The Week Off…

I guess this is one of those random “guess what I did in my week off” kind of editions as hey, that’s what I want to talk about this week!

I can’t really call it “planned time off,” but it’ll probably be a pattern developing here. Every so often, things are going to get rough and I’m going to need a break in the action. Last week was one of those weeks. Too much stuff going on at work and I really needed to get away from here to focus. I had a Ratfarts! all ready to go but uh, yeah, looks like it never made it to the server.

I don’t want to get burnt out this time around so yeah, if I get stressed, there will be time off. Putting out a “weekly comic,” even at 20 pages is not easy. It’s worse when you’re a one person outfit for most of the work. I’ve found that for the last two attempts at a series, I get to issue 7 and I’m done. I end up taking up months off before I get the urge to write again and it’s never the same. It’s not the quality of the material or that I’m tired of the characters, it’s just a roadblock I hit and I need to nip it in the bud this time around.

I pretty much have it in mind to do 16 issue “seasons” like I used to do with my TechTV comic strip back in the day. 16 is a good number for me to work with (plus all of our master pages are set up for 16 graphics), so I can set goals to a finale issue to set the pace of the series. I do want to warn you that when we switch material from one source to the next, it’ll usually come with issue 16 but maybe not in the time frame you expect. So issue one of season two will not be Universe material. We’re going to keep going with the Media Elite for a while and at this pace, probably up to the end of the third series.

I know I complained about going to an “issue 50” in a previous article. I know, you don’t need to remind me. I’m FULL of contradictions. You should know, after ten years of these blog posts, that’s the one “constant of Jim.”

So changing subjects in the space I have left, it’s also a couple of days until iClone 5 is released and we have a major update to the animation program I use to produce art for the series. A lot of you know, as mentioned here before, the last time it was upgraded (2009), there were significant problems with the upgrade that pretty much killed Universe and led to Starshine Downs. This time…

Well, I’m keeping everything backed up and a working copy of the old program. The new version has a new body system and a new way of handling clothes, but I’m not going to introduce upgraded characters all at once since it’s going to take a good while for them to release a system for users to create their own clothing for the new system, so things will have to wait a while before you see major changes.

One tiny thing I’m looking forward to is the new object system. In the old program, you could attach an object to a hand but the hand wouldn’t grasp it. You’d have to go in and add an animation to the hand and more often than not, the program would only do that animation for 2 frames then forget. Now there’s a system to set up a dummy target and attach the hand to an object. I know it sounds crazy, but for characters holding swords, staffs, heck, holding HANDS, it all will make my life easier and I’m excited about it… but not in a creepy sort of way. 🙂

With that, these hands are out for another week.

Jim