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"What have you been up to?"


13th Nov 2010, 8:45 AM

Basically, I'm thinking of skipping that annoying text. All it does is make searching work better. Anyway, if I do that, I pretty much could upload all of the remaining in only a few minutes. I have 25 comics. Then, I could resume. I'd be a bit rusty, but I could do it. I have a lot of free time, right now, but I'm not sure I always will. To catch up to the current DN would take me years. Ah, well. Gotta try! :P

Another thing I've considered is setting this up on multiple sites. However, I think that'd be a lot of time and effort, and I don't think it'd do a lot. I might get more people reading my comic, but eh, that's not really something I'm that worried about. ;)

Anyway, I'll see about uploading the comics, one a day for the next week or so. :)

Updating The Other DN


26th Sep 2010, 4:42 PM

It's harder than it looks writing this comic. Not for the reasons you might expect. For starters, I have to think of something humorous to say. Some days just write themselves, but mostly, that's later on when the posters give more details about their work. Earlier on, it's kinda...well, vague. Not to mention, I suspect a lot of it was on the forums, too. Meaning it'd be harder to track down than the old design notes are. So, I have to make each comic humorous. Note that I can do this any number of ways, but the most common so far seems to be the post with the "actual meaning 'behind the scenes'" comic underneath (or next to) it--with this being made up by me from wild mass guessing as to what's going on. That's step one.

Step two is actually drawing it. Considering how this is mostly a copy-and-paste comic, the only time this is a problem is when I have to draw a new character, or if I don't have an expression / stance which currently fits that character and have to create a new one. (Emotions don't take that long; something like five to ten minutes. Simply moving the arm position can take double that. A full body? A lot longer than that. And a completely new character...Dear Lorithia, what a nightmare.) Step one is to open the last comic of the desired proportions (which I plan in advanced, in the step where I'm thinking of the comic: does it work as a 3, 4, 6, or 8 panel comic?) and then "Save as" as a new comic, then delete everything comic-specific. (Title and the month's day, and all dialog.) I modify the eye position from comic to comic, of course, when appropriate. I've also at times varied the amount of glint in their eyes. This doesn't take much time. Dialog's main limit is finding the space to put it. Often (especially in the first panel, or particularly long sections of dialog) times, I have trouble finding the room for it. Other than that, no problems. Arial size eight works nearly perfectly for me. (It's also a near-universal font, making it easier if I were to ever do a comic on a different computer. Agency FB, what I write sound effects and whispers with isn't, though.)  And, bingo, elements come together and make a comic.

It takes me about an hour or two, depending on the length. However, it doesn't end there: to get it online, I do a PNG convert. (As I use Windows XP MSPaint, the standard format of .BMP is rather huge to put online. No site accepts it.) This convert is also where I might make edits: I'll be less afraid of covering up people with dialog when necessary, so I can make it better. People can have whole limbs stuffed off-screen (like Zhoom's arm), and if the dialog box still needs room to improve, I can get rid of anything still in the way. I might change my opinion on exact eye position, too. Sometimes, I'll notice blatant mistakes in the eye position. Other times, I can see why it might fit, but decide an alteration is more appropriate than what I had. This editing process generally doesn't last longer than 10 minutes, though it can go up to half an hour. (Most commonly, it's only 5.)

But it's not done, there. I also write the comment for the comic in a Word document, along with the Alt-text. This length varies quite significantly on exactly what I have to say, averaging at, oh, about fifteen minutes per comic, give or take. Then comes uploading. Comic title, simple! I give them already in the panel. Comic Alt-Text, already typed out! Comic Key Words, I used to hand-type, but now I have all the standad ones (Dragonfable, DF, DN, Design Notes, DFDN, Dragonfable Design Notes, ODN, Other DN, and The Other DN) in the document, add in the numbers ( X spelled, [spelled] Xth, X, # X), plus any tags relating to the title. So, simple. Author comments, typed out already.

...The real killer is the Transcript. I have to type that out and it generally will take fifteen minutes minimum. I have taken up to an hour on this kind of thing, so it's rather annoying, to say the least. I'd say at least half an hour, average, to do this step. I don't HAVE to do it, but I'm supposed to. So, on average, it'll be something like two and a half hours per comic. And keep in mind, that's if I'm working solid on it the entire time, which gets tiresome. So, that's why it takes me so long to update The Other DN. Right now, I have the comments for the first 25 done, already. I'm working on converting the last few into PNG's right now. (Am at 23.) But actually uploading them is a bit of a bother, sometimes, so my apologies that it's taking so long to get through.