Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve Triple Feature: A Christmas Carol

For many years, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has been considered not only one of the classic Christmas books but also one of the seminal books in literature. This classic work had been adapted into every media imaginable. 

Now one of the biggest Comic book publishing companies in Britain, Markosia, published a graphic adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Dickens’s story was rewritten by Stephen L. Stern (known for his Beowulf Graphic Novel) and illustrated by artist Douglas A. Sirois. The collaboration between Stern and Sirois is fairly successful in bringing the classic to life. 

The Rating

A pleasant little Holiday ditty.

 The Raves

The tale, of course, is classic, and it isn't done any harm in this faithful adaptation. (Well, maybe a little harm. Maybe my brain kept inserting the music and voice overs from The Muppet Christmas Carol...)
 The capturing of the 1860s is well done, fashions nicely displayed. 

And the textures and brushes used in this work are really gorgeous. The whole thing is pulled together with a sooty, sepia-toned color scheme that fits the material rather well.

The Razzes

So...this story is done with some form of 3d character manipulation program and the output is then put through a number of filters and worked over. It's not a bad artistic method, in fact some great work has been turned out in just this way, like Romantically Apocalyptic and Supergirl.
But here's the thing: when you do it, pay. Attention. To. The. Details.
Don't leave figures looking stiff.
Don't leave characters in akward and physically difficult poses. 

Don't ignore the borders around your characters and leave them look like badly pasted cardboard cutouts in the scene. 

Watch your expressions and, if the 3d render doesn't do a very good job, fix it by hand. Otherwise you end up with a Ghost of Christmas Present with an expression that intimates the fact that he'd rather like to return to his pre-christian Nordic roots and wind Scrooge's entrails around a sacred tree...

And for the love of all gods bright and dark, if you're looking to massage 3d rendered image and make them look like paintings, actually massage the things. Don't just run them through the render engines. You need to change the shading and lighting by hand, remove the overly strong highlights that 3d rendering tends to create and in general spruce things up.

Forget these important details and you end up with awkward scenes as below, which look like a set of shop-window mannequins aping their betters and failing at it. 
And I just wrote 'aping their betters'. Oh dear. No more Dickens for me! 

The Revue

A nice little treat for the holidays. 

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