Month: August 2016

Final Assignment Development Process

When creating a webcomic, there are many different ways to approach the design and format. Some creators prefer to create the comic right off the bat, with no prior planning or conceptualizing. Others may spend months or even years planning out the entirety of the story, writing out detailed scripts and making numerous rough drafts of each page before even beginning. Some may put out each page as they are made, wait until they have created an entire batch of pages or a whole chapter and release it all at once, or even finish the entire thing before even publishing the first page. As the webcomic format has developed over the years, there has become no wrong way of creating a webcomic. Some processes work best depending on the way the comic is presented.

My webcomic, Boss Rush, is created using Adobe Photoshop, and drawn using a Wacom Pen Tablet. Each page is presented in an A4 portrait format, with a 5mm margin between the outer border and the page edge. The outer border itself is 20px thick, and the inner borders are all 10px. All pages are 300 pixels per inch.

When first creating the comic, I planned out the general plot of the story, starting with particularly climactic scenes from later on and working on interconnecting them. As the portion of the comic I was to create was at the beginning, I only worked on fleshing out the first few chapters, and left the rest open to change. That way, if I came up with any ideas that worked in practice early on, I could make adjustments before they were too late to change. I like to do this with any story I write, as it means I can adjust the details of the narrative as needed to appeal to the audience, as well as keep me from getting bored with the story so I don’t become dissuaded from putting the effort needed to make the story better.

With the story outlined, I wrote out the script to detail everything in the comic; every page, every panel, and every line of dialogue. Planning everything out in this format is a good format to use as it helps to keep the flow of every page as the creator thinks of it.

When laying out the pages, I tend to have a general idea of how I want each panel to look. I start with the page base, an A4 page with a 20px black border, and use the Line tool to experiment with layouts and angles. To aid in this, I also quickly sketch a rough image of the panel, and shape the borders around that. When the borders are laid out correctly, I erase portions of the outer border to make the area outside the panels one connected space.

My drawing process always has three steps; a base sketch, followed by a detailed sketch, and then the line art or ‘inking’. The base sketch helps with posing the characters, and with working out perspective and depth. Usually the character sketches are simple stick figure-like characters, because it is just to give an idea of character proportion, and objects in the environment and the background usually just have the general shape of the object in question.

On top of the base sketch is the detail sketch. For this, I draw a rough version of the line art, paying more attention to minor details than with the previous step. This helps with establishing the final image, and acts as sort of a rough draft for the line art. With the sketch layers done, I reduce their layer opacity to 45% so they don’t interfere with the line art layer.

With line art, digitally producing the drawing makes the process much easier. With each brush stroke, I am able to simply undo the action as needed, as opposed to physically drawing the image which would require manual erasure. Using a tablet and computer allows me to undo mistakes in less than a second of making them, and setting the history states of Photoshop up to 1000 meant I could undo almost the entirety of a page’s creation if required.

For the speech bubbles, I used Photoshop’s smart shapes to combine ellipses and custom polygons set at three sides to form the necessary shape. As the shapes are combined their paths intersect, and as the outline follows the paths it means the shape protrudes out to point at the character saying the line. The text inside each bubble is copied directly from the script, and the font used is a free font downloaded online called Anime Ace BB.

After each page is created, they are saved as Photoshop and PNG files, and the PNGs are uploaded online.

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Final Assignment Brief

Brief

To complete a project based on a previously presented idea. The project is subject to personal choice, in this case a webcomic.

Project details

The project is to create a prologue to set up a webcomic. The page count would be anywhere between 5 and 10, and will establish the main characters and their relationships to each other. The comic pages are all made using Photoshop, and drawn using a Wacom Pen Tablet. Additional material will also be made, including character bios and model sheets. The webcomic is to be posted onto this blog, as well as a DeviantART profile for feedback.

Assignment 3: 50s TV Advertisement

Brief

To create a storyboard for a short advertisement that features a modern day brand reimagined as a different product in the 1950s. The final product must include research on 50s advertisements and techniques such as use of shot composition, audio and motion.

Research

To raise the morale of the public during the post-WW2 depression in the 50s, most media was designed for giving people hope that things would be better in the years to come. Cinema aided in this by promoting technological advancements through science fiction. Films like ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ (1951), ‘Forbidden Planet’ (1956), and ‘The Incredible Shrinking Man’ (1957), all emphasized the potential of science, and how it could influence the future beyond the realm of imagination, at least for the time. As such, advertisements from the 50s presented products as though they were an advancement, the keywords used including ‘new’ and ‘advanced’.

Advertisements in the 50s typically varied depending on the product itself. For consumable products such as Coke Cola and EZ-Pop Popcorn, the advertisement presents them mostly with music, and shots of people interacting with the product. For products that are used at home or are general use, they are presented in more of a matter-of-fact way, with music being used as a backing track for the voice over.

Commercials often varied depending on the product and the age of its intended audience. When advertising to a younger audience, usually between the ages of 10 and 25, commercials used more high-energy music such as jazz or swing as a way of conveying an energetic and youthful ideal. For older audiences, music tends to be slower, often sung by older performers, so as to give a more mature impression.

Development

I decided from the start that the end product would be for a shaving razor, as shaving razors were a commonly advertised product. As the theme of 50s was advancement and the future, I went with an automated razor, since electric razors would become a more common way of shaving for people in the decades to come.

From the advertisements for Schick Electric Shaver and the Remington Shaver, three particular aspects seemed common for electric razors: eye level close up shots of a man using the product to shave, a close up shot of the product being held, and the razor being used to shave an inanimate object, such as a peach or a cactus.

For the brand I chose to parody I went with Panasonic, the electronics manufacturer. As an electronics company, it would be easy to correlate Panasonic with an electric razor, with the possibility for a pun or two.

Razor Image

Panasonic Electric Razor image
Panasonic Electric Razor, with a leather case.

Script

(Scene opens on a man struggling to shave with an unlabeled electric razor)

Voice Over: There are many razors out there that simply don’t stack up to what they say they’ll do. In this day and age you need a sound investment.

(Transition to a close up of the Panasonic Electrical Shaver)

Voice Over: Panasonic Electrical Shavers are the newest top-of-the-line shaving devices to hit the shelves, guaranteed to give you a sound, clean shave every time.

(Scene transition to an animation depicting hairs being guided to razor blades and cut)

Voice Over: Our razors move at twice the speed of your average razor, meaning not a single hair gets left uncut. You’ll never waste another second when you shave

(Scene transition to the razor shaving a peach)

Voice Over: Just watch how quickly and efficiently this peach loses its fuzz. And not a singe abrasion on the peach’s delicate skin!

(Transition back to the electrical razor, with the logo at the top of the page)

Voice Over: Panasonic Electrical Razor, “a sound shave every time”.

Storyboard

Storyboard page 1
Commercial Storyboard

Evaluation

The aim of the brief was to reimagine a current brand as a product for the 1950s, and create a storyboard for a short commercial advertising the product. The brand I chose to reimagine as a product is Panasonic as an electric razor, as it ties in with the theme of advancements in the post-WW2 era. The commercial I designed is a generic commercial that would be played briefly between shows on television, based off of previous commercials of the like. The visuals on the storyboard are clear and concise, portraying each scene clearly. The text beneath each panel gives a brief explanation of what is happening on screen, as well as the script for the narration. I was not able to work out a way to include both the script and a full description so the descriptions are brief. If I were to improve it I would rework the storyboard to include an easier way to include the script and have better descriptions of the scene.