TV.2 Production Status Update
As of Sunday 05 May 2013, approximately 60% of Water is rendered and either ready for line art or damned near. Fourteen sequential pages are ready to draw. I'm pretty sure this is a record, and I doubt it will be repeated again any time soon. Actually, I know for a fact it won't - frankly, I'd be surprised if Transitional Voices chapter three enters production this year.
19:44 < dusya> I am saying down the line
19:44 < dusya> Spread that shit like herpies.
19:44 < dusya> Herpes
19:44 < dusya> I combined herpes and harpies there.
19:44 < dusya> You are welcome.
It's Deja Vu All Over Again
One of the many changes with v10 - site build logs are moving from irregularly and inadequately maintained blog posts to a changelog of doom. The "version 10.x" in the footer is now somewhat automated, and should increment to 10.1 in a week or two when I come back to make a few more tweaks in preparation for ATC's tenth anniversary in May.
Build notes and related babbling will be accessible from the site footer for the foreseeable future. That changes the focus of the Website blog category from All Things Website to Look At This Fucking Website - and if you haven't visited in awhile.... things have changed! A lot! It's Deja Vu All Over Again!
Somewhat literally, as Earth -42- is sitting on top again. It hit the top in 2008, then again in 2009 between the second edition of The Dualist and the resumption of Dead City Radio, and now it's back in its rightful place as the current-in-reading-order page of the comic. TV.2 - which has been in production hell for months - opens minutes after this scene.
Five years forward, five years forward back... it's either a tenth anniversary or a double-fifth anniversary or I don't know what. The comic's about to start moving forward-forward after five years of moving forward from an earlier point in time. I'd like to reveal the seventh Chosen before I'm forty, kthx.
Anyway. More changes en route, and production hopefully resumes within the next couple of months. Stay tuned!
The Ides of March.
Being the largest structural change since 2008 and possibly the single most complex upgrade ever, the amount of work entailed fits right in with everything else going on in my life at the moment. Unlike everything else the site build has a definite end point, well-known and understood technical hurdles, and only one known land mine - that being twitter API changes announced for Some Time This Year.
This is the "it's happening" announcement - the next blog post will probably be the changelog. The current build has been live for six or seven months - the new one will hopefully have a longer lifespan. It will be a hell of a lot more malleable than the current template - but then, just about everything is!
Alcohol, Tobacco & Cantaloupes
News · 2013.02.28 @ 20:55 · · comment
December - Asset development and pre-rendering of pages TV 2.10 through 2.15, then 2.07 through 2.09.
January - Quit smoking, which really throws my game off. Asset development continues; key asset for TV.2 scene one matures; the rest of the TV.2 script is "applied" to page templates. A to-do list the size of the moon combined with a depression from hell cause asset development to bog down into a vacuous suck-pit of suckiness.
February - I scraped through January with a bit of piecemeal freelance, though the landlord claims to have never received the rent check written against that work (and has yet to cash the replacement). January was a thin, wavering trickle of paying work - February kicked off with a torrential BLAST of contracts. A month of managing three (and then four) different clients and three to six related projects pretty much killed any ATC time, though this past weekend I finally had a Moment of Clarity and stepped over The Great Art Block From Hell like it was nothing. TV 2.01 has been rendered and ready for line art for almost a week. It looks sweeeeeet. Unfortunately I still need to cook up the environment for TV 2.00 (chapter cover) and 2.02-2.06, and it might be some time before I can get to that.
March - I haven't decided what's next - either the TV.2 scene one exterior environment or the ATC v.10 website, which is a fairly well advanced paper design that promises to be a massive structural departure from the previous nine iterations. I know that once I finally pull the trigger on TV.2 I'll ignore site mechanics until it's done, and the site as structured has some issues I feel a new version would effectively address. Version 10 would also be a chance to play around with some buzzword-compliant web development concepts that I haven't had a chance to use on the job (yet!). Concepts that I think would be a huge boost to site navigability and malleability. Both the site and the remaining environments (not just scene one) are going to be a lot of work, and I'd like to get both done before ATC turns 10 in May.
Of course, I've said I'd like to get a page of TV.2 up in February, and that hasn't happened. That page is ready to draw, and I would have drawn it already if I didn't have such a sizable pile of contract work to gnaw through. I'll likely be busy-busy with that through March, after which I should hopefully just be regular busy.
Asset development is not a spectator sport.
TV 2.01 is stuck in production hell. It'll be another 20-40 hours to get things thinged enough to render the first page of the next chapter, then another 20 to 60 to who knows to set up for 2.02 through 2.06. 2.07 through 2.15 are, fortunately, rendered and ready for line art.
The launch assets for this chapter are the timesink from hell. The fact that I quit smoking and haven't ingested nicotine (first-hand, anyway) since January 2nd has complicated things, but the fact is I am seriously burned out on asset development and was even before that kicked me in the head.
I've sort of "budgeted" for this - I've said previously that TV.2 production would likely kick off in February and it looks like that's going to hold. So I'm technically on schedule. I'm also at the point in which I feel like I'm technically scaling a cliff with my eyelids. It'll be awesome when it's done and rolling. Whenever that is. I plan to try to "dial it down" for TV.3 and TV.4 - this kind of work used to be fun but at this point I really need to stop with the uniques and start moving towards a Bethesda-style toolkit that can be continually repurposed for new environments.
Not that that's a problem I'm facing at the moment, mind you - production has hung up on a one-off that has to look good, and decisions I made about production quality and the production values of Transitional Voices back in 2007 are holding things up. I'm holding things up, re-learning caffeine, re-learning focus, re-learning how to work and be productive and how to get things done without one stimulant effectively nullifying another.
Nine pages rendered, fifteen pages framed and lettered. Script revised some more, still has a couple of small-but-serious issues that need to be addressed. All of the boring-but-necessary page setup work is done; the next step is pages or stop, and I do not intend to stop. I hope to have a page up in February, and I hope to have the major environment for the first scene ready to go within the next few weeks. I want to be in serial production for ATC's tenth anniversary, and that's still a possibility.
TV.2 production start - Return To Color - is, in the immortal words of Porkins, "Almost there."
Songs from the Fish Mines
Mom was gonna come down and visit today. Then the weather weighed in. The entire state is getting dumped on - the phones are dead, there's no immediate work on deck. I'm broke and even if I wasn't, for christmas I promised myself The Wagon for at least a few weeks. This status report is being written at the outset of what will hopefully be the first ALL ATC ALL DAY work session in... uh. Years!
TV.2 (Return To Color) Production Status
All 24 pages have been laid out. Extensive in-page script revisions have been made to several pages; all pages outside of the first rendering block still need to be "framed" and lettered.
Pages 07 through 15 have been rendered. 10 through 15 are pretty much ready for line art, 07 through 09 will need some extensive post-rendering digital work in addition to line art. Renders finished earlier this week, consuming 100% CPU for roughly two weeks. Rendering ops resulted in 342 files totaling 4.07 gigs uncompressed in the PC "00 TV2 Renders" directory. The mac-side data is compressed - LZW for the tiffs and .zip for the 3d files - and weighs in at 2.28g compressed counting the page files.
All work that can be done with entirely existing assets has been done. Pages 2.01 through 2.06 and 2.16 through 2.24 require assets that are either in development or ready for it. Work has started on the environment for 2.16-2.17 though no appreciable progress has been made within the past week or so due to work and render ops. Further development has been pushed back in order to focus on assets required for 2.01 through 2.06. I sunk a good amount of time into modeling work yesterday and plan to get a hell of a lot more done today. I don't know when (or even if) I'll have this much time to throw at CG work so I plan to make the most of it.
Properly nerdy details would be pretty spoileriffic at this point. Sufficed to say I'm grinding away on a major asset. CG requirements for TV.2 scene one are such that the best-case estimate for asset development is "January." If you were reading ATC back in '07-'08 you know that a CG asset typically takes me 2-6 weeks to develop with a metronomic day job financing production. Three years freelance has complicated my schedule considerably, and it's worth noting that the asset in question already has a couple of weeks of here-and-there effort invested in it, most of that in 2008 and 2009.
While my phone or inbox could still produce a work-related distraction, hopefully today I will find out just how much I can accomplish with a focused blast of effort.
While doing laundry earlier this week I did some thought exercises to see what ATC production would look like on a regular schedule. If I rolled this thing out weekly instead of as fast as possible, I'd have a total of seventeen weeks from GO! to develop the assets required for the back end of the chapter, and an additional seven weeks to finalize the TV.3 script and start work on layouts and assets. While production almost certainly won't go down this way, it remains a possibility... and it wouldn't surprise me if 24 pages wound up taking six months to produce from GO!. Heck, this thing's already been in some stage of development since September. Of 2008.
Back to the fish mines!
Fuck, he knows Latin! He knows a dead language! Run!
The world hasn't ended, but the presence of Latin in The Dualist has! The QAR got a minor-for-effort major-for-continuity edit this afternoon. See the changelog for a list of edited pages.
This edit is in support of tweaks being made to the QAR for Transitional Voices. It was the only bit of non-English In Spaaaaaaaace and now it's toast, which eliminates a pretty glaring continuity problem.
Production status update, 20121219
Today's the first day I've had a good-sized chunk of "me" time in a couple of weeks. Well, "me" time that isn't 4am exhausted wind-down Fallout: New Vegas time. Lots of client work, now down to waiting on payments, contracts, and communications. Wednesday seems a natural lull for this sort of thing - over the course of 2012 rather a lot of comic work got done on Wednesdays.
In previous TV blog posts I wrote about the notion of rendering ahead as a means of rectifying a complex schedule with comics production and CG requirements and so forth. I've been working ahead for quite awhile - many pages of DCR.5 were rendered for weeks before I caught up on line art, but that was a linear progression. This is the first time I've jumped ahead to render ahead. As of yesterday afternoon, six pages of TV.2 have been rendered and are ready for line art. That's a quarter of the chapter - and it happens to be (roughly) the second quarter. The environment was built in 2008, the script was solid (since revised to be solider), layouts were done, reference dummies popped into existence easily enough, and the whole mess - 38 panels sum total - took roughly nine days to render. The Daedalus rec area and bridge are absolute pigs - big files, lots of geometry, a crapload of high resolution texture maps, lots of lights set up back when I was still figuring out photometrics and mental ray and all that. Future environments will render faster.
So, six pages are rendered and ready for line art preparation and script tweaks and so forth. I may re-render a panel or two, though I probably won't - a few shots look a bit rough with the reference objects in place, but that's almost entirely due to shaders and specularity and I can totally ignore or improve on that when things get to line art. The rough spots I'm thinking of are towards the middle of the scene, so when the pages finally do get into production I should have the time to re-render a panel or two if it turns out things are sub-optimal.
There are two or three (possibly two and a half) more pages I can render with existing assets, and two environments to re-light. These bits will likely be done before any substantial progress is made on assets for the first six pages of the chapter. I've done a bit of modeling work for one of the last two scenes - a solid foundation, but the assets need a lot more work before they'll be ready for primetime. Hopefully I'll have more time for 3d work over the next couple of weeks.
Oh, and I managed to lay out two whole pages of the last scene while doing laundry last week.
Quite a bit of work has been done over the past couple of weeks, though you won't see any of it for a couple of months. When pages do start showing up, they're set to hit at a steady, predictable, no-cg-holdups-just-drawing pace.
All told. Now to get the rest of today's to-do list taken care of!
13:02 < solios> I sketched out templar provisional hq while taking a shit
13:03 < solios> seemed an optimal use of time and resources (and poop)
13:03 < solios> (I sketched it with a pen.)
13:08 < xeno__m> poopsketcher
13:12 < solios> >.>
14:18 < mdxi> Your search - poopsketcher - did not match any documents
14:18 < mdxi> haven't seen that happen in a while
14:18 < solios> O_o
14:18 < mdxi> "Did you mean: poop catcher"
14:18 < mdxi> NO MOST CERTAINLY NOT