Finished the art at 1930, with plenty of time left to make the traditional holiday release. Enough time before other events to ensure a shorter blurb, too – after the last couple of whiskey-aided essays, I’m wrapping sober for a change, and intend to continue doing so.
The scene environment is still in development. Early Friday – thanks to some work schedule slippage – I hit a point where the observation booth was Good Enough and, checking against the layouts, realized that I had more than enough to render this page. The rest of the environment will take a couple of solid days to complete – the work will hopefully be spread over the course of the next week, with production renders and pages lurching forward in earnest in early May. Hopefully I’ll be able to tweak the lighting into something that renders faster. The current solution works, but production renders take a very long time – I may be able to get decent results with slightly lower quality settings, but if the rest of the scene takes awhile to render, so be it.
Unlike most scenes, I have the option to revise the hell out of the lighting between this page and the next – the booth fluorescents could easily auto-adjust along with the “glass” (a variable-transparency surface) to compensate for the light from the region on the other side. While the solution I’ve been working with looks good in thumbnail, I may be able to cook up something that renders faster – the fact that the booth glass is actually a proper glass shader instead of a white standard material with low opacity makes rendering more “expensive,” but man – the refraction effect is totally worth it. A technical tossup, with my work schedule the deciding factor – it looks like I may be backing away from PC-oriented tasks for the next few weeks in “favor” of web work and graphics processing, so rendering could be a non-issue. Still, my inner slacker prefers to wind down the night with video games, not babysitting renders. Even if babysitting is ultimately more productive.
Speaking of productivity and video games… I spent a good-sized chunk of the middle of the week working with Mike to get a Double Dose Of Terror!! DVD pulled together and readied for… a con, or a film festival, or… something. I didn’t ask. I was too busy solving framerate issues, doing codec math, and – while the compressor jobs were chewing – working on the environment. If it wasn’t for Mike’s deadline I doubtless would have fucked off and spent midnight to 3am playing video games instead of multitasking. I’d say I owe him one, but I’ve got authoring credit on the DVD case art and I did the VFX work for the title sequence of the second film in the anthology, so I think we’re even.
Script divergence: Aleph and Yang are now putting down their clipboards. As you’ll see in the script layouts that follow, Yang’s just kind of disappears… and Aleph can lose hers without it impacting the script. A couple of minor layout adjustments and WHAM! – one less prop to deal with. Panel three didn’t survive the transition to proper perspective, and the observation “shutters” have been replaced with high-tech variable-opacity “glass.” As what’s actually going with the glass seemed like more of a “huh?” than a “huh!,” I added an (optional) line of dialogue to clear things up. When the environment is finished and the next page is done I’ll revisit that line, and remove it if it feels unnecessary.
I did model the escape pod and create a feasible smartphone/pda screen for panel three. It didn’t take long, and the pod or phone screen may come in handy at a later date. Probably not, but I never can tell with these things. Here’s the phone screen:
Structure note: DCR 1.4 and 2.4 both feature title slates in roughly the same place as this one. While that’s a bit “off” compositionally (left page instead of right), it is thematically consistent – one of the few style elements that should be consistent across all planned chapters.
Everything else has evolved quite a bit since then!
Art note: Double-pass on James, single-pass on Yang and Aleph. Due to scale difference and a micron that quickly flipped from 005 to Brush, I figured it was better to leave this as a possibly-brief experiment with mixed line weights rather than run the risk of extensively damaging the work done on Yang and Aleph.
I hate sitting on pages – once they’re done, I want them up. So, happy pagan fertility festival! I’ll be spending mine working on another comic for a change!