Asset recycling: the muzzle flare in panel two is evolved from the effect file created for the destruction of the Cheops command module. Quite possibly the one thing on this page that didn’t feel like it took longer than usual to put together.
Rendering of DCR 5.17 finished at 10:57 AM on the 19th, with panel assembly and line art prep completed shortly thereafter. With six of the nine remaining pages rendered (and their rendering documented), the onus is presently on line art and shading – the actual production of pages 5.12 through 5.17. 5.18 requires some spot modeling, which is something I’ll hopefully get to in early August.
Line art requirements for the next page are pretty reasonable. It’s probably the leanest and least complex of the remaining pages in the scene. After 5.02 and 5.03 I’d consider this page and the previous one to be the most complex of the chapter – while several of the remaining pages have a high object count and they all have high detail requirements, and while I’m looking forward to them being done a lot more than I’m looking forward to doing them, they should all be a breeze compared to those four.
For the time being I’m done with holiday deadlines and batch posts, and will be posting pages shortly after they’re finished. As mentioned previously my stated deadline for completing DCR.5 is August 31 and if I can keep myself focused that should be achievable. The big soul-sucker on this one has been the tedium of shot rendering and assembly for this scene – with that firmly behind me (barring one or two possible re-renders, and I already output the reference dummies as a disincentive) it should be good old Business As Usual comic production for a bit. That is, the bits that are the same for every page of the comic. After five hundred pages and change, it’s a process I’m comfortable with.
Life, of course, has a pretty strident opinion as to what I ought to be doing with my time – and it’s right to some extent. I’ve had to make some pretty painful adjustments to get things moving again after the July 04 update, and the time between now and my stated deadline is going to be jam packed full of activities that won’t benefit ATC directly – but may eventually in some capacity.
I was able to Sleep, Work, Drink, and Work On ATC to the exclusion of all else from spring of 2003 to summer of 2008. Since then it’s been a struggle to keep the comic going as any sort of priority, and the amount of effort and force of will required to keep it going at the present snails pace has grown by orders of magnitude as I’ve stumbled into (and then formally embarked on) a career as a freelancer.
I’ve stated previously – mostly in meatspace conversation, though I may have mentioned it here somewhere – that I firmly intend to stick to Heinlein’s rules for publication, and that I consider wrapping DCR.5 and concluding the requisite continuity cleanup to be “finishing it.” After which I can embark on publisher submissions, advertising, vanity press, etcetera and so forth. That’s a leg of the whole “making comics” thing that I need to get familiar with, especially if I want to do this in any sort of formal capacity. Right now, getting there means dumping the occasional call to voicemail, pruning unproductive or otherwise wasteful relationships while developing the productive ones I find myself engaged in lately, and generally slogging through the swamps of Professional Development in a quest to get back to something that vaguely resembles reasonable work for reasonable pay.
Right. If I’m waxing about whatever in the metadata, then I’m not doing chores or servicing contracts or sleeping or working on pages. Time to audit this thing and post it!
2012 04 26, 03:31 – A couple of quick points:
1. Greg’s a soldier. He’s not gonna go totally emo in a combat situation. Losing fire support means the local is gonna have to pick up the slack.
2. Greg doesn’t speak english (at this point), and neither did Hera. He has no idea what Beef or West said before the first round of gunfire and may think that the Templar consider Whitehouse to be a valid target.
3. (added July 21) It’s tempting to call it a “cut scene” or a “cut chapter,” but the fact of the matter is that I never did more than preliminary outlines and thought exercises for the events between DCR.3 and DCR.4. The story that happens there largely revolves around the Templar hunt for the Addicaines, which has no bearing on Whitehouse – hence the omission. One thing that would have been included had that bit been developed was an inventory of what the Addicaines had managed to pack into the Loki prior to the destruction of the Hemera. Of relevance: Four sets of body armor, no helmets, three radios, three sidearms, at least two pairs of safety glasses and radio headsets, and Greg’s ballistic knives. Being under-equipped has impacted their tactics accordingly, which is why Greg and Hera don’t cut and run the second Greg hears the car coming – they have one gun between them (a gyrojet carbine with a rate of fire too slow for effective suppression fire, number of rounds unknown but likely just the one magazine) and at range Greg’s armament is reactive/defensive.
4. I neglected to detail this in my comments on the previous page – Greg’s cybernetic capabilities were first mentioned in 2009. Tantek’s comments further support the notion of a “missing chapter” (or at least a missing scene or two) between DCR.3 and DCR.4.
2012 07 09, 23:42 – Rendering complete. A couple of hours ago, actually – I’ve moved on to the next page. Tentatively planning for line art and so forth at some point this week.
2012 07 18, 06:13 – Page has been ready for line art for something like a week. My schedule hasn’t allowed for drawing, but it has allowed for rendering – at this point panel one of 5.16 is grinding out and everything between here and there is either ready for line art or will be shortly.
2012 07 20, 07:32 – Pencilled earlier. Inking now. I have bristol supplies for one or two more pages. That’s math. My pens, I’m less confident in. This is a major issue due to my current fiscal situation – at this point, being poor would be one hell of an upgrade.
16:25 – Just about ready to get the line art into the page. Cleaned up, flat colored, needs a few more tweaks. Been tanking one hell of a blast of depression for the last four hours. Possibly longer.
Sleep, then work on this some more when I wake up.
2012 07 21, 01:22 – The line art is in, muzzle flares and bullets have been added, and the page is pretty much ready for shading. I was woken up early by a pissed off trapezius that seems to have turned into a pinched nerve, and I am feeling positively jovial.
09:00 – Slept for another… uh… five or six hours. There’s five hours and fifty-seven minutes between statements on IRC and I read the Half-Life wiki for maybe 20-30 minutes before passing out. Feeling stiff but generally less miserable. Pain in the trapezius has subsided from a 7 to a 2 3 and cognition is in line with current requirements.
10:10 – Page is still ready for shading.
10:38 – Finally found a biting angle. I typically pencil, ink, and shade in panel order – in this instance that would have been Greg, Jason, Hera, West, Beef, Greg, Jason, Hera but I couldn’t seem to get my head around anything in panel one. After reordering layers a bit I wound up starting with Hera’s knees in panel three.
12:10 – Panel one shaded. Operating in slow motion without my usual pep. Pondering taking the rest of the day off after I finish the page, assuming I finish it today.
12:59 – Panel two shaded. Possibly picking up speed – though Beef and West are a bit easier to handle than Greg.
13:48 – Jason shaded – intercut with… lunch, I suppose. Down to Greg.
14:44 – Preliminary shading complete. Now to stare at this thing for another hour, picking at it here and there until I deem it ready to go. The aforementioned pain has subsided from a 3 to, like, 0.5. It registers more as a “man, that sucked!” than the ouch of earlier or the KILL ME NOW of 12 hours ago.