Another sleepless night, another lengthy blog entry. These past few days have been... eventful to say the least, but the progress on the newest comic has slowed down quite a bit due to extra work I need to get through to increase the quality of my images and it's been a pain in the ass. This blog is to explain my process behind the production of the comics, its limitations and all that shizzle. So, let's begin.
First and foremost, I use Hook4 as a graphic enhancer for my stuff. Why? As I previously stated, I don't own a computer powerful enough to withstand H5. This comes with its own set of challenges that make my screenshots a lesser quality than the work H5 users have showcased on KE, which is frankly amazing. Also, I'm using H4 without any knowledge on how to edit room lighting and any of that stuff (and with H4 not having a "hub" of sorts in-game to do all that editing as far as my dumb ass is aware), making my images look like this:
This is a scene from my upcoming comic "CNC Baby", with female protagonist Daniela Olivares. This is how my screenshots look in-game and, depending on the room and light direction, they may even look darker. This is in the regular Pedestrian Room coming included with VX update P, which I haven't updated out of laziness so I had to resort to downloading the stand-alone addon for it. There are rooms that look a lot darker than this, and without proper controls for H4 (and no idea how Snipesso's files work with that despite having them) I have to resort to heavy photo editing on Photoshop CS3. Ancient, I know. Below are a few examples on how I edit pictures, starting with the simplest ones.
This picture from Sex Tales 5 was first adjusted with the Brightness/Contrast tool, then hit with a round of Color Balance to give it that "sunset" type look. This scene was built in the "A New Loft" room, which is one of my favorites. The images below are different, and I used a different tool for that one. They're excerpts of my Tinder spoof gallery featuring two other models: Marina Nonaka and Lincyn Hamilton.
On these images, I did something a bit different. The room here is a texture of the regular Bedroom called "Nina's Room", available in the Legacy Rooms here at KE. What I liked about the texture is the fact that it's a night time room (which I could use a lot more of, honestly) and it was another dark room on regular screenshots. In addition to Brightness/Contrast, I used the Levels tool on CS3 to give it a lighter color balancing and hit it once again with another round of Brightness/Contrast. In the main Lincyn picture (nude and non-nude), I added a Lens Flare to emulate the look of the moon shining above in the distance. Probably not the most original trick in the book, but it achieve the effect I wanted to give the image. On that texture, I had to do some manual editing to remove the very ugly sky texture lines you get that makes it look like a poorly built dome. The pictures below exemplify a bit more of how the room's natural lighting in addition to the photo editing affects the model's body. Note the very dumb layer of a poorly transformed heart picture I wanted to put on Lincyn's butt since her character has (as originally conceived) a bright pink heart tattoo on her left buttcheek. I'm a sucker for those tiny tattoos.
Going back to Daniela, her comic is representing a huge challenge in different areas beyond photo capturing. I'm trying to make my writing a bit more interesting, but also, the challenge of competing with H5 users by upping my game in terms of photo editing. So, here's the first image of Daniela, in its new edited version.
This one required a lot more work. First up, I went into photoroom.com and used its Background Removal to get Daniela without the background room since using H4 turns the green screen into a solid black and that... Just doesn't freaking work. So, since Photoshop's Background Eraser tool is too destructive and I haven't practiced enough for it to work the way I need it to, I outsourced the bg removal and pasted on top of the heavily brightened and contrasted original picture, then used the same Levels tool for both layers and used Lighting Effects on the non BG layer, giving the image more of a 3D look. However, this process has to be SPOT-ON or else you'll encounter issues like the original model looking out of phase with the top layer, similar to out-of-phase audio tracks when recording music, as it would happen with guitars or snare drums. I'm a recording enthusiast lol.
The next two pictures go a bit more in depth on additional things like editing room lights in some sense, but this is more embarrasing to showcase, really.
This is the original picture uploaded in my first Daniela gallery here. The room used is Single Apartment. I know I will encounter another problem since the bedroom in that has a huge fucking mirror that I can't take advantage of with H4, but that's a problem for future Trapp. For this image, I used the same BG removal online tool I used on the previous example, but I also did a few other things. For example, the outside of the window with the sky looks very meh, so I searched and decided to use a leaf covered wall for the outside, removing that part of the image and replacing it so the window now has a foliage bg. Then, slight amount of Levels on both room and character, and brightening the spots where the light bulbs are. I thought I could get away with the Line and Smudge tools for the light effects coming out of the bulbs, but for the most part, they look ugly as hell. Then, another round of Lighting Effects on the model layer, and this is the end result.
Not the prettiest looking, but at least Daniela stands out a bit more from the original picture. The other problem with online BG removal tools is that they're not "smart" enough for a clean removal of the background and I believe that must be because of resolution and color detection issues. So, I had to give another round of very meticulous and sloppy Background Eraser tool to get rid of the obvious spots to finish it up.
So, this is a pretty lengthy process as previously described. Now do that times a few hundred screenshots and you'll tell me "well, just upgrade to Hook5 then!". I realize it might not be worth going through such heavy editing for porn comics, but then again: If I could use H5 without performance issues, I already would have. And I believe the story I want to tell with this is worth the trouble I'm going through with learning new skills. But as with all the work I've been doing for the past two years attempting to become a proper content creator, the question remains: If a tree falls in the middle of the forest, does it still make noise when hitting the ground? It's at times very disheartening seeing my efforts not being appreciated by people, but then again, I might not be doing things right in terms of promotion. Oh well.
Hope this entry sheds some more light on my very stupid comic production process and I hope you enjoyed this entry. As a gift for your patience, I leave you with this new gallery of Daniela, with a much simpler editing process and fully nude versions. I wish I could have H5 to do all this crazy shit much easier on me. Anyways, see you on the next one!