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Action scenes
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Kail



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 424

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:35 am    Post subject: Action scenes Reply with quote

Having some trouble coming up with action scenes that don't look horrible. Since my comic is supposed to be an action comic, this causes some problems; I was wondering if anyone has any advice, or a particularly handy "How To" site/book, or a nice example, or anything.

The problem I'm having right now is mostly flow. I can get individual poses and things all right (well, for a given value of "all right"), but putting them together just doesn't evoke any kind of movement, which leeches any kind of excitement out of the scene. Problem is, most professional comics I look to for inspiration are pretty bad in this area, too. Superhero comics typically just have a few panels of guys in punching poses delivering dialogue, with no feeling of what's actually happening beyond the bullet points of "Wolverine got shot and Cyclops blew up the doomsday machine." Manga are a bit better, in that there's at least an idea of what's going on in a fight, but that usually has to be done by narrating what's going on, which is a device I find really clunky.

So, any thoughts? Advice? Nice examples I can blatantly rip off?
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perk_daddy



Joined: 14 Jul 2006
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Read yourself some Frank Miller. I wish he'd get out from behind the camera and back to his drawing board where he belongs.
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Liliy



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Posts: 268

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a big fan of the "how to draw anime & game characters" series myself.

I've found Volume 4: Mastering Battle & Action Moves to be Particularly nice.

Shame I don't use it more. It really is a nice how-to book. Lots of references.
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KEZ



Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 778
Location: Not anymore!

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I try to follow the one rule I know about action scenes: draw the second AFTER impact. Not before, not during, but after. That gives you the follow-through, pleasing action "lines" (as in, "oh, that gymnast has great body lines!" not, nice inking), and the collateral damage (busted door, blood, saliva, fire, etc).

Other than that, I've really only drawn one real battle scene myself, but I did get to draw a lot of running/climbing/jumping recently. Does that count as action? For those, I found great references online. References are a must-have!
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plughead



Joined: 30 Nov 1999
Posts: 540
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a big action scene coming up that I can't wait to get to...

Watch lots and lots of movies. Pause the coolest parts and take digipics or screencaps. Keep a catalogue/inventory of poses, compositions and ideas you want to include in your scenes.

Don't clutter your action pages. For pacing issues, have only MAX 4/5 panels to a page, with one awesome money shot on each page, with smaller inset-type shots leading up to and/or after the money shot to help flow the action.

CHOREOGRAPHY: Think of a scene playing out in it's entirety on a stage before your eyes. Think of the scene as one fluid motion, then go in and pick your camera angles to emphasize moments in time, key focal points (bludgeoned skull, gouged eye, ripped arm), facial reactions, pain, and possibly plot points (the amulet gets shattered, the dude loses his gun, etc.)

MOTION: Tools often used are sound effects, speed lines and occasional blurs to focus a reader's eyes on the most important parts. I usually just go for simple visuals:

http://sarahzero.com/sz_0296.html

http://sarahzero.com/sz_0298.html

http://sarahzero.com/sz_0304.html

AXIS: Who is on the left? Who is on the right? Keep them in those positions unless you have a really good reason for switching them. Don't confuse your readers.

PANEL SHAPE/LAYOUT: wacky, angular, chiseled panel shapes help convey action, use lots of overlap, make use of insets and avoid circular or squareular panels.

DEBRIS: Blood, glass, wreckage, wood splinters, teeth... all these things add to the visceral nature of a scene as characters thrash around.

POINT OF IMPACT: before or after, NEVER DURING. Before is setup, after is payoff. Consider smaller setups, bigger payoffs.

Anyway, sorry to go on like that... I just really really really wanna get into my action scene and kill everyone.
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Stef

http://sarahzero.com
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RentAThug



Joined: 24 Oct 2007
Posts: 107
Location: New Yak City

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look at comic action that you like and figure out what makes it work. I recommend Stuart Immonen's work on NextWave and Kenichi Sonoda's stuff in Gunsmith Cats. NextWave is more over-the-top superhero action (punching people through buildings, that kind of thing) whereas Gunsmith Cats has some fantastic gun fights and car chases.
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Doogl McDoog
Blue Dali Person


Joined: 28 Sep 2007
Posts: 436
Location: Northern NJ

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

..


Last edited by Doogl McDoog on Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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Wasabee



Joined: 17 Jan 2009
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The best advice I can give to the OP is to just suck it up and do it, then learn from your own mistakes and achievements. It's good to draw inspiration from other sources, but I find it's best to learn by doing, and by doing I mean publishing something on time, even if it is sub par.

I have drawn my fair share of action scenes even in the few short weeks I've been at this. Some are good, some are bad. I do in my comic what needs to be done in order to move along the story I want to tell, regardless of whether or not I think I can do it.

When I force myself to draw something I think I can't, I often find that half the time it was just anxiety and that I can draw it. (the other half... is a learning experience)

feel free to browse my archives if need be: http://wasabeecounty.blogspot.com/search/label/archive
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plughead



Joined: 30 Nov 1999
Posts: 540
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

glitchcraft wrote:
...those are some pretty sweet action scenes


Hey glitchcraft, thanks for the compliments... but you're right, my actiony stuff so far has NOT featured any moment-to-moment transitions or like a full battle between two people yet... sorry Kail, my examples are pretty limited in helping with what you're trying to do...

glitchcraft wrote:
...your comic is strongly non sequitur...


Ha ha... I don't wanna derail this thread, so if you'd like to PM me any questions you may have about what isn't making sense, I'll be happy to explain things to you the best I can! If I'm way off track with SZ, I'd like to know how I can set things right!
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Varethane



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
Posts: 556

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

/stalks thread

Ah, action sequences, my eternal nemesis... we meet again...
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aniseshaw



Joined: 29 Dec 2008
Posts: 16
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I highly recommend life drawing. If you can draw a 30 second pose and really get the feel of it, rendering it into a full drawing becomes that much easier.

I don't do a lot of action scenes, but when I do I try to fit the art, angle, colouring and mood to what I want the audience to feel about that action.
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jaygee
Postpostpostpostpost!


Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 1224
Location: A swamp called The Fens

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Action scenes Reply with quote

Re difficulties with hand-to-hand-combat panels:

(1) If I remember correctly, there's a book out there called Drawing Martial Arts (or something along these lines, maybe browse B&N or Amaz?), featuring guys and girls fighting each other by hand and sword. Not too much on the manga side of things, as I recall. Fights didn't look "static" at all and were way superior to even most DC and Marvel stuff.

(2) If I'm stuck, I go frame-by-frame thru some scenes in Bourne I-III, Matrix, Kill Bill, Blade I-III etc...

(3) Embarassed Not too long ago, I got so frustrated that I bought a set of action figures and a desk light (my stuff is, well, sort of an exercise in neo-noir, means a lot if it depends on the right shadows, shading and inks...)

Don't know if this helps but at least I learned a lot and feel more comfy when "going for a fight" (solely for ink on paper ones, of course)...
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Doogl McDoog
Blue Dali Person


Joined: 28 Sep 2007
Posts: 436
Location: Northern NJ

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Action scenes Reply with quote

..


Last edited by Doogl McDoog on Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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jaygee
Postpostpostpostpost!


Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 1224
Location: A swamp called The Fens

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Action scenes Reply with quote

glitchcraft-
I always wondered who buys action figures these days...now I know. As kids don't anymore, it must be people like us then... Wink

Quote:
Scroll down and you'll see she uses a 3D computer program to set up the poses for her characters! I think it's called Poser 7. This is the first time I've heard of something like this.


Yeah, Poser's been around for a while I think. Especially people in the 3D comics trade seem to use it regularly as part of their tool kit...
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plughead



Joined: 30 Nov 1999
Posts: 540
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha ha, yeah!

Koo tutorial! Thanks for the linkage!

ANY type of reference we can get a hold of is great, whether it's 3D, miniature/bigature models, mockups or photos.

For my action scenes in SZ Classic, I went from:

1) Guessing and winging it, to

2) Taking reference takes of me and/or friends to get a pose down properly, to

3) Buying two of those stupid wooden artist maquette thingies (totally useless and inflexible, don't do it), to

4) Buying a couple of those small SUPER POSEABLE action figures (this works pretty good, the Spiderman and Daredevil I have are pretty neat), to

5) Studying movies for a more natural feel

Hey glitchcraft: I dunno how to describe my stuff at all, though some people have described it as "minimalist". There's a logic to every single thing that happens in SZ, but if things aren't making sense to people, I might need to totally change how I'm doing things.

</derail> Coming up, I've got huge robot soldiers that I need to design, photograph and introduce. I've never done anything this hardcore, so I'm doing tons of research on small human/big robot fighting to try to wrap my head around getting things right and hopefully doing things that haven't been done before.
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Stef

http://sarahzero.com
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