DCR.4 End Of Chapter Blitz! Page three of three! Start here to see what you missed!
2012 04 11, 18:55 : Rendering and primary assembly complete. Ready for line art. Fisheye lens effect based on a tutorial posted at Polygon Poop. Looks great as a pure CG mockup, should look pretty sweet with line art. Still quite a bit to do - I can't estimate how long it'll take to get panel five to look As Intended but I do know it won't come together until after the line art is shaded!
2012 04 13, 13:54 : Oh yeah. Dropped the money as indicated in the script thumbnail. It was a holdover from an earlier draft of the script - in an earlier outline, the chapter started with Jason picking up LSD at the school, cut to a longer version of the restaurant scene, then cut to Jason making a sale. This was revised to Jason buying product inside the student apartments - the first third of the chapter went through several iterations, with a wad of cash and an envelope of LSD involved in all of them. Eventually things hit the shape they were executed in - moving the drugs exchange outside of school territory and cutting the money factor down to an afterthought. While the beginning and middle of the chapter went through several revisions, the end - these past few pages - went through one or two, and the wad of cash made it into the final script and layouts despite being a plot artifact.
2012 04 16, 18:26 : Pencils, inks, clean-up and primary assembly in parallel with 4.22 and 4.23.
I plan to log some cleanup and prep time later tonight, and at this point I'm liable to stretch out shading and posting into the weekend. It gives me a great reason to avoid the Pittsburgh Comicon. I don't plan on going - if I do it'll be in support of Foo Media and Balance, much like my drive-by "appearance" last year.
Air Shows, gun shows, hacker conventions - no problem. F-18s, AK-47s, alcohol. Actual comic conventions? Just thinking about it makes me anxious. Part of it's my long standing confidence issues (let me tell, you it's fucking awesome thinking you're King Of The World shading panels in photoshop and a Complete Piece Of Shit when called upon to extol your own work to others) part of it's the fact that... no, fuck it - moment of self-realization here: it's all confidence issues. I'm fine at air shows, gun shows, hacker conventions - I'm there as a hobbyist, enthusiast, supporter or force multiplier. At a comic convention I feel like a deer on the first day of hunting season. It doesn't matter if comic pages are in my backpack or buried in my apartment, the convention floor is one of my circles of hell and the fact that several people who've vocally supported ATC expect me to be either enthusiastic about or at least tolerant of the notion of hitting the con circuit, the peer pressure - the tacit expectation, the insistence that it's part of the job - adds to the anxiety.
Ultimately, Schizoid Fantasy Land is not Disneyland. The project was initially at least partially generated as a defense mechanism, and for years burying myself in production turned the mental escape into a literal escape from a variety of social situations I found odious, undesirable and ultimately untenable. I'm currently in the gulf between "I bury myself in ATC because FUCK" and "I work on ATC because ATC is cool. Cool like Fonzie," and that's something that's being slowly addressed. The work has already made the transition from Security Blanket For My Brain to Ongoing Long Form Project - that transition happened naturally, over the course of several years. In theory my perception of and confidence in the work will eventually mature accordingly. In practice it's obvious that after nine years in production that the change is going to have to be forced. Change has been forced elsewhere and I've either managed or thrived, so there's that.
Right now - 2012.04.20, 04:53 - my attitude is much more "Fuck yeah, comics!" There's a dietary component to consider, and a physical health component as well - getting the fuel mix wrong can really screw with my head in unproductive ways. It's easy to forget when things are going well, and not something that comes quickly to mind when things aren't.
2012 04 18, 00:40 : Shadow-matching, balloon tails, render patching, started the static/VFX work on panel five. Ready for shading!
Also, I'm still recovering from my "treatment" of the anxiety attack mentioned above. Anxiety is one of the reasons I spent the aughts either drunk or hung over. This last "attack" popped up in a fashion that made the cause incredibly easy to pin down - I've been extraordinarily functional otherwise, so for my mind to go totally off the fucking hook on something that's really not in the game plan, well... yeah. It's got me wondering where the line is between ego as a defense mechanism and the otherwise natural development of personal taste as it relates to entertainment choices.
This one's gonna be on the top of the site for at least a couple of weeks - the general tone of a chapter wrap should be less peevish, more ebullient. Possibly with capslock and exclamation points and the like. And I may yet get to that - shading is later in the week and a chapter wrap is this weekend at the earliest. That's plenty of time for my head to clear up a bit.
2012 04 20, 01:21 : Tonight for shading. Worked outside of the house today from 9 to 4, finished sleeping between 6 and 11, played some EVE, and will probably be busy as heck during Friday Proper (eg the Day part, with the Daystar). I may hit Phantom of the Attic in Oakland again during the day - I swung by on my "lunch break" this afternoon and walked out with my single largest bulk purchase of comics since my teens. They're liquidating back issues at $0.25 a pop - according to the guy behind the counter the storage fees to collector wallet ratio is no longer economically viable and they're getting rid of literally tons of old comics. Tons. I picked up almost a pound of Matt Howarth - twenty issues of Savage Henry and I intend to go back for Those Annoying Post Bros. next week, when Phantom gets into the Ts. They're presently liquidating S - whether they know it or not they'll be seeing a lot more of me over the next couple of weeks!
The loaf of Savage Henry books was published in the late 80s and early to mid 90s - prior to today's purchase the last print comic I bought (singular) was Gold Digger #112 (Nov. 2009) when it was new on the shelf - I gave it a flip but to be totally honest I've never actually read the issue. GD is a bit of a nostalgic holdover from my initial exposure to creator-owned comics in my mid teens, a bit of nostalgia that runs parallel with my exposure to Appleseed and Battle Angel, predating my tour of duty in artskool and my post-artskool fling with the works of Warren Ellis, Alan Moore, Dave Sim and Grant Morrison.
Right. I'm gonna shut up and shade.
04:30 : Basically done. Fiddling with the shading around Jesse's nose in panel two, locked in otherwise. Looks good at some sizes, kinda silly at others. Final tweaks and posting deferred to Friday afternoon.
2012 04 20, 13:29 : Finalized with some tweaks to the last panel. Whitehouse and The Operative both exit out with visual distortion - Leitmotif doesn't, though I may add some in during the post-production edit or leave it out as the basis of a visual clue that more happens between chapters three and four. I haven't decided yet - earlier this week I wrote up a nice little breakdown of current ATC chapters with an eye towards where scenes could be injected, with loose indications of what those scenes could be. It was a planning exercise for adding value to a trade paperback, and something I can definitely postpone the hell out of.
DCR.5 CG pre-production started April 13th. The last time I made any kind of adjustment to the script was back in January, so the posting "downtime" between DCR.4 and DCR.5 should be relatively brief. Pages will hopefully start flowing in May - the fact that most of the material I need for the cover happens to be practically everything I need for the chapter itself means that once DCR.5 starts hitting the site, it should keep hitting the site at a fairly regular pace.
Chapter four is complete! Only 20 pages left until DCR is done!
Now... time to post this. And then get, like, back to work.