Hat Check Kelly - JJE McManus
With a 25 years career in Digital Imaging, JJE McManus
has always been wandering around the edges of sequential art.
JJE kindly provides us with a sneak preview of his latest creation, Hat Check Kelly: The Streets of Evangeline!
The characters for this new creation were entirely setup in Poser and then imported into Vue to add a realistic 3D environments. Final rendering was done entirely in Vue.
Famous Long Ago: the Genesis!Four years ago, JJE was thinking of starting a new project, based on a comic-strip format. He came up with a catch phrase that worked very well in placing an image into people's mind, he says with a big grin: "Hat Check Kelly has a dress slit up to here!". He adds: "It seems that everyone has an image of how high up "here" is!"
JJE created the very first HCK image using Strata. The response was fantastic, and from there started the original novella: Hat Check Kelly: Famous Long Ago
the original HCK: Famous Long Ago
"Hat Check Kelly: Famous Long Ago" was serialized monthly on the Internet, four pages at a time.
The whole comic is a medley of Strata interiors, Poser renders and many hours of post-working with Photoshop.
"It took well over a year to produce just under 40 pages and truly wore me out.
I was convinced that the technology just wasn't there to allow me to realize the images I had in mind," said JJE.
JJE works on Macintosh computers. "Back then, Vue was only available for PC users but I was keeping a keen eye on that application as it sounded like it could be the solution to all my problems. Vue's ability to import native Poser figures was a killer for me!".
When e-on finally announced Vue for the Mac OSX platform, JJE jumped on it: "I bought Vue 4 as soon as it was released, banged around inside the interface learning it, and started scripting the novel".
The Streets of EvangelineThis time, JJE wanted to create an entire novella rather than serializing it bit by bit. "That was very ambitious and there's no way I could have done it without Vue!"
"I finished the very first Vue render of HCK: The Street of Evangeline two years ago."
The Plot"The Streets of Evangeline" is a 3D film noir graphic mystery series based on the original characters from the first novella..
The story mainly takes place in Lousiana, in the New Orleans surroundings.
Accompanied by Nicky, her sharp blonde receptionist, Sei'Ku Kelly embarks on an adventure that reaches from the glamor of the Vue Carré to the haunted wildness of bayou country.
As the list of bodies begins to grow and suspicion falls on Kelly herself, Kelly and Nicky must unmask a plot that reaches all the way to Washigton.
But what if, when you uncover the truth, you doom a dear friend?
The HCK Characters
From left to right: Sei'ku Kelly, Nicky Belmont and Cee Cee Galjour.
Sei'ku Kelly - Rescued from the war-torn streets of Singapore as a child, brought to Boston and raised fighting crime in the shadow of her hero Cornelius "Hat Check" Kelly.
Nicky Belmont - One of Kelly's first clients. Nicky is a bit flighty. She never was able to pay Kelly so she volunteered to be the secretary/receptionist at K&K.
CeeCee Galjour - Born and raised in the bayous of Louisiana. Her mother is serving time in St. Gabriel's Woman's Reformatory for murder. She's way too fun to watch so I'm not going to let you know too much about her right now.
Following are 3 sample pages taken from "Hat Check Kelly: The Streets Of Evangeline":
The whole story is 216 pages long. Thanks to Vue, the whole story was complete in only two years! That's more than 1500 individual Vue renders including over 3500 Poser PZ3 files!
"My poor Vue Scene library and Object library is a mess, let me tell you!" says JJE laughing!
The original HCK novella incorporated the skills and talents of over fifty members of the online 3D community. The current novel likely exceeds that.
Future PlansHCK3 is already in production using Vue 5 Esprit. It will be smaller (around 100 pages). The main theme will probably be something along the lines of "Murder on the Orient Express".
Production started end of Q3 2004. "I'm very excited to be using Vue 5 Esprit for Hat Check Kelly 3: the feature set is truly amazing. Once you get to Vue, you can never go back!", explains JJE.
HCK4 is in the early stages of pre-production.
From now what we can tell is that the story would appear as an important human rights story that needs to be told.
JJE would like to make the fourth iteration a huge story, somewhere around 500 pages, but he'll need help from other artists to complete this crusade.
So, if you're interested, contact him directly on the official HCK website!
What Is JJE Graphics?
Why JJE McManus Prefers Vue?
Check out Hat Check Kelly's web pages here.
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