Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Deadwood - Zombie Crawling Revisited...

Another day, another creature feature!
Here's another take on our friendly fiend.

Last night I did a quick revisit on good ole Mr. Happy, and I must say, I'm happier with the results. I used a different technique on him -- splatters instead of basketweave -- and I like the results a lot more. I also got rid of that bad background.

This is a definite improvement. Next up, I'm going to take a look at making the edges rougher and maybe adding some rough hair. I'm also going to look at manually inking a version of it (or another image).

Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes action.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Deadwood - Zombie Crawling

I hate to say it, but I think this week's testis another swing and a miss.

You wake from a deep sleep... the horses are skittish.
Something is rustling in the underbrush. You roll over, expecting
to see a raccoon or maybe a skunk. You never expected THIS!

There are a few things I like about this image, but just a few. There's something wrong with the way his torso is flowing down into his waist. Honestly, it looks like he's got really saggy boobs. I tried tweaking it, but never got the results I wanted.

I may just have to put this one down to being a bad pose and leave it at that. Also, I really cut corners on the background -- and it shows. The foreground tree is okay, but the background's tangled branches really don't work for me. Alas, I knew I was cutting corners when I did it and knew I wasn't going to fix it later. There just isn't time to spend on something you know isn't going to work out.

As before, this is the Mr. Happy character for the Michael 3 figure. All post work was completed in Photoshop, with the bulk of it being performed by the Flaming Pair India Ink filter.

NEXT WEEK -- Another attempt at another zombie.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Deadwood - More Zombies

A Work In Progress {WIP} of the zombie horde

This week's sample image is definitely not going to make into the final book. I put more work into this image that I should have spent on it, especially considering that I'm not pleased with the results. In fact, I almost consigned it to the trash heap, but decided it's worth showing even the failures.

Let's call these guys, from left-to-right, Zed and Hap.

Zed is based on the high-resolution 3D model "Long Time Dead" that is available from Daz3d.com. This has a lot of texture detail and a very high polygon count. He's the zombie that attacked Sheriff Mike Foreman in last week's blog post.

Hap is based on a low-resolution figure for the Michael 3 base model, and he's called Mr. Happy.

Now, if all this 3D talk is making your head spin, fret not. I'm just including it for the 3D enthusiasts who follow this blog. The rest of you can just look at this and go, "Yeah, sometimes you nail it, and sometimes you hit your thumb with the hammer."

The problems I'm having are with the skin tones. I'm not getting them to convert to inked patterns correctly. Plus, all the detail on Zed makes him a VERY slow figure to work with. I honestly can't imagine how slow the system would run if I had two of these in the same scene. Plus, the texture on his face has these huge black spots around his eyes and mouth. This looks good in color, but in b&w he looks like Rocket Raccoon's evil grandpa. And don't get me started on those Gary Busey lips of his...

Mr. Happy, on the other hand, makes my computer's CPU VERY happy. He's a very quick figure to work with, and I can imagine that 5-8 of him in one scene would not cause too many problems. But, I'm having a heck of a time getting clothes to fit him properly. His knees keep sticking out of his pants, for example. And I have yet to get any hair on him, nor a shirt that fits. I can get a cowboy hat on his head, but if he's just wearing tight pants and a cowboy hat, he kinda looks like an undead stripper.

Artistically Speaking
Getting down to the art itself, I don't like the poses or lighting in this scene. I think the background is okay, but other than that, I just don't like it. I suppose if I dropped Zed it wouldn't look quite as bad. Hap kind of has this look like he was walking in the grave yard and just heard someone breathing behind a wall, so he's about to go over and try to make lunch out of him. But with Zed there, both poses seem more comic than menacing.

After the poses, I hit the inking effects, which are too heavy on Zed and not quite right on Hap. And that unevenness, by the way, is a big part of the reason that I included them both in the same image. I need to standardize their appearance so the figures have the same look and feel throughout the book.

Here's hoping that I can pick things up next week. Because, yes, I intend to be back again next Wednesday with another post. I'm going to try to keep this up for at least another month as a way of motivating myself to stay focused on this aspect of bringing GUTSHOT: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEADWOOD to press by next year.

See you next week, fear fans!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Deadwood - Art Preview of a Zombie Attack!

Sheriff Mike Foreman is terrified to see what's
crawled out of Boot Hill! 
Unless he gets a handle on things fast,
this could be the beginning of the end!

Here it is, folks. Our first actual glimpse of a zombie from our upcoming book/game, Gutshot: Night of the Living Deadwood. This image features Sheriff Mike Foreman battling a traditional shambler, which is one of the three types of zombies that will be included in our game. In this case, the young law enforcer doesn't know that you need to shoot for the head, so this battle could be very short.

This is a sample image, where I focused primarily on the techniques needed to combine two figures into a single image. I was interested primarily in the lighting (most of it comes from the muzzle flash), expression and creating a sense of dread. I'm mostly happy with the results, although I now think the pose and angle couldbe a little better (for example, I don't like that the gun is aiming straight through him, it should be at an upward angle). I also should have spread out the zombie's legs farther apart to help convey a sense of movement. And, truth be told, the muzzle flash needs a little work.

Nevertheless, I'm generally pleased with the results and think it's a good start.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Deadwood - Another look at Sheriff Mike Foreman

Sheriff Mike Foreman don't look none too happy in this
sample image that might make it into the Deadwood Book.
Here's another quick look at Sheriff Mike Foreman from the upcoming book/game, Gutshot: Night of the Living Deadwood.

This time I experimented with a few new things, like a different effect on his pants (these are light, before they were dark) and I tried using an exaggerated expression on his face.

To be honest, neither of these were successful, so this image probably won't make it into the final book. Especially since I forgot to pin his sheriff's badge to his vest!

However, I might revisit this image and fix the face and tin star (plus change the background) later, if it turns out that I need it for the final book. I just thought I'd include it so you could get an idea of the behind-the-scenes process that we use to select artwork for the book.

As before, this is the Michael 4 character from Daz 3D; it was rendered in Daz Studio 4.6 and converted to b&w in Photoshop.

Next week -- our first action shot featuring a zombie!
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