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Shadowcrunch
Journeyman
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Posts : 902
Join date : 2011-06-23
Age : 41
Location : Wisconsin, USA

20120607
Postcomic crap

Using this as a standard:
@Soothsayer wrote:
I know a comic book artist tends to draw between one and three comics a month. Depending on the comic, that's 24 pages each, five to six panels a page (unless they're splash)... we'll go with five for now. One splash page, 23 pages of five panels, that comes out to 116 pictures a book, or 348 pictures a month. A good many artists don't even draw everything in the pictures, but leave it to the inker, so we'll say, on average, that'd be 232 pictures he draws a month. On average, about 60 pictures ion a 40 hour work week, 12 pictures in an eight hour day, or 1.5 pictures an hour. Shit, that's not bad, 1.5 pictures an hour. But who the hell has a solid straight hour to draw? Let alone 40? By time there is time, there's no motivation.

It took me about...hmmm... 4 hours to rough my first page (which is now the second...). I used REAL basic shapes and didn't fill in much background as I'm going for the manga feel with a lot of black and white space. Basically just outlines, and less concern on proper anatomy and/or proportions as I'm just shooting for the illustrated idea..."art" before realism (Mike Mignola can make Wolverine's head a box, and be one of the "greats", so can I!!!). That 4 hours included trying to figure out how to get speech bubbles to work in Manga Studio.

Yesterday I started inking. This is where I'm filling in the detail because again...Mignola. Right now, I'm leaning towards 4 hours to ink 2 panels. NOT bad considering I'm adding the details in this stage, AND having to stop everything to figure out how to rotate and remove my rulers! That required stopping everything MORE to shut off Manga Studio's "beginner's assistant" and find this toolbox and that tool bar and turn them all on. YEESH! Doing this hand drawn in CRAP....again, Mignola. Dear god, he MUST ink as he's drawing. So much black!

Thanks to manga studio automatically placing every new object on its own layer, I am easily able to tweak speech bubbles. This is good, because after getting through the initial inking I realized my dialog SUCKED. Since Celtx is now an online thing only, and still charges cash to share with other users, I accidentally found fivesprockets, which does the same shit, but free. About 1.5 hours continuous today (which was actually about 4 hours of a trip to the doctor and 2 trips to walmart) and I have 3 pages scripted, in proper format, with MUCH better dialog.

Now I have to speed the drawing, maybe try caring less since I'm ink detailing crap style (Mignola). Still have to decide if I'm going to color, or figure out proper use of tone, or maybe a mix... Will actually time my inking tonight, since I don't have to stop and figure out the frickin rulers.

Edit: maybe less just inking tonight, but maybe do the first page and time it from start to finish, worrying about speech bubbles last since I have a working script. Maybe I will do the first page just by inking! Very Happy

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Last edited by Shadowcrunch on Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: comic crap
Post on Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:47 pm by Shadowcrunch
I should add, I don't dislike Mignola's work... just another example of a dude NOT sticking to "proper" drawing technique and making it big. WAY better than Liefeld, a bit worse than Keith. I will admit Mignola's style works well to convey dark emotion, which makes it perfect for Hellboy.
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Re: comic crap
Post on Sat Jun 09, 2012 1:12 am by Shadowcrunch
Something so simple as resizing panels....FUCK! So I didn't get around to any art on page 1 or 2 last night (thursday). And I only attempted any of it starting about an hour ago tonight (reading a new book and watched a kick ass movie). Here's the whys and fuck-alls of it: because it's apparently impossible to shut off the beginner's assistant after starting the program with it checked, I have (had) little to no control over something as simple as panels SHOULD be. The beginner's assistant has about 20 preset designs for pages from 1 panel up to 6 panels, plus some variants I have not looked at yet. For page 1, based on my script, I need 4 panels, 1 narrow and full height on the right side, the other three equal-ish size rectangles down the left. Presets for 4 panels give me 1 full height on the right, 3 on the left, and split right down the center of the page.

Enter the concept of simply dragging the panel 'cut' one way or the other. Enter the last fucking hour of googling, checking manuals, youtubing, and experimenting to find that simple equation needed to resize a panel! An hour I SHOULD have been drawing! And then, when I start resigning myself to making custom panels from scratch (thank you awesome youtube video, which didn't explain resizing, but showed the easy way to do custom panels), I screw up the size, and have to start over because I STILL cannot resize! Then, an accident in dragging a selection box later, problem solved. Loves me my custom sized panels!

Why do I give a shit about proper panel implementation? As of Manga Studio version 3.whatever, panels have layers, like ogres. As I stated in yonder first post o' the thread, MangaStudio places everything in it's own layer automatically, and places each layer under it's own category...it's hard to explain without showing. Each piece of text is in a text layer, inside a speech bubble layer, inside the panel layer, inside the page layer. Panel layer settings go under the panel ruler layer, which is under the ruler layer...until the panels are rasterized, and split to individual layers of the page. How the...what the...you don't get it...

This is THE cool part. Take your panel ruler layer, cut into 4 panels, and rasterize. It outputs Panel layer 1, 2, 3, 4. Double click panel layer 1, and a new version of the screen pops up, with (in scale) about an inch outside the panel "visible" and everything outside the panel masked in transparent red. Draw, sketch, lay tone, insert speech bubbles, run perspective lines into oblivion...when you click the little X to close the new popped up window, you go back to your page and everything that ran outside the panel is GONE. BAMF! White space. Stay inside the lines? I say "thee, nay!" And verily, and tis, and forsooth, and betwixt. The scary fun part? The squiggles I made to be the most retarded half-ass cartoony crap face ever, actually didn't look horrible after I added tone and went back to let MangStu erase outside the box. Fucking verily, TIS!

Between the last 3 days, I have such a strong grasp of this program now, I feel even better about my chances of actually accomplishing something! WOOT fuckers! WOOT I say!
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Re: comic crap
Post on Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:10 pm by Shadowcrunch
On this Thursday, in the year of their Lord, Two-Zero-and-twelve, I finally remembered that I wanted to move this thread into a place publicly view-able by the public. The 'Shadowcrunch Thinks...' thread is a blog for me to spout my textual filth, and this particular topic is of that vein. Add to that the fact that I'm having a blast manhandling Manga Studio and making things that I don't find full of suck, and why not turn that road into a tale to be told? I have not described my project, nor have I dropped hints as to the story therein, and that works great as this thread is about that journey from suck to unsuck in as few steps as I can. Also, this is me typing how I feel, and NOT how Grade 9 English told me to! So, some of the things I say, or the software I mention, might be unknown to the reader, but it's the journey I'm sharing here.

THAT out of the way (cuz you all needed to know why a multi-post thread just appeared out of nowhere), last night I got to my art a bit late. Too late in my eyes to unleash the Wacom on an unsuspecting piece of digital paper. But I wanted to do something for the sake of the project. Just enough time to fire up fivesprockets and add a page or two to the script. I am officially scripting this, using proper comic format (fivesprockets kicks ass!). I am NOT, as discussed in other threads, using a character bible. I'm shooting this from the hip, and it's working so far.

So I'm scripting away, WAY too late at night, and I know how I want the next chunk of character interaction to go. I know how the bad guy is supposed to gain control over the good guys. It all fits, and it all works, but something just doesn't feel right. Think think think. Holy crap whoosh! I come up with a twist that even blows my own mind! Pretty awesome, since it happens on page 5, and by that point the reader still won't know what to expect from any of the characters! It's the "behind-the-scenes" portion of the DVD... doing my little flip opens up so much more plot potential, puts the characters in places of power where it makes sense for them to be to put their own plans into action. It was just one of those little writing moments when a eureka just wouldn't cut it. So, here's hoping for more plot twists to screw with even the writer's head! Razz

Oh, and I should mention... since that last post from June 9, I did my Page 1...one and a half times. Won't go into it now, but if you're making a story in manga studio, set it as such. If it's set to page, and you try adding a new page.... Crying or Very sad So anywho, I set as story, cut my custom panels, did my art in 'inks', added tone (still a major amateur with that), added bubbles and speech, and finished a whole page in about 4 hours!
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Re: comic crap
Post on Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:34 am by Shadowcrunch
Okay, this will all make more sense if the project is explained just a little. I'm using Manga Studio. Manga=Japanese comics. I am FINALLY working on a comic book. I started "shooting from the hip" and scripting as I laid out my panels. Like I would layout panels, create a new layer, and enter the text for the panel inside that particular panel. After starting to sketch the first page, I quickly figured out that way sucked, and perhaps there was a reason the pros normally start with a written script. So I started scripting on fivesprockets, as mentioned previously. Fast forward this tale to last night at work...

I copied my entire story folder to my thumb, packed up the Wacom, and tally-hoed my ass to the room of boiler-ness. Off and on throughout the night, I worked on inking page 2. Oh, I should add that since this is a "make something happen for a change" project, I have skipped the process of roughs or sketches, and go directly from a blank white panel to inks. My first panel was done, and 5 more to go on page 2. I will approximate that about 5 hours of constant work accomplished 5 panels inked, scenery tone added, and the whole page lettered.

Ooops, another explanatory interjection here. In Japanese comics (Manga for the short-term memory types), instead of the artist or inker drawing tons of little lines to create shading, they use a sticky film printed with the little tiny dots one might see using a magnifying glass on a newspaper. These pieces of sticky film come in all manner of dot sizes, rated in percents and number of lines per inch of dots, and the films are called tone. So, when a Japanese comic artist needs to make it all dark and grimy under the hero's armpit, instead of painstakingly doodling lines, he/she cuts a piece of the film to the desired shape, peels off the backing, and sticks it to the drawing. BAM! Instant shading! Manga Studio has about 8 billion sizes and styles of digital tone built right in, and I am learning to use it. When I say 'scenery tone' (see above), that's something I maybe made up to describe a tone pattern used to simulate the world around our characters... like a pattern that when properly stretched and rotated, could be a decent wood pattern for a table; or using flower tone for wallpaper.

In the future, if I say 'scenery tone' it is what I just explained. If I just say 'tone', I'm shading or highlighting.

When I say lettering (for those who haven't read comics for years), in traditional comics, the letterer is the guy (or gal I guess) who draws the little bubbles and meticulously writes the dialogue and/or descriptions in said little bubbles. For years, this was done by hand, but in recent decades it has become a digital thing...but for some reason professional comic book companies still employ people just to do lettering. WTF?! So when I say I lettered, that means I made bubbles and typed in the text from my script. And people get paid to do that...sigh...

So...um...where was I? Ahhh...page 2. Page 2 is ready for tone after I resize one speech bubble! The coolest part of last night was the scripting though. I made a tiny edit to dialogue on page 2, and in order to fit it in properly, I had to tweak some dialogue on page 5.... in order for that change to make sense, I had to start scripting page 6, and WOOHOO! Stuff is moving right along! I also test printed my 2 pages, and they turned out pretty good with a B&W laser printer! Still debating whether to add any color or not, but that is a tale for a different day...

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Re: comic crap
Post on Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:44 pm by Shadowcrunch
1. The quote from the first post in this thread, concerning how long it should take yon professional comic artists to draw a panel/page/book.
2. A fellow artist on one of these newfangled social networks, an artist who just happens to be running a web comic with close to 2,000 followers.
3. Me stating further up that I am trying to concentrate on activity and story, more than being the bestest artist possible.

These three things, when added together, have me thinking about time. Not that it is a huge factor in an unfinished and unpublished comic manuscript, but I do need to set goals. For example, my favorite webcomic (Girl Genius by Phil and Katja Folio) puts up a new page every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The fellow artist mentioned in #2 above gave me some motivational advice, telling me that if you wait too long, trying to be a perfectionist or trying to be the best right away, you will never get anywhere. He told me you have to be willing to start throwing pages out there, even if they suck when you first get going, because the more you do, the better you will get. That of course ties into the old artists' adage about the more you practice the better you will become. Or, the best way to get good at drawing is to draw.

So I have committed myself to the path. BUT, I am still wondering about time. If I ever start putting pages up on one of these webcomic hosting places, I would like to know I could produce a page or two every week just to start. Don't want to wind up like New England Comics! All kudos to Ben Edlund, but c'mon!!! Pros have deadlines! Since I am taking every role seen on the splash page of a comic: writer, artist, inker, letterer, colorist, and editor; that alters the time frame a bit. I asked the original poster of that time table to try to calculate up for me how long it should take for a professional comic page to go through all the stations in a studio, since he has had his eyes on the business side of comics a lot deeper than I have, but apparently he can't be bothered to do a little simple math! Laughing Yeah, I said it. Those numbers SHOULD add up though... if an artist takes 8 hours on a page, then the inker takes 4(???), the letterer takes 4(???), and on and on... I mean, does 24 hours a page seem a little unrealistic? I don't know. In the end, that doesn't matter as much as how long it takes ME.

To that end, though I barely worked on the project last night, I did hunt (and dig, and scavenge, and glare, and grumble) until I found a FREE project timer for windows. I open it up, type "Page 3 inks," and hit start when I start inking page three. If something pops up, I pause the timer, and unpause when I come back. It makes reports, so after a few sessions, I will be able to see what is taking the most time, and where I should make speed adjustments. Have to wait and see how it all works out.

THAT said, I have a special preview! I opened up my unfinished page 2 (still have to add tone and stained glass to the windows), hid the speech bubbles (so as not to give away the story), and have it ready to share. Inks and scenery tone. You can now see how I'm skipping the "good artwork" in exchange for speed and presentation...
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Re: comic crap
Post on Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:07 am by Shadowcrunch
Oh me, oh my! Finished page 2! Well, unless I decide to add color. Anyway, I learned 2 exciting things about Manga Studio that will make for a better future! The first being a better way to import certain graphics, and have them look more graphic-ey than comic-ey, making for more detailed graphics. The second being that you can PAINT with tone! Up till this point, everything I read about tone said you had to make selections (normally with a lasso selector tool) and apply the tone to your selections. That's what I was doing. I had to take a break and go online to find out if it was possible to make tone white, for tonal highlighting on black ink; and I found a page that said it was possible to paint with tone. Without reading how, I had to try it! YAY, it works!

Now, instead of painstakingly lassoing every little spot I want with a 60% tone, clearing the selection, and selecting all the spots I want a 20% tone, I can set the tone, and with Wacom in hand I can whisp and whisk my tone exactly where I want it!

Now, more exciting information for anyone actually following this. I used my timer. I even paused it when I was surfing for the white tone answer. Got done, made my report, and there was all kinds of silly entries totally four hours, which sounded about right. Upon closer inspection, it was all example stuff built-in so you could see what to do. There's no help file, but I figured out how to delete the examples, and got it down to just my toning sessions. And they were all 0.5 hours... what the crap... Turns out, the program was set for 30 minute billing. I knew something was up because I had gone over 30 minutes one time, and had just passed 20 minutes another time. Anyway, I figured out how to change the time setting, and switched it to ten minutes. I don't need to be exact down to the minute, and a half hour is not quite specific enough.

Hit report again, and in 4 sessions, I completed page 2 tones (and background graphics!) in 1.6 hours! Hell of a lot faster than I thought! And the tone and graphics really did make the half-ass art pop a bit more. Now with the timer I figure things out better in the future. I have written in another location that I re-did the art of page 1 in just over 4 hours, but that page has a very basic layer of tones, and only 4 panels. Page 2 has 6 panels, and I'm going to GUESS I did the inks and lettering in about 7 hours... now the tone in 1.6 hours. Page 3 has 3 (maybe 4) panels, so I will have to time from start to finish!
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Re: comic crap
Post on Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:14 pm by Shadowcrunch
I would love to take this opportunity to brag about the time so far spent on roughs for page 3, but bragging would be a tad excessive since it feels almost like I cheated...because I cheated. Twisted Evil See, our story starts out in 'some city' in a foreign land, and page 3 starts out in a downtowny looking place in said city, but there's piles of rubble and destruction. I would like to be authentic, but don't know a damn thing about 'some city'. Well, I know some things, since it is the country's capitol, and had some historical stuff happen there.

Anyway, having recently been reminded of google maps, and the semi-cooler street view, I did that! I google mapped the overhead view until I found a nice downtowny section with some main thoroughfares, and zwooped in to the street view. I found the perfect backdrop for my rubble-strewn road, with a few tidbits of 'authentic local color', and screenshotted. Zoom, screenshot. Zoom, screenshot.

Page 3. Four panels. Using the method of image importation mentioned in the last post, I imported a screenshotted 'some city' downtowny main thoroughfare, lined it up, and hit ok. Rinse and repeat 3 times. Is that cheating? Yes. But I do still have to add piles of rubble and detritus, while also hacking some of the backdrop buildings, which technically should all fall under the pencils/inks stage (because I'm inking my art instead of penciling, so I have to join the two stages). SO... technically (again) the roughs are done. Grand total of 0.17 hours spent. Will page 3 be a good indicator of time spent on a panel/page? Nope. But it gives me ideas for speeding up the future of the project!

So, now I can ink the rubble and building destruction (stage 2), shade and highlight with tone (stage 3), add any lettering (stage 3), and color is still undecided (but would be stage 4). The only problem I foresee with page 3 is this is the first page where sound effects will play a major role in setting the scene, and the way Manga Studio automatically handles sound effects is: IT DOESN'T! Because the Japanese (again, they = Manga) have some weird kanji-based system of sound effects, Manga Studio needs to have sounds effects entered by hand! Maybe if I pre-make some in Blender or GIMP, then just import as images or objects? Hmmmm.... Idea
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Re: comic crap
Post on Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:35 am by Shadowcrunch
Always something... sketching my rubble (last post from way back when) was kicking my ass. I don't remember why. In theory, it should have been simple. Then the monthly challenge on the artist forum I frequent, and some new things learned in Blender...oh yeah, and the video with 'smiley' themed X-Balls (gotta catch them all!)... project bounce! bounce BUT, doing my monthly challenge for July (I motioned for August's challenge to extend into September cuz NOBODY was ready by the end of August because of other projects and real life stuff), and the X-balls vid, I learned some things in Blender which made me again say "why the hell can't I do a comic in 3D?!"

I started using what I learned to model my Dwarf and Princess. Got stuck trying to decide what kind of hair I wanted the Princess to have... still have to rig my Dwarf and Princess so I can pose them and give them face expressions down the road... got to page 5 on my script (again, the site Fivesprockets is da bomb!)... and started getting frustrated at the pace I was setting. That, and my backstory was lacking. What I had was a bunch of scene snippets from "later on", almost like a comic strip with no real cohesion. And then... "what if I just made a few pages in Blender using BLOCKS?" And then... "It's a fantasy themed attempt at humor. What if the blocks are the REASON the characters get together in the first place? What if the quest is to get definition back in the world?" And then... all my blocks fell into place. Razz Rolling Eyes

So far, it's the most "ongoing" thing I've worked on comic-wise. The way I see it, I can whip out pages quickly, then with the time it would normally take to sketch the next page, I can use that time to work on my higher resolution models for the point in the story where details start to come back. Brilliant, and it's all coming together nicely. Since I had to rewrite my opening pages to make up for the block storyline, my current workflow is at this point:
1. 8 pages scripted (about a hundred rolling through my head!)
2. "Art" (cough cough) for 6 pages done
3. Lettering and balloons for 4 pages done
4. 3 pages uploaded

Wait...WHAT?! Three pages uploaded?! Oh yes... and you can view them HERE: http://wtbc.thecomicseries.com/

Keep in mind it's a webcomic, so it defaults to the latest page. You can use the controls under the "page" to change pages, start at the beginning, so on and so forth. I would upload the fourth page, but I'm going to try getting on a schedule, AND staying ahead of that schedule so I always have pages in reserve to fall back on should something come up. Excelsior! Razz
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Re: comic crap
Post on Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:22 pm by VaderXanth
Alright.. I read the three pages. First impression, I like it! (I liked the 3rd page the best because of the humor). Would this be something that I would like to read from start to finish? Indeed! Keep them coming!

I like how you figured out your problem. The whole blocks thing is awesome!!

Awesome work!
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Re: comic crap
Post on Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:24 pm by Shadowcrunch
Thanks! Arted up 2 more pages last night, and they await lettering. Uploaded page 4 a little while ago. Oh yeah, scripted 2 more pages last night also. On Comic Fury I keep saying it's in the experimental phase in case I get to the point where I decide lettering sucks and I just don't wanna no moe! Very Happy I figure if I hit page 10, peops will start questioning the whole experimentality of it all...
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Re: comic crap
Post on Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:30 pm by Shadowcrunch
I haven't updated my comic in like two weeks. The lettering was getting tedious. Even with copy/pasting, then the editing, resizing...and the damn balloons!!! BALLOONS!!!
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Re: comic crap
Post on Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:36 am by soothsayer
B'loons? Pop. Pop pop. Pop pop pop pop pop.

...

Pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop.

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