J243 – Grind 2

More Art Grind. Basically, I draw 4 images a page, and then I scan and post. The theme for these two was “tsundere” and “yandere”. I split the two up into their constituent parts of “tsuntsun” and “deredere”, and “yanderu” and “deredere”. The important thing here was to sort of differentiate between the “deredere” of tsundere (somewhat embarrassed and vulnerable) and the “deredere” of yandere (more loving).

dcomic 507

[090629]

It’s done.

541 puts an end to something like five years of work. I’ve got mixed feelings about the ending, but to preclude any spoilers, I won’t say anything. The story will have been completely posted by the end of the year, as scheduled. I will most likely do a few double updates if necessary. But I mean… what the fuck am I going to do now?

I could go on about my plans for the next story arc (is that supposed to be two words?), but I think I’ll talk about some computer stuff for this entry.

I’m writing this entry from a week old Windows 7 RC installation loaded onto a Latitude D610 that I acquired in my travels in the land of eBay. The machine has a Pentium M 750 (1.86GHz, 2MB L2, 533MHz FSB – I think it’s kinda interesting that these Dothan Pentium Ms actually have just as much L2 cache as my E2140…), 1GB of memory, and an 80GB, 5400RPM HDD; the Windows 7 RC is build 7100, released on May 5th of this year.

I actually took build 6801 (and then very briefly, build 7000) for a spin late last year on one of the many D600s I’ve handled in the past year, but I don’t think I ever wrote about my experience. The one thing that stands out from my original trials was that the Windows 7 installer doesn’t run on 128MB of memory. Just FYI. I think 512MB is supposed to be the minimum…

I got my RC key straight from Microsoft using my Hotmail (or as MS wants to say, my Windows Live login) login, but I ended up downloading the actual ISO via torrent just because I didn’t want to deal with the Microsoft download manager. The image was just under 3GB and I put it on a DVDRW using ImgBUrn. The installation on the D610 was a breeze. This has already been done in Vista, but the Windows 7 installer only asks u for input at the very start of the installation, so you can just set it and let it go do it’s thing. The Windows XP installer asks u for like three prompts right in the middle of the install, which can be a pain in the ass. I set off the installer before I napped, and it was done when I woke up, about thirty minutes later.

I’m fairly certain (though my memory is a bit hazy) that Windows 7 took care of all of my drivers save for those of my audio device and modem (but who the fuck uses a modem these days? Why the fuck does my E6400 even come with one?). Windows 7 also did not by default install a WDDM driver for my video device, the ATI mobility Radeon X300, which allows you to turn on fancy shit like Aero. One of the reasons I tried this on the D610 was because this laptop is just about the oldest thing on which I’ll be able to run 7 with all the bells and whistles (… like aero); very few video solutions older than the radeon X-whatever series will offer hardware support for the feature. Everyone also knows that 8 will run great on the latest and greatest computers, so I’m really trying to look at baseline performance here.

I jumped through a couple hoops trying to figure out the WDDM mess and finally solved it by downloading an update from Windows Update. Honestly the first time I’ve ever used Windows Update. Somewhat surprised it worked o_O. I’d also like to note that my audio and modem drivers were the Windows XP drivers straight off Dell’s site. Just FYI.

With all that boring shit taken care of, I went along and tried running some utilities and applications. Between OpenOffice, Firefox, shit like HWMonitor, CPUZ, RMClock, my anime, my music, thumbdrives and whatever, the one other hoop I’ve so far had to jump through would be in getting mkv files to play with their subtitles. It was a simple switch in my MPC settings, but still annoying and an associate of mine had to tell me how to fix it.

SO. Cool shit in Win7?

My favorite thing is actually a GUI thing, believe it or not. There’s a lot of times when I want to open two or more things like right next to each other on a screen (like a webpage and a word doc, etc), and I hafta spend a couple seconds resizing all the shit such that they fit together. Well, in Win7 you get to drag your window past the edge of the screen and it’ll resize the window for you automatically! If you drag a window past either side, it’ll resize the window to fill half the screen; if you drag a window past the top, it’ll fullscreen the window! Why the fuck didn’t anyone think of this before?

Right clicking on the taskbar also gives you a couple more screen sorting options. You can cascade your windows, show them all side by side, or show them stacked (resized accordingly!). Not quite as helpful as the dragging mess, but still clever. The show desktop button is a little bar on the right side of the taskbar and hovering your mouse over it previews the desktop. This one’s kinda useless, I daresay…

Ok, this dragged a bit longer than I’d have liked. Will continue next time.

J242 – Grind 1

So uh, I kinda ran out of time before my trip to prepare updates, and I probably won’t have a scanner there … so the next few weeks will be reposts from Art Grind. orz.

The real entry begins below.

So, I’m participating in this “Art Grind” activity on LiveJournal. Basically, you take one of your characters, and draw them every day over the course of 6 months, to see your development. Or something like that. So, I chose Unit 518 (seen mechanized in another deviation).

I didn’t have an account, so I got my friend to post them for me when she posted hers. Then someone referred to her claw as a “lobster claw” (while also providing wonderful amounts of constructive criticism and pointers — thanks dude~!). It’s a *crab* claw. Or at least that was my intention. So I joined LJ just for Art Grind.

dcomic 506

[090622]

Comics drawn up through 538. Currently working on 539. This is the second to last page of the actual story. 540 will have a “fin” or “end” on it. There will be an epilogue or an author’s notes clarifying just what the fuck happened. The content will be what my er… beta tester(s) deem(s) necessary. Probably not more than a page or so. Part 8 is only gonna be like 5-10 pages.

This brings the total number of story pages to about 165-170, or, if you count from the first story page in October of 2004, just thirty pages a year. If you consider that Part 2 (there is no Part 1 for reasons I forget; it made sense when I did it, though) was redrawn, the oldest story page is 397 from January 2006, then it’s almost fifty pages a year, or almost 1 page a week, which would actually make sense.

But it doesn’t, because we know for a fact that I didn’t put up a comic page every week for the past 3.5 years.

This is the first time in a long time that both updates are going to be early! It’s cheating because I have control over both updates (since J’s in Taiwan), but it’s a win for scheduling nonetheless!

This update was originally supposed to be accompanied by a 4Koma with Professor Marril and Doctor Chu, but that didn’t happen. I’m looking for the last Prof. Marrill and Dr. Chu to which I can link the two names, but I haven’t had any luck finding it. The site just crashed as I was flipping through it, so I decided to give up.

The BKS Ultima (reference to the ship at the very bottom of my entry) makes a cameo appearance in 537 through 539. This makes it the oldest “character” to appear in the series, having first been illustrated nearly six years ago in Starcrossed in December of 2003. Chikara is probably the second oldest?

The design for what I call the Commander Cecil (that’s the name of the patrol ship; it’s never explicitly mentioned in the series because it isn’t important) goes back before 193, my first “modern” comic. The Commander Wolf (depicted in 193) is of the same model. The idea is that Captain Wolf (ancestor to Lloyd Wolf in TIAIIS) got a ship named after him, and that ship survived up ’til 22XX or whenever 192 is supposed to take place.

So you kinda see how all the pieces in the Confederate saga are supposed to fit together.

Ok, I need to get up at 7 tomorrow. Time to sleep.

J241 – Matryoshka

[6/16/2009] Matryoshka.

Aand, the glowy thing makes a reappearance. It’s been so long that I forgot exactly how I applied the glowing effect … orz

I was talking with Derek and we realized that the two of us tend to use 4-sided panels almost all the time. The height of layout creativity for me appears to be trapezoids, and the rare 6-sided panel formed from a big panel with a smaller one taking a chunk out of it. I remember in like grade school or junior high Derek drew this one comic with a huge tall rectangular panel going across the diagonal with a rocket launch in it, and that was really cool. Man, why can’t we come up with cool panel layouts these days? Aaargh~

So, I’ll be on a trip for a while. Hopefully I can draw enough updates ahead of time…

dcomic 505

[090616]

Comics drawn up through 535; probably only about five pages from here. Then maybe a short epilogue. Working on 536 at the moment, but I work from 9 to 6 (AM to PM) so it’s kind of hard to get anything else done.

J and I were talking about favorite panels/pages and I just wanted to point out a few. First, the best page in the entire series goes to 456 simply due to the lineart. I value that a lot as you may have noticed. Then I think panel 5 of 485 ges props for the texture on the gun barrel. Finally, panel 7 of today’s page, 505, still just looks kinda cool.

Yes, there are only three favorite panel/pages in the entire 125+ posted pages right now. There were others that were nice at the time that they were drawn such as 399, but these are really just ok now. 399 was drawn three years ago, so my standards really haven’t risen that much recently. Compared to anything done three years prior to 399, said page is amazing.

I want to quote myself: I feel like drawing is kind of like learning a new language. Between time 0 and 5, it’s really quite easy to get better, but between time 6 and 10, it’s hard to very hard and getting exponentially harder. Still consider that hella true.

Also: I was actually flipping through my old sketchbooks and such this morning, and I was taking photos (yeah, it’ be an ass and a half to scan all of them) of what I thought were “milestone” pictures (and really, just anything I had a comment on), but I wasn’t using my camera and most of them turned out like crap. As in I was going to post ’em, but after seeing how they turned out, I’m not going to anymore. Still need to do this one. Just a personal reminder.

This: Even doing the comic I find myself questioning a lot of my clothing lines; that’s not to say I don’t question my other lines as well, but clothing is a sticking point these days. The switch towards the lack of lines I think de-emphasizes the shoddiness of this aspect of the lineart. I think I may have found a solution. Maybe more on that in the future.

Well, I wanted to comment on a comment I made about consistency, but I couldn’t find the post. Oh well. I’d rather draw than read more old posts at the moment. That’s it.

J240 – Kid

[6/9/2009] One day late again. Funny panel layout this time…

So, I finally joined LiveJournal, because someone described 518’s claw as a “lobster claw” in a comment, and I wanted to respond to correct then (as I’ve said before, it’s a crab claw). So now I actually post on it, and get comments too~

If any of you are LJ users, you can follow along here. (No real “adult” content, as the warning might suggest; they’re a bit paranoid.)

dcomic 504

[090609]

This is the start of “Part 7”. Technically this part could be the last part of the storyline. #533, the last page of this part, was completed about two days ago, and could pass for an intentional ending to the storyline, albeit an abrupt (though maybe not all that crappy) one. The real ending probably won’t be much better, but it’s definitely not long now.

Yes, 504 does not come after 502. I can count (or I like to pretend that I can). 503 was supposed to be a part divider with an illustration like 476, but I got lazy when I got to it and didn’t draw jack. I skipped it with the intention of doing it later, but you know how that goes. As a result, there’s nothing there, and there prolly won’t be anything at 534 either.

That being said, we’ve got 29 weeks left in the year and about 30 pages left (from where the site is). Assuming J updates every week between now and 29 weeks from now (so I can abide by my policy of updating only when he does), the story is still on track to be complete by the end of the year. Yeah, we’re cutting it close, but I might double up to meet this goal. Unless it isn’t my fault.

It will be my fault if it keeps going over the estimated page length, but I don’t think that’ll happen. I have to work this summer, so I dunno how fast I’ll ultimately be able to crank out those pages.

At any rate, will update the story summary shortly (I hope). That’s it for now.

J239 – Shanty Town

[6/1/2009] Well, it’s sure been a while since the last comic update. Even longer since we went back to D in the desert. I’ve got some planning sheets I’m working on for this sequence to get the feel right; yesterday, I spent like half an hour figuring out what that little car you see in the background of the last panel looks like. It might be important later…

Anyway, as a random side thing, I’m going to be doing something called “Art Grind”. Apparently it’s this thing on Livejournal where people will draw the same character every day for 6 months and see how their depicition of the character changes. I don’t have a Livejournal, but I’m following along by posting my sketches to majhost; you can see them here. I’ll probably be posting 4 every 4 days, because that’s how many fit on a sheet of paper…

Alright, I’m tired out. See ya~

dcomic 502

[090601]

Kinda late. Might write later.

—–

So, I only really wanna share some pics of our table at Fanime.

This is on the last day, so our act is the most together (whatever that means; I don’t know if you can truly have your act together with a battery-powered printer). You can see the cutting board, ruler, and knives we used to cut the business cards in the second picture as well as Mechanics of Materials by Hibbeler. You can also guess which one is J.