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 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!

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