling users to create their own comics from photos on their computer - using iPhoto. Bored, and amused by the idea, I downloaded the product, and quickly whipped up my first comic - featuring our 16-year-old beagle. Comic Life was easy to use, letting me add captions and word art, even though I don't have any kind of creative skills.

While that was fun, I felt I had to stretch to find another use for the inherently enjoyable product. I needed something that would be interesting, and where photos were readily available... which led me to the Oakland A's. Every A's game and practice yields dozens of AP or media photographs, and innumerable amateur photos. Within hours, I had downloaded enough photos to have my first attempt - a caricature of then-A's outfielder Eric Byrnes, cast as "Eric Byrnes - Superhero!". Eric was a perfect candidate, a player who gave his all into every play with sometimes hilarious outcomes - whether that meant body-crushing dives at missed balls into the outfield, taking the extra base, or tackling unruly, inebriated fans.

I took the new comic and posted it to Athletics Nation, hoping someone would find it amusing. Some did, demanding more. By the end of the day, I posted a follow-up, but there was no way to keep up the pace, with focus on a single player. Even worse, Byrnes was traded later in the week. I was foiled, but did a third and final comic as an epilogue. But by now, AN and I were hooked. I had the Comic Life bug, and launched from my experience covering Byrnes to what eventually become the ANtics - posted weekly, and set to continue through the A's 2006 season.

I don't consider myself a comic. I just happened to be the first to leverage some outstanding software and focus it on the A's. If I can do it, you can do it. Just download Comic Life yourself and get started. You'll be a pro in minutes.

Related Links: Plasq Comic Life | Flickr Gallery of Comic Life Art

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