Behind the Scenes


A couple of people have asked me how I make Convoi - so here's a quick 'behind the scenes'.

First of all I write a bunch of scripts. This works better when I follow little story arcs, but I try to keep each individual comic strong enough to stand alone.

The I go to my characters in 3D Studio max and start pointing the camera at the characters who are talking. If you're not familiar with 3D software it's basically like having a virtual studio. You build things in 3D space and you can point cameras and lights at things, then hit 'render' and the computer calculates what the light is supposed to be doing and draws you a beautiful 3D scene. Go watch the extras on a Pixar DVD to find out more!

I use Ink & Paint textures to get the cell shaded look.

And render with Mental Ray which gives nice clean lines and shades.

I have a big space starfield background that I made in Photoshop, this is is 5000x5000 pixels, so it gives me plenty of scope to use different bits of it.

And I have a gradient that I use to colour the scenes, it's like a gradient photo filter, stuck over the top of each frame on a Soft Light blend and it gives the scene some life. If you look at early incarnations I developed this when I went through a phase of trying to newsprint dot each frame. I did this to make scaling to print res easy, but the effect was getting in the way, so I dropped it. I work at 72dpi (for speed? because I'm lazy? because I don't expect anyone to buy a print?) but save the Max files for each scene, so in theory going back and constructing something at print res if necessarily is, at least, possible.

Finally I stick the balloons on. I use A.C.M.E. Secret Agent - unbelievably a FREE font from the awesome Blambot.

And that's it! Stick it in the PSD shell that each comic lives in and we're done. Ready to upload to SmackJeeves. Why SmackJeeves? Because it's easier than Comic Press...