Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Gift for the King

First off this evening, a new caption for your reading and viewing pleasure.
And if you'd like, click the "read more" link for a brief tutorial on my caption making process.

First off, I do not go straight into my image editing program.  I start out all of my captions just like this.  The image I am captioning in a shrunk down window and a simple text program, notepad in this case, for easy caption writing and archival of the text in case I need to make changes or corrections after the caption has been finished.
Once the text of the caption has been written I copy the entire document into Word for a spell checking.
This step is very important, though it seems like so many captioners don't take the time to do this to make sure that there captions are as good as they can make them.  The result is a sloppy product that people don't really want to read.  On an aside, if you're writing captions in a language that isn't your first then it is in your best interest to have someone who knows that language fluently to check your captions for any errors that "Google Translate" might not catch.
Once I've made sure that a caption is as good as I can make it, I then go into MSpaint for the final steps.
I usually chose a color from the image for the background of my caption text whenever I can.  For me it is very important to have your text separate from the image.  With few exceptions, if you try to put the text directly over the image it is difficult to read and discourages the reader from returning to your work.  Once you have a backdrop for your text there is only one last step.
In some cases this can be the most difficult step in the entire process.  I've had at least one caption in the last month or so that made me almost want to go back and rewrite the entire thing, just so it would fit better on the image.
So there you have it, my caption making process put down in five easy steps.  What I've put down here is the watered down version, what you don't see is the several days that the image often sits on my desktop while I mull over what the story should be.  Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this and that I've either inspired you to make your own captions or perhaps helped you make your own captions a little better.
One last thing, and this is the big reason I keep a text file on all of my captions, I still go back to old captions and find little errors in them.  If you have the text file on hand it is relatively easy to go back in and fix the mistake.
Anyway, thanks for sticking through this, next up: the next Edith Bellamy story.

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