Shadows Lying http://www.shadowslying.com The Children of the Gloaming Fri, 17 Jun 2011 15:56:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.1 Suck http://www.shadowslying.com/2010/12/23/suck/ Thu, 23 Dec 2010 17:00:20 +0000 http://www.shadowslying.com/?p=542 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.

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Shadsly 3D http://www.shadowslying.com/2010/07/12/shadsly-3d/ Mon, 12 Jul 2010 23:37:30 +0000 http://www.shadowslying.com/?p=537 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).

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Art Day: Group Shot http://www.shadowslying.com/2010/07/12/art-day-group-shot/ Mon, 12 Jul 2010 04:00:00 +0000 http://www.shadowslying.com/2010/07/12/art-day-group-shot/ 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 […]]]>

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)

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Art Day: Gaxurea base http://www.shadowslying.com/2010/07/05/art-day-gaxurea-base/ Mon, 05 Jul 2010 04:00:00 +0000 http://www.shadowslying.com/2010/07/05/art-day-gaxurea-base/ Art Day: Gaxurea base

Here’s another Art Day post. This is the base model for Gaxurea, like Uri.  Right at the moment, it’s just a fairly ordinary bird.  Since the male and female Gaxurea look different, I built this model first, and when I’m happy with the rigging and such, I’ll modify the mesh to suit each sex. I’ve […]]]>

Art Day: Gaxurea base

Here’s another Art Day post.

This is the base model for Gaxurea, like Uri.  Right at the moment, it’s just a fairly ordinary bird.  Since the male and female Gaxurea look different, I built this model first, and when I’m happy with the rigging and such, I’ll modify the mesh to suit each sex.

I’ve also refined Shadow’s model since last week’s Art Day.  I’ll post that again when I get further along.  The previously posted version pretty much had a semi-realistic face with cel shading applied.  The face  was rebuilt and looks more stylized, more consistent with the drawn comics (for whatever that’s worth).  Character design wise, I’ve never been shooting for anime style in particular for Shadsly, but it seems to be what I gravitate toward, so I might as well just run with it.

She now also has hands, eyes, and ears, and I’ve improved the surfacing (it looks a more like today’s pic).

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Art Day: Shadow Test http://www.shadowslying.com/2010/07/01/shadow-test-1/ Thu, 01 Jul 2010 04:00:00 +0000 http://www.shadowslying.com/2010/07/01/shadow-test-1/ Art Day: Shadow Test

I think it’s fairly obvious that my last attempt to continue Shadsly did not go as planned (a combination of artistic frustration, frustration with Google’s apparent unwillingness to list the site, and general malaise). Part of the problem with Shadsly up to this point is that I’ve never been fluent enough with drawing to do […]]]>

Art Day: Shadow Test

I think it’s fairly obvious that my last attempt to continue Shadsly did not go as planned (a combination of artistic frustration, frustration with Google’s apparent unwillingness to list the site, and general malaise).

Part of the problem with Shadsly up to this point is that I’ve never been fluent enough with drawing to do the thing in a timely fashion or with satisfying results.  I’m well aware that the only solution to that is practice, but my mental image far outstrips my actual ability to the point that it kills my motivation to do so.  I have to constantly fight to get something even vaguely close to satisfying, and it doesn’t help that I have to take shortcuts to get even that done on time (which is why those early comics still aren’t colored).

As such, whenever Shadsly returns (no promises when, but I’ve certainly not given up on it), it is likely to be done with a completely new process.

Since very early on I’ve debated turning Shadsly into a GMod comic, albeit one with mostly custom content, but there’re were a number of issues with that, including both process complexity and aesthetic concerns.   Still, the idea lurked in the back of my mind, and came out to dance on my skull whenever I got frustrated with drawing.

I have always considered myself to be a terrible character modeler … the picture of Tyron elsewhere in this gallery was probably the best thing I’ve done until recently.  Even that took ages and didn’t have a very good mesh flow.

However, I have been putting the downtime to good use, building up my skills and trying new things, and seem to have recently finally started to break through my character modeling “block”.  I have decided that if I go this route, I will skip GMod entirely, and just do the thing straight in my 3D app.  I would pretty much have to use the thing in any case to make stuff for GMod, and with my software I have far greater control and the ability to do comics on my decrepit laptop.  The price is less ability to use props from the Source Engine, of course, and more effort spent making backgrounds.

This picture, an (incomplete) test of a 3D model of Shadow, is part of that effort.  It’s not spectacular (and is already out of date), but it’s better than some of the cringe-worthy drawings that have ended up in the comic already.

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022: Hunted http://www.shadowslying.com/2009/11/13/022-hunted/ Fri, 13 Nov 2009 04:00:00 +0000 http://www.shadowslying.com/2009/11/13/022-hunted/ 022: Hunted

Making friends quickly, isn’t she? Story Notes: Not much to say here.  This page is pretty self-explanatory.  Shadow appears to be reasonably safe in here, but she is, of course, trapped.  I’ll leave translating the inscriptions as an exercise for the reader. Art Notes: I wish every panel could turn out like panel 2.  All-in-all, […]]]>

022: Hunted

Making friends quickly, isn’t she?


Story Notes: Not much to say here.  This page is pretty self-explanatory.  Shadow appears to be reasonably safe in here, but she is, of course, trapped.  I’ll leave translating the inscriptions as an exercise for the reader.

Art Notes: I wish every panel could turn out like panel 2.  All-in-all, though, the page turned out pretty well.  Had to redraw panel 5 a few times.  All of the blur effects on this page made my machines SLLLLOOOOWW.

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021: That Would Be Telling http://www.shadowslying.com/2009/11/06/021-that-would-be-telling/ Fri, 06 Nov 2009 04:00:00 +0000 http://www.shadowslying.com/2009/11/03/021-that-would-be-telling/ 021: That Would Be Telling

Jumping the wall was perhaps not Shadow’s brightest plan. Title Reference: It’s a horrible punnish allusion to The Prisoner for no good reason. Story Notes: Shadow’s Tell wasn’t really meant to be much of a surprise to anyone except Shadow (certainly not to most of my current readers, as many are aware of the origins […]]]>

021: That Would Be Telling

Jumping the wall was perhaps not Shadow’s brightest plan.


Title Reference: It’s a horrible punnish allusion to The Prisoner for no good reason.

Story Notes: Shadow’s Tell wasn’t really meant to be much of a surprise to anyone except Shadow (certainly not to most of my current readers, as many are aware of the origins of this motif).

The implication is that she only wears a glove on that arm because on some subconscious level she has always been aware of her nature, she just hadn’t understood it.   That’s why she took Tyron more or less at face value when she met him (after the initial shock), and why she put up only a token resistance to what he was saying.

This doesn’t mean she necessarily embraces this stuff, however.

Art Notes: I’m not overly happy with panels 1 and 4, but the rest of it works pretty well, I think.  Especially the coloring on panels 2 and 3.

It’s hard to see, but in panel 1, Shadow is holding the pepperspray I mentioned last page.

Oh, and if you wondered why there’s sometimes no rain, and sometimes lots, the storm varies its intensity every so often throughout this whole scene.  There probably shouldn’t also be mist at the same time, but hey, artistic license.  It makes the backgrounds less flat.

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020: Watchful Eyes http://www.shadowslying.com/2009/10/30/020-watchful-eyes/ Fri, 30 Oct 2009 04:00:00 +0000 http://www.shadowslying.com/?p=484 020: Watchful Eyes

In Shadow’s town, you can’t throw a rock without even odds of hitting a cemetery gate. Title Reference: Nothing in particular Story Notes: Once Shadow has retrieved her purse, she can clean off her face a little.  Soggy Shadow is probably showing a bit more bravado than wisdom here, but climbing the wall isn’t too […]]]>

020: Watchful Eyes

In Shadow’s town, you can’t throw a rock without even odds of hitting a cemetery gate.


Title Reference: Nothing in particular

Story Notes: Once Shadow has retrieved her purse, she can clean off her face a little.  Soggy Shadow is probably showing a bit more bravado than wisdom here, but climbing the wall isn’t too big of a stretch; she isn’t a complete stranger to entering cemeteries at night, and she’s feeling extremely put upon at the moment.  (She also carries a can of pepperspray in her purse.)

Art Notes: So, this is the page that caused the hiatus of the last several months.   I have effectively redrawn it from scratch, and made some dialogue and pacing modifications in the process, but this is essentially what I intended to draw back in March.

The original plan was to return to full color with this strip, but that may have been what broke my brain.  After the Broken Dolls storyline, the switch back may have simply been too abrupt (color is a lot of work, and though I love doing it, it doesn’t flow as naturally for me in illustration as in painting).

When I started up again, I drew this as you see it here, but experimented with altering it to use a monochrome or two-tone scheme, but I never could settle on one that I liked (all the variations I tried caused some sort of issue).  The next page will return to at least minimal color usage assuming no major snags.

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Art Day: Shadsly Resumes http://www.shadowslying.com/2009/10/06/art-day-shadsly-resumes/ Tue, 06 Oct 2009 04:00:00 +0000 http://www.shadowslying.com/2009/10/07/art-day-shadsly-resumes/ Art Day: Shadsly Resumes

Vaguely familiar symbol. This is just an art day page I put up to let people know when the comics would resume. The symbol here is the logo for Shadsly.  It’s a combination of the Cerement symbol and the one that appears on Tyron’s forehead.  It should probably incorporate the symbol from Shadow’s glove as […]]]>

Art Day: Shadsly Resumes

Vaguely familiar symbol.


This is just an art day page I put up to let people know when the comics would resume.

The symbol here is the logo for Shadsly.  It’s a combination of the Cerement symbol and the one that appears on Tyron’s forehead.  It should probably incorporate the symbol from Shadow’s glove as well, but that one doesn’t fit stylistically.  All three of the symbols mentioned here can be seen way back on page 1.

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Grr http://www.shadowslying.com/2009/09/09/grr/ Wed, 09 Sep 2009 22:45:46 +0000 http://www.shadowslying.com/?p=478 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.

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