2010.08.22 – Strip commentary is usually done day-of. Aug 22 comments are the day the rendering and background work finished and deal mainly with that. More of the usual words after the line art is done… which should be Monday or Tuesday. Either way you’ll be reading this after the fact.

2010.08.25 – Okay, so… this could have been up early Tuesday morning or even Tuesday evening… grocery shopping cost me some time, and Work 2.0 has been a bit irregular. It’s still Tuesday for me, though!

The art arted reasonably well – I’m looking forward to getting the next page rendered, as it means I’ll almost certainly never have to deal with this environment again!

Strip 171 – Aug 22 – Work commenced early Saturday evening. After repeated false starts, head-desking, software idiocy and four hours of lighting tests, I finally got a grip on the scene by taking the minimalist route. This isn’t Jason’s apartment, which needed some degree of detail for future scenes. This is effectively a throwaway environment, and to spend more than a day on it – counting production renders – would be a massive waste of time. Thus the result – salvaged environment shots from operative -6-, boxes from The Dualist, the chair from Whitehouse’s apartment, and a flurry of quickly produced, basic models. The environment would fall apart of the camera panned. but it doesn’t need to. One of the joys of storyboarding this thing out in advance. End result of corner-cutting and on-the-fly modeling? 23 hours from “dammit, WHY DOESN’T ANYTHING EXPORT CORRECTLY!” to “time for line art!”

While that’s considerably longer than the setup time for a prepared environment, it’s a friggin’ record for going in cold. To date the only other example of “spot modeling” that I can think of is Raven and Tantek’s bit in the first scene of Impact – and all told, that took quite a bit longer.

2010.08.25 – Ba-ba-bootay!

Also, the circle is a very slight variation on the QAR circle. Both serve as a psychosomatic foci, and both are largely ornamental so far as the story is concerned. Jesse could just as easily stare at goats without it.

Strip 172 – Aug 22 – First DCR “astral” panel, completed ridiculously early this morning. An ambient occlusion render mixed with the background image (scaled up from the last panel of the previous page) and then ‘souped’ with the usual texture mush. Looks good, hope the line art (scheduled for Aug 23 or 24) fits.

2010.08.25 – It does!

If you’ve read The Dualist, you’re already familiar with this sort of thing – though DCR’s “occult” moments are a bit more clinical and a bit less crazy. Mental health of the “projecting” or “receiving” character is always factor – Jesse has her shit together.

Strip 173 – Aug 22 – Like the previous strip, an ambient occlusion soup mixed with a couple of other rendering passes and some “smeary” digital photos. Panel three is a complete photo manipulation, and while panel four isn’t 100% accurate, a load of time was saved by simply adapting the building exterior built for the last panel of operative -6-.

Strip 173 – Aug 22 – Like the last strip, but moreso. Much like the first strip of the page, running hellbent to get this thing rendered resulted in some serious carelessness on my part – if I ever needed to reconstruct panel one, I’d have to redo it from scratch. Oops!

Story-wise, this particular scene has been “on paper” for a good long while. I knew things were heading in this direction when I put DCR on hold in 2008, and while it’s a relief to finally have the scene in production, doing it now is timely. Fact is, I wasn’t in a position to learn the technique I used on panels 8-14 until this past weekend. Huzzah.

My favorite “breakthrough” of the layout is the first strip, in its entirety. From the hallway through to “eight hours later…” without resorting to a timestamp. I’d be all smug and I ARE A COOL about it but to be honest, I’m still happy as hell that the idea hit me in the first place. In that respect, DCR’s been a development platform for my comic fu for awhile – it presents different challenges than The Dualist or Transitional Voices, and a lot of the work done here has directly benefitted the color stories.

Cast

  • Jesse Baris

    The older and more experienced of the two agents assigned observational duties in Pittsburgh, Jesse has specialized in Remote Viewing and intuitive information gathering – skills that are particularly useful in the target-rich swamp...

Glossary Articles

  • Astral Space

    A cognitively-informed plane of perception, Astral Space is a blanket term applied to Astral Projection, Remote Viewing, and other forms of cognitive or psychic non-corporeal translocation in which the physical location of the characters...