Happy New Year 2017!

Happy New Year! May the new year be far better than the old. 2016 has been brutal, hasn’t it? Goals include learning more advanced techniques for 3D art and possibly using the new skills to make variant covers for the released books. Although the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” is quite true, clearly people do anyway. So, makes sense to start designing variant covers that look more attractive than the current ones.

Of course it makes sense to continue learning. There’s no reason to ever stop as there will always be new things to learn. This looks to be a light year for comic book releases, if there are any. Why? Well, there’s a wedding to prepare for, which will keep things quite busy for quite a while.

Rendering full books is quite time consuming and while wedding preparations are going on, more difficult to get done. There might be one or two new books this year, but they’re going to be much slower in production. This could be a good thing as it’ll force more attention to be paid to each panel of the page. Finding time to setup and render scenes is likely to be difficult.

While the new year looks to be a happy one, there’s a number of challenges that will definitely be presenting themselves along the way. The challenge of planning a wedding, successfully moving across the country and yes, even the challenge of learning new skills along the way. Yet the hope is that this year will be happy despite the challenges.

So, Happy New Year 2017! Make it merry and bright!

Wonders for the new year!

Over the past few months, I’ve made it abundantly clear that I’m learning new skills to create wonderful new books. Well these wonders for the new year are definitely coming. When, it’s still hard to say, but they’re definitely coming. The evidence is in the recent renders, most of which are found in the Facebook group. Nevertheless, a few have snuck in here on the activity page.

A recent discovery is that the computer can in fact handle the more heavy-duty DAZ render engine called Iray. The difference in quality for the rendered images is very noticeable. For starters, Iray is a much more realistic render style. The lights bounce in a much more realistic manner, making it a bit more difficult to light a scene, but the result is worth the extra effort. It simply means planning the lighting more carefully.

A good example scene is this one:

3Delight did a nice job, but clearly it’s quite dark. Now, that’s both a good thing and a bad thing. It does create a nice mood, but the character is barely visible. On the other hand:

Iray looks quite realistic and vivid, doesn’t it? There’s even reflections for water on the ground. One thing of importance, however: 3Delight takes only a couple minutes to render. Yet with some adjustments, the lighting could be just as nice as the Iray. The Iray takes 2 hours and makes beautiful use of both an HDRI and scene lighting. So, it’s a matter of patience to use Iray.

Lessons like that are a regular thing so far. One such lesson occurred just yesterday. As you can see from the render above, Dream Angel is a “chibi” figure. Well, in making chibi forms for all the characters for funny moments in the books, I came to realized that a chibi horse is among the characters needed. Specifically for Daybright, Firebright and George. Unfortunately, a good chibi horse is hard to come by. I’m no modeling expert by far and certainly no expert at rigging 3D models. My earliest attempts were quite disastrous.

The lesson learned yesterday was that DAZ has tools for helping a great deal with rigging. If the model is made with another already rigged model as a guide. The result is still a work in progress, but quite cute:

Chibi Oriel is made from the same model as Dream Angel above, but chibi George was modeled from scratch and with help from another horse, has been rigged successfully. George still needs his final textures, but overall, he’s complete and very cute.

These wonders for the new year will be continuous and with further study – I know, it means delaying new books longer, but I think you’ll agree it’s worth it – new books will look much better than ever before.

So, Happy New Year and may it bring new surprises and wonders with it!

Happy Halloween 2016!

Okay, it’s a few days early to be saying Happy Halloween, but why not? There’s already Christmas stuff in stores. Halloween might be the day of the dead, but I’m still giving you a gift: 40% off your entire purchase. It can be used once per user and expires at midnight on Halloween. Let’s have a bit of fun with this, shall we? It’s not often these coupons show up.

How are the next comic books in line coming? Well, let’s say they’re on a semi-indefinite hold for the time being. That doesn’t mean they’ll never be made, it simply means new things are being learned to make them even better. All right, I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it: lighting, cameras, modeling, texturing and a number of other things are being studied in greater depth to give the scenes more life and to make them more believable. This means putting books on hold to learn the new skills. When they finally go into production, you’ll find them worth the wait and understand why they were delayed.

I dove in head first making books because the images were in my head and I wanted to render them before they “escaped” and I had trouble setting up the scenes. Since there are scripting slow-downs for the books, I thought I’d take advantage of the spare time to do some studying I should have done years ago. To be fair, many of the tutorials I’ve been looking at lately weren’t around when I started. Luckily, the studies have begun bearing fruit and happily, the results are improving by leaps and bounds.

So, when can you expect books to begin reappearing? That’s a hard question at this point. Techwarrior’s script is written through its 12th book – which is meant to be the last in the series unless popular demand calls for more. Dream Angel #24 is about 95% written. Still a few details to finish it off. Its script is roughed out to the beginning of #33 at this point. Hillbilly Hoot needs some sorting of details and various other things fixed, but it may well be moving along soon, too.

So again, Happy Halloween! Even if you don’t celebrate it, the coupon code is still a gift.

Happy 4th of July!


Happy 4th of July!

Any news of the books, you might ask? Well, things are on a bit of a temporary hold so more writing can be done. Along the way, scraps of fabric are  being made into nice outfits (so they take up less space) and new techniques for rendering images are being explored.

Specifically, light and camera techniques are being explored to further enhance the beauty of the scenes in the books to come. I’ve toyed some with lighting scenes myself, but frequently used light sets instead of lighting the scene myself.

In both cases, it means being busy even though it’s a holiday. Happily, the result will be worth the effort, I believe. I’ve said it time and again and I’ll say it again: there’s a beautiful artistic evolution to be found in these books. With the learning that goes on between, you’ll find each book better than the last.

Scenes such as this:


and this:


Were unthinkable when I started creating these books. Lighting of this type would not have been easily achieved if at all. Notice the shadows on the walls and ground. That’s long been a problem in need of solving. Notice also that there’s a softening of the background. Depth of field has been put to use with this piece. Finally, camera capabilities are being explored.

So, while there might be some time between books, you can rest assured I’m most certainly not idle. It’s safe to guess future books are going to be more sophisticated and engrossing artistically, making them just that much better with each render.

So, again, Happy 4th of July and wish me luck!