Bob Craypoe (also known as R. L. Crepeau) is a musician, writer, webmaster, 3D artist, and creator of the Punksters comic strip series.
About Daz Studio
I create an online comic strip called the Punksters.net Comic Strip Series. I only use a few programs to create it but the first graphical step begins with DAZ Studio. For those of you not familiar with the software, it is a 3D artwork and animation program. It is currently available as a free download, which can be found at http://daz3d.com. DAZ stands for Digital Art Zone, in case you were wondering.
There is also a lot of content available for sale on the website. Things like different character bases, hair of various styles, clothing, props, scenery and so on. When you do the free download, though, they give you some free content just to get you started. You can then experiment with the program to see if you like it and then, if you determine that you do, you could slowly buy some content here and there over time.
Setting Up a Scene in Daz Studio
Experimenting With the Program to Create a Test Comic Strip
When I initially set out to do the comic strip, the first thing I wanted to do was just create a test comic strip to see how doable it was to make a series of strips using DAZ Studio. So I created a few characters, placed them within a scene and rendered the image. It was a basic square image that would be a single frame.
After rendering a single image, I rendered three more to make a basic four frame comic strip. The initial images were 800x800 pixels in size. I re-sized the four images to a size where they could be placed in a single image with all four frames. The final size for each frame was 360 pixels by 360 pixels. I allowed for some white space between frames, so the total size for each four frame strip would be 740 x 740 pixels.
740 x 740 seemed to be the right size. It fit well in web pages and it worked fine for the layout of e-books. One of my plans was to release e-books featuring collections of strips. So, setting up the scenes for each frame and seeing how they would fit was step one in determining if it could be done.
The next step was to create the dialog using the speech balloons you normally see in a comic strip or comic book. I use Manga Studio for that. So I tried that out and it worked just fine. Then I set out to do an actual strip since the test one worked out okay.
A Frame in Manga Studio Where Captions are Added
Creating the Characters and Scenery
At this point, since I had determined that it was definitely doable to do a comic strip series using images created in DAZ Studio, I decided to do my first actual comic strip. Now that I decided to go all out and really do it, I figured it was time to set things up for the series.
The first thing was the creation of various characters. I decided to create the main four characters, their family members and their co-workers. That led to the creation of about a dozen or so characters.When you start out, you begin with a base character, which is sort of generic. You may then change various facial features as well as body features.
The facial features can be fine tuned. You can set the eyes higher, lower, closer together or further apart. You could make the mouth wider thinner, higher or lower. The ears could be set higher, lower, further back and you could even make them bigger or smaller. Basically any facial feature could be made smaller or larger. You also have the option of aging the character. You can edit the size of various body parts as well, or make someone muscular, heavy or thin. This all allows you to make very distinctive characters.
The next thing I created was the sets for where they would be placed. I started thinking in terms of how they do a sitcom on television. They basically have a set for the various important locations in the series. So I created each character's homes, their workplaces and other sets that I thought I would need. The beauty of DAZ Studio is that once you create the characters and the sets you intend to place them in, you can merge them into the scene you are working on.
For example one of the characters works in a diner. So I open up the project that has the diner set that I created. I then bring in the characters I intend to use. I then place the characters where I intend to have them within the scene. Then I pose the characters and render the scene to create a frame.
Base Character Compared to Edited Character
More About the Other Programs That I Use
I import the rendered image from Daz Studio into Manga Studio and add the dialogue, using speech balloons. After that, I re-size the frame to 360 x360 pixels in G.I.M.P. Then I import each frame onto Windows Paint to put the four frames together in a single image.
So I use DAZ Studio, then Manga Studio, then I re-size in G.I.M.P. and then put all four frames together in Windows Paint. That's four programs I use to create the strip.
Daz Studio is a free program that you can download from DAZ3D.com. G.I.M.P. is the GNU Image Manipulation Program, which is also free to download. Manga Studio is a program you will need to purchase. It is made by Smith Micro, the same company that makes Poser, another 3D program similar to DAZ. You could even use Poser instead of DAZ Studio if you would prefer. However, you must purchase Poser, whereas DAZ Studio is Free. The user interface of DAZ Studio differs greatly from the one that Poser has. I have both programs but I started using DAZ Studio first and have gotten quite used to it, so that is my personal preference. And of course Paint comes free with the Microsoft Windows operating system.
Frames Being Put Together in Windows Paint
Back to Daz Studio
Anyway, Daz Studio is where it all pretty much starts graphically. I create all my characters and scenes in the program. You can buy a lot of pre-made content on the DAZ website. It can cost you a bit of money over time. The main thing is to try to start out on a somewhat small scale at first. I do buy some pre-made content and customize some of it to build the scenes the way I want them.
It can take a while to create a character in DAZ but once it is created, you can import it into any scene, so it is just a one-time thing. The same is true regarding the scenery. The only things left would be where you would place the characters within a scene and where you place the cameras. DAZ Studio uses cameras in a way that is similar to how a photographer would use one. Setting up a scene in DAZ Studio is similar to a photographer setting up a photo shoot. Although, it is cheaper to set up a scene in DAZ because you are only dealing with virtual sets and virtual models and actors that you don't have to pay.
This article deals with more of the technical aspects of creating a comic strip as it pertains to the use of the software, and mostly as it pertains to DAZ Studio. I have another article that I have written that covers some of the other aspects of doing a strip. It covers some of the details you need to think about regarding the process of starting out. I will write more articles on the subject that may deal with the other programs I use, eventually. I just wanted to get this one out there so that anyone wondering if DAZ is a good program to try to do a comic strip in could get some information or assistance.
The other article I wrote that pertains the tips on how to get started can be found at https://hubpages.com/art/Tips-on-Starting-an-Online-Comic-Strip
There is also another article I have written that covers the subject of writing for a comic strip and that is found at https://hubpages.com/entertainment/Tips-on-Writing-for-a-Comic-Strip
Examples of the comic strip itself can be found at http://Punksters.net. I hope many of you can find this series of articles to be helpful. Thanks for reading.
© 2017 Bob Craypoe