Look, there’s no two ways around it, once you get out of the comfy confines of photocopying zines you’ve got to start dealing with some hard numbers.
Specifically hard numbers relating to Bleed, Trim and Live areas (and Jim Campbell has those things covered, if you don’t understand them go to Jim’s blog read up and come back. I’ll wait.)
Now, back to me. Having used Manga Studio for some time, I’ve always struggled a little with how exactly Manga Studio maps those industry standard terms to its own terms.
IN Manga Studio 4, I roughly map Page Size to Bleed, Trim Size to Finish Frame and Live Area to Basic Frame.
Of course, this left me with some baffling questions – like, what exactly does “Offset X”/”Offset Y” do and why do I need to specifiy a “Bleed Width” when I’ve already specified a Page Size (ie “Bleed“).
But, leaving offsets and Bleed Width set to zero, let me off the hook, and it works lovely. Except when I started fiddling with having each page display story settings (basically youre story pages can display author info, page numbers, etc, which is useful if you’re printing so you can remember in 10 years time what the hell that thing was and what page that print out is).
With a zero bleed, the story info was pushed into a very awkward, not quiet fitting spot, half on the page half off. Another manga studio mystery – but, as it was non-essential, I pretty much ignored it.
Now, though, we move to the all new, all awesome manga studio 5 EX. Here I’ve decided it’s time to do things properly, this, unfortunately, hasn’t been helped by a slightly obtuse manual and a Japanese to English conversion that has missed a spot, there and there – and I think you missed a bit over there too … oh never mind.
Here’s that menu in Manga Studio 5.
Now we have to contend with some extra names for these things. So, roughly, here’s what I’ve translated these as:
Page Size the is Bleed (in MS4: Page Size)
Binding (finish) size is the Trim (in MS4: Finish Frame)
Default border (inner) is the Live Area (in MS4: Basic Frame)
(It should also be noted in MS4 “Inside Dimensions” became the slighter more prosaic “Manga Draft Settings” in MS5.)
Now, that’s fine but there’s still that pesky Bleed Width, and X Offset (formerly Offset X) and Y Offset (formerly Offset Y)
So I finally had a tiny eureka moment. In Manga Studio there’s an EXTRA Bleed area – one JUST for Manga Studio’s own use – i.e., your use as an artist. This bleed area can be chopped off on export – so your publisher never has to see it, and THIS is the area where your story details go.
So, how to use that fact.
Ok, this will get maths-complicated, so stick with me:
Basically, we add an extra 2 times the size of the Bleed Width to the Page Size. So, if we want a nice 1cm bleed all around the artwork, which is already set with our Publisher set Bleed area, we add an extra 2cm to the height and to the width, then tell MS we have a 1CM Bleed width.
Then, on export or print, we simply tell Manga Studio to crop the artwork to offset of crop mark.
Now, to let you see how this works in practice, here’s the same image – I’ve drawn a big thick border over the Live Area. The Trim area is marked with lines, and I’ve set the page size to be my intended page size plus twice the bleed width (and set a bleed width). That way I have, effectively two trim areas – one for me as the artist and one for the publisher. (And you’ll see some entirely illegible text at the bottom within MY bleed area – which is the story title. It’s perfectly readable when printed, but not when exported at this tiny size.)
So, image one is a proper full page export - this includes all of the bleeds.
Now this is fine for your use, and for sending preview jpgs to people – because the extra info at the bottom is useful when you’re dealing with jpg previews (how many times have you sent multiple pages in the wrong order? I have – loads).
Ok, this next image is cropped to the “Offset of the Crop Mark” – this is Manga Studio bleed trimmed off, but leaving the “Page Size” – ie a safe bleed area for the publisher to trim.
Now you’ll spot there’s a few extra lines at the side – which is actually my fault – I added those lines by editing by eye and didn’t quiet get it lined up. But it doesn’t matter – what’s important is that when you export for the publisher to print you export with the option “To Offset of Crop Mark”.
And, finally, “To Inside of Crop Mark” will trim off the publishers bleed area – marked above as the white area labelled “Page Size”.
Look if all of the above it way too confusing, just play safe – keep bleed width to zero. One day I may even figure out what offset x and offset y do. In the meantime, I’ll keep then zero too…
Via twitter, Stephen Downey suggests:
The bleed offset could be for longer form graphic novels with a deep spine. *caveat: it’s an educated guess.
I think he’s spot on. I suspect, Manga Studio is actually aimed at being part of the workflow all the way through until publication – whereas every time I’ve used it, I’ve actually sent artwork to the publisher who then just drop pages in to their dtp software of choice, making the offset x/offset y an non-issue for me (and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone…)
Having just set up a page for someone with a very specific problem, I ended up solving it with the “Y Offset”. The Live area of the page is assumed to be in the dead centre of the “Finish Area” (aka the Trim area). It’s possible – as recently just happened – your publisher will want that live area moved further from the bottom (for example, if they want to put page numbers or such there). In the example I had, they wanted a 15mm margin at the top (from the trim to the live area) and a 20mm margin at the bottom. By setting the Y Offset to -2.5 (MS will try and place the live area dead centre, which means it’ll actually give a 17.5mm margin at top and bottom, if we shift the Y offset by -2.5 it gives 15mm at top and 20mm at bottom).
And that, is that.