Episode 604 - Stylised reality

Oct 10, 2022

When creating fiction we always have to stylise experience in many and various ways in order to communicate with the viewer in a way that's meaningful to them because it's usually impossible to simply show them the exact reality of something and expect that same meaning to carry through.

Topics and Show Notes

A great example is a fight scene: when you're involved in a fight or close to it, it can be pretty affecting. Your body releases adrenaline, your pupils widen to take in as much as possible, your brain is on high alert so it narrows in on just the action and notices everything that it can, this makes time seem to slow and fight last much longer than it actually does. To the person involved or the close spectator everything is more dangerous, epic, and impactful. However, to a more distant viewer the fight is over in seconds, it probably seemed silly, stupid, even embarrassing and pathetic. So as a creator we have a whole bag of tricks available to us to convey the feelings of the participant or close observer to the audience- we slow down the action a LOT by making the fight last 10x times longer, we zoom in on the fighters, we zoom in on the fist that's doing the punching, we add SFX, VFX, tone and colour and a million other things.

That's just one example, most of reality has to be stylised in various ways in order for it to translate to a viewer in the way the creator intends. And we have many ways of doing this, some more extreme than others. Musicals for example are highly stylised but the singing and dancing is generally not just for show, it communicates meaning just like the rest of the less flamboyant parts of the story. Even something like a documentary, reality TV or a sports broadcast have to stylise reality in a way to more effectively communicate and engage with viewers; through camera angles, clever editing, cutting etc. Pretty much nothing is simply presented as is.

This is the reason I defend the art of Rob Liefeld: objectively it does not depict reality, he puts giant shoulder-pads on characters, too many pouches in silly places, too many teeth in grins, broken backed bum-popping women, huge nonsense guns that are just random assemblages of tubes with a handle and trigger, anatomy that has only a passing acquaintance with the human form- And yet it's not what the art shows, it's about what it evokes in its communication with the viewer. The bum-popping women mean “sex appeal”, huge guns mean destructive potential, giant should-pads equal power and strength, pouches equal action, toothy grins mean determination of purpose. All these things communicate directly with the viewer without having to be spelled out, and in the 1990s that was very successful for him!

I think it's very important to understand the stylisations we have to learn to use in order to properly translate our meanings to our audiences. Not just for comics but for books, movies, plays etc. Reality is never presented directly, not even in news broadcasts or 3D VR, or security footage, it's always stylised and modified in some way.

This week Gunwallace has given us a theme to AGENCY - High up in a helicopter, swooping in over a vast metropolis. Endless rows of buildings fly by underneath. Sophistication, towering glass skyscrapers, vast canyons of concrete and steel… It’s music for the big, cold city. Pulsing 80s synth tracks.


Topics and shownotes

Featured comic:
Drunk Duck Awards 2022 - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2022/oct/04/featured-comic-drunk-duck-awards-2022/

Featured music:
AGENCY - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/AGENCY/. - by JediAnn Solo, rated T.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
PIT FACE - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/

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Episode 600 - AI is bad at art

Sep 12, 2022

3 likes, 6 comments

here's a lot of buzz about so called AI generated art at the moment using programs like Dall-E, Neural blender, Dream studio lite and so on. People use text prompts, i.e. “flying clockwork fish balloon” and the AI generates “art” based upon that. It usually does this by using actual art and photography created by real people, and visually mixing them to create a new image. Some results are much better than others.

Episode 596 - Leadership!

Aug 15, 2022

5 likes, 2 comments

Leaders are not born, they're created… literally in the case of fiction, created by creators of comics, books, movies, and other media! For this Quackcast I was inspired by two things: a video on Leader Characters by the satirical YouTube channel Terrible Writing Advice, and the Disney movie Lightyear, in which the lone wolf classical hero figure learns how to lead.

Episode 594 - Grow up! Or don't...

Jul 31, 2022

5 likes, 1 comment

The Manchild can be a fun character or they can be pathetic. They're a staple of comedies because they're an adult that gets to act immature and childish, without the restraint and responsibilities imposed by adulthood. This can make a great contrast; “The adult man acting like an immature child”, John C Riley and Will Farrel have always done that extremely well, as did Chris Farley back in the 90s. It can be be portrayed as pathetic and sad when the person can't seem to be able grow up or take on any responsibilities. They're often characterised by people with “childish” interests, like the cast of the Big Bang Theory, or with a childlike love of something like sports like Kevin in Kevin can F Himself.

Episode 592 - Back in MY day!

Jul 18, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

History is happening faster now. With the growth of universal high speed communication and cheap world travel, culture and technology move at unprecedented speeds. Because of these factors the rate of change is different to what it was at any time in the past. This is an objective and verifiable truth rather than subjective perception: the current speed and quality of global communication has never been possible before and that has ramifications for how the world changes.

Episode 590 - Fave Superhero Movies?

Jul 4, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

I wanted to do an easy and fun one this week and just chat about our fave superhero movies, starting with our firsts! For me and Banes it was Superman with Christopher Reeve. It's a real classic, full of positivity, hope, and optimism, all with bright colours and classic iconic imagery… In that way it's a bit like many of the Marvel films and the more popular DC offerings like Aquaman and WonderWoman, but without the overbuilt and over-defined muscles!

Episode 588 - Revisiting Old Ideas

Jun 20, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

Sometimes it's worth revisiting old ideas because you can do them better or explore them deeper. This could be in the form of a full reboot, or it could be as simple as reusing a pose in a panel or using the same theme again like Pixar does with 90% of their output i.e. “coming of age”. Like them you don't need to feel obligated to always do something totally original, revisiting old ideas is a great way to refine them, create better work, or explore different aspects of them you hadn't considered before and put new and interesting spins on things. Consider that Pixar's Turning Red, Encanto, Moana, Coco, The Incredibles 2, Ratatouille, Inside Out, Brave, Onward, and Luca all share the same “coming of age/childhood independence” theme and yet all do it in unique and original ways, exploring different aspects of the idea from all sorts of angles.

Episode 586 - Working with disability

Jun 6, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

How do you keep on with your creative output when something happens to you? When you lose function or are impaired in some way, how do you adapt or relearn so you can keep on as you were before? Maybe you can't and have to change to another medium that's a better fit for your abilities? Comic creator Bravo1102 once talked about how he moved from drawing to using action figures to make his comics partially because of his eyesight. My own eyesight has suddenly started to go bad and I'm having to adapt to that, and Tantz tells us how her deteriorating eyesight forced her to work digitally.


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