2012 03 17, 15:48 – Prepped in parallel with 4.20; ready for shadow-matching and shading.
2012 03 18, 14:59 – Shadow-matched in parallel with 4.20. So totally ready for shading.
2012 03 29, 02:11 – Shaded after 4:20; will be finalized after 4.20. Probably is finalized, actually.
201 03 29, 20:37 – Minor tweaks and cleanup, namely to Jason’s nose in panel one and Aleph’s in panel two. Aleph’s been trending towards a more Ornix styled nose lately, which is off-model but comes out of the pen with ease. Noses in general have been developing more detail over the past several pages – Nine years in production and hints at nostrils are just starting to appear. At this rate I’ll be drawing teeth, eyelashes, lips an properly structured ears by 2020.
The reflection trick doubtless registered as a possibility thanks to Stargate Universe – while the implication here is different (Jason has exited his regression with total recall of at least one non-terrestrial human language, among other things), the visual language is similar and were this a live-action drama the filming and compositing process would be identical.
DCR has portrayed Jason’s slippery grip on reality in a few different ways over the course of the story – while most of them are pretty obvious, this one takes the cake. I think it works – the (literal) reflection of a past life helps to put Jason’s recall of the language in context, retained from his reflection on elements of that past life.
The symbolism is thunderously appropriate, and we’re not gonna dwell on it – with one or two minor exceptions the rest of DCR is surprisingly straightforward. It’s also refreshingly linear.
Also, I’m fairly happy with how panel three turned out. I screwed up the file at some point between the initial setup and the final render and there wound up being a relative 10″ gap between the top of the fifth floor and the bottom of the sixth – half of my satisfaction stems from the overall composition, the other half from the extensive repair work done to bring it together. One of the first production instances of an ambient occlusion render being used As Intended – I’ve mucked about with them previously, both for work and as source material for special effects. This is the first time using an AO pass to flavor an otherwise vanilla shot – I may experiment with interior use over the next couple of pages, I may work the technique into DCR.5 or TV.2. I don’t know yet – this is the first I’ve felt that a shot needed the extra “zing” an AO pass adds to a render. The setup and rendering time was reasonable for this environment, so it’s ultimately a question of how much it adds to a render versus how long it takes to generate measured against the relative ease of image adjustment in software. Brightness and contrast or Levels adjustments usually get the job done – in this case the final image was a sandwich of adjustment layers, a multiplied AO layer, the source render, and various post-render adjustments (street lamps, the glow of lit windows, etc).
I’m now out of buffer. The renders for this page were completed on February 22nd – over the course of the past five weeks I’ve managed to get the line art and shading completed for a total of seven pages. Given my workload and the interesting position my life is in at the moment, I consider that to be a reasonable accomplishment. I have not, however, had any time to throw at meeting the CG requirements for the next three pages. Work being work I could have time this weekend, I could have time in a couple of weeks, I could have time in February. Getting this page and the one before it finalized was a combination of the forced creation of time and a natural gap in activity – I’m a bit singed from All Web Development All The Time and taking a bit of time to focus on something else has done wonders to rejuvenate my Work Brain.
But not my attention span. I think I’ll get these up, take the rest of the night off, go to bed “early” and hopefully hit the ground running tomorrow.
The last three pages of the chapter require a single environment and the panel count is pretty reasonable. While I expect the modeling work to take some time, the pages should hit in close proximity to each other – if things continue as they have over the past couple of months, the chapter should wrap in late April or mid May. As it stands, the chapter is 7/8 complete and this is a really good page to hold on for a few weeks.
Oh, and DCR is sticking with black gutters for the remainder of the story – a crucial part of a gradual, slow-rolling transition from the original unshaded stacked comic strip format to the production style of The Dualist.
Mastering notes, 2016.12.05 – Minor wording change in panel one.