Friday, July 15, 2016

Enter -- MOON WOLF

Still experimenting with the Noir look from Poser 11's Comic Book Preview. This was just a quickie of a character who is going to be in a story I'm working on (more on that soon!).

The character is Moon Wolf, an athletic Batman / Black Panther / Fox character-type, who will cross paths with a sexy villainesss I'll introduce next week!

I'm not going to say much about this, really. It was a quickie (and I think it shows). It's a perfectly serviceable illustration, though, and I did make it pretty fast. The only bit of interest (at least technically) was that I used a very short focal length (probably around 12 - 15 mm) and placed the subject close to the camera to get the extreme Jack Kriby foreshortening effect.

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.