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.


Click here to Read the Comic!


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!
If you've just discovered this comic, take some time to enjoy all the episodes in the ARCHIVE. Come back each MONDAY to see what else can happen, when Two Roommates take on the Universe!

All the best,

Mike Hogue - Sept 8th / 2010