Issue 1 - Page 17

23rd Oct 2015, 7:25 PM in Birthright - Part 1
Issue 1 - Page 17
Average Rating: 4.8 (5 votes)
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Author Notes:

Steven-Vincent 23rd Oct 2015, 7:25 PM edit delete
Steven-Vincent
This page is one of the earliest I shot, and remains one of my favorites... mostly because it focuses so much on Abby and what she is thinking.

However, it also shows how DAZ products can cause story changes. Originally, Abby's family was going to be a middle class family of relatively modest means. But, between the DAZ shop and Rendo, I could not find a suitable house that I liked. There will be tons of story time inside this house so I needed a full, complete one with the ability to turn rooms and walls on and off and furniture that reasonably matched the house. The only one that was really sufficient was the DAZ Dream Home, and they put it on sale for like 90% off at one point. So I decided to use that, but since it is a "McMansion", that meant Abby's family had to be wealthy. I then changed the professions of her parents to Lawyer and Dentist, rather than librarian and teacher as I had originally intended.

It all worked out and it's so ingrained into the story now that I have a hard time remembering what I intended. But this just shows how the art resources can affect the story very strongly indeed.
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Comments:

Centcomm 24th Oct 2015, 6:32 AM edit delete reply
Centcomm
yeah .. sadly that thing shows up in a LOT of Daz/poser based strips .. No real way around it if thats what you need.. I Know I get around it by making rooms and redressing them and crap and creative shooting. But I also have the benefit if being sci fi so i have a bit more playroom on stuff

I feel your pain. Still looks good.

one teeeny suggestion .. any model you get or use from Daz ( esp the more popular ones ) try to change things - The walls could have been "papered" or recolored.

NONE of this is meant to be negative. So rock on ! :D
Steven-Vincent 24th Oct 2015, 7:45 AM edit delete reply
Steven-Vincent
The whole thing is being slowly given a face lift because it doesn't look as good in Iray (the image maps are lower rez than Iray needs and close-ups of things like the walls do not photograph well, as it were).

I tried doing something with room creator or other sets before using this. The main problem is, you can always tell with those that the various rooms are not really in the same house. The advantage of the Dream Home is that you can shoot through one room to see others in the background. For example, you in the last panel Abby is in the foyer but you can see the dining room behind her. I might not need that if I were only going to do a few shots in the house, but there will be many over the years, so I needed something that would stand up to hundreds of potential camera angles and positions, much like Urban Sprawl 2.

The other problem is, many of the surfaces are tied together, so one can't easily recolor all of them. Not sure what I am going to do about that when it comes to Iray.
DizzasterJuice 29th Oct 2015, 2:06 PM edit delete reply
DizzasterJuice
After you have been modeling for awhile you build up a library of "parts" and textures, so if you need a house for instance you can whip it together in no time. But I can understand if modeling isn't your thing, you'll just be limited to what you can find in the stores.
Another huge downfall from using Daz and Renderosity models is that the artists have zero concern for poly count. None of them even use a low poly model with a normal map because it takes extra time. So what you get is some ridiculously high poly count mesh with some stupid huge texture file and as a result, your comp strains to try to get more than 4 or 5 characters in a scene.

But anyway, keep up the nice work you're doing!
shastab24 24th Oct 2015, 8:38 PM edit delete reply
shastab24
That's good for me to know if I ever go to CG comics. Currently I'm playing around in Blender, particularly trying to use MakeHuman to see if I can make my characters in them (without MakeHuman, I'd be completely lost).
Steven-Vincent 24th Oct 2015, 10:19 PM edit delete reply
Steven-Vincent
I spent a lot of time with Blender when I was first starting out. I thought I'd make all my own props, sets, and even characters. But I decided that is not where my talent or my interest lie. I wanted to tell stories, not spend hours and hours making some prop that is only going to be in the background.

But that is what is great about this hobby. Each person likes something different.
Number 6 25th Oct 2015, 1:21 AM edit delete reply
Wow, how can you guys possibly afford a house like that on a librarian and teacher's salary? Oh, we got really lucky when we were house hunting - the builder had it on sale for 90% off! What a bargain! Now we just tell everyone we're a lawyer and a dentist. ;)
Steven-Vincent 25th Oct 2015, 10:28 AM edit delete reply
Steven-Vincent
It's the Magic Writer's Wand!
Speedy Marsh 10th Apr 2017, 10:58 AM edit delete reply
Or, the Midas Touché?
Comic Fan 25th Oct 2015, 4:28 AM edit delete reply
Well, consider this.

If Abbey got her interest in government from one or both of her parents, and if either or both parents imparted any sort of strong love of and/or understanding of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, then Abbey's family would be more likely to be entrepreneurial and therefore more likely to be economically successful.

Yes, I said it. This is just my real-life observation. The self-reliant make their opportunities, and then they take advantage of them. And their children often observe this and learn from it. The most successful kids repeat this, though not all will.

I find that a self-reliant attitude, while making no guarantees, definitely improves one's chances for career and economic success.

Whatever the underlying reason for Abbey's family to be bumped up in the economic strata, I think it lends itself to a better background and more options for stories for this character.

And all is not lost. The parents can still be teachers or librarians. Maybe the lawyer manages a legal library for students at the local university, or maybe the Dentist tutors middle-schoolers in STEM subjects, or moonlights teaching some night courses to people who want to learn to become anesthesiologists or X-Ray technicians.

Maybe Abbey could become a tutor, emulating her parents' love of sharing and helping.

My point is that anybody can be a librarian or a teacher, even if that is not their main profession. Highly driven, highly motivated people are often deeply involved in their communities.

I say this is the right path for Abbey's family. It just feels right to me. But these are your characters, so if you get bored with it, you can always knock them down a peg or two by having the lawyer get disbarred or maybe have the dentist lose a big malpractice case.

But then you need to be careful not to let the family's economic difficulties become too much the elephant in the room, because then the danger is that this one overhanging, overarching thing creeps into the stories and begins to detract from what you REALLY want for Abbey and her fellow characters.

Anyway, carry on. I'm enjoying the story so far!
Steven-Vincent 25th Oct 2015, 10:34 AM edit delete reply
Steven-Vincent
Wow, thanks for the long and thoughtful reply.

Abby's dad being a lawyer will now figure very prominently in a future storyline, so it is cemented in there now. I was mostly commenting on how the story or background of characters can take an unexpected turn for the writer, and you never know where the source of that turn will come from. The Dream Home wouldn't have been my first choice while scripting, but once I made that decision, a whole bunch of other ideas fell into place. For example, Deena mentions Abby working at Moonshine's (a place we haven't seen yet) four nights a week. If her parents are rich, you might start wondering why she has to work at this young age. There is an answer, but it will be a while before I have a chance to show it.

As for losing jobs or malpractice. No. That is the kind of thing they do at DC and Marvel in today's modern Dark Age of comics, where they follow the 'life sucks and then just when you think it can't suck any worse -- it does!' model. Liberty Lass is a Bronze Age style comic, so I use the older model, which is much more positive.

That's not to say Abby's world won't contain challenges for her. But they generally won't lead us into depressing places.
Number 6 27th Oct 2015, 2:58 AM edit delete reply
It's really not surprising at all that she works. Actually, contrary to the cliche/stereotype of the "spoiled rich kid", it turns out that the kids of wealthier parents (not talking billionaires here, but engineers, lawyers, dentists, doctors, etc.) are much more likely to have jobs than the kids of less well-off parents. It's been my anecdotal experience from people I know that those parents worked when they were teens, and want to give their kids an appreciation for the value of work, or something like that. A quick internet search I did found a couple studies confirming this trend is true, so it's not just my impression. What I'm saying, in my long-winded way, is that you don't really need to "justify" the kid of a well-off couple having a job, it's actually very normal.
Steven-Vincent 29th Oct 2015, 9:09 PM edit delete reply
Steven-Vincent
Not 'justify'... but there is a reason for it, like there is for everything that happens in the story.
Nef 2nd Dec 2015, 5:56 PM edit delete reply
Nef
Agreed. I have a decent salary (low 6-figures) and my three boys started working at various jobs while still in high school. I found it interesting that starting as dishwashers (2 of them did) didn't bother them as much as it seems to bother other kids (or more likely, their parents)
Comic Fan 31st Oct 2015, 2:34 AM edit delete reply
"As for losing jobs or malpractice. No. That is the kind of thing they do at DC and Marvel in today's modern Dark Age of comics, where they follow the 'life sucks and then just when you think it can't suck any worse -- it does!' model."

Good. Keep your characters true, keep your heroes strong. Sure, there will be challenges, but heroes should always have a core that the reader can count on. Please make sure that Abbey never does anything vile because "so-and-so badguy got control of my mind." That would be disappointing. Come to think of it, that goes for all her friends and family too. To see an awful but apt example of what I mean, have a look at the Superman animated story "Unity", where Clark's parents become possessed by some alien. Terrible, terrible storytelling.

I don't like weak heroes. That doesn't mean that heroes need to be 100% impervious for me to like them. I'm referring to "weakness of character". When Superman supposedly renounced his citizenship, I stopped paying any attention. Even the Christopher Reeve version had some embarrassing "weakling" moments, like giving up his powers, becoming a drunk, turning back time, and then there's the whole disarmament thing. Ick.

But I like Abbey's Bronze Age, and I think it may be time for Superman and other characters to visit it once in awhile. The world needs people, real or fictional, who are of strong character.
Steven-Vincent 31st Oct 2015, 8:44 AM edit delete reply
Steven-Vincent
Thanks, Comic Fan.

No need to worry. Abby is not going to be perfect, but she's definitely a bronze age hero.

I think you will enjoy the reactions of the people around her to her powers and eventual hero ID, in issues 2 and 3.
Speedy Marsh 10th Apr 2017, 12:16 PM edit delete reply
Well, at least we no longer have to worry about government officials going bad. We've already got the best politicians that money can buy!
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