Happy Third Birthday, Rightfield!

Yesterday marked the three-year anniversary of the debut of the comic strip Rightfield, the most ambitious comic franchise that Base14 has ever undertaken. Featuring the comedic exploits of Sam the Human, Phil the Platypus and Glitch the Robot, Rightfield was designed to follow well-developed characters through a major story arc, giving readers more than just a daily chuckle. On August 21st, 2006, the following three-panel cartoon was published in nearly 20,000 copies of the Purdue Exponent Newspaper.
Rightfield: August 21st, 2006
This was at best a crude beginning, and as a comic artist, I was still feeling my way into the art form. But working to publish five hand-drawn strips a week meant that I would rack up experience quickly, and the quality of the strip steadily improved. By the end of the Fall Semester, the strip was consistently demonstrating solid craftsmanship and concepts.
Rightfield: November 13th, 2006
The story continues after the break. Continue Reading »

Magic’s In The Air

I’ve been kicking this idea around in my head for some time now, so with the Half-Blood Price out in theaters as of 12:01am yesterday, I thought I’d be a good time to finally draw it. Actually, if already you’ve seen the movie, this should look pretty familiar. If you haven’t, reading the comic should sum up about half the movie’s plot. No, seriously.

This was the first time I’ve drawn Base14 characters on a Wacom Cintiq. I think the sketching phase went really well, as I expanded on what design elements were successful in last week’s comic. The third panel has especially nice depth and forms. But something went wrong in the clean-up phase. The line quality isn’t effective and the color palette isn’t very cohesive. I’m working with source art that’s now 16 times as big as the final web comic (for eventual book printing), so I haven’t fully adjusted to the best brush sizes to use when inking. I’ll work on that.

Happy Birthday, America!

I hope everyone had a good Fourth! Here at Base14 we wanted to celebrate the holiday by tossing our hat into the ring of recent political activity. The result is the comic below.

Today’s comic probably took longer to make than any other Base14 comic prior, but the extra effort shows! What also shows is the effect my 2D animation classes are having on my drawing abilities. Compare today’s comic to that of the typical comic from last season. There’s a very noticeable improvement in character aesthetics, line quality and three-dimensional forms.

This comic also marks the first time I’ve used Photoshop CS4 to produce a strip. Already I’m finding a few new time-saving features to be well worth the upgrade:

  • Canvas Rotation – Allows me to draw from angle angle I like. For example, I tilted the canvas 15° to draw the birthday cake. From my point of view it was level, but when the canvas was righted again, the cake was tilted. Nice!
  • Brush Resize – There’s a new, super slick way to resize brushes on the fly. Now with the brush tool selected, all I need to do is hold down Alt/Option and drag horizontally with my right mouse button. And if that wasn’t handy enough, I can also adjust the hardness of my brush by holding down Alt/Option+Shift and dragging. It’s way faster than the old bracket keys.
  • Birds-Eye View - Several tools in Photoshop CS4 now are spring-loaded, meaning if you hold down a shortcut key, you will switch to that tool only as long as the key stays down. Then you switch back to you previous tool. This is how panning has worked with the space bar forever, so Adobe added an extra function when you hold down the “P” key. It switches to a “Birds-Eye View” of the entire document, allowing you to reposition your screen like on the navigation panel. This is very useful when I’m colorizing, and need to jump around to different parts of the document to sample colors.

Certainly Photoshop CS4 will be a boon to drawing Base14 Comics in the future. Now I just have to wait for SCAD to put it on all the lab machines, so I can utilize it on those lovely Cintiqs!

So Long, Vista

Microsoft made some interesting moves earlier this week, first by offering free upgrades for consumers buying Vista-equipped computers from now until the Oct. 22nd Windows 7 release, and then by slashing the price of Windows 7 upgrade pre-orders on Amazon.com in half. Apparently it has generated a bit of excitement, as Windows 7 Home Premium and Professional surged to the top one and two software spots on Amazon, respectively.

Anyhow, now that Windows Vista is living out its final days, I thought it was a good time to publish this comic. I’d like to think this is the start of a very nice series of summer comics, since they were so neglected all Spring as I finished Duck ♥ Teslacoil. If my classes stay as mellow as they’ve been going, it probably will be.

This program has performed an illegal operation.

Drawn in 260 Seconds

While drawing last week’s comic, I decided to turn on my screen recording software and crank it down to capture one image of my screen every second. Then I brought it into Premiere, set it to play at a standard 30 frames per second, added some music and cut out a few lull periods where I was fiddling around with dialog boxes. The resulting video is a time-lapse of the full creation process for a Base14 comic, at 30 times the actual speed! I have to admit, it kinda makes me want to start time-lapsing everything I do. Enjoy!

On The Origin Of Theories

Alright, I admit, this comic is a day too late. But I just couldn’t give up the idea so easily. The public must be aware of this suspicious coincidence — and what it might mean to all mankind!

Oh, and did you know today was the last day to pre-order a kite shirt from Base14? Heck, if you hurry up and email Alysha right now, I bet she’ll still take it. If I can be a bit late, you can too!

For score and seven government conspiracies ago…

First Impressions

Happy New Year everybody! I hope you’ve been enjoying Alysha’s posts as of late, she’s done an excellent job featuring some of her recent projects and taking some pressure off me as I work feverishly to finish up the animation on Duck ♥ Teslacoil. Things are going well, with more on that later.

But back to today’s post – let’s face it, we’re long overdue for a new comic! So for everyone trudging back to class this week, I offer what may be some familiar insight.

“Shall I begin with you hideous appearance or sobering ignorance?”