Using 3D to make comic books Part 1

Using 3D to make comic books is a challenge in many ways, but don’t let that discourage you. If you love 3D and love the idea of making comic books, nothing should deter you from it.

Let’s look at some harsh realities to be sure you’re determined to follow this path. First of all, the comic book market is cut throat. These fans in general are hard core about how comics are written and drawn. Plenty of them just aren’t ready to accept comics rendered using 3D software.

If you’re like me, your hand drawings aren’t bad, but just not up to industry standards for some reason or another. My shortcomings include proportion and shading along with perspective and foreshortening. My drawings are good, but not impressive in the comic book world, yet I love making them. The solution to my problem became using 3D software to make up the artistic difference. This led to a whole new set of problems, though.

While characters, props and sets are consistent and look good, new problems arose. These included lighting, camera angle and composition like in the two images above. How then, to solve this problem? Study, practice, constantly scrounge around for tutorials to learn as much as possible. That’s still pretty much fumbling along in the dark, isn’t it? I’ve found that a good many movies have special features on the DVDs and frequently include featurettes talking about how the movie was made.

Using 3D is similar enough to making a movie that these lessons have been extremely valuable to me. They discuss lighting, camera angles and movement, ways to setup a scene for dramatic actions and all sorts of other related things.
Okay, it doesn’t have to worry about sewing costumes or anything along those lines, but making props, making up the actors, dressing actors, setting up a scene, placing the lights and cameras for the best effect and things like that? Definitely!

So, will it someday be accepted by the comic book industry? Probably. I’ve got a couple how to draw comics books that already discuss using these programs for background elements. I’ve seen others on the market and at the local library that use it for the cover or a photograph, even. It’s a slow transition so far and for 3D artists, it’s not going to be easy. Still want to make your own comics using these programs?

 

Katrilina the cat!

Katrilina has quite the history with the Dream Angel series. Today’s focus isn’t on Katrilina herself, though, but on her special ability: the ability to physically change into any cat in the feline family. Most notably, a lioness, leopard, panther and tiger.The focus is Katrilina’s feline forms.

katrilina catsOf all the 38 species of cats of the feline family she can become, these four are her favorites for their varying abilities. Strength, endurance, stealth and cunning, to name a few. In nature, these cats are far from cute and cuddly and Katrilina uses those abilities with great effect. Of course, which cat she picks depends on the situation and sometimes even who she’s with.

She’ll go with the tiger if she’s around Virgo, for example. Her favorite for going after Reprobates is the Panther. The winged creatures don’t like the black streak chasing after them. Her lioness will ground most Harpies if they’re low enough and for some of the higher up opponents, she’ll use the leopard to climb a nearby tree or even building ledge to leap and attack.

The one important marking all of Katrilina’s feline and even her human form share is a pure white tail. Nobody is sure why exactly she always has the white tail, but it is a very distinguishing marking. While it might sometimes be troublesome, she really doesn’t mind it too much.

What do you think? Are these interesting cats? Katrilina’s feline forms make their debut appearance in Dream Angel #1, which can be found in the shop. Also found in the shop are the plush action figures of her leopard, lioness, panther and tiger forms.

Double-wielding jokester: Red Nite Soldier

red nite soldierLover-boy, double-wielding warrior, jokester – Red Nite Soldier is a surprise package villains don’t want to cross. He very efficiently wields his katana and if needed, his short sword.

He and Katrilina make a very formidable pair in battle. He’s even sometimes seen on her back when she’s one of her favorite large felines. Like a knight atop a black charger, spotted charger, brownish-gold charger or even striped charger, they’ve been known to turn the tide of a battle very quickly.

His katana was a gift from Ryu and specially forged to give him extra protection. His short sword is a gift from Kiryoku and blessed with its own powerful virtues. It’s not known if he has any power, but his blades sure have a magic of their own.
Kendo champion and team co-captain in high school, he definitely has the skill to handle his blades. Fast, smart and quite dangerous.

Combined with his steed Daybright, he’s especially formidable. Add in Blue Nite Soldier and Firebright and you get a foursome that can plow through just about anything.

What do you think? Is he an interesting character? He makes his comic book debut in Dream Angel #1, which is available in the shop. Also available in the shop is his outfit for Shin Tsurugi.

Dangerous beauty: Anaplkete

Anaplkete is the fastest of the Keres sisters. Although she lacks super speed, she makes up with it using her weapons and their lightning speed.

Anaplkete

A skilled double-wielder of twin short glaives, she’s often found battling with Red Nite Soldier, who also double wields skillfully. Of the two, she’s considerably more experienced, which puts him at a disadvantage. Being fast on top of that makes the fight quite difficult for him. If he’s lucky enough to disarm her, she’ll certainly run the other way. The difficulty is disarming her.

Although she doesn’t flaunt her beauty, she does use it to her advantage at times. This tends to leave a trail of broken hearts and sometimes bodies in the wake of achieving her goals.

All four of the Keres sisters have varying levels of vanity with Ker being the most vain of all and the most dangerous as a result. Anaplkete qualifies as least vain, but that doesn’t mean she’ll get her hands dirty unless it’s absolutely necessary. Like her sisters, she’d rather let the reprobates do the dirty work.

Often accompanied by a large number of reprobates, she’s a strong opponent for our heroes. Like her sisters, even a cracked nail can lead to very, very dangerous levels of anger. Luckily, her speed is much like a cheetah. Fast for a time, but short-lived. It’s during that burst of speed that the fight for survival is most difficult, however.

Beautiful, fast and deadly. The best description around for Anaplkete. Her debut appearance in comic books is Dream Angel #1, found in the shop. Also in the shop is her charmingly adorable plush action figure who simply wants a hug. Will you give her a hug?

Friendly, accepting: Shin Tsurugi

shinShin Tsurugi is much more even-tempered than people think. Mostly, he’s passionate about protecting friends and loved ones. That passion has a habit of coming out in a way that seems a lot like anger.

Get to know him and you’ll find he very readily accepts people for who they are, regardless of what they look like. This is perhaps the best reason why Gina has a crush on him in spite of his polite rejection of her affection.

Due to his rejection, Gina actively pursues Katherine in an attempt to chase her away so Gina can steal him away. This sometimes causes trouble and his anger does come out to some degree. He’s very good at keeping it under control.
It’s not common, but his anger does come out, sometimes in frightening ways. His calm demeanor often fools people into thinking he doesn’t get angry at all when inside he may be seething with rage.

He’s excellent at swordplay. Together with Hanaji, he co-captained the high school kendo team and they were undefeated. He also earned several awards in school, as well.

On a planet full of unique fantasy-type nature and magic, finding the miniature katana that enables him to transform into Red Nite Soldier had to be the work of fate or something similar. There really is no other way to explain how he alone could find something so small, let alone figure out how to use it.

He and Hanaji figured out one another’s secrets very quickly – the two might as well be twins able to figure out when the other is lying or hiding a secret. They both knew about Dream Angel, but had no clue who she was at first. Frequently, the pair would come to the girl’s rescue when they’d hear about a fight going on.

What do you think? Is he an interesting character? He makes his comic book debut as Red Nite Soldier in Dream Angel #1which is available in the shop. Also available in the shop, is his plush action figure.

Creative Katrilina

Katrilina has a secret and interesting history. Her first design was a Barbie (no copyright infringment etc intended) in costume that won first place at the county fair. It was a simple leopard skin outfit – fake fur, of course – but it was well made. Tragically, the doll was stolen while still at the fair, so all that remains of her is the video taken at the event.

Where did the inspiration for her come from? That’s easy: the She-Ra: Princess of Power villain known as Katra. Compare the two names: Katrilina and Katra. Similar spelling. Not exactly similar design, but she does have Katra’s long black hair and ability to become a cat. Katra could only do a panther, though. Katrilina can do all 38 feline species. Useful in battle, to say the least.

All right, I’m really betraying no secrets about her here, am I? Here’s one you haven’t heard: she was originally a villain much like Dragonball Z‘s Vegeta. She was originally written to transition into a hero, pretty much the way Vegeta did. Maybe not quite as violently and certainly not as dragged out, but she would transition from villain to hero over time.

In the earliest stories, she was pretty quick about the transition from villain to hero. One or two battles and she’d turn. Why would she turn? She thought Dream Angel could help her be free of her feline appearance. All along she was merely the victim of extreme prejudice venting her frustration on anyone that dared look her way in a way she didn’t like.

When she met Dream Angel, she saw pity and warmth in the girl’s eyes even while they were fighting. Although she didn’t care much for the pity, the warmth got her attention. She’d never encountered the emotion and when she learned of Teikou no Senshi’s healing powers, her hope of being free of her feline appearance began to rise.

Although Teikou no Senshi couldn’t free her of her feline appearance, the attempt at helping the two girls made showed Katrilina that not everyone was prejudice. When the pair coaxed her into attending school and Arora shared her secret with her, Katrilina found trust as well. When she “met” Ellie, another bond of trust was formed when Ellie offered to let her live with her as Katherine.

What do you think? Is Katrilina an interesting character? She made her debut comic book appearance in Dream Angel #1, which can be found in the shop. Also found in the shop is her plush action figure outfit for Katherine.

Tigress of patience: Athalia AngelFire

Athalia AngelFire is the dictionary definition of patience. Her love and respect for Virgo FireKeeper keep her from pushing their relationship further. She’s often the one he’d leave his kid brother Keru with while he would go help Dream Angel.

athalia angelfire

When she and Keru began joining the fights, she’d stay close to the young tiger to keep him safe.

Where other tiger women of their village shy away from Keru’s pet spider Bitsy, she has a healthy respect for the creature and doesn’t mind her as long as Bitsy’s kept at a moderate distance. The exception being Bitsy saving her life in a fight. Then she’ll stroke and cuddle the spider in gratitude for a short time before handing her back to Keru.

The one big problem Athalia has is Cristiane Jewel. Cristiane is a leopardess with a huge crush on Virgo, who wants nothing to do with her. When Athalia tries to intervene on his behalf, Cristiane always gets angry and tries to pick a fight.
Having a slow temper, Athalia doesn’t anger easily most of the time. Cristiane has rubbed her the wrong way a few times, but the two are an even match. This leaves Virgo trapped in the middle trying to break up the argument and sometimes fight.

Her comic book debut is Dream Angel #6, which can be found in the shop. It’s suggested that you get the books that came before it so the story makes sense! This can easily be achieved by the Dream Angel #1-5 collection. Also found in the shop is her plush action figure, who very much loves hugs! Will you give this charming and beautiful tigress a hug?

Explosive Ker

Ker has a very volatile temper… literally. Getting her mad has very explosive results. She’s the youngest of the Keres, but no less dangerous than her older siblings and mother.

kerHer one weakness is that she’s incredibly vain. Put her in front of a mirror and she won’t move for hours; on the other hand, scratch her skin or get her dress dirty and you’d better start running away as fast as you possibly can.

Larissa was the first to discover she could push Ker’s buttons during one of her earliest encounters with the Keres sisters. Since they wanted her as a hostage, Ker couldn’t lose her temper and Larissa could keep making her madder and madder. Just after Dream Angel rescued her, she delivered one final insult that set Ker’s temper off the rest of the way and she exploded, making it impossible for the villains to pursue them.

She has an interesting design history. I must confess that I didn’t design her outfit, but a good friend of mine (who’s been involved off and on in these comic books) designed it. I’d designed the other four Keres with mildly sexy outfits – at the time, Stygere was a girl – but I was stuck on what Ker should look like. I asked for help designing her outfit and she came up with the outfit Ker now wears. It’s changed some from my friend’s design, but overall, it’s the same.

What do you think? Is she an interesting character? Ker makes her comic book debut in Dream Angel #2. It’s a good idea to consider getting the book that came before it, so the story makes sense! Also available in the shop is her plush action figure.

The over eager little brother: Keru

Keru FireKeeper is the always-eager-to-please younger brother of Virgo FireKeeper. Though he’s best known for getting into mischief, most times it’s harmless.keru

keruThis young cub brings all his effort to whatever he’s doing. Like any young boy, he also enjoys having unusual pets. Bitsy is his best friend, the problem is she’s a spider.

Between the two, they can get into a broad variety of trouble or get Dream Angel and her friends out of a broad variety of trouble. The mere sight of Bitsy causes quite an uproar among villains. Especially the vampire roaches. Since spiders naturally eat roaches, their instinct is to panic and look for a place to hide.

The Keres are none too fond of the young tiger and his pet as well. The sisters often let out a bloodcurdling screech attached to a scream of “KILL IT!” as they look for a place to get away from the spider.

In terms of mischief, Keru’s a master. Athalia’s the one who keeps him in check when his brother’s not around. A stern look from Torakatai usually sends him running back to Athalia or Virgo. He knows Torakatai is tough for punishments for the sake of keeping order among the tiger villagers.

Keru literally means “kick.” He likes to think it means he kicks butt. He’s still learning battle strategies and fighting techniques, but he’ll still fight off Reprobates. Usually, he stays close to his brother if he’s involved in a fight. Between Virgo and Athalia, he’s a moderately formidable fighter on his own.

Even Torakatai has helped train the young cub. Teaching techniques even his other two trainers don’t know. Virgo’s excellent with a staff, Athalia without a weapon. Torakatai is a master of many techniques and weapons.

What do you think? Is Keru an interesting character? He makes his comic book debut in Dream Angel #8, which can be found in the shop. It’s a good idea to consider getting the books that came before it so the story makes sense. Also available in the shop is his plush action figure.

Spotted beauty: Cristiane Jewel

Cristiane Jewel is a leopardess. She’s got quite a problem, however. She’s in love with a tiger.

cristiane jewel

She’s expected to marry a leopard, of course, but her love for Virgo FireKeeper is so strong it often gets them both in a lot of trouble.

Her intended mate is Kumo Hanahadashii, who’s deeply in love with her to the point of being blind to dangerous situations. It also leaves him terribly jealous of Virgo, whom she showers her affection on.

Virgo doesn’t want her affection in the slightest and would prefer she leave him alone. Of course, this causes friction with Kumo, who all but worships Cristiane, who doesn’t want his affection any more than Virgo wants hers. Virgo, instead is in love with Athalia, but hasn’t shown it openly because of Cristiane. Athalia knows of his affection and waits patiently in hope he can chase the overly affectionate leopardess away eventually.

Cristiane’s skilled with a quarter staff and will often jump into a fight if she thinks Virgo’s in trouble. This has more than once caused trouble for the heroes as they have struggled to compensate for her fighting even them off at times.

Everyone prefers she fight with them instead of against them, so they’ve decided to simply give her room when she shows up. The exception to that being Torakatai, Keru and Athalia. They understand why everyone else gives Cristiane room – they don’t want to get caught up in the quarrel.

The tigers on the other hand have managed to group up and chase the leopardess off more than once, sometimes with the help of the others. Keru in particular wishes she’d go away so his brother could marry Athalia, as it’s obvious to everyone how much he loves her.

Her comic book debut is Dream Angel #7, which can be found in the shop. It’s recommended to get the books that came before it so the story makes sense! Also found in the shop is her plush action figure that loves to be hugged. Will you give her a hug?