an application to help draw comics word balloons, thought bubbles & panels, built atop a circumscribed text layout library
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Balloonist is a software application to help layout comics text balloons and panels.


Balloonist is implemented in Java and built with Apache Maven version 3.0.

Balloonist runs under versions 1.4, 5.0, 6.0, 7.0 and 8.0 of the Java Runtime Environment. Although in principle Balloonist could be built on any of the Java Software Development Kits that correspond to these runtime versions, in practice you'll need the Java 5 one or better, since Maven v3 requires it.

Once Java and Maven are installed, you can build and install Balloonist by typing

mvn install

After a successful installation, you should be able to start the application by opening app/target/balloonist-…-SNAPSHOT.jar file from your desktop manager.

Alternately, to manually start Balloonist type java -jar app/target/balloonist-…-SNAPSHOT.jar from your command shell.

The installation will also generate user documentation. It can be browsed at app/target/classes/manual/index.html or from the pull-down menus of the running application.


Balloonist is subdivided into "app" and "balloon-engine" Maven modules.

The balloon-engine module is a library that uses the Java 2D API and the iText PDF library to provide circumscribed text layout. It was built for comics, but might also benefit illustration, computer-assisted design and diagramming software.

The app module uses Java Swing to supply Balloonist's graphics user interface.


Balloonist was written by Dave Horlick and used to be a commercial product sold by Smith & Tinker's Technology, LLC.


Balloonist is released under the GNU GPLv3 license. See LICENSE.txt for details.