Halftone 2 Turns Photos And More Into Comic Book Stories On iOS
There have been a number of photo-to-comic apps on the iPad over the years, but the $1.99 Halftone 2 Comic Book Creator (a sequel to the first $0.99 Halftone app released in 2011) may be the first one that's nimble enough to make the process anything more than a time-killer. While it's marketed principally as a fun novelty, it's got an easy-to-use radial menu and other intuitive tools for topping photos and other images -- like, say, your drawings -- with all the lettering, sound effects and other visual add-ons native to sequential art.
The gist of Halftone 2 is that users can upload photos into a variety of prepared comic book page layouts, ranging from a single panel to a multi-paneled page. From there they can pop in their text of choice within word balloons, narrative captions, sound effect graphics and more -- all sporting fully customizable options. The comic-making doesn't have to end at a single page either, as users can create multi-page works just like a conventional comic or graphic novel. One slight hitch is that users can only upload photos, rather than take fresh photos through the app, which some may find inconvenient.
Those who plan their art out in advance could theoretically use Halftone 2 as a production tool, using the app to letter existing images that they've taken photos of or scanned, or simply created in other apps on their iPad like SketchBook Pro. The app uses vector art, but developer Juicy bits explains that its graphics engine "'hand draws' its captions and balloons, so no two ever look exactly alike." It's not a Manga Studio 5 or Photoshop-level solution to creating comics digitally, but it's definitely an easy way for newcomers or the comics-curious to experiment with visual storytelling.
There are plenty of fun, if gimmicky, touches included in the app including an option to turn finished pages into 3D comics via anaglyph color modification (you'll need those red and blue glasses, though). Halftone 2 also boasts a number of photo filters that make images look "drawn" or as if they were printed in the age of the Benday Dot.
Another touch digital comic fans will appreciate is the option to export projects as single layered documents, PDFs and/or even .CBZs. Not everyone will need the flexibility before popping comics onto every major social media platform (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Dropbox, etc.) from within the app, but for those who'd like to touch up the comic or otherwise continue work on it on a more powerful machine, these are thoughtful options.
You can check out promotional images of the Halftone 2 Comic Book Creator app's iPhone and iPad versions below.