Villain or not? Stygere

Stygere has got the longest fuse of the Keres. His mother and sisters are quick to anger, he isn’t. Instead, he stays angry most particularly at them, for all the arguing. He’s a dangerous enemy, but doesn’t often show anger toward the heroes. In fact, they have a suspicion that he wants to join them against his mother and sisters. He’s left clues to their plans that have helped the heroes out of many deadly traps.

He’s an enigma to the heroes, but among the many things he won’t admit openly is that he does want to rebel against his mother and sisters. Unfortunately, the few times he’s tried, they nearly killed him for it. So, rather than risk life and limb against them, he secretly helps the heroes without their fully realizing it. He’s considered donning a masked identity to confuse both sides. Unfortunately, he figures they’d recognize his voice and he’d simply be in greater trouble.

A small mystery that might nag at the reader of Dream Angel #2 and #3, is how Kaida knew Larissa was in trouble with Ker and several Reprobates. The heroes figure he was simply flying overhead and saw something that looked out of place causing him to land and investigate. What the heroes wouldn’t know is Stygere planted a clue. One that would attract the Pegasus centaur without anyone knowing. He also left an anonymous clue with the local police. Which is connected to the heroes’ communications thanks to Larissa. This, Stygere knows, and put to good use. It’s common knowledge the heroes and police are working together to solve crimes within the city. So he figures anyone could have left the tip and he wouldn’t get blamed.

He doesn’t want to openly help the heroes, so he flies under the radar with subtle hints and clues to tip them off. His mother and sisters are left frustrated when the heroes escape, but he’s secretly pleased.

What do you think? Is Stygere an interesting character? Stygere 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.

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?

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!

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.

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.

 

 

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?

 

Hero of the single blade: Blue Nite Soldier

Blue Nite Soldier is still quite a mystery, even to him. He knows a power allows him to transform, but doesn’t know if he has any special powers.

blue nite soldier

He wields a singular sword with great skill and courage. Even Ryu hasn’t been able to determine the source of his transformation power or why he has it.

A friend of Dream Angel’s since childhood, he discovered his own power and soon after saw her fighting alone. He joined the fight and to her surprise, helped her win. Quietly disappearing immediately after, he made a habit of helping her when he could until they both discovered their mutual secrets.

With the discovery of secrets came communications tools that helped him respond faster when she got into a fight. This helped more than once to turn the tables in her favor and chase away the attacking villains.

Being co-captain of the high school fencing/kendo team, he handles a blade well. His affection for Dream Angel both in and out of costume is evident to everyone but Arora and him. This creates often funny situations as their friends will set them up in romantic situations and disappear sometimes. Other times, they’ll suggest a double date and also sometimes disappear or at least be elsewhere, but still in sight.

Blue Nite Soldier’s comic book debut is Dream Angel #1, which can be found in the shop. Also found in the shop is the Blue Nite Soldier outfit for Hanaji Camridon and a magnetic soft sword for him to hold. The sword isn’t recommended for young children because of its size and potential choking hazard. For older children and collectors, it can be a great deal of fun. He loves hugs! Will you give him a hug?

Signed books available right here?

I’ve considered it for a while, and I’d like to hear thoughts on having signed books available right here in the shop. I know people have reported having trouble with IndyPlanet’s checkout system or would rather get a signed copy from the artist, so I’m opening the idea for discussion.

To clarify, I’d have to markup the price of the books even though I can get them at cost, which is a little over $6, generally. Including shipping to me, that’s not bad. Now, think about it this way: to break even, I’d have to markup the books to about $12 on individual sales. To make a profit, we’re talking $18 – before my own shipping cost is added on. Fortunately, if I can order a bunch at a time, the cost is driven down for me.

This would mean I could do an unsigned book for about $6.50-$7 and a signed book for $7.50-8. A fair price, all things considered. Individual shipping to you via flat-rate (My preferred method because it’s insured!) comes out to $5.75. So, we’re talking $12.25-12-75 and $13.25-13.75 with shipping. Still pretty fair, all things considered.

Why would I reveal the prices? Well, I like letting people know what they’re paying for. I was taught early on “Honesty is the best policy” and I’ve stuck to that consistently for years. I’m being honest with you concerning the prices of these books, but for those who want printed copies and don’t want the hassle of IndyPlanet’s checkout system or want it signed by the artist, well, this would be a golden opportunity, don’t you think?

The other consideration I’ve put out before for discussion is doing a signed book and plush action figure combo pack for $25. I’ve had people agree that would be an extremely good deal, but I’m opening it for discussion again. I really do want as much input as possible on these ideas.

The quiet charm of Hanaji Camridon!

Hanaji Camridon is best described as a gentleman. Although he’s generally shy and quiet, he has his passions that he’s not afraid to voice his thoughts on. He’s neither a muscle-bound brute nor a 90-pound weakling, but he can’t stand seeing anyone in trouble. Peace-loving, loyal and quite charming make him an excellent friend to have.

hanaji

Together with his best friend Shin Tsurugi the high school kendo/fencing team was undefeated. Since neither boy could defeat the other, they co-captained the team. The two are best friends for a very good reason: similar history. Hanaji never knew his parents and Shin’s were murdered. Both grew up in an orphanage.

Hanaji’s name is of Japanese origin. Hanaji actually means “nosebleed.” This name was initially chosen because he was so shy around girls that every time he tried to talk to one, he’d get a nosebleed. Well, that part of his personality really didn’t stick near as well as his name. Though he did keep the awkward interaction with girls to some extent, he really doesn’t get a nosebleed when he’s around them.

To Arora, he’s a good friend. Though their friends can clearly see they’ve got a distinct connection with one another, Arora and Hanaji consider themselves good friends and nothing more. Of course that doesn’t stop Ellie, Katherine and Shin from trying to encourage the pair with double dates and little conspiracies to get them to recognize their feelings.

His gentle nature vanishes when his passion comes out. His passion is nature and the environment. Like so many others, he feared voicing his displeasure with the way Nyxus treated the natural balance of the planet because of her often deadly response to the negative attitude, but as Blue Nite Soldier, his displeasure became loud and clear, much to her extreme displeasure.

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

A friendly, cuddly spider: Bitsy

Bitsy FireKeeper is probably the biggest hero of all, despite being among the smallest in size. Spiders tend to scare people, but this one only looks frightening to most. The soft pink and white hairs on her body are sensitive to touch and like a dog or cat, she enjoys being stroked and cuddled.

bitsyShe’s the pet of Keru Firekeeper, younger brother of Virgo FireKeeper. A loyal and very loving friend for Keru.

Upon the discovery of her venom being toxic primarily to insects, including vampire cockroaches, Dream Angel started encouraging Keru, accompanied by Athalia, to join the battles.

Most of the heroes would prefer to keep their distance from the spider, but they all understand she’s not aggressive towards them and likely wouldn’t hurt them.
Reprobates, Harpies, vampire cockroaches, Jerigel and the Keres sisters all hate Bitsy. Though she’s not very dangerous to most, the roaches and Jerigel in particular panic at the sight of her.

A bite from Bitsy isn’t fatal to any creature except insects. To the vampire insects, her bite has another effect, though. This bite causes the vampire to return to human form, shedding the insect form permanently. Unfortunately, they panic at the sight of her, making it very difficult to successfully bite even one. On the plus side, they scatter very quickly making for fast escapes from the castle when she and Keru are found inside.

Bitsy FireKeeper makes her comic book debut in Dream Angel #8, which can be found in the shop. It’s highly recommended that you get the books that came before so the story makes sense! Also found in the shop is her plush action figure. She’s highly fond of hugs and can never get enough! Will you give this beautiful, soft and very cuddly spider a hug?