Minicomic 0.0.1


= minicomic 0.0.1

+minicomic+ is a library providing a set of rake rules for building
print and web-ready files for minicomics from a set of SVG files.

Currently, it is hard-coded for generating 5.5x8.5in format
black-and-white comics of the sort most suitable for inexpensive

== getting minicomic

+minicomic+ is available from Rubyforge:

Or via RubyGems:

sudo gem install minicomic

Development versions are available via git from


== requirements

In addition to the obvious requirements for Ruby and Rake, +minicomic+
requires the following software to be installed and available on your
shell’s path:

  • Inkscape
  • psutils
  • Ghostscript
  • ImageMagick
  • pngcrush

If you’re on Ubuntu, these correspond to the +inkscape+, +psutils+,
gs-gpl, +imagemagick+ and +pngcrush+ packages, respectively.

== usage

The simplest way to use +minicomic+ is to create a +Rakefile+ as

require ‘minicomic’

minicomic ‘.’

+minicomic+ will look for pages in a pages/ folder in the given
directory (in this particular case, ‘.’ meaning the directory where the
+Rakefile+ lives).

+minicomic+ looks for SVG files in pages/ named according to
the following conventions:

page-NN.svg:: page +NN+
front-cover.svg:: the front cover of the comic (optional)
back-cover.svg:: the back cover of the comic (optional)
inside-front.svg:: the inside front cover of the comic
inside-back.svg:: the inside back cover of the comic (optional)

It is also possible to have two-page spreads in single files:

pages-NN-MM.svg:: the spread spanning pages
cover.svg:: the cover (back and front together in one file;

Page numbers start at 1 (page 1 is a right-handed page, and the first
interior page). Page documents should be 5.5x8.5in or smaller for
single pages, and 11x8.5in for two-page spreads.

== print output

When generating output for print, +minicomic+ will round the number of
interior pages up to the next multiple of four, padding with blank pages
as needed. The page graphics will be scaled down slightly from their
full size, and smaller graphics will be centered.

To generate a “proof” PDF that you can examine to see what spreads will
look like in the assembled comic, use:

rake proof

The PDF will be created as print/proof.pdf. Since I rarely use
the inside covers for anything, +minicomic+ places the front and back
covers opposite the first and last interior pages respectively.

To generate a set of PDFs suitable for printing and assembly, use:

rake print

This will generate a set of three PDFs:

print/duplex.pdf:: suitable for duplex printing
print/front.pdf and print/back.pdf:: front and back
sides for single-sided printing

If you are using a duplex printer, if you’re lucky it will deposit its
output pages face-up and they will be ready for assembly (this is the
norm). Otherwise if it deposits its pages face-down, you will have
reverse them before you can assemble the comic.

When using the single-sided PDFs, you will need to experiment to find
the correct order to use them in, and the correct way to flip the paper.
For my printer, I print back.pdf first, then flip the stack the
long way before printing front.pdf on it. Other printers will
differ depending on how the paper is loaded in the tray, and how it is
stacked on output.

== web output

You can generate files for web upload via:

rake web

When generating output for the web, +minicomic+ will generate a set of
4-bit greyscale PNGs, and a corresponding set of JPEG thumbnails:

web/page-NN.png:: page +NN+
web/thumbnail-NN.jpeg:: thumbnail of page +NN+

== cleanup

You can easily get rid of the temporary and output files with:

rake clean