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< Piro >

hair color layering...

"studies and tweaks"

Saturday - April 12, 2008

[Piro] - 13:00:00 - [link here]

Sorry about the 2 comic week, I was pretty sick last weekend and it's amazing how that can throw you even more than usual :) I was actually supposed to travel somewhere next week, but given the fact that the flight was with American Airlines and it was on MD-80s with a stop in Chicago... i figured it might be a good idea to postpone that trip for a while.

Oh, and i really should have taken that Danny Choo rant down once April 1st was over - I think some people have been taking it seriously. ^^;; I've been reading Choo's site for a while, and got in touch with him after giving him a cameo in a recent comic. It was a somewhat last minute thing - Danny contacted me about doing it the night before, I said "sure!' and i JUST missed him the next morning after finishing my end of it, which made it a little messed up (it showed up on April 2nd in Japan) but it was fun. Danny's a fun guy, and his site is full of all sorts of interesting... stuff, as well as a lot of good general interest otaku japan stormtrooper weird kinda things. That and he seems to have a thing for excessively dynamic website designs. :P

In case you are really bored and the past four comics just haven't been doing it for you, how about some randomness? :P First off, as i mentioned a few weeks ago, i've actually been working on Warmth to the point where i'm actually producing pages (including re-doing the pages I had originally done back in 2004 - it's disturbing just how bad my old art is) Art issues aside, one thing i've never been happy about with Megatokyo is the way English and Japanese dialogue is handled. The < and > brackets work, but they aren't really an ideal solution. Since warmth also contains a mix of English and Japanese dialogue, i've developed a new approach to showing the difference. English dialogue is shown using ComiCraft's WildWords font in eliptical word bubbles, while Japanese text is shown using ComiCraft's TimSaleLower with rectangular bubbles. The challenge with making something like this work is making things different enough so the reader can easily tell the difference as he/she is reading, yet similar enough so that it's not visually jarring. WildWords is an all capitals font, while TimSaleLower has lowercase letters. This, combined with the different feel of the characters, similar weights, and the bubble shape i think works. The only problem i have with it is the question mark in the TimSale font... it's a little weird, stylized. The solution may be to just change the question mark to the Wildwords one, which seems to work. I COULD go in and modify the font itself, but investing in a font editing program just to change a single character in a single font seems kinda silly. ^^;;

I have been doing some color studies for the warmth characters, and i posted one of Saeko on fredart this morning. I'm getting spoiled - the new Megatokyo site is such a pleasure to work with, and the Wordpress backend on fredart is similarly wonderful... updating the fredart page itself, posting artwork is... horrible. Given the fact that *I* programmed it myself years ago (back in 2000 i think) and given the fact that i was just learning PHP, the fact that my brain does NOT work in logical ways, and that i was not using any sort of database to store data... i can't complain too much. It's amazing that it still works as well as it does. Most of the funtionality of the site is based on using folders with each image controled by a text file. When you access the site, the structure of the galleries and other elements of the site are based on functions that count the .txt files in the data directories, and each data file gives the appropriate information to form the art page itself. Here's an example of the one i created for today's post, in a file called co000041.txt in the co_data folder:

april 12.08
saeko [08]
One of several color studies i've done recently 
on a newer version of Saeko for this years
Warmth production. Yes, the project is finally
actually underway. ^^;; The colors are actually
fairly bland here, i was working more on the
dynamic color of the hair, still not really there
yet. There are five or six colors in there. COPIC marker on Kodak Premium Matte Photo
Paper, lines printed via HP B1980 printer warmth fred-rin 12_author_url 13_button_url 14_button_size_h 15_button_size_w 7 no

Works great, unless you type something in wrong, which happens a lot. It can also be borked if you forget to upload something, or put something in the wrong place. It's a pain, and gives me a headache just thinking about it sometimes. Thankfully, the Webmonk33z (or should i call them 'core'? i need to ask them about that) are working with me to redesign and rebuild the site. Given how well Megatokyo is working, i'm looking forward to it. Oh, there will be a few rants here and there from them regarding the site and other things related to it, so don't be suprised if you see a new name or two show up in the rant columns from time to time.

< Dom >

I own the original painting for this bad boy :D

"Feeling the Magic"

Sunday - April 20, 2008

[Dom] - 23:54:47 - [link here]

This Saturday, I woke up ass-early in the morning with the intention of going down to Santa Clara and participating in the pre-release tournament for the new Magic: the Gathering set, Shadowmoor. I've attended dozens of the things in the past, and I've usually had a pretty good time at them, but I've been skipping out on them recently. Circumstances have mostly gotten in the way, including travel, family affairs, and a 4-month hiatus from playing the game - I hadn't attended one of these tournaments in a year, and woke up feeling like it was time to head back to a tournament to play with new cards.

Something funny happened about an hour later, just as I stepped toward the front door. I realized that every muscle in my body wanted to stay home and relax. I spend most of my free time running around trying to figure out which hobby I should pursue for a while (see last rant), and losing the better part of a day to 4 rounds of a card game didn't feel like the best way to spend a Saturday. Sitting at home and relaxing isn't an activity I devote enough time to, and - this was the strange realization - some time over the past decade and a half since I started playing Magic, it somehow became stressful to play the game at a satisfactory level.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a sucker for card games of any kind, from simple games like poker to hearts to Magic, the WoW card game, and Culdcept. Magic has a special place in my heart as the first game of its sort I ever learned, all the way back in 1994. I learned it around the time I really started getting into D&D, and I regard both games with a kind of nostalgic nerdery that means I'll never stay away from the game for very long.

But organized tournaments have never really appealed to me, especially on the large scale. The way I usually play Magic is a lot like other people play poker - at a friend's house on Wednesday nights, usually accompanied by boisterous stupidity, rapid-fire jokes, and frequent musical interludes (the musical interludes are usually my fault, give me an excuse and I'll burst into song). We play as teams to make sure that everone gets their fair share of games in, and while winning is fun, it's not the reason we play. We honestly enjoy playing with each other, and being able to shoot the breeze with my "opponent" is essential to my continued enjoyment of the game.

The large-scale tournament experience is completely different from that friendly atmosphere, Instead of sitting on a friend's couch talking about movies, music, and Magic, prerelease tournaments - at least in California, I have no idea what they're like in other states - involve giant hordes of people sitting in huge convention center halls playing against complete strangers. The same friends I play Magic with are there too, but we have to seek each other out between rounds and play friendly games to fill the time, of which there is plenty because good GOD do rounds take forever when you have hundreds of people playing.

So, I think I'm going to save myself a couple weekends a year by skipping out on Magic tournaments from now on, and sticking to the kitchen table for my card gaming needs.

That's 4 days gained... now to keep juggling priorities until I have both a regular sleep schedule and a satisfactory amount of leisure time.


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