I’m fairly happy with how this one turned out – Thad looks appropriately strung-out, half-awake, and his Super Anime Bedhead looks good in more panels than it doesn’t. Also, the second appearance of camouflage – more on that below.
Two lights, minimal geometry, relatively quick turnaround. That’s most of the satisfaction, right there. That and this is the only page of the chapter that’s composed entirely of interior shots. Looking forward to more of those with Transitional Voices chapter two, which I’ll hopefully be starting on at some point in Q4.
2012 08 05, 20:19 – On deck. This is the last page of the chapter that needs any sort of modeling work. Everything I need for 5.19 and 5.20 already exists, so there’s a slim chance I may render those first just to get them out of the way. The required work is fairly minimal, though I’m presently pondering flavoring the environment with a sketch or two (by Thad) of the River Guardian and other possible plot-related objects.
2012 08 06, 22:26 – I’ve decided to go with the easy bits first. That’s the last panel of this page and the first seven panels of the next. While all geometry for the next two pages has been constructed, the last panel of 5.19 and page 5.20 will require some mucking about with lighting. That can go quickly, or it can be a time consuming slog. I’m planning for a slog, honestly – so I’m treating the last three pages as a single logical object and am proceeding to render easiest-to-hardest. Corridor shots, then exteriors, then back around to the interior I need for this page.
By “easy bits” I mean “those bits which require the least amount of setup work.” In this case 5.18 panel 10 (or nine, I’ve added an extra but may cut it – regardless of whether it stays or goes the dimensions of the last panel remain the same) consisted of cracking open one of the shots from 4.24, setting up a camera, and positioning Thad to see if he’ll throw a shadow. As he isn’t actually in the shot, that makes for a total of three renders – reference pass, ambient occlusion pass, and final pass. In-page composition will consist of a couple of Adjustment Layers to tweak levels and contrast and wham, done.
Done rendering, anyway. Reference pass results indicate a fair amount of post-rendering cleanup may be in order.
2012 08 07, 00:45 – The last panel has been rendered for awhile. Hopefully work on the rest will begin in the not too distant future.
2012 08 11, 18:28 – Just finished primary construction of 5.20. 5.19 has been rendered for a couple of days. The pressure is mounting – I can feel August sliding away already. The next “easy” production step is getting 5.19 and 5.20 prepped for line art. Then basic modeling and rendering for this page, which I hope to have ready for line art by next weekend. It’s a longer gap than I’d like, but I still have a hell of a lot of plate-clearing to do. I got distracted by TV.2 script development, which spiraled into a brief mental break after a few poorly chosen words from a colleague caused the rage center of my brain to go critical. “Fortunately” I vented that rage on something completely unrelated, causing extensive collateral damage. Personal slips and the drive to keep ATC on schedule has put me at risk of falling behind on everything else, and the implication that everything else ought to be given Top Priority – well… there are a number of people that can testify to the sort of effect that has on my disposition.
Fortunately I’m in a position in which one very rough week (not the last one, much as I wish it was – the one starting tomorrow) will knock my “plate” down from three Serious Outstanding Things And DCR (plus three other things I don’t have time to think about) to One Outstanding Thing And DCR (plus those three other things, which I may or may not have time to think about). That should, in theory, cut stress down to something I can manage.
2012 08 13, 01:49 – Preliminary CG setup (opened 4.24.3, gutted, flipped, initial lighting), followed by a “refinement” of the layout – WACOM sketches straight into the page file to get a better handle on what I’m dealing with here. I’m looking to cut the creation of CG assets down to an absolute minimum. While I’ve gotten better at it over the years I still have a tendency to over-model, and in a case like this I really need to create Just What’s In Front Of The Camera. Which won’t be much – most of it’s placeholders, and at this point it looks like the environment will be more photoshop than CG.
Giant wall of metadata and one panel rendered. Mission objective for this week is to get assets and rendering taken care of by the weekend, which I intend to spend drawing.
2012 08 14, 02:20 – Tanked one fuck of a Bar Urge earlier – managed to plow through it and claw my way to 5.18 modeling and texturing. Last night’s sketch mockup really helped keep things focused. Currently slogging through a production-grade test render with CG hair assigned to the Thad placeholder – once that finishes it’ll be GO! time.
As a one-off there’s not much pressure to create reusable assets – there’s opportunity for snark, opportunity for subtlety, and opportunity to be about as subtle as a Chris Claremont caption. The nightstand covers all the bases. The clock is manufactured by Criterion Logic (was Critical Logic, turns out that’s a real thing). Their alarm clocks are released under the child brand Criterion Logic Industrial Timekeeping, which is a re-engineering of an acronym suggested by xeno. Blame him. The model name – Gjallarhorn – is thunderously appropriate for its place and function in the narrative. The fact that an alarm clock capable of waking the Gods kicks Thad online with static – with an absence – is tasty, and the sketch gives some indication that the events of DCR.3 are still on his mind.
I suppose that makes Whitehouse Heimdall. He’s got a bullhorn and at least four mothers, so he’s more qualified than anyone else. He’s also apparently a buddha (or at least four-somethingths through gaining knowledge of his former existences).
Mythological namedrops can be a handy sort of creative shorthand (or shortcut) – the peril is to allow a vague or incidental similarity to bloat into something story- or character-defining; to let established mythological canon start calling the shots and determining the general direction of the narrative. This is the first time I’ve consciously considered ATC in a Norse context, and the fact that the Gjallarhorn is blasting static carries a double meaning in that sense. It really was an ass-pull, and the fact that it fits as well as it does makes me squee.
If you like Norse mythology (and comedy!), check out Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki. It’s way more Norse.
13:18 – Wound up going to bed halfway into the hair test. There’s visible differences between hair and no hair and I’ve saved With and Without renders of the test shot for later use as reference. The hair pass took over two hours at 938×1915 MR sampling rate 1×4; the no-hair pass took about seven minutes at the same resolution and render quality. In the interests of getting this page rendered THIS WEEK instead of THIS MONTH I’m dropping the hair elements.
And we are GO for renders!
20:06 – Last render of 5.18/DCR.5/DCR-as-planned is GO. Panel eight, no shadows from drawn object placeholders.
2012 08 16, 03:58 – Started pencils around dusk. This page and the next are now ready for shading. No body armor, no knives, no guns to clean up… line art prep went quickly. And, since the angles support it – there’s CAMO! Two panels on this page, one on the next, no real repeats or overlaps. No problem. Adds an extra bit of character detail!
09:30 – Bed at four fifteen, Menage a 3 archives until five, tossed and turned until six. Gave up around seven, started shading. Eleven AM meeting, general disposition unknown but hopefully short. Shading is effectively complete, barring a no-doubt extensive cleanup to be undertaken post-meeting and post-sleep.
23:26 – Picked at during the gear-up to finish 5.19. One more pass and the page should be good to go.