After today’s class, we change the order and layout of the comic panels. We know use vertical layout to demonstrate the changing of time, also making the rain dropping more naturally. Also, we change the size of the talking bubble and some background of panels. Putting all panels in a vertical do help readers read easily.
The making of this “summer rain” comic panel was a very fun process that I thoroughly enjoyed and learned a lot from, especially from the heavy use of photoshop which I had no experience with before. As a group, we first decided what we wanted to do, how we wanted to show it and I think a lot was influenced from reading McCloud’s “Understanding comics”. “Summer Rain” shows how the weather changes from sunny to cloudy to rain and the effects that this has on the other elements in the text, and in addition we have a comic type character (not realistic) who is interacting directly with the audience and experiencing this change in weather. We settled upon showing traditional rectangular panels in sequence and from reading McCloud, playing with how to shows changes that happen in a day from sun to rain, and changes in time through our different panels, so the reader experiences ‘closure’. Like McCloud is talking directly to his readers, we wanted to try having our character also talk directly with the reader to increase the reader experience and make the panel more friendly. Using a cartoony character allows the reader to also identify more with the character because he is less realistic and the reader can position himself/herself in place of the cartoon character. Our choice of colours and background make it more cartoon type and less realistic to give it a more imaginary feeling. Our story not only describes time but also incorporates motion adapted from McCloud’s book.
I really enjoyed the process of finding the cartoon character and placing him in the background drew by my group mate. Although I had a lot of fun learning how to use photoshop, it was indeed a very long and time consuming process. I played with colours, adding in shadows and more colours to the original background to fit with the weather of a particular panel. I tried my best to show the shadow effects of the tree and on the character to match the sun and other elements in the background to make it a more symbiotic piece and make the panels as realistic as I could. I played a lot with the paintbrush tool, the smudge tool, the burn and dodge tool as well as the cloning tool in order to achieve the effects that I desired to see in the panel. I learnt the value of creating different layers in order to add/remove effects without affecting the rest of the layers involved. I think that adding/removing colours and playing with shadows is a very meticulous process. I also frequently consulted my group mates’ opinions and ideas to make sure we all liked the panels, which enriched the whole process. We discussed a lot as a group about the messages we wanted to convey, of the little boy wanting to play in the sun but the rain comes to take his pleasure away, and we also discussed together as a group deciding on a title for our comic.
All in all, I think it was a very fun process and I definitely learnt a lot from it and I am glad that I know more about photoshop now!
It has been such a great fun in creating comic panels with other people, because in the conversation and collaboration the idea that we initially started with would change into something brilliant that none of us had expected before. Nothing can be predicted and planned in the very beginning, but come along in the process of creating.
We first came up with the idea of implementing changes in the panels, after some discussion, Mary Kate and I decided to use weather change as the main background, and also added one main character. After our discussion, I used Wacom Drawing Tablet to draw the blue sky and green tree in Photoshop. This process was really fun but weary because Photoshop was not the perfect software to draw. However, I struggled to find the brushes and colors that I wanted and painted the background. Later, I used some Photoshop techniques to create the changes in the background. I changed the brightness in each different background and I added clouds to indicate the weather change. Also, I added some rain on the last two backgrounds. I only painted one background but in all created five different backgrounds to demonstrate the weather changing from sunny to rainy. I think this process of change was inspired by Scott McCloud Understanding Comics. McCloud himself demonstrates the changes in several of methods. Although we cannot see the changes with our eyes between two panels, our common sense and imagination will create the changes automatically in our mind. So I think this was the main reason that I used sun-cloud-rain to show the changing of the background.
After I created the different backgrounds, I passed the work along to Mary Kate and Angela for them to creating the main character. When we met, I found the main character resonated so well with the background. Also, the changes of the character showed the changes as well. In order to better communicate with the readers, we decided to add talking bubbles to the main character, just as McCloud does in his work. McCloud lets his main character talking directly to the readers which makes the knowledge he wants to pass along clearer. We wanted to have the same effect and we also wanted to use the language in the talking bubble to show the changes as well.
We named our panels after we had created every panel, which might seem a bit odd. We gave the panels a name Summer Rain for it represented the weather changes and it was also a common natural thing to happen. When I was combing all the panels together by Photoshop, I painted the title of our panels in the top left corner with brushed in Photoshop.
I find the process of creating comic panels really interesting but so time-consuming, thus I better understand and admire the people who work in this industry. What’s more, I better understand why McCloud would consider comics as universality, because everyone has encountered sudden rain in a sunny day. We did not use the simple color, black and white, as McCloud does in his work. But I think the color and the way of painting have added more realistic elements in our panels. In all, I really like the process of creating comic panels and like the comic panels our group has created together.
The making of the panels for our “Summer Rain” comic was more of an intuitive process than one that was simply planned out. Mary Kate and Stephanie decided to use the way the change of weather elements can affect the other components of the comic. This was a good manifestation of what Scott McCloud writes of in his introductory chapters for Understanding Comics. As he explains, it’s a good way to demonstrate transition, and his can be well done by showing changing weather patterns or say, changing the centre of focus on each new panel. Later on, we all decided to include a character that could interact with the audience as the panels changed and Mary Kate found this card with a little boy in various positions. Mary Kate and I then divided the panels for labour division that each of us were working on an interaction of the boy with the audience.
I worked with the boy playing football. Using photoshop, I traced and cut him out from the original strip and then transferred him to one of the weather backgrounds created by Stephanie. Even with the previous exercises involving Photoshop, I still had trouble making a convincing shadow but I knew that my strip needed a shadow to make it more convincing since it was still sunny outside. After trying, and failing to follow a certain tutorial on the Internet about making convincing shadow effects, I realized that I could just lay around with the drop shadow settings and the Transformation settings until it looked good enough. I’m happy to say, that it was worth it, and I like the shadow I created. I’m also much more appreciative of the time and effort that creative that have to work with photoshop all the time expend. It can get very frustrating when you have to do many do-overs.
Eventually, we named our panel Summer Rain, because what else could it possibly be? We did brainstorm for a name, it’s just this was the most fitting!
Following the criticisms we received in the next class we modified our comic strip as per the suggestions we were given, and hope that this provides an overall better aesthetic experience.
I really enjoyed working with Stephanie and Mary Kate because we were almost always thinking the same thing when coming up with ideas, and everything flowed smoothly in the production process! We finished the comic 4 days early just because of that. Thank you ladies!