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  1. #781
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    Yeah, I've been using it on and off for about four months now. I was recommended it by a student who was doing a computer animation degree and he said it was a very easy and fun tool to use. I haven't really produced anything substantial yet, just doing a bit of experimenting here and there. At the moment I've got about eight attempted works, just their most basic outlines established -- I haven't really got round to adding the textures I want yet and I put it off for a while. I am still pretty new to this. :P

    Having seen others, like yourself, using it makes me want to play around with it again though. Once I've familiarised myself with the programs' controls and mucked around with a few things I'd be happy to share what I've done.

  2. #782
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonstorm
    Yeah, I've been using it on and off for about four months now. I was recommended it by a student who was doing a computer animation degree and he said it was a very easy and fun tool to use. I haven't really produced anything substantial yet, just doing a bit of experimenting here and there. At the moment I've got about eight attempted works, just their most basic outlines established -- I haven't really got round to adding the textures I want yet and I put it off for a while. I am still pretty new to this. :P

    Having seen others, like yourself, using it makes me want to play around with it again though. Once I've familiarised myself with the programs' controls and mucked around with a few things I'd be happy to share what I've done.
    Looking forward to it!

    The learning curve is pretty easy, and there are a lot of tutorials available (particularly on the DAZ site). Lighting and shadows, as you might imagine, are some of the key elements to upping the quality of the end result. (As you can tell from the comments of my loyal crowd of observers, lighting is something they pay attention to... )

  3. #783
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KatG
    Kevin has some spiffy ideas for a sf graphic novel, which we're all dying to have him do, but he's got too many projects going on.
    Pardon the resurrection of a comment from earlier in the month, but it was apropos.

    Kevin is dying to do the graphic novel too. There have been three things holding me back. One, as Kat noted, is the time commitment. A graphic novel has a lot of panels. Since I'm doing all this graphic stuff in my "free" time (i.e., trying not to let it impact my novel writing), to really make a go of the graphic novel idea would preclude doing all these fun pictures I'm posting up here. And it's these rapid-fire pix that keep my creativity up (and let me chat with all of you). So that's the biggest thing getting in the way.

    Another issue is that it's a sci-fi story that starts in space, and I haven't figured out how to do a convincing space scene yet. That's just a technical thing, which I'll solve eventually, but since the story starts there those pictures need to look particularly sharp.

    The final thing that was an issue I think I've solved. I needed some way to do the layout for the thing without having to do it all manually in Photoshop. Creating my own panels and dialog balloons would have just taken way too much time. But I found this product called Comic Book Creator that does just that. There's all kind of layout options, resizable balloons, etc.

    I downloaded a demo version and spent about half an hour playing with it to see if it would do what I want, and I think it will. Here's two pages where I just threw in a bunch of existing pictures (sort of in the "HE compiling every picture in this thread" category), with no particular rhyme or reason, just to test out what the package does. It can do a lot more than this, particularly in the size and shape of panels. Don't worry about the resolution of the images or the text, these are just screen captures out of the product. But I think that at least roadblock number three is out of the way. Now if I could just find a little bit more time in the day...




  4. #784
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    LOL, okay, you're just trying to determine if we're awake, aren't you? Some of the panels look fantastic. We'll just have to keep bugging you about it, won't we?

    Where can one get Comic Book Creator? It might be something for Jessie.

  5. #785
    Registered User Dazzlinkat's Avatar
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    Okay, that is pretty cool! Now we need you to work on one panel a day hehe

  6. #786
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    Thanks, guys! This was just a quickie test, with no attempt to make things really flow. On a real project, of course, the images will have consistent lighting, etc. One of the things looking at this package has made me aware of is how the design and placement of the panels can be used to aid in telling the story. They're not just boxes on a page. These two samples here are fairly simple, but there's some innovative layouts included that expand the story telling possibilities. In effect, to make full use of it, you need to craft your story at the same time as you design the panel layout.

    That aspect aside, I already have an outline for the story I want to tell, and have actually already built all of the main character models and their clothing, and have also assembled all of the buildings, space ships, and equipment models over the last few months. So the pieces are all here, it's just a matter of making the time commitment to do it.

    Kat: the program is available from Planetwide Games. This link is where you can download the demo version (it's 118MB, so fairly hefty). It's $29.99 direct from them, but it's also available in a boxed version at retail stores like Gamestop.

  7. #787
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    some innovative layouts included that expand the story telling possibilities.
    Splash pages, three-quarter page boxes with little boxes running on two sides, et al?
    you need to craft your story at the same time as you design the panel layout.
    Do you see this as qualitatively different from story boarding? We always story boarded our business proposals to keep the message we wanted the customer to retain first and foremost in our minds. I can see how to implement storyboarding for a comic such as the old Classics Illustrated where you know the story start to finish. From that I conclude that you must also finish new stories before you start drawing them. You get x number of pages in a comic book and the story has to fit. Deciding the dramatic flair to be achieved through different sized panels seems to me to depend upon the story's gestalt.
    OTOH, I can also see beginning with a single image as we've done over the past few months to generate a story but to transform the result into a coherent comic book, we need to generate the story.

  8. #788
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    Looks great. Definately something worth trying out. You could make a web comic or other such things out of it if you wanted.

  9. #789
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hereford Eye
    Splash pages, three-quarter page boxes with little boxes running on two sides, et al?
    Yes. One in particular I noted was four long thin boxes acrpss the page, running 2/3 of the length vertically, with the first three each with a bit of background image and a piece of "internal dialog" in them, and the fourth showing a partial closeup of the speaker. It was a way of building in "pauses" within the charater's thinking, ending on an expression that emphasized a decision the character was making.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hereford Eye
    Do you see this as qualitatively different from story boarding? ... From that I conclude that you must also finish new stories before you start drawing them.
    For me, the process is much the same, as I am an outliner with my novels, and I do know the middle and ending before I start the narrative bits. The difference here is that instead of it simply being a process of how to work it out in words (which have to describe what I'm seeing in my head visually), here I'm actually adding the visual component. And the medium of boxes/panels provides a new tool in the tool box for how the story unfolds, and how you create emphasis, tension, etc. If you were doing a straight comic within a fixed number of pages, then yes you would have some limitations on structure. I don't know enough about the graphic novel market, but my gut feeling is that it is more story driven than page count driven. As with novels, you don't want extraneous fluff, but if you have a compelling visual story then hopefully that's of more importance than whether it's 32 pages or 40 pages. But I really have no idea. Which in a way is a bit liberating, because I can just go ahead and make what I want creatively and not be bothered about little niceities like whether it actually fits any known market.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonstorm
    Looks great. Definately something worth trying out. You could make a web comic or other such things out of it if you wanted.
    That was something Maus99 suggested too. The only issue there is that the reason to do that would be to try and drive people to look at my novels, and I'm not sure whether the audience for graphic novels (whether printed or particularly online ones) is the same audience that will read long fantasy novels. I think if I can actually finish the graphic novel, and it was decent enough to get picked up by a publisher, then I would certainly do some kind of on-going web comic that might generate site traffic and a potential audience for it.

  10. #790
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    Hey, remember my mentioning that Westwind, the newsletter of the Northwest Science Fiction Society, was going to have my artwork on the cover of an upcoming issue? Well, it's here now!


  11. #791
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Kevin, you have a whole new profession!

    That's great stuff!

  12. #792
    bmalone.blogspot.com BrianC's Avatar
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    Wait, something's wrong with the Northwest illustration . . . where are the IT's?
    Last edited by BrianC; August 22nd, 2006 at 09:43 AM.

  13. #793
    Registered User Dazzlinkat's Avatar
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    Cool cover ! Did they decide on black and white or is that how you made it?

  14. #794
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    Thanks, all!

    Dazzlinkat - The original of the picture is full color (it's on my website under the Fantasy section). The newsletter is an all black-and-white production, so when the editor approached me about featuring my art, one of the things that came to mind was selecting one that would have good tonality as a grey scale image. I think it turned out nicely. On the inside front cover is an interview with me. I'll see if I can figure out a way to cut and paste it out of there into here.

    They've also talked about going to a digial version of the newsletter, which would then be color, and having me do another cover. I'll keep everyone posted if that happens down the road.

    BrianC - Man, what a one track mind!

  15. #795
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    Very nice!

    Quote Originally Posted by Radthorne
    That was something Maus99 suggested too. The only issue there is that the reason to do that would be to try and drive people to look at my novels, and I'm not sure whether the audience for graphic novels (whether printed or particularly online ones) is the same audience that will read long fantasy novels. I think if I can actually finish the graphic novel, and it was decent enough to get picked up by a publisher, then I would certainly do some kind of on-going web comic that might generate site traffic and a potential audience for it.
    Yeah, definately. I had that problem when I was helping some friends establish their own little web-comics. It makes me wonder how successful authors are with additional projects like comics/graphic novels in order to draw certain audiences to their own prose work. Still, doing covers and whatever else seems to have quite a few benefits of their own.

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