Poor Impulse Control: The Naomi Edit

While this weeks edit is going up a couple of days later than planned it is fortunately shorter and wasn’t subject to the sprawl that engulfed the Charger Edit. The Naomi Edit came in on time and on budget – I threw the back half of a work session at it and cleaned up the proposed panel as well as the shots that came to mind after the gun editing photoshopathon recalibrated my priorities for this editing pass.

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The Charger Edit

I proposed a few edits in a recent blog post. What had been intended as a couple of tweaks and some tactical plot surgery got out of hand and spiraled into a surgical strike, with all of the collateral damage that that implies. Fortunately no civilians were killed and the only serious damage has been to my commission schedule.

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Between Chapters: a Few Possible Edits to The Dualist.

ATC revisions are kind of a hobby. Hell, all of The Dualist and the first chapters of Dead City Radio and Transitional Voices have been rewritten twice. Three times for parts of The Dualist. Four, for a few scenes.

I’m not doing anything that big this time, I promise. In fact the point of this blog post is to lay out what I’m thinking of doing and why. If all goes to plan I’ll then follow this post up by performing the edits. There won’t be new story while I’m working on the script for Transitional Voices chapter four but there may well be new or at least revised art.

Here’s what’s under consideration:

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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.

TD2E Metadata: Audited!

I’d planned to do a chapter a day like I’d more or less done with the DCR and TV audits, but the idea of that much tedium spread out over that much time didn’t sit well with me. I sucked it up and plowed through it in three work sessions – the original “test” chapter, two through Expulsion yesterday, then everything else this morning.

The major achievement is the removal of all links to the old version of the website – the book now has a solid, self-contained data structure for the first time in a couple of years. I’ve also pruned out a lot of dead links, removed a bunch of unnecessary links, updated the links I deemed necessary, did some editing and some culling. I also altered the formatting – prior to the audit, nearly every page of The Dualist had a Movable Type tag in the entry. This pulled in the formatting for the “first edition metadata” splitter with the notion of retaining some form of forward malleability.

I’ve also culled some (not all, but some) of the emo. My consistency in this respect made sense in the second edition commentary, but to see myself stuck in a loop on a few specific issues for years was a bit disturbing. Fortunately I’ve quit drinking (for the time being) and I’ve more or less got my diet sorted, so two of the major sources of whinging are currently moot.

I also removed a shitload of “woot” and “ph34r” and variations thereof. I didn’t get ’em all, but they have been culled from an incessant refrain to every so often.

There’s only one major thing left to do for The Dualist and Transitional Voices,* and that’s to create a hardcopy-scale file for each page. The “live” area is already the right size, mind you – they just need their gutters expanded. That’s a photoshop batch action, and that’s something I can do later.

Now that this bit of work is out of the way, the way is clear for some more work on the Universe (hah!) and the DCR.4 script.

My current goal for DCR is figuring out how to cram DCR.4 and DCR.5 into 50 pages or less. I’ve already cut the equivalent of an entire chapter from the story – now I need to figure out how to cram the last handful of scenes into a reasonable page count. I’d like to be on TV.2 this time next year, and I consider the script and this little bit of site maintenance to be steps in that direction.

* DCR is produced with the print-scale gutters. I use a photoshop action to crop and scale the page to web presentation, instead of simply dropping it to 600x900 like I've done with the color books. When TV resumes it'll be guttered and actioned like DCR.

“Continuity” (I love TVTropes)

It occurs to me that this could be remedied with the addition of a line or two of dialogue.

Worth the effort? Probably – it depends on how much it gnaws on me between now and whenever I get DCR back into production.

20110304 : Changed one line of dialogue and effectively fixed the issue.

The Dualist – covers complete.

See?

Very anime. Blame bda for liking the original-original cover, circa 2003.

All of the TD2E covers are art complete, but not formatting complete – that’ll happen when I get the book formatted for publication and squeeze out a test chapter or act. I really have no idea when that will happen – it’s a ton of work and not a very high priority at the moment. The book requires a lot of supplemental material for context – a big ole’ Shirow-style Appendix, the kind of thing that would be brewed from the website’s Cast and Lexicon and whatnot.

If this version of the site had a Cast page, Lexicon page, Shipyard, etceteras.

All bits missing from the current version of the site, all bits needed in some form for hardcopy, all bits that are planned for the next version of the website, all stuff that’ll be formatted into hardcopy after they’ve been banged out on the interweb.

The sv.2010 data structure and layout exist on paper – I haven’t done anything digital yet. I’ll fix that over the next few days, and start implementing stuff over the next couple of weeks.

The Dualist (second edition) web copy is as complete and as redone as it’s going to get for the time being – enjoy! Read! Find a typo!

Next up – belt-sanding as much of the bullshit as I can out of Dead City Radio : Whitehouse, then the new website, then content for that and DCR.2.

Fasten your seatbelts!

Subversion, Interstitial

Subversion and Interstitial have been re-covered and covered. Layout similarity is unintentional – I could have flipped Subversion, but really – I prefer the composition as-is.

Covering Interstitial is technically a retcon – more about the why of it in the page metadata.

Next up : the main cover!

Actually shower, dinner, bar, some work on DCR plot/script. Main cover work starts tomorrow.

impact impacting

Impact has been re-covered, and this repetition thing isn’t going to hold for Subversion, which I’ll be starting on either Wednesday or Thursday.

Health-wise, I’m in better shape – my present bit of ennui may be due more to my sleep schedule than anything else… and that’s about to get whacked upside the head. That should change things for the better!

descent; descending

Descent has been re-covered. Effectively finished at some point Saturday, it sat in RAM until a few minutes ago as a result of health issues – I’m still drained, still sick of being sick, but seem to be on the bounce-back. Slowly.

Will be moving on the c7 cover in a few minutes – I may be able to bust that out by tomorrow afternoon. If I don’t, then there’ll be a bit of a wait, as I’ll be offline for a couple of days. More on that when or after it happens.

< porkins> aaaaaaaallllmost there….

Motion, Motion

After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, Motion has been re-covered.

Rather than rest on my laurels, I’m hauling ass – Descent is in test rendering as I write this. If the test works out, it’ll make Descent the only chapter cover to be re-interpreted for the new aspect ratio. I expect to have it done this weekend if everything goes smoothly – early to middle of next week if I hit the proverbial snags.

In other news, it’s 2010. Expect the new version of the website and a status determination on DCR and TV – and progress on one of ’em – within Q1.

Expulsion, Avatar

Expulsion has been covered. Real proper-like. More production info in the page metadata.

The Earth renders took longer than expected – four hours a pass, and I wound up redoing them thanks to the clouds being more at-issue than usual. Aeon was originally facing the other way – flipping it resulted in better lighting. It also matches the Expulsion intro scene and continues to obscure the ligature on the starboard side of the boat.

Usually, longass renders means time spent doing paperwork, surfing, and otherwise being fabulously unproductive. It used to mean drawing panels, but the CG backlog still needs to be knocked down before production is ready to resume. Sunday, thanks to my friend Martin, I was watching Avatar in 3d (in a high-end-but-not-IMAX theater) while one of those passes cranked out.

Avatar is the first movie of my adult life that’s lived up to the hype. Exceeded it, possibly – the 2d trailer, the 2d stills… 2d anything really doesn’t do this movie justice. After the years of hype leading up to the steaming turd that was The Phantom Menace, my heart hardened and my bullshit detector started spidering the upgrade tree like the Starcraft “AI.” That orgasm of hyper-hype made it easy to ignore The Matrix, its sequels, Lord of the Rings (and its relentless over-commercialization in DVD), and everything else that’s made lots of noise over the past decade.

That Star Trek was muddled fun, that District 9 was the best social satire since Robocop, that The Road puts the “bleak” in bleak… I could have watched any of those on a 19″ display and enjoyed them just as much. Not as big, and stereo-only, but ultimately… the same experience. The biggest home theater I’ve seen (Hi Greg!) isn’t big enough for Avatar.

I don’t know if Avatar is a “game-changer” or not – I don’t care. I’m more interested in the world. I want the Director’s Cut. I want to see it again.

This week, if possible.

In that respect, I suppose it is a game changer.

Eggs &

Incursion has been re-covered. Happy holiday, etc.

Also, perhaps more importantly, I have very solid ideas for the Expulsion and The Dualist covers. Lots of rendering, a good-sized chunk of line art… they’ll both look AWESUM and that leaves four more cover puzzles to solve.

Finishing work remains either ahead of schedule or has fallen far behind schedule, depending on how you look at it. I’ve drawn three covers this week, but I’ve only shopped one… and that cover had only one piece of art to go with it. A piece I had to draw twice, so I’m going to count it twice. Dammit.

The Expulsion set should have either no drawings, or integrated drawings – it’ll depend on the cover. The first of these should roll out at some point in the next couple of days.

Beef: He’s What’s For Dinner

Clarity has been re-covered. I’m now out of my stock of pre-canned backgrounds – I busted out the first four in May (or thereabouts) and have been busy with other stuff since then.

The Beef, he’s Beefy.

Four down, seven left… I’d say I’d have the cover for chapter five started, but the fact is that my initial flailings have been quite unproductive. Frustrating, even. Back to the drawing board and so forth – hopefully this weekend. Or sooner.

In an effort to stem the steadily rising levels of comment spam, I’ve changed blog comment settings for Immediately approve comments from : from Anyone to NO ONE. While I’m not happy with this, it’s only temporary*. Turning comments off completely breaks existing templates (sloppy design on my part), and CAPTCHA or some other form of authentication just isn’t going to be hacked into the current design. Period. When the time for Work comes, it’ll be Work on a New Site, not patches to this one.

So for the time being, you can still comment – comments will be held and screened prior to publication. Any further spam won’t have the opportunity to stink up the public side of the site – I hope this has the desired effect!

* For the moment. If it works super-awesome, I may stick with it.

Typornography & Cover update(s) 2

Type fixes to details -21-, priorities -1-, reflex -2- and friction -7-. Friction -7- also received a minor art correction. Thanks to xeno for all catches and recommendations.

Covers – TV.1 is re-covered. Jacket design now matches The Dualist – third version of that cover and it finally looks good and has a logo. That last bit didn’t exist until late last week and wasn’t shooped until yesterday. Talk about lag!

Also talking about lag, the Been Done For Awhile covers for signal and convergence are now in place, with spreads in the metadata and for the time being, wee thumbnails in the book index. Those will be replaced by the full strips with the next version of the website – my layout ideas for New And Improved Indexes would be why the new site is on hold until these bits are done.

Typornography & Cover update(s)

xeno’s read over the first half (for the second or eighth time) and caught a few more-

Commitment -4-, Commitment -6-, Convergence -2- and Light -9-. There’s probably some more. Lurking.

Base cover bits are down for the chapters of The Dualist and TV.1. The TV.1 cover render is grinding away; backs have been done for TD1-TD4 for awhile. TD5-TD8 have been sketched and I’ll get rolling on those after the TV.1 render is done – I’ve been busy supervising that instead of drawing. Drawing is hard.

You have found this post informative.

Oops.

For a few days (closer to two weeks, actually), the first seven pages of chapter two had been overwritten by the first seven pages of chapter six. Whoops.

I’ve temporarily fixed this by changing the basenames of the first seven pages of chapter six. The best permanent fix will be to re-change those names back to normal while changing the name of the first scene of chapter two.

The trick is finding an applicable scene title that isn’t used somewhere else in the story. Commitment works, at least for the time being. It happens to have the same number of letters as convergence, which is a bit visually confusing.

For purposes of hardcopy, unless I go all Delany – adding scene names and chapter names above as well as page numbers below – the only function that chapter scene names provide is an indication to web readers that they’re coming up on a shift in plot focus.

Also, fun (unrelated) fact : Counting all covers, counting all posted pages of all projects, not counting the small number of reasonably ready-to-go DCR.2 strips, ATC presently stands at 438 pages (424 actual).

Proofreaders, start your engines!

Subversion is up, and so is Interstitial. The second edition is content complete. For now, the only things likely to change are typos and – possibly – nixing that Fridge Logic pointed out in the TVTropes entry.

TD2E is functionally complete. Start here and read till you hit the end – if your nick isn’t xeno and you find a typo, feel free to email me or comment on this blog post, pasting a link to the relevant page with your comment.

Done for words (I hope), but not aesthetics – I still have to implement my ideas for the reworked covers for TD2E and TV and implement the TV.1 rewrite. Then comes the website re-work, which will (FINALLY!) bring the last of the missing bits back, hopefully in a more navigable format. Think cast, lexicon, shipyard, etceteras.

Far from finished, but the visual re-working should be complete. I’ll know for sure when I get around to re-reading DCR, and I don’t plan on doing that until TV.1 is brought up to plot spec. There’s no way in hell 28 (closer to 32-34 counting the bits of DCR.2 that are done) pages could possibly take as long as the 350+ of TD2E. That was over a year in the doing – a year and a bit of change after the covers are completed and wired in.

I’m still meditating on which project is going to resume first – DCR or Transitional Voices. I’ll have a better idea after I’ve knocked the to-do list down to “pick one.” That’s still a few weeks away, at the earliest.