Crossover: Sci-fi vs Fantasy webcomic. Epic Nerdiness.

Fuzzy ModemFuzzy Modem Registered User regular
edited January 2009 in Artist's Corner
You can read the whole first issue here.

Teaser Pics:
iomflagshipwipparts2.jpg
fallencitywip06_02small.jpg
iomfd01large_800.jpg
vagfightershowcase03_800.jpg

Shameless self promotion. I wanted to get the thoughts of nerds from this corner of the internet before I start releasing new pages again, ‘cause, like, you guys are like, kindred spirits... and my target audience :p

I’m shooting for an uber-epic scope, without over shooting and hitting fanboy drivel, and I’m confident you fine folks can identify the difference between the two, and point me in the right direction where necessary.

Thanks :)

Fuzzy Modem on

Posts

  • MetalbourneMetalbourne Inside a cluster b personalityRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    This picture looks like a painting of a boat superimposed on a picture of some waves with a photoshop filter thrown on them to disguise it.

    The boat itself looks like a paintover, also.

    Put together, everything looks about as artistic as a photograph of a woman with a moustache drawn on with a marker. All of this goes to diminish your uber-epic scope, along with your lack of imagination. Where are the engines? Why isn't it being towed by a team of harnessed whales? No ray guns? It's not travelling on energy lines? There are no magicians standing on the deck and changing the weather. The decks aren't being mopped by the souls of the damned.

    It's a boat with a unicorn statue. But hey, there's two moons.

    P.S. hay guyz I'm back.

    Metalbourne on
  • ProspicienceProspicience The Raven King DenvemoloradoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    It has begun.

    Prospicience on
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I'm going to just completely sidestep the whole "Shameless self promotion", "webcomic", and "teaser!", things and comment on my main issue.

    These are very obviously almost entirely photographs that have been composited and heavily filtered in photoshop in an attempt to make it seem like an illustration. The illusion is not convincing. In fact, the photographic nature of the comic is so apparent that for me it completely destroys whatever kind of sense of fiction and involvement I might theoretically have with the story. All I can think of is "this is someone's little sister in a dumb costume", "that guy's beard has been glued on to his face", "is this a 3D model someone else made, or is it possibly an action figure", et cetera.

    It makes the world seem incongruous almost from one panel to the next, your results are wildly varied at best (some of the compositions on a few panels are actually decent, while others are unreadable mess, almost like you're at the mercy of the original source art that you're photoshopping, or even worse your grasp on photoshop might not be that great and you don't have much control over how a page "turns out"), and most egregiously the few elements that you do actually try to manually paint in stand out like a sore thumb.

    Scosglen on
  • MykonosMykonos Registered User
    edited January 2009
    ok...wow...the paintovers r making ur characters look creepy as hell. I mean...the whole copy'n'paisted faces over disportionate globs of color is just a hotmess.

    Your using every single cheap photoshop shortcut in the book...and ontop of tracing. Just stop, rewind, learn the basics, get good at drawing and concompistion, and then get back to it. Otherwise, if you have a seriouse ambitous story to tell, which i think is your main goal, then just hire out a freelancer. Judging by what I'm seeing I would say you have a few good years of practice before you can comptitently render out anything. I would know...i'm on a year and half on my track

    Mykonos on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    "I was born; six gun in my hand; behind the gun; I make my final stand"~Bad Company
  • Fuzzy ModemFuzzy Modem Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Good critiques. Pain is good right?

    Naturally I hope to improve with practice, and things are admittedly pretty rough at present.

    I am using photos of friends in costume, creating my own CG models, and composting everything in Photoshop, then overpainting with a tablet. I would agree that visual consistency is probabley my weakest point at present. Any suggestions other than practice, practice, practice?

    Fuzzy Modem on
  • MykonosMykonos Registered User
    edited January 2009
    learn anatomy, study color, lighting, perspective, composition theory. Marko Djurdjevic, who is the baddass who does alot of the covers for DC and Marvel Comics, gave an awsome quote:

    "A person with a pen and toilet paper who knows what he's doing will always churn out something better than someone jumping into phtoshop who doesn't" Or something like that.

    Photoshop is just a tool nothing more and it wont do the work for u.

    Mykonos on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    "I was born; six gun in my hand; behind the gun; I make my final stand"~Bad Company
  • MetalbourneMetalbourne Inside a cluster b personalityRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I don't think there's anything wrong with using composited pictures as a reference, personally.

    Key phrase being as a reference.

    You'll want to check out a few issues of Heavy Metal Magazine to get some ideas of what you might want to aim for, as far as ideas.

    Metalbourne on
  • Fuzzy ModemFuzzy Modem Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I suppose it's no surprise I'm doing some things incorrectly. Though I've been using photoshop and Maya for a decade, I've had very little formal training. Any good books or websites where I can learn anatomy, study color, lighting, perspective, composition theory etc?

    The whole point, of course, is to become a better artist, but ideally people will care about the story enough to follow it's progression (along with my own.) This leads me to another question.

    I worry that the story is too convoluted, too complex, or perhaps that I'm simply not telling it effectivly. Are you guys able to follow the plot thus far?

    Fuzzy Modem on
  • crawdaddiocrawdaddio Tacoma, WARegistered User, ClubPA
    edited January 2009
    *cough*cough*
    ...damn cold...

    crawdaddio on
    Try putting your donger in a dishwasher and see how that comes out.
  • Fuzzy ModemFuzzy Modem Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Sweet. Thanks.

    Thoughts on the story?

    Fuzzy Modem on
  • earthwormadamearthwormadam ancient crust Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I can't really comment on the story because I can't get by the fact that this is a comic entirely comprised of filters and effects. Yuck!

    I'd read a crudely drawn comic over something like this anyday.

    My only suggestion would be to use drawings, because what you're using now is not visually appealing. If you can't do that than try to find an illustrator. Are you doing all the work on this project as far as images and writing?

    earthwormadam on
  • Fuzzy ModemFuzzy Modem Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Yeah I'm doing everything myself. I personally can't stand how traditional illustration looks when combined with CG (Titan AE) which is why I use photos.

    Fuzzy Modem on
  • MykonosMykonos Registered User
    edited January 2009
    comics are a more visual media its very hard for someone to get through a story with rough art even if the story is good - otherwise u could always write it as a novel

    Mykonos on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    "I was born; six gun in my hand; behind the gun; I make my final stand"~Bad Company
  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Question:

    Why don't you just go entirely CG?

    Looking through these, that appears to be your strong suit. The CG characters and ships display a solid foundation of knowledge. Things go wrong when you mix them in with clearly photographic landscapes and painted over characters.

    Why not try making CG scenes and placing your characters in them?

    Heartlash on
    My indie mobile gaming studio: Elder Aeons
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  • Fuzzy ModemFuzzy Modem Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Heartlash wrote: »
    Question:

    Why not try making CG scenes and placing your characters in them?

    Many of my settings are fully CG rather than photographed locations (such as the 1st four pages.) Kind of depends on where the scene takes place.

    I'd consider use all CG characters, but they have no soul (Beowulf.) However I often use digital doubles for anything past the foreground.

    Fuzzy Modem on
  • ProspicienceProspicience The Raven King DenvemoloradoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Heartlash wrote: »
    Question:

    Why not try making CG scenes and placing your characters in them?

    Many of my settings are fully CG rather than photographed locations. Kind of depends on where the scene takes place.

    I'd consider use all CG characters, but they have no soul (Beowulf.) However I often use digital doubles for anything past the foreground.

    I beg to differ: games like the new Prince of Persia, TF2, Mirror's Edge are all CG... but they have "soul". Maybe just try adding some visual style to it. Your CG skills seem to be pretty good (as far as I can tell through all the PS filters at least). Give it your own touch.

    Prospicience on
  • Fuzzy ModemFuzzy Modem Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I beg to differ: games like the new Prince of Persia, TF2, Mirror's Edge are all CG... but they have "soul". Maybe just try adding some visual style to it. Your CG skills seem to be pretty good (as far as I can tell through all the PS filters at least). Give it your own touch.

    I think we'll have to agree to dissagree. The only fully CG media I enjoy is kids movies, where the CG is stylised past the point of realism and into the realm of cartooniness (The Incredibles) and while very cool, that's not what I'm trying to create.

    There has to be a way to convincingly combine actors in costume with CG, and I'm inclined to believe it's an ability I'm capable of developing, though it may take a long, long time.

    Fuzzy Modem on
  • ProspicienceProspicience The Raven King DenvemoloradoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Ah gotcha, my apologies.

    Prospicience on
  • Skelly BSkelly B Registered User
    edited January 2009
    Yeah I'm doing everything myself. I personally can't stand how traditional illustration looks when combined with CG (Titan AE) which is why I use photos.

    You still have the same problem when using photos and filters though. Titan AE looks bad because the CG parts are jarring and don't mesh at all with the 2D animation. It works great in Futurama because they blend well. All or mostly CG seems to be the way to go. You can always do touch ups in photoshop if you don't want everything to be a super clean render. You have better judgement than a few lines of code, so don't rely on filters.

    edit: For actors in costumes combined with CG look at the Myst series. The backgrounds need to be hyper-realistic for the actors to look like they fit in the environment at all. I've only played Myst and Riven, but the parts with people always looked a little bit off.

    Skelly B on
  • Fuzzy ModemFuzzy Modem Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Ah gotcha, my apologies.

    No need to apologise. You even said nice things about my CG, which afer this (very honest and helpfull) bruising has rekindeled a tiny ember of ego. Thank you. :)

    [edit] You too Skelly B :)

    I used to use filters exlusively, but I've had a tablet for about a year now, and I'm trying to go very light on the filters and much heavier on the manual overpainting these days, so I think I'm headed in the right direction in that sense.

    Fuzzy Modem on
  • McGibsMcGibs TorontoRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I use CG models for perspectives and consistency, but the difference being that I use them only for layout. I agree that combining two completely different medias looks like ass (titan ae), but it definitely doesn't mean you cant make it work.

    01-01.jpg
    01-02.jpg

    The car is this model that I've painted over. (re: actually painted over, not just added filters to. Thats not a paintover)
    http://mcgibs.iseenothing.com/junk/phoenix/snow-car-render1.jpg

    McGibs on
    website_header.jpg
  • Fuzzy ModemFuzzy Modem Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    God damn that's pretty.

    Fuzzy Modem on
  • desperaterobotsdesperaterobots perth, ausRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    If I could be a voice of dissent here.

    While I don't particularly like the stylistic choice you've made, I do think that is has been applied, for the most part, pretty well. There are a lot of well composed panels, I definitely get a sense of epic, and though I didn't actually read any of it, I have to say that it looked interesting enough that I will probably take a second look when I have time. I did spot some panels where the exact same character shot had been used twice. That's lazy.

    There's a tendency to get our hate on here if photoshop filters are used, or photos painted over. The examples at the top of this thread are pretty egregious. But if the whole piece of work has the same hazy mushy photoshopped look I'm not sure it's much of problem. Your actual target demographic of 10 to 15 year olds (as opposed to early-mid 20s internet art nerds) would probably dig it, or ignore it.

    desperaterobots on
  • MykonosMykonos Registered User
    edited January 2009
    check out clint langely. He does pretty much exactly what your going for, by combining photos and paint jobs in photoshop with some 3d modeling (i think). He does the cover for all the warhammer novels, and although his style isn't my favorite, he's definitely top tier when it comes to that sorta thing.

    also, and I hate mentioning him since it took months for me to grow out of my guy crush, check out andrew jones as well. He combines alot of zbrush with corel painter and given his chaotic workflow its hard to distinguish which came from which....if you can distinguish anything at all that is.

    Mykonos on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    "I was born; six gun in my hand; behind the gun; I make my final stand"~Bad Company
  • Fuzzy ModemFuzzy Modem Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    yep. pretty much what I'm going for... concept art / storyboardesque with an oil/acrylic feel, only their stuff looks badass and mine... doesn't. But, y'know, it never will if I don't keep working at it. Optimism, aspiration, and all that, + practice right?

    Fuzzy Modem on
  • firegolemfiregolem Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I liked it. Its something I would look at, whether id read a lot would depend on the story line.

    You dont have to be Da Vinci to provide something worthwhile. Keep going, could be great. (Certainly, the first PA strips would get a worse reactionon here than your stuff :P but it turned out ok - in the end, after lots of hard work)

    EDIT: Actually just saw the strip - liked the style a whole lot, but not the plot and especially not the dialogue. Plot and dialogue are where Id be looking to improve.

    firegolem on
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  • milknpeachesmilknpeaches Registered User
    edited January 2009
    If you're going for an oil painting style, you might have more success actually painting over the photos by hand, using the brush and the smudge tool, than with filters.

    Also, a little off topic, but your writing could really use some grammar: "You need to put your boots on and get down from there Alyssa" is screaming for its missing comma.

    Anyways good luck!

    milknpeaches on
  • Fuzzy ModemFuzzy Modem Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I always forget direct address... Thanks. I know there is one more missing comma on the page with the ship over the mountains. See any others?

    The writing is admittedly a bit dry and cliche, and I'm having a harder time improving it, as I'm not exactly an english major (you can tell.) Can you tell what's going on though? Are you confused or just disinterested?

    Fuzzy Modem on
  • MykonosMykonos Registered User
    edited January 2009
    I never liked starting off a story with too much exposition. Tolkien pulled off an amazing feet using a short poem to tell us all we need to know about the the world before diving into an epic. Also, your gonna need something to really hook an audience and keep them interested because webcomics are saturated with so much crap that alot of people are gonna assume its crap before they read past the first page. One thing you can do once ur at that level of ability is have the exposition during the actual battle that took place rather then getting into sentimentals over characters we don't quite care about yet. Your dialogue is pretty decent, but again, your shooting for something way too ambitous for you to handle at this moment. Trust me, I've been there, and I put a certain project of mine on hold for almost 2 years so I can practice and draft out outlines. It's gonna take me alot longer, but it sure as hell beats the burnout and crap quality I would suffered. Hell, do a history check on my all my threads and posts to see what i'm talking about

    Mykonos on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    "I was born; six gun in my hand; behind the gun; I make my final stand"~Bad Company
  • milknpeachesmilknpeaches Registered User
    edited January 2009
    As a few general pointers...

    Less is more. The cover would be better without the epic battle. Take a look at some Star Wars posters for ideas on how to show your main cast without overloading the viewer. Similarly, the first passage with the little girl riding on the cloaked man's shoulders would probably be more effective without all that text. The imagery of a man silently leading a girl through a hideous battlefield is stronger on its own, and would inspire curiosity. When the characters are filling my ear with talk of boots and snacks and the futility of war, I lose interest - which leads me to

    Avoid redundant stuff. In his book STORY, Robert McKee says that any word or event that does not counter our expectations is unnecessary. So for example:

    - My feet hurt. Can I ride on your shoulders?
    - For a little while, but you still need to put your boots back on okay?
    - Okay. How much farther is it?

    I have bolded the redundant exchange. If he had said something unexpected, such as "leave your boots behind", then that would be worth keeping.

    This guy is an artist you could check out for achieving an oil painting style in photoshop. He uses other styles too, like manga.

    One last thing: in one panel I noticed you put a *sigh* in a speech bubble. Aiieee! Take it away! It's so hideous!

    Anyhow as I said before, good luck. This is clearly a very ambitious project and if you just spend some time fine-tuning it then it could turn out quite well.

    milknpeaches on
  • MykonosMykonos Registered User
    edited January 2009
    As a few general pointers...

    Less is more. The cover would be better without the epic battle. Take a look at some Star Wars posters for ideas on how to show your main cast without overloading the viewer. Similarly, the first passage with the little girl riding on the cloaked man's shoulders would probably be more effective without all that text. The imagery of a man silently leading a girl through a hideous battlefield is stronger on its own, and would inspire curiosity. When the characters are filling my ear with talk of boots and snacks and the futility of war, I lose interest - which leads me to

    Avoid redundant stuff. In his book STORY, Robert McKee says that any word or event that does not counter our expectations is unnecessary. So for example:

    - My feet hurt. Can I ride on your shoulders?
    - For a little while, but you still need to put your boots back on okay?
    - Okay. How much farther is it?

    I have bolded the redundant exchange. If he had said something unexpected, such as "leave your boots behind", then that would be worth keeping.

    This guy is an artist you could check out for achieving an oil painting style in photoshop. He uses other styles too, like manga.

    One last thing: in one panel I noticed you put a *sigh* in a speech bubble. Aiieee! Take it away! It's so hideous!

    Anyhow as I said before, good luck. This is clearly a very ambitious project and if you just spend some time fine-tuning it then it could turn out quite well.

    thats some good advice even I could use. Funny story about that guy you linked, he used to post here until one thing lead to another and got flamed to oblivion. He still has some good stuff though

    Mykonos on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    "I was born; six gun in my hand; behind the gun; I make my final stand"~Bad Company
  • Fuzzy ModemFuzzy Modem Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Some great advice. Thanks.

    I have a release of this issue in print (just 300 copies) that I sell at my local comic shop, and that hard copy version actually has much less exposition. Problem is, most of my readers had atleast some trouble figuring out what was going on, specifically why there were two types of humans, and which was which, so I added much more narration for the next release, (which is what is up on my website) all three issues that make up the prologue, about 80 pages total. I'm working on the next two issues simultaniously.

    I know this is an overly ambitious project for one person, especially as I've writen the script for another dozen issues, with notes for three times that much, and I intend, someday, to finish it all.

    That's why I'm not really disheartened to hear that it's not up to stuff yet in terms of execution. I have all the time in the world to improve, and more than enough material to practice with. Of course with all this work to do, and a timeline to keep to (1 page every 2 weeks) it's certainly a challenge to polish each page 'till it shines, and I'm sure that's one of the reason the final product suffers.

    What keeps me up at night is the thought that my very methodology is flawed, that over painted photo/CG collages simply don't work, and I'm breaking trail in the wrong directon... but it's a bit late to second guess myself. I have to operate from the assumption that success is achievable.

    Fuzzy Modem on
  • misosoupmisosoup Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    As Myk said, this stuff reminded me a lot of the Clint Langley stuff, mainly what he did for Slaine, using photos for their faces, and 3d modelling for other things, looks hella ugly to my eyes, but if thats your thing.

    misosoup on
    APTBSsig.jpg
  • winter_combat_knightwinter_combat_knight Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I think you've relied on photo texture a little too much. Photo textures work well when they've been applied lightly in few areas just to give a little sense of depth and realism (which would take 100hrs to paint manually!!!). I think if you tone down the texture photgraphs a little, and bump up your base lines and tone, your pics will look better.

    winter_combat_knight on
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