Unit 6 – final major project proposal Section 1

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Declan Thomas Interactive Media – Year 2


Section 1
Title: Proxy
I plan to create a comic book and use the entity of the comic to create an animated interpretation of what the scheme of the story revolves around. This graphic novel will be written and illustrated entirely from scratch for originality purposes. The characters and environments will be animated to produce motion in specialised software so that the formulated design can accomplish more extensive storytelling, beyond what traditional graphic novels can achieve on paper. As well as animation, which will be adapted to the illustrations, other forms of visual modifications will occur during the storytelling aspect of the animation such as special effects that will aid the visual significance of the project furthermore.
Section 2
Research will be carried out into using specified software for certain tasks, such as animating the illustrations in my own custom motion comic. The influences of the idea for the style of the motion comic will revolve around action and violence which is inspired by the following comics:

• DC Comics.

• The Walking Dead graphic novel.

Also the following videos display the art of attributing motion to illustrated comic books.

• inFAMOUS motion comics.

• DC Universe Online motion comics.

Section 3
A rough draft of designs will be sketched beforehand with pencil on paper to explore ideas and methods of illustration and proceeding to scan the drawn designs to be digitally edited in specific software such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. Animation will be created in Adobe After Effects, which will then be edited and rendered in Sony Vegas Pro for the final product.
Section 4

I will evaluate my work in the form of ongoing reviews, which will be overlooked by myself, along with annotated design sketches that will work in with my journal of how the work has progressed along the way to completion. I will also include difficulties that have been faced throughout the project.Comic Book History


A cave painting of what appears to be a Dun horse. Found in the Lascaux Caves, France. These are dated to be thousands of years old.

A form of pre-history illustrations that resemble the storytelling aspect of comics can be estimated to date as far back as 20,000 years ago. The Lascaux Caves, found in southwestern France are found to have cave paintings of primarily animals in still motion of movement in some areas of the caves.

Marcel Ravidat discovered an entrance to the caves in 1940. Returning with three other friends shortly after discovery they found the walls covered with paintings of figures, animals and patterns. The caves contain more than 6,000 paintings in total.

One of the earliest forms/ precursors of comics are engravings on specific objects (such as wood or stone-like material) to tell a story without the use of language, but visual presentation. An example of this form of narrative is story depictions found on Trajan’s Column (completed in 113 AD); a Roman triumphal column that can be found in Rome, Italy. This column memorialises the victory with the Dacian Wars, achieved by Roman emperor Trajan.

This column is also known under several names, such as victory column, triumphal column or monumental column. These columns represent the victories throughout places in history (also constructed during those times and places in history). But the Trajan Column as an example is one of few of these types of columns that have visual engravings put onto the column to display a story.

Paintings and engravings were used as some of the earliest forms of storytelling/illustrative comic, before papyrus and parchment was introduced thousands of years later for more convenience when it comes to mobilising illustrations to display to others, instead of requiring the person(s) to walk to a specific location to view the work of art (The Lascaux Cave paintings is an example of this).

Another example of a form of comic narrative is the historical Bayeux Tapestry. This is a 70 metre embroided cloth which displays the Norman Conquest over England in the 11th century. Although the word “tapestry” is in the title of this object, it is not actually a tapestry itself. The embroided cloth depicts around 50 scenes, much like a conventional modern comic panel that show alternate scenes to progress a story along. The most common theory about who commissioned the Bayeux Tapestry is Bishop Odo, although who constructed this and where is unknown.

Bayeux Tapestry

I believe that this form of storytelling is somewhat more simplistic than the conventional comic books today as it does not contain panels that split the story into individual segments so that the story would flow at a more understandable pace. There is splits in the Bayeux Tapestry for different scenes during the story, but there is no visual line to aid this design for some reason, so that makes it difficult to differentiate the start of a scene to the end of a scene. Although the Bayeux Tapestry does show great illustrative design with the characters, horses and objects, the narrative is very limited as it only contains few annotations alongside these illustrations to aid the narrative.

The colours used in on this embroided cloth is also limited, as primary colours; green, red, blue and yellow is used (possibly because getting specific coloured dyes back in the 11th century was difficult and/or costly to get ahold of.
Early European/Panel Comic Books
Comics are a form of presenting ideas or emotion through the art of visual illustrations in a form of still motion, panels are used with the majority of modern comics to separate scenes from each other to simplify the visual presentation in a way that flows the story more accurately for the reader. Some comics require narrative to include more information within the illustrations in the form of speech balloons or captions. Other comics only focus on the visual side of comics with things such as comic violence or mischief.
Comics became widely popular in the Western Hemisphere in the mid 20th century, in countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, France, Belgium and even Japan. European comics are found to be derived from the cartoonist Rodolphe Töpffer. This cartoonist was most well known for his illustrated books. In 1837 he published his comic work, originally titled Histoire de M. Vieux Bois it. His picture stories, which are debated as being the first to display this format for comics in the way of storytelling, were revolutionary in the comic’s genre. He was affected in his ability to perform in the artistic industry due to his eye defect, firstly pursuing a career in literature, but then pursuing comics later on in life. In his lifetime he had created six pieces of comics between 1837 and 1842. The first ever comic book to be published within the United States was in 1842 by Töpffer. That same century, after the death of Rodolphe Töpffer, his worked inspired other artists such as Wilhelm Busch.

Rodolphe Töpffer Wilhelm Busch

Wilhelm Busch is regarded as one of the founders of modern comics; this German artist became interested in the art industry by studying the Flemish and Dutch painters Paul Rubens and Frans Hals’ paintings. Busch’s illustrated comics follow similar cartoony aspects, such as the shading technique and comically large body parts. Unlike Töpffer, Busch includes colour into his illustrations to create more diversity beyond the traditional black and white comic illustrations and to interest people more into looking at the comic itself because of the vibrant colours.
Born in Geneva in 1799, Rodolphe Töpffer was an all-round artist who specialized in several different professions during his lifetime and outsourced his work to others. He was taught in Paris for a year from 1819 to 1820. Afterwards becoming a schoolteacher back in his home city of Geneva, he then stepped up his career some 12 years later by being appointed as the Professor of Literature at the University of Geneva.
Rodolphe Töpffer was a Swiss caricaturist, painter, cartoonist, author and teacher. His professions revolved around creativity and the use of storytelling/performing ideas onto others. He is mostly known for his illustrated books in which displays his designs as a cartoonist in the form of early European comics. His fame came from his creative illustrations and paintings of landscape, which he did, in his spare time, often entertaining his students whilst being a teacher/professor with his caricatures. His first piece of work to be published was titled Histoire de M Vieux Bois in 1837 (although it was already completed in 1827).

The Golden Age (1930s/1940s)
Although the timeline of the beginning of conventional/modern comics is still debatable, American-styled comic books genre started hastily with the creation of Hogan’s Valley comic, published for the New York World newspaper in 1895.
The “Golden Age” of comic books started around the late 1930’s and ended in the last 1940’s. The introduction of the first issue of Action Comics in June of 1938 with the new superhero Superman became a widely popular comic book overnight, which revolutionised the comic book industry with the beginning of the “Golden Age” for comics.
The “Golden Age” term I believe is used as the term for the beginning of the comic books genre because it was such a popular cultural permutation of visual storytelling (mostly fictional) to be accepted by the public because it was so indifferent from books/picture books.

The way that some comic book series’ survive throughout the ages is because of the amount of people who are buying them. The superhero genre of comic books launched off with the debut of Superman. Superheroes became so popular in the comic book industry in the late 1930’s because of World War II, which birthed the nation to defending its countries borders; superheroes portrayed that use of defending citizens against the opposing force such as criminals (and at the time Nazis).

Other superheroes that followed the success of Superman were Wonder Woman, Batman, Captain Marvel, Captain America and various other superheroes with their own designated comic books.

The Atomic Age (1940s/1950s)
After the “Golden ‘Age” of comic books ended (not long after the end of world War II), a new age of comic books had spawned, the “Atomic Age”, subsequently named after the detonation test of a uranium fission bomb in the desert of New Mexico, United States on July 16th 1945. After superhero themed comic books declined in popularity in the late 40’s, crime and horror comic books rose in popularity and eventually became the next big theme. Some crime comic books that gained momentum were “Dragnet”, “Night Beat”, “The Black Museum” and “Crime Classics”.
The horror theme grow into the 1950’s with big title names such as “The Thing”, “It Came From Outer Space” and “War Of The Worlds”, all of which had film adaptions created from the storylines because of the popularity. Only when World War II had ended did the horror comic book genre gain some notoriety because fearing the Axis countries was more evident than fictional stories involving monsters.
The Silver Age (1950s/1960s/1970s)
This age can be considered as a sequel or reboot of the “Golden Age” for comics as it was slowly progressed into the “Silver Age” with the idea of Julius Schwartz’s to modernise the superheroes up to current date (1956). They brought out The Flash first on October of 1956 and proved to be successful enough to get his own comics published. Bringing out the “Golden Age” superheroes such as Green Lantern, the Atom and Hawkman to create a fictional team for all of them known as The Justice League of America, so now that the National Periodical Publicans (before it was titled DC Comics) created a lot of connections between these characters, they were widely accepted by the public and still are today.
The “Silver Age” seemed to just be a reinvention/reboot of the “Golden Age” of comics as it reintroduced the comic book characters from the 1930s/40s in to an entirely new audience and some veteran superhero comic book readers. It gives off the impression of nostalgic yearning of the first age of comics.

The Bronze Age (1970s/1980s)
Just like the past ages, there was a significant event that unfolded to create a landmark bridge to cross into the newest age of comics, and this event was when Jack Kirby (an innovative American comic book artist, writer and editor) left the comic book company Marvel to then join their rivals DC. This comic age was considerably much more mature and controversial with the writing, as it tackled social and political problems in society such as drugs. This was the beginning of adult themed comic books and realism, therefore, bringing out darker themes to readers. Under the umbrella of realism being introduced into the comics, non-white superheroes were making their debut in this comic age with sometimes stereotypical properties such as some African characters containing the word “black” in their superhero names, sometimes having no relevance to their powers or background.
The controversy that was introduced by the “Bronze Age” of the comic books was influential in the expanding social boundaries that comics were covering, possibly for shock factor and controversial topics, which attracts readers into buying the comic books and increasing their profits. Although there wasn’t much adult content back in the “Golden/Silver Age” as compared to the “Bronze Age”, there was still some controversial material that wasn’t accepted by everyone in the public, but was comfortable enough for the creators and writers to go along with.
The Modern Age (1980s-PRESENT)
The popularity of black and white skyrocketed in the 1980s with the help of the Teenage Mutant ninja Turtles comic book series. The movement of British writers/illustrators into American comics was increasing and termed as “The Second British Invasion” by Americans. The “Modern Age” is a cornucopia of different genres of comic books with all of the previous ages still being popular today, such as superheroes, horror and sci-fi. Comic books are one of very little industries of entertainment that can still remain in the spotlight, without alteration to digital formats with the invention of computers and the Internet. Films are being adapted from comic books.

The Walking Dead Graphic Novel

“The Walking Dead” is a black and white graphic novel developed in the United States, which is based upon the idea of survivors living in a post-apocalyptic world were a virus goes viral and causes humans to become infected beings and begin eating each other (or zombies as they are more familiarly known as). The creator of this comic series is writer Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore worked alongside him temporarily up to issue #24 providing the artwork covers. Charlie Adlard replaced Moore early in the comic series’ life. This comic series started out in 2003, being first issued by publisher Images Comics.
Besides the comic covers being drawn in colour, there is no official evidence to why the comic series takes out the colour aspect of the illustration and keeps it back and white, but numerous theories and speculation suggests some reason behind this. The time span of illustrating graphic novels that are issued monthly is relatively long, especially if the company illustrating them has a limited workforce. One of the theories of the graphic novel series containing no colour is to save both money and time. Another theory is that implementing colour to the comics would take away the key plot from the reader with the distractions of the numerous visuals; so keeping it colourless would cause the reader to pay more attention to the story and the facial expressions of the characters, because this graphic novel concentrates more on the human aspect of the apocalypse and less about the zombies.
Because of the lack of colour in The Walking Dead graphic novels, more time is spent in the details of the characters and the background, despite the size of the team working on the creation of the comics being small, there are assigned roles for specific illustrative needs, such as shading.
I believe that the graphic novel benefits from the lack of colour in the illustrations; this method means there are fewer distractions for the readers to look at and therefore paying more attention to the characters (and zombies) in the story, along with the dialogue.
Motion Comics
One of the earliest known examples of a motion comic is the Broken Saints, created in 2001. The earliest known animated comic book to correspond with a film franchise is the Saw: Rebirth created in 2005 by Lions Gate. It was also the first time that the release of the term “motion comic” was introduced to label an animated comic.
The earliest uses of storytelling for motion comics were to tell mostly superhero origin stories by already existing comic book companies. An example of this is Dredd and Thor/Loki: Blood Brothers.
My view on motion comics is that it’s a new way to attract people to the comic book/graphic novel genre of entertainment through the means of a video. This way of producing storyline within the comic-illustrative settings with animation, dialogue and special effects is a way to make the images pop out and grab the attention of the viewer(s) more than conventional paper-based comic books/graphic novels would.
The term of “motion comic” is technically accurate but still isn’t favoured well as it’s a hybrid between conventional animation and comic books, creating motion with 2D images and textures in 3D space.

The animation with comic books require less motion, so use shake effects and specific sound to facilitate that need is required extensively to sell the dramatic feel that a motion comic is trying to portray to the viewer.

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These are illustrated scenes from the Infamous motion comic; these scenes are roughly drawn first to lay the foundation of the design. There are then 2D illustrations imported into 3D software so that depth and special effects can be used. Object glow and lens flares I think were used in these images for the gunfire effects and sunlight.

DC Universe Online Motion Comic

The art style of DC Comics consists of a wide contrast of colours and hues in specific scenes of the motion comics. I have noticed that some characters have their own trademark colours that will be displayed more prominently when their scene is exhibited with themselves appearing in them. An example of this is the character “Joker”, this villain’s scenes display more colours from a spectrum of blue, purple, grey and white when he present in them. Other examples can be seen with the screenshots of the motion comics above and below. The backgrounds in these images were created with colour gradients.

Motion blur and separating imaging is used in the scene of the superhero “Flash” running to emphasise the speed he is running at. Separate images of the character in running sequences with different levels of transparency fading into view at separate times are used to construct this running scene. Other special effects can consist of blurred backgrounds in 3D space; this portrays the illusion of a far away background, which focuses on the foreground, just like conventional movie cameras can achieve.

Like every other comic book franchise, the characters are taken into the most consideration when it comes to the amount of detail introduced into them, as they would be the main focus throughout the comic, they are the only entities where they will almost always have to remain the same appearance wise. Other entities such as streets, alleyways and background characters will constantly change throughout the comics and are not considered as important when it comes to illustrative detail.
I believe that assigning characters to their own individual characteristic colours is an exceptional idea when it comes to creating a memorable identity on behalf these characters for maintaining a foothold for them in the comic book industry.
Examples of this colour trademark can be observed with global brands such as Coca-Cola; red and white. Colour psychology can also play a role in this as I have discovered that the psychological properties of colours to some of the DC characters are related to their basis, such as the superhero The Flash having a red and yellow suit and the villain Poison Ivy being green and red.
The Flash Poison Ivy

Red: Yellow: Red: Green:

Physical Confidence Aggression Balance

Energy Extraversion Survival Equilibrium

The Flash’s colour psychology portrays his superpower, which is super speed, and because of this superpower he has acquired physical energy and strength beyond measure associated with the red. The yellow symbolizes the lightning–like properties possesses such as confidence and quick thinking.
Strength Optimism Energy Restoration

Poison Ivy’s colour psychology reflects the more negative side of her as a character. The red in her hair represents her basic need for survival and her aggression towards others.

The wholesome green all over her body shows the connections she has with plants and how she wants equilibrium of plants to take over the world.

Defiance Creativity Stimulation Environme

Character Design
The average person is seven and a half heads tall. The conventional comic book character body is eight heads in length and three heads in width. This method of measurement for body proportions for creating comic characters is novice but is a helpful design in aiding in creating a character. The head method of measurement is a shadow of accurate human proportions, which can be used with the same method; with this consistency, and realism is a major factor in illustration of the human body (as well as characters for comic).
The head proportion of characters different between two factors, age and gender, the younger the character is, the larger the head will be in proportion to the body and vice versa. The body proportion of the male characters’ heads differentiates between how the character is portrayed, for example if it were an idealistic or fashionable male it would be 8-8 ½ heads tall, for heroic figures, it would be 9 heads tall (usually for superheroes).
The female figure has the same attributes as the male figures except a few general key differences. These are: narrower neck, shoulders, arms, rib cage and rounder/wider hips and legs.
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Conventional Female Comic Book Character Male Comic Book Character Depiction

When it comes to character design, there are basic elements that need to be assessed before/during creation of the character(s).
One of the key elements of character design is what type of character it will be, the scenario the character is in and how he/she/it is influenced or interacts with the environment they are set in. Sometimes characters do not have to have any correlation to their surroundings, but a story can introduce how the character(s) seem out of place. Displaying the character’s characteristics through the aid of visual interpretation is extremely important as it reminds the viewer that the characteristics are, for example: A detective solving a crime would maybe wear a pair of glasses, gloves and possibly a bowtie/tie as it gives off the impression that the character is intelligent.
The visual of the character will make the overall outcome of the storyline correspond to however the character looks. The way the character looks can dictate what the overall story is about. Such as if a character is wearing a costume and a cape, one can assume it’s a story involving someone with superhuman powers.
Quality of the character is another key element in deciding what form of illustrative design to go along with. Deciding this involves sketching different renditions of the character, such as clean and polished and rough and prominent. (Keeping the detail down to a simplistic design is valuable when it comes to illustration and/or animation, as it can make progress much slower if details such as tattoo’s, folds in clothing or detailed shading is used on the character [the same principal goes with the environment]).
Validating a character’s identity is another key element in making a character have more weight to their existence in a fictional world. Giving the character a backstory is essential as it explains who they are, their personality and what their end-goal is

New York City 1930s -1940s
New York City (found in the U.S. State of New York) is divided into five boroughs (a borough is a form of unique governmental administration which is a part of fundamental constituent, five of them making up the overall New York City boundary. Although the definition of a “borough” to the New York State Law is when populated areas are merged together within a county to form a municipal corporation.
The birth of New York City began with the merging of five boroughs into a consolidated city in 1898, along with the aid of the first subway built in New York City in 1904 to transport the public along the city with efficiency. Meanwhile there was heavy immigration coming from Europe that was increasing the population of the city dramatically. Then in the roaring twenties, a large influx of African-Americans began to migrate to the city, roughly the same time as the construction boom of skyscrapers was introduced as wealthy businessman of New York City were making the decisions of showing off their wealth to the rest of the world by paying for construction of skyscrapers. Skyscrapers were most popular in the city than anywhere else in the world during the 1930s/1940s because of the concentrated population within the city, constructing large buildings upwards instead of across land deemed to be more cost-efficient with the cost of land as well with land areas limitations as New York City is built on several small islands.
An introduction to the 1930’s of New York City was the Stock Market Crash of 1929 with was follows by The Great Depression that was swept throughout the country, and the entire world. Government involvement in the economy of the country, especially New York City was inflated greatly as poverty, deficit and unemployment was at an all-time high. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the Governor of New York previously before winning the 1932 Presidential campaign. Although New York City itself was world renowned for its financial sector and skyscraper landmarks, it held its mark even more so to the world when it held the annual global World’s Fair event in the New York state in 1939 and built the infamous Trylon and Perisphere structures.

The city was incredibly diverse when it came to ethnicity and religion, as it was the center point for immigrants to travel to from almost anywhere in the world because of its reputation as an influential metropolis. There were not many other places in the world where you would have such a populous and vast diverse crowd of people living in such close proximity, especially during the World War II period.

Lower Manhattan 1931

New york has two major/main concentrations of high-rise buildings/skyscrapers, Lower Manhattan and Midtown Manhattan. The largest central business district in the world can be found in Midtown Manhattan. The most recognisable skyscrapers of New York City can be found in the Midtown such as the Chrysler Building, Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center. Lower Manhattan…
The stereotypical look of New York during the World War II period was “Art Deco”, this fashion was popular during that time period even though before it was internationally familiar it first appeared in France, pre-World War I. The “Art Deco” design comprised of craft motifs and Machine Age imagery, this was popularised because of the industrialisation that was taking place in that time period, with machines becoming more prominent as technology advanced.

Chrysler Building General Electric Building 1 Wall Street

Police Uniform - New York City (Current/Post World War II)

The motion comic that I will be creating will be set somewhere between the late 1930s to 1940s in New York City in the state of New York. It will involve detective/investigative/police presence; therefore the appropriate uniform will be researched for technicality purposes with the history of New York as well.

The fedora was commonly worn roughly a century ago in some wealthy and industrial areas of some cities and towns (especially during the 1940’s). The fedora is commonly depicted in the early 20th century as a common piece of head accessory in films.

These are hard-laced shoes. These leather shoes are casual footwear for the 1940’s and the majority of men wore them when outdoors.

These coats are known as trench coats. Their heavy-duty cotton gabardine drill/poplin or leather material acts a waterproof raincoat. The traditional brands of these coats consist of ten buttons and are double-breasted with various pockets. The sizes range from above the knee to down to the ankles.

Their invention derived from the heavy serge coats worn by soldiers of both France and Britain during the First World War. The name is descendent from the soldiers who wore this piece of clothing in the trenches, calling it the “trench coat”.

They were originally used for the officer’s uniform in the army during the World Wars. Post World War II they were implemented into the fashion industry.

Pinstripe suits were designed to branch off from the traditional suits worn for businessmen to display more sophistication. British people who were style-conscious originally wore these pinstripes.

Pinstripe suits started to rise in popularity in the United States in the 1920s and 20s. Their popularity was confined to specific people such as jazz musicians and gangsters. These suits almost always worn with ties, varying widely in both colour and pattern.

Smith & Wesson was founded in 1852 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

These guns are commonly depicted in films, especially with the police using them as primary firearms in the post-World War II era in the United States. This is not surprising as these were standard issue firearms to police and other armed forces throughout the world.

Accessed Online: 27/11/2013

DC Universe Online Motion Comic:


Accessed Online: 2/12/2013

The Walking Dead (Graphic Novel):


Accessed Online: 2/12/2013

Smith & Wesson:


Accessed Online: 3/12/2013



Accessed Online: 3/12/2013

Trench Coat:


Accessed Online: 3/12/2013

Pinstripe Suits:


Accessed Online: 9/12/2013

Lascaux Caves:


Accessed Online: 9/12/2013

Trajan’s Column:


Accessed Online: 9/12/2013

Rodolphe Töpffer:


Accessed Online: 9/12/2013

Willhelm Busch:


Accessed Online: 9/12/2013

Bayeux Tapestry:


Accessed Online: 7/01/2014

Golden/Atomic/Silver Ages of Comic Books


Accessed Online: 7/01/2014

Comics Timeline


Accessed Online: 8/01/2014

The Bronze Age of Comic Books


Accessed Online: 8/01/2014

New York 1930’s Fashion


Accessed Online: 8/01/2014

1930’s New York State Police


Accessed Online: 14/01/2014

Motion Comic Information


Accessed Online: 15/01/2014

Human/Character Body Proportion


Accessed Online: 22/01/2014

New York City Borough


Accessed Online: 22/01/2014

History of New York City (1898-1945)


Accessed Online: 22/01/2014

Art Deco in New York City


Accessed Online: 22/01/2014

Character Design


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