Wednesday, November 29

Sick as a Frog, Hog, Dog?

I'm not sure it it's good practice to write excuses in your blog to why no entries are coming but I've been terrible sick for the last four days and I'm still not well.

Saturday, November 25

Brain Reset

I'm back from vacation. During which I read Maus (the collection) which made me not work at all on my own comic script. I guess there is only enough space in my brain for one great comic book. Instead I wrote several pages of notes for my retro platform game. To be fair I was on vacation.

Monday, November 13

One Week in Morocco

Me and my girlfriend will leave for a week of vacation in Morocco on Thursday and I have other chores to do so this blog will be on hold for a week and a half. I'll bring my handheld with me so I might write on my script and I hope to spit out a couple of character designs and/or thumbnails.

Thursday, November 9

Property Windows

Yesterdays exercise made me create these property windows (you have to close the window using the X-icon in the title bar to see the next one). The dropdowns should all work so you can see an example of what they could contain. Naturally these are combo boxes so if you don't find what you want in the dropdown you can type something from the top of your head.

From Abstraction to Precision

I'm trying to be less abstract and really untangle the devices I'm working with. Please if you disagree with me let me know. This should be simple but for some reason it doesn't come easy for me. One good thing that has come out of this exercise is that I'm dropping the Act metaphor in favor of the Chapter metaphor that is already de facto in comic books.

Story
A story is what we're telling the reader. A story can have a plot or it might seemingly lack a plot. While the story takes a whole comic book to tell the main plot of the story can be summarized in one or two sentences. The story can also be explained in a synopsis that omits the plot as to not create any spoilers. The synopsis is selling the story.

In short: Story > Synopsis > Plot.

Scene
A comic book scene is an event spanning one or more panels with a common purpose. A comic book scene differs from a scene in a play or a movie in terms of detail but not necessarily in length. The pattern of a comic book scene also differ from a play or a movie. A comic book has to be more to the point and efficient. The scenes are telling the story.

The purpose of a scene is tightly connected to which part of the story the scene belongs to. The scenes sets the pace of a comic book. With shorter scenes we get a faster pace. Compare this to how the size of a comic panel can effect timing and the perceived passing of time.

Following this definition a comic strip is, as far as I can see, exactly one scene long.

In short: Scene = Description of event, Purpose of event.

Chapter
A comic book chapter is a number of scenes that are bundled together much like the acts of a play. I would not compare a comic book chapter to a chapter in a written book. The chapters are the carriers of the dramatic structure of the story. While the scenes tell the story each chapter represents different aspects of the story. The chapters are pacing the story.

In short: Chapter = Aspect of the story.

Plot
A comic book plot directs the string of events that is told by the story. A plot is generally a conflict that has a beginning, a number of twists and an ending. I see the plot as being vertical to the story creating the fabric of the story. With several plots we get a thicker fabric but if the subplots do not indirectly effect the main plot they work against it. The plot is explaining the story and thus must make sense. If the plot is too thin or too obvious the story gets uninteresting.

In short: Plot = String of plot elements.

Plot element
Comic book plot elements are the building blocks that create a plot. While scenes must have a purpose that tells the story a plot element pushes the plot behind the story forwards. I also want to include plot devices like foreshadowing and hooks in this term. The plot elements should be woven into the story.

In short: Characteristics of the plot, plot devices.

Sunday, November 5

Breaking the Color Code

I'm slowly understanding how I need to handle colors. Here is a RGB conversion of all the CMYK colors I'm interested in. These are 25% increments of every color.

You can also see what happends if your black k-channel isn't backed up by the other color channels. You get a muddy black that doesn't print as nicely as it should.

Bone Armature

Here is a male bone structure armature puppet dummy thingy. This one is based on the action cartooning teachings of Ben Caldwell but with my own twist. I've got a 3D armature renderer that I will put this guy into and then I'll create a poser program.

If you're really interested in 3D posing there are several open source projects that render humans with muscles and that junk that I don't care about at this moment.

Friday, November 3

Process Breakdown

This diagram shows one way that you could create a comic book. The studio will not dictate that you work this way and even though the process in drawn like a waterfall there shouldn't be anything stopping you from jumping back and forth reorganizing stuff.

One way to implementing this process is to use a big paper and write an opening premise in the middle of the paper. Other ideas and events are then added to the paper. When you think you have enough these are sorted, grouped and weighted. From this paper you should be able to start working on thumbnails.

This is the process I will use for my comic book. Instead of using a big paper I will use different programs and tools that can be incorporated into the comic book studio.

Thursday, November 2

Print and Scan Approach

David Seah have created a lot of nice looking printable forms that are great for keeping track of your own progress and for planning your workday. I have been using a couple of different time report and project management systems and for some odd reason I always end up making notes on sheets of paper that I then have to transfer by hand at the end of the week. David Seah has not only realized this, he's embracing it.

Having to transfer the notes on paper to a project management system is the only drawback to having printable forms. And what to do about this if not to use your scanner and some clever Optical Character Recognition to make a check in a box turn into a value in a column of our database.

This idea is so good (I can claim this since it's not truly my own idea) that I see no reason why this shouldn't be applied to every step of the comic book creation pipeline. I touched on this subject when I did the brainstorming session way back but I never saw the full potential of using a "Print and Scan" approach.

Consider the penciller printing out blueline guidelines complete with panel borders and perspective grids. This has been done before but if we add codes to the page that automatically files the scan in the right place we make scanning a whole lot less time consuming.

Now consider the letterer first creating a mock-up design digitally and then printing a coded lettering documents that has the lettering areas individually organized complete with any guidelines you need (be that actual bluelines or text) . When the lettering is completed these lettering documents are scanned and every individual balloon and caption is transferred to the comic book project where the finishing touches can be applied.

The writer prints out a bunch of script forms that he can carry with his everywhere he goes. These include forms for "registering" plot ideas, scene structure, dialogue well everything that is not an actual script but that can be used to model a script. The writer checks the right boxes and codes the document for scanning so that when all script documents are scanned there is a nice collection of information that can then be reviewed and transformed into the final script.

There are hundreds of other scenarios that could use this approach. And if you dislike scanning altogether perhaps the Anoto pen is an answer for you.

Wednesday, November 1

Visitor Survey

1. Did you find this blog while looking for comic book related topics?

YesNo

2. Would you bookmark this blog?

YesNo

3. Are you involved in creating comic books?

Yes, and I get payed doing so

Yes, but only as a hobby

No, but I would like to

No, not at all

4. Which of the following topics are you most interested in?

Story Modelling

Layout Tools

Digital Pencilling

Digital Inking

Digital Lettering

Digital Coloring

Project Management

Only click ones, you will not get a receipt