The Process of Creating a Comic – Part 1

Some of the most fun, and time consuming, moments in the creation of this comic is the set up and photography sessions.  I can spend several hours making sure the scene is just right so that I can get the photos I need.

Let me show you a bit of the work that goes into creating a comic page.

First, you have to have a world in which to set your stage.  Recently I purchased half of a sim and have spent the last week or so building the world I need to have to fill all my needs.  I am nowhere near done but Clio’s forest and the hovel that she lives in has been set up.  While I am sure there will be some tweaking I won’t have to recreate it for each photography session.

Props and appearance of the avatar are also important.  I have gone nearly all mesh in my build because it looks better in the photos.  A few of my avatars are still not fully mesh, but many of the main ones are.  The lines are smoother and they are more rounded.  They also bend better, and while you still get some clipping, the clothing actually folds with the body rather than glides through the body like sculpted clothing did.

I should do a comparison between when I first started Second Life and the way it looks today.  I’m sure many of you would get a kick out of it.

Poses and facial expressions can express more emotion than words can describe in many instances, and making sure that they are appropriate for each panel is key to making sure the reader gets the intent of that panel.  I have several facial expression HUDs and mesh heads usually have some expressions built in too.  I love the CATWA heads, their animators are great for photography because they allow you to animate the eyes and the lips separately or together.  This makes things SO much easier for a perfectionist like me.  This also usually takes the most time.  Getting everyone set up and their faces emoting properly can take 15-30 minutes alone depending on the complexity of the scene and whether I’m using static poses or animations I have to wait to cycle.

Then with any good photography the lighting and angle of the shot will make or break all your hard work.  Second Life has a lot of lighting options but usually I choose one that casts the right shadows and then edit the photos in Photoshop so that I can get the mood I want without having to flip through the several hundred lighting presets in the program itself.

I take a lot of photos each session, many of which will never be used, all searching for that perfect shot that I want to put into the comic.  I love the feeling of “HA!  Got it!” that you get when you know you have the one.  It’s so rewarding!

You may have noticed that this is the first part of a number of posts.  In the next post I’ll go over how I pick the perfect picture to use and some of what I do in Photoshop to make them a full fledged comic page.

Be seeing you!

Decorating the Hovel

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Clio’s house is featured predominantly in the upcoming page of the comic so I have spent much of my time getting it ready for its big debut.  Little details make the scene, so I am making sure that those little things are perfect.  Everything in the scene has a story.  I do that mostly because I’m a masochist but also because it adds depth to a scene and allows the visuals to be more than something overly simple.  Most of what is out there won’t ever make it to print, but it *might* so I spend time making the environment, rather than just a few out of place scenes.

It’s nearly done, then I can get the photos for the next page of the comic, edit them together and have something to post come next Tuesday.

That is, so long as the holidays don’t steal all my time.  I’ve got quite a few things that need to be done for home and family and they come first.  I’m sure you all understand that, so thank you for your patience.  I will do my best to get a comic out asap!

Pretty Things to Share!

I spent a few hours this afternoon working on the sim, there is a LOT still yet to do, and many tweaks before anything is final for the comic, but here is a sneak peak at what the world is slowly forming into.

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Many thanks to my husband who provided much of what you see in this picture.  (He has LOTs of fun buildings and props in Second Life.  It’s where we met! <3)

So it Begins…

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Realizing I wouldn’t be able to continue to fill this comic on the regular without having a sim to use for the builds needed, I decided to go ahead and purchase a half sim plot of land in Second Life to create the scenes I need for the upcoming pages.

I am still holding the first goal at $150 so that I can pay for this sim, but I can’t wait any longer to put it together.

That means I will be spending the next week or so building said scenes so that after the holidays I will be able to create the comic the way it was meant to be created.

I’M SO EXCITED!

I will be posting pictures of the progress here and on Patreon so stay tuned for some really amazing stuff!

That being said, because of this, there will be no comic this coming Tuesday as I build the set needed for the next page. Instead you will get flooded with in progress shots of the sim as I work on it.

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Reporting in After a Busy Weekend

This weekend was spent running around in the woods with 70+ other people, trying not to get eaten by zombies, or have raiders steal what little resources our ‘town’ has.  It was great fun and I recommend it for everyone.  Very therapeutic… and cold, frigid, in fact.

Now I have a dry cough.  Good times.  I even went over and above trying to stay healthy, washing my hands, not eating after people, the whole nine yards.  I clearly need to start taking my vitamins again.  Fair enough.

We have a short break in January to run a small 4 hour game at Midwinter Gaming Convention before we are back at it again in February with our season opener!  I love running these games, but I think I will use the time between games as a bit of a break (as much as one can get a break from such things) to try and get caught up on house cleaning and get a nice buffer for the comic.

Second Life has just increased the prims on their sims and homesteads which is news worth jumping up and down for.  Their sims are still amazingly expensive, but now at least I will be able to create the world I need without worrying overmuch about the prim limits.  I know I’ll still hit those limits, I’ve got big dreams, but it’s still good news.  Now to just get Patreon to the level that I can afford to buy/rent that sim.

I’ve gotten all the comics corrected, and now I am focused on uploading them.  They should be done within the next week.

Thanks all for your support of the comic!

Be seeing you!