getting a page online

Great I’ve finally got some artwork to post! Now how do I do that? Let me give you a basic walk-through of how I post a page to the web from inDesign. There is a lot of things to do to the website to get everything ready and this is just one more little step that’s got to be the most important I think.

My problem as I started getting ready to actually post stuff online was there was a ton of information about how to work with WordPress and ComicPress, but I had a hard time finding any kind of information about what’s the best course of action to actually get art online. Something obvious like size should I be making the comic pages before I post them? You’d think there’d be a guide… but I couldn’t really find a good explanation. So let’s see if I can clear things up.

Things to think about
First off, let me raise a couple of issues with posting art online:

1. I want to post stuff that is high enough resolution that the art looks good and you can read the lettering/type easily. When it comes to webcomics and online graphic novels, I look at the art and that’s the real draw for me. So I would think – or at least I hope – that people will want to see my art and that would be one of the strong points that I have going for me.

2. Even though I want high resolution art, I need take into account that I don’t want to put print resolution art online (print resolution is higher than screen resolution). I don’t want people to be able to grab my art and print it. I could list the things that they could then do with the pages, but let’s keep it short and say that I don’t want that. Can they print it? Well it’s the web, so yes I suppose someone could grab the pages and print them. But it’s really walking a fine line here and trying to minimize the ability to do this as much as possible.

3. I also don’t want to post something that’s a giant file because it will take forever to load on screen and that’s pretty annoying if someone’s not on high speed or is using their mobile or something.

Basically I decided to use my best “common sense” and try to figure out what to do. Way back in my Workflow post I mentioned that I’m compiling and designing the pages in inDesign. This works best for me with my design background as I’m used to designing different publications and I use inDesign for mixing images and type. So the question I had was what type of file am I posting and how do I get there from inDesign?

What to do
After a bit of testing, here’s what I’ve come up with:

Step 1 – I export a high resolution PDF from inDesign. This file is 300 dpi (dots per inch) so it’s print resolution.

Step 2 – I open up my PDF in Photoshop and resize it to 689 x 1050 pixels and convert it to 72 dpi. This now measures 9.569 x 14.583 inches which is full page size.

Step 3 – We’re posting to the web, so I’m using JPEGs. I save a JPEG by using the “Save for Web” feature in Photoshop and this lets you play with the quality of the image and the file size. So far I’ve been using around the “Medium” setting which is 40-50% image quality and this gives me a file size of 125-200 K which is pretty good and shouldn’t take forever to load.

Step 4 – The final step is to upload the new image and publish the post.

This process might change depending on the software that you’re using, but the basic idea remains the same. I’d suggest that you need to decide what the specs are for the pages that you’re posting first and then run some tests to see if those result in good quality art and the copy is fairly easy to read. I know that I gave myself a little bit of time to post a few test pages before I even thought about posting my first one live on the web and it took a few tries to get the system running smoothly.

About jason

Illustrator and graphic designer. When not working full time as a Senior Graphic Designer, I am usually working on the graphic novel On the Verge: the Arrow of Time. Artist on Andrew Jackson in Space and The Sisters.

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