Archive for January, 2011

Explanation for my latest absense (copied over from comic front page)

January 15th, 2011 by Reinder

Redrawn panel from The Rite of Serfdom, showing Kel, Jodoque, Kangra, Norla and a hoopoe bird

It's been almost three months since the last new episode was posted. I apologize for that, and would like to assure everyone that not only have I not abandoned Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan, but I've actually been very busy for the past month or so; just not on any new material. Instead I've been reviewing and revising the archives, putting up new, higher-quality files for the old comics, fixing link-rot and re-inserting episodes that were lost from the various server moves the comic's been involved in over the past ten years.

Redrawn comic: Kel discusses the Office of Rites

This process has actually been under way for a long time. I started revising episodes from The Faerie and the Earth-Pig onwards back in early 2006, re-scanning material that I created when I did not have the quality of equipment I have now, recoloring them with help from DFG and re-texting them. When I started re-running the comic on Drunk Duck in August of 2007, the pace picked up and I remastered the all of the comics until midway through The Corby Tribe, when I had a series of setbacks and had to give up. Late in 2010, I picked up the project again, and I've been working on it nearly every day since, and in the process, I have redrawn about half a dozen old episodes on top of giving a hundred more a facelift.

Redrawn comic: Wythllew talks of how the Douards used to keep Fire Elves as slaves

The only problem is that until recently, all the results so far have been on Drunk Duck. The only times a remastered image made it to this website were when I discovered a missing strip or when during the work on the old file, I hated the existing images so much that I redrew them. I am working very hard to change that: for the past week, I have uploaded remastered images to the site every day. I am working backwards from the end of The Corby Tribe (which is done but some early work may have been destroyed in those setbacks that I mentioned above and need to be redrawn) and forward from the beginning of The Rite of Serfdom, which I put up as soon as images are done. At the time of writing this, the string of consecutive new versions starts with the comic from August 29, 2002 and ends with the one from November 15, 2002 but the string will be longer before the day is over.

Redrawn comic: Sanderon's account of the theft of the Ancestor's Bone from the shrine

Even the pages that haven't been redrawn are still improved: they are larger, they have had new lettering added and colour faults fixed. In some cases, the colouring has been revised and shading and effects added. None of that will stand out (unlike some of the redrawn art) but it gives the images just a little more oomph. And all of it is now in my working files in Photoshop format at high resolution, so that any further work on them can be done quickly without having to retrace my steps again.

The whole process will take up another year until I'm caught up with the beginning of Feral. I do not intend to leave Feral where it's at for another year - though it might happen. In fact, I plan to spend as much time on Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan as possible, because this is the 20th anniversary of the comic; I started creating it in May 1991 and put out the first small press collection of it a year later. I intend to celebrate that with a lot of new material. But more about that later. For now, this is what I'm focused on, because the site and the archives need it badly.

Remasters now going live as soon as they’re done.

January 2nd, 2011 by Reinder

I'm fed up with the fact that the current Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan website archives do not reflect the work done on the remaster project. After five years, only a handful of improved pages had been posted - until today! Starting with the storyline that is currently being remastered, The Rite of Serfdom, remastered pages will be uploaded to the archives as soon as possible once they're done. There are ten remade pages up right now: you can tell them apart from the original versions at a glance because they're a lot bigger. The old versions are 560 pixels wide, the new ones 648. At first, they appear shockingly large, but proportionally, they are only as large as the old versions would have looked on a 1024 x 768 monitor such as was common back in 2002. In a few years, they will look small again.

There are other differences, though. Many small areas of flat colour that I forgot to fill in back in 2002 have finally been filled; the panel borders are more natural-looking, even though a lot of them needed to be fixed with computer-based straight lines. A few areas here and there have been recoloured or have had light gradients or smart blurs applied to them; nothing that you would notice if you weren't looking for it, but the changes make the images 'pop' a little more.

Photoshop's scaling algorithm also includes some sharpening, which the software I used in 2002, Paint Shop Pro, did not apply. This is the one change that I'm not so sure about. The final images undeniably look sharper, but they also show some artifacts from the sharpening effect, especially in high-contrast areas. I may decide to turn that feature off if at all possible, but that will depend on the response I get from readers.

Housekeeping: Links to Comicspace begone!

January 2nd, 2011 by Reinder

I have just shut down my Comicspace account and deleted all the links to it on the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan pages that I could find. Please let me know if you find any that have been left behind.

Next step: shutting down the web presence on Modern Tales. I guess it would be nice to notify readers there that this step is imminent, so I will update there one more time.

The step after that is figuring out if I'm owed anything at all by the Open Ad Network or whatever it is called. Then cancel those ad spaces sitewide too.