Monday, November 27, 2006

Straight From My Butt

I’m embarrassed to say that I did the final two-thirds of page 18 on Sunday afternoon and evening (the day I posted it to the website). I did the middle three panels on Friday, and then tried doing the top panel on Saturday, but I didn’t like it very much (the top panel that is). So, I basically did the top and the bottom of the page all on Sunday.

Of course, all of Thursday and much of Saturday were taken up with Thanksgiving festivities. Earlier in the week, I was doing other things that have perked my imagination more of late. One was my pen and paper RPG, which is coming along pretty well (all the skills are done and now I’m going to work on the abilities). Also, I downloaded a game builder from Garage Games. It has a 30-day free trial, so I was playing around with that.

This all means I was left with hardly any time to work on my comic, and I feel in some way guilty for it. I feel like I pulled much of page 18 out of my ass at the last minute, and perhaps that shows in the final product of the page. Not sure if that’s true, but that’s how I felt about.

I was happy about one of the panels I did Sunday, however. It shows Magnus looking down at the Gordian he had just killed, along with a quote from Sgt. Black, “Don’t pity the men you kill; they’re the lucky ones.” I made the panel by first rendering Magnus and the Gordian, and then rendering the ground. That allowed me to add extra shadow to Magnus and the Gordian. I like how it looks. It seems a little more 3D to me. Judge for yourself:

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Agents of Death

I’ve just posted page 17 online. I’m happy with how it came out, although it ended up having one less panel than I had originally planned.

In a previous page, I mention that the recruits call the planet where they get their training Hell, since it lacks a real name. Page 17 refers twice to hell by making reference to Dante’s the Inferno (“abandon all hope”) and Satan from Milton’s Paradise Lost. For the latter, one of my favorite parts of the story is when Satan says he is Hell and where he walks, so goes Hell. I paraphrase this somewhat by saying the recruits will become agents of death and where they walk, death will follow.

The first panel on the page was originally the second, but I decided to switch the first and second since they seemed to fit better that way with the third panel. The first panel shows the reflection of Magnus in Sgt. Black’s sunglasses. To create this effect, I tried to create a reflection map which I could than add directly to the sunglass model in Poser. However, I was not at all happy with the result and decided that I could do the same thing in Photoshop. After creating a separate render of Magnus and another recruit in Poser, and then creating a composite of that and the background, I applied the spherize filter in Photoshop. This gave the image a curved look. I then added another layer with a light effect to imitate glare off the sunglasses. Lastly, I took a Poser render of Sgt. Black’s sunglasses and superimposed the other image I had created of the reflection. After some additional tweaks (an hour or so total work), I had the panel where I wanted it (appearance-wise). Here’s how it turned out:

Thursday, November 02, 2006

It's Full of Stars!

I finished the renders for page 15 today, but I still have the narration to complete. Since I will be out most of Friday, I doubt I’ll be able to get another page done on Saturday and Sunday. Of course, miracles can happen, but I wouldn’t bet on it with my current run of luck.

From looking at the stats on my website, it seems people are specifically coming to see the new pages as they appear. I can tell this because they will come to the first page and then go directly to the last (most current) page. This makes me feel good. Perhaps people even like what they see! ;-)

The sample I have below features a star field I made using a very good Photoshop tutorial. It’s still not as good as the images found in Eve Online, but it’s a start. My only concern is that the new stars don’t match the old ones I’ve done for this particular story. It would be better to have consistency, but I decided to go for it anyway. Hopefully no one will care (and I doubt anyone will).