"BOTTOMLESS PITIFUL - PART 2" - TRIPLE-SIZED Newt and John Episode!
EGAD!.. What was that thing?!?
This was a fun, and challenging episode, as far as the art goes. I wanted to show a gradual transition into darkness as they fall further away from the entrance to the 'bottomless pit'... which also... (thankfully!)... leads to the next episode (coming soon!) where I am granted a little break from elaborate artwork while Newt and John fall in absolute darkness.
So for this commentary, I'll try something a little different. I'll break down the 3 main "photograph scenes" and tell you how each one was made.
In Panel #5 the "Tyranosaurus Rex Skeleton" Shot, I found a good reference design of T-rex bones, and vectorized it. Then I turned it into a flash-symbol, which allowed me to set a medium colour tone for one layer, then 2 duplicate layers with 'reveal masks' to show a lighter highlight layer, and a darker shadow layer. Then I took it a step further, and used the basic shapes of the skeleton as another mask, to show a subtle texture with a low 'alpha' setting... to add just enough age and decay to the bones. The light from the camera is created using gradients from light to 0% transparency. I used several gradients on top of each other to give the illusion of cast lighting in the tunnel, behind John, and a light-source from the camera's flash. For extra effect, I masked off a shadow layer on Newt so it looks like the light source is in front of him.
In Panel #8, the "UFO Accident", I first built a basic ufo model design in Google's "Sketchup" program... the same program I built the design of John's Paper Airplane from this story. Once I had the 3D model built, I exported 2D images of it at random angles. I chose 2 different angles and imported them into Flash... turning them vector, and using the outlines on layers, and the solid fills as masks, to import the nice shiny-metal-to-rust texture on both spaceships. The aliens were hand drawn with a wacom tablet. Then I duplicated the drawings into masks, and chose only a highlight layer that would indicate the light direction from the camera. Just as before, a few gradients add to this illusion of light.
The final 'snapshot'... in panel #9, is a really strange creation. I first designed this creature in "Sketchbook Pro" on my iPad. All of the tentacles, furry bits, blue glowing bits, mouth and teeth were created in this program. I then exported it as a 6 layer photoshop file, opened it in photoshop to delete the white Background, and save it as a PNG file with a clear background. I then brought it into Flash, to add to the scene. I duplicated this creature at 100% light blue, and shifted it just a little bit, to add a sort of 'glow' on the tentacles. I also created all the 'eyeballs' in flash, and focused them on John's position. I created random 'skull' shapes in flash and placed them around the scene, adding a duplicate layer and mask to add light-source highlights to the skulls. The final touch again, was making gradients that illuminated the scene, and made it look like the light-source is Newt's Camera. This image took about a day and a half, of constant work... but I really like how it turned out. I had a pretty good mental image of what it would look like, but I like the final result more than I had imagined.
Well, there's the detailed commentary for each of those key scenes. I'm going to keep this episode online for 2 mondays. So Look for another 'double-episode' 2 mondays from now on September 20th!
I hope you're enjoying this on-going story!... Passing a link on to your friends is always appreciated! Look for new "Newt and John" comics every MONDAY! Take a moment to subscribe to this website's RSS FEED for instant notification when each comic is online!.. or Follow me on TWITTER!
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All the best,
Mike Hogue - Sept 8th / 2010