Pages 65, 67, 68, 69, and THE SUFFERING behind the scenes.

note to self: NEVER do that again.

Usually, I draw animation and layer effects frame by frame, which helps control the amount of frames where something happens. Sometimes I slap animation effects across the entire timeline for a layer or a group of layers - this helps make animation more smooth, but I also have to keep it ridiculously short to make files smaller. Then I export files as a gif, which is usually slightly under 2 MB, and an mp4 file, which is usually around ~100 KB. (I post webm and mp4 files and use gif as a fallback on dreamdb, and I post only gifs on Tapas.)

Usually. But not with this page. This time I thought: "Why not make a static jpeg and apply effects in Sony Vegas". Ooooh boy, never again.

Basically, the original image was this:

I blurred RGB channels a little and took it to Sony Vegas like this:

Buttons were pressed, and the final render was nearly 8 MB (too big!). After a series of unsuccessful compression attempts I shank it to 373 KB (OK).

The gif? If I had converted the first video, I'd never be able to use that gif. It'd be around 16 MB for the first file and ~4MB for the second. I needed to stay within the 2 MB, so I had to select a few frames and make a gif in Photoshop. And I still needed to mercilessly rob the output of at least a half of its colors and add more noise.

The result was this

The original video file is attached, download it to see the striking difference.

I was hoping to use this blurry video effect for some of the pages, it looks exactly how I want it in the video. Too bad making all those gifs and mp4s out of it is really not as simple as drawing effects by myself, so I needed to figure out how to fake this one.

File size of the videos I'd done for tests before should've been a warning sign. It was clear as day even back then that using Sony Vegas could never be a good solution in this situation. Ah, well, goddamn constraints. I guess, if I'm ever to make a video of some sort where I need these effects, this knowledge could be useful. Otherwise, eff it. Not for a webcomic.


So, taking into account what had just happened, I tried to minimize the damage when I made these pages.

67 was a short animation created in Clip Studio and effects added using Sony Vegas still, but thanks to the fact that not the entire area of each frame moved files were much smaller. This time mp4 was at 2,36 MB. I compressed it to 450 KB. I attached the file without the effect (67clip). The one with, 67vegas, is literally the same as in the story before further compression. You can compare the two.

For 68, I basically took a couple of frames from 67 where the eye-shaped blur effect moved, erased the middle and the bottom part with arms, and put them above the new animation:

I did everything in CSP. Files turned out to be big only because it's a longer animation (the gif above is only a half of it). So, that was totally expected.

69 was also done in CSP with the same layers on top. But this time there was no need to move the camera, so I added a couple of color effects since I could afford increasing the size a little. As a result, I stayed within my usual limits AND used the effect.


Moral of the story: the less frames, the better. Nicer, smoother animations are always bigger in size, and I don't want that, even if it looks fantastic. Because I'll be biting my nails up to elbows trying to make a gif out of that.

One thing has occured to me much later and I feel SO DUMB for not thinking about this right away: I could've done some of these things in Animate. Literally. Use the thing that used to be Flash. HTML5 + .js files are so much smaller. I made a mental note, and I'm going to try this later.