Hi art friends.

I hit a stride with creating the Takashima panel photos. I’ve completed 36 of the roughly 130 photos. Now is a good time to take stock of the time to craft each image and create another test page and see if I’m on the right track.

I’ve created most of my background images. It’s stretched my creativity to create the Takashima office space – I’ve cloned, painted, masked and layered images in order to create the various backgrounds.

Time to process

The photoshop action I created to extract my dolls has been a big time saver. Most images still require some touch-up on the masking, but for the most part, by the time the images are layered onto the background and converted using From Dusk Til Dawn, all those little imperfections vanish.

With my prepped backgrounds and extracted figures, I can create an image in roughly 20 minutes. I spent 8 hours on this project yesterday. In addition to the 20 images, I set up and shot additional photos and spent about an hour working on one of the office backgrounds.

I like to work with a streamlined process. I know how my brain works and if I try to create an image, run the action, there is a chance I will get sidetracked. My original plan was to create all the images and drop them into my Keynote shot list slide deck.

Once the images are finished, I can focus on sequencing the images. I’ve identified a couple slides to move but I’m saving that task until the images are done.

Once the images are finished, I’ll run them through the From Dusk Til Dawn action. At that stage, I’m ready to drop images into the comic book templates. We’ll see if I keep that plan after looking at Test #2.

Rounding up to 100 images at 20 minutes per image, I will spend a total of 34 hours to create the images and run the the action.

Other tasks: add time to set up and grab some additional shots; create the drones for the Rigger; and write dialog. I’m going to say 5 hours for additional shots, 2 hours for the drones and 10 for dialog.

That brings me to 51 hours. I’ve allotted 2 hours per week minimum to work on Takashima, which is 58 weeks to complete the story. I’m hesitant to increase the weekly allotted time due to a recent eye issue and my promise to my doc to reduce screen time.

The revised project date is February 13, 2022. Realistically, because as you’ll see below, I need to edit the 30 existing photos, I should probably add another 10 hours, which is 5 weeks, or March 20, 2022.

This is the first time I’ve tracked the time spent on this project. I’m pleasantly surprised at how little time it takes me to create the individual images. While I tried to account for all the possible roadblocks, the Comic Book Maker and From Dusk Til Dawn actions were a new variable. Good variables because I would have spent a lot more time creating my own comic book panels and they wouldn’t have been nearly as flexible as the Comic Book Maker.

Learning the Comic Book Maker was simple enough. You’ll see below the unexpected effects the action has on my images.

Comic Panel Test #2

From the batch of current prepped images, I selected four to run through From Dusk Til Dawn Illustrative Action and then drop them into a 4 panel black and white comic book template.

It takes about 5 minutes for the Action to run, save the file as and embed the image into the comic panel.

Here is the Test #2 page, followed by my thoughts.

First of all, I love the inky look, the contrast of light and dark. Gives it a pretty moody feel. The last image was a test of dropping Keaton into the background to check if he is identifiable in the picture. Although the above image is small, he is quite clear at 100%.

What needs some work:

  • The eyes are getting lost and the faces look a bit creepy (even for dolls). I need to add a dodge layer and brighten the eyes.
  • Flyaway hair is bugging me and I’ll need to mask those out
  • In the second image (middle section, left image), the doll in the background is deliciously blurred in the original image, but doesn’t look good once the action is run. If I want to use this particular image, I’ll have to mask out the blurry character.
  • There is limited space for word bubbles. I need to either simplify the backgrounds or use solid white word bubbles.
  • There is a moire pattern I just don’t like; I’ll have to figure out which SmartFilter removes it. The trouble is, the action re-renders when you click options off.

How my process is changing

The first thing I need to do is run the action on the existing photos and make any edits before moving on.

Once that task is done, I’ll create each image, run the action, make any adjustments to each photo. At that point, I’ll monitor the time to create several images to get a revised time to create each image. And check the new time to the project timeline and make any further deadline adjustments.

While these may sound like setbacks, I’m pretty happy. I have a plan, a way to validate my plan and flexibility to adjust my deadline. The deadline is self-imposed and I’m still looking forward to seeing this baby come together.

I’m walking the line between keeping you, my readers, interested in this project, with not giving too much away so you want to read the finished product. In whatever format that may be. I’ve done just enough publishing research to realize it will kill my creativity to dive into that right now.

Stay tuned and expect whatever post you see next.

Happy creating!