Thursday, December 19, 2013

Issue Two Production Post—Working For The Holidays

Sorry all, haven't meant to leave the blog fallow for three months. I promise I have been working hard on Issue Two; just a few more pages of renders to do and I will be done with production. With barely a week-and-a-half left in 2013, I plan on racing to the finish line to complete all my renders by then. Compared to Issue One (and the aforementioned delays I've experienced) this issue has been a breeze! I'm steadily improving my render setups so as to reduce the amount of post work I've had to do in the past and also discovered techniques requiring no post work at all. Also my 2.0 versions of various models have turned out quite well, pushing my satisfaction level quite higher than Issue One.

I can't believe a year has gone by since I started rendering Issue One, and Issue Two is nearly done. I've learned so much that I surprise myself reflecting on this year's production posts at just how much I've accomplished. I promise you when you finally see Maya and the Outer Reaches in 2014, that Issue Two will be even more polished. And when I finally start production on Issues Three, Four and Five, each will blow the others out of the sky! Every successive issue ramps up the tension, action, scenery, drama and characters. I can't wait!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Update (Yet Another) and Issue One Production Post 8

Waiting for the resolution of yet-another kit failure on my Mac, this time one of my RAM modules, so I have no renders of Issue Two to show off this time. I was working on lighting new scenes when my Mac kept giving me kernel panics, which it had never done. Checking it out, I had only half the RAM I used to, annoying me quite thoroughly, since this is the second unexpected shutdown in production I've had to do. Meanwhile I've been writing Issue Six to keep me busy, which will be in a prospective "Second Season" in three or so years, depending on finances and interest in the First Season when it's complete. Or my attention span; it has a tendency to wander!

I have readied a nice, first-draft cut PDF of Issue One for beta reading. I'm pretty confident that it's as close to final as it'll be, but I'm still tinkering a bit with the dress (outside and inside covers). If I'm able to shake out a few pennies to do a print run, I'll need to up the page count to 24 (story count is 22 pages), so I'm deciding on what I want to fill the gap. I've thought about a two-page poster or perhaps some of the sketches from 2004-2005 I drew for the 1.0 comic I abandoned. Choices!

And since I don't want to post empty handed, here's a teaser for the (for now) cover of Issue One, Maya and the Outer Reaches

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Issue One Production Post 7

I'm back after a month spent rebuilding my files after the loss of my SSD. I'm not quite to rendering yet but I have one more panel I decided to redo for Issue One so I'm having to recreate that scene. I'm much happier with the rebuild of Skeeto that I'm having to do, if nothing else than because I have a new app called RealityPaint that allows me to paint textures onto models. This was a sore point of mine last year when I began this project and I had to find workarounds that only managed to satisfy me about 75-80%. I've also learned a few new tricks and techniques since I've been on this ride once, and am working on incorporating them into Issue Two.

As for Issue Two, I'm building a couple of sets and did some quick rewriting to throw in a few ideas I've had since the last draft of the script a year ago. I'm excited to be embarking on a new story as I am quite ready to put Issue One to bed and move on!

I plan on a few new teasers next post. See you then.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Update and Issue One Production Post 6

Update: Found 'em! The two pages of renders for next issue were backed up, I just overlooked them until last night. Yay, less work than I thought, always a good thing.

In Production: Okay, finally finished that panel I was procrastinating on. I think it was the last one. Time will tell. More work done on the cover and it's shaping up well, still not sure if I want it to be the final cover or an alternate design. Once I have Daz back I'll render up some other ideas and see what comes of them.

Issue Two is getting closer....

Monday, July 1, 2013

Eh, We've Had a Problem

I promised in my last post a teaser peek into Issue Two. Well, that's been postponed due to the fact that the SSD hosting my Daz3D app died last week, taking the two pages of renders I did a few weeks back and the Daz runtime folders with it. It's not catastrophic (that would be losing all of Issue One, which is safely triple-backed up) but it does put a spanner in the works since I'll have to rebuild the runtime and, after getting a replacement SSD, get Daz up and running again. And even then I'm not sure how that will affect the scene files I have backed up (Will I have to reimport .obj files? Redo clothing? No Idea!) But maybe, if I look on the bright side, it could be a blessing in disguise and allow me to build better 2.0 versions of some of the models I will be reusing (Skeeto, for example). It should make for an interesting adventure.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Issue One Production Post 5

All right, number 5. Things are progressing well, but I still have one panel (yes, the same since my last post) that I've been procrastinating about. Yeah, I'll get it done. Soon. Okay, all pages are set, cropped, balloons (oops, one I have to add after some reviews) added and even a better idea for the cover, but the image is not quite there yet, but at least I'm heading in the right direction.

I've been researching the web for digital comics publishing, and one of the two I had in mind, ComiXology, seems to be a fairly good deal. Free uploads, no contract pitfall and a heavy hitter with the Big Two, the smaller guys and indies. That seems to be the way forward with small creators like me, but I still want to have at least a few print comics, because I'm old school. Ka-Blam is the only self-publisher with any sense of history that's still around from what I've read and prices for small (very small) runs probably aren't going to break the bank. I'm not under any illusions that I'll be swimming in cash from this endeavor—this is a labor of love and making comics is a childhood dream of mine.

Up next: News about Issue Two!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Issue One Production Post 4

After a second round of extensive renders to edit the originals I was unhappy with and finally finishing all (save one panel, arrg) the Photoshop post work, I can finally say that the interior artwork for the first issue of Agent Maya is in the can. This took me longer than I anticipated, but the outcome is much, much better for the extra labor involved—leaving me quiet on the blog since my last post a while ago. My next hurdle is completing the panel layouts of each page, some of which are locked down but several others need to be scaled and cropped. After this step the dialogue balloons and narrative text I mentioned on a previous post will be added in; this will be a time-consuming task unto itself. And finally I have some rendered ideas for the cover, but I still haven't captured a definitive image yet that best represents the story inside to my satisfaction. I never said anything about this project would ever be easy!

As promised, I have a few images to show for my hard work—sorry it took so long to post again. Hopefully I won't go more than a few weeks next time!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Issue One Production Post 3

Welcome back to a slightly delayed post 3. I have had to re-render some panels, after compositing attempts needed more to go on, so that's slowed down the post process. I have a few pages ready to go, captioned and set aside for lockdown. Dialogue, words balloons, narrative boxes and credits are done for all pages and they will be composited when page panels are complete.

So the post train is moving down the tracks and I'm just a passenger at this point!

More teasers on the next post.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Issue One Production Post 2

Barring any "reshoot" renders, primary production on Issue One is now complete, three months' worth of work. Overall I'm satisfied with the renders, but somewhat disappointed in my skill level with UV mapping and texturing with the app software at my disposal. I hope to improve in this area with my succeeding set of issues this year and into 2014.

Next I will begin Photoshop post-production editing—compositing, masking, filter application and a "rough edit" to see how the story flows before the pages are locked down.

Until next time, here are more teaser images:

Uh-oh, a little B&E.

Knocking on the front door.

Dropping off.

A Neptune rendezvous.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Shoutout to Zero Dark Thirty for all the page hits on Agent Maya! My decade-long publicity campaign has finally culminated in more people checking out my project than I could have imagined in 2004. Thanks again.

I'll soon have more renders to show in my next Issue One Production Post, coming soon. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Issue One Production Post 1

Production on Issue One is in full swing, and I have some new teasers for 2013, as promised! 

Here is the cockpit of Skeeto, our heroine's speedy craft and the third character in our main trio.

Mars, home planet of Maya and the location of the orbital headquarters of Precinct-4.

Agent Maya surveying across a vast expanse, to be added in post. 

Our final teaser. Maya on another cheat arrest. But where...?