project[3]

lim jia sheng,
0344034.

BDCM
.Illustration & Visual Narrative
::project[3]






project[3]: Webtoon & Motion Comic

info:

todo:

  • Illustrate a feel good webtoon.
  • Animate it.

research:

I don't read too many webtoons unfortunately, so starting out was a little tricky. Fortunately, I do follow bunch of random people on twitter, & one of them is Łukasz Piskorz, aka. the creator of Helltaker. His style was always one that I sorta adored. It's not ultra realistic or ultra detailed, but it just has this satisfying tongue-and-cheek look to it.

Helltaker characters, n.d

Figure 1.1.1, Helltaker characters, n.d

  • Image
  • Image
  • Image
  • Image

Figure 1.1.6, Wholesome excerpt of demon lore, 12/10/2020

I tried to combine what I was inspired by with what I knew, and uh, yes.

Initial style test, 2/6/2021

Figure 1.1.7, Initial style test, 2/6/2021

As you can see I'm not too well versed in drawing them ol' humans. In fact, this webtoon is my first real experience creating human forms that can't be expressed using characters in this set: "/|\—O~" (Vormator challenge ain't got nothing on this). Thus, I tried to exploit what I knew — formulaic shapes & simple strokes.

[comedic record scratch][comedic record scratch]

How about nah. I was playing around a bit more to try to solidify how things would look & feel. Among the factors that would contribute to that would be the brush I'd use. I went through those I yanked from online one by one, & discovered the existence of brushes that used the "Mixer Brush Tool" as its base. This discovery was too cool to be ignored. I continued to dink around with it & found myself really enjoying the use of it. The final look of the artworks stood out & suit my strengths way more as well.

I was absolutely sold.

Just for context (& fun), here's what it looks like & how it compares to the 1st style:

  • boi
  • girl
  • boi v2
  • girl v2

Figure 1.1.12, Art style v1 vs art style v2, 9/7/2021

Okay interlude, I have something to confess. I made v2 (& also writing all this) after I've already finished the motion comic, so the v2 has the benefits of any & all technique improvements I gotten throughout working on everything, thus doesn't represent the snapshot of style I initially came up with. Goes to truly show the contrast of start & end though... Aight interlude over.

Before diving head in, I first needed an inlet; I first needed some inspiration. I looked at the drawings & realised they kind of looked like, a combination of modernism & expressionism in paintings. This comparison was drawn from its attributes of obvious brush strokes, lack of an outline layer, (relatively) large chunks of similar colours, & just generally a non-realistic, non-traditional look. With this thought, I found a few pieces that tickled my cerebrum.

Separation by Edvard Munch, 1896

Figure 1.1.13, Separation by Edvard Munch, 1896

Street with Women by Vasily Kandinsky, 1908

Figure 1.1.14, Street with Women by Vasily Kandinsky, 1908

The Eagles Beak - La Ciotat by Othon Friesz, 1907

Figure 1.1.15, The Eagles Beak - La Ciotat by Othon Friesz, 1907

Now loaded & confident with ammo, I went in & did it all.

...Okay it wasn't that simple. In order to do it efficiently, I had to figure out a workflow since I'd never done this before. Adding on to it was having to facilitate the import into After Effects afterwards. A metric sh*t tonne of R&D later, the full setup process went like this:

  1. Create a new Photoshop file with artboards (2480x3968)
  2. Clone artboards until same amount as pages
  3. Create guide layout (Settings below)
  4. Create rectangles along the grid
  5. Run "rectangles to smart obj.jsx" (More info below)
  6. For each each smart object, open & actually draw xd
  7. Run "smart obj to files.jsx" (More info below)
  8. File > Export > "Artboard to Files"
  9. Create a new After Effects file
  10. Import each artboard one by one into After Effects
  11. Import each smart object one by one into After Effects
  12. Replace each smart object Photoshop layer to the equivalent smart object composition imported in step 11
  13. For each artboard composition, open & actually animate xd
  14. Create new composition (1920x1080)
  15. Sequence out each artboard into the composition
  16. Render via Media Encoder
  17. Import into FL Studio via "Fruity Video Player"
  18. Score video
  19. Render score
  20. Merge audio & video with FFMPEG

Guide layout, 10/7/2021

Figure 1.1.16, Guide layout, 10/7/2021

rectangles to smart obj.jsxrectangles to smart obj.jsx

smart obj to files.jsxsmart obj to files.jsx

Yes, it's a long list; yes it sucked trying to figure each step out. The part that took longest was actually drawing (surprising I know), but the one that took the largest brain toll was writing the scripts, as info on the "actions" was sparse to say the least. Then, the need to import each file into After Effects one by one was undoubtedly the most annoying. This was because After Effects would only allow non-footage type Photoshop imports when doing single files. This turned into a timed drag, drop, press [Enter], game, 64 + 13 times.

The photoshop setup, 7/7/2021

Figure 1.1.17, The photoshop setup, 7/7/2021

The After Effects setup, 10/7/2021

Figure 1.1.18, The After Effects setup, 10/7/2021

The FL Studio setup, 10/7/2021

Figure 1.1.19, The FL Studio setup, 10/7/2021

Story

This is a story about a boy in school. He sits by himself most of the time, making him a great observer, able to analyse & decipher the people around him. It's nice, but deep down, all he wishes for is a person with him — a friend.

One day, it's recess. It's quiet in the classroom as usual. He's staring through the window at the busy playground while suddenly the floor starts to shake. Harder, & harder, it feels like an earthquake.

He grabs his bag & quickly hides under his table. Loud crashes & thumps echo around him, putting him into darkness. After things settle down, he relaxes & pulls out a lighter, discovering that he's trapped, but not fully. He takes advantage of it & crawls around to try to find a safer spot to wait in, until he hears a faint jingling sound.

He follows the direction, peeping through creaks as he goes. Eventually, he finds a girl from the next class over. He notices a big gash on her leg. Before even uttering a word, he sits down next to her & takes out a handkerchief to stop the bleeding. They talk to pass time.

8 hours pass, they've grown close. Another piece managed to crash down & squeeze them even closer. They talked for the first 4 hours, but the girl developed a fever mid way through. The handkerchief is dyed red, & the water bottle is empty. She's fading in & out of consciousness. On their last legs, the boy loops the bell keychain onto one of the girl's finger, & shakes it. He was desperate to save the both of them.

Not long after, he hears footsteps nearby, then speech, then power tools, then the sky.

As the girl was put on a stretcher, she spoke almost cheerfully: "See you again next recess..."

Characters

"Boy"

Boy, 9/7/2021

Figure 1.1.20, Boy, 9/7/2021

  • Reserved
  • Invisible to the ones around him
  • Observant
  • Deadpan humour
  • Likes to produce music, but never releases any

"Girl"

Girl, 9/7/2021

Figure 1.1.21, Girl, 9/7/2021

  • Reserved
  • Targeted by bullies
  • Optimistic
  • Easily amused
  • Likes to read fanfiction, probably shouldn't

Storyboard

  • Artboard 1
  • Artboard 2
  • Artboard 3
  • Artboard 4
  • Artboard 4 copy 2
  • Artboard 4 copy 3
  • Artboard 4 copy 4
  • Artboard 4 copy 5
  • Artboard 4 copy 6
  • Artboard 4 copy 7
  • Artboard 4 copy 8
  • Artboard 4 copy 9
  • Artboard 4 copy

Figure 1.2.14, Storyboard/sketch, 3/6/2021

feedback:

  • 4/6/2021
    • I can replace "8hrs later..." with an actual panel depicting the time pass.

final:

  • 00000
  • 00001
  • 00002
  • 00003
  • 00004
  • 00005
  • 00006
  • 00007
  • 00008
  • 00009
  • 00010
  • 00011
  • 00012
  • 00013

Figure 1.3.15, The motion comic, 10/7/2021

The comic on WebtoonsThe comic on Webtoons

The Google Drive with all the stuffThe Google Drive with all the stuff




reflection

Bruh, this was a long long project. My experience was, mixed. It took so long to do, but I learnt so much; I kinda don't want to draw ever again in my life, but I can draw so much better in my life. You could even see the learning progress by looking at the first panel & the last one. Was this my fault because I was too ambitious? Perhaps. 61 panels when the soft maximum was only 20 is quite a large jump, but I didn't really understand the true scope of things until I did the first few pages. The dawning of how different large-scale digital illustration compared to physicals one was brutal.

The main observation I had was how effective "cutaway" panels (panels that feature only the faces) were at progressing scenes. They convey not much information, but they enabled easy to follow perspective switches & made expression communication so much more impactful. Another observation was how much taking away line art made to "dreamify" a piece of artwork. It brought an almost surreal feel to some of the scenes, which made the conveyed fictional facts a lot more "immersive".

Lastly, the main thing I'll be taking away from this project is definitely a new found appreciation for people who do these comics & their motion variants. Besides that is also the almost sub-conscious skill of physically drawing better, especially with a tablet. It was awkward in the beginning drawing without being able to see what the hell I was poking at, but eventually adding my own keybinds & learning existing ones made me surprisingly fast in doing it. I know in the future, going through this hellish (but ultra educational) project will help me out tremendously, especially with mockups & quick sketches, which I've never been able to do effectively.

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