Tuesday, March 29, 2005

False Start (Chapter 3)

I began working on Chapter 3 last night, but I will probably have to discard the renders I did so far (just a couple actually). The chapter involves Richard Augustus, Alexander’s older brother, and it was supposed to begin with several renders of Richard walking down a long corridor. After doing the renders last night, however, I was not at all happy with how it looked. Since I already bought the asset for the hallway itself, I would like to use it in some way, but perhaps I will need to rethink my original plan for the shots. While I was lying in bed last night, I thought of a slightly different way of doing it, so I will try that tonight hopefully.

As for the chapter itself, it will mostly be information about the political environment of the Imperium, specifically the Five Families and the balance of power between them. It will also show the relationship between Richard (the “responsible” one) and Alexander (the playboy).

Friday, March 25, 2005

Post Publication Depression

I’ve noticed a curious psychological effect from publishing my newest chapter (and it happened after the previous one as well): I fall into a sort of creative depression for several days to a week. Apparently, with all the effort I put into a work, there is a “let down” once it goes live. So, since last Sunday I’ve been feeling rather blue, or at least not very creative. I’ve needed to update the Character page to reflect some of the new characters that appeared in Ch 2. There are five of them, but writing their brief bios (not more than a few sentences) has been like pulling teeth. Perhaps, creatively anyway, I need a week or so to recharge my batteries before diving into the next thing (in this case, Chapter 3). On the other hand, perhaps I’m just getting lazy. :-)

Monday, March 21, 2005

Chapter 2 Now Online!

After over a month of work, Chapter 2 is now online! I was able to meet my goal to publish by the end of the weekend, although I still need to update the Character, Race, and Credits pages. Nevertheless, I hope everyone will like the new chapter. And I hope that the next one won’t take so long to finish!

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Longest Page

I was beginning to think page 17 was going to be the death of me. Not only did I spend 3 hours doing the renders Wednesday, last night I spent another 2 hours doing the post work. I think that means I’ve spent more time on 17 than any other page so far. I hope I can still publish on time (Sunday), which would mean I’ve spent a little over a month on chapter 2. Ironically, I had originally thought it would take a month, although that was when I estimated the length of the chapter would be only 12-15 pages. As it turns out, it’ll be 19.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Longest Day

I worked on page 17 for three and half hours last night, and that’s after working eight hours at my day job (which also involves being in front of the computer). On the bright side, I got all 9 renders done for the page, although I still have the Photoshop work left. There will be two more pages in the chapter, but I think I should be done by the end of this weekend.

I seem to be averaging four renders an hour, including setting up each shot. With Poser, at least on my machine, everything is time consuming. Even going from the rendered view to the edit view takes time as the computer whirls. I have a decent machine (500 megs of RAM), but if possible I’d like my next computer to have a full Gig of RAM. Also, they’ve come out with Poser 6. I’m currently not in a hurry to buy that, but I will eventually get it, I’m sure.

So, for anyone waiting for chapter 2, it should be ready “soon.” Sorry for the delays!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Lefty Lucy (and other sillyness)

Yesterday I managed to complete two pages (14 and 15), after a couple of days of mostly setup work. Much of the setup was trying to create a good model for Alexander. The hard part for me was the hair, for which I’m still not completely satisfied. I also created a woman who would be seen with the Prince. She turned out very well, I think. I’ve decided to include her as his bodyguard and, as a joke, I call her Lefty Lucy. Her character looks Asian which reminded me of Lucy Lu. Then I remembered an old saying “Lefty Lucy, Righty Tighty.” So, that’s how she got her name. I know that’s a bit silly, but I’m entirely too silly to begin with.

With the completion of page 15, the end of the chapter is at least in sight. At this point, I’m still not sure how many more pages there will be, although I have much of the script done and I know what’s going to happen (and how the chapter will end). Right now, it’s just a matter of how many pages it will take to complete. I’m thinking it will be 18 pages total, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it stretched to 20. I feel bad because it’s been so long since my last update to the story. I’m hoping I can get everything done by the end of this coming weekend. I guess I can only ask people to be patient, or at least not lose all interest!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Fight Club

Page 12 is done, which leaves me one more page of the Funkmeister sequence. As I’ve mentioned, the last part of the chapter involves Tagus and Alexander meeting for the first time. Let’s just say this will not be a good experience for either of them. Shortly after they begin talking, tempers will flare and they will begin to fight. The real question for me right now is how long will the fight go on? I’ve already decided that the police will break up the confrontation, but that will leave me at least a few pages to fill with the fight itself. I have some ideas what I will be doing, from a composition standpoint, so it will just be a matter of how I can execute those ideas (and if they will actually work!).

A month ago, I put an ad on Onlinecomics.net. Since then, the number of visitors to the site has been pretty good. I’ve also added some additional tracking tags to the site, including the blog, to see how long people are visiting and which pages are being visited. One thing that concerns me is the number of people who go to the site, but then leave immediately, without even looking at the story or any of the background pages. I’m not sure if this is completely normal for a website (although I expect it is), or whether my first page just isn’t very good. This is something I might need to re-evaluate.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Funky Town

I mostly finished page 10 (the last page of the Boogs/Tubby Wubbies sequence), but I need to rework the dialogue a little. I wasn’t overly satisfied with it. Yesterday, I made good progress on page 11, including the setup for it. That page begins the Funkmeister Rik sequence, which isn’t very long, but should be interesting. I had to first build the set, which is a disco called the FunkyTown. As part of that, I needed to make a render of the outside of the building and create a sign for it. I used a building I had done previously and added the sign in Photoshop. My wife was helpful in deciding on the right font. Apparently, my original font wasn’t “funky” enough. She seemed satisfied with the final result. Wife happy = Husband happy. ;-)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Tubby Wubbies!

I finished the renders for page 9, and should finish the page tonight. At this point, the chapter will be longer than the previous one by at least a couple pages, maybe more (around 15 total).

The sequence with Zarro Boogs and the Tubby Wubbies is turning out well, I think. It has a level of diabolical humor that I find enjoyable. In case I haven’t mentioned it, the Tubby Wubbies are genetically engineered “toys” that are actually alive. They’re kind of like teddy bears that live and breathe. The idea is not entirely original. In this case, I got the idea from a Futurama episode (from the maker of the Simpsons) called Love & Rocket. In the episode, a company raised cute and adorable teddy bears, and then euthanized them before having them stuffed. I combined that idea with something else I once read, namely, about how our brains are hardwired to be attracted to cute and adorable things, even when they are dangerous. It’s as if we cannot comprehend that something can be cute and evil at the same time. In the past, such as in the Chucky movies or Gremlins, even though the bad guys are toy-like, they are still evil-looking. I wanted something that looked completely harmless and wonderful, but which was capable of saying and potentially doing the most awful things. It’s precisely this contrast that I find so fascinating.