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Countdown to Techwarrior #5!

The countdown to Techwarrior #5 has begun! With 9 days to go, this book looks amazing and in the Facebook release party event, voting is showing that an accompanying 5 book collection should be released as well.

This means it’ll be a double party for Techwarrior #5 to celebrate both.
For being the first book released in some time, this one looks to have a lot of anticipation, just from the few renders that have been shared on Facebook in the group.

If I may make a personal reference here: I’m glad those few renders that have been shared have been so eagerly received. I’m also impressed at being able to keep the page-a-day render routine I’ve had all along, despite each panel scene taking 2 hours to render. Seeing people excited about this new book for the improved quality of the rendering it wonderful.

Are you as excited about it as I am?

One thing that’s ended up real fascinating is a test render of the background for Techwarrior #5. Well, one of the backgrounds, anyway. The scene is simple enough. To share the secret of the scene, it’s Stonemason’s Level 19 with the Iray Uber base applied to it. After that, the Iray Emissive shader applied to the lights and turned up so it lights the scene nicely.

All stuff that came with DAZ Studio itself. No, I’m not dissing it or anything. Just saying sometimes, the simplest scenes can make a huge impression! This background sets off the mood of Techwarrior #5 very well, too. Gives an air of mystery to some of the scenes, making it more dramatic.

Okay, enough spoilers! You’ll have to wait for the book for more. All that’s left to say is that it’s most definitely worth the wait!

Mercenary sense of humor: Lauren

laurenLauren is a mercenary, but what you don’t know about her is that she doesn’t always join the conflict for personal gain or money. Sometimes she’ll join the conflict just to laugh. As the conflicting parties wind up in a state of complete confusion as a result of something she said or did.

She doesn’t often admit it, but she doesn’t approve of what Nyxus and the Keres do. To keep her neutrality, she’ll betray both sides and laugh at them.

Ah, but all that’s common knowledge, you say. Well, here’s the uncommon knowledge: her outfit idea came from an ice skating outfit. Why do you need to know that? Well, it’s a nice bit of background trivia. It’s like asking why you’d need to know that a fly on a drawing table inspired Spider-man.

Lauren’s the mercenary with a heart and a conscience, as well. If she feels responsible for the destruction between hero and villain, she’ll find ways to help the victims. She and Teikou no Senshi are the ones found sifting through rubble, searching for victims in spite of a rocky relationship.

She’s also known to be a sort of referee between the heroes and villains. Though she has no power of her own, besides intelligence, she does sometimes get between battling pairs and break the fight up.

I could go on and on, so I’ll speed things up and summarize with a list:
Lauren:
1. is a mercenary
2. is intelligent
3. goes searching for victims
4. sometimes feels responsible for the victims
5. has no power of her own
6. loves a good joke
7. plays pranks on both hero and villain
8. doesn’t approve what the villains do
9. gets the job done
10. her outfit idea came from a skating outfit

Still pretty common knowledge, but then I didn’t promise anything you might not already know. Just stuff you need to know about her.

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

Police Lieutenant Larissa Arum

Larissa Arum is a tough one by nature, but still a loving mother. They say opposites attract and that is the case with Larissa and her husband Jake. She’s always straight and doesn’t crack jokes. If she does, it’s rare. Jake tells jokes all the time to lighten the mood and get people laughing. Most of all, he loves making Larissa laugh.

larissaHer daughter is more precious to her than even her own life at times. When she found out her daughter’s secret, she vowed to keep it and help her any way she could. She’s kept that vow in many ways. She started by getting Arora some small, lightweight communication equipment. So when she’s out flying around she can even help the police force by reporting problems.

Larissa often makes sure she’s first on the scene to help with crowd control. Also preventing fellow officers from shooting at the wrong target. She has a get-it-done attitude and there aren’t many who’d argue with her.

In practice fights, Jake and Larissa are an even match. Both are masters of self-defense and hand-to-hand fighting in various forms. Between the two, Arora is well trained in the defensive arts. Larissa stepped up her daughter’s training when she learned her secret. She explained to Jake that it was time she learned the more advanced techniques. Having mastered the ones Arora had been learning from Larissa all along. Jake accepted that and also stepped up his daughter’s training.

If there’s one thing Larissa hates, it’s repeat offenders. She’s stern with the first timers, but if she catches a repeat offender, they get a much tougher attitude. Nothing that could be “police brutality,” just enough to discourage another repeat offense. A good amount of the time, the repeat offender doesn’t repeat again after meeting her.

What do you think? Is she an interesting character? She makes her debut comic book appearance in Dream Angel #1, which is available in the shop. Also available in the shop is her plush action figure.

Watch out for more Techwarrior!

As you know, Techwarrior has been delayed for a good many months now for an assortment of reasons. Well, the wait will soon be over! Techwarrior #5 has started production and already the cover and first four pages are complete with beautiful results.

tehcwarriorDuring the delay, new things were learned. One that’s proven to be the most impressive lately is the ability to use Iray. Iray is a DAZ3D render engine that does photo realistic renders. Clearly, used properly, this render engine is extremely powerful. A simple test scene is still getting “liked” on Facebook!

There’s a cost to Iray, though. Each panel render takes 2 hours! This means, to get a 4 panel page done takes over 8 hours! Yet, the phenomenal reaction to this new style of rendering does make it quite worth it.

So, what about Techwarrior? When will we see it?

Techwarrior is going at a rate of about 3-4 panels a day, which is quite good. The chosen release date is March 13th, 2017. At the current rate of rendering, it should be done by then, even with time to spare for preparing it to be added to the shop. This means we’ll be having quite a party to celebrate the first book in several months.

What about Dream Angel? When will we see the next book?

Well, progress for Dream Angel is still pretty slow, but it is progress. Dream Angel #24 should soon be ready to begin production. The thought along that line is to get the series rendered to #30 and then possibly begin updating the earlier books. #2-6 used Poser, so those mean completely re-creating the scenes in DAZ for Iray. The hope is that in the meantime, Techwarrior #1-4 can be swiftly updated to Iray so they match #5, since they were all made with DAZ to begin with.

It’ll be a while before Dream Angel starts seeing books updated – unless a publisher expresses interest in seeing them updated – but Techwarrior might see updates first. In any case, the aging laptop that’s used to make these books is in desperate need of a replacement to keep up with Iray, because it requires a lot of power to do the renders.

So, are you looking forward to the new book? Think it’s worth the wait?

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.

Are you of great virtue? Meet Kiryoku!

Kiryoku is a Kirin centaur. She’s half Chinese unicorn. Though there are different words and legends, the idea behind the creature remains the same: punish the wicked.

kiryokuKiryoku only appears to those of great virtue. Dream Angel has a strong sense of justice, and her friends also have many virtues. Though the Keres might see her, they cannot easily understand her.

Kiryoku’s another of the species Nyxus deemed “unnecessary” and marked for hunting. Dream Angel found her in one of the Keres’ traps. She was among the earliest allies and friends Dream Angel made.

The legend of the Kirin is from China, Japan and Korea. Kiryoku’s appearance comes from the Chinese and Korean legend, and Kirin is a Japanese word. The creature, has the head of a dragon, the antlers and body of a deer, the scales of a fish and the tail of an ox. I ended up with a mixture without the dragon parts and instead made it a centaur.

Kiryoku means energy. I’ve often depicted and described her as skilled with a sword, which blends neatly with her scaled body. This gives the impression that she’s unarmed. This falls neatly in line with the legendary creatures’ ‘punish the wicked’ nature.

Though she cares about her appearance, she’s not especially vain about it. She’ll get into the thick of the dirtiest battles and walk away with a satisfied look on her face when it’s over, even if she’s caked in mud.

To some, she might look helpless and even gentle, but being on the wrong side of her sword is quite dangerous. True to her name, she’s very energetic and very fast as well.

She’s not much for jokes, though she does enjoy them. In battle, she prefers being serious. When she met Jake, after a couple of his jokes, she couldn’t keep a straight face around him. Every time she sees him, she starts laughing. Not always loudly, but she would be found sniggering.

What do you think? Is Kiryoku an interesting character? Kiryoku makes her comic book debut in Dream Angel #7, which can be found in the shop. It’s a good idea to get the books that came before it so the story makes sense! Also found in the shop is her plush action figure.

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.

The over eager little brother: Keru

Keru FireKeeper is the always-eager-to-please younger brother of Virgo FireKeeper. Though he’s best known for getting into mischief, most times it’s harmless.keru

keruThis young cub brings all his effort to whatever he’s doing. Like any young boy, he also enjoys having unusual pets. Bitsy is his best friend, the problem is she’s a spider.

Between the two, they can get into a broad variety of trouble or get Dream Angel and her friends out of a broad variety of trouble. The mere sight of Bitsy causes quite an uproar among villains. Especially the vampire roaches. Since spiders naturally eat roaches, their instinct is to panic and look for a place to hide.

The Keres are none too fond of the young tiger and his pet as well. The sisters often let out a bloodcurdling screech attached to a scream of “KILL IT!” as they look for a place to get away from the spider.

In terms of mischief, Keru’s a master. Athalia’s the one who keeps him in check when his brother’s not around. A stern look from Torakatai usually sends him running back to Athalia or Virgo. He knows Torakatai is tough for punishments for the sake of keeping order among the tiger villagers.

Keru literally means “kick.” He likes to think it means he kicks butt. He’s still learning battle strategies and fighting techniques, but he’ll still fight off Reprobates. Usually, he stays close to his brother if he’s involved in a fight. Between Virgo and Athalia, he’s a moderately formidable fighter on his own.

Even Torakatai has helped train the young cub. Teaching techniques even his other two trainers don’t know. Virgo’s excellent with a staff, Athalia without a weapon. Torakatai is a master of many techniques and weapons.

What do you think? Is Keru an interesting character? He makes his comic book debut in Dream Angel #8, 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 available in the shop is his plush action figure.

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!

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.