Uncanny Valleygirl by Alex De Campi #4 – The Hebrew Dilemma

Another week of high achievement here in Valentine Towers. No, I’m joking. I spent most of this week dealing with one edition of the comic: Hebrew. Turns out that US and UK versions of Photoshop aren’t down at all with right to left text. In fact, if you cut-paste Hebrew (or Farsi, or Arabic) into Photoshop, it will reverse all the letters of the words in some sort of Zatanna-esque conspiracy. For example, the sentence “Adobe Sucks Donkey Balls” in Hebrew in Microsoft Word would come out in Photoshop reversed to “Eboda skcus yeknod sllab”.

So I’m left suddenly with two alternatives. One, painstakingly re-letter the entire comic “sdrawkcab”, in a language I can’t read and therefore can’t check for typos. Yeah, like that’s a good idea. Option two: get my hands on a copy of Photoshop ME, aka “Middle East Edition”.
Three lines of code, people. That’s what we’re talking about, according to an Israeli friend who is a programmer. Three lines of code that lets Photoshop access OSX’s in-built support for right-to-left text. The price for this? $699 for Photoshop CS3 ME, an upgrade I neither want nor need from CS2, for a functionality it frankly should supply anyway on a worldwide basis. Donkey balls, Adobe.

So then, after inquiring of a couple Israeli and Arabic friends if they had copies with an extra licence they could give to me (nobody did), it was to the Bittorrent, boy wonder! And so a really no fun at all day was spent Saturday futzing with keygens and patches. I’ve got it working, at last – not on my Mac, but on my PC netbook with its tiny tiny screen. And so this week I can finally finish lettering Episode 1. Episode 2 (a fight episode) has about 1/10th the dialogue of Episode 1, and I’ll hopefully be more in a rhythm and not have to deal with all these crappy n00b difficulties.

Oh, and thanks to a reader of this column, we’re going to have a Dutch edition too! Yay, now we’re up to 13 languages.

There is a great how-to on formatting comics for Kindle publishing here at RobotComics so rather than say what she’s going to say but with more swearing, I will merely suggest you make with the clicky.

Things have been progressing around and without me, however. My November 1 wished-for launch date is obviously sailing past but we are so close to being ready… I just need a few days to concentrate on nothing but Valentine. We now have www.valentinethecomic.com and another task waiting up for me is adapting a WordPress template for it. (Any of you any good at that? My html skillz were obsolete by 2001).

I have to make some tweaks to my lettering and cover design to make it more readable on small phones (one of my title fonts wasn’t visible enough on low-contrast mobiles agains the very similarly-coloured background) and redo some of my Episode 1 lettering to standardise my use of full-stops, all of which I’m not looking forwards to, but we’re inching towards being ready. As always, the main obstacle is me, and my mountain of other work.

Etsy-stillI haven’t gotten much more than that done this week, as I’ve also been finishing up a little spec commercial I did for Etsy (view it here, it’s very Coraline) and working both on the existing music video edit (the robot video) and pitching for what would be a pretty exciting video for a band I love. So, no pressure. Plus, at the part-time job, we’ve just launched a new division, and so I was asked to do a day of overtime – further cutting down on my existing slivers of free time, but giving me extra lovely money. In fact, if you want to know what a week in the life of Alex is like (I’m sure you’re simply insomniac with anticipation), see the handy chart below.

chart

As always, you may find me on twitter, facebook, and my music videos are on youtube.