Monday, November 29, 2010

The classic male form, nude and wreathed in light



Just a grab bag of images today -- some pretty spectacular stuff, but nothing that follows a single theme. I was "painting with light" again. I wanted the absolutely classical male form, and this is close to it. Beautiful. The body morphology reminds you of the young Ron Ely. Now, don't you dare tell me you don't know who Ron Ely is! Even if you weren't born in 1968, that's no excuse ... well, maybe a little one. But only a little one.

Today I was working on the next round of sets for the graphic novel. I got two out of four designed. One is more of a backdrop -- you're only going to see it in a couple of shots...

I'd love to tell you that was done in Bryce or Vue, but in fact it's a GIMP composit. That's a Bryce sky sure enough, but the background is taken from one photo and the hillside is taken from another photo, and then there was a whale of a lot of painting done over the top. The first thing I had to do was take out the power lines and the highway! In the end, almost all of it was painted -- it's far more painting than photo composit. I longed to do this in Bryce, but it was one of those days when the splitting headache was never going to quit, and Bryce takes a lot of concentration. Too much when you just plain can't think properly.

Second set: the city gates...

...and the beginnings of a crowd scene. DAZ was having a terrific sale a while ago, and I got the Castle Creator kit. It's a huge set of standing props with which you could build anything from a lonely keep standing on a high moor (now, there's a thought...) to Camelot with turrets and spires everywhere. I'm very impressed with this set.

Everything you see in this shot was done with the standing props -- and in fact you can only see half of them. I built a good bit of the town, enough to drive the camera in and shoot it from the middle looking out. Then -- three figures too, to give it the look of a place that's a real human settlement. The good news is that when the figures are small with distance, they render like greased lightning, so it turns out I can do a crowd scene. This is great news, because several of the upcoming chapters will involve places where you'd expect to see people.

The last thing was a line of smoke from the chimney there, and some birds in the sky. GIMP again. I really do like GIMP for the fact it's free and versatile, but at least when it's running on Vista it is sooooo unstable. It loves to crash. Does anyone know if it runs better on Windows 7? I can run it on my laptop, in a pinch -- the screen is only 15" though, which will be a bit like stuffing a camel through the eye of a needle. With eyesight like mine I need the big screens.

And yes, I would be using Photoshop Elements, if it didn't cost $149! I was looking at Corel Painter today ... whoa. And that one is $700. So I think I'll stick with GIMP and try it on Windows 7, on the laptop!

Oh -- Abraxas was updated as always, three new pages. Here's your link to the beginning of the episode. Getting close to the end of Chapter Four now, so it's a goods thing I'm working on Chapters Eight and Nine.

Am also experimenting with different ways of actually writing the graphic novel, and it's starting to look more and more like a movie script. Which is kind of cool when you think about it.

And that's about it for today. I want to thank the folks who are reading Abraxas regularly ... I have never seen a blog's traffic rocket up so fast! I hope -- fervently -- that I'm doing something extremely right, and that readers are enjoying it. Because I'm getting a huge kick out of doing it! Thanks, all.

Jade, 29 November
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