Birthday present for myself: DCR page… uh…. 34?

Something like that.

Frankly, I’m surprised at the turnaround on these four strips. I don’t mean the yawning chasm of time between this page and the last. No. Rather, I mean the extremely short span of time between the production of the first strip and the fourth. Hopefully it bodes well for the next several pages!

Strip 145 – Moving again. Finished last night, with the posting (somewhat obviously) put off until this morning. The next strip is ready for line art and will follow later today. New CG here – a good amount of it, but not too much: a lot of “Just In Time” modeling, which is a new thing for me. Normally with an environment like this I’d do All Of It – the outside of the building, the surrounding buildings, the “studio” (blocked off by a blanket in the second panel and a folding screen in the third), and the living room bits that are out of shot.

Instead of going All Out and spending weeks – or possibly months – on the environment, I modeled the bare minimum for these shots. The “studio” will follow when I need it, the remaining living room bits will follow when I need them, and the outside…. well, the building exterior is easy enough. The parking lot and the surrounding buildings are a different matter – rather than full CG or mucking around with Google Earth or social engineering my way into 608 for morning, noon, dusk and night shoots, well… I threw some basic building-shaped blocks in approximate positions and shopped over them. This will be a lot more visible in the next strip.

It wasn’t the easiest decision to make, but in the end I finally Saw Reason – I can’t force TV production values on DCR. I do that, this thing will never get done. EVER. I can, however, continue to work the Mixed Media angle, quite effectively – a combination of photos, CG, photoshop and line drawing will get this done faster and more effectively than All CG All The Time.

That’s the idea, anyway. We’ll see how well it works in practice.

Strip 146 – I swear, half of this chapter is Whitehouse walking around. It’s easy on the dialogue, but every so often it does make me wonder what I was thinking. Fortunately, the talky bits start in the next strip.

This strip? The environment is totally photoshop. The far back is a shopped-over CG “block” layout, and the mid/fore is the reference render, repainted. The test render worked for layout purposes, but the lighting? The lighting sucked and refused to render correctly. All day and then some mucking around with lighting and test render after test render (twitching with Motion PTSD all the while), or use the base reference render to paint up a background that gets the job done just as well in…. uh… a couple of hours?

No decision. I’m getting this thing rolling again, dammit.

Strip 147 – MARATHON!

Finished this several hours ago. Took a TF2 break and then proceeded on to the next strip. I figured I’d do what I could with that tonight, then upload this before bed.

Turns out I finished the next strip (completing a page!) and am now rather tired. A bit jelly-brained – further commentary will have to wait for a later date.

Strip 148 – An entire page. In a day. More like two, but still – less than 24 hours for four strip posts, and that counts for something. I’d like to think that this is the result of my decision to “compromise” on CG, cutting it down to Absolutely Necessary. The decision has produced mixed results – on the one hand, a handful of strips in a single day. On the other, I spent more time on background rendering than CG rendering or character work. On the gripping hand, I don’t mind. The yucky part – the Hurry Up And Wait of Rendering Hell – has been cut to almost nothing, at least for this strip and the previous one. More work with less wait is definitely a good thing – if I can sustain it.

In indirectly related news, it’s my birthday. To be honest, the booty shot is a birthday present to myself. This was a three panel layout, reworked to make it both easier to turn out and more pleasant to work on.

Posting the Page (This is strip 4/4 of page six of chapter two) to the ATC site, then going to bed. Production to resume Sunday or Monday.


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