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.

Mentor and guide: Breezer

Breezer is a feroad. In Earthly terms, that’s a cross between a ferret and fire belly toad. He can also fly and talk.

breezer

Not long after Arora got the source of her power as Dream Angel, Breezer came into her life. This turned out to be a good thing for her, as he accompanied her on many of her earliest fights, guiding her and helping her understand her power.
She already had good fighting skill, she needed to understand the new power she’d been given and lucky for her, Breezer understands it almost completely.

Being a creature of air, earth and water makes him an excellent pet. As Arora, she’s able to treat him much as she would a dog. He’s got a collar, leash and tags. As Dream Angel, these things are removed so he doesn’t give away her secret.

When she met Ryu, Breezer and the large dragon didn’t quite get along immediately. They both have some understanding of her power, but couldn’t agree on several aspects of it, leading to disagreements. Of course, neither fully understands it anyway.

Yet, he remains among her most loyal and helpful friends. As he went out to battles with her less and less, she counted on him more and more to keep her father safe. Since Jake is a retired wrestling champion, he became the stay-at-home father that takes care of the house and Breezer would stay to take care of him.

Breezer’s comic book debut is Dream Angel #2 which can be found in the shop. It’s recommended you get Dream Angel #1 so the story makes sense! Also found in the shop is his plush action figure who loves to be hugged! Will you give him a hug?

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.

The ups and downs of HDRI

The ups and downs of HDRI might as well be a roller coaster. Permit me to share a story.

For the longest time, I thought I couldn’t use the fancy new render engine DAZ rolled out with 4.8: Iray. I longed to play with the photo realistic render engine, but having an AMD video card instead of the NVidia the specs called for, I thought I couldn’t.

Fast forward to just before Christmas 2016 and DAZ 4.9. I made a curious discovery about the list of installed stuff in the install manager: a public beta build of DAZ 4.9. So, I tracked it down among my programs and opened it. Played with it some and got curious about the render settings. What should my curiosity behold, but that NVidia Iray was available to play with!

So, I explored, dabbled and started tracking down tutorials. Fast forward again to about mid March 2017. After multiple not-so-good attempts at making my own HDRIs with Carrara. I still have trouble with the lighting in that one. I was exploring a favorite group for 3D artists on Facebook and stumbled across an image that could be rotated 360 degrees. To go with it, a youtube tutorial video on how the trick was done!

Well, again, I dabbled and played. Made a neat city 360 followed by a scene from Techwarrior #5 and put them on Facebook to a very receptive reaction. I realized I could convert that city 360 to an HDRI and use it as a background for renders. Well, you won’t catch me using 3Delight anymore! Scenes with an HDRI background render very quickly even on my older computer and they look amazing!

HDRIs are wonderful as both light and background, but – and this is the downside – they take a long time to render! Smaller size and resolution just won’t work with these bad boys. The ratio suggested in that tutorial was 2 to 1 with a size of about 4000 by 2000 pixels. Be ready for a long wait unless you’re able to despeckle and sharpen effectively in Photoshop. Here’s what I mean:

Not the greatest picture I’ll admit, but this one’s been at it 14 hours and it’s still pretty grainy.

Personally, I set the render time to 24 hours so it would have plenty of time to render as cleanly as possible. Know how many seconds that is? 86,400 seconds! Now, as I’ve pointed out on Facebook, once this is rendered, it can be used time and again as a background and light source without bogging down the scene I’m trying to render. So, when it comes down to brass tacks, the occasional 24 hour render like this isn’t too horrible, right?

The trick is a simple one, but only available in Iray. Setup a scene with lights but without characters if you want it to be a background HDRI – the one in that picture is a dungeon lit only by fire – and add a camera in the center of it. Go into the camera’s parameters and pick on the lens type. Set it to spherical. Then go into render settings and set the size ratio to 2 to 1 and the pixels to 4000 by 2000. For my 4-year-old laptop, there’s no acceleration from the video card, so I setup the render time at 24 hours or the 86,400 seconds I mentioned before. From there, hit render and walk away for the duration of the render.

It’ll take its time rendering considering the size and and how complicated the scene is, but when it’s done finally, it can be converted to an HDRI and used as a background/light source without being so slow with characters. So, it balances out, wouldn’t you say?

Clumsy Kaida

Kaida‘s a centaur that’s also a Pegasus. His true name is Tristen and the Welsh name for “noisy commotion” couldn’t fit him better. On the battlefield, he’s well coordinated and not the least clumsy. Off the battlefield… well, it’s better to stay at a distance sometimes. He’s clumsy.

kaida

The one who accepts his clumsiness is Larissa. She admits to being just as clumsy in her own youth until she got training in coordination through ballet and martial arts. Of course, they both know many of the exercises from both of those are impossible for him to do. Despite this, she tries to help.

When Kaida first met Larissa, she already knew her daughter’s secret. So it wasn’t a far stretch for her to understand that she’d make unique friends in her fight. Where the two met though, is the most unique of all.

They met in Nyxus’s dungeon. Larissa had been captured in the middle of a fight and Dream Angel didn’t yet know about her being missing. Nyxus had captured Kaida because she wanted him for a zoo. They discovered they had a lot in common, and found a way to escape on their own.

Dream Angel was surprised when the two came out of the castle almost completely unscathed. Larissa introduced the pair and related the circumstances of their escape. Once it was decided that their goals were the same, Larissa gave Kaida a communication device just like Dream Angel’s. This way, they’d be in constant contact as long as it wasn’t lost.

Kaida is a rarity on South Bartin City. His kind would be considered endangered. This would be why Nyxus wanted him for a zoo. Although she’s the one responsible for almost wiping out his species. Many creatures on the planet got labeled “unnecessary.” Then hunted either to the brink of extinction or extinction.

What do you think of Kaida? Is he an interesting character? He makes his comic book debut in Dream Angel #3, which can be found in the shop. It’s recommended you get the books that came before it so the story makes sense! Also found in the shop is his plush action figure.

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.

Clever Katherine!

Katherine is a hard-luck case. Arora and Ellie found her living on the streets as best she could and coaxed her into attending high school with them. Although Gina made the experience unpleasant at times, she managed to graduate with the other two and along the way, enjoy Shin’s admiration.

katherine

When Shin learned her secret by accident, he made it perfectly clear he didn’t care. His affection is for her personality, not her appearance. This attitude shocked her, since she’d always been mistreated because of her true appearance.

With Arora and Ellie’s help, she was able to design pants to hide her tail, convince teachers that the hat was due to a rare contagious allergy, and find false teeth and contact lenses. In her eyes, being proud of who you are is one thing, getting mistreated for your appearance is an entirely different matter.

Since she wanted to attend high school without incident, she decided it was best to hide her ears, tail, teeth and true eyes. Only Gina caused trouble, accidentally knocking off Katherine’s hat and revealing her ears and then continually trying to remove it to prove what she claimed to have seen.

In spite of Gina’s constant bullying, Katherine managed to do well in school with Arora, Ellie, Shin and Hanaji’s help. Katherine never knew, but several of her teachers knew her secret and would help cover it up at times.

Upon learning Arora’s secret, she formally adopted the name Katherine and made Katrilina her “hero” name so she could help Arora in battle. She decided she wanted to somehow return the favor of being helped through school and even given a place to live with Ellie.

Although Arora and Ellie have no idea how, they hope to someday help Katherine achieve her dream of being normal – meaning, Katherine wants to be rid of her feline features and look more human so she won’t be mistreated.

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

Leopard with a mission: Kumo Hanahadashii

Kumo Hanahadashii is a very, very stubborn leopard. To match, he’s very clumsy. So clumsy, in fact, he makes Kaida seem a great deal less clumsy than he is.

kumoTo compound his problems, he’s madly in love with Cristiane Jewel. On top of everything, he’s fiercely jealous. This mixture makes him big time trouble.

He’s a skilled archer and the first time he meets Dream Angel, he very nearly shoots her down. After she convinces him she doesn’t know where Cristiane is, he decides to help her look and promptly runs face first into a tree.

Unfortunately for him, Cristiane loves Virgo, who loves Athalia. Of course, this creates tension among the cats. Cristiane and Kumo are both leopards, Virgo and Athalia are both tigers. All Virgo and Athalia want is for Cristiane and Kumo to go away, but the two create nothing but trouble for them. Kumo’s jealousy of Cristiane’s affections for Virgo causes him to attempt to fight Virgo for her and Athalia’s caught in the middle.

Virgo’s affection for Athalia isn’t out in the open, it’s subtle and quietly understood between the two. For Kumo, that means he’s interested in Cristiane.

For Dream Angel, Torakatai and everyone else, the entanglement among the four is problematic until they’re directed at Nyxus, the Keres and the assorted creatures they bring along. When that happens, it’s better to stand back and let the cats have their fun as they send them flying the hard way.

Luckily in a fight, Kumo lives up to the translation of his name: Blur Extreme, or more appropriately, extreme blur. Fast with a bow, just as fast with a sword and quite rough on opponents with claws and teeth if he’s disarmed.

Kumo makes his comic book debut in Dream Angel #19, 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 soon to be found in the shop is his plush action figure.

Legendary xinoeph: Nevyn WinterBane

nevynYou’ve probably heard of the legend of the Phonenix. The bird who burst into flames at the time of its death and rises from the ashes. Nevyn WinterBane is a similar bird. His kind does burst into flames, but not at the time of death. Instead, it’s a natural flame the bird can control as a means of defense.

Nevyn and his fellow Xinoeph were on “the list” of creatures Nyxus wanted to eliminate because she thought they were unnecessary. He was fortunate to escape the massacre, but not completely unharmed. He’d been shot in the wing and managed to hide in the brush until Nyxus’s hunting party stopped looking for him. What he didn’t know at the time was that Dream Angel and her friends chased them away.

When he cautiously came out of hiding, Teikou no Senshi coaxed him into letting her heal his wing. Fortunately, the bullet had gone completely through so she was able to heal him without any trouble. He’s been an ally of Dream Angel since the incident.

Nevyn and Akasha are a spectacular pair and when the two met, they became immediate friends. They quickly realized they had met Dream Angel under similar circumstances and had similar goals. While Akasha settled in a tree outside the Arum home so she could sound the alert if there was an attack, Nevyn chose the Amphitrite home. Aside from Elizabeth herself, he’s the only other living being who knows Teikou no Senshi’s secret. Or is he?

The two birds are excellent at conveying messages, flying reconnaissance and a number of other very helpful functions. Only harpies are even close to fast enough to follow them and they’ve become skilled at losing them in flight unless they want them to follow.

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