From Video Games to Comics

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Re: From Video Games to Comics

Postby balooga » Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:24 am

Beautiful pages -- loving the attention to detail.

This would be worth picking up just for the gorgeous art alone -- but I'm sure the story will be equally captivating! :)
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Re: From Video Games to Comics

Postby hughferriss » Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:36 am

Okay, here we go! (Rubs hands together) There's a lot of good stuff here, so I'll respond to each commenter separately.

robbdaman - I hope I can learn more about "flow" as I gain experience. Is there a specific page where your eye is most confused about where to go? Are there lots of visual cul-de-sacs?

Winterbourne - You're making heaps of sense. I'll be picking up a copy of Eisner's book (already have McCloud's). Your points about page 5 are right on. I think I've been reading too much manga lately -- the Japanese seem to put less emphasis on making a panel do multiple things, and they often drop in an image just for a bit of mood. In my case, panel 2 (sister looking down) was added to a) indicate an awkward pause and b) to show that the brother clearly perceives that she's distressed. Panel 4 is harder to justify, other than by saying that when I put too much dialogue in a single frame I feel like the momentum bleeds away a little. Also, I felt I wanted to reinforce the physical distance between the two figures. But yeah, I really see your point on that one. And then the last row is the most problematic for me, as well. The window-closing is just that -- a window closing. I needed to show it so that I could then show the brother's change of expression afterward. As to that expression, it's meant to show that Elloden is concerned about his sister, that he's perceived the tension in her voice. Now, having typed all of that, I admit it sounds super-flimsy. It's a shame I'm not working on a film, as it would be easy enough to edit this a couple of ways and compare the effect! Sigh. I will keep chewing on this. Thanks for the hosing!

John Rauch - Thanks! Nice to meet you.

MBirkhofer - My pace is glacial compared to your "slow" 10 hours per page. My average for the linework alone is something on the order of 30 hours. Add another 16 for color. Lots of revisions in both cases. I'm working at 11" x 17" @ 300 dpi, and now that I see practically everybody else is working at a much higher resolution, I'm having a little bit of a cow. Do you think such a low resolution is tenable? You also mentioned using 10 to 12 layers on complicated work. My second page ended up with 145 layers (wince). I'll just chalk that up to a lack of planning. Flatting is already bringing that down by a huge margin. I'll keep posting my speed stats here, and hopefully we'll see some sort of improvement!

Eagle - I know! That cool light on the back of the helmet... gah! I spent like a whole day trying to figure out how to make that helmet work. It's the only spot where I've used an airbrush-type effect, and it stands out like a sore thumb. I feel like something is needed there to give the helmet dimensionality -- maybe I'll just harden the edge of the backlit area? I'll fiddle with the color, too (of course it's on its own layer - mwa ha ha!). Thanks for suggesting this site, by the way!

Soonergriff - Thank you! I love dinosaurs. I even wasted my first three years of college studying paleontology. All because of Bill Stout!

Derek Muthart - Thanks!

Nathan - We must stick up for each other, for the sake of Nathan-solidarity! Your slightly-smaller file sizes fill me with hope, but I suspect I'm still working too small. Hm.
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Re: From Video Games to Comics

Postby JimCampbell » Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:55 am

Firstly: your linework is a thing of unparalleled loveliness. It's enough to make me want to put my Wacom down and sob, it's so clean.

hughferriss wrote:Do you think such a low resolution is tenable?


I'm a letterer, which generally means mine are the last hands a page goes through before it hits Production, and internals seem to come to me at 300dpi. There's no way the Production team are putting the resolution up after I've letterered the pages.

What this boils down to is what's necessary for the final, printed page. As computers have become faster, and HDDs have become bigger, people seem to have fallen into a trap of thinking higher resolution = better, when all you're doing is wasting disk space and clock cycles grinding through images with more detail than the press will ever be able to render.

The quality of the printed page is defined by its screen frequency -- usually LPI (lines per inch). I have been told all sorts of esoteric ways of calculating optimum resolution for varying screen frequencies, but in 15 years of producing printed designs, I have never gone wrong with 2xLPI = Optimum DPI. Newsprint tends to print at around 60-75 LPI, so images for newsprint are ideal at 120-150DPI at actual size.

Glossy magazines and modern comics print at around 150-175LPI ... 300DPI at actual size should be fine, 400DPI will give a margin of error. 600DPI is honestly overkill -- someone in Production will almost certainly knock that resolution back, or the default settings of the Postscript/PDF workflow will downsample it automatically at some point.

Cheers!

Jim
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Re: From Video Games to Comics

Postby MBirkhofer » Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:16 am

Pages for Hi-Fi were done at 6.8x11 450dpi. I suppose I had forgotten they were at actual size and not art board.

As for layers. Again, consolidate them. if you were to look at my screen while I was working you would see the layers labeled 80, 90, 120 etc. But I keep merging as I go. Click on the layers you want to merge. click, hold shift, click the lower one. And right click, merge layers. The only reason to not do this to every working layer is if the layer is set to a different mode. hard light, screen, etc. Where merging it with a normal mode layer will make it stop being a hard light, etc. So those, you need to keep that way till your done.
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Re: From Video Games to Comics

Postby Nathan » Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:41 am

Nathan - We must stick up for each other, for the sake of Nathan-solidarity! Your slightly-smaller file sizes fill me with hope, but I suspect I'm still working too small. Hm.


I've got your back, fellow member of the Royal Order of Nathans! :lol: And, srsly, don't worry about the file size: 300 dpi at 11 x 17 converts to something like 480 at print size. More than enough.

I've got some comments to make on the other pages you've posted on your blog, but maybe I'll go comment there, since you haven't posted those pages here.
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Re: From Video Games to Comics

Postby robbdaman » Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:16 am

Mainly I just know as a reader of comics for over 30 years where my eyes go. I don't feel I'm being directed specifically other the logical transition of a typical comic page which may be fine because it's not a complex layout. On page one, panel one it's all just so bright that I'm stuck there, on panel three I feel I look at the bright green beneath the antelope like creature, panel 4 I didn't even notice the antelope thing at first. Page two, panel one my eyes are complete drawn to the mount and ignore the guy until I glance over him to the bright sky, panel two I logically go down again and notice the bright sky. My guess is that the guy is where you want the reader to look most but if I'm caught up in everything else on the page/panel he's the last thing I see.
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Re: From Video Games to Comics

Postby Nathan » Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:42 am

I did not have the same problems Rob is talking about. I think you're doing a fine job of leading the eye. As I'm sure Nate knows, the eye is not drawn to light areas or dark areas, but to areas of highest contrast, be it tonal or color contrast, and you've put those areas where they should be. Also, I think it's important to note that these are the first few pages of what looks to be an epic fantasy story -- there's nothing wrong with inviting the reader to do a bit of ogling and rubbernecking. You're literally setting a scene here, right? So, sure you could be popping important elements more than you are, but if you did that, I think you'd lose a lot of the atmosphere you've created.

PS: Is it Nate or Hugh? I is confuzed. :? I get that you are likely paying an homage to the architect/artist Hugh Ferriss, but it's kind of confusing. If you plan to hang around these boards, you'd be doing yourself a favor to ask Dave to change your username for you. Otherwise, you'll end up with mooks like me calling you Hugh all the time.
Last edited by Nathan on Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: From Video Games to Comics

Postby MBirkhofer » Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:52 am

Nathan wrote:I did not have the same problems Rob is talking about. I think you're doing a fine job of leading the eye. As I'm sure Nate knows, the eye is not drawn to light areas or dark areas, but to areas of highest contrast, be it tonal or color contrast, and you've put those areas where they should be. Also, I think it's important to note that these are the first few pages of what looks to be an epic fantasy story -- there's nothing wrong with inviting the reader to do a bit of ogling and rubbernecking. You're literally setting a scene here, right? So, sure you could be popping important elements more than you are, but if you did that, I think you'd lose a lot of the atmosphere you've created.

PS: Is it Nate or Hugh? I is confuzed. :?

I'm not sure if it was one of the things you were mentioning about.
But on page 4 shown on the blog.
Nate, you have this page with alot of white space on the figures, and mid ground background. And then outside the window an absolute TON of rendering on the rocks. This is backwards. The eye is drawn to that extreme detail and contrast of the rocks in the completely unimportant bg, as opposed to the rest of the page that is more simply rendered. This can of course be completely corrected in the colors. But just something to note.
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Re: From Video Games to Comics

Postby Zombie Dave McCaig » Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:00 am

Marvel is usually 400, DC usually 600 PPI, but both at print size, unless the bone-head artist just scanned pages themselves and didn't resize them, which happens a lot.


600 PPI at print size is very workable though on any computer less than 4 years old IMO.
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Re: From Video Games to Comics

Postby Nathan » Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:02 am

MBirkhofer wrote:I'm not sure if it was one of the things you were mentioning about.
But on page 4 shown on the blog.
Nate, you have this page with alot of white space on the figures, and mid ground background. And then outside the window an absolute TON of rendering on the rocks. This is backwards. The eye is drawn to that extreme detail and contrast of the rocks in the completely unimportant bg, as opposed to the rest of the page that is more simply rendered. This can of course be completely corrected in the colors. But just something to note.


But that's just another kind of contrast: crazy busy background and then, pow, simple figure or face right in the middle of it. I'm always amazed when guys who draw a ton of detail don't get this concept. Like, they'll draw a torn up city scene with every brick rendered down to the smallest detail and then they'll plop the Hulk down in there, and instead of leaving the figure relatively open and clean, they'll go in and render the living shit out of him with a million lines and veins and crosshatching everywhere, so you just end up with a confusing mass of lines. Sometimes it's as important to give the eye a place to rest as it is to keep the eye moving where you want it to go.
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Re: From Video Games to Comics

Postby robbdaman » Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:46 am

I think it's just how I'm seeing things, more than likely I'm over analyzing it because of all the threads where you guys have driven the concept hard. I do think the art looks amazing I'm just seeing some of the high contrast areas as being not the character or scene focus.
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Re: From Video Games to Comics

Postby Goran » Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:21 pm

I recently quit my job at a video game company to try my hand at making a graphic novel

you must have a big trust in jourself that you can make a living from it.
i like your art, the coloring and even how the story is shown even when some people here who might have a better view of that tell different things
but i realy didnt undestand why you had to quit a job for doing it because you have no real deathline so you could do it even with a job but it would take longer to finish.
do you have already a publisher who is interested in it?
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Re: From Video Games to Comics

Postby Winterbourne » Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:53 pm

hughferriss wrote:Soonergriff - Thank you! I love dinosaurs. I even wasted my first three years of college studying paleontology. All because of Bill Stout!


Man, studying paleontology is never a waste. Dinosaurs are rad! :rawk:
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Re: From Video Games to Comics

Postby hughferriss » Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:09 am

So it seems that the general consensus is that while the size at which I'm working (11x17 @ 300dpi) is a little smaller than the industry average, it'll still work fine for print? Maybe I'm just inclined to believe Nathan, as that means I won't have to start over.

appomo - I think I quit my job because I wasn't enjoying it much anymore. We had enough money saved up for a few months of freedom, and my hope was to somehow use that time to build a bridge toward a new... I don't wanna say "career," because that word doesn't have pleasant connotations. I just wanted a new path. I wasn't even sure comics were the way to go (I blew the first four months working on a screenplay). Anyway, I'm still not sure I'm fast/good enough to turn this into something that can pay the bills, but I'll just be happy to have finished something. Oh, and I have tried working on a comic while holding down a day job -- maybe because my day jobs have all involved drawing, I tend not to have much juice left once I get home.

There were a few comments on the subject of leading the eye, either through color contrast or allocation of detail. In general, it seems like Nathan sees what I was trying to do (not a surprise, as we share the Xamot/Tomax-like psychic bond that connects all Nathans). Color-wise, I've been trying to figure out if images can play chords, rather than single notes. I could be talking out of my ass here, but whenever I set something up with an obvious single focus, it feels a little flavorless. It may be to the detriment of the storytelling (in fact, I'm almost sure it is), but it's so much more fun to draw. There's some action coming up soon, and I'll probably have to abandon that all-overness for those sequences.

Nathan - I added a signature. Do you think I still need to change my username? I've been hughferriss ever since I set up my first Yahoo mail account in 2000 - it was the only combination of Roman letters that could be had without adding a bunch of random numbers, so I went with it. Sort of habitual now. Plus, Hugh Ferris was rad, I'm sure you'll agree.
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Re: From Video Games to Comics

Postby robbdaman » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:56 am

hughferriss wrote:So it seems that the general consensus is that while the size at which I'm working (11x17 @ 300dpi) is a little smaller than the industry average, it'll still work fine for print? Maybe I'm just inclined to believe Nathan, as that means I won't have to start over.


That's a pretty typical size for independents and smaller press works. If you were wanting this to be magazine sized though the resolution would be considered somewhat low I'd guess. Still it's probably fine otherwise.
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