Join Us – Typesetting

General Font Guidelines

The main thing to remember is to avoid using using too many fonts and make sure they’re easy to read. Creating a font page to keep open in the background while you’re editing helps and makes selecting fonts faster, especially if you need to have the leading and tracking changed.

With the character window open (or this won’t work), select your background layer on your manga file then switch over to your font page (WINDOWS -> DOCUMENTS) and select the layer with the font you want. Then switch back to the manga and you’ll have that font already selected. If you land on a type layer when you go back to your manga page, your font will switch to the font on that type layer, so make sure you’re on a non-type layer when you switch back and forth.

Font template

– Normal dialogue (Anime Ace)
– Side comments (Radiohead)
– Main sfx (Pigae or Twelve Ton Goldfish. Your “solid black” and “white outlined in black” sfx should be the same font)
– Phone font (something thin and sans-serif)

And if the manga calls for it
– A round font (onestroke script)
– Japanese brush script font (Pigae in all caps)
– Scratchy sfx font (Chicken scratch, Chiller)
– Large, bold font

This is actually my current font selection right now but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with my fonts.

Things to remember

– Avoid vertical and sideways text because it’s hard to read (slanting is good, sideways is bad).
– Avoid using drop shadows because it makes the file size larger.
– Avoid text touching the bubbles.
– Never use sentence case unless you’re doing small dialogue (Radiohead) or an sfx font that looks good in sentence case (Pigae)
– Don’t put the text in the middle of connecting bubbles. They’re split in the script by a large space or forward slashes.
– Keep your font smooth and crisp without being blurry. You don’t want jagged font. (USE FAUX ITALIC. We’ve noticed with Anime Ace’s italic font it becomes jagged).

Font size

– Keep your font sizes consistent. If your screaming dialogue is at 13pt, keep it that way for the whole chapter.
– Keep your stroke size consistant. 3px is the best for Anime Ace over backgrounds. 2px is usually best for large sfx.
– If the sentence font needs to be larger because of shouting, don’t go larger than 14pt because it’s difficult to read. It’s best to keep the majority of the dialogue font at 11pt, even if it’s larger in Japanese.
– Every time a line breaks, the reader has to pause to get to the next line. Large text has to be broken more often and makes the sentence choppy, and can even make the reader have to go over it several times before they understand what’s being said. (Go to your favorite news/article site and increase the font size about four or five times for an example. I don’t want to get my ass kicked for posting screenshots without permission).
– If something short is being screamed in a huge bubble, like STOP IT!, you can make it bigger, but not absurdly huge.


Font: Anime Ace 2.0
Size: 11pt
Color: Black
Style: Regular
Anti-aliasing: Smooth
Never use something other than Anime Ace for dialogue!

Small Dialogue (small side comments in or outside the speech bubble)

Font: Rabiohead
Size: 21pt

Color: Black
Leading: 16pt
Style: Faux Bold

Anti-aliasing: Smooth
Note: Rotating the text slightly (or not) is up to you.

Thought Dialogue (inside thought bubbles)

Font: Anime Ace 2.0
Size: 11pt
Color: #727272 (RGB: 114,114,114)

Style: Regular
Anti-aliasing: Smooth
Never use something other than Anime Ace for dialogue!

Small Thought Dialogue (small side comments inside thought bubble)

Font: Rabiohead
Size: 21ptt
Color: #727272 (RGB: 114,114,114)
Leading: 16pt
Style: Faux Bold
Anti-aliasing: Smooth
Note: Rotating the text slightly to match the angle of the Japanese text (or not) is up to you.

These two times are the only times the font will be grey.

Thoughts (on solid white)

Font: Anime Ace 2.0
Size: 11pt

Color: Black
Style: Faux Italic
Anti-aliasing: Smooth
Note: NO ITALIC inside boxes (because they’re narratives and not dialogue).

Thoughts (over lines, background, etc)

Font: Anime Ace 2.0
Size: 11pt
Color: Black

Effects: Stroke; size: 3px, opacity: 100%, color: white.
Style: Faux italic
Anti-aliasing: Smooth

Thoughts (on solid black)

Font: Anime Ace 2.0
Size: 11pt
Color: White

Style: Faux Bold, Faux Italic.
Anti-aliasing: Smooth
Note: NO ITALIC inside boxes (because they’re usually narratives and not dialogue).

Sound Effect Captions

Font: Anime Ace 2.0
Size: 9pt (or smaller to fit in the margin)
Color: Black
Style: Regular

Anti-aliasing: Smooth
Note: Try to keep them in the margins.

SFX vs Small Dialogue Font

– “Ugh!” is small dialogue and needs punctuation. It’s a noise the character is making with their mouth (aka dialogue).

– “Nudge” is an SFX and doesn’t get punctuation. It’s an action/explanation, not a verbal noise.

– “Bite” is an SFX like nudge. Even though the character is using their mouth, it’s an action/explanation, not a verbal noise.

The sfx in this image are done in Pigae, which is amazing. Depending on the letters you use, it looks like a completely different font.

Main Fonts

Anime Ace 2.0

Other fonts
12 Ton Fishstick.
12 Ton Goldfish.
12 Ton Sushi.
Manga Temple.
AirCut Light
Chicken Scratch
Gooddog Plain

Captioning SFX

Every sound effect should be erased or cloned out. However, large complex sound effects can be captioned if…

1) It has artwork behind it that you absolutely cannot re-draw because you don’t have enough information to re-draw it.

2) The English translation for the sound doesn’t make any sense and it’d be a pain in the ass to clone anyway.

Caption Example

These SFX would be almost impossible to clone out and the translation for the sound sucks. While you could use THUD THUD THUD to describe the sound of a bass, no one is going to figure out it’s music without thinking about it, as “thud” is falling or stomping noise.

However, something this complex can be cloned out.

Adjusting Translations

You have the ability to reword things. Sometimes the bubble is too small for the amount of text you need to add, and other times, you need to adjust the script to hide bad cloning (or something you couldn’t clone out). This isn’t a “get out of cloning” free card, it should only be used when you absolutely can’t re-draw something because there’s not enough of original artwork there for you to work from.

Be careful when you’re altering the script though and please don’t change things just because it sounds weird to you. Feel free to post a screenshot of the japanese bubble with the sentence you want to use to the LJ community and people will help you out ^_^


Dash lines
The dash lines, usually translated as “—–” need to be put in with the line tool so they’re solid. There’s two ways to do this 1) select only the “–” (use two dashes) in the text and make it white, then put the line in 2) insert spaces with the space bar and then put the line in. Use 1.5px but if Photoshop wants a whole number, use 1px black and then a lighter gray right above it. 2px is too thick but with the light gray it makes it look like 1.5px. (You don’t always have to put the dash lines in. Say if the bubble is “–?!” you can just put a large “?!”).

Grunts, moans and noises
Translators write them differently so you need to be able to correct them.

Good: Ah, Ahh, Hn, Hnn, Ha, Haa, Hah, Hmph, Fuu, Ngh, Gya (short yell), Ugh, Uhn, Uwah
Yelling only: Ahhhh, Gyaaa, Kyaaa
Never use: Aaa, Aa, Nn, Ku, Hhn, Unn
Eh? & Ehh?: This needs to be translated as “What?” or “Huh?”, unless kawaii or moe describes the person saying it–the uber cute uke is the only one allowed to use this.

If a character is yelling, repeat the last letter but don’t go overboard.

Ah (quick, sudden surprised yell)
Ahh (longer surprised yell or moan)
Hn (short acknowledgment)
Hnn (long moan)
Ha (short panting)
Haa (long panting, sighing)
Hah (laughter or “Ah hah! I was right!”)
Hmph (disgruntled noise)
Fu fu fu / fuu (quiet seme laugh / sighing)
Ngh (grunt noise)
Gya (sudden yelp)
Ugh (grunt)
Uhn (half moan, half grunt)
Uwah (sudden yelp/yell)

Ahhh! (uke yell)
Gyaaa! (long yell)
Kyaaa! (yelling)

Tildes (~): Only use one tilde. If it’s a noise and you want to look longer, the tilde can be replaced by a longer word. Example: Gya~! to Gyaaa!

Ellipses (…): Ellipses need to be attached to a word and they must be exactly three dots. If they’re hesitation ellipses, there needs to be a space between the ellipes and the rest of the sentence (“But you said… didn’t you say I could come with you?”). Never ever leave ellipses hanging (unless the bubble is so small you have to).

Wordless bubbles: Any bubbles with just ellipses in them need to be erased out and put in horizontally. Same goes with “!”, “?!” or “?”. Sometimes 11px is too small so I usually put them at 14px.

Word breaks and hyphens: Try not to let a word break (word break is when a word is split up by a hyphen because there’s not enough room). Hit enter, insert spaces or resize the text box to re-arrange the words. If you have to, you can make the text smaller (don’t go smaller than 10px). There are some instances where you absolutely have to break up the word. “I understand” always gets put in these tiny bubbles–they’re impossible not to break.

Hanging words and punctuation: Try not to leave the last word in the bubble by itself. Sometimes, you’re stuck with it, but try your best. However, never leave punctuation by itself; it always has to be attached to a word. If you’re in the “I understand” situation, you can have the ellipses hanging, but never leave a period hanging. If the period falls on top of the bubble line, just delete it or it’ll look weird.

Word wrapping
A major part of typesetting is getting the shape of the text block right. In scanlations, you’re looking for a convex bubble shape (__) not an concave / hourglass shape )__(. This means you don’t want your text to be top and bottom heavy at the same time. Bottom heavy by itself is fine in the right situations, like with short sentences. It’s better to be bottom heavy than top heavy.

You can play with the shape of the text by resizing your text box or by moving words onto different lines. If you need to add or drop a word that’s fine too, but don’t go crazy (see Adjusting Translations section).

Getting a convex shape is more important than hanging words. If that last word+punctuation is screwing up the bubble, just let it hang (notice that says word+punctuation, not just punctuation. Never leave punctuation hanging).

Inserting Text
There are two ways to insert text: The hard way, where you can just click and then arrange the text by hitting enter or the easy way, where you click and drag to make box that’s a little larger than the speech bubble. This makes fixing word breaks very easy, because you if you just click, you cannot use the bound box to adjust the size with the text tool. You can with the move tool, but it completely distorts the font size.