Monday, February 28, 2005

Half-way Point

I managed to get 3 pages done in three days over the weekend (I took Friday off from my day job). On Sunday, I finished page 8, which means I’m over the half-way mark for this chapter. These last few pages have concerned another comic element in the chapter, namely, Zarro Boogs and the Tubby Wubbies. I think the sequence is pretty funny, but we’ll see if others agree. I still have another page or so left of that section, and then there will be the Funkmiester Rik interaction and finally Tagus will meet Alexander for the first time. All in all, I’m estimating the whole chapter will be 12-15 pages.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Bye-Bye, Robot!

One aspect of rendering a shot, that is easy to overlook, is making space for the dialogue. An example of that occurred last night while I was working on page 5. Featured in the panel were Tagus and Lt. Burke (in the foreground) and a woman and a robot (in the background). At the time of the render, I did think about where the dialogue balloon would go, but I felt that there was enough space. However, after the render had been done and I was adding dialogue in Photoshop, it became apparent that there was simply too much text and I had to make more space. To do that, I needed to cover up most of the robot with the dialogue balloon. Since it’s considered bad form to cover a character like that, even if it’s in the background, I decided to do some Photoshop magic and “erase” the robot entirely. This is fairly easy to do: basically, I use the Clone brush to copy the areas around where the robot is standing. It was a little tricky in this case because the surrounding scene (a wall) had some designs on it which would look disjointed if I didn’t take care. After about 10-15 minutes, however, it was as if the robot had never been there. Sorry, robot!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Another Example

I spent three hours working on the comic last night, but I only got one render out of it. First, I downloaded some resources from Daz (different hair for the Poser models – one of my coworkers who saw the comic said everyone’s hair was the same so I felt compelled to buy more hair for the models). Then, I started work on a character (a prostitute) for the scene. After working on her for awhile, I realized the dress I was planning to use was too “elegant” for a streetwalker. So, I revisited the Daz site and download a dress and a texture for it. Then, I completed the character model. Next, I got into the actual scene, but due to the camera angles I needed, I had to add additional walls to the set. Finally, I had to arrange the models and take the render. Three hours = One render.

On the bright side, tonight I shouldn’t have as much setup before being able to do the rest of the renders for page 5. For page 6, however, I have another character I need to make. I wonder how long that will take!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Ch 2 Progress (or Lack Thereof)

I’ve been frustrated at the slow pace of chapter 2. As usual, the setup is taking the longest to complete. Since there were no ready-made street scenes I could use, I’ve been forced to create my own, which is obviously time-consuming. In this case, the sets I’m building are street scenes of Ashetown. There will be at least three: a car park (done), pedestrian walk (in progress), and inside the “Funky Town” (not started). The second one is taking the longest since it has the most walls and things. I also have to populate the street with members of the Underclass and Middle Class. Anyway, it’s taking forever, which means getting the chapter done may take longer than I expected. At this point, I don’t know how long

At any rate, I have pages 1-4 done, and I’m working on 5 now.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Chapter 2 Started

I worked much of Sunday on Chapter 2, trying to make up for the time I wasted last week. I finished page 1, and I have much of the renders for page 2 done. As I may have mentioned earlier, I intend to have several elements of comedy in this chapter. Page 2 is the first example: while Rupert and Lt. Burke are flying to Ashtown, another grav car moves along side and its driver moons them! Only the lieutenant sees this, however. Later in the chapter, Burke will see something else peculiar, which again only he sees. Rupert will scold him for not paying attention.

I got some more stats on the website from a new stat site I subscribed to. Basically, it shows a lot more detail than my usual one, including which exact pages are being viewed and for how long. It’s interesting to see, because some visitors come and go immediately, I guess just taking a quick look. Other visitors, however, actually stay and read through the whole comic. Of course, these stats don’t tell me who the visitors are, but at least I know somebody is actually reading the comic. Now if I could only tell if someone (other than my wife) is reading this blog!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Funkmeister Rik

I’ve been slow to get started on chapter 2. After publishing the prologue, I felt like I needed to recharge my creative juices. Also, work this week as been very stressful so by the time I got home each night, I was too drained to work much on the comic.

Last night, however, I managed to finalize Funkmeister Rik, a minor comedic character that Rupert will interact with as he looks for Alexander. I came up with Rik’s name quite a while ago, but decided to include him in the story line. Originally, he was going to be the stereotypical black exploitation version of characters you see in movies of the 1970s, including kung fu skills. Recently, however, I decided to give him a twist by making him a blue alien instead, but with a large afro. He’s basically an alien who wants to be funky, so he takes on that persona, so to speak. Again, he’s meant to be comical, so I don’t have to be too serious with how I use him in the story.

I will begin doing renders for the new chapter this weekend. The first page at least will show Rupert and Lt. Burke flying in his hover car over Regalis, the capital city.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Prologue Published

Sorry that I didn’t update the blog sooner. I was able to publish the Prologue over the weekend. I also bought a 30-day ad on to increase visibility for the site. The number of visitors had dropped off, so I wanted to see those numbers go back up. I would like to build a base of viewers for the comic if possible.

I’ve been very busy over the last several days so I haven’t worked much on Chapter 2. I downloaded some models for Rupert’s hover car, and I worked a little on one of the characters that will be included in the chapter. I hope to work more on the chapter this weekend. This will be a full length chapter (even larger than chapter 1), so it will be at least twice the size of the Prologue. That means it will take twice as long to finish. I estimate Chapter 2 will take about 4 weeks. :-o

Friday, February 04, 2005

Prologue Almost Done

I’m on target for publishing the Prologue this weekend. Everything is done except for the navigation bar and page bar. I also need to update the Characters page to include Durant Blixx. I’ve written the text for his description, so it’s just a matter of creating a render and updating the page.

I was also experimenting with a mailing list feature that would email people when I update the comic. This would of course alert them that there’s something new to see, without them having to check periodically.

Next I am setting my sights on Chapter 2. Although I don’t have a script yet, I do have a good idea of the scenes and what will be needed to make them. I’ve previously done some “scouting” for models etc. that I will use in the chapter. Of course, I may have to find additional ones as I get farther along in the process.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Our First Month

Just wanted to give a quick summary of how the site has been going during our first month (January). For the month, we had a total of almost 30,000 hits with 1,229 visitors. That’s an average of 76 visitors per day. The vast majority of visits took place between Jan. 19-24th, after which traffic on the site dropped dramatically.

We got a lot of visits from a site called, an Austrian site which mentioned us in a short blurb. That explains why the country with the largest percentage of visitors came from Austria (33%), while Germany came in fourth with (10%). I’m very thankful to for mentioning us. Their comments about our site were very kind.

As I mention before, I plan to have the site updated with the Prologue by this weekend. I hope we can attract some of our previous visitors back to see the update.