Posted January 24, 2012

Over the past several months, making art in POV-Ray has become a hobby of mine, displacing perhaps more useful ways to spend my time, such as playing computer games or (god forbid) working in the lab more than I already do. The idea of making a webcomic out of my POV-Ray images has come up several times, but now I'm actually sort of going through with that idea. Hopefully it is not a huge mistake.

My original idea for the webcomic was to write about funny things that occur in the lab. The first six comics I've written fit this pattern. After realizing that following this pattern I'd run out of ideas quickly, and probably produce a webcomic that isn't very funny, I've decided to take it in a different route, which should become apparent as the comic runs its course.

As for the art, I use POV-Ray 3.6 to generate the scenes, and Poser 2010 to generate the human characters. After generating the scenes (with characters) in POV-Ray, I use ImageMagick to combine the frames into the form of the comic strip (as well as add the title), and I use Inkscape to add the quote bubbles.

POV-Ray is capable of generating far better images than I am currently capable of producing with it (for some examples of what POV-Ray can do, go to their website and click on "Hall of Fame"). Part of this is that I still have much to learn about generating realistic scenes -- something I hope to improve with time. Another limitation is that the most realistic images take a very long time to render. Between work (which takes up most of my time), and keeping to an update schedule for my comic, spending weeks generating one image is unrealistic.

As for the update schedule for my comic, at first I'm going to go by the rule of thumb suggested by Jeph Jacques, author of Questionable Content: update one fewer time per week than you think you can do. I could reasonably do two comics per week (assuming I only spend a lot of time on it on Saturdays). So, for now I'm planning on updating once per week, on Sunday nights. If my queue ends up getting longer (it is currently five comic strips), then I may increase it to twice a week.