SFX letterers are in charge of creating all text that doesn’t have a font assigned to it. Most of the work is creating sound effects (SFX) but they also make signs, labels, etc. The ultimate goal is to mimic the original styling of the Japanese as closely as possible, although when it comes to composition and placement, we do whatever looks the best.
There are two branches of techniques SFX letterers use. The first branch is “typed text” which uses the Photoshop text tool. This is mainly used for smaller SFX and other kinds of specialized text like signs which need to be edited into the proper perspective.
The second branch is “handwritten text” which utilizes custom brushes, a tablet, and sometimes third-party software like PaintTool SAI and Krita; however all work ultimately needs to be exported to Photoshop. It should be noted that while tablets are very useful, they aren’t a requirement as the pen tool in Photoshop can be used instead. We handraw most medium to large SFX.
For the workflow, SFX letterers first receive the finalized translation, then work is divvied up among SFX letterers depending on how much they are able to do. Work is also often assigned based on technique branch. Some SFX letterers are better at making small SFX using the type tool, for example.
Work is usually assigned before the Japanese has been removed, but SFX letterers are free to ignore it as it is the job of redrawers to remove it.