So this will be the last process oriented report before we transition to the live journal format of updating you on our progress. Nice way to round out the summer.

Alright lets get into it. A properly shaded page should pop and jump and feel alive.  There will be more on the philosophy behind it in a forth coming Anatomy update, but for now lets look at the technique as being applied in Part 2.

Once the contours are finished the shading portion flows quite naturally. The challenge becomes creating a detailed background without the values “graying out.” If you’re not careful you end up not being able to differentiate the walls from the clouds.

This problem was less of an issue in part 1 because of the open skies and bright sunshine.  The kids were designed well enough to contrast appropriately.  The “dark” tone of part 2 makes it a bit more difficult what with the dark skies, dark uniforms and dark hallways

Using white helps

Much like the digital inking phase, this part of the production is also handled in Photoshop. I have tried to keep my “photoshop magic” (i.e. using numerous effects and filters) to a minimum, but I’ve had no issue with layers. Layers, layers, layers for everything: hair, shirt, shoes, rocks, clouds, walls, back walls, back packs, pockets, railings, doors, ceilings, pipes, shadows, highlights … 
Some have described my technique as … unorthodox. 

Each object (including the shading effect) is given a layer and then is painted jet black/ Afterwards the layer fill level is adjusted yielding a scale of values.  Tedious, potentially inefficient, but being able to manipulate each of these values individually in fact gives a lot of control over minutiae and maintains the stark cel-shaded style.  Perhaps now you can understand the time investment on each page.

Then again … the jet black is rather striking
To a certain extent it’s a self imposed difficulty as many black and white comics don’t use a middle gray.  From a development perspective I feel it gives 0 a distinctive character and personality.

As far as Part 2 is concerned we’re about a third of the way through on these.  Without a doubt you should feel the tonal shift hinted at on the final page of part 1 throughout part 2.  Ah and yes episode titles would be appropriate.  Don’t want everyone getting confused with parts and phases, sections and scenes.  All in due time.

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