Using 3D to make comic books part 4

Using 3D to make comic books, as I’ve said, is quite the challenge. There’s a lot to take into consideration and I’ve only scratched the surface so far with these little postings. It’s definitely recommended you read parts 1, 2 and 3 before this one.

Okay, you’ve rendered awesome scenes, put them together in Comic Life and made them into a cool book. Now what? Well, this is actually the hardest part: getting it to sell. See, 3D is more widely used for porn comics, which makes it tougher to sell to other people. Add in the common complaints about it that I’ve read about and you’re going to find a lot of very harsh critics that won’t even give you a fair chance.

What are those common complaints? One is “stiff, lifeless figures.” Well, this one is harsh on rookies with the medium. Unless you are a fast learner especially with lights, cameras and textures, figures are going to look awkward while you’re learning. The same can be said of hand drawn characters, too though!

Ask for comments to learn from and ignore the ones that are blatant put-downs. You’ll probably be asked if you modeled the characters yourself. Odds are, you didn’t but don’t let that bother you! You’re still learning! So am I! So is anyone that can call themselves an artist. If they claim to be a master and don’t think there’s anything left to learn, they’re never going to grow as an artist and their work will go stale.

Another complaint is stiff clothes. On this one, I’m willing to agree, but only to a point. If you’re like me, your computer’s limits are where you have to draw the line. Realistic cloth simulation is possible and looks incredible, but uses an unbelievable amount of power from the computer!

Mage of wisdom: Ryu

ryuRyu is a mage. It’s unwise to call him anything else as it might get you burned – literally. He’s a dragon mage. A very wise one, at that.

He’s among the few that have some understanding of Dream Angel’s power. Wise as he is, even he doesn’t understand the full extent of her power.

He’s also helped Red Nite Soldier and Blue Nite Soldier understand their power, but again he doesn’t fully understand it.

Like any wise mage, he’s always learning and studying. Not just to improve his magic, but to learn as much as he can about Dream Angel and her friends’ powers to help further their understanding.

He refuses to claim the title “master of magic” because he believes he is always learning new things. Although he’s mastered a good many things, his constant research and learning account for his unwillingness to accept being called a master.

His tower in the Sunless Mountains has an enormous library of magical books and spells. No matter how many times he reads a book, he will insist he learns something new each time.

He uses what he considers real magic, unlike wizards and magicians. He’ll say they simply use trickery and sleight of hand instead of magic. Of course, when push comes to shove, he’ll simply breathe fire to get his point across.

Breathing fire is a last resort as far as he’s concerned, as he claims it leaves his throat terribly raw for days. He’d rather cast a spell than breathe fire, which sometimes causes even Jake to tease him about being the only dragon on the planet that hates fire.

What do you think? Is Ryu an interesting character? He makes his comic book debut in Dream Angel #7, which is available in the shop. It’s highly recommended to get the books that came before it so the story makes sense. Also available in the shop is his plush action figure.

Deadly beauty: Akhlys

 

Akhlys is a deadly beauty. She’s beautiful and she knows it. She flaunts it. She welcomes guys falling over themselves at her feet.

Akhlys

The problem for those guys falling over themselves at her feet: poison gas and her temper.

Being the passive-aggressive type and vain, she often gets what she wants. When she doesn’t, the poor soul who resists gets poisoned.

Teikou no Senshi, for her natural resistance to poison, is often at the center of Akhlys’s anger. Having no fighting skill to speak of, Akhlys can’t stand that the younger girl is able to resist her poison and heal her victims as well.

Her charm and beauty is highly effective on men in particular. Among the few who’ve resisted are Dream Angel’s father and friends.

Trying to charm Jake Arum in particular, she found him more resistant than most. Not only did this anger her, it confused her as well. How could an ordinary man resist her so strongly? She didn’t know, but in her confusion, she didn’t poison him.

Unfortunately for Virgo, Torakatai, Red Nite Soldier and Blue Nite Soldier, her charm had more effect, but not for long. Upon trying to attack, she used her poison and they had to escape for help.

Even Ryu and Breezer have had to resist her charms and later, her poison gas.

Her debut appearance in comic books is Dream Angel #1, found in the shop. You’ll also find her charming and quite adorable plush action figure in the shop, as well. Luckily, her plush action figure can’t use poison gas the way she does in the comic books. All she wants is a hug instead! Will you give her a hug?

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.

Discredited elite: Xalibe WildClaw

xalibeXalibe WildClaw is almost as nasty as his mistress. He’s a Reprobate Elite and a ruthless opponent. He’s the first Elite Dream Angel and her friends go up against. He’s also the one that comes close to killing Dream Angel in one of their early battles.

Had her mother not intervened with fellow officers and started shooting at him, he would have succeeded. He would have seen to it her death was swift, just like all previous rebel leaders he’d defeated.

In Dream Angel’s first three years of fighting, his fall from grace led to harsher and harsher punishment. Until he was finally demoted to dungeon guard duty. His final fight as leader of the Elite, is his comic book debut in Dream Angel #1.
As a final indignity, he loses the fight to Dream Angel’s retired wrestling legend father, Jake Arum. The heroes escape with Jake and Xalibe has to face the punishment which is his demotion.

Upon his demotion, he vows to himself to destroy Dream Angel and her friends, no matter what it takes. This begins causing friction between him and his former second, Daragon.

Daragon IronWeasel is given Xalibe’s duty of destroying the upstart rebel band. This doesn’t sit well with Xalibe, so he starts interfering with Daragon’s plans in an effort to get back in Nyxus’s good graces.

He secretly helps the heroes out of a few tight spots, but along the way learns more about them. This leads him to wonder if he’s even doing the right thing. He sets that aside and focuses on his goal, though.

Since he’s the only Elite on dungeon guard duty. He always returns before Daragon, Daragon can’t prove anything against Xalibe.

What do you think? Is Xalibe 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 plush action figure.

Using 3D to make comic books part 3

STOP! Before you read part 3 of Using 3D to make comic books, you should read part 1 and part 2! If you’ve read them already, do feel free to continue reading!

Using 3D to make comics scenes rendered on my tablet while still out and about means I can pull the render into GIMP if I need to do post work, too. Literally, my work can go with me anywhere. Sure, the tablet can’t do everything the computer can, but it does a nice job of getting things started for the computer, which saves some time. Then I’m able to open the file in the computer and pick up where I left off while I was out.

Okay, that’s putting together the scene and making sure it’s a real eye pleaser, what about making it into a comic book? I wouldn’t doubt there’s other programs out there, but Manga Studio served me well for a long time before I discovered Comic Life. Now, you’ll notice all these programs have no links attached. I’m not affiliated with them, merely recommending them.

For my purposes, I wish I could combine the two into one program, but that seems quite unlikely. Manga Studio is indeed meant for hand-drawn comics and especially manga with a staggering array of tools and goodies for that purpose. I especially loved its layers palette, but it had its shortcomings for me, as well.

When I found Comic Life, I was struggling to create extended dialogue balloons in particular with Manga Studio. I didn’t have the expensive version of the program and couldn’t afford to get it anyway. I’d found a trial version of it and thought I might be able to setup my 3D scenes inside it, but found nothing for importing my own 3D models and accessories and its library limited to what it came with.

Comic Life offered the dialogue balloons I wanted and a nice assortment of other tools. It’s proven to be more intended for importing images and even fixing them in the program, which suited me far better as a 3D artist. I could just drag and drop my renders into the panel frames and if they needed fixing, I could do it right there without any headaches.

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.

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.

One-of-a-kind vampire: Jerigel SwampFang

jerigelJerigel SwampFang’s origin is a complete mystery. Not even Nyxus knows how he came to be. In reality, his origin is as simple as a ten-stripe June beetle.

At the time I came up with Jerigel SwampFang, I was enjoying the Sera Muun Musical Last Drakul Jyokoku. It’s part of a trilogy centered around the vampire Dracula – as Sailor Moon encounters him.

I will formally admit I found both the actor and the character fascinating. I developed an interest in vampires and found that the mythology does not include insects. This I found funny because nature is full of insect vampires, starting with the mosquito and flea.

When I found the June beetle, I thought it was a beetle whose nickname is “Hell insect.” Well, what better for a vampire? They’re considered creatures from Hell and on top of it all, they’re undead. So, I read up on vampires, scrounged up every vampire movie I could find and studied up a bit.

Sure, there’s a good many ways to kill a vampire, but how do you kill an insect vampire? A wooden stake wouldn’t necessarily penetrate the exoskeleton, holy water and a cross is mostly superstition (look it up, if you don’t believe me). Fire only works when the vampire becomes ash and that takes time – how long do you really think an insect vampire would be contained? Probably not long enough, I think.

Superhuman strength comes with being a vampire, so it’s like containing Superman. A sock in a river? Bugs don’t wear socks, so why would he care? Sunlight is another that’s superstition.

Admittedly, I haven’t figured out how to kill the insect vampire, but his power is most intriguing. Aside from speaking in mirror speech – meaning you need a mirror to understand what he says in the comics – his third bite is what finalizes his control over his victim. On top of the control his third bite gives, it also transforms the unfortunate person into a cockroach leaving nothing of their humanity except their height.

What do you think? Is Jerigel an interesting character? He makes his comic book debut in Dream Angle #4. Getting the books that came before it is highly recommended so the story makes sense. Also available in the shop is his plush action figure.

Using 3D to make comic books part 2

Using 3D to make comic books, for a beginner, DAZ Studio is a good one. It’s free, it’s not too difficult to handle until you start getting into the more advanced features, but for setting up and lighting a scene, it’s excellent for learning. Personally, I dove in with Poser 7.

Poser’s good, but I found myself often having trouble using it despite having a book to guide me. Other programs offer more heavy-duty features for making props, clothing, hair and other things, but as they get fancier, they get more expensive.

A leading complaint against using 3D I’ve often mentioned is that 3D figures and clothes look stiff and lifeless. You’ll be confronted by this, so be ready for it. I’ve begun to counteract it by making things more dynamic. Dynamic meaning realistic simulation of cloth in particular.

The other half of that complaint likely has to do with the lighting of the actor and its textures. That would mean it’s wise to pay close attention to the lighting of the scene when you do renders.

Just like pencil and paper, you need to pay close attention to even the smallest details in your renders as these are actually more noticeable in 3D unless you use depth of field to blur out the boo-boos in the background. What about the boo-boos of the character?

Some don’t like to be posed certain ways and can even poke through their clothes despite fixes. Well, post work is useful if you just can’t get the 3D to behave the way you want it to. The GIMP is an excellent freebie image editor that’s lightweight and easy on the computer.

One thing that’s been extremely handy for me is the ability to render scenes even on my little 2-in-1 Windows 10 tablet. Taking my library on the go and setting up characters, or even scenes has been a heavy-duty time saver, but it just doesn’t have the power of the computer.

That means I need programs that aren’t resource intense. DAZ and GIMP are a spectacular combination for this. Unless I setup a heavily complicated scene, my little tablet can render it. If I do setup a heavily complicated scene, I can save it to render on the computer.