Comic Art

This page represents early experiments made towards reproducing professional comic book art styles within 3D Studio Max. While I'm proud of the achievements represented here, the render times involved were never really acceptable. Current focus is on speeding up production time.

(Don't worry - the look of what you see here will not be sacrificed. Just the costly bottlenecks! We're aimin' for realtime...)


Let's start with my latest and best illustration, and then jump back in time for the history. This image was a Christmas present for artist and activist Phil Yeh, who created and owns the Winged Tiger and Patrick Rabbit characters pictured, and reserves all rights to them.

Phil's work is about promoting literacy and creativity, and I used this project to pull myself out of a creative slump. It seemed a poetic fit.

 (I suppose the technical note here is that I stylized and incorporated real-world elements into the cartoon scene. The globe is mapped from a real atlas, and the background was modified from a satellite photograph. Both had to be changed significantly to make the juxtaposition work, but they still add to the sense of realism.)

If you haven't read Winged Tiger Comics & Stories, the scene depicted might not make a lot of sense to you. Patrick Rabbit is a cartoonist with writers block, and the Winged Tiger is using it's magic to drag Patrick all across the universe to ask artists where they get their ideas. Wherever possible, the answers come from Phil personally interviewing those artists, and the comic's artwork incorporates sketches that they give him. It's an inspiring community effort, as well as a technically daunting collaboration. To read more about or purchase Phil's books, visit wingedtiger.com.

[end shameless plug]


This image represents my first experiments. You'll probably have to scroll to the right to view all four parts.


This next one introduces new software into the mix, and begins experimenting with color pallettes.


My hard drive died shortly after creating that last picture, so I had to start over. I went a comedic route this time for a change of pace.


(both people above are variations on the same model. I spent about two minutes tweaking one into the other)


Another interesting experiment for the technically minded: The image on the right does not have a light source. The shadows you see are completely faked by a much faster algorythm. The effect is stylized, and for the most part, acceptable. And it renders one heck of a lot faster. For an animation project, I'd probably fake the lighting on everything but his eyes.

 

(Yes, there are many differences beyond just the lighting. That's not an illusion.)


This is everyone's favorite cute little dead girl, Lenore. Check out her comic book, by Roman Dirge. If you have a morbid sense of humor, I can't recommend it strongly enough. I threw this together after visiting a website full of scribbly crayon fan art, as a means of cleansing myself.


Her lighting is faked, to mimic the coloring style on her cover art. But the lighting on the ground beneath her is real.

She's fully poseable, and her dress shuffles along nicely behind her as she walks. In fact.. Click here to see her in motion (using one of the default Character Studio motion capture files).


Here, I've invented new mapping techniques and am actively controlling nearly every aspect of the final picture.

It's still not perfect, but I'm rapidly improving!

Next big hurdle: dynamic page layout. Multiple panels, with objects extending beyond the panel boundaries...


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