Daily Archives: February 8, 2010
3D CG Art webcomics. Brrrrrrr!!!!
The very term sends shivers down the spines of right-thinking webcomic readers and reviewers alike. In the past, I’ve mocked pixel art and stick figure comics as the aesthetic nadir of webcomics. However, no one practicing these two “art forms” ever tries to convince the readers that the artwork is actually good, and the good webcomics compensate fairly well with writing. I don’t know if you can ever make the same excuse for CG art, because in this case the art itself will always be front and center. So I’m not exagerrating when I say that 3D CG Art webcomics, hands down, are the worst looking webcomics EVER.
It’s counterintuitive, because 3D animation does pretty well with respect to movies. It’s gotten so mainstream that we can ignore the technical nuts and bolts and focus on the content… like how both Up and Avatar are both nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Motion Picture and not just for the technical categories. Unfortunately, your average webcomic creator doesn’t have access to James Cameron money, and, as a result, the stuff coming out of their cheap-o 3D programs is the epitome of terrible.
When you think 3D CG art webcomics, you think dead, unemotional faces. Eyes not fully lodged in their sockets. Stiff marionette poses. Plastic skin textures. On one hand, you have waifish and impossibly smooth 3D Poser lookalikes with slightly different hairstyles. On the other hand, you have the “artists” who put so little effort in their work that they’re basically just captioned screenshots from Sims 3 and Team Fortress 2.
Given that you work with 3D stuff, I’m guessing you should already be familiar with the Uncanny Valley Syndrome…. I think this is the biggest obstacle you are going to have to overcome. People are weird with regards to this thing. The more realistic the art looks, the less they tend to like it. Especially if it’s 3D. I experienced a little bit of this when I started reading your comic, it took a couple of chapters before I could stop feeling uncomfortable about it.
So why am I so keen on reviewing Scott Christian Sava’s The Dreamland Chronicles, a webcomic full of 3D artwork? Chalk it up to an ineffable curiosity and an unshakable faith that any medium can be tamed by a good storyteller. Can the worst artform in webcomics be redeemed by a skillful artist? Or can an artform be so bad that all it can deliver is migraines? Will The Dreamland Chronicles forever be doomed to wander the Uncanny Valley as well?