Lysistrata – Set design with very suggestive stage elements

I was fortunate enough to be invited for my second time to do set design for a local theater group! It’s fun to walk away from the computer and get my hands dirty from time to time.

The play is Lysistrata, an ancient Greek comedy by Aristophanes about women withholding sex until their men make peace and end the Peloponnesian war. Yeah, it’s Rated-R. Some of the set pieces will look suspiciously phallic or yonic.

We started out thinking about the space we were contracting for the play and where certain entrances would be. I then read the play and watched a couple productions of it on YouTube. You should watch it if you have the time. It’s hilarious! With that info, I had some idea of how the actors would move around the stage.

Two weeks before the start of the play, the flats were finished. I was a bit confused about some of the dimensions of the space we’d be setting up in so I went in and did some of my own measurements. I looked up at the ceiling….oh no…those beams look a little low don’t they?

This threw things off at first because we had to figure out a new placement for the flats on the stage. I threw some renders at the director until she gave the ok for this one:

Arial view of set in the theatre space
Arial view of set in the theater space
View from the audience
View from the audience – You can see where the beam cuts into one of our flats so it had to be cut down to fit.

The director wanted a rough back-ally on the left with graffiti, on the right an acropolis with “penis columns”, and a vagina somewhere. I put together a Pinterest page to gather ideas and reference images. Whenever I start a new project, I gather pictures on Pinterest like there’s no tomorrow. Found some funny ancient greek stone dick-pics, but now Pinterest thinks I want to see more stone dicks and it shows up on my feed -_-;

Here’s some painting progress pics!

Color Test with curtains that will be in the center of the stage. Decided I really liked the gold and white.
Color Test with curtains that will be in the center of the stage. Decided I really liked the gold, white and bluish-black.
The top of the column template we'll use in several places. We made it more dick-like later. I know Doric or Ionic columns don't look like that >_>
The top of the column template we’ll use in several places. We made it more dick-like later. I know Doric or Ionic columns don’t look like that >_>
Testing out the spray paints I picked out. Some didn't quite match my expectations but I made it work.
Testing out the spray paints I picked out. Some didn’t quite match my expectations but I made it work.
Testing the wall paint colors with some gradient fun!
Painting some rough stone walls in my friend’s barn.
Using gold spray paint and blue painter's tape for some sexy clean lines.
Using gold spray paint and blue painter’s tape for some sexy clean lines.
Aren't they some sexy lines??? Goddamn!
Aren’t they some sexy lines??? Goddamn!

The set should be finished tomorrow, so stay tuned for the end result! So excited!!!

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Two Years of Blender

Here are a series of tweets I made about my experiences in Blender up to this point and how I use Blender in my comics. I had always wanted to learn how to do 3D renders but always thought there would be too much of a learning curve. One day I was bored, didn’t want to draw, didn’t want to play video games, so I thought, “today is the day!!” and just started with Blender because it was open source and free. What I didn’t expect was how much fun I would have! I was using Blender for the fun of it, not just for the end goal (but my goal did help). Whenever I learned some new technique it was like fireworks going off! A wonderful feeling.

Tutorials listed at the bottom of this post!

Read more

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Fungus Research – Week 1

Fungus Screenshot
Building a Fungus game in Unity. I made a custom story text dialog and say dialog. You can see the story flowchart at the bottom.

In my quest to make the perfect visual novel, I started to research the Fungus Visual Novel Engine for Unity 5. So far it’s been really enjoyable and I feel like this might be a viable option, but there are some hangups I still feel unsure about.

It’s lack of the basic Visual Novel system.
If you’ve tried Ren’py or played any Visual Novel, you’ll know that it comes with an options menu, save menu, title screen, rewind, etc… If I chose to use Fungus I’ll have to build a lot of that myself. It would be a good opportunity to contribute some code back to the Github project.

It can be inconsistent at times.
I’ve noticed that some of the portraits will move in directions I don’t mean them to move when I try to hide them. Flying off the screen even when I set them to fade. I’m hoping I’m just doing something wrong with my commands and I’ll figure it out later.

But there are some BIIIIIG draws that make me want to switch to Fungus.

It’s built on Unity!
I’ve been using Unity for a while and the development experience just keeps getting better with each release. If you can set up Visual Studio with Unity, you can use a debug console and step through the code as you play – something Ren’py sorely lacks.

User Interface customization is easy.
If you want a new look for a dialog box or a new spot for your character to pop up, you just have to add it by going to Tools->Fungus->Create and you’ll have a handy graphic interface to make your changes in.

The code is open and reasonably easy to customize.
I found I wanted to change the way a character portrait changes. The default behavior makes the previous portrait fade (alpha -> 0) before fading in the new portrait — So the character disappears briefly… which looked a little weird to me. In animation, you don’t make the character fade out between frames.
The line I needed to change was pretty easy to find and fix and now I have the effect I want! I’ll see if I can submit a pull-request to add that as a portrait change option.

That’s all I have to report for now. I’ll keep on working with Unity+Fungus to see how far I can go before I start tearing my hair out.

If you’re interested in trying Fungus out, here’s some youtube tutorials to get started:

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