Week 69

This is a weekly recap of what has been going on in my professional life. It’s to keep track of what I’m up to and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independent creator.

The week started off with the classic inking of a new Off-Stage page. It took a little longer than I anticipated so I had to finish up on tuesday. Time to get a buffer reinstated again! I’m starting on the next one as soon as I finish this post.

On tuesday I did a lot of holiday shopping with the girlfriend. Being away from the internet for a day feels quite regenerative. All the energy spent fussing over this or that on social media can be put to much better use. Interestingly, similar thoughts were also explored on the latest Surviving Creativity, a podcast I recommend you listen to if you’re a creator, and the season 3 pilot episode of The Newsroom.

On wednesday I ported some bits of code from the old version of Trusted Soil we made in college to the new version currently in development. Progress has mostly been going on outside of my purview, the artists and designer setting up the new project and determining the art style. I’m waiting in the wings for tech support on the more difficult features. I quite like being on this end of the gamedev spectrum for this project.

Last week also saw the version 2.0 update for Mischief, a vector drawing program I really like. No real new features yet, but the interface is much cleaner, and interestingly, there is now also a free version! If you’ve ever had to do something in print or with varying resolutions, you’ll understand how magnificent this tool is.

The only thing I’m not crazy about is the new icon. I have a dock on my desktop with flat Windows 8 icons, so it didn’t really fit. So I decided to make my own. If you want to use it too, grab it below!

And finally, I woke up this past Saturday and read through the week’s webcomic updates in Comic Chameleon when I was struck with the idea “what if I get Off-Stage into this app?!”. You may have seen me post about it, and if you’re interested in helping me achieve this, read about it here (only takes a minute).

Next week: I expect more flailing in search of new opportunities.

Willie process

Below is a little chart of the process on the Willie painting. When I paint realistically I don’t usually do a line sketch, I just go to town with big blobs of color. Well, in the cases of these moviestill paintings at least, since I already have the composition by looking at the framegrab, so no sketch is needed. I just sort of estimate the proportions and refine as I go along.

On the right you can see the sweet detail that the Mischief vectors bring. You don’t have to set a canvas size or resolution, you just start painting and whatever size you need it as you enter in the export dialog and it takes care of it for you. Massive headache saver.

Willie

I watched Die Hard 5 recently, and this scene captured my attention. I had to paint it, it has everything: rimlights, specular highlights, subsurface scattering, indirect global illumination, bruce willis…

I didn’t do this one in Photoshop but in Mischief! Gabe from Penny Arcade pointed me to it, and it is pretty incredible.

What you see below are vectors.

That’s right. You can paint as if it were pixels, there are brushes with pressure sensitivity and opacity settings, but everything is infinitely zoomable. And the resulting file was only 300 kb! It’s lightweight, responsive, and only $65. It might be a few features and hotkeys away from bumping photoshop from the top spot for me in terms of painting. Check out the free trial to see for yourself.

It will be really interesting to see where it goes.