Art Day: Group Shot
July 12th, 2010

Art Day: Group Shot

This is a group shot of several of the current models with some rigging

They’ve got a few issues, and the silhouetted characters are very incomplete (and unclothed, thus the silhouettes), but it’s all coming along. Oddly, the nonhuman characters like Tyron are far easier to rig.

I’ve run into a few issues where my 3D software crashes incessantly if you glance at it wrong, but that’s helped by saving early and often (which I try to do in any case)

Shadsly Weblog...


Well, obviously my plans have not worked out (as usual). No real excuse for it; just bad habits, extra workload, and lack of motivation. But I hope to fix that in the new year.

Shadsly 3D

I have been doing 3D as a hobby more or less since shortly after I got on the internet, which was around 1993-94, before the web went mainstream.  In that time, I’ve learned a great many things, gained some expertise, poked and prodded and experimented and cursed and cheered.  Sometimes it feels like I’ve forgotten much more about my software (NewTek’s Lightwave 3D) than I actually remember.

Still, there has always been one big stumbling block for me: character animation.  More accurately, character modeling.  I never really grasped things like UV mapping and edge loops and box modeling using the information available back when I started (many of the tools and techniques weren’t even available then), and human anatomy is complex enough that it made the difficulty of learning it through trial-and-error exponential.

I think I’ve finally broken that block.  At the very least I’ve put a huge crater and some serious cracks in the thing.  It took acquiring a degree in art complete with many life drawing sessions, plus a LOT of reading and rereading and rererereading of my sundry anatomy and “figure drawing” art books, various bad models, and essentially flailing about and failing a lot, before the pieces started to fall into place.

In the end, a pair of video tutorials were the key to making it all go “click”. The first is a human head tutorial, and the second is a human body tutorial (NSFW due to artistic nudity). (I’m not following the tutorials blindly; I don’t even use the same app.)

In the space of a week or so, I went from “hmm, maybe there’s a model I can download or something” to bashing out seven or eight different characters with decent edge loops and proper curves.  I’m still not all that good at it, but I’m a lot better than I was. This epiphany even inspired me (or forced me) to take a poke at other features I rarely use. Best part is that I have this suspicion that it’s going to wind up feeding into my drawing skills (basically due to the amount of attention you have to direct toward proper anatomy when you tweak things).


You may have noticed the site’s archives were down over the weekend.  While trying to fix something, I broke the rewrite rules for permalinks here and didn’t realize it because the main page was working fine.  They should be working again now. Lucky I happened to check it.

Actually, it’s not luck, it’s related to my next point.  I was out of town for Dragon*Con at the time (not as a guest, but an attendee).  I always come back from Dragon*Con fired up to be creative (somewhat limited this time by having caught a cold on the last day, but still noticeably present), which is why I decided to reread the broken dolls story.

(While I was at the con, I’d hoped to talk to someone about a thing I want to do in the comic on down the road, but I never quite got a chance.  I think I’ll email instead while it’s still fresh.)

As I posted to twitter a month or two ago, I was also gathering reference material to start work on the comic again, but got distracted by other things.  D*C is now days in the past/a year in the future (depending on perspective).

All of this means that you may start seeing new pages in a few weeks.  I still would really prefer to go back and finish coloring (or better yet, redraw) the old pages before moving on, and I really, really need a solid buffer, but given my present respiratory difficulties, I really say with any accuracy how likely any of this is.

I may also have a scanner again soon, thanks to one of my friends.  While I like certain aspects of doing this digitally (especially consistent page format and panels, since I no longer have a drafting table), I prefer actually drawing with a physical pencil.  Returning to scanned art and trying to fuse it with the digital parts would, however, mean another upheaval in my process.

I suspect this post may come across as slightly disjointed, for which I blame the microorganisms.