J233 – RLRAoS: New Jersey

[3/31/2009] So, over spring break I was visiting a friend in New Jersey when I unexpectedly ran into Daniel (my partner from Maslab). He had told me he lived there before … but I guess it just didn’t register. Whoops.

Trying out a different style this time, sort of Haruhi-chan -esque. Kinda liked the way it turned out — it’s got an exxagerated feel that’s pretty good for 4koma.

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dcomic 496

[090326]

So as of this writing, the comics are drawn through 526 and processed through 525. Against all odds, I’m thirty ahead again. This should basically give me an uninterrupted run into the summer and then maybe even towards the end of the story; most likely I’ll throw in some colored illustrations here and there, but there shouldn’t be another three-to-four week break again.

So I want to talk about the comic, but my toughts are somewhat disorganized (ha, what’s new), so I’ll start by hitting what I’ve said in the past. In d217, I mentioned that the comics between 485 and 505 were all drawn very similarly; well, I am pleased to say that the comics between 505 and 525 are also all drawn very similarly. Thank you consistency, for winning out in the end.

Sadly, at 526, I no longer believe that 512 was “within 20 pages of the end”. Within 40 pages, yes, within 30 pages, maybe, but within 2009 is still very, very likely. In fact, if I can hash out a few more pages this break (and even if I can’t), the story can probably be completely drawn and processed this summer; getting it up on the site may take a while longer. At any rate, it’s on schedule.

Speaking of consistency, in d209, I tried my hand at some new, fancy-pants shading that didn’t quite pan out. Some time ago (and I can’t find this update), I mentioned how experimentation done in sketching usually materializes in the comic and then in a painting or two, but it wasn’t the case for this cycle. Like I said, consistency won out; I don’t actually think that’s happened before.

With the back half of the current storyline, my numbering system, as detailed in d199 becomes largely chronological again. At the very least, since 425, the events of the subsequent 100 pages follow each other sequentially with respect to the timeline of the story. Some events that happened before 425 with respect to the story (part 2 remake) were drawn after 425 with respect to my life, but these have, as mentioned, been labelled in the axx series.

Speaking of the remake, the entire story should be getting a final once-over when its done. I don’t think I’m going to edit part 6 for the compilation, but I am going to update that damn summary. I’ve been considering making one or two print copies just to see how it looks in book format, but it’s gotta be cheap. I’ll probably print the pages at a Fedex-Kinkos and hole-punch and bind the damn thing myself. No more Starcrossed-style disasters.

Hmm, I realize now that what I actually wanted to do was comment on some of my entries of the past. I realize now that the best way to go about such a task would have been to start from the very beginning (oh gawd, it’s like that song…). Probably will do that next time. This time, I’m out.

J232 – *yukkuri rant-ish thing*

[3/20/2009] Yeah, it’s early. I’m visiting a friend this coming week (it’s spring break!), so update goes up early.

Anyway, yeah. I feel like sometimes I take this too seriously. It’s one thing to want to improve, but it’s another when you let it take over your mindset to the point where you’re spending more energy worrying about that than just enjoying creating the comic. Furthermore, all this plot hujja-whadja hasn’t been working out for me because, as usual, I didn’t think it out all the way. Worse yet, it’s drama!, and I don’t think it came out as well as I had envisioned it.

At any rate, we’re going to see if I can pull back a bit and take it with a more relaxed attitude from now on. Yukkuri shiteitte ne!

EDIT: Wow, 250th update, by some counting. Whoo~!

dcomic 495

[090320]

Comics are starting again. I’ll be trying to draw a ton over the break.

It’s been a year (and, ok, this is really obvious, but 250 – 52 = 198 was how I found this original post) since I bought my HP TC4200, so we’re taking a little bit of time to reflect. You’ll notice that the date on my camera is exactly a year behind. I have no clue how to change it.

There are some new pictures. It looks more or less the same as it did a year ago; despite the relatively heavy use, I think I’ve taken pretty good care of it. It never ceases to suprise me that the plastic trim on the thing is dark blue. Even outdoors, you just never get enough light such that it shows up the way it does with the camera flash. Overall, I don’t think I commented on this before, it’s not what I’d call pretty, but it certainly ain’t ugly like HP’s consumer tablets.

Yes, that’s a Strike Pantsu wallpaper. A dark background saves you a miniscule amount of battery life (unless, for some reason, you spend a lot of battery time idling at your desktop with your screen on; mine’s set to turn off after 2 minutes). Battery life and endurance has been nothing short of phenominal. I was getting somewhere over four hours when this thing was “new”; I am STILL getting just under four hours a year down the line. I run down that battery past 50% every weekday of the academic year.

Of course, I went solid-state sometime in fall of last year which may have helped stave off battery run-down by a bit, but nonetheless, something like 90% of battery capacity in the third year is insane. Maybe the original owner didn’t run down the battery at all, but even with my own usage this batter has been through at least 300 full to half cycles.

Drawing performance, after the initial “learning curve” which was more like “figure out which Windows Tablet features to turn off curve” has been very good. I’ve actually completely given up on using scratch paper internally (ie on homework) and just using this thing instead. I hate dealing with eraser scraps more and more, especially in my dorm as I don’t vacuum on a normal basis. Windows Journal is pretty handy in general.

It’s a little bit underpowered in general… the Pentium M 740 can barely playback 720p and there’s no GPU acceleration or anything fancy like that. The CF-SSD is moderately fast for sequential reads and writes, random reads, but pretty appalling with random writes. OpenCanvas will lag occasionally (whether it’s due to HDD or CPU cap, I wouldn’t know), but I’m hesitant to upgrade the CPU due to power consumption and hesitant to buy a real SSD… as it will be worthless when I upgrade tablets (because the next tablet won’t use a 2.5″ PATA SSD; I’m absolutely certain).

It’s noise where this thing has really spoiled me, though. My 500M ran its fan once in a while; my D830 ran its fan close to 24/7… and these machines had hard drives too. So they were always making noise. The TC4200, after undervolting, never spins up its fan under day-to-day workloads (Internet, word processing, etc). 720p and some youtube videos seem to stress it enough to get that thing to spin up. My E6400 runs its fan maybe 10% of the time. And this is already pushing it for me now.

The point is, with the CF-SSD, the TC4200 is absolutely silent. Almost always. It is amazing.

There are two qualms I have with the TC4200. I’m absolutely serious. Only two. One is minor, one is becoming really, really annoying. The minor element is that it’s kinda chunky and kinda heavy. You look at it compared to the E6400; it’s basically of the same height and depth, just not as wide. But it’s thicker when closed and weighs all of 4.5lbs (I measured this on an accurate cooking scale). The E6400 weights exactly 5lbs.

The other thing is that the damn power supply is different. Different from what? Different from the boatload of Dell PA-10 and PA-12 power supplies that I have. I can take my E6400 to my dorm, to my room, to wherever and I’ll have a power supply there, or an extra one lying around such that I don’t need to pull one out of wherever. With the TC4200 I have one. It’s extremely annoying having to take it everywhere. This is one reason I’ve always bought Dell ’til now. Power fuckin supplies.

I wanted a Dell XT. I really did. I bought one on a whim when Microsoft/eBay was doing their 30% cashback program (which, from a business standpoint, is the dumbest thing I think MS has done for a long time) and I really wanted to like it. It solved both the form factor and power supply issues, but the power consumption was just ridiculous. The TC4200 pulls like 9W at idle and light load; the XT did like 13W at idle. That’s kind of ridiculous.

Needless to say, that made it noisy and have a crappy battery life. Unacceptable given my experience with the TC4200, so I sold it back on eBay. Made a little money too. The problem really stems from the fact that Intel doesn’t let you really undervolt their processors anymore. It’s really, really frustrating. Even with the E6400, I think that would completely eliminate that last 10% of fan on-time.

At any rate, that’s it for now. Go buy a tablet and an anime mousepad.

J231 – Mechanized 518

[3/16/2009] As predicted, here’s a colored sketch of 518. I actually drew the sketch in January and was going to color it in then, but Maslab interfered.

Anyway, the crab-claw always struck me as something that might look good mechanized, so that was the motivation for this sketch. Also, I was inspired by this image, which I should probably set as my desktop wallpaper at some point (unfortunately, the original is in an awkward size).

Coloring-wise, I tried to make more of an effort to have a defined light source (suggested somewhat by the background), but I don’t think it came across that well. I’ve still got a ways to go, I guess. More coloring practice!

Until next week, Take It Easy!

C090312

[090314]

Ok, here we are, materials for two updates. This first thing was supposed to go up on Monday, but I had work to do:

This is a BKS era installation (should look similar to the fort in the first couple pages of Reflection) that’s currently being used as some sort of living area. The right side of the installation looks like it’s been destroyed a long time ago, probably during the senatorial era. I was playing with the lighting again in this; the water was supposed to be moonlit, but it just looks radioactive or something. The lights turned out alright, though.

Ok, the next lot was supposed to go up today, cuz I’m still busy. Next week we should start comics again. Maybe.

Ok, these are actually sketches dating back to the beginning of the quarter (if you remember those highlighter-colored messes, these followed shortly after). There’s actually like another ten pages, but I just selected the ones I thought were worth posting. I actually really like the Yuri and Estelle walking doodle on the first page. Turned out better than I thought it would (which is really, quite rare).

The Wii in the last pic was due to the fact that I was playing ToS2 at the time. I’m actually almost done, but I’ve been almost done for a few weeks now; I’m stuck on like the third to last battle and I feel like all I can do is powerlevel my dudes, and I just haven’t felt like doing so since. I really should finish that game, though. Don’t want to just leave it undone forever like effin FF12.

I was listening to the Final Fantasy X “Official Soundtrack” (aka the Tokyopop version) whilst writing my paper (it’s eighty-three fuckin hundred words, just fyi) and it made me somewhat nostalgic, as that soundtrack was what I was listening to whilst drawing Starcrossed nearly five years ago now. That’s an awful long time; I still think Starcrossed is somewhat recent, but time really does fly. It’s terrible.

Nonsense Wars is coming up on its fifth anniversary for that matter (this fall, I believe). That’s also a really long time. I still remember drawing roughs on white paper and doing final drafts on tracing paper. That’s really a lololol now that I look back on it. I still have all these tracing paper drawings stashed away somewhere… But really, after the tracing paper fiasco, and then the draw frames separately and scan them in fiasco, I’ve been pretty consistent (whether that be good or bad).

Ok, this entry lost direction after the second paragraph. I’m out.

J230 – BSoD

[3/09/2009] Ugh. I hate missing updates. I was actually going to have this done last week, but schoolwork interfered. Me and my lack of time management…

Lately, it sometimes seems that comics sometimes seem like something I have to do instead of something I want to do, and that’s just unacceptable. I’m not sure what’s causing it; maybe my general lack of enthusiasm for much of anything right now.

BUT

This should not be construed as any sort of “going on haitus kthxbai” comment. Rather, what this means is that I’m just somewhat out of my groove. I should be able to get back on it, but I’m not exactly positive when or how. So, what I’m saying is, over the next weeks, the exact nature of the update will be uncertain as I figure out what it is I want to draw. You might get colored sketches instead, but for those of you who want something to read I’ll try to give some sort of insightful comment attached to them, okay?

Also, this is a beautiful acoustic rendition of the song “Native Faith”:

See you next week!

dupdate 090301

[090301]

There’s no comic today. Like I said before, when I’m not working on the comics, I’m generally not in the mood to keep texting them, so while they’re still drawn, they’re not getting texted and not getting posted. There’ll be about three weeks of this unless I somehow feel different from normal and decide to text the coming strips.

So this is another 24 x 18 I’ve done for drawing; as you can see I’m following a theme here. What you’re not seeing are the wacked drawings going between these BKS doodads. At any rate, I was thinking about varying up the architecture in this one; usually all my buildings are more or less bricks with windows; I’m trying to get off that right now.

This is Confederate League 3 again, just north of the capital and probably one of the more densely populated cities in the League. Even then, it doesn’t actually look all that crowded… because it isn’t. I’d say there isn’t a Confederate world with a population even matching that of earth’s. The buildings in the foreground make up some sort of higher-end residential district (a suburb, I suppose) with rail connections into the city.

You look at the bridge, the bridge is a V. The two apartment builds in the left and right in the foreground are cylinders connected by Us. Further back on the right, you get a building that’s comprised of interations of a half circle, block, half circle kind of structure, and then further back you get some I shaped buildings, etc. There’s also a gatorade bottle, a recorder, the butt of my cell phone, a drill bit and a screw.

Also, space elevator.

It’s March! The quarter is somewhere near three-quarters over! Yay! Too bad the next two weeks are going to be repeats of suck week. I’m really, really starting to hate on school with a passion. That’s it for today. Hopefully more on some other day.