Hi all, figured I'd share just a little bit of advice with you all today. Here's what I believe to be the ten most important things to pay attention to while typesetting:
1. Invest extra effort into centering the text.
This is super duper important. Always be extremely hard on yourself to center the text in the bubble. Take the little bit of extra time to use Photoshop's ability to NUDGE (arrow keys) the text. Make absolutely sure the text is centered in the bubble. If it isn't, then anyone who looks at your page will have the immediate impression that you did a shoddy job.
2. Leave some white space inside the bubble.
A bubble should never be "filled to full capacity" by the text. Leave some space. Look at some HQ scanlations if you don't know what I'm talking about. Text looks way better if it's not set to completely fill up the bubble. I'll post some picture examples later.
3. Draw text boxes, don't just click.
In Photoshop, when you select the Type tool, you can either click on your document and start typing, or click and drag to draw out a text box in which to type. For manga bubbles, you will primarily want to be using the latter.
4. Aim for the diamond shape.
The text block inside your bubbles should be thinner at the top and bottom, and widest in the middle. Make use of your text box's wrapping, but don't rely on it 100%. You WILL have to hit the Return key to send some text to the next line manually to achieve the diamond shape better sometimes.
5. Choose the right font.
Wild Words is the default font for dialogue, as it was made popular by DontHurt of MangaProject back in the day, but that doesn't mean it's the ONLY font you can use. It's a great font, and if you use it no one will complain, but if you either don't want to use it or don't have access to it, www.blambot.com has some great fonts for you to use! For more complicated stuff, I like to use Mouth Breather when the speaker is really weak or injured, and I will choose out special fonts for special attacks, but for the most part I stick with my dialogue font.
6. Smooth Anti-Aliasing for talking, Strong Anti-Aliasing for shouting.
As a general rule of thumb, all text inside round bubbles should be smooth, and all text inside spiky bubbles should be round. It does make a big difference, trust me!
7. Use punctuation properly!
Don't hate the period. Use it at the ends of sentences. Failure to do so is just unprofessional and bad-looking. If you disagree with me now, I guarantee you that your hatred for periods will be outgrown quickly once you start using them.
8. Use Italics sparingly!
Yes, I know most dialogue fonts have only three settings: Normal, Italics, and Bold-Italics. That doesn't mean you should be using Italics for shouting though. Never - EVER typeset an entire bubble to have Italics. It just looks bad. I use Italics only for special keywords in the manga. I use Bold-Italics when I want to highlight one specific word. Note: in my translations, I put words that I want bold-italicized in CAPS.
9. Text Width and Text Height are VERY useful!
Japanese text runs top to bottom, so that means a lot of the time you will find the bubbles to be a lot taller and thinner than you want them to be, especially during shouts. You will find that it adds quite a bit of flair to a shout when you set the text height to 120%-150%, just don't forget to also adjust your text's vertical spacing accordingly. Also, sometimes when typing around in bubbles, you will come across a really annoying line that's just too damn wide and you really can't do anything about it. Feel free to adjust the width of that line to 90%, but I don't recommend going down further than that.
10. Have fun!
Typesetting is definitely a way to express creativity. You DO have a lot of creative freedom when typesetting, and you really can get really artistic with it. Especially with the shouting, you can totally knock yourself out making crazy shouts with all the neat stuff Photoshop can do with the text. If you feel like you can make something look really cool, go for it.