Modeling studies and what’s been learned

As you know, I’ve been studying modeling and learning a lot in the process. These modeling studies and what’s been learned from them will be put to use in future books.

Why study modeling? Well, sometimes I just can’t quite find what I want in ready-made models. I might have a very specific idea in mind and just can’t find something to match. What to do then? I’ve very clumsily made my own models in the past and gotten lucky when they did what I wanted or looked close within reason to what I had in mind.

Lately, I’ve gotten the idea that if I can make reasonably good-looking models I can also sell them. Okay, it’s going to take a lot of practice to get to that point, but having that as a sort of sideline to the comics will help them, too. From that point of view, that makes these modeling studies worth the time, wouldn’t you agree?

One thing I’ve become particularly proud of is the ability to create my own dynamic cloth. Dynamic cloth being simulated cloth that drapes realistically on the 3D model. The theory with that being that used together with the cloth that’s not dynamic and simply has morphs to simulate the wrinkles and appearance of cloth, it can step up the look and feel of the characters to help against the “stiff and lifeless” complaint.

So, between being able to model my own stuff, use more realistic-looking clothes on characters, camera tricks and lighting that sets an effective mood, it’s safe to say future books will look even better than ever. It just means being patient while these new skills are learned and practiced. Don’t forget to come keep an eye on the activity streams page, though. I’ll be posting goodies there occasionally!

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 Anniversary, Dream Angel!!

Happy 4th anniversary, Dream Angel! On this day, 4 years ago, your first book became a finished reality. Now, 4 years later, you boast 23 books and a second edition of that first book. Your first story, some years ago, won second place at the county fair. A Barbie dressed in a handmade costume as Katrilina won first place and was stolen. Your first hand drawn comic was featured in a college newspaper.

dreamangel600There’s been more than enough ups and downs these last 4 years, but through it all, you’ve remained unforgettable to those who’ve enjoyed your stories. Although this year, the book release schedule has been slowed down considerably, patient fans will find the books to come worth the wait. Your counterpart Techwarrior had his first anniversary this year. Your newest counterpart Hillbilly Hoot has yet to celebrate his first anniversary next year with more books, but today’s about you.
Through your many forms and various ideas, you’ve endured the years. Happy 4th anniversary and many, many more to come! You are indeed the shining golden goddess of the dawn.

Here’s your anniversary present, fans!

Now, to the good news you readers might enjoy: there’s a coupon floating around today only!! Here’s the code: 4thanniversary2016. It can only be used once per person, but 30% off is pretty good, so have some fun!! Simply put the code in during the checkout process to get the discount. Sorry, it doesn’t apply towards shipping – that’s something I can’t control, but it’s 30% off your entire purchase! That counts for something, right? So, head over to the shop and put it to work!!


What have I been learning lately?

What have I been learning lately? A fair question and quite a valid one, considering how quiet it’s been for the most part. Well, since books have hit a standstill, I’ve been learning new things about lights and cameras. Grabbing every tutorial on the subject I can when I can. Anyone who’s read the earliest Dream Angel books will agree those are indeed weaknesses. True fans wouldn’t have those early books any other way, considering the visible evolution of the art through the books. Improving the art has always been and will always be a goal of this artist.

Now, I’ve noted that a leading complaint about CGI art is that it’s “stiff and lifeless.” Well, alongside the lights and cameras, I’ve been on the hunt for ways to solve that problem, as well. On the one hand, the stiff outfits with morphs are much easier to control and less taxing on the computer when rendering. Although, sometimes, a realistic drape is far more dramatic. I figure I might be able to use both at appropriate times to achieve the effects I want in the scene. Sometimes, a dynamic drape just doesn’t cooperate the way you want it to and it’s not an easy thing to control. I do wish to get some tutorials to help with mastering it, of course! So, the stiffer object with the morphs can take over in the meantime while I’m learning. Fair enough, right?

Taking time to learn new things is just as important as releasing new books, right? Admittedly, it’s been a couple months now since the last book was released, but I believe you’ll find the wait well worth it as books to come will benefit from what’s being learned. So, to finish up, I’ll share a couple of the recent renders and let you see what’s been going on behind the scenes.

Let’s have a look at those new

14358776_1188944017810928_107372369020133686_n 14107771_1169948093043854_3990076458590397850_o 14138650_1172357139469616_1382466089939879566_o 14199403_1175468555825141_3034247010704105846_n 14265052_1175469749158355_3886209510934153515_n 14264173_1191306547574675_2200067606829531158_n

Now, let me point out a couple things.

  1. Starting with the first image, lighting is good, but could still use some dramatic flair.
  2. Second one, there’s some drama going on. I’m willing to bet some color adjustments or other tweaks would take it over the top.
  3. The third one, with Techwarrior and his villain Cryptolock going at it is pretty dramatic. I’ll bet there’s some room to tweak it further. You’ll also notice that cape of Cryptolock’s is pretty stiff compared to the
  4. next image and its dynamically draped cape. Between the two, his scenes may well be considerably more dramatic and with dramatic lighting to match… Well, I think you can imagine the improvement.
  5. The next one has Techwarrior in his new dynamically draped outfit. Not so “stiff and lifeless” is he?
  6. The last is the newest with the “chibi” figure I recently found. Nothing dramatic here, just Dream Angel and Nyxus showing off with the new figure. This new figure is quite good, but there’s still going to be some hand-drawn chibi figures for comedic emphasis throughout the books. They’re intentionally cute, but good for the overly emotional chibi style of character infamous to manga.

As you can see, despite being quiet around here, there’s still plenty going on behind the scenes. So, what do you think? Any ideas, tips, suggestions?

So many books!

There’s so many books here already that it’s hard to keep track!

Let’s try, shall we? Our flagship series is Dream Angel standing at a fabulous 24 books 180da#1 (counting the second edition of Dream Angel #1180da2nd#1). The second series is Techwarrior tech1-180 with a fantastic 4 book setup waiting to blow readers away. Last, but not least is the smallest, and newest series, Hillbilly Hoot 13221633_1091311364240861_3680558582007933730_n and while he’s only got one book at the moment, it’s a wonder to behold.

What’s going to happen next with these three wonderful series?

Well, more books, of course! For the time being, new skills are being learned to improve the quality of these books. The study of lighting a scene has taken center stage, for one. It’s true what all the tutorials have been saying: “lighting can make or break a scene. Lighting is 90% of the art. Master that, and you’ve got a stunning scene!” What’s that mean? It means new books are put on hold to allow time to master that 90% and really step up the artistic quality of the books.

“But the books are already so beautiful artistically!”

There’s always room for improvement. Mastering lighting is one step closer. True, even someone who’s mastered their craft is always looking for ways to do it even better, but it helps to have the basics solidly learned. The learning process continues and happily, the results will continue to improve with time and practice.

Keep your eyes open for more eye-popping art to sneak in on the activity pages! You won’t want to miss it!

Thoughts time! What do you think of the books so far? Have you read any of them? If you haven’t, you really should hop over to the shop and grab a few! The earliest books might be a little rough around the edges artistically, but they improve gradually and you might be surprised by the most recent books.

Good news, Techwarrior fans!

Good news, Techwarrior fans!

A rough script for Techwarrior #5-12 has been completed. When the series was started, a 12 book run was proposed, so having the script complete makes it one step closer to rendering. Now, before you get all excited, note that this series is a collaboration. The script has to be approved before rendering can start, and that takes some time sometimes.

Once the script is approved, however, expect books to begin appearing regularly through the 12th book. This is good news for Techwarrior fans, is it not?

What about Dream Angel and Hillbilly Hoot?

Dream Angel at this point is a larger collaboration. Getting the minds involved to do their part has been a slow process I’d hoped would be done long before the book’s time to be rendered. It hasn’t happened that way. The current story arc has been more than a year in the making. Having fellow creative minds involved has in fact slowed down the usual pace for rendering and releasing. Fortunately, things are beginning to pick up gradually and the writing may soon be completed for the arc.

Hillbilly Hoot is another collaboration and health issues have been slowing it down. Life has kept the minds involved with these books quite busy, so it’s difficult to keep a regular schedule at times. Fortunately, these are independently created and released, so there’s no publisher schedule to keep, merely a personal one.

Still fun to be had!

Have you checked out the activity streams page lately? There’s some cool blitz art challenges going on there! Even if you’re not the artsy type, the idea’s to draw what you see and I like to think anyone can do that, no matter how bad they might think they are at drawing! So, come on! We don’t judge! Just have fun with it and enjoy! Despite what people might think, even tracing can be artistic and I can say from experience, it helps with learning to draw, as well.

How stories are written…

How stories are written isn’t always an easy question to answer. Matter of fact, usually the best advice is to write what you know. In school, you’re encouraged to pre-write and plan what to write based on a subject for an essay. Granted, stories aren’t that far removed from essays – matter of fact, they use the same basic structure – but sometimes, you just don’t know what to write, right? How then, to write a story?

Sometimes, all it takes is just to start writing and let the ideas flow – much like right now for me. Now, I’ll grant that some of this might not even make sense, but you’d be surprised how helpful nonsense can be to writing a good story. See, I’m one of those unusual sorts that can’t pre-write a story or essay and have it still make sense. Something gets lost transitioning between the pre-writing and the actual writing. Once that was discovered, I was told to skip the pre-writing and my writing skyrocketed.

Within the Dream Angel story line, there will be a ring. One Nyxus wears constantly to increase her power. First thought that would naturally come to mind is Lord of the Rings, of course. The One Ring has quite the story attached to it, but Nyxus’s is different from even that. The next thing to come to mind is He-Man and the Widgets’ Corodite adding to Skeletor’s power. That might be closer, but still different from even that. There may even be other things along those lines that are close but not the same. Her ring can be used to find pieces of something, but she doesn’t know what it is or how the ring can be used to find it.

Please, if you’ve got ideas, share them!

I won’t apologize!

“I won’t apologize” is based on a simple writing prompt. It may or may not end up being about characters in the books on this site. Okay, little disclaimer over, on to the story.

“I have nothing to apologize for!” she yelled. “This planet is mine!”

“You can’t be serious,” he said sadly. “Thousands dead because you have an itch for power and you have nothing to apologize for?”

“Fool!” she screams as she slaps him hard across the cheek.”Don’t expect me to apologize for them throwing their lives away stupidly!”

“You’ll regret it,” he sighs sadly as he leaves the room.

The war was over, but the damage had been done. Thousands lay dead and thousands more horribly wounded. He was right, she had an itch for power and she’d scratched that itch all over the planet, leading to complete conquest. He knew she’d have to make peace with the people sooner or later unless she wanted to risk a major uprising again, not that she’d admit it.

As he walks down the dimly lit halls of the castle, he thinks to himself, “It’s a good thing the kids aren’t here to see just how viscous their mother can be. I wouldn’t want them learning her murderous ways.”

He walks into a room and finds himself face to face with his young son.

“Father, what’s wrong with Mother?” he wonders innocently. “She’s been so angry lately.”

Upon seeing the large golden brown eyes on the verge of tears, he bends down and wraps the boy in a warm hug. “I wish I knew, son. I wish I knew.”

Okay, that’s all you get for this writing prompt. Whether or not it’s about anyone in the books available in the shop, I’ll leave up to you. As for seeing more books released in the near future, well, we’ll just say I’ve been taking a break to write ahead and this little exercise is a break from even that. So, hope you enjoyed the little story. I know I’m leaving a lot open to the imagination by not telling who or being very descriptive, but I wanted to keep it pretty generic on purpose.

The finale of the triple release party!

Parties are fun, don’t you think? Well, now we’re seeing the finale of the triple release party. First, we saw Techwarrior #4 released on Saturday, then Hillbilly Hoot #1 on Sunday and today, Dream Angel #23 finishes out the trio.

What’s next? Well, that ought to be obvious by now: more books! More plush action figures! More goodies! I seem to have a never ending to-do list. Characters need to be made into plushes from the new patterns, new 3D techniques to learn, books to plan… Then there’s, dishes, laundry, vacuuming, cooking and mopping on top of it all!

So, we’ve made it through all three book releases. Is there any other news to impart? Why yes, there is. The soft weapons will soon be added to the shop with very large bold warnings that they’re most emphatically not for children 3 and under. Soft though they may be, they’re still small accessories! Rather than being for kids, these are better for older collectors more than to be played with. Things like the bow and crossbow do work, and do a nice job of sending the arrow and bolt flying across a room – which could hurt somebody. The pistol and dagger are quite small, too.

Now, older collectors and kids would enjoy these weapons because they’re magnetically attached to the doll’s hands. Characters like Larissa – who’s a police Lieutenant – would benefit from the gun belt made of faux leather, since it would help emphasize her law enforcement status. Reprobates would look more menacing holding a spear or sword. Being soft is simply a plus for these, since it should be harder to hurt someone with them.

So, thoughts?

What do you think of the new books? How about the triple party? Looking forward to seeing new plush characters and the weapons in the shop?

Special Honor Veteran’s Radio Broadcast

Special Honor Veteran’s Radio Broadcast in honor of this weekend’s triple release party! Tune in at Noon Pacific time for this special celebration of the triple release party!

Check it out embedded here:

Then check out the wonderful goodies and fun on this site! Come socialize on the activity page, share goodies from the shop for a 10% discount, and even do simple tasks here on the site for achievements that may include coupons and other fun goodies for download.

This is only day 2 of the delightful release party! We’ve had Techwarrior #4 released and an hour ago, Hillbilly Hoot #1 joined the ranks of books here. Tomorrow, we’ll finally see Dream Angel #23!

Don’t miss a minute of the excitement! Stick around and enjoy the fun!