Kara - Graphic Novel/Comic - Chapter 1 - Pilot

(Peter18) #1

Morning all!

I’ve been away from Blender for a long old time! But have kept my eye on all the goings on, still keeping an interest. But I’m ready to dive back into the world of Blender, in a very ambitious project, which I know is going to take a lot of time and effort, but I feel I’m ready to take the plunge.

So short backstory, for the past year or so, I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a graphic novel, using blender. I’ve carried out various quick tests, using MakeHuman to generate human bodies (it’s gonna take long enough, without modelling and rigging people…) I’ve been pleasently surprised with MakeHumans ability to create unique characters. And with some tweaking, you can get some pretty good results. So why use blender? Because I can’t draw! Not that well anyway. I can paint (kinda…), but drawing would take a lot of time and practice, more so than it would probably take to do it all in Blender. Not to mention my Blender skills are probably much better than my drawing skills! I also like the 3d art style. A few comics do it now, where they seem to combine 3d elements with traditional drawing and painting.

The style I’ve been testing out seems pretty similar to the tell tale Batman game that’s just come out. I really like the obvious 3dness, with the sketchy lines and shading. I’ll post some stuff here later from some initial tests, but atm, there isn’t much to really see.

So back to story (lots of text, sorry…) I’ve been working on it for about a year on and off. Initially it was writing. Lots of writing. Coming up with characters, locations etc…not to mention the story itself. I have a lot of it in writing up to a certain point, and I know roughly how it’s going to end. But I wanted to actually jump into it, and start making it rather than writing, and doing concept sketches. So I thought, lets make the first chapter, see how long that takes, and see if it’s going to be possible to actually do this. I’ve got the script written, a tracksheet of all the models I need for the first chapter, all I need to do is a rough storyboard, but that can be done once models are ready.

So as of now, I am modelling and texturing things. I will share some of this in a post below, but I just wanted to post here, because it’s another step to committing to the project! All I will say at this point is that it’s Sci-Fi and set in the future. Our protagonist Kara is a bounty hunter (so original…) she uses her skills to investigate a mysterious symbol she has on her wrist (ooooooooh).

If anyone has models they would like to donate to the project, please let me know. Not after major things, maybe little things for the background to help populate rooms etc…

(Thumbnail Update)

Character Model - Kara
(Peter18) #2

First thing I’m modelling is Kara’s ship. It’s an old Space Shuttle with heavy modifications. It’s a bit crap, barely works half the time, and should be in a museum, but she somehow manages to fly it about. She found it in a scrap yard. Salvaged pieces from other ships etc…Here is some crap concept art. Made a few changes to it in modelling stage, but you get the general idea…

(edgarej) #3

Blendswap is a good place to look for blends. I have a sci-fi blend in there you can download, but it’s too high poly :frowning:

(Peter18) #4

Not everything is UV unwrapped yet, and the texture is still very much a wip, but here is an early look at Kara’s Ship. I think maybe it looks too beat up at this stage, so I may alter it. But looking like crap is kinda it’s point…also texture is 5000x5000 pixels, yet it seems quite blury when you get close to it. I’m not great at texturing tbf, so it’s something I’m gonna have to pick up as I go along. I think there might be too much going on atm, maybe need to simplify it.

(Peter18) #5

Decided that it was too dirty, so started again.

(Peter18) #6

Update on the ship. All that’s left now is to texture the rear where engines are etc…May reduce some wear and tear a little more. Trying to find the right balance between comic and realistic. I like the freestyle lines. Takes a long time tho.

(Peter18) #7

Some early work on the cockpit.

Lots of work still to do on here. But want to add details, but at the same time, keep a certain simplicity about it.

(Peter18) #8

Some more progress shots of the cockpit. Not too much left to do modelling wise. Still have to apply textures, but I think they will likely only be subtle anyway. Struggling with lighting a bit and maintaining the toon shader look. Also now getting noise problems, but I think that’s mainly due to a lack of a main fill light which the toon shader seems to need. I added a character in last night (didn’t save render) just to see what that was like, and was looking good. So pleased with progress. If anyone has any tips on the toon shader in cycles, please let me know, especially lighting wise as Emission planes don’t get along well with it, so having to use lamps which I’ve not used since blender internal days! I’m also wondering whether or not characters and environments should be lit seperately?

(Peter18) #9

For the most part, the cockpit is now done. Will probably add some light texturing, but I wanted to move on to something different to keep things fresh, and am now working on Kara, who is the main character. Here is a really bad concept sketch. Gives you a rough idea. There will be several variations of the character. Hood up, hood down. Hair up, hair down, plus a version with some of the items removed (shoulder pads, chest plate etc…) There will also be another variation, but that is a secret :wink:

For time saving on what’s already going to take ages, MakeHuman is being used for the character base. Will then model all of the clothing etc myself and add that to the rig, hopefully without too many issues. Will also be tweaking textures etc…,

(dvnobles) #10

Hi Peter…wow! this looks great so far and can’t wait to see how it progresses. I have some thoughts of some things I have run into during my attempt at graphic novel, I’ll send you a PM.

(Peter18) #11

Base models for Kara’s clothes are done. Will now start at top, work my way down adding details etc…her costume is pretty simple really. There is a chest plate to model aswell which isn’t there yet, but that will be attached to the hood.

(Peter18) #12

Detailing work underway. Top half for the most part done. Hopefully there wont be too many issues when I add them to the rig (there will be… :confused: )

(dvnobles) #13

Looking good!

(Peter18) #14

More work on clothing etc…almost done with this variation now, minus texturing of course.

(Peter18) #15

(Peter18) #16

A little test render. I metioned in first post that I’m trying to replicate a style similar to that of the tell tale batman game. Something that does really well, although keeping a toony look, is making everything interacts with light well through spec maps. I have done a test on her chest armor, using a procedural noise texture as a spec map. Atm the color of the noise texture is being applied to the object also, but I’m not sure how to apply the spec map proceduraly as non color data. There are also a couple of freestyle errors, but I think it’s looking ok for an initial test without just flat materials. I think I am definitely going to have my characters and environments render on different render layers, and have separate lighting setups.

(Peter18) #17

Been working on the textures. Managed to work out my spec maps. There is now a very subtle spec map (not on everything yet) which interacts with the light, and gives some slight texturing. Most of it is procedural atm. Only thing that isn’t is the tank top, which is a simple fabric texture. A couple of test renders, but it’s pretty early days still. Also, still got the lines being drawn around the eyelashes. I just need to tell freestyle to exclude them. But for now, pretend they aren’t there :smiley:

(dvnobles) #18

Looking good…nice and clean! What is the red mark over the left eye? Scar or piece of hair?

(Peter18) #19

It’s a scar

(Peter18) #20

Modelling Kara’s gun. She has 2 of these. Needed to model these before I could make the holster. Never modeled a gun before. Ive tried to keep it as clean as I could topology wise.