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Prepare Comic eBooks with Kindle Create

When you import your comic PDF or JPEG files into Kindle Create, your file is converted to a comic eBook and you can add Guided View panels. After installation, you can launch Kindle Create by choosing Windows key > Amazon > Kindle Create (Windows) or Launchpad > Kindle Create (Mac).



Introduction to Guided View

Guided View (GV) is a cinematic reading experience that guides readers through a comic one panel at a time. This enables stories to be read comfortably on mobile devices like phones and tablets, where a full comic page can be difficult to read. Guided View is available on the iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, and the Web. Readers can enter or exit Guided View at any time, and customize the reading experience via personal settings.



The goal of Guided View is to mimic the way a reader’s eye moves across the page. It focuses on each moment of a story by showing each panel on its own in the correct sequence. Guided View uses “masking" to create the illusion of seamlessly isolating panels. A "mask" is a solid color that temporarily hides the rest of the page, leaving one panel as the focus. Whenever you make a selection within Kindle Create, you are defining the area that will be shown (everything inside the box) and the area that will be hidden by a masking color (everything outside the box.)

For instructions on how to prepare books with reflowable text in Kindle Create, see these instructions.
 

Create a new project

To create a new comic from a PDF or sequential JPEG images:
  1. On the Kindle Create launch screen, click the Create New button. You can also launch a new project by choosing File > New Project or using the shortcut CTRL + N (CMD + N for Mac users). The Choose File dialog box is displayed. Click the Comics option.
  2. A screen allowing you to choose your book properties will appear. Here you can set your reading direction as Left-to-Right or Right-to-Left. Below that, an option to enable Facing Pages will be shown. If Facing Pages is enabled, your comic’s pages will appear side-by-side when viewed in landscape orientation on enabled devices.
  3. Click the Choose File button. If you are importing a PDF file, navigate to the PDF on your local hard drive, choose the file, and click Open. If your comic pages are in JPG format, select all JPEG images and click Open. Note that the JPG files will be imported in the order they are selected, so name your files sequentially for best results (eg. comic-0001.jpg, comic-0002.jpg)
  4. Your comic is imported and displayed in Kindle Create.

If an error message appears while importing the file, see troubleshooting tips.


Saving a project

Choose File > Save Project to save your imported eBook. The Save dialog box will open. Navigate to the location on your computer where you want to save the file. Enter the File name. Click Save.

When you Save, Kindle Create stores all files related to your book in the folder you specify. The file ending with .kcb (KCB) is the project file that can be edited in Kindle Create. This file is required for any future updates to your book, so it is recommended that you keep a copy of it saved for all your projects.

Remember to save often while working on a project! If you work on a project without saving, an alert will appear in Kindle Create asking you if you would like to set a reminder to save at intervals.


Edit an existing project

To resume a previously saved project, go to File > Open Recent and select the project you want to edit. This will be a file ending in .kcb. You can also choose from a list of recent projects from the Recents column, displayed on the right whenever you open the Kindle Create app.



When you complete a project and click Generate, Kindle Create produces a publishable file (KPF) that you can submit to Kindle. The KPF file is only used for publishing. You should continue to save the KCB file locally in case you want to make future updates.


Kindle Create interface overview



  • The Page Carousel appears on the left-hand side of the window. Here you can see a preview of all pages in the project, and click individual pages to display them in the main editing area. You can hide or show the page carousel using the “View” button in the toolbar directly above it.
  • At the center you will see the main editing area, which displays the current page.
  • The Page Attributes panel is always visible on the right-hand side. This panel is where you can view and control all your edits to each page in Guided View, as well as set pages as Single or Facing Pages (see below.)
  • The Toolbar at the top of the application window has a variety of tool shortcuts for frequent use.


Facing Pages and Single Pages

You can control page type for all the pages in your comic, choosing either Facing Pages or Single Pages. This determines how a page will appear in landscape orientation on devices that support facing pages.

Facing pages. are shown side-by-side when reading in landscape orientation, just as they would appear if you opened to the middle of a print book. When a device is in portrait orientation, the pages will still appear individually.



Single pages. are shown individually in both landscape and portrait orientation. Pages that are wider (width greater than 1.125 times the height) are usually marked as single pages to create the best reading experience.


To set your page type for an individual page:
  1. Go to the Page Attributes panel in Kindle Create.
  2. Under Page Type, choose Single Page or Facing Page. In the page carousel on the far left, you will be able to see your changes reflected immediately after making a change.
  3. You can also right click or control click on any page in the left-hand carousel to access the same options.

To modify page type for all your pages:
  1. Go to Edit.
  2. Navigate to Page Type.
  3. Click Set All as Facing Pages or Set All as Single Pages.

Kindle Create will automatically set pages that are wider than they are tall as single pages. Additionally, pages of two different sizes cannot be set as facing pages.

Tips for arranging page layout:
  • For readers using devices that support facing pages, a book with pages that switch between displaying one or two at a time randomly may be distracting. For the best experience, set facing pages and single pages to closely resemble how your comic might look in print. This generally means that single pages will most often appear at the beginning or end of a book, and sometimes appear after double page spreads.
  • In some comics, particularly installments of series, the last page traditionally stands on its own and is revealed after a page turn. You can set the last story page as a single page if this is an effect you want for your comic.
If you create your comic with Facing pages, the pages will show up side-by-side in the thumbnail view on the left navigation panel in Kindle Create. You can change this by clicking on the thumbnail and going to the page properties section.


Re-arranging pages

By clicking and dragging pages in the page carousel, you can freely rearrange the order of pages. While dragging a page, a blue cursor will appear to indicate the position where a page will be moved. Note that re-arranging page order may affect Single vs. Facing page settings.


Deleting, Inserting, and Replacing pages

From the page carousel, right-click or control-click a page to pull up a list of options. From here you can choose Insert Page(s), Delete selected page(s), and Replace selected page(s).
  • To Delete a page, choose Delete selected page(s). The page will immediately be removed.
  • To Insert a page, choose Insert page(s) and a pop-up file navigator will appear. Both JPG and PDF files are supported. The files you select will appear after the page you right-clicked.
  • To Replace a page, choose Replace selected (pages) and a pop-up file navigator will appear. The page (or pages) you selected will be deleted, and the new files will appear in their place.

When replacing a page, you have the option to apply the Guided View selections from the old page. You may want to do this when replacing a page for minor file updates, where the majority of the page layout remains the same. However, Guided View information cannot be retained when replacing multiple pages.

If you get an error message while importing a file to insert or replace, check these troubleshooting tips.


Adding Guided View panels to your eBook


For clarity, these instructions will use “panels” to refer to comic panels within the actual artwork, and “selections” to refer to the areas set in Kindle Create to show each panel in Guided View.

Selections can be added automatically or manually.

Automatic panel detection:
Kindle Create includes an “auto-detect” feature that can help to quickly select comic panels. This feature works well when panels do not touch, and all panel borders can be clearly distinguished from the background color. Auto-detect is a great time-saving tool for some comics, but manual review is still necessary to correct any errors.

To use auto-detect, click on the Auto-detect shortcut in the top toolbar. Or, go to Edit > Panels > Auto-detect Panels for all pages or the selected page. There is also an Auto-detect shortcut button in the Page Attributes panel. This will open a pop-up window. Within this pop up, you will see an option to “Set padding, masking color, and opacity.” Clicking this will reveal a menu where you can customize the auto-detect settings. If you do not change these settings, auto-detect will use default settings for masking color, opacity, and distance from the panel borders.



  • Padding is the amount of space between the panel borders and the selection. By default, selections will be made a distance of 10 pixels away from the detected panel border on all four sides. If your comic has very thin “gutters” (the space between panels), you can decrease this number to avoid capturing pieces of other panels in your selections. If your comic has large gutters, you can include more breathing room around panels by increasing this number. Note that you can adjust the vertical and horizontal padding independently.
  • Masking is the solid color that hides areas of the page outside the current selection. This is what creates the illusion of cleanly isolating one panel at a time in Guided View. Masking color should typically be matched to the color of the gutter space, or the background of the page. For more information on how to use masking, see masking color.
  • Opacity controls the transparency of the masking color. We recommend that you always leave this attribute at the default 100%.
You may also want to correct or modify these settings after using the auto-detect feature. See the Modifying selections section below to learn how to change mask colors and opacity for existing selections.

Selecting panels manually

Click the “Add” button in the top toolbar to enter selection drawing mode. When this mode is enabled, clicking and dragging anywhere on the current page will create a new selection.

Each selection will appear in the Page Attributes panel, in descending order (i.e. the first panel in the reading order will appear at the top, and the last panel at the bottom.) For clarity, a circle in the top right of each selection will display a number showing its place in the sequence on the page.

Modifying selections:

To move or resize selections, click the Select tool, marked by a cursor icon in the top toolbar.
  • By clicking and dragging anywhere in the middle of a selection, you can change its position on the page.
  • Clicking and dragging on any one of the eight square anchor points along the borders of a selection will allow you to adjust the size. Adjusting from one of the corners allows you to adjust both width and height freely, leaving only the opposite corner anchored in place; adjusting from one of the sides moves only that side of the selection, leaving the opposite side anchored in place.

In the Page Attributes panel, each selection is represented by a row showing a masking color preview, pixel dimensions, and number in descending order of how they will appear in Guided View. Click and drag the left-hand side indicated by three squares to re-order selections.

Click on any selection to reveal a dropdown of all attributes of that selection. From this dropdown you can:
  • Delete the selection by clicking the trashcan icon. (You can also use the Delete key on your keyboard to remove the currently active selection at any time.)
  • Manually edit Width and Height to change the size of the panel. (Or, use the Select tool as described above.)
  • Manually edit Left and Top pixel coordinates to change the position of the panel. (Or, use the Select tool as described above.)
  • Click on Mask to change the masking color around the panel. You will see a default selection of colors to choose from, a history of recently used masking colors, and an “Advanced Color Options” button. Clicking Advanced Color Options will bring up a pop-up with the full range of custom colors. At the bottom left of this pop up, next to the preview of the selected color, there is an eyedropper tool. Clicking the eyedropper will allow you to choose colors from the artwork of the current page, allowing you to match masking color to the exact shade of a comic’s gutter space.
  • Adjust the percentage in Opacity to change the transparency of masking around the current panel.

You can also bulk edit mask color and opacity for all selections on a page by clicking Reset Mask.

Deleting multiple selections

Go to Edit > Panels to find two options for mass-clearing selections. Clear panels for selected page will delete all selections on the currently selected page. Clear panels for all pages removes all existing selections from the book.

The Page Attributes panel also has a Clear All button to remove all selections from the current page.


Previewing Guided View

Use the preview tool to see how Guided View will actually appear to readers on different devices. Open the preview tool by clicking the tablet shaped icon in the upper right corner of the toolbar. This will open the preview pane in a pop-up window. within this window you can change Device Type between Tablet, Phone, and Kindle E-Reader via a dropdown in the upper left. Next to the dropdown you can also switch between horizontal and vertical orientation of the device.

To ensure the best results for all readers, we recommend you use the Phone device type and Horizontal orientation to check your Guided View. Since phones are the smallest screen readers may use, confirming your comic is readable at that size ensures a good reading experience for everyone.




Add a Table of Contents

To add a table of contents (TOC):

  1. Select the page where you’d like to start the table of contents.
  2. Go to the Page Attributes panel in Kindle Create.
  3. Check the box labeled Include in Table of Contents.
  4. Add the title of the section. Titles have a limit of 100 characters.
A table of contents allows readers to jump to a given page in a book.





Completing and uploading a project

When you have completed a project and you are ready to submit it to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), go to File > Generate, or click the “Generate” shortcut at the top right corner of the toolbar. This will export a KPF file that contains both files and Guided View data. This is the file you will upload to KDP.

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