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TUTORIAL από το Rudek & The Bear [Peter Donahue]

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Το Rudek & The Bear (webcomic) και το επερχόμενο Żużel & The Fox (παραδοσιακό κόμικ) ακολουθούν την ιστορία του Rudek, ενός Πολωνού συνοριοφύλακα, κατά τον Μεσοπόλεμο (μεταξύ Πολωνο-Σοβιετικού Πολέμου του '21 και Β' ΠΠ) και τον Β' ΠΠ αντίστοιχα. 

 

Link

 

Ο δημιουργός είναι ο (Αμερικανός) Peter Donahue, και παρακάτω παραθέτω μερικά tutorial που έχει ποστάρει στην ιστοσελίδα του. Νομίζω ότι έχουν ενδιαφέρον όχι μόνο από τεχνική άποψη, αλλά και επειδή ο Donahue φαίνεται να έχει μάθει πολλά πράγματα κατά την διάρκεια του webcomic του. Πιστεύω ότι είναι πολύ πιο προσιτός σε έναν αρχάριο από πχ τον Guarnido (μια απ'τις επιρροές του, αν δεν κάνω λάθος), γιατί το αρχικό του σχέδιο είναι (χωρίς παρεξήγηση) αρκετά ερασιτεχνικό.

 

post-23287-0-54779400-1420544658_thumb.jpgpost-23287-0-05848700-1420544660_thumb.jpg

 

Ας ξεκινήσουμε με την γενική μέθοδο του πριν μπούμε στις λεπτομέρειες:

 

post-23287-0-99815500-1420544810_thumb.jpg

 

Ο τρόπος που δουλεύει με τα background του είναι λίγο σαν καρτούν, τα διαχωρίζει από τους χαρακτήρες και τα αντικείμενα στο προσκήνιο. Ο λόγος που γίνεται αυτό στα καρτούν είναι γιατί το φόντο δεν μετακινείται (πολύ) άρα δεν υπάρχει λόγος να ξανασχεδιαστεί εκατοντάδες φορές. Αρκεί να γίνει μια, και με πολύ λεπτομέρεια. Τα σχέδια στο προσκήνιο έχουν λιγότερη λεπτομέρεια γιατί πρέπει να ξανασχεδιάζονται άνα frame.

 

Τα υπόλοιπα είναι αρκετά στάνταρ βήματα.

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Συγγραφή και Δημιουργία Layout
 
Εδώ ο Donahue περιγράφει το πως γράφει, και εξηγεί την τεχνική της Bechdel, για την δημιουργία ενός outline με τα καρέ και τα συννεφάκια πριν προχωρήσουμε στο σχέδιο.
 


If you’re like me, you’ve Googled something like “comic book script format.” Or “graphic novel writing structure.” More than a few times. I never find what I’m looking for, precisely. What about you? Maybe you want to make sure your story is in the format editors want. Or maybe you’re tired of the screenplay way of doing things, and you were looking to see if anyone found a better way.
 
For a long time, writing the graphic novel script seemed like an exercise in futility. But I’m getting better and better at making the process work for me. I’m not an expert. But I wanted to share a couple concepts that shaped my thinking, and made writing for comics more fulfilling for me.
 
Thinking like an Actor, not a like Writer

As usually happens in different disciplines, a vague term can take on a different meaning in each. So in screenwriting, there’s one meaning for the term “beat.” And in acting, there’s a different meaning for “beat.” And then of course, those are just metaphors derived from the meaning of “beat” in music.
The story-oriented, script-end definition of “beat” is something like this: the smallest possible event that could bear on the plot. Academics came up with the more specific term narrateme. (Academics like the suffix -eme, I guess.)
The acting-oriented definition is something like this: a phyiscal change that communicates a change in information to the audience. So for example, if an actress sits down because they don’t know what else to do with herself, it’s not part of the story structure. Not that the audience can tell. But if the actress sits down and the audience understands that she is sad, or has a secret, then that’s a beat.
So, the two senses of “beat” are related. But I have found that I can lay out a page of panels way better if I can separate the two in my mind. I try to think of whole pages as screenwriter-beats. And I try to think of single panels as actor-beats.
I know I used to make the mistake of including to much information in a single panel. The more I can limit a panel to one beat, the clearer the story will be to the reader.

Bechdel’s Strategy

As described in Mastering Comics, cartoonist Alison Bechdel uses a method she invented. It arose out of the need to be able to pace the beats of the story visually. A need I can relate to. She uses Adobe Illustrator to lay out panels and word bubbles before drawing the comics.
 
I work mainly in PhotoShop, and most of the functions Bechdel is using in Illustrator are also available there. Also, I downloaded a plug-in called GuideGuide. You should totally do that. Anyway, I tried Bechdel’s strategy for this week’s Rudek and the Bear comic. The result was this:

post-23287-0-17012300-1420545324_thumb.jpg

Other Graphic Novel Script Writing Techniques?

I’m still collecting other trains of thought on this topic. For instance: what are the similarities and differences between story-boarding a movie, and thumbnailing a comic book?

If you have strategies or topics to suggest, I’d love to get a dialog going.

 

Πηγή

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Ημι-παραδοσιακή τεχνική
 
Στην πρώτη τεχνική, χρησιμοποιεί το Photoshop για να επεξεργαστεί το παραδοσιακό του σχέδιο και μελάνωμα.
 


Ι did some figure-drawing today, but mostly I worked to increase my Photoshop know-how.
 
I learned how to write Photoshop actions. For a first go at it, I wrote an action that takes artwork from its scanned state (inks over non-repro blue lines) to a state where it’s ready to be colored and shaded. The action sets up an Adjustment>Invert layer that is otherwise empty. Painting on that layer, I’m able to block in shadows that counter whatever the local color is–without ever having to manually change the color of my brush. That’s exciting to me, because I’m kind of  a stickler for color theory.

 
Η διαδικασία
 
1. Scanned page:
 
post-23287-0-29562200-1420545651_thumb.jpg
 
Scanned image; ink brushed onto non-photo blue pencils.
 
2. Here’s the action that will automatically set up all the layers I need:
 
post-23287-0-90729800-1420545650_thumb.jpg
 
With one click, I’ve automated several steps.
 
3. Ta-da!
 
post-23287-0-62510600-1420545650_thumb.jpg
 
The action cleans up the inks, and creates the layers I’ll use to color and shade.
 
4. Then I can color in flats:
 
post-23287-0-19913300-1420545650_thumb.jpg
 
In go the flat areas of color.
 
5. And use the Invert layer to create shadow tones:
 
post-23287-0-81412200-1420545649_thumb.jpg
 
I can add shadows that follow the laws of optics without having to go to the color picker.
 

I’m just a beginner, so maybe I’m beaming with pride over something elementary. And I know there are a ton of Photoshop actions out there. Artists host them on DeviantArt for example. Hopefully this is just the beginning for me.


Πηγή

 

 

 

 

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Ψηφιακή Τεχνική 

 

Πάμε τώρα στην (μεταγενέστερη, νομίζω) ψηφιακή τεχνική του. Να παρατηρήσω ότι αυτή η τεχνική χρησιμοποιείται για το παραδοσιακό κόμικ που ετοιμάζει, όχι το webcomic του.

 

Kάποια απ'τα βήματα (που παραδέχεται και ο ίδιος ότι είναι υπερβολικά) δεν θα ήταν και πολύ πρακτικά με τους χρονικούς περιορισμούς ενός webcomic. Αναφέρομαι στα υπερ-λεπτομερή thumbnail, και την χρήση τρισδιάστατων μοντέλων.

 

 

I have lots of ideas about how I might create the art for Żużel and the Fox. But until I actually try some things out, I won’t know what’s feasible. Or what results in an aesthetically pleasing result.

 

One thing I really wanted to try was using Google SketchUp as an aid to keeping my backdrops consistent. That of course takes time, and I’ve spent a lot of time this summer building SketchUp models.

 

So, anyway, here’s one digital art workflow.

 

post-23287-0-77163200-1420546121_thumb.jpg

 

Sometimes I have to do quite a few thumbnails to work out the rhythm of a page.

 

post-23287-0-88487000-1420546122_thumb.jpg

 

This is the layout I went with for page 27. This is really still just a thumbnail at about 2″ x 3.5″.

 

post-23287-0-70537300-1420546123_thumb.jpg

 

Here’s part of page 16′s final thumbnail, cleaned up in Photoshop. I tweaked the levels to delete non-photo-blue lines and increase contrast.

 

post-23287-0-90851100-1420546124_thumb.jpg

 

I’m kind of insane, and built models of all my settings. Based on the page layout, I painstakingly arranged camera angles in Google SketchUp, then pasted them onto a comic book page template.

 

post-23287-0-59798700-1420546125_thumb.jpg

 

With the SketchUp images as a guide, I “ink” the backdrops, emulating the style of 1960s-70s Disney background art (Walt Peregoy, et al.)

 

post-23287-0-81382200-1420546126_thumb.jpg

 

I paint in the backdrops, again, emulating Peregoy’s keen use of limited palettes and slightly sloppy aesthetic.

 

post-23287-0-81631300-1420546127_thumb.jpg

 

Focusing on clear lines of action, I sketch in the characters.

 

post-23287-0-15903300-1420546130_thumb.jpg

 

I clean them up a bit…

 

post-23287-0-38912800-1420546133_thumb.jpg

 

…and then “ink” them as if I were inking an animation cel. I try to avoid tangents.

 

post-23287-0-46230400-1420546136_thumb.jpg

 

I managed to “paint” Malutki and Żużel so far, but became indecisive about the painting style. In the future I’ll try adding more texture with the “inks” rather than with the colors.

 

Kαι το τελικό αποτέλεσμα:

 

11process-composite.jpg

 

Here’s the same crop, but with the chair and backdrop at full opacity.

 

I’m going to try again. These are the changes I think I will make next time:

 

  • Add a step when creating the backgrounds: a looser sketch based on the SketchUp screenshots, then hide the screenshots and ink based on the loose sketch.
  • Do the inking and coloring steps for a whole page, rather than panel by panel.
  • Stick to color flats for the figures, rather than a “digital painting” look.

 

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Σκηνοθεσία, Σύνθεση και Χρωματισμός

 

Για να είμαι απόλυτα ειλικρινής, όσον αφορά τo δεύτερο θέμα, πιστεύω ότι υπερπεριπλέκει λίγο την διαδικασία, αλλά έχει ενδιαφέρον, καθώς μαθαίνουμε και μερικά νέα κόνσεπτ. Η επεξεργασία του χρώματος που κάνει είναι αρκετά καλή.

 

The Principles of Animation Apply to Comics

 

 

I’ve mentioned elsewhere that although I’m drawing comics, my key influences are animators. My belief is that comics should be drawn in a specific way. The artist should have the reader’s brain in mind.  If the reader’s brain can connect all the visual cues provided by the artist, that’s when the story comes to life.

Scott McCloud and others have discussed the theory of closure in comics, and how it engages the mind. A comics reader has to mentally get from panel A to panel B, and close the gap of what happened in between. I think the Principles of Animation are actually driving at this mental engagement.

 

So, I’ve studied these principles, and they’ve greatly influenced the way I lay out comics panels. Here are the principles as described by Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas in The Illusion of Life:

 

  1. Squash and Stretch
  2. Anticipation
  3. Staging
  4. Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose
  5. Follow Through and Overlapping Action
  6. Slow In and Slow Out [this is called easing today]
  7. Arcs
  8. Secondary Action
  9. Timing
  10. Exaggeration
  11. Solid Drawing
  12. Appeal

Staging — It Kinda Confuses Me

 

 

You can read about each of these more on Wikipedia. The Principle of Animation I have the most trouble with, however, is the one I want to focus on here — Staging.

 

Johnston and Thomas’s definition, to my thick head, is rather elusive: “the presentation of any idea so that it is completely and unmistakably clear.” I feel like a novice presented with a zen koan when I think about that. I’m unclear on how clarity is to be achieved.

 

They may actually be talking about a set of principles that all work towards clarity, though. They discuss gesture, for one. Their examples overlap with the concepts of timing and story beats. And they talk about how props and other background imagery relate to clarity. Overall, the vague sense I get is that “staging” is a set of tools for visual communication.

 

But the more I draw Rudek and the Bear, the more I start to feel I understand. I’ve come to think of staging in a particular way. An image has good staging if, reduced to its basic elements, it still tells a story.

 

The “story” an image tells could be very basic. But it has to include a conflict and an action that comes out of that conflict.

 

The “reduced to its basic elements” part of my definition is a bit tricky. I’m going to adopt a test presented by Walt Stanchfield to clarify this: if you reduce the figures to silhouettes, do their gestures and positions still give all the information needed?

 

So, let’s look at a few panels from Rudek and the Bear. Let’s see if analyzing their staging can give us any insight.

 

Good Staging

 

post-23287-0-33899200-1420546928_thumb.jpg

 

I’ve reduced this panel from “Good Cop, Bad Cop” to silhouettes. Here’s the information we still get:

 

  • Α smaller character is attempting to menace a larger character. The gestures are all clear, even in silhouette.
  • Τhe two figures in the foreground appear to be in conflict over the figure in the background. In the theater, you’d say the background figure is “upstaging” the others, which puts the narrative tension on him, even though the immediate conflict seems to be between the figures in the foreground.
  • In short, we are seeing a slice of what we can deduce is a more complex set of relationships.

Bad Staging

 

post-23287-0-38458000-1420546929_thumb.jpg

 

This panel from “Smooth Talkin’” has some problems. Out of context, in silhouette, what information do we still get?

 

  • Maybe this is a character with antlers. The top of his antlers are cut off by a word bubble, so we can’t even be sure about what we’re seeing there.
  • The character is… leaning, maybe.
  • Um…is that a mustache? or an upturned collar? or what?

Say I wanted to fix this. I’d probably zoom out–give the character more room to use gestures to communicate. The joke of the comic requires him to be facing forward, so we still lose the mouth, which would help clarify things. But we’d at least get ears and antlers, which would give us emotional information from gestures (ears up or down? which way is the head tilted?).

 

Complex Staging

 

post-23287-0-85660500-1420546928_thumb.jpg

 

Here’s a panel from “New Recruit,” which I’m still in the process of drawing. I’m not calling this one good or bad. I think it only passes the test if you look at it for a while. So it’s storytelling isn’t immediately clear, which is the objective of staging. But maybe its complexity can offer subtle information, or subtext:

 

  • Three characters are eating, and a fourth is approaching. The fourth seems to be on the outside, socially, even though the deer is smiling and potentially accepting him.
  • The deer’s gesture is specific: he had raised his fork to eat, but that action was interrupted. He tilts his hand to indicate the approach of the background figure. This tells us the focus or tension is centered on that figure, but the process of eating will continue. In other words, the seated group will not stop what they are doing and reorient themselves to the new arrival.
  • The fox in the extreme foreground, even in silhouette, seems thoughtful. A lack of extreme gesture, when contrasted against more active characters, often suggests the character is thinking.

Maybe I’ll have a different opinion about this panel in the future. Maybe I’m reading into it, and seeing what I want it to communicate. But at least I think it’s clearer than my second example, in terms of telling a story.

 

Staging in Comics and Beyond

 

So, what do these analyses add up to? I think the concept of staging is both a valuable principle to keep in mind while drawing, and a powerful diagnostic tool. The concept of staging was borrowed from the theater; Johston and Thomas all but say so. Now I’m borrowing it from the principles of animation to say it applies to comics. I suspect it could be transferred to other art disciplines as well. What do you think?

 

Πηγή

 

Composing with Notan

 

One thing that separates this comic from previous ones is the method I used to lay out the composition. I started with 3 value levels — dark, middle, light — and blocked in the panels roughly. This is more a method of thinking than a method of working, and the concept is called Notan. You can watch me work through the composition here, actually:

 

[bίντεο]

 

Πηγή

 

Η Notan είναι μια παραδοσιακή (και πάλι, νομίζω) γιαπωνέζικη τεχνική, αλλά νομίζω ότι με λίγη προσοχή θα δούμε κάτι παρόμοιο σε πολλά κόμικ.

 

Πάμε και στο τελευταίο tutorial.

 

A Little Applied Design and Color Theory

 

I’m finding the need to solve problems created by the limited color palette. I try to assign a unique subset of the color palette to each character. But with new character designs and only twelve base colors, this has gotten increasingly problematic. For example, here’s those three down-and-out Belarusians flatted in the strict 12-color palette:

 

post-23287-0-19259300-1420546927_thumb.jpg

 

From there, I had to consider the cohesion of their design on two levels: as individual characters and as a group. The staging was so complex that twelve colors weren’t enough. To keep individual characters cohesive, I adjusted the value and chroma, but not the hue, of certain areas:

 

post-23287-0-50004200-1420546926_thumb.jpg

 

Then to keep them cohesive as a group, I ran the whole layer through a “tone curve” adjustment, unifying their palette in contrast to Malutki’s and the background:

 

post-23287-0-07959200-1420546928_thumb.jpg

 

Πηγή

 

Αν σας άρεσαν τα tutorial, υποστηρίξτε τον δημιουργό κάνοντας μια επίσκεψη στην ιστοσελίδα του.

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Ένα φρέσκο-φρέσκο αλλά πάρα πολύ εξειδικευμένο άρθρο για τη σκηνοθεσία. Το προσθέτω επειδή έχει πολύ ενδιαφέρον το γεγονός ότι για μια ακόμα φορά εφαρμόζει τεχνικές κινουμένων σχεδίων σε κόμικ.
 
2 Things Comics Artists Can Learn from Animation
 

I’ve said before that when it comes to comics art, my main influences are animators. I’ll take Kahl over Kirby any day. Master character animators and layout artists have taught me a few things. And I feel that other comics artists might benefit from considering the following two ideas.

 
Compose Backgrounds like a Theatrical Set Designer
 

Your characters are players on a stage. When it comes to designing your environments, realism should not be your aim. The environments should contribute, structurally, to the tensions that push the narrative forward. The Nine Old Men knew this; so does Guarnido.
 
Look at the backgrounds Walt Peregoy designed for 101 Dalmatians and The Jungle Book. (Sadly he just passed away last month. But Peregoy’s contributions have begun to be recognized in recent years, at least within the animation art community.) There are some great examples of his work in Cartoon Brew’s obituary. There’s also a great analysis of color-scripting and composition in 101 Dalmatians here.
 
Let’s have a look at Rodger going down the stairs while singing “Cruella De Vil.” He eases the tension of her visit with every step as he descends:
 
post-23287-0-75442300-1423235826_thumb.jpg

Everything about this background is absolutely perfect. Consider how carefully managed the contrast is. The darkest, most saturated colors reinforce the direction and boundaries of Roger’s path of motion. The drawing is “busier”–contains more details, more broken up space–along the wall Roger walks in front of. Our eye is attracted to the busy space, and repelled like a magnet from the emptier spaces to the left. And notice the gap among the pictures on the wall: in a moment, Roger will lean there.

Here’s an example of how I’ve tried to apply these ideas to my comics art.

post-23287-0-95036800-1423235821_thumb.jpg

In the above panel, I’ve paid careful attention to the position, color, and saturation level of all the background elements. My aim was to have them support the action (throwing a dart) by guiding the eye. The empty, higher-saturation, opposing-hue area around Czerep pools tension around him. The busiest areas of the background are placed along the path of the swing of Kowak’s arm; the high contrast line created by the doorjamb intersects the moving dart.

To sum up: set the stage for action, for narrative tension.


Imply Weight as a Function of Motion
 

You’ve heard of people who “throw their weight around.” Old Disney animators loved to make this literal, especially Kahl. So you get characters summoning their courage by shoving their gut up into their chests, yes. But you also get clear lines of action that follow through a character’s figure. These lines imply action and movement that continue beyond the body.

Take, for example, Kahl’s Sheriff of Nottingham:

post-23287-0-99684400-1423235890_thumb.jpg

The bulk of his stomach is perfectly balanced against the curving line of action, from his cap to his toe, to imply forward motion.

All well and good for animation–but what about for comics art? In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud theorized about closure–the mental process that allows us to fill in the narrative cause-and-effect between panels of a comic book. I believe the same kind of active mental process allows us to anticipate the result of an action. “Anticipate” doesn’t seem an adequate word. We desire the result; our mind runs ahead to it. When we read a properly posed figure in a comic book, we aren’t perceiving only one picture.

Drawings should acknowledge the effects of weight on momentum. This way, the drawings can better create this “anticipation” effect. Here’s a 2-panel sequence where I could have done that better:
049cr.jpg

I tried to imply the centrifugal force of Lucky’s bag. He leans into the turn, and the bag certainly seems heavy–lines radiate from the leather handle. But the bag fails to imply a legible arc of motion. Lucky’s elbow sort of does, but the bag should be flying more outward to show that centrifugal pull.


Studying Animation Improves Comics Art
 

A lot of developing comics artists put style first, I suppose because they are self-consciously trying to define their style for one reason or another. As part of a “school” or genre (shojo manga, for example) or editorial in-house style (Marvel’s heavily Ditko-influenced “classic” style, for example). One phrase that rankles me particularly is “industry standard.” This vague definition of style is often thrown at aspiring comics artists. Editors will explain why the artists’ drawings of realistically-proportioned women are not marketable–they’re not “industry standard.” Anyway.

Find your “masters”–the artists who inspire you–and study the structure of their work, not the style. My masters just tend to be animators, and I hope this article has helped you to see why.

By studying cartoonists who developed techniques for a moving medium, we can instill some life and vigor into the comics page.

 

Πηγή

 

Εν κατακλείδι:

  • To σκηνικό είναι μέρος του μηνύματος που στέλνουμε στον "δέκτη", τον αναγνώστη. Η τοποθεσία των σκιών, της αντίθεσης, των χρωμάτων και των αντικειμένων πρέπει να είναι εσκεμμένη. Εδώ πρέπει να δεχτούμε την αρχή ότι το καρέ εκφράζει μια οπτική γλώσσα προς τον αναγνώστη. Πολύ ενδιαφέρον, αλλά και πολύ προχωρημένο.
  • Η σωματική μάζα του χαρακτήρα εκφράζει την κίνηση του.
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