Monday Comics – Return of THE LIFE-TAKER pt 1

Hypertransitory Monday Comics, episode 20 -it’s the return of the surly, angry, all around bad-ass The Life-Taker!

RETURN OF THE LIFE-TAKER

This guy debuted on Halloween of last year. Those of you who were around then remember him well. Those who missed it, you can always go back to check out The Life-Taker comic, then get back here to read the continuing saga!

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JG’s CREATOR NOTES

After last week’s poll, the most well-received comics I’ve done so far appeared to be Kid Hype and JG’s Vacation.

So as you can see, I’ve ignored that info and done something completely different here.

Actually, I just didn’t have a Kid Hype or another hand-drawn comic ready to go, but I was working on another 3D Commander Series and a Life-Taker comic at the time.

Since The Life-Taker outranked The Commander Series in pageviews I decided to do this one instead. After this one, I’ll be back to some hand-drawn action!

I’M NOT A 3D PRUDE. HOWEVER…

This is the kind of 3D art where I have a pre-made model and I can buy or otherwise use props and clothing made for that particular figure to complete my scene.

Well, it is pretty difficult sometimes to smartly dress your female figures if you’re working in the fantasy genre.

I think a lot of emphasis is placed on making the girl appear sexy, but to do that the outfits bare so much skin on the model that it’s hardly believable that she would venture out to fight battles this way.

Of course, some would say I’m already making up a story, so who cares?

I don’t know. I like to dress the character in an appropriate manner to their role in the story. If she’s going to be in sword battles then she would probably not be wearing a bikini, but some sort of armor.

Except many times there will be a suit of armor for the girl, and she still ends up being mostly exposed.

The elf in this comic isn’t dressed the way that I would want, but until I’m good enough to make my own figures and clothes I guess I’ll make the best of it. Although I have clothing items that would cover her from head to toe, they aren’t of the right genre and wouldn’t fit with the story.

I know people are thinking “Hey, isn’t the Life-Taker half naked and running around fighting people?” Well, yeah -but that guy’s crazy.

HAIR, HAIR!

Rendering hair is always difficult. Even in a situation like this, where I’m not going for a particularly realistic look, it’s still a pain.

The reason for this is that depending on the type of hair, it usually involves a lot of transparency.

What this means is that at render time, the computer has to check each pixel and decide “ok, this pixel will be 25% visible, and the next pixel will be 28% visible” and so on and so forth for however many thousands of pixels there may be that comprise the hair in your scene.

This kind of computation can bring a computer to its knees, so you always have to be careful with how big you’re going to go with your render.

Even in a scene like this with leaves and other vegetation you might have to deal with leaves being translucent (light passes through, but not clearly as with glass -it’s scattered and diffuse). This makes your computer take a huge hit as well.

So since I don’t have the most powerful computer, I’m careful about how ambitious I get with any one scene. I’ve had times where I’ve went to render something, then went to sleep, then went to work, then came home and watched TV for a couple of hours and the render finally finished.

I thought about just making her bald or finding a helmet but I couldn’t find anything that looked good enough, so I had to just brace myself for some inevitably long render times.

BEHIND THE SCENES

Well of course there are no raw pencils on this one but here’s some screenshots of the working Daz Studio environment and also some raw renders from the program.

You can see by how flat the images are how much work is put in once they get into Photoshop. Enjoy, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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33 thoughts on “Monday Comics – Return of THE LIFE-TAKER pt 1

  1. Totally agree with the point that female comic characters shouldn’t be dressed with too much skin being exposed. I mean, hey, who on earth will fight in a deadly match wearing revealing clothes like that?

    1. Hi Mae!

      Yes I always think that, too.

      I like checking out beautiful women as much as the next guy, but it always takes me out of the story when the outfit is too gratuitous. Thanks for commenting!

    1. Hey Mitch, thanks man!

      There was only one Life-Taker comic before this (the link before the comic), so you haven’t missed too much.

      I guess all we need to know is this guy doesn’t much care for Elves :)

  2. John,

    It’s always fun to watch a pro showing the before and after.
    You gotta get some SETI cycles, or something. Wouldn’t it be wild if you could harness 5,000 PCs for rendering?

    Anyway, will you be sticking to Life-taker or circulating through stories?

    Cheers,

    Mitch

    1. Hey Mitch,

      It is awesome indeed when you can get access to a render farm. I used a free, open source render farm for one of my Blender projects a few years back.

      It’s funny because it’s quick, but it’s not lol. When it actually does render, it goes extremely fast, but because it’s free and open source you have to wait in the queue possibly for days before you project got rendered.

      It’s still awesome, though, because if you can’t afford to pay for a render farm you could at least have the option of trading some time instead.

      The program I used to create this, Daz Studio, does not have a render farm anywhere, alas. At least I don’t think it does.

      I’ll probably try to wrap this up in 3 episodes, if possible but I have been known to be long-winded :P

  3. Re. the rendering.. wow! That’s a long time. I do a bit of painting myself but have never done digital art, I’d like to try but learning all that stuff from scratch seems like a headache. I’ll leave it to the experts! Really cool art by the way :)

    1. Thanks Liz! Yes the rendering can definitely get out of control sometimes. You might have the right idea by sticking with the painting! :)

  4. Wow, it’s kinda hard to make comic characters. What’s the best software for this?

    I like your output! Nice one!

    -Princeton

    1. Hi Princeton. I’m not sure what the best software is, but I’m using Daz Studio. Other people might have other recommendations. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Although it is not this precisely my favorite type of art, I cannot deny that it is very interesting and unique.

    1. Hi Anna, thanks for commenting! I know a lot of people preferred the hand-drawn stuff so we’ll be seeing more of that once this current story wraps up. Please hang in there lol! :)

  6. I actually love comics and I am a big fan of it…This is really one of the best creation I have ever seen…

    1. Hey Jacko! Actually not too many people selected this one in the poll, but the first Life-Taker comic was a very highly viewed page in my Google Analytics so I decided to go for a second round.

      I’ll probably take a break from 3D comics after this one, though.

      Thanks for your comment!

  7. You had a great piece doing some comics..You are very talented artist..How I wish I could be also..Thanks you for sharing your talent..Keep up the good work!!!

  8. [email protected] los angeles says:

    A worthy continuation for the Life-Taker! I’m looking forward to reading part 2. Oh and that closeup on the elf in the second to last frame is really good! Great job with the 3D once again.

    1. Hi Karen, a lot of people told me they liked that shot of the elf at the end.

      Originally I wasn’t going to include it because I didn’t have any dialogue for her to say, but then I figured I had space and it could look good without her saying anything, so I went for it. Now I’m glad I did. Thanks for commenting!

  9. Hi, John,
    I bet it was time consuming to make all the characters this good, but you managed. Great job, indeed! I love the Elf, looks even better than Legolas of the LOTR!
    Somebody here said that he/she wishes you some partnership with Disney or Pixar…nice one, but this is no Disney material, it is better. I’d say it is something to go with Marvel comics.

  10. sam [email protected] marketing says:

    This is really effin good lol! Excuse my French but you ought to be working for a major publication…when I was younger I used to be really good, until I saw that compared to to others out there, not so much.

  11. Cool character, would be funny to use “I hear you skulking out there” on a cold caller, think I’m going to check out the next parts. Is the program you used to create this free?

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