A bunch of cunts, mostly in the Australian sense. Except that one guy.

Are there any decent drawing programs for the PC?

I had an idea for a web comic. I could draw it by hand, but if there was a good drawing program out there I could try that too.

Ideally, you could take something like a 3D model, but render it in a 2D manner, sort of like those cell shaded video games.

It's probably more trouble than it's worth, but I thought I'd ask. Hand drawn seems to be the way to go.
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 23rd, 2006
3d Studio (and probably any other similar app) will do the cel-shaded thing, but that's neither cheap nor easy. The obvious options are Photoshop (or GIMP/Paintshop Pro) and Illustrator (or Freehand -- not sure if there are any decent free/budget vector based drawing apps out there, but it's reasonable to assume there are) depending on whether you want to go bitmap or vector. (Not a lot in it if it's only going to be a webcomic, but if you anticipate going in to print vector has the slight edge.)

A graphics tablet is also a must, but you can pick up small ones for very little. (The other option is to draw it with pen and paper, scan it, and then retouch and colour it on the PC; depending on what I'm doing I sometimes prefer this approach, but a lack of undo sometimes causes me pain. :) It's also pixel-only this way unless you fancy tracing the scans or investing $$$ in a decent vectorising package.)
Permalink Mat Hall 
January 23rd, 2006
Yeah, I was afraid of that.

One thing is that I don't want to spend a lot of effort making it look good, I'm not even going to pretend to be an artist. I just want you to be able to tell the characters apart even at the "spiky hair blue shirt, flat hair red shirt" level, know where they are, and basic stuff like showing them walking or fighting or maybe even facial expressions.

My other option, and this is something I'd considered before, is producing weekly "old time radio" podcasts. I figured that would have the most bang for my novelty buck, but then distinguishing characters becomes even more difficult, unless I plan on hiring a slew of actors.

But then, that isn't something I can easily do on my own, I need other people to get involved and it starts to become too much of a commitment of time and resources, unless I can convince one of my friends (who already produces weekly podcasts) to do all the recording work.

Yeah, hand-drawn looks like the way to go.
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 23rd, 2006
One other benefit of going vector is that if you're *not* an artist you can basically draw everything once (one head, once body, one arm, one leg), clone the objects, differentiate between them by tweaking some control points, changing the shading, etc., and you've then got a set of templates that you can arrange and manipulate for each panel of the comic. This way you can spend quite a bit of time getting it right *once* and from there on in it's just a case of arranging some elements -- move the arm up a bit and bend the elbow, move the eyes, change the mouth shape, etc. -- without having to attempt to draw things over and over again. Cheating, maybe, but who cares?

(Also, don't let having no artistic talent stand in your way! Look at Scott Adams -- he can't draw for shit (although he's got a lot better over the years). :)
Permalink Mat Hall 
January 23rd, 2006
Good point about vectors being reusable. Though, in my experience they're a PITA to work with.

I'm toying with ArtRage right now, I might be able to get a decent drawing out of it with relatively little effort.
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 23rd, 2006
That vector graphics drawing program formerly known as Expression 3 still seems to be available for free, you might want to try it out.

http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/default.aspx
Permalink ipmal 
January 23rd, 2006
There's that comic strip, the name and URL of which escapes me, that reuses the same frames over and over and just changes the speech bubbles.

Very late 60's early 70's style of silhouette.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
January 23rd, 2006
There's POV-ray, Milkshape, and Truespace as free and affordable alternatives to 3dstudio.
Permalink I am Jack's major mundane Monday 
January 23rd, 2006
That might be Red Meat you're thinking of there Simon...

Anyway, if the worthwhile bit of your comic is the content (character, jokes, etc.) have you considered machinima? There's few game engines around out there now expressly for the comics, short films, kind of angle...
Permalink Andrew Cherry 
January 23rd, 2006
What about that Alice thing? Does that do what you're looking for?

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 23rd, 2006
Red Meat rings a bell, though it may just be my stomach rumbling.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
January 23rd, 2006
So weird... the other movie I saw was The Man. This dude gets flatulent whenever he eats red meat. Movie best avoided, pretty much a dud. Poor Sam.
Permalink I am Jack's major mundane Monday 
January 23rd, 2006
Have you tried The Sims? There are some people doing cool things with the Sims as a engine to do all their figure work for their epic web comics.
Permalink Art Wilkins 
January 23rd, 2006
Oh - new game coming out called "It's the Movies" that's also supposed to be good for that kind of thing.

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 23rd, 2006
I actually downloaded a video made with that game, it was pretty good, considering.

http://www.candlelightstories.com/movies.asp

I think I'm gonna stick with Artrage. Maybe I'll load up some real photos and paint over them to get backgrounds, that ought to be cool.
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 23rd, 2006
Xara looks good. Commercial. Opensource port in progress.

http://www.xaraxtreme.org/


Extensive overview here:

http://www.maa.org/editorial/mathgames/mathgames_08_01_05.html

I've just grabbed Inkscape for a look-see.
Permalink trollop 
January 24th, 2006

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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