Bottom of the Deck – 15/12/01

botdcardEvening everypeoples, bit of a late upload tonight, my evening has been rather busy.

Not that my day wasn’t busy too; it’s the last week of college, so now comes the time for us to neaten up everything and make it presentable to be handed in. This has a bit more significance for me, because it will finally be (I hope) the last time I will ever have to attend college. I’ve already graduated from two separate institutes, and this past year has been an additional learning course to supplement my Higher Diploma, and I think it’s about time I called it and got out into the world proper. Though I don’t have much choice in the matter, I doubt another year of education would be financially viable, and I seriously need a job I can apply my skills to…

In the meantime, I’ve been applying skills in other areas. I got my first ever taste of playing Dungeons and Dragons last week thanks to a chance encounter with a DM at a Magic: The Gathering tournament. He was nice enough to give myself and a friend a quick demonstration game, and now we’ve both been raring to play again. The trouble is convincing other people to join in without them looking at you like you’re mad; I’m hopeful though, and with a potential group forming I’ve been drawing up character sheets all evening to make the experience streamlined. This will also be relying on me being a decent Dungeon Master and keeping the players entertained; I only pray that I’ve watched Critical Role enough times to absorb some of Matthew Mercer’s uncanny DM skills. I have literally been losing sleep thinking about how I’m going to run this adventure, and I didn’t even write it; it’s a pre-built adventure that I can follow on a computer screen, it can’t be that hard, right? Right…?

Anyway, I’m going to bed now, I think I’ve looked at enough stat charts and character biographies to knock me right out. Unless I spend the entire night mulling them over in my head and attempt to anticipate everything that might happen oh dear god not again…

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/11/24

botdcardEvening everypeoples, I’m still here and still alive, so no excuses not to blog anything this week.

I’ve been saying this every week for a while now, but it’s more true than ever now: College Crunch Time! This is our last week to really push on our projects and get them looking spiff and shiny, because next week we have to get them all rendered and edited into neat little showreels and we will not have time to do any more tweaking. I’m feeling pretty good about my animations for this term; most of them are a little mediocre, but the ones that count are making good progress. I left one rendering overnight today, so hopefully it’ll look good when I composite it together tomorrow.

I will say that I got hit hard by Monday again, after managing to avert a critical strike last week, and I didn’t get the Elements of Eve update coloured in time. The colour version is uploaded now so no worries there, but I just felt like my head was ready to explode last night. I don’t get it, it’s not like I spent the weekend drinking, I don’t touch the stuff… Garfield was so right about Mondays…

On the entertainment side, those of you with a finger on the pulse of Netflix will no doubt have seen that Marvel’s new series Jessica Jones dropped on Friday, and I am not ashamed to say that I binged watched all thirteen episodes twice over during the course of the weekend. The show is SO good, a worthy follow up to Marvel’s Daredevil, taking the gritty tone and making it darker, sexier, more cerebral and more twisted. Daredevil was a grey vs. gray mentality, two men each with a dream of making their city a better place, and each questioning their own actions as they walked the fine line between hero and villain. Jessica Jones, by contrast, is a straight up hero vs villain tale, albeit one with the hero being a broken shell of her former self and the villain, Kilgrave being a sociopathic puppet master whose main weapon against Jessica is the psychological scars he left during their previous encounter. Jessica faces these mind games with pig-headed stubbornness and a fierce determination to never be controlled again (plus the super-strength doesn’t hurt either). I could go on gushing about how much I loved the deadpan snarking attitude that Jessica throws around constantly, or how I marveled at the deep, twisted lack of morality that David Tennant brings to Kilgrave, or how watching people get thrown through walls is cool, but I’ll let you all go and watch it for yourselves. You will not regret it.

That’s all for this week, time to finish the latest episode of Critical Role, I cannot believe the drama going on; romance, near-death experiences, family reunions, and ghosts!

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/11/17

botdcardEvening everypeoples, I am filled up with pasta and nerd-culture, so let’s get this done and dusted before I fall asleep out of satisfaction.

It’s “tweak week” at college, as I have just now thought to call it; fixing up all the little niggles in our animations that are keeping our marks out of the “presentable” zone. With the way we had to rush through the shorter exercises to get to where we are now, it’s safe to say we need the extra time for fixes. It helps that I haven’t looked at said shorter exercises since I finished them, so the minor details are easier to pick out; fixing them is the harder part.

I’ve just noticed that WordPress has changed the upload layout. Nifty…

The majority of my entertainment continues to come from digital video, and I’m still heavily engrossed in Critical Role (why haven’t you watched it yet, go now!), and I continue to learn more and more about the world of tabletop roleplay. One rather interesting discovery I made through their videos is the website Hero Forge. This is a fancy little online tool that lets you create and customize your own tabletop miniature figure for game play, and then (for a nominal fee), the team at Hero Forge can 3D print your personalized figure and have it mailed to you! While I’ve still never played a game of D&D in my life (really need to rectify that), it’s fun to see how the characters I’ve been thinking up might look in tiny, plastic form ready to be painted.

WordPress has removed the word count feature, or at least put it where I can’t see it. Not so nifty…

Not much else to talk about this week, so that’s all for now. There may or may not be a webcomic review up tomorrow, we’ll see if I can get through an archive before then, might have to pick a nice short one.

The “Add Media” function is so much more convenient now. Back to nifty…

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/11/10

botdcardHey everypeoples, another Tuesday rolls around and I continue to roll around in my ever-expanding sea of consciousness, filled with shark-toothed ideas and stinging jelly-work-fish. I’m not good with the ocean…

It’s crunch time at college as we use our final month to finish up our big projects and clean up all the stuff we had to rush through to get to this point. I’ve already noticed a few others in my immediate work vicinity who are starting to voice their opinions in a rather negative way; they don’t do it when the lecturer is around, of course. I won’t say I’m not completely without sympathy, I am after all in the exact same boat, but I stand by the philosophy I’ve stated before: this is the situation, complaining will accomplish nothing, so get on with it. If there’s something wrong, find out what it is and fix it, it’s not a complicated process.

Ranting aside, keeping up personal projects continues to be both challenging and satisfying. Elements of Eve just concluded its eighth issue yesterday, after suffering from two breaks in updating, so this next issue will not be delayed in its release. Issue #9 will start on Thursday, come hell or high water, and will only be interrupted by the Christmas break (I’ll be building a buffer for the rest of my time out of town). I also finished up the first draft of the script I mentioned in last week’s column, so I hope to have that fully refined by next week. This idea has been a long time coming, so I want to make sure it’s as perfect as I can get it.

Not much else worth mentioning this week, I’m going to go and finish my binge through a webcomic archive I just discovered. If it’s any good, you’ll hear about it tomorrow.

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/11/03

botdcardHey everypeoples, we’re into the penultimate month of the year; where has 2015 gone…?

I can answer that: into work, primarily. We’re down to the wire at college, starting our final projects for the year, which have exactly one month to finish from today. We’re busy doing lip-syncing on our characters, and it’s less complicated than I thought it would be. Or maybe I’m just getting used to Maya; I’ll admit that the graph editor that once looked like a tangled web of terror is a lot easier to use now that I know how to unravel it. It’s become very intuitive, which for me and my hurried work style is a godsend, and I can maintain my focus a lot more before wearing myself out.

I’ve also been trying to keep up my comic work, which has been tough to do in-between everything else. Elements of Eve suffered a little again this week, but Monday’s page is now up (check it out here if you haven’t already). I don’t know what it is, but Mondays just drain me a lot quicker; I think it’s the effort from trying to start the week that’s the hard part. Nevertheless, I’ll be keeping the updates coming, especially since Issue #8 is nearly over. I’d better start writing the next one…

Speaking of which, I’ve been working on a comic script for the past month or so. It’s an older idea which I’ve relentlessly tweaked and hammered and mulled over, and I’ve nearly got a first draft done. I already know several things I’ll be changing to fit the pace and page count when I dive into the second draft, but I’m feeling good about it. I’ve been looking for a gateway into the comic universe I created for a while, and this might just be one of them. Fingers crossed, I may even have an issue or two to sell at FanCon next year.

It hasn’t all been work this past week though. Thanks to the Steam Halloween Sale (thank you foreign holidays for making games cheaper!) I picked up Overlord and it’s expansion Raising Hell over the weekend, and have been self-indulging some wickedness to de-stress. I have previously owned the original Overlord, but I never finished it so I’m keen to do a complete run this time. Thing is, I’m going to have to start over because I accidentally gave away a big item that counts towards my 100% Corruption meter, which was the whole reason I bought the game in the first place: to see what a truly evil fantasy protagonist was capable of. I know he literally becomes the ruler of an infernal dimension in the end (spoiler alert), but it’s the journey I’m interested in, seeing just how many cliched fantasy people I can piss off before roasting them to death. God bless Terry Pratchett for birthing a daughter that can write with a sense of humour just as dark as her father…

That’s all from me for this Bottom of the Deck, but tomorrow I have a new webcomic to review! It’s been a while, and I’ve missed talking about fun reads.

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/10/27

botdcardEvening everypeoples, I am currently blogging to you 3/4 of a mile from the surface of the sun, and it’s nighttime! I am melting all over my chair right now…

My rapidly liquidizing state aside, it’s been an eventful week at college. After learning how to give weight to our characters’ movements, we’re heading into shifting facial expressions, which has a surprisingly satisfying feel to it. I think it’s because rather than having to manipulate the position of anything, like with the character’s limbs and joints, it’s mostly just setting sliders for the different parts of the face; the most movement involved is primarily in how the head is positioned. Obviously this will vary, but in the spirit of keeping myself sane I’m sticking to the simple stuff.

Some of you may have noticed that Elements of Eve didn’t update yesterday (if you didn’t, I may not be doing it right). I promise this is not the start of yet another hiatus; I merely had a script issue which has now been sorted, so updates will continue on Thursday. The problem with writing by the seat of your pants is that it’s very easy to work yourself into a corner and be unable to escape from it, something I had more than one experience with when I first started writing. Luckily I’ve become better at spotting such corners and was able to adjust accordingly this time; let’s hope I can keep the corners at bay.

I also splurged a little today and bought the first volume of Brian K. Vaugn’s Saga (yeah yeah, welcome me to four years ago why dontcha) on the recommendation of a fellow student, so that’s going to be my reading material for tonight. I’ve heard good things about it in the past but never got round to reading it, plus I had a falling out with my local comic shop some time back, but I swallowed my pride and finally made an appearance again. Fortunately the subject of my previous ire was nowhere to be found, so that made it easier, and I might start frequenting the place a bit more; I am so behind on everything right now…

That’s all from me for tonight, I’m going to finish up the latest Critical Role episode and then hopefully be able to sleep without converting my mattress into a water bed overnight, if you get my meaning.

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/10/20

botdcardEvening everypeoples, going to keep this one short and simple…

I basically went from fully revitalized this weekend to running on fumes within the space of a Monday; animation really is a nit-picky process and weeding out all the little details is really draining. Throw in the fact that I’m doing my best to keep up with my comic drawing, script writing and now sending off emails looking for jobs, I am appreciating every spare moment I can get.

It doesn’t put me in a great mood socially, but no sense in complaining about something you can’t change, so back to the grindstone. If you’ll excuse me, I have a comic page to colour and upload and it’s already a day late.

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/10/13

botdcardHey everypeopl – good grief, is it only Tuesday? Blehhhh…

In all seriousness though, it’s been a good start to the week. I’m back in the creative swing now that Elements of Eve is running again, I’ve been keeping up with my October drawing challenge, and I’m making significant progress in my college work. We’ve started animating a walk cycle for the characters that we created throughout the year, and while mine is currently walking a little bit like a marionette, I’m forging ahead with very few problems. Nothing that can’t be tweaked, anyway.

The weekend was a good kickstart to this as well. Got to head out on Saturday to a games/comic shop, which is still something I can only achieve once in a blue moon. (Technically, I could swing by a comic shop any time I wanted, but the less said about my experience at that particular one the better). Still, got to play some Magic: The Gathering, a bit of Zombie Dice, a couple rounds of Munchkin, and I picked up the second volume of Rat Queens (too awesome). Got a new backpack as a gift as well; Lufthansa may have uncomfortable airplanes, but they make good luggage items. And then spent Sunday relaxing and doodling. All in all, good times.

Other than that, not much else to complain about, I’m going to get back to some writing, I’ve been on a roll today and I want to see how much more I can squeeze out before bed.

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/10/06

botdcardGreetings everypeoples, I have survived Monday (and most of my Tuesday so far) to bring you this update.

Following on from last week, I took part in the 24 Hour Comic Day challenge, and was successful! I completed my twenty four pages with a little over an hour to spare, and for something that I hastily scrawled as I made it up on the go, it turned out quite good. Most of my peers have had nice things to say about it, and I’m certainly satisfied with the outcome. I have learned quite a few things about my own limits and techniques regarding such a challenge, and will be doing things a little differently should I ever take part in it again, namely:

  1. Work in a smaller format. A4 size is my usual comfort zone, but when it’s an hour per page, working on A5 will probably produce more satisfying results that look less sparse, especially with ink.
  2. Think a little more abstract. I went for a traditional superhero story with (mostly) correctly proportioned characters, and it was rather taxing. Next time, I’ll probably try for a simpler, stylized look that can look charming with less detail, and with a less complicated story that can speak for itself without so much dialogue.
  3. Don’t over-prepare the food reserves. I bought a bunch of stuff that I normally don’t eat on the advice of actual endurance-savvy people, and while it helped a lot, I over-estimated how much I’d need, so my fridge is now loaded with unfamiliar food. On the plus side, I’ve discovered that I really like homemade BLTs, might make that a regular thing…

As well as that marathon, I’ve also been doing the Inktober and Drawlloween drawing challenges as a way of keeping my creativity flowing, and I’ve been having a blast trying out my Copic markers again. I’ve been uploading them via Twitter, but I’ll be including them, as well as the 24 hour comic, on the site in the near future.

That being said, with my creativity on the rise again, I will finally be returning to Elements of Eve. College is throwing particularly mind-numbing tasks at us right now, so it’s more important than ever that I keep up with my creations, and I think I’ve finally reached a level of confidence high enough to carry on. Elements of Eve will return on Thursday, barring any neck-cramp aftershocks from Saturday. Seriously, 24 hours hunched over a light-table will hurt no matter how many breaks you take…

Big thanks to the guys at Geek and Sundry for supplying the archive of Critical Role for me to binge through on my marathon in order to stay awake, and thanks to Steam for putting the Arkham series on sale for me to have some of my favourite games to play and unwind.

That’s all for this week, have a good one

Ciao for now.

Bottom of the Deck – 15/09/29

botdcardHappy After-Monday, everypeoples, I’m sure we’re all glad to have finally forced our way into the week hopefully unscathed.

This past week has been a time of rest for me; after last week’s rather depressing post I was in serious need of some R&R, which college was welcoming enough to give. While I was in half a mind to actually get some work done, I ended up primarily goofing off because my heart wasn’t in it. Still, my batteries needed recharging, and this was aided by the new feline addition to our household: a little black kitty that my housemate gave the juxtaposing name of “Blossom” (I can roll with that, makes me think of Black Lotus). She’s full grown and quite tame, definitely having been a pet before, but was seemingly abandoned last week, as no-one has come forward to claim her. Blossom won’t be staying here permanently (she’ll be moving across the road to my housemate’s girlfriend’s new place soon), but she and I have grown quite close, and I’ve been feeling better for it.

Another positive influence over the past week has been my new binge watching pleasure, brought to me once again by the fantastically nerdy folks over at Geek and Sundry and their Dungeons and Dragons livestream show Critical Role. I’ve never played D&D before in my life (not for lack of desire to do so), so it’s fascinating for me to watch a group of grown adults sit around a table and fight, laugh and improvise their way through a fantasy world. With the whole cast being celebrated voice actors and overseen by the incredible Matt Mercer, they really bring a whole new layer to the role-playing experience that had me on the edge of my seat. I’m only half-way caught up on their videos (they run from 3 to 5 hours each), but I’m having a blast. They livestream every Thursday night, but for those of us living with third-world internet and in the wrong time zone the videos are archived on the Geek and Sundry website the following Monday.

Sadly, the holiday is now over and I have started my final term at college, and it’s looking to be one of the most intense yet as we delve into the technicalities of animating our 3D models. Hopefully I’ll be able to settle into a rhythm and be back to making comics next week, and this weekend might give me a jumpstart. This Saturday, October 3rd (as well as being my dad’s birthday), is the 24 Hour Comic Book Day challenge; the idea is to produce a 24 page comic in 24 hours, penciled, inked and/or coloured, and lettered. Given that my Saturday is going to be busy as is, I may have to start later in the day and just die of exhaustion on Sunday, but I’m willing to give it a shot. Wish me luck…

That’s about all the news I have to dump, still no webcomic review for tomorrow, but fingers crossed that I’ll be getting back to that next week too.

Ciao for now.