Comics for Grownups

See other weird comics stories here!

Story One: The Strange Affair of The Sniffer

Story Two: Comics and Dreams

Story Three: Why Superhero Comics Bite

Story Four: Goony and Phil Motion Comic

Story Five: Who is The Crimebuster?

Story Six: What is the Future of Motion Comics?

"Goony" The Rather Foolish Bird and Foulmouthed Phil, or
How to Learn MotionArtist

I tirelessly probe the universe of comics, searching for the strange, the remarkable, and the combination of story and art that move the artform towards perfection. No comic can be ignored (except for a couple from Marvel and DC) because of the potential they hold.

This is something a little different. I made a black and white comic in 1999 that collated a bunch of smaller comics I'd made about a ... there were two characters. One was a bird that was foolish, and another was a guy named "Foulmouthed Phil", which actually writes itself. He's always got something to say.

Iron Jaw and Hitler

Click to enlarge

Then, in about 2015 or so I got the bug in me to try making motion comics. That is, they're not comics but they use some of the iconography. They are technically animated pieces, because the user has no say whatsoever in how fast the story goes.

I found this software called MotionArtist. It's by the same guys who make Manga Studio. Manga Studio is a worthy product, but MotionArtist has a lot of bugs in it, unfortunately. On the other hand, it is easy to use, once you sit down and devote yourself to learning it. My method of learning Motion Artist was to start with two panels - forget about the story, forget everything - the important thing was to find out what I needed to do to go from one panel to the other.

The problem with learning MotionArtist is that there's a great deal of things that one could conceivably do; hundreds. Figuring out where to start was the hard part. The Smith Micro people were kind enough to do several videos on how to use this software. I'm not sure why my version has bugs in it; I have updated it, as far as I know, and I'm using a decent rig, but sometimes weird stuff will happen with no explanation or way to fix them.

So, I started by taking notes and thinking about whether the things I was learning related to making two panels work together, or not. If not, if the info had nothing to do with making an animation that started from one panel and moved to a different panel, I put the information in "Stuff to Learn Later".

Eventually I figured it out. You can easily animate panel elements, such as word balloons, figures, etc. Just make a bunch of different layers in a photoshop document, then import the photoshop document individually.

As you will see, there are things I still need to work on, as far as timing, and also getting around bugs with the graphics and camera movement, but it's a first try that's pretty much the best I can do after concentrating on this software over several months.



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