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Old 08-10-2008, 06:26 PM   #16
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But don't let my trivial comment re sleeves discourage you. I'm really looking forward to the next installment.
Oh, not at all! I just wanted to let you know that I agree. Those kimono sleeves have really been very frustrating. There's another application I could use (Poser) that handles drapey things like sleeves differently and might work better, but I'm not so fond of how it handles outlines (and I'm not nearly as experienced in using it, either).

Actually, I was looking through the pages with a friend who's familiar with the story and there are a number of revisions I might make, though I don't know if I'll make them before finishing this chapter, or do a round of revisions at the end of each chapter, or what. Working people's names into the dialogue, clarifying passage of time, stuff like that. So if anyone has comments of that nature, go ahead and make them, because I may be able to take them into account in the revisions.

OTOH, I hope no one will be too upset if I can't take a particular suggestion into account, because it may not be feasible with my tools (and skills) or it may not fit the plot.
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Old 08-10-2008, 07:22 PM   #17
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Love DAZ and Hexagon both. Those look really good to me. They must be taking you some really serious time to do ... but it shows.
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:20 PM   #18
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Thanks, Ricky. It's my main side project at the moment. I tend to have a lot of creative energy that needs an outlet, and not much room for physical projects. This seems to be filling the emotional need nicely. I'm glad others are enjoying the results, as well.

I'd say it usually takes an hour or 2 per page, depending on whether I have the dialogue written already (a lot of it is), or especially whether I need to create a new model for something. The teahouse building on one page had to be adapted from a much larger structure (I did that within Cararra, then saved out as obj so I could use it in Daz Studio as well), and the pendant for Miyako (the monk who just showed up) and a pendant Jyunko will wear later needed to be modeled in Hexagon, which I just got and don't know how to use very well. That kind of thing tends to set me back a day or so. I hope to get to the point of being able to generate several pages a week, or even a page a day, though when the semester starts up again I probably won't be able to keep up that kind of production rate.

Perhaps I ought to mention that this is the first time I've ever tried to tell a story in graphic novel format... I've been reading manga for years, but usually when I want to tell a story I use text only. I've never been able to generate the images in my head in 2-D (and I think it would take rather too long to build everything in clay and photograph it). So this is all highly experimental and I welcome any suggestions anyone wants to make.
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Old 08-11-2008, 03:04 PM   #19
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[...] I ended up using a 25% view in Manga Studio and taking a screen shot, which seems really lame, but at least the results are viewable online. [...]
Yes, it definitely looks better now. The manga looks quite nice so far. Two suggestions though: 1. Sometimes the characters speak with their mouth shut, which is a bit irritating I think.
2. You might want to experiment with different shades of grey and/or pencil-like hatching in the background instead of just white to offer more variety between panels.
But that are just two small details, I'm looking forward to see the story progress

By the way, I tried to make a comic some years ago too, but abandoned it, because it was too much work. You can still find it online, if you want to take a look.
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Old 08-11-2008, 03:52 PM   #20
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Nice start. It is a lot of work, isn't it?

Thanks for both of your suggestions. In a couple of cases, the mouths are supposed to be open and the detail gets lost, so they look closed. In one case the character isn't supposed to be speaking aloud, but I forgot to put a box instead of an oval (will be fixed in the end-of-chapter revisions). But I'll look through the images and see what can be done to make it more clear that the mouths are open.

I have mixed feelings about the backgrounds. Cross-hatching is probably out, because it looks so bad at 72dpi (though I'm quite tempted by some of the screentone patterns I have). As I mentioned, I was looking through the pages over the weekend, and it did seem to me that a bit more variety in backgrounds was needed, but I don't want to go overboard and get too cluttered. You're right, grayscale or a gradient might be a good compromise. Also, I meant to put a setting behind the group scene on page 7 and simply forgot to do that when I was putting the page together. I think adding that in will help.

Thanks again for the input!
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Old 08-11-2008, 03:59 PM   #21
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Scott McCloud's comments about using crosshatching on webcomics are included in his "10 Suggestions for First-Time WebComics Artists."

I wanted to get opinions on a couple of his suggestions.

1 - He suggests orienting online comics to the typical screen size, but I'm hoping these will eventually be read on ebook readers. My thought was (possibly) to switch to landscape pages, but I really like the traditional Manga look. Thoughts?

2 - He suggests taking advantage of web features, including sound, motion, interactivity, expanded canvas, and hypertext. But I'm really more interested in offering a traditional manga format, for the most part, and again, I see these as being made available in PDF or some other ebook reader friendly format at some point, which might not support these extra features very easily. The only one that I'm tempted by is hypertext. I'm planning to use quite a few Japanese phrases in my story, particularly in forms of address and politeness phrases, which often simply don't translate well. I could use an asterisk and put the definition below the panel, in the old-fashioned printed way, or I could underline the phrase and make a hyperlink. What do you folks think?

And thank you all again for your suggestions and encouragement!
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:48 PM   #22
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Thanks, Ricky. It's my main side project at the moment. I tend to have a lot of creative energy that needs an outlet, and not much room for physical projects. This seems to be filling the emotional need nicely. I'm glad others are enjoying the results, as well.

I'd say it usually takes an hour or 2 per page, depending on whether I have the dialogue written already (a lot of it is), or especially whether I need to create a new model for something. The teahouse building on one page had to be adapted from a much larger structure (I did that within Cararra, then saved out as obj so I could use it in Daz Studio as well), and the pendant for Miyako (the monk who just showed up) and a pendant Jyunko will wear later needed to be modeled in Hexagon, which I just got and don't know how to use very well. That kind of thing tends to set me back a day or so. I hope to get to the point of being able to generate several pages a week, or even a page a day, though when the semester starts up again I probably won't be able to keep up that kind of production rate.

Perhaps I ought to mention that this is the first time I've ever tried to tell a story in graphic novel format... I've been reading manga for years, but usually when I want to tell a story I use text only. I've never been able to generate the images in my head in 2-D (and I think it would take rather too long to build everything in clay and photograph it). So this is all highly experimental and I welcome any suggestions anyone wants to make.
Hexagon is one of those programs that, when you get to the point where it clicks ... it's just the best. I wrote one or two tutorials for Hexagon ... I can't even recall now what site they are posted on ... but I was using it (and Rhino) for making clothing for the mice in the book I was working on.

Sadly, that was taking me between 60 to 120 hours per illustration. Partly because it wouldn't be until the umpteenth render (in color, at full size) that I would find the last of the little things that just drove me nuts.

I only recently noticed that my piece, "In the Hall of the Pirate King" still has one idiotic error in it. I know I need to go back, fix the thing and re-render, but that one took for freaking ever to render.

I really do think what you are doing is great. However, I don't know enough about manga to be able to make any helpful comments. I'm going to post ITHOTPK .... and see if you can "spot the goof."

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Old 08-12-2008, 05:42 AM   #23
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I'm going to post ITHOTPK .... and see if you can "spot the goof."
you obviously spent a lotta time on that, it's wonderful...
as to the goof, well all i can say is that it's (to me) not immediately obvious,
but I have a couple of possibles :

number of digits on the hand...
belt on the sailor to the left looks a little "square" to its waist...
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:35 AM   #24
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Well, it's obvious, isn't it? The sailor in the back is wearing a shirt made of nylon when everyone knows they really only wear cotton (or other natural fibers) when dressing.

Make that two errors. From the placement of the subjects it's almost impossible to see that the parrot is holding a knife and is about to take out the captain before he can reach the pistol (the signal being when the "Macarena" stops playing).

Orrrrr, I could be completely clueless. Let's go with the clueless option, shall we?
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:00 AM   #25
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Beautiful image! I don't know which "error" you're talking about, though I'm having a bit of trouble parsing what the captain's left hand is doing.

I can always think of things I'd improve or change about the pages of the manga, but I sort of see it as a work in progress, so I just keep going. The illustration style itself tends to be less fussy than the photorealistic style you were working in, I think. (Lighting, in particular, is a lot easier.)
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:19 AM   #26
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by eck these suspenders are killing me ......
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:22 AM   #27
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Sorry, I had to work late last night. I still got about half the next page done, but I need to give my ninja things to crouch on top of, peer out from behind, etc.

Plus, I need to create a model for a mysterious device one of them is carrying.

I should be able to get the next page out tonight.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:24 AM   #28
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Sorry, I had to work late last night. I still got about half the next page done, but I need to give my ninja things to crouch on top of, peer out from behind, etc.

Plus, I need to create a model for a mysterious device one of them is carrying.

I should be able to get the next page out tonight.
so sorry, was referring to the goof from RM....
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:26 AM   #29
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Oh, WELL!

Yeah, I'm kinda wondering, too.
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Old 08-12-2008, 11:10 AM   #30
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Did you re-upload the images? They look better now. Or my eyes are more/less tired than the first time I looked.

Also, I've been reading too much original manga lately, I keep trying to read your comic from right-to-left!

As for "Hall of the Pirate King", the only think I can spot offhand is some of the lighting and shadows seems a bit out of whack. For the rest it looks great.

Last edited by acidzebra; 08-12-2008 at 11:13 AM.
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