1. What editing software do you use? Especially with respect to special effects, etc.
2. How do you get all the frames the same size without stretching or distorting the images?
3. Any other tips related to this?
I've got a few amateur previews of my in progress one...
I wrote my opening crawl today! Please let me know what you think. Also some unedited preview shots to build hype.
The year is 2227. It has been 48 years since the events on LV-426 and the destruction of Hadley's Hope. Lieutenant Ellen Ripley was killed on Fiorina "Fury" 161 while attempting to put an end to the Xenomorph menace once and for all. Corporal Dwayne Hicks survived his encounter on LV-426 and the USS. Sulaco respectively. The Marine has since been debriefed, recieved numerous commendations, and put on ice for the last several decades.
Weyland-Yutani has continued their research and development on weaponizing the Xenomorph species. They successfully recovered a Royal Facehugger egg from the derelict spacecraft on LV-426 and transported it to their most advanced research facility. The creature was successfully bred in captivity and molted into a successful Queen specimen. She has since created her own brood under the constant supervision and security of scientists and hired mercenaries.
However, not everything would go according to plan...
The Xenomorphs broke containment and caused the facility to go into lockdown and issue an emergency rescue broadcast. This subsequently resulted in the dispatch of the refurbished USS. Sulaco and her regiment of Colonial Marines. It also caught the attention of another threat...Shrouded in mystery, travelers of both time and space. The Yautja ("Predators") exist to hunt as warriors adhering to a strict moral code: where defeat is equal to death. Glory is obtained by hunting the most ferocious and dangerous prey in the universe...
Each species will meet their collective destiny on the surface of the jungle planet LV-742. It is abundant in resources and ancient ruins alike...
For my DSA Toy theater I use Photo Explosion, MS paint, and paint.net. Photoshop is waaaay out of my price range. I tried to use its free version; GIMP, but daaaaamn, does that critter have a steep learning curve. Way too complicated of a proggy for simple web comics. There are professional comic making software, but they aren't cheap by any means. And the free comics software out there is crap or kiddie fare. Check out paint.net. It's free, easy to learn, and not as complicated as Photoshop or GIMP. I tried the free trial version of Coreldraw, but I was unimpressed with it.
Deslock - thanks for the feedback my dude! I'm gonna look into it and see what I can come up with. I really am happy with the pictures I've been taking, because they accurately have the feel I'm going for. Just need some old fashioned editing to get the job done. Hopefully my plot isn't cringeworthy...?
Kalakta, the supreme leader of Yautja Prime (the "Predator" homeworld), also known as the "Grand Elder", "Clan Leader" has ruled for centuries and is proven to be the wisest and strongest amongst all Elders. His superior hunting record, fighting skill, and great cunning are legendary, earning him the highest position in Yauja society. Assassination attempts and tribal uprisings are commonplace for Kalakta, but he has proved to be an invulnerable force, earning the respect of his people and striking fear into those who oppose him. He is rarely seen by his subjects and stories have grown from what little is known of him. He is said to be immortal, possessing abnormal strength and abilities, and many believe that his mechanical tendrils are sentient beings under his divine control. These tales have yet to be disproved. He is thousands of years old and recounts a time when the Yautja were locked in a war with a species much more ancient than humans, Xenomorph, or the Yautja themselves: The Drukathi.
The "New" Lost Tribe
Dhi'rauta, Known as "Greyback" or "Golden Angel" is an elder of the Lost Tribe. He has hunted on Earth for centuries. Greyback first visited Earth in 1718, when he encountered pirate captain Raphael Adolini and assisted him in fending off his mutinous crew. At the end of the deadly battle, Adolini gifted the Predator with his flintlock pistol before succumbing to a gunshot wound. Greyback then buried the captain and gifted the dead man with his otherworldly sword.
Greyback returned to Earth, along with a small hunting party, in 1997. Even though there were a few members within his gang, only one actually actively hunted the armed citizens in Los Angeles. Greyback presumably watched the duel between LAPD detective Mike Harrigan and the City Hunter without interfering. After the latter was defeated in hand-to-hand combat aboard their ship, Greyback and the rest of the hunting party surrounded him. Contrary to Harrigan's expectations, they did not attack, but rather carried away their fallen comrade's body. Before Greyback himself left, he gave to Harrigan Adolini's flintlock pistol as a trophy, signifying the respect he held for the man who had defeated one of his ilk in a fair fight. Greyback and the others then left Earth on the ship with their dead comrade.
In the year 2227, Greyback continues to lead Un-blooded Yautja in the pursuit of the hunt once more...
Yin'tekai, or better known as "Shaman" harbors a close relationship with both Greyback and Clan Leader, guiding the "New" Lost Clan as their spiritual adviser. Shaman and his clan mates confronted Detective Harrigan aboard their ship after he defeated the City Hunter in a hand-to-hand duel. Knowing Harrigan had won an honorable battle, they spared him, collecting the City Hunter's body before the party's leader Greyback honored the detective with an ancient flintlock pistol. Harrigan escaped the ship before Shaman and the other Predators left Earth. A notable trait was his longer dreadlocks and few beads compared to his clan-mates. Shaman closely follows a prophecy from the God Paya, who tells of a noble warrior leader of the Yautja, who was among the first to hunt the kiande amedha ("hard meat" known as the Xenomorphs). His tomb is lost to memory and time...
Gahn'tha-cte known as "The New Way Devil" or "Scarface" is an elite hunter. He first came to Earth in 1930 to conduct a hunt in New Way City. Despite being an experienced warrior, the hunt was a failure that led to his technology falling into the hands of humans, a disgrace for which he was banished by his clan. A century later he returned to New Way City, now called Neonopolis, to redeem himself and regain his honor.
Scarface slaughtered the street gangs of Neonopolis, who had adopted Yautja technology to create advanced weapons and defensive technology of their own. He ultimately took revenge on those responsible for his downfall by slaughtering the entire Borgia crime family.
He has since left the Dark Blade Clan and has chosen to follow the "New" Lost Clan in their most recent hunt, acting as a role model and teacher to the Un-Blooded Yautja who have yet to face the kiande amedha.
Nracha-dte or better known as "Snake" or "Shadow," he and his clan mates were mostly absent from the conflict in Los Angeles during 1997, but they confronted Harrigan aboard their ship after he defeated the City Hunter in a hand-to-hand duel. Seeing that Harrigan had won an honorable battle, they spared him, collecting the City Hunter's body while the party's leader Greyback honored the detective with an ancient flintlock pistol. Harrigan escaped the ship before the Predators left Earth. A notable trait is his shorter hair and animal furs that adorn his armor/gear. He utilizes more primitive forms of technology and hunting methods. He prefers the combistick and smart disc during his hunts. By blood, Snake is also a member of the Serpent Clan.
He has taken to being a disciple of his younger brother, "Viper" who is Blooded. Snake is to undertake the right of passage and hunt the kiande amedha.
Thar'n-dha or commonly known as "Viper" is the leader of the notorious Serpent Clan, known throughout the Yautja underworld as the most skilled and brutal group of mercenaries. This clan includes his older brother, Snake Predator. Specializing in Xenomorph hunts and the occasional clan war, Viper and his crew have but one code to follow: finish every job.
When not on a mission, he has been known to target those possessing valuable tech or honor trophies, which are used for bartering or kept for the next job. Viper sometimes works with Greyback on hunts. In return, the Serpent Clan receives weapons, bio-gear to endure jobs on foreign planets. He has also been known on occasion to help Enforcers track down Bad Bloods in exchange for immunity from various crimes. Viper is one of the few Yautja to not use a cloaking device and opts to duel-wield wrist blades in addition to his plasma caster.
Known simply as "Bhu'ja" or "Ghost" having narrowly escaped a Super Predator raid on his village, Ghost has used his "presumed dead" status to his advantage. He has devoted his life to systematically diminishing the entire race of those responsible for the death of his people. Living in complete solitude, Ghost has taught himself extreme focus and patience, often scouting Super Predator tributes for weeks before a calculated strike. Using specialized thermal dampening netting, he is only seen seconds before a kill. This has caused him to become a subject of Super Predator lore a "boogieman" (Bhu'ja) whom his targets fear. The psychological advantage gives Ghost an edge in combat, as his opponents are often fear-stricken upon seeing him. His plasma caster is only for defense. Ghost prefers the death blow of a combistick or smart disc, ensuring that his prey see him at their moment of death.
Ghost has left his status of solitude after being accepted into the "New" Lost Tribe clan. He hunts as an Elite, mentoring Un-Blooded Yautja and attaining further glory.
Xer'atul, also known as "Borg" or "Lost." Borg and his clan mates were generally absent from the conflict in Los Angeles in 1997. However, they confronted Harrigan aboard their ship after he defeated the City Hunter in a hand-to-hand duel. Knowing Harrigan had won an honorable battle, they spared him, collecting the City Hunter's body while the party's leader Greyback honored the detective with an ancient flintlock pistol. Harrigan escaped the ship before Borg and the other Yautja left earth. In the subsequent time since, Borg has assimilated his role in the "New" Lost Tribe as an honorable but silent warrior. He is different than most other Yautja and prefers to use a large plasma-heated sword in combat. He also makes use of his plasma caster and Shurikens. From time to time, he has been known to work with Viper in the fulfillment of mercenary contracts in the Yautja underworld.
Name: Dwayne Hicks
Affiliation: United States Colonial Marines
Unit: 2nd Marine Battalion, Bravo Squad; later reassigned to 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, Delta Squad
Combat Specialization: Rifleman/CQC
Historical background: He was a member of the combat unit deployed to LV-426 aboard the USS Sulaco in 2179, to investigate the sudden loss of contact with the colony of Hadley's Hope. He was subsequently involved in combating the Xenomorph infestation at the colony. Hicks was the sole survivor of all Marine personnel dispatched to the planet; he escaped with Lieutenant Ellen Ripley, Rebecca "Newt" Jorden, and Bishop II following the failed mission.
As the sole ranking Marine aboard the Sulaco, Hicks was awoken from hypersleep by colonists Samwell Stone and Turk who were seeking military aid due to an emergency — the ship had been intercepted by the USS Legato and illegally boarded by Weyland-Yutani PMCs. A firefight with the PMCs erupted in the hypersleep chamber, during which a stray bullet grazed the Facehugger attached to Ripley, spilling its blood onto the floor and triggering an electrical fire aboard the ship, leading to the evacuation of the occupied hypersleep chambers aboard a Type 337 EEV. Before the EEV launched, Turk was knocked into Hicks' open cryotube and sealed inside, and was subsequently launched aboard the departing EEV.
Hicks could only watch as Ripley — and the Facehugger attached to her — was loaded into the EEV and launched from the Sulaco. Hicks and Stone then fought their way through the Sulaco, killing most of the PMCs and Xenomorphs aboard the ship, before taking a Service Skiff and following the EEV to the Fiorina 161 Class C Work Correctional Unit on Fiorina "Fury" 161. Unbeknownst to Hicks and Stone, however, the EEV malfunctioned and crash landed on Fiorina 161, killing Turk and Newt and damaging Bishop beyond repair. As the injuries to Turk's corpse rendered him unidentifiable, he was mistaken for Hicks. As such, Hicks' death was included in a report to Weyland-Yutani by the facility's supervisor Superintendent Andrews, and Hicks was listed as officially K.I.A.. He was "posthumously" awarded a Distinguished Service Medal for outstanding bravery for his actions on LV-426. Turk's body was later cremated with Newt on Fiorina 161.
After a 2-day trip, Hicks and Stone arrived just in time to see Ripley sacrifice herself to prevent Michael Bishop from obtaining the Queen Chestburster specimen within her. Hicks fell to his knees in despair, as he and Stone were captured by Weyland-Yutani Commandos. After being captured by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation Hicks was taken back to LV-426 where he was tortured for information regarding the mission to Hadley's Hope and the Xenomorphs.
Hicks managed to escape from Weyland-Yutani custody by overthrowing his captors and stealing a shuttle. He made it back to Colonial space and returned to the USCM. Hicks was promptly debriefed about his mission, the crew's disappearance, and awarded numerous commendations for his combat excellence. In his post-mission psychological examination, it was revealed that he was suffering from extreme PTSD associated with the events he had experienced fighting the Xenomorphs. Hicks also had several facial reconstruction surgeries to repair the damage done to his face by molecular acid. Corporal Hicks was subsequently placed into stasis and awoken several decades later to find he was needed once again to combat the Xenomorph threat...
Historical background: Sergeant Windrix is an experienced Marine, having seen many combat deployments all over Colonial space. Windrix was promoted through the ranks as a non-commissioned officer. He has faced marauders, pirates, and insurrectionists on many occasion. He has a passion for leadership and always puts the men and women under his command ahead of himself. In the events after LV-426, the USCM has increased training and protocol regarding Xenomorphs and alien lifeforms. Most of this has come from the information provided by Corporal Hicks and the combat footage from the mission to Hadley's Hope.
Historical background: Doyle is a brand new graduate from the USCM cadet program at Camp Pendleton. Doyle is an expert in several technical and mechanical fields, born into a rich family. Building things and tinkering with machines were the only "happy memory" he had of his childhood. Doyle is hardly ever seen without his welding goggles on his head and has brought up a joke in his squad that they are permanently welded in place because he is such a "tech-head." Doyle does not have much combat experience, only having one prior deployment against insurrectionists in the outer colonies.
Historical background: Known for her bright blue dyed highlights, Malcolm has served in Delta Squad for several combat deployments. On her very first deployment fighting insurrectionists in the outer colonies, her entire squad was killed and she received severe injuries. As such, she has had several skin graphs and a long rehabilitation period before returning to combat. She has always acted as a Smartgun Operator and has a very confrontational personality. She has an extremely strict physical fitness regimen that she follows religiously and practices close quarters combat training when ever possible. She has a soft spot for art and heavy metal music.
Name: Lance Bishop III
Rank: Synthetic Technician
Unit: 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, Delta Squad
Combat Specialization: None/Unarmed; Can interface with computer programs and remotely pilot vehicles.
Historical background: Lance Bishop III is a Hyperdyne Systems, model 341-B, synthetic technician with the United States Colonial Marine Corps, assigned to 1st Battalion, Delta Squad aboard the USS. Sulaco. While not being the original Bishop model android, he does possess some of the collective knowledge experienced by prior model 341-B synthetics. As a technician, Bishop was not part of the squad's combat personnel, although he used his non-combat skills to aid them by supplying first aid and resupply for all squad members. Bishop per his programming is unable to use weapons or harm another human being.
"Bad Blood" Yautja Clan; ic'jit-Tal Cenatu
(which translates to Bad Blood Followers of The Black Hunter Cenatu, the Yautja god of death)
Disgraced Hunter, Ma'lash-Urr
Ma'Lash-Urr was disgraced from his former tribe (The Jungle Hunters) because of his reckless, violent tendencies. He would hunt unarmed or disabled prey, contrary to whether they posed a threat or not; his murderous tendencies continued and evolved to the point where they were more aligned to a serial killer than a skilled and honorable warrior. Considered by many to be mentally unstable and totally unhinged, he does not abide by the strict Honor Code of the Yautja. As punishment for his severe crimes, he was branded with the mark of ic'jit on his forehead and chest to forever mark him as a heretic to his people. Ma'lash-Urr was then to face summary execution, but managed to escape captivity and flee from Yautja Prime to other worlds his blood rage brings him... he is a fugitive from justice, constantly hunted by Enforcers who wish to kill him. It is said he also has the mark of u'darahje (death mark/bounty) on him from at least 10 different Yautja Clans.
Super Predator Bad Blood, Al'arhak-tinhde
Al'arhak-tinhde has known combat from the first moment he stood on two legs. From childhood, he was pitted against other young blood in bloody gladiatorial arenas to hone his skills as a blood-thirsty warrior. Al'arhak commits himself to purpose and victory, pushing himself as hard as his body and mind can go. On Yautja Prime, he took advantage of his combative and tribal beliefs to raid Yauja Villages and steal their children and women. A deeply seeded hatred of the two species of Yautja exists; both reguar Yautja and Super Yautja. The height of the conflict reached an apex 4,000 years ago, when Guan'hakel ("nightstorm"), was the first Super Yautja to go rogue, disapproving of the Yautja's Code of Honor.
Before leaving Yautja Prime and being considered a Bad Blood, Al'arhak was one of the many Super Yautja who raided villages in the dense jungle region of Yautja Prime. One of his many victims was Bhu'ja and the people of his village...
Enforcers are Yautja that hold a special ranking within the culture. Unlike other Yautja, that hunt worthy game, Enforcers hold the position of hunting down rogue Bad Bloods that have disgraced the Yautja name and putting an end to their existence. Enforcers can essentially be seen as a law enforcement of sorts, ensuring that those who break the honor code are swiftly put to justice. Be it by death, banishment, or imprisonment.
Strain information: The Praetorian is "pure born" meaning it does not utilise genes from the host and is born to take this form regardless of its host body. One can also evolve from the basic caste drone in a molting process. The physical features of the Praetorian are very pristine, with its appearance looking markedly similar to the Queen as it sports a massive crown-like head crest, large physical size, an extra-long tail and great strength.
The behavior of the Praetorian is possibly one of the most graphic and intense of all the strains, excluding the Queen. Not only is it 'programmed' to automatically become hostile to any foreign intruder of the Hive, but also with the molting process, in which it emits pheromones that somehow enrage other strains. The Praetorian, along with all the other xenomorphs in the hive, can sense any victim's pheromones through any wall or surface.
They can be seen as smarter than most xenomorphic castes, although Praetorians are considered the guards of the queens and will molt when the pheromones of a queen are not present. If cornered or in battle, Praetorians can shriek in extremely high pitches that call other xenomorphs to its aid.
Runner or "dog" Xenomorph
Homeworld: Xenomorph Prime
Height: 7 feet
Strain information: are one of the smallest aliens, on par with the Drone. They act as scouts for the Hive, likely due to their quadrupedal and fast nature. Other names for them are the "Dog" Xenomorph or the "Bambi burster." They are made from a facehugger jumping onto a dog or other quadrupedal species, such as an ox.
The Runner is all about speed and agility, perhaps one of the fastest castes of Xenomorph ever encountered. It stalks its prey much like a lion or tiger, waiting for an unfortunate victim to come about and killing them outright rather than cocooning them in a nest like others would. They are known to use stealth just like their siblings but cannot walk on two legs without some kind of supporting structure keeping them up on two. Although not as strong as other castes, Runners are still strong enough to lift a full grown human.
They also are known to attack the head of their prey with their pharyngeal jawed tongues like their siblings. Runners are shown to be more animalistic in nature and are not the sharpest caste in the hive. They do have some intelligence, but not as much as their drone or warrior counterparts. They also are known to go after anything or anyone that tries to interact with it, either verbally or physically trying to harm it, but even when those factors don't apply Runners attack victims of their choosing.
Despite being a Xenomorph caste, Runners aren't as durable as others and weakest of them all. They trade armor and endurance for speed and agility.
It is unknown if this specific Xenomorph was the result of genetic modification by Weyland-Yutani or just a product of genetic diversity. What is known is that this specific Warrior demonstrates extreme intelligence and problem solving ability. It has shown the ability to recognize human weapons and respond with aggression and violence towards armed threats.
As the main attack force for the hive, all Warriors (Albino included) are fast, well armored, moderately durable against gunfire and savage in combat. Unlike the more patient, stealthy drone it will throw itself at enemies in waves and waves until the enemy is dead or comatose. Warriors would rather use their tails in battle than their claws or teeth.
After sustaining heavy damage (that isn't fire related), a warrior can continue to fight, and drag its broken body around while continuing to damage enemies, through clawing and biting. They can also survive their limbs being shot off, and survive bullets to the head. Unless explosive rounds or higher caliber ones are utilized. Energy weapons will destroy their exoskeleton.
Like all Xenomorphs, Warriors are weak to fire based weapons as well as Nitrogen based ones. Fire stops the Xenomorph from exploding in a shower of acid when it dies and when frozen, cannot move and is vulnerable to attack. Its blood is useless here as well. The Warrior and many of its Xenomorph kin are also vulnerable to laser-based weapons. Its acid blood supercharges the laser particles via molecular reaction.
(Other normal warriors/drones will appear in the photonovel. They are not unique or different, but normal members of the hive; the queen will not yet be mentioned until later in the story. Stay tuned!)