Using Blender to create graphic novels/comis

Hey everyone, I am pretty new to Blender, but this is something I have been wondering about lately. Would not Blender be great for making comics ? I mean if you think about it, you can just rig the character and put them into the right pose, dont have to redo them. You can have the whole environment created, and all you gotta to is change the camera for the scene,then render, put into photoshop to get the right layout. Would that work ? Any good tut recommendations ? Thx

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seams overkill if you can draw, if one cannot draw, dont enter the comics market…

It’s definitely feasible, and the benefits you listed are tempting. The main thing would be defining an art style that doesn’t look cheap, or too “3D” if that’s what you’re going for. Would be exited to see what you come up with.

I’m currently using Blender for something similar, a webcomic.


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Scott Christian Sava did http://www.thedreamlandchronicles.com/ this way. All but the final chapter or two was done in 3D. He was using 3DS Max, but still… It’s doable.

Towards the end, he mentioned some issues with doing it in 3D that cropped up over the years. Mostly it had to do with updating the assets every so often and the fact that you need to keep multiple back-ups of said assets, in case you have a drive failure. It seemed to work okay for him.

I’ve thought about using Blender for my graphic novel, just to get it done. Otherwise it’s going to be years before I feel confident enough in my drawing ability to draw it all out! :smiley:

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Pandeia uses Blender for vehicles/environments. As long as it looks good, I don’t think readers will care what you used to make it.

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This sounds really overly pessimistic to me. Grease Pencil is becoming a really powerful 2d tool. Drawing in 3d can be a lot easier and faster even if you can draw in 2d. You cannot get better at something if you don’t do it - one cannot just wait some amount of time until the skills magically appear. They will not. I strongly believe saying nothing is a lot better than saying what you said.

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Your statement suggests that is less work.
But it is not true. It is very time consuming to build a whole environment in 3D.
And if you think about it, few knid of stories are talking place only in one environment.
So, you will take a lot of time to build something that will rarely be seen in its entirety.

When you will set your camera, you will have to deal with a perfect perspective.
You will realize that your character pose is not as great as you thought at first place. It may hide something important that you thought could be shown easily. So, you will change the pose. And then, you will realize that changing the pose is changing the shadowing.
And you can make lots of iterations between lighting, posing, characters, props.
You can take hours to set-up a scene for just one frame.

So this kind of use of 3D is only valid if you are segmenting scenes and continue to do layering stuff in a 2D app.

Of course, there are people using 3D for comics. But they do it by passion of 3D or to obtain a specific style, not because it means less work.

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Or of course you can just draw 2d shapes in 3d space so that’s easier for you to imagine where is what in space and you can deform the drawings manipulate them with all the countless tools you have in Blender, reuse stuff and so on. I can definitely see Blender helping someone realize ideas a lot faster than if one decided to learn drawing for a couple of years first. I am not saying it’s magic and no hard work will be needed, but I think it’s faster than pencil and paper.

If you can already draw very well then 3d would be an awesome tool to add to your arsenal, if you can’t draw really well then you are going to be doing nothing but putting out “Poser” comics and the world doesn’t need any more of that shit.

My two cents is use 3d to solve things like dynamic poses with tricky foreshortening and perspective. To do that you don’t really need much. I would aim for something with as little detail as possible, something like an artist mannequin ( I think the are a few of these floating around on Blend swap). My basic workflow would be to first draw a thumbnail on paper, replicate that pose in Blender and render it. Bring that render into Krita and put it into a layer with lowered opacity and draw over that. Clip Studio Paint has that kind functionality built in.

I am personally not sold on 3d renders(even if the are rendered with NPR shaders) been directly used in comics. I read comics because of the writer and the artist working on them so I kinda of like see the artist hand in the visuals.

Outside of 3D software, comic books artists will use artist mannequins or build marquettes but what ends up in the panel needs to be something you drew.

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I still find line art much better suited for comics. Even a simple ink sketch filter makes it look nicer for some reason.


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wow, that ink sketch filter really makes it look much nicer. :slight_smile: what filter in what program is this?

paint.net …it’s free and somewhat basic but I use it for many things because it is very limited.

I agree.
Also the graphics is just a part of the comics. To me the most important part is the writing (I like political satire - like robertnyberg.nu [in Swedish]). I’m mostly reading webcomics for entertainment. To me on the graphics part it’s most important that it has a style and mostly follows it. Two of the webcomics I followed for a long time 8-bit theatre (https://www.nuklearpower.com/2001/03/02/episode-001-were-going-where/) and order of the stick (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0001.html) can not be accused of having a big focus on graphics.

I’m in the middle of a blender-rendered 8 pager right now. For the fun of it. I’m not alone, here’s another project that’s farther along: https://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?434044-Yet-another-graphic-novel

You can totally do something quick and cheap and not-especially-great with Blender + Manuel Bastioni Lab.

Blender can be just another tool. A good book on artistic perspective shows you how to reverse-engineer what Blender does to turn a 3D object into a 2D picture with a ruler and pencil and compass. Good 2D artists tend to have extensive sources of reference materials. I was in a museum a few years back and they were exhibiting the hyper-realistic paintings of Istvan Sandorfi and one of the bits of the exhibition was the stuff that was in his painting room the day he died. The dude had not just brushes but a slide projector and a bunch of optical bits and it clicked in my head that part of how he accomplished the effects he had done was by projecting slides with a prism or a lens in his hand and using that as a reference for the painting. Which does not, in any way, diminish the awesomesauce of an Istvan Sandorfi painting, because he was at the same time tremendously creative with how he merged images and meshed images and picked colors and so on. The dutch masters oil paintings contain little bits of brushwork that indicate that they were probably using a camera obscura. Etc.

But there are no shortcuts. Sure, you can skip out on actually sculpting a human and use MBL and maybe that’ll work… but I think the large population of fairly mediocre Poser comics out there shows that there’s a lot more to making a good comic than that. Scenes need props and facial expressions and poses and lighting and so much more. So, while you can mostly ignore issues of perspective and foreshortening, you have to do a whole bunch of planning and advance work to get to the point where you have a single frame ready to render. Far more than doing things in 2D. Think of the level of work involved in a short film animated in Blender for a dinky short comic book, where the only positive to be had is that you don’t need to have a render-farm.

I also tend to think that enough folks have been burned by mediocre 3D comics from people who wanted a shortcut that you need to be really really really careful about your production and look.

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I don’t understand why the style has to be 3d when it comes out of Blender. It makes no sense to me. It would take too much time to make everything photo realistic that’s why they fail and it does look ugly like the one from the link. I liked what tyrant monkey said:

…if you can’t draw really well then you are going to be doing nothing but putting out “Poser” comics and the world doesn’t need any more of that shit…

I do agree that the world does not need any more of that shit with all my heart :smiley:

However, why do they have to stop at that unfinished crappy look? You can put those same black and white filters on a clay render and get better result already with half of the work. Why waste time on textures and complex materials when you can get away with simple shapes? And there are other things you can do in 2d, you can add textures in 2d, exaggerate shapes, light, add and change color and so on. 3d could easily be a good starting point to get away with lesser skills in drawing. It can be a shortcut. It can take away all the thinking about the perspective for example. It will not do the planning and writing for you though and will not make you see composition, contrasts, color and light the way it has to be to communicate stuff visually. If the work is stopped at that ‘Poser’ kind of level, then yes, it’s ugly and no one needs it, but it doesn’t have to stop there. I believe one can build on top of that until good result is reached. I see a tenancy that repeats over and over again across all art styles or software used. If one is happy with crappy result and stops working, well, then the result is crappy, no matter how the work is done, however there is usually a choice to continue working until the result is good. If you just do whatever you are doing in more detail with more attention you will eventually get there. So there is that as well. When I think about it then, yes, it is probably unlikely someone who cannot draw would get good results with 3d. It is more likely the person who is looking for shortcuts will be looking for them in 3d as well. If it’s not all about looking for an easy way, but just about preferring to work with 3d, then I think it’s possible to get amazing results.

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I am artist my whole life since i can remember, and since i was getting more serious with my work i searched for shortcuts.
I found a lot of them, but the quality of the outcome never satisfied me and i still pushed for my vision (=perfectionism). Still never gave up on shortcuts.
After over 10 years of searching and using shortcuts i had enough. I told myself that from now on i would learn how to do things “right” and i started to really ramp up the learning.
I am still learning, and quite astonished at how much i can learn.
The effect of my change of perception and change of my actions was an immense increase in quality.
So from my experience: if a shortcut is your only hope to get something done, consider the following: every artist before you has used shortcuts and tries to cheat (time), but the good ones are usually those who work double as hard as the others and they don’t use shortcuts.
There is simply NO WAY around getting experienced. You either do it and get experienced or you try to cheat you way around and finally realize that you only cheat yourself (of the experience how to do it right).

And yes Poser/DAZ comics are as shitty and redundant as Poser/DAZ porn.

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This guy seems to be pulling out some amazing images.

I think that blender is a good tool, certainly it wasn’t that long ago when “3d” movies like Toy Story broke ground.

To tell a good story, and tell it effectively, is almost as skillful as being a good 3d artist. You can only learn by trial and error, unless you are born with it. That is my argument. There are plenty of resources on the internet about this.

Finally, once you are done, you have to market this. Somehow. Trawling the internet, there are many gems comics scans, some going back well over 50 years ago. These stories need to be retold to a new generation.

So my question is this: in order to create a page for a graphic novel it has to be a specific size. If I create all the images, panels, text, etc. in Blender, how do I save it to the correct size in order to print/publish? Do I need to export the final image into another program, like Photoshop, or can it be achieve in the settings so all I have to do is save each page in a separate file? And what is the best format compatible with publishers to print? Any ideas? Thanks.

The publisher will give you the layout and format you need for the specific printing (size etc.) that you will do.

You may also have to provide them with specific image formats depending on the printing process.

To everything else, you will want to use some kind of application to layout your pages. For example Photoshop, Gimp, illustrator or inkscape. There are probably even others best for comics.

Such as:

Or:

As to resolution usually you want to print at 300 dpi. (dots per square inch) Some say 150 is enough. But I always go 300.

How you set that up for rendering is to calculate your intended coverage, say a 5x5 printing area. That would be 1500 x 1500 pixels on your render settings. So 1500 total pixels in each dimension. Or 300 ppi (Pixels Per Inch).

For layouts you just have to estimate how large your page will be and how much each image will take up.

And your layout project size will be the size of the printed final size of your book. Lets say it is 5x7, that means your pixels will have to be 1500x2100 to achieve 300 dpi for printing.

Usually, then the printer simply prints out a 5x7 print with the image you have provided. If the image you give them is at least at or above the intended dpi printing, it will be good and clear.

How you set this all up will depend on your layout application. But it means setting the resolution to 300 and the image size to 5x7, as in the above example.

Additionally a specific printing establishment or publisher may have different specs they want for your final layout images that are to be printed.

But using the info here, you can figure out how to make that happen to give them what they want.

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