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KZN 17 Jul 2007 – "This is a very bad idea" - Stephan [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Stephan

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KZN 17 Jul 2007 – "This is a very bad idea" [Jul. 31st, 2007|10:24 pm]
Stephan

My 2nd attempt to post this after something went wrong in the browser – I hate it when that happens.

Okay…

All in all I’m pleased with the group of images, even though Panel #1 stands as the only one where I was fully able to eradicate that annoying speckling that occurs when you shrink an image. I recall having devised a technique to completely isolate the drawing subject from the background, but I have a mental block on the issue right now. On this occasion I removed it by using background colour fill through the different shades of grey.

The capacitors you see in panel #1 are the reason for this most recent delay, and because they were a key point in the story I couldn’t blab on about them earlier. When I rendered the panels earlier I failed to notice then that the capacitors were sticking up into GG1’s shell. It took me a while to properly re-shape them.

Panel #2 is my favourite of this sequence. The speckling is less evident than in the later panels. It couldn’t be removed with the colour fill method because parts of Michael’s face have adjoining regions of grey and white with no black border to separate them. In particular I’m pleased with his face; I think this is the first spot that I’ve been able to draw his canine teeth adequately. I also remembered to paint in the white fur around his mouth. All in all it’s dramatic aspect pleases me. If only I knew how to use that tool in Adobe Photoshop for the speed blurring.

Panel #3 Turned out OK, but isn’t as clever as the others.

I’m not sure whether narration is a good idea for my comic, as I’m worried that it’s a form of interaction between myself and the events of the comic. I’m not at all a fan of comics where the characters and the artist communicate – that just seems weird to me. B-r-r-r-rrrr! On this occasion it was difficult to avoid, given that Michael is the only speaking character until GG1 reactivates. Comments welcome!

Panel #4 was my biggest headache. I really couldn’t figure out the correct way to draw Michael’s jaw from the 3/4 perspective. I looked for similar faces among the web comics, but didn’t find anything to fit the situation. Unlike other furries out there Michael has an especially narrow jaw due to his kangaroo lineage. I’ve relied on Florence Ambrose a lot for some of the past work in fixing the angle on Michael’s face, but this is one expression I can’t recall seeing on her.

There’s a lingering itch that I had something else to comment on, but whatever that might be escapes me at this point. Oh well… I can always post that further down.

Apart from fixing up her locomotive number plate I have no further additions to make on GG1 ver 1.0 so now is my opportunity to catch up. Then I want to make corrections to the earlier images, including that terrific suggestion of Marmoe’s with the movement lines! Busy, busy, busy!

Oh, and if anyone is missing me on Talk about Comics, well tough! :P I’m late, I’m late for every comic date. No time to say hello, goodbye! I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!

linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2007-07-31 12:37 pm (UTC)
Now I remember what I need to post. Funny how I only recall after the pressure is off... (my memory - sheesh! :( )

Firstly, link is here: http://sauerpuss.anobviousdistraction.com/d/20070717.html and I was going to say that it feels odd that I'm writing up my comments for an episode of the comic that I should have made live 2 weeks earlier.

Secondly, Panel #3 does have one good feature. GG1's pantographs (the structures forming her ears) are on superb dislay there. Batty provided those to me at a moment's notice and I adored them from the instant my eyes saw them. Great work Den!
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[User Picture]From: deckardcanine
2007-07-31 02:23 pm (UTC)
I rather like your panel 4 expression.

Too bad he's saying "you're" instead of "you'd." :)
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[User Picture]From: marmoe
2007-07-31 04:43 pm (UTC)
Another world, another slang. ;-)
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[User Picture]From: deckardcanine
2007-07-31 05:40 pm (UTC)
For real? Maybe I should check out a Web page of Australisms.
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[User Picture]From: deckardcanine
2007-07-31 05:56 pm (UTC)
You were right. And while I was looking around, I took a few ten-question multiple-choice tests for my knowledge of non-American forms of English. I got 90% for British, 70% for Irish, and 50% for Aussie.

No wonder I decided to turn on the Spanish subtitles when I watched The Dish.
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[User Picture]From: marmoe
2007-07-31 07:28 pm (UTC)
Joking, actually, but as it seems the world proved me correct nonetheless. :-D

I was pushing a straw into Scott's hands that Michael's world had some idioms of its own. ;-)
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[User Picture]From: deckardcanine
2007-07-31 08:24 pm (UTC)
Great, maybe I was right the first time. 8-(
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2007-07-31 08:57 pm (UTC)
Ooops!!! Now that absolutely NEEDS to be fixed!

Done. I also took the liberty of touching up some missing colour in a few places, such as the missing black on the clawnail.

The lettering is the very final addition to the strip, and you can see what a late hour of night it was. :roll:
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[User Picture]From: deckardcanine
2007-07-31 09:40 pm (UTC)
Heh. In my comic, the lettering is the first visual step. Of course, my media aren't the same.
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[User Picture]From: marmoe
2007-07-31 07:40 pm (UTC)
Yay, update.

Ooohhh, run, follow the white foxeroo with the clock down the hole. ;-)

Having Michael talking to GG1 is a good trick, doesn't really break the 4th wall. Think of it like a vet talking to a dog or a user talking to a PC. It simply helps people to focus.

I am not sure what the speckling is, that you refer to. I do see, that the renders are done without antialiasing (giving the step-like borders) and that the shading of rounded objects is not continuous tone. Is that a design decision or something you would like to change? As for the speckling, are you referring to the borders of Michael? They have a wide variety of shades of gray, including some odd light pixels.

I'm curious: What is the original image size of your renders? 800 x 600 pixels?
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2007-07-31 09:05 pm (UTC)
Hi Marmoe!

Yep! The renders are 800 x 600 indeed.

What I mean by 4th wall breaking is the box of text in the lower right of panel #3 where I'm explaining the technics of dynamic braking. This is your author speaking. :)

The speckling isn't in the render, it's around the edges of the cartoon elements (Michael in this case) that I paste onto the top of the render image). On the advice I received from Pony and others on TAC I scan my drawings in on high resolution and then shrink them down. The consequence of this is that some pixels at the edge choose their own colours. Michael is a good subject to work with because he is composed entirely of black, white and soft grey. I'm going to have to work out a better technique when the other characters arrive on the scene... ESPECIALLY SEBASTIAN!!! :o
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[User Picture]From: marmoe
2007-08-01 09:02 am (UTC)
You'll get better image quality if you postpone the scaling down for as long as possible in your production process.

So instead of scaling down your cartoon art as the first step in joining it with the render, I would recommend to scale up your render, if your computer has enough memory to handle this. Scale the render up by integer multiples like 4 or 5, whatever is appropriate to fit your cartoon art. Keeping to integer multiples will keep those pixels crisp, that are not bordering on cartoon art, when you scale the image down again to exactly its original size. The scaling down back to 800 x 600 pixels ought to be the final step when producing your images. Taking this route you ought to be able to avoid or at least lessen the speckling.
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2007-08-01 09:09 pm (UTC)
My computer might be able to handle it, but the images would take hours to render. Also I haven't yet learned how to manipulate images in photoshop. I'm still relying on Microsoft Paint (sad, isn't it?) MS Paint doesn't have the means to work on a higher resolution image while adjusting the view size to fit in the screen.

I'm hoping that if my comic stays visible long enough that I might have the good fortune to meet a comic artist in my own city who has the time and patience to teach me some of these skills.

I'm happy to say that Kaustic auZzie Notes *IS* drawing attention. When I (finally) started work on this comic I was prepared for the dissapointment that it wouldn't suit the tastes of everyone, and that those among my friends might not necessarily find it entertaining. However to my surprise it's spread among folk at work and church who are very keen to see more episodes.

Looks like I have work to do! :)
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[User Picture]From: marmoe
2007-08-02 11:01 am (UTC)
I was not thinking of rendering the image at higher resolution. Render it to 800 x 600, then take it to a graphics program and simply rescale it to the larger size, that's a matter of seconds.
I'm still relying on Microsoft Paint
Ouch! You like to do things the hard way, don't you? ;-) MS Paint has no decent support for adding cartoon art to the render. Now I better understand your comments on tricks you need to do. I seriously suggest to switch to something better, GIMP and its derivative GIMPshop (which mimiks PhotoShop) are free programs. There is a learning curve attached to the switch (you don't have to learn everything), but you will be saving a lot of time that you are currently wasting on tricking MS Paint into obedience. If you should decide to pick up GIMP or GIMPshop, I am willing to get copies myself and aid you around with recipes. Given my experience with my trusty old version of PaintShop Pro that should not prove to be a problem.
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2007-08-02 12:01 pm (UTC)
>I was not thinking of rendering the image at higher resolution. Render it to 800 x 600, then take it to a graphics program and simply rescale it to the larger size, that's a matter of seconds.

That's just plain brilliant! (No wonder I didn't think of it!) I'll give that a try and see if this can be accomplished by my PC with a minimal amount of smoke pouring out the vents... ;)

>Ouch! You like to do things the hard way, don't you? ;-)

Just about sums me up, yeh! :( Being dyslexic makes me a lousy student; it's the reason I took so long to learn Moray, and you wouldn't want to hear about all my difficulties at work mastering basic administration tasks.

I downloaded a copy of GIMP in late 2005, and the instructions gave me a severe headache! I'd certainly LIKE to learn it, because if what I've heard is true then GIMP can be used to create animated gifs, and that's something I'll need for an episode in a few months time.

Would you know of any GIMP step-by-step tutorials? Kind of along the line of "GIMP for complete imbeciles..."
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[User Picture]From: marmoe
2007-08-02 08:01 pm (UTC)
I'll have a look around for tutorials. :)
Will take a few days to come back to you.
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[User Picture]From: marmoe
2007-08-02 08:05 pm (UTC)
Regarding brilliance, it just comes down to technical experience, really. Don't be harsh on yourself. You have much more drawing and story telling talent than me and that is what counts for a webcomic.
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2007-08-04 08:04 am (UTC)
Thanks Marmoe, that means a lot. Maybe if I work hard enough at this I'll start to understand what I'm doing :)
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2007-08-01 08:17 am (UTC)
Where am I right now? At home? Hahaha [choke]

No, I'm at the office. The beginning / end of the month are the most busy in my role here, so again this may affect the updates to the comic.

E-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y I will get suffuciently forward with the story so that I'm working on episodes that are ahead of schedule, and then these long days at the company wont matter.
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2007-08-05 09:31 pm (UTC)
Made progress on the weekend: Fixed up GG1's eyes so she doesn't look drunk (that's why I've been avoiding showing her front on) and I've installed the numbers on her chest. I gave up trying to figure out which object referenced the surface of her chest so I just slapped a metal plate there. This means a little more render time spent on each image, but at least I don't have to draw the numbers on.

I need to have 4 panels ready for the next episode, and 3 more for the following episode (yes, I'm hoping to start catching up at long last). Rendered two beauties, and was close to a third but accidentally hit the close application button on Moray and lost all the delicate settings. Damn! Starting over...
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2007-08-06 09:59 pm (UTC)
Just finishing breakfast, and at the same time nearing completion of the next compilation of images. Marmoe, that suggestion of yours about scaling up the render images was outstanding. I've already produced three out of the four pictures needed, with zero speckling. Only #4 remains to be completed.

The computer is obviously hating me for the effort I'm putting it through, and keeps me waiting for a good while, but heck this is fun! :)
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