Frameless currently uses PNG images as “stickers” (assets) in the app. As this is the design direction, all new assets added to the app must be executed in SVG and PNG formats with transparent backgrounds.
Thus, all assets have to be created as vector files (SVG format) first, and can be additionally saved as PNGs with transparent backgrounds. Common software packages for creation of vector graphics include Adobe Illustrator and InkScape.
The graphic components of frameless posts come in three broad types:
Fill the entirety of the frame to create an environment or suggest a mood.
Keep contrast low, either staying within a relatively “flat” chromatic palette (i.e. just blues, or just red and yellows), or carefully use transparency in order to make the background fade into the background. The background should not clash or interfere with assets placed on top of it the process of comic creation, and should fit with most of the objects and characters in the frameless asset library.
These are the character figures in the app. Generally the story revolves around them. Characters are further subdivided in generic and specific types. The generic characters are blank and versatile, and make strong use of the facial expression library in frameless. Their design should be general enough to fit in multiple plots and situations (example. Sausage Man).
The other type of character is specific (i.e. Donald Trump, Vice Grandma, etc) and can be made more precise, and generally have their own particular facial expressions. If creating a specific character, remember, that in order for them to be useful to the app users, you may have to create several sets for different situations. In some instances, it is useful to think of whether a character can be separated into constituent parts for greater flexibility (i.e. Trump bodies and heads are separate objects in the library). Do not break a character into more than 2 parts, however, as this will create usability issues for the users.
Objects that are there to give context or be used by characters are called “Props”. These are smaller objects and can be highly stylized. Still, versatility of context is useful in order to accommodate multiple storylines.
As you are working with vector graphics, dimensions of the image theoretically do not matter. That said, as you may be exporting images into PNG format as part of the process, please stick to these general guidelines:
- Backgrounds: 8×8 inch artboard
- Characters: 6×3, 3×6, or 4×4 inch artboards (depending on the orientation and shape of the character
- Props: 3×3 inch artboards
Frameless seeks to be a webcomic creation tool, but your individual style can and should be reflected in the work. There are a few best practice ideas to be observed, however.
- Transparency/Opacity – For everything besides the Background keep elements at full opacity, to minimize interference between objects and backgrounds. One exception may be light effects, reflections, textures that are semi-transparent that are layered on top of solid baseline colors. Example: You draw a solid, non transparent object shape and want to add light and shadow effects using a semi-transparent brush stroke. This is fine, so long as the object under it is not transparent.
- Color Choices – keep your color choices simple for objects and characters, generally employing a simple pallet without a large number of fine differentiation in hues. Limit the number of colors you employ in creating objects (3 -4 colors per object or character should be enough). Remember, these assets are for cartoons, and thus need to be simple, abstract representations of objects and creatures.
Please upload all files in one .zip file, up to 2MB.