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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 >

kyuuin kyuuin kyuuin kyuuin...

"The upkeep phase"

Thursday - April 10, 2008

[Dom] - 09:53:05 - [link here]

Now that I'm living in my own place, I'm starting to come to terms with true adult life. And by that, I mean coming to terms with all of this maintenance time that I never had to deal with in my now-distant college days

My schedule used to involve waking up, playing video games, going to class (or playing more video games depending on the urgency of the class), writing, playing video games, and sleeping. There would be occasional meals and hygiene breaks in there to keep myself healthy, but my time was mostly devoted to goofing off.

These days, everything takes more time, which I've come to accept - but it sure does make it hard to squeeze in even close to the amount of gaming time I'm accustomed to. There's the full-time job, of course, that's 40+ hours a week I spend thinking about gaming instead of gaming.

Then there are things like groceries, cooking, regular cleaning and laundry - things I barely thought about 5 years ago (or even 2 months ago, since I still ate with the parents). Now, this alone wouldn't be a problem, since I'm adjusting pretty well to the new amounts of time dedicated to staying alive and comfortable. The problem is that I'm still trying to squeeze in more and more leisure time to see what my limits are.

Here's what's on my plate demanding time:

1) Video games - I'm finally done with DMC4 (which still loves me and wants to make me happy), so I should be moving on to either Mass Effect, Disgaea 3, or Super Robot Wars OG Gaiden. And then there is the daily WoW ritual, but that one's sort of assumed to be taking up 3 hours a day. I'm used to it.
2) Tabletop games - While I had to drop out of my weekly Magic group temporarily, I'm trying to find a way to open up a night a week for it. In the meantime, I'm running two D&D games and am starting up a Mutants and Masterminds game, all of which take place once every two weeks. The time spent writing and developing the stories/mechanics for these games also tie in to the next thing:
3) Writing - I have a monthly column for PiQ Magazine (starting in the June issue, woot woot), three games to write for, a rant space I neglect terribly... and on top of that, every once in a while I get an urge to write a wuxia novel that I've had percolating in my head for 6 or 7 years.
4) Sports - with season tickets to Warriors games and a 10-year perfect Cal football attendance record on the line, I lose about 50 days a year to sports.
5) Social activities - while tabletop gaming counts for being social, I like running around and meeting people. Hell, I've flown out to Chicago just so I can sit in a MegaTokyo line before, because I like meeting new people and hearing their stories.

Now, I know that I need to concentrate on writing more - it's just good practice, and is honestly the most enjoyable of all of these activities for me. But the other 4 parts are demanding giant chunks of my time as well...

What would you guys concentrate on if you were in my position and trying to budget my time? Just curious - I'll make my own decision on what I need to do more of and what I need to cut down on (since the loser in my time budget is currently Sleep, and that can't last long), but I always like hearing from you guys.

Oh, and in good upkeep news, oop-ack, which I was pretty much forced to abandon four years ago, is about to resurrect itself under new management. Woohoo!


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