Friday, July 8, 2011

Art Update: There was a lens flare... AND MOTION BLUR

Objects in motion... difficult to do for a still picture. Um, so I've heard. There's a lot of tricks... including MOTION BLUR. Dont you just love not being able to see what the heck is going on in a picture? You do? Then motion blur the crap out of it. If I have to use motion blur... I try to use it sparingly. If I can avoid it, I do so. Its wonderful to look at all the time and effort spent by an artist to make a clear action, a realistic movement, without resorting to cheap shortcuts. throwing in computer-generated motion blur is one of those cheap shortcuts that doesnt look bad I guess, but its not like it looks amazing either. When drawing, a few quick lines can portray all the movement you'll ever need.

See, light, little lines that dont obscure what I want to show. The knife is blurry though. But its hand drawn motion blur, so that makes it okay.

This computer generated motion blur... it doesnt that good. Its not ultra obscuring, but I take one look at it and wonder if the picture's gone out of focus.

mmm... little better

So yes, in the future, know that I'm a cheap artist who has to resort to tricks to make her art seem better. And quick little lines are better than cheap tricks.
Except in the case of my comic, where the quick little lines of pencil or pen are crazy hard to duplicate. I could spend an hour on those lines and still not have them look right. Plus, they might clash with the style, which is very exact and clean when it comes to characters. What am I to do? Here's about what I went through.

So here's normal Ken running... ignore the wierd position his legs are in. 

I dont even know.
 Motion blur... get the hell offa my picture.
 I've added a background as contrast, because some of the lines are rather light. This looks pretty good in places... but awful in others. This would take way longer to make than what I want to spend on it.
Grey. Stop throwing on motion blur. It doesn't fix anything.
 Both of these are a little bit better, but its still no masterpeice. Certainly portrays movement, but it doesnt look all that spectacular. Maybe because its because its just a generic, line-y blur. Maybe with a little
 NO, I wasnt going to say with motion blur!!!! Did we just put motion blur on top of motion blur?!

Now, Steve says that this is the best. And I'm just sitting here and gnawing on my lip. Its servicable, thats all it is. It works, but its not particularly artistic or fancy. And it doesnt fit my cartoony style all that much. But in cartoons it would be all like...

I think I like it.

Good GOD is this silly.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

20th Century Boys

There's two different ideas behind releasing serial content, be it a TV show, manga chapters, or webcomic pages. Are you writing for its full release, be it on DVD or in volumes? Are you writing so that once its all done, it comes together into one solid emotional arc? Or are you writing so that each serial peice has an emotional impact, each chapter or episode leaving you to want for more? The former way means you have to wait a long, long time to get the full feel of a work, and sometimes leaves the individual episodes dull. The latter means when you're re-reading or watching the work in its completed form, it becomes mind-numbingly exausting to have each and every chapter try and build up for the next one.

This is exactly my feeling as I'm reading 20th Century Boys. Not the band, a manga released by Naoki Urasawa. It ended about six years ago, and I'm reading through it for the first time. After an amazing fifty chapter setup (yes, five volumes, seinin manga really take thier sweet time) the story suddenly skips forward about fifteen years and you start to hear the drums. The drums in the background that slowly get louder and louder and louder and louder, each beat saying "getting intense now, GETTING SO INTENSE!" They go on for so long you stop being into the expeirience and just wonder how fast the drums will go until it just gets silly. And you know, I've hit the 130th chapter, and with another 100 chapters to go, this manga has really overworn its welcome.

It just feels like each chapter was written solely to perpetuate its existance. Its not about telling a good story and having it come to a timely conclusion. Its going to soap opera route where it just piles on more and more bullcrap drama and twists. While you're reading serially you might go "holy shit holy shit hooooly shit!" But when you step back and look at it as a whole, there's really nothing to this manga. The only moment in this entire manga I really felt touched me was the release of Kenji's song, which isnt even in the dang manga. Yes, a bonus track is more touching than this entire dang manga. Maybe its touching because I have context for it... but shouldn't that kind of impact be in the manga itself?

The other major flaw with this work is that its just so dang silly. Even if you took away the constant ramping up, the major twists are just laughably ridiculous. The story is literally trying to take dumb kid's ideas and make them into a legitimate threat. No, really, some kids in 1970 think up a plan to save the world, and some dudes find it and decide to really reenact it. The villains do feel threatening and unstoppable, even post-setup. But what are supposed to be major dramatic turns just wind up being freaking ridiculous. I've laughed more than this dumb story wanted me to. Here's a moment from the part I really liked, the fifty chapter setup. We're about to see the villain, Friend's face for the first time.... oh my goodness its.... ITS.... a dumb mask. A really silly looking mask. And I just laughed. Every time that mask turns up... well, they're trying to make the mask threatening in its childlike appearance. Like that Laughing Man thing from Ghost in the Shell. When you see the Laughing Man's logo after its been set up, you flip a shit, even though it doesn't look all that threatening. When you see Friend's mask.... well, yeah, you know its the villain's thing, but whatever, its a dumb mask. Can we just see who the hell this guy is, please? We saw Johan's face, Urasawa, and we were freaking intimidated by it! Stop dragging this nonsense out!

Right, this is by the man who wrote Monster, which despite it's serial feel, the work felt like it was actually going somewhere. On the other hand, this is the same guy who wrote Pluto, which is cohesive in volumes, but just so dang silly. Take that as you will... but I'm done with 20th Century Boys. Maybe I'll keep reading, maybe I wont. It might be worth a look at, faceless internet, but don't go into it expecting a classic.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Art Update: Card Win, Troll Fail

I am done with the first seventeen pages of The Devil Dreams of Card Games. No, wait, let me say that in a more elated voice. Ahem HALF THE FIRST CHAPTER IS DONE AUG I FEEL AWESOME. It only took um, a month, once I got focused. Average time spent per page is um... eight or nine hours. For something that looks slapped together in MSPaint... I feel goddamn badass. Only 15 more pages and chapter one is done! And since 30ish pages updating three times a week is 10 weeks... spending two months creating a chapter is perfect!

Here's a sample of the work I do. And kinda how a major part of the world works.

I have NO IDEA why I feel so elated over something that takes so much freaking time! Must be those five CocaColas!!!

So, um, mt other work! The Trollmance Fanfiction! Yeah...

Why did I try to write a fanfiction again? It became more about fanon of the adult world, rather than an exploration of relationships.
Incomplete, but I like the style. Sorta NSFW? One panel of a silloetted butt, does that count?