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How-to Dios
Old 09-08-2008, 07:16 PM #1
aka 'Paul WS Anderson' ;)
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Default How-to Dios

Sonneilonís style of doing dios.

This is how I do things. NOT that you have to, but you gotta know that a lot of people do worseÖ

1. Have an idea in your head of a story. I donít script it out. Thatíd be too much like writing for me.

1a. Consult with friends whether the concept is sound or just lame. When you start shooting, bounce off teasers to gauge reaction.

2. Pick your characters. The characters need to cater to the story. IF you want a story in the jungle or desert, you probably donít need WINTERIZED soldiers running around. Also, donít try to do too much. If you are doing said scenario, donít throw down ARCTIC scenes unless you REALLY know what you are doing.

3. Find locations to shoot. Iíve skateboard and snowboarded for over 20 years. Itís no secret that us boarder-types see the world differently. Walk by a bank (slanted hill; concrete), you might think nothing of it. But Iíll want to hit that on a skateboard. Same with snowboarding. We see kickers where the average skier wouldnít. The MORE exotic the location the better.

3a. Get used to manipulating the viewersí perspective. What might look like a crap location, close in on it and make it believable as something entirely different. Scale comes into play. Sometimes, the scale wonít work. What looks great for 8Ē (Sigma6) wonít work for 1/18Ē inch and etc. Iíve run into this many times where I find THE greatest spot just for it to fail for one of the scales.

4. Understand basic photography. Shoot under the manual settings so you can play with framerate and whatnot. THIS can turn a yellow picture from indoor shooting in a natural light setting. The slower the framerate, the more real it looks. Faster framerates mean there is more light available.

4a. Understand that cropping can change the feel and look of the shot. Do you REALLY need all that extra Ďstuffí in the shot? This falls under manipulating the shot. I believe it was the 1st part of ďHUNT FOR SONNEILONĒ where I shot under a foot bridge. I didnít let the viewer see what wasnít needed so it looked like the Ďold metal factoryí that I wanted. For the Crankcase & Lady Jaye part of ďHUNTĒ, I made sure NOBODY saw what I was really shooting on!

4b. Understand perspective. Take MULTIPLE damn shots! From various angles. Donít POST every damn angle. Use the best one.

5. If the shot is to your liking, you crop the shot to what you want. THEN you resize. Resize something manageable. What good is a 600x800 shot if it has a ton of crap you donít need? Is it a scenery shot or a close up? Whereís the focus of the shot??? RESIZE!!!

5a. If you are using Comic Book Creator (CBC), it can be difficult. All I know is that the edition I had was crap. All my shots were 1000xWhatever. The CBC would do all the work BUT you gotta try and put that shot into a specific sized frame which means, you can lose a lot that you want to keep due to CBC cropping the shot before you!

5b. If you are working with just normal shots viewed thru Windows Slide Show (like me), then you gotta know that you gotta play with picture size. 600x800 is USUALLY the largest. To make the viewer scroll around, itís not fair cuz the viewer loses the energy and the feel of the shot. My large shots are 600x800 and then I work smaller! THIS way of working is AGAINST the average manipulator because a lot of people like to work with a LARGE palette when adding fx and whatnot. I like to work on a small scale and this is whyÖ

5c. IF the shot is too dark, try lightening it. If itís too light, darken it. Play with brightness and contrast. Some shots can be saved this way. However, you want to keep a certain consistency in the story and if comes from light to dark to light with no reasonÖ Well, you just lost the viewer.

6. This is up for discussion. Throw down effects first or throw in the word balloons? I personally do word balloons first cuz the story has to come first. We arenít animated and we arenít quite comic. We are using figures that have static facial expressions which means, unless you are GOOD, you canít tell anger from sadness on a figure (easily). I do STORY and monologue/dialogue first then effects. Or I junk the text and just do action. BTW, this also includes when you cut n paste stuff to create a whole new shotÖ

7. THIS part is really tough. KNOW what you are gonna use for text in the shot. CATER the cropping and sizing to what needs to be said. There is nothing worse than making the shot too small to make the word balloon work right. MAKE the balloon size to what you think will work for you. Too often, us viewers see word balloons TOO BIG for the text involved. I tend to throw down what I ASSUME is about right and then fill it up. Get used to adapting to making things work. It is very annoying and frustrating and THAT is the ONLY reason why a script is needed.

My dios can be very wordy because Iím trying to get a lot of information across. BUT at times, I make the balloons too big and being too lazy, I wonít go back to the original shot and fix it. Iíll fill the balloon up instead. At the same time, I havenít made balloons big enough!

7a. Keep in mind, DONíT let the word balloons cover TOO MUCH of the character speaking OR the action. Comic books often have this problem, not us dioists. I admit, Iíve had to cover up MORE of the figure than I like on many occasions.

8. USE a consistent TEXT size. I tend to use a 10pt. IF they are shouting, Iíll use capitals. IF itís that emotionally charged, then yes, go bigger. But donít do 10 pt in 1 frame and then 18 in another. It makes no sense and throws off the reader. TRY to use the same FONT too. PICK ONE! I use Comic Sans MS for all talking. Bookman Old Style for explosions. And if the character is weird (like Zartan), Iíll use Chiller. I try to keep myself limited on FONTS to keep things consistent. (My Overkill uses Chiller too)

9. Once you get the whole text balloon thing figured out, then deal with effects. I canít go into detail about this because this is a whole Ďnother area. Itís about a toy figure kicking another. Or punching. Or the blades of a helicopter. Whatever. Donít look at me. Iím still learning. This is from cut n pasting on to a new background to adding lighting effects.

10. Get used to SAVING a lot. Layers? EACH text should be a separate layer. EACH fx addition should be a layer.

11. Letís get anal here. Some say, ĎSAVE YOUR ORIGINAL SHOTS!Ē Some say, ďSAVE YOUR LAYERS!Ē I donít know. Not usually. If Iím done with the shot, Iíll lose the originals. I almost NEVER save the layers.

11a. Create a SPECIFIC folder for your dio. Create a specific folder for 1-shots. Donít lose your work in a folder you canít remember. Keep a MISC, UNUSED, ORIGINAL and ďFULLĒ folder. ďFULLĒ refers to the actual dio and nothing else.

11b. NUMBER the damn shots! If you donít number them right off the bat, are YOU going to remember which shot is which months later??? How about sending them to someone out of order?

11c. Title pages are nice. Depending on how you want your workÖ I have a page that has WHO did it, then the title page then the story. For those of you who got an actual copy (as opposed to viewing it on the internet), Sonneilon Studios Presents GI Joe is actually the 1st shot. Iíve done more complicated versions in the past and trust me, itís a headache.

11d. Find someone who can host them OR use a free hosting site. IF you use a hosting site (, then make a specific Ďalbumí for the dio. Otherwise, anything else in that album could get lost in the shuffle. Whereís the story start or end before we run into OTHER pictures that have NOTHING to do with the story???

12. These are just basics of doing a dio. How you end up doing it, itís all you. But just know, these are pretty normal methods and just following this little list, itíll turn a not-so-hot dio into a pretty nice. Remember, itís mostly about manipulation of the viewerís eye. Fool the viewer into what you want them to see. Just like the Harry Potter movies & books!
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