Patreon Rewards Update

To make the Patreon rewards more useful to folks, and easier for me to achieve on a monthly basis, I have updated them.

I have adjusted the price tiers to those that are most used, and given folks at each tier some fun things to experience.

One of the big changes is that I will be holding a monthly Q&A session on Facebook Live for everyone!  So if you haven’t liked the Facebook page do so now and you won’t miss a thing!

The first Facebook Live event will be June 14th at 6:00 cst.

The $3 and $10 tiers were dropped so that I can give you more bang for your buck on the other tiers.  I think it is going to make a big difference.

If you aren’t familiar with my Patreon page, head on over and check it out!  We would love to have you.

I hope you have a great day!

More Work Done!

So I’ve been busy working on the sim, getting it ready for the stories yet to come.

Here is a picture of the slums of Vardala, ready for their debut in the comic!

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It will be a while, but I can’t wait to tell stories in this section of the world!

I also added lights to the streets outside the shops.

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I am happy to be able to have purchased a hospital for the city as well!  It will come in handy knowing how much the crew of the Jeweled Heron like to get in trouble.

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The Dreams of Innocents

Writers create a world when they write.  It’s usually huge and vast and rarely ever seen in the actual story in it’s full glory.  Sometimes it’s not.  But my worlds are just that, filled with history and characters that rarely get explored in the main story-line.

So I offered my Patrons the ability to see into a small section of each character to give a more detailed view of who they are and what their motivations are.  They are 1-2 page comics that really are just character studies but they are fun and give you insight on the character.

So I asked my Patrons if they would be okay with me sharing these comics with you after a while, so that the general reader can get those same insights.  They said they had no problem with it.  (I love my patrons!)

So two months after the Patron’s get the first look, you will be able to see the comics too!  They will only come out once a month, and will be posted on the first Thursday of the month.

Look for the first one next week!

Visiting Vardala

So I won’t have a comic this week for a few reasons. I had an out of state court date on Thursday, so I was out of state for two days and unable to access my computer. Couple that with a blown out shoulder that aches even after I take pain killers and I just didn’t have time to get one out this week.

That being said, I DID get a chance to work on the sim a bit more. Here are some teaser pictures of Vardala, the neo-victorian city back on Thessra. At this point I have just a few of the major landmarks laid out and some of the tenement houses lined up. No roads, no landscaping, no little details that make a city come alive.

But it’s a start, and it gives you a teaser to look forward to for when we get back to that part of the world.

What do you think?

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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!

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!

Shortcuts and Script Edits

Getting that sim is going to be vital for this comic. I’m running into a lot of issues where my vision for the comic and the script that I have already created have to be edited and updated because I don’t have the set up for it.

For instance, I would LOVE to get a wide shot of Fairy right now with the jewel of the city Aedarwood shining like a beacon in the distance. It’s what I’ve scripted and I think it would be a beautiful panel.

But without the sim, I don’t HAVE a forest or a city to photograph. I have a variety of sims I am using to take the photographs I need. I would need to do some massive post processing work to cobble together something that would work.

So what do you do?

Get creative! Switch up angles and layout, adjust the script so that you can make it work. Push off that amazing shot for later in the comic and make it look FANTASTIC when you do it.

Oh, I am going to do it. It will be *stunning*

Until then, however, I get a chance to introduce you to the last of the crew that hasn’t been seen yet. That makes me just as excited! These people have been living in my head for AGES now. Time to let them live in yours too!

Let’s do this!