As our hero’s Deadvision kicks in, a scene shrouded in deadly smoke takes on an even more ominous aspect, reminding him that even heroes can’t save everyone. 

But they can damn sure try!


Upvotes appreciated! And if you’re interested in the creation process for this particular page, you’ll find that below!




Ominous Smoke


“You know, I was thinking for the Deadvision scene — if you give me a bunch of smoke crawling across the ceiling, I’m pretty sure I can turn it into eerie screaming faces and stuff.” — Max

Challenge: accepted! I didn’t know exactly what he was planning to do, but I was sure as hell willing to give it a try on my end.

But when he sent over his “rough,” with all the layers and the perspective lines indicated, I immediately realized I was going to have to step up my game.


I didn’t have smoke that would work for this. Yet.


Generally when one shoots smoke footage, it’s against a flat backdrop, and is more or less hanging in the air. I needed smoke that had a more three-dimensional quality; smoke that would obviously be hugging the ceiling. I first tried just photographing a cloudy sky, but unless you have access to an airplane and can shoot downward against something like a dark sea, the clouds are shaped wrong. Clouds in the sky are flat on the bottom, and billowy on the top. Flipping the image doesn’t work because the perspective will be going the wrong way. So instead I decided to throw together a smoke-staging area, and use an improvised smoke cooler to give the smoke a ground effect before it warmed enough to rise into useful wisps and curls.


This smoke could then be flipped over to appear to be moving along the ceiling.


Once the smoke images had been keyed I began laying them in, starting with the main panel and following the perspective lines Max had indicated.


Distortion tools are your friend!


By layering and shifting the various smoke images I was able to create the “smoke to the horizon” effect Max had requested. Then came the easier but still intricate layers of smoke inside the other panels; trying not to obscure important details (like faces.) I also added the dialogue and word balloons at this point, but these layers have been hidden for this writeup.


Done on my end! The whole thing bundled up and shipped back to Max.


Max wanted to be able to talk about his own work here, but found himself buried under other work and Pre-Holiday Social Commitments. I’ll do my best with the images he sent over. To start with, he did a whole bunch of cleaning, color-correction, and work with lighting and shading to give the dark, ominous feel.


I think he has this button he just presses that says “Make More Awesome”


Then comes all the little nuances; the lighting of the cellphone on the young lady’s face, finalizing details — oh yeah, and somehow, somehow, he turned the smoke clouds into screaming faces and skulls. I have no idea how. Probably Dark Magic known only to Adobe Acolytes. Let there be ectoplasm!


If you want to see a larger version just click the image.


Some of the eerie imagery gets trimmed by the border in the final comic post (all our pages are created oversized so they will have “bleed room” when it comes to book layout pages.) But here you can see all the work he put in on the page. Then the dialogue and word balloons are unhidden and finalized, resulting in the comic post at the top of this page!


Enjoy it? Consider a donation to the artist! And thanks for reading!

— Bob out