Tag Archives: cinematic

Update: graphic novel layout, character progress

I’ve begun to layout a preliminary page grid for my graphic novel. Continuing my mild obsession with the anamorphic, widescreen format ratio of somewhere around 2.40:1, and my cinematic aesthetic bent, I have created a page size of 8.5″ x 9.5″ resulting in a spread size of 8.5″ x 19″. If you plug in the margins that gives you roughly 7.5 x 17.625″ of spread image which is 2.35:1. Close enough. As of now, it has 12 panels per page, which provides ample opportunity for variety and pacing in horizontal and vertical formats.

My 12 panel grid

I’m guessing that there won’t be many 24 panel spreads in the book, but it’s too early to make that prediction. I have actually started to work on what I am thinking will be spread 1 while waiting for renders to complete.

Speaking of renders, I’m about a week behind right now on my key character renderings. Interesting things pop up in character design. For example the character I create now, is pretty much the character I have to live with for the duration of the project, so I really have to resist the tendency to “settle”. Costumes will have to live with these characters through a lot of action and exposition, so they need to be right. It is getting pricey though, because I am investing in a lot of models that are getting tweaked and modified. The perfectionist in me would like to create everything from scratch, but a.) I don’t have cadre of modelers, and b.) I have to finish this my allotted lifespan. Throughout, however, I am working hard to make this look like a non-stock project, and already I have modeled from scratch two key interiors, about a dozen exterior structures, a couple of weapons, some props, and three vehicles — plus the accompanying image maps. I’m reserving the stock for models that would simply suck up far too much project time. But believe me, there are plenty of Hollywood films rife with stock imagery and models, so I don’t feel so bad.

Back to rendering…

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Artistic style. Graphic novel.

Now for the style discussion.

There are so many fabulous art styles for storytelling out there and there is a rich history of masterful execution. I’m going a different direction (and perhaps down a dark alley). As I have alluded to in prior posts, I will be using CGI for the core of my graphic novel visualizations. There isn’t a lot of precedent here, though there have been attempts. While I would not want to say that past attempts have failed, I think it is safe to say that hand-drawn comics and graphic novels still account of the vast majority of books out there. I have to draw a clear separation between computer assisted imagery and full CGI, however. First of all, computer assisted imagery in the form of digital painting is extremely common, in fact, the league of master digital artists out there is, in my mind, unapproachable. I can’t even begin to list their names but a trip to the CG Society, Concept Art World or Concept Art.org will give you a taste of the lofty realms these guys inhabit. Even though I will likely be employing the digital tablet and employing lots of post production enhancements, I will be generating all my character imagery and settings in 3D wireframes. Even though this is not unprecedented either, it is fairly unusual since it is so time consuming and expensive to do.

The magic, however, is in the final rendered image, and software greatly influences this. Different rendering engines produce a different look and feel for the art. The trick is to suspend the reader from saying “this is CG” throughout the whole book, which frankly, most of what I have seen does exactly that. But please, I do not disparage these attempts as many of their images are stunning, but it doesn’t take much to break the bubble and this makes my task all that more daunting.

On my site you can see some attempts at this styling, though I don’t necessarily feel that any of these examples is quite on the mark (at least right now), though some of them are close.

I have two clear objectives in my style: 1. cinematic feel, 2. realistic detail.

The style of my art is going to be ultra important, so I’m going to keep this thread alive. In an upcoming post I’ll note what some of from the world’s comic book scholars have to say about the issue of style.



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