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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.

 

 

A real life saver: Kiano Tadelesh

Kiano Tadelesh is an interesting character. Though his appearances in the comics are pretty brief, he points out some interesting facts to Dream Angel. Like just about everyone else, he doesn’t want to get on Nyxus’s bad side so he’s careful about what he says when he knows others are listening.

kianoHis passion lies in his desire to save lives and when he sees Dream Angel doing exactly that, he decides she’s not trying to hurt people the way Nyxus wants people to believe. Most people know about Dream Angel and everyone knows Nyxus, so Dream Angel’s presence at the scene of a disaster is no surprise to Kiano.

Scenes like this: 

Are fairly commonplace for Kiano. Although earthquakes aren’t common, he’s used to her being around areas that look a lot like this as the damage is usually the result of fighting.

I decided some time ago that with all the destruction Dream Angel’s fighting would cause, would result in injuries and of course, there’d have to be medical personnel on the scene to help them. Not long after that, I decided my books would have a good amount of diversity.

So, I fussed and played with the design of his character. Once I got the uniform right, I made him look good in it. Picking out his name was a bit more challenging, but I finally settled on Kiano, which means “The wizard” and Tadelesh which means “Tools of”. A little ironic since he uses tools in sometimes magical ways to save lives as part of his job.

What do you think? Is he an interesting character? His comic book debut is in Dream Angel #6, which can be found in the shop. It’s a good idea to get the books that come before it so the story makes sense! Also found in the shop is his plush action figure.

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.

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?

Dangerous Daragon IronWeasel

Today the spotlight’s on Daragon IronWeasel. After Xalibe WildClaw’s repeated failures to destroy Dream Angel and her friends, the very ambitious Daragon replaced him as leader of the Reprobate elite.

daragon ironweasel

Upon his predecessor’s demotion, Daragon quickly proved himself worthy of his new post in Nyxus’s eyes by capturing Dream Angel, but thanks to her friends, it didn’t last and he felt the consequences. Since then, he’s been more determined than ever to prove his worth to her, but is often stopped by Xalibe, who wants to regain his post.

Daragon’s always looking for the fastest way to regain the favor he had initially after Xalibe’s demotion. He’s a devious, determined elite, but not as strong as he thinks he is. He’s not as strong with a sword as Xalibe and often slower in flight.

Physical strength makes up for his shortcomings, however. In a bare, hand-to-hand fight, he could bring down even Ryu. That is, unless he fought fair. Like most villains, he takes every advantage possible without exception. Every underhanded trick imaginable, he’ll use if he thinks it’ll help him take down his opponent.

Of course, his underhanded tricks only work if Xalibe isn’t in the middle of the fight trying to discredit his replacement. When he is lucky enough to not have Xalibe out to discredit him, he is quite the formidable opponent and fierce warrior. Of course, he’s only that lucky when Xalibe has someone to guard in the castle dungeons, which really isn’t too often.

In a wrestling match with Jake, Daragon would only have the upper hand a short time. Even retired, the wrestling champion is a force to be reckoned with and his wife is even tougher. Daragon learned the hard way to leave these two particular opponents alone. Their daughter, of course, he goes after no matter what.

Daragon makes his comic book debut in Dream Angel #3, which can be found in the shop. It’s a good idea to get the books that come before so the story makes sense! Also found in the shop is his plush action figure. As tough as he might sound, he’s really a big softie that’s good for cuddling!

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.

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.

Deadly legend: Nyxus’s wyvern form

nyxus wyvernThere is a great deal that is unknown about Nyxus’s wyvern form and Nyxus herself isn’t likely to tell. Some say it happens every 100 years, some say every 5 years. There is even a heated debate about if she’s a true wyvern in this form or not.

Some legends tell that this transformation is a once every 100 years type that only lasts 24 hours. It happens just after a full solar eclipse and for the following 24 hours, she’s large enough to cause a great deal of damage.

There are some key differences between a dragon and a wyvern, as Ryu would point out. A wyvern only has two legs, is usually darker and much uglier in color compared to a dragon, who is brighter colored. The most important difference Ryu would point out though, is that a wyvern can’t breathe fire. That alone is a plus in favor of the heroes since they have a bad encounter with Nyxus after she takes this form.

With all the legends and controversy surrounding this form, debates often get heated. Even the Keres won’t divulge the facts about it as it’s a key advantage to keeping the people under control. The legends all say death surrounds this black creature and that angering it is a sure way to die.

The one redeeming factor is that once the 24 hours have passed, Nyxus is in a weakened state. This is a little-known fact, though as she uses fear to keep people from attacking her while she’s weak. This is one time she puts the whole castle on ultra-high alert and assures nobody will come anywhere near while she recovers.
In spite of the fact that Ryu can defeat her in this form, he still needs Dream Angel’s help. Dream Angel, in turn, needs a boost in power to achieve the strength needed to help defeat her. The problem with that is the new power is difficult to control and leaves her exhausted.

What do you think? Is she an interesting character? She makes her comic book debut in Dream Angel #10, which is available in the shop. It’s a good idea to consider getting the books that came before it and there’s collection books to help with this. Also in the shop is her plush action figure.

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?

 

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.