Friday, July 8, 2016

B&W Guard Test 2

Here's another sample of the black & white line technique I showed last week. In this case, I rendered only the figure and props (hat, clothes & flashlight) in Poser 11 using the Comic Book Preview Mode.

Michael 3 base model
Poser 11 & Manga Studio 5 work
I added the beam and doorway in Manga Studio 5, along with the inking in the background and the "dust" (or fog, or whatever it is) in the light beam. By the way, Smith Micro renamed this product as "Clip Studio Pro," for some weird reason. I have the less-expensive version, which I got on sale for about $20 - $25, if I recall correctly. I may upgrade to the full version at some point... but perhaps not. I still have the old version of Manga Studio 4EX, and I kind of like the interface a little better than I do the new version. The old version had a "Beginner" panel, which made it very easy to find all of the pen settings at once, particularly the starting and ending fade settings (the setting that tells the pen to shrink the start or finish of the ink stroke).

By the way, I could have done the edits for these black & white images in Photoshop, but I chose Manga Studio for two reasons:

  1. Manga Studio has very good pen-simulation tools. As I said above, it easily tapers the pen off at the end (yes, you can do this in Photoshop, even without a pressure-sensitive stylus, but this is a little easier to use). Also, the Manga Studio pen tool will correct your strokes, giving them a cleaner, smoother arc. This might sound like something you don't want ("I want it to show EXACTLY what I drew without fiddling with it!"), but there is an inherent lag in all computer-based drawing. Manga Studio corrects it and helps smooth out curves, which actually gives your work a more natural and organic look, as opposed to the jaggy steps you might see if you drew the strokes solely by hand without any sort of interpolation from the computer.
  2. It has more built-in effects for comics, such as the dust and the etched lines and tones. I could create these by hand myself, but it's faster to just pull up the tools that are already there, waiting for me to use.

Hopefully, next time I'll have a more interesting figure to show you (hint: it's a sexy female supervillain!). 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

B&W Tests with Poser 11

This past weekend I managed to experiment with Poser 11's Comic Book Preview mode. This is a very cool feature that creates a solid black line around 3D objects, based on their geometry. This is a very cool feature that is often confused with something called "Toon" rendering.  In a future post, I''ll  not the same thing, and I'll post some sample images to illustrate the differences.

In the meantime, though, I thought I'd post the image I worked on this weekend.

B&W Test created with Poser 11 & Manga Studio

I'm very pleased with the outcome of this test. This is very close to the effect I'm looking to create for a comic book project I'm working on. Also, it was very fast to create. I can imagine these techniques fitting nicely into my workflow.

The creation process included:

Setting up the figure, including the materials which needed some tweaking (light textures or no textures, and no bump maps).
  1. Adjusting the lights (only 2 infinite lights, with the shadow maps texture sizes pumped up to 4096).
  2. Finding the right size for the Geometric Edge (I think this is set at either .25 or .33)
  3. And then rendering two images at very large size (about 4,000 pixels -- the large size is important for capturing details, but it's very fast because this is black and white with no textures visible):
    - Image 1 has small shadowy areas (the black shadows in this image)
    - Image 2 has large shadowy areas (the gray textured areas)
  4. I then combined the two images in Manga Studio 5 and used the large shadowy areas as a guide to apply the tone.
  5. I also did some hand editing of the edges (there were some gaps here and there, and places where I wanted thicker/thinner lines). 
  6. I also did some hand editing of the tone (like on the curves on the badges, and around his eyes).
  7. I also used a Manga Studio tone for the background.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Lighting the Noir Look

Found another great video that discusses the art of lighting comics in Poser. Even though this is an older video (it uses Poser 9, and the old duplicate-figure-then-flip-normals" trick to get an outline), the lighting tips are VERY good.

This is definitely worth checking out!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Daz Studio: Noir Shaders

Below is a very interesting video tutorial on how to use shaders to achieve the high-contrast Sin City look used by Frank Miller. For those of you not really into 3D, shaders provide the texturing information that provide information about color, reflectiveness, transparency and stuff like that.

This requires the use of the Visual Style Shaders by DraagonStorm and TheNathanParable. I will be experimenting with these shortly.

Friday, June 3, 2016

CCN #114 Christmas Cover

Wow! How has (almost) half the year sped by already? I just recalled that a while back I promised that I'd post the cover I created for the Christmas issue of the Collectors' Club Newsletter.

CCN #114 Cover: The Front & Back View

The cover is a front and back view of a hectic, odd Christmas scene. For those of you into details like this, it was done in Daz Studio 4.8 with Iray. I actually modeled the candles and candle holders that are on the tree (and used instances for the first time to replicate about 20 of them). I did the modeling in Strata 3D ver 7.

The entire scene was so complex that it actually took about 48 hours or rendering to get a decent, high-resolution image. Post work was done in Photoshop.

By the way, a tip of the (Santa) hat to Alan Sissom for giving me the idea to do a front-and-back scene. I sent him a different image, and when I told him it was done in 3D, he asked if I could also show what was behind him. I thought it was a brilliant idea and started the task of updating it for Christmas, and showing what was going on behind the scenes, so to speak.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Poser & Daz Comic Links

A while back, I enjoyed a great online Webinar about using 3D tools to create comics. It was really one of the most informative Webinars I've ever attended.

Another blogger has gone through it and written up 10 tips from the show, and they can be found here: and you can find a link to the Webinar here:

A link to the actual presentation can be found here (but it has lousy audio, whereas the live event had good audio):
I think this is a longer version of the same show, with still-bad audio:
Slightly better audio on the Concrete Park segment:

Here's another link to a tutorial by Brian Haberlin:
And yet another:

Another one on coloring:

A different tutorial on coloring:

Finally, some links to training videos for Poser and Daz Studio.
Daz Studio:

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Whooo Goes There?

It's been a long time since I've done an update. I'm still busy with my "day job," so my fun-time projects have really fallen behind schedule. Still, I've managed to work in a little bit of fun here ant there. This illustration is one thing I managed to get done a week or so ago.

Abandoned. Desolate. Shunned... All fancy ways to say "Feared." A child's mind is blissfully uncluttered by concepts of equity, potential and renovation. A child knows when you should just stay away and leave it to the guardians of the night. Listen to the children, listen to midnight warning of the owl on its perch. Just move on, grown-ups. Just move on.

This was a render of Ken Gilliand's Owls of the World vol. 1 that I purchased at the annual Audubon charity sale over at The render was created in Daz Studio 4.9 with the Iray render engine. This was a quickie, but it was still a nice showcase for the owl figure.

As you might guess from a previous post, I've got owls on the brain right now. So, as I finally wrap up the Ultra reprint project, I'll be adding some new comics fun to my schedule.

Look for some new and exciting posts to come soon.