Yeah, that’s gotta hurt. Sophie did her best, but he’ll be feeling that in the morning. Once, y’know, he recovers his soul and other minor details.

On the other hand, lifelines delivered! And just in time, too, because that tower’s not going to stay up much longer!


And hey, new February Vote Incentive! Marissa, whose thirst for knowledge knows no bounds, tests the elasticity of caramel. For sound scientific reasons, of course. Click it! It’s educational!

More below!



Sparks and Embers


First of, big holla back to Joseph Kelly of Pepperpot Piper, who gave us a nice mention in his blog. I just love Pepperpot, with its Roaring Twenties atmosphere and Joe’s gloriously detailed oil-painted pages. For some reason I especially love Pepper’s feathered headband, which always seems to retain its flamboyance despite everything she goes through. I see it as a metaphor for Pepper’s own indefatigable spunkiness.

Joe had been doing some burning structure scenes himself, and although I believe he actually hand-paints everything, he mentioned in an earlier blog that he’d been trying to take some reference photos of fire. Well, as an avid fan who just happens to possess approximately two metric buttloads of fire imagery (and more coming all the time) I was more than happy to send him a slew. Apparently he found them useful. High five, Joe!

And of course I shot a lot of new stuff for this page, trying to give the feeling of hurtling fire and embers and brimstone raining down from the sky. Not to mention a badly damaged human trailing ropes. Fortunately, I had Max’s rough to work from, so I had an idea of what would be needed.



Accordingly, I went out and shot some stuff I didn’t already have, at least not in 4K resolution. Ember streaks and hurtling fire, mostly. Had to render and key most of it, which takes forever in 4K. I miss the DV era, I really do. But I do love the higher resolution of 4K.


Max sent over his “Rough Color,” with all the elements broken out into layers (very useful, because it allows me to insert effects behind buildings and people, instead of having to mask around them.) Here’s his rough color page:


And I stuffed effects into it. I think this page had more effects layers than any page we’ve ever done. The previous page was splashier, but a lot of the fire was just a couple of big flame effects. This page was many many layers of smaller effects, including really subtle stuff like the trail of embers and smoke still hanging in the air from Countdown’s flight in Panel 3. I also added the dialogue and balloons; my balloons are rough, but Max cleans them up for me. (He also told me over breakfast how to adjust my settings so the balloons would stop sucking; hopefully I’ll be able to generate final balloons in future pages.)


This page was then sent back to Max, who stayed up all night adding all the shading, detail, debris, motion blur, color correction and finessing to create the final page. He really made our hero look wrecked.


And then — because who needs sleep? — he also whipped out a cute Valentine’s Day themed Vote Incentive of our favorite electrical engineer doing Science. After which — off to a Superbowl Party! Hopefully it won’t be too exciting. He needs the sleep.

And I could make a joke about the Seahawks ultimately feeling like our hero in Panel 5, but they didn’t get beaten that badly. Sorry, Mr. Reaper — this one’s all you.

— Bob out