Circulatory Fluid

This particular bit of bloodspray was done by Max (the artist) and he does such an awesome job with his bloodwork that I’ve been re-doing some of the blood footage I currently have on the effects site. Blood’s tricky under the best of circumstances, and to make things more complicated it — like many effects in the industry — is subject to “fads.”

There was a time when you couldn’t have a movie shootout without at least a couple of wire-pull gags. People shot by a .38 snubby went flying backward for miles, as though the slug had the impact of a speeding car. Then there was bullet-time. Blood effects have gone from none (clutch your chest and fall down) through explosive squibs (Tarantino/Rodriguez bursts not only of blood but also sparks and smoke, as though the bullets were explosive or something.) The more realistic but still-overdone pop of pink mist. And of course the ever-popular firehose-spray generally seen in Japanese actioners. Max may be channeling a bit of that here.

Currently, blood effects are trending toward what I call the “human-water-balloon” effect, in which people are not so much meat as they are man-sized balloons filled with hemoglobin. Slash them with a sword and they spew gore; shoot them with a high-powered rifle and they burst like overripe tomatoes. Silly, sure. But cool? Fuck yeah!

So I’ve been working up some new blood formulas that have that glutinous, stringy, slimy quality seen in some of the more recent overdone entertainments. And trying to make them easy to use in post.  I think I’m getting there. Check this frame grab, for instance. Nice glistening highlights, decent shadow areas, and a “gloopy” quality along with the opacity that real blood has.

Too late for the current pages, of course, but as we move along in this story, Max allows me to get a little more involved in the visual end. We’re developing a workflow in which he does a fairly clean rough color version, and then hands it to me to insert the dialogue and various effects. Then I pass it back to him so that he can sneer at my ineptitude with Photoshop filters and work his magic to make everything better.

Plus, if he judges it needful, he can always just create the effect himself. It’s been a process. But we’re getting it down. And we’re grateful that you’ve decided to partake of it with us! Stay with us — we’re just getting started!

Bob out.

Artist’s Notes:  Ok, did this page make you throw up?  No?  Well, I’ll try harder next time.  I’m pretty sure my father and I have an unspoken competition to see who can think up the most violent and gory shit to put in the comic.  The whole “blood spurt in teh face” bit was in the script- I added the little touch of the coroner lifting up his glasses in order to justify leaning in just a little bit closer… splat!  It made it kinda ironic, which is funny!  Otherwise it’s just gross.  I have to work in subtle stuff like that in my storyboards all the time.  I can look at a script and even if it’s really tight, I can see all kinds of possibilities and variations for playing around and improving things with only the visual details.  Almost anything is up for consideration as long as it doesn’t require a script re-write.  Of course, after the fact, the writer will tell you they had intended it that way, all the while.  🙂  -Max