Carrara Challenge #38 - Cartoons and Other Guilty Pleasures - Welcome our PA sponsor, Phil Wilkes!

UnifiedBrainUnifiedBrain Posts: 2,099
edited March 2018 in Carrara Discussion

This is the Work-In-Progress thread.

 

 

guilt·y pleas·ure

noun

Something, such as a movie, television program, or piece of music or art, that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.

 

Are comics and cartoons a guilty pleasure?  To me, it is apparent that most artists enjoy cartoons, but that "toons" are usually not held in the same regard as "real" art.  Instead, they are more frequently considered as a welcome reprieve from more serious work.

If that is true (and there is room for debate) then this Challenge is one big reprieve!

So, sit back and take your shoes off.  Forget that serious stuff. smiley Choose your cartoon pleasure and let your creativity be your guide.

 

Below is a quick summary of the three entry categories and general rules.  If you want to know why I picked cartoons for the topic this Challenge, or if you want examples of the entry categories, please go to the 2nd post of this thread.

 

The Outline:

Make a render which is driven primarily by the Toon! part III filter (from this point, it is simply called Toon 3).  It can be in a comic book style, a traditional cartoon, are just a cool image (PR or NPR) with some sort of an outline. :)  You can enhance it with other filters and tools which work in a Carrara environment, such as G'MIC, but no postwork is allowed.

 

The Homage or Original:

The point here is to create a classic single-frame cartoon.  To do an Homage, pick out a classic single-frame cartoon that you think is funny or clever (or both).  Your task is to model that cartoon, and to create something similar by using Carrara alone or with postwork.  You can choose to attempt to duplicate the cartoon exactly, or alter it in any number of ways.  For example, you can change the style to photoreal (PR), use slightly different wording, or even populate it with different characters.  But the gist of the cartoon must remain the same.  You are using your creativity to honor the original artist.  Your "version" must clearly reflect the spirit of the original.  Postwork allowed.

On the other hand, you have a clever original idea for a cartoon that you want to create, and it is not based on another cartoon, then you can certainly do that as well.  I have tried to anticipate people who may resist entering in this category because they "can't think of anything funny."  In that case, the Homage is the easiest route.  But, if you already have a funny original cartoon idea, go for it!  Again, in this category postwork is allowed.

 

The Pooch:

Stezza recently modeled a wonderful dog character, and made it available to everyone.  Your assignment is to make a render using Stezza's dog.  You can render this in any style.  Postwork allowed.

Note: Stezza has just recently modeled a familiar-looking cat, as a companion to the dog.  It is available here, free for everyone to use.  Thanks Stezza!

 

 

General rules

1.  Up to 3 renders can be entered.  However, if you enter more than 2 renders, at least one of them must be in "The Outline" Toon 3 category (which has the "no postwork" rule).

2.  Images must be new (previously unpublished).

3.  Images must be "mostly" set up in Carrara.

4.  Where postwork is allowed, it must not be the dominant part of the image.  Posting images of before and after postwork is encouraged.

5.  At least one WIP (work in progress) image of the final Carrara setup must be posted to the WIP thread

6.  The winner of the "Best Participation" category becomes the next Carrara Challenge host, and sets the rules for the next competition.  But should the winner decline this honor, the winner of the next category (Best Cartoon Homage) will then get the opportunity to step forward and fill the role.

 

Sponsors and prizes

smileysmileysmileysmiley

Once again Daz will generously sponsor the monthly Challenge.

Phil Wilkes has agreed to be the Carrara PA sponsor!  His profile and PA prize will be revealed towards the end of the Challenge.

Yet again, I propose a slightly different prize format this month (and it has again been OK'd by DAZ).  For this contest, there are different categories, much like the Academy Awards (Oscars) and the prizes are all more-or-less equal.  An artist can win only one of the Daz prizes, but can win both a Daz prize and a PA prize.  Comments about this are again welcomed.  I explain the process in more detail in THIS THREAD.  Please read it if you have questions.

The four prize categories are:

Best Participation (cumulative images from a single artist)

Best Cartoon Homage (hoping for some guffaws and sniggers, and maybe even a chortle!)

Best Toon 3 Image ( hoping that everyone gives a go to creating their own cartoon render)

Best Use of Stezza's Dog  (a terrific model, perfect for this Challenge)

This translates into:

Most votes total for one artist: $50.00 towards DAZ 3D owned item(s)
Most votes Cartoon Homage:  $50.00 towards DAZ 3D owned item(s)
Most votes Toon 3 Filter:  $50.00 towards DAZ 3D owned item(s)
Most votes Stezza's Dog:  $45.00 towards DAZ 3D owned item(s)

 

Dates to Remember:

 

All dates are Daz Utah Time http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/usa/salt-lake-city

WIP Thread Opens: Friday February 2, 2018

Entry Thread Opens: Friday February 16, 2018

Entry Thread Closes/Voting Begins: Monday March 5, 2018

Voting Ends: midnight Monday March 12, 2018

 

Promotions

I just added an Art Studio thread so you can share your entries with others outside of the Carrara forum.  I will post there regularly, but I will not attempt to post every render. You are free to add whatever you like.

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Comments

  • UnifiedBrainUnifiedBrain Posts: 2,099
    edited February 2018

    Why cartoons?  After spending over a month in the dungeon with Jonstark (a terrific Challenge BTW) I was thinking that it might be good to come out in the sunshine and laugh a bit.  Plus, I love NPR and so do most of you - in the past 2 Challenges, an NPR-style image has taken the top prize.  And cartoons are the epitome of NPR.

     

    Category 1 Examples - Using the Toon 3 filter to create your own cartoon outlines.

    Another reason for choosing the cartoon subject was something I noticed recently in the Art Studio NPR forum.  Over there, it seems that creating a good outline in Daz studio and IRAY is kind of a holy grail.  Outlines are needed for creating authentic-looking cartoon renders, comics and graphic novels.  But they struggle a lot, as making a good outline in DS is apparently not easy.

    On the other hand, here we sit with a terrific outline tool native to Carrara - the Toon 3 filter - yet it seems that hardly anyone ever uses it!  (a guilty pleasure?)  So, maybe it is time to explore this tool in some depth.  A Challenge gives us a great opportunity to do just that.

    I am putting a brief tutorial on creating clean outlines here, in the 3rd post of this thread.

     

    Here is a classic render from Diomede, rendered using Toon3, from Challenge #28:

     

    Here is a Toon 3 and G'MIC render I did of the original "The Girl," created for Daz by Kim Goossens (Kim created The Girl back in 2004):

     

     

    Category 2 Examples - the Cartoon Homage or Original

     

    Whether you use an Homage or an Original idea, the idea is to emulate a classic single-frame cartoon, and not to simply post a render of a cartoon character.  In other words, an image of Batman may look nice, but it is not a cartoon by itself.  The classic cartoon usually has a surprising or funny caption.

    Regarding doing an Homage, I have encountered several memorable cartoons over the years that I would love to give the Carrara treatment.  Maybe you do as well.  If not, then it's time to start looking!  There are tons of cartoons on the internet - a literal treasure trove - to pick from.  And the best part is, you don't have to come up with a funny or clever caption - it is already plotted for you!  All you need to do is figure out how to add your style to it.  On the other hand, if you have the chops for it, you can also simply create your own completely original cartoon, with no Homage model.  Either approach is fine.

    I'm really looking forward to finding out what each of you think is funny.  With Carrara artists coming from so many different parts of the world, it should be interesting.

     

    For an Homage example, here is one of my favorite cartoons, which was created by Gary Larsen for his immortal "The Far Side" series.  The series ran for 15 years in syndication:

     

    Below is my version.  Differences include slightly altered wording, more realistic looking figures (yet still NPR), and it is in color.  But it still has the same general layout and mood.

     

     

    This is not a single frame cartoon, but another general example of an homage (PR this time) is the Swamp Thing movie poster.  Here is the original poster:

     

    Here is Diomede's version, done for the infamous Tomato Challenge #36:

     

    In summary, in doing your cartoon homage, you can add or subtract color, go full-out photorealistic, change characters, change the wording, and more.  The sky is the limit.  The only constraint is that we want to be able to see and honor the influence of the original in your work.

     

    Here are a few classic single frame cartoons to wet your appetite.  Feel free to use any of these idea in the Challenge.  To see a lot more, do a search for "New Yorker cartoons."

     

     

    This one is for Stezza :)

     

     

     

     

    Category 3 Examples - Stezza's Dog

    Stezza has his own homage going on.  He did an amazing job modeling a cartoon dog which looks remarkably like Odie from the Garfield cartoon.  Quick, grab the leash!  He is demanding to be put into your render.  You can use any style, but remember to be polite and bring the pooper scooper so you can clean up if he gets too excited.

    Here are various renders of Stezza's "The Dog:"

     

    HeadWax did this one.  An example of a having low regard for a cartoon?  He didn't even sign it. :)

     

     

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  • UnifiedBrainUnifiedBrain Posts: 2,099
    edited February 2018

     

    Using the Toon 3 filter to make clean outlines in Carrara

     

    When I first discovered the two native NPR (non-photo real) features in Carrara, I was pretty excited.  I wanted to make some NPR images, so I picked one of the features - the NPR render engine - and dove in.  Unfortunately, it became apparent very quickly that this was no easy task.  There were a ton of variables, and undocumented quirks (for example, the engine applies textures differently depending on the mesh density of the object you want to render).  After many months of experimenting, I got some decent results.  But there was nothing easy about the workflow. 

    By contrast, a couple of weeks ago I started working with the other native Carrara NPR feature, the Toon 3 filter (awkwardly called "Toon! part III"), and got reasonable results very quickly.  When some simple tweaks were applied, the outlines were much better than I expected.

    Why aren't more cartoon-style figures done in Carrara?  As I mentioned in the posts above, I wonder if toon figures in general suffer a lack of respect among 3D artists.  I do know that there is a strong pocket of interest over in the Art Studio forum, especially regarding the making of good outlines.  Maybe there is similar interest here, and that some Carrara artists merely need some encouragement to get started.  If so, I hope this mini-tutorial is helpful.   

    What follows are some steps and tips on how to create good cartoon outlines using the Toon 3 filter in Carrara.  Nothing groundbreaking here - mostly just some common sense.  Those who are already familiar with the Toon 3 filter will likely not find much new.

    Most of the pictures can be clicked to enlarge.

     

    Step 1 - A basic setup.  Open a new Carrara medium scene.  Load a basic V4.2 image in Carrara.  This is the default Vicky, something everyone has, with no morphs or clothes.  The basic texture has some purple underwear and hair "painted on."  For a more authentic "toon" look, it would be better to use cartoon skin shaders.  For now, this is good enough (I didn't even bother taking the weird green out of her skin).  Position your camera at a slight angle, as pictured, to see shadows.  No need to add lights.  The default distant light is fine, set at 100 with a white color.  It will be used mostly for creating shadows, and has very little effect otherwise when using Toon 3.  Select "Scene" in the instances tab.  Set ambient to 0 for now.  Load in a single color backdrop, light blue.  When you render it, it should look similar to the 3rd image below:

     

     

    TIP 1 - Set your render output to a very large size.  I typically use 3000 width and 1733 height.  This bigger size helps make the outline cleaner.  By comparison, smaller renders will cause Toon 3 to generate more raggedy-looking lines.

     

     

    Step 2 - Load in the Toon 3 filter.  With "Scene" still selected, click the filters tab at the top left, then click the tiny + (plus) button.  From the dropdown menu, select "Toon! part III."  No need to edit the filter yet.  The default settings are reasonable, and for now we will use them.  Time for a render.  Hit control-R so you can see how Vicky now looks.

     

     

    TIP 2 - Like the other filters in Carrara, the Toon 3 effect will only appear when the render is complete.

     

     

    Step 3 - Clean up the outline.  She now has an outline, and probably looks pretty good.  But there may be some clumped or blobbed spots in the outline, particularly in finer detail spots like the ears, nose, and hands.  Your default render engine is probably set up like this:

     

     

    To improve the outline, change your render settings to allow finer details.  Set Filter Sharpness to 100%, AntiAliasing to Best, Object Accuracy to 0.5 pixels, and Shadow Accuracy to 0.5 pixels. 

     

    In addition, you can tweak the line clarity in Toon 3.  Click the edit button.  Change four of the settings - Object Edge, Sharp Edge, Edge in degrees, and Passes - to match the following picture (I made the edit window larger by dragging the bottom right corner):

     

    Hit control-R again.  The lines should be cleaner.  Depending on the render, sometimes the difference will be very noticeable.

    TIP 3 - Turning up the render details will slow down your machine.  But not by much, since you will not be using Global Illumination.

     

    Step 4 - Have a play.  At this point, it is a good idea to play around with the parameters of the Tune 3 filter, all by itself.  You can increase line thickness several ways, most easily by increasing the values of the Object Edge or Sharp Edges sliders.  A "10" will be much thicker than a "3".  You can change the base, highlight, shadow, and outline colors.  And if the outline is too regular for your tastes, you can rough it up a bit by changing the distance parameter.

    TIP 4 - I already mentioned this, but for a much better view of the changes you are making in the Toon 3 filter, you can increase the size of the entire edit box by tugging on the lower right corner.  This also increases the size of the render preview window.

     

    To be continued...

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  • DiomedeDiomede Posts: 9,560
    edited February 2018

    Cool approach.  yesyes​  However, I hope you are prepared for a few questions.  I am still trying to process the first post.  While some of the instructions seem contradictory on first read, I think it is only because the rules differ slightly among the 3 categories.  For example, postwork is allowed under some circumstances and not for others, I think.

     

    In any case, I've got my thinking cap on.  One of my favorite guilty pleasures is a movie called "Big Trouble in Little China."  I've got other guilty pleasures.  Will have to see where this topic leads me.

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  • UnifiedBrainUnifiedBrain Posts: 2,099
    edited February 2018

    Thanks Diomede!  If anything is unclear, please let me know.  Still working...

    Post edited by UnifiedBrain on
  • de3ande3an Posts: 856
    edited February 2018

    Darn! I already did one of these on my own, and posted it previously.

    It would have been perfect for this challenge. sad

     

    Post edited by de3an on
  • HAHA!  Excellent!  I'm sure that you have more ideas up your sleeze. :)

    You've made me realize that I need to broaden out the Homage category slightly.  Working...

  • DiomedeDiomede Posts: 9,560
    edited February 2018

    @de3an - we need more Bender.  We need even more Bender than we do cowbell!  And we need a lot of cowbell.  This challenge is made for you!

     

    @UnifiedBrain - quick question.  I did a simple render of Stezza's dog using Carrara's non-photorealistic renderer to generate the outline. I did not use Toon iii.  How many of the 3 categories would it qualify for?

     

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  • UnifiedBrainUnifiedBrain Posts: 2,099
    edited February 2018

    In that case, there is a possibility of 2, Homage and Dog.

    The Homage category now includes wholly original cartoons as well.  Should have thought of that earlier, especially with you in the Challenge. :)

    Post edited by UnifiedBrain on
  • DiomedeDiomede Posts: 9,560

    In that case, there is a possibility of 2, Homage and Dog.

    OK, thanks.  Starting to be more clear.  I apologize for being slow to understand.  Had a couple extra beers at happy hour because they had a local brewery promotion.  Probably should stop all online and social media interaction before I really make a fool of myself.

     

  • UnifiedBrainUnifiedBrain Posts: 2,099
    edited February 2018

    I (hopefully) added more clarity to the previous post after you quoted me.  Gotta be fast around here!

    Really, I appreciate everyone's comments and questions.  Better to fix things now than later.

    Hopefully, the instructions (which I broadened) should be more clear now.

    Post edited by UnifiedBrain on
  • StezzaStezza Posts: 4,739

    oooooooo

    dog toons.... you know what this means! ........................ more modeling cool purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

     

    and I may now have something to use my LiS models for....... 

  • StezzaStezza Posts: 4,739

    It's nice of you @UnifiedBrain to include my dog in the challenge...  when I read it this morning I thought you can't have a dog toon without a cat so I quickly got about modeling one just for the challenge if anyone would like to add it to their toon render..

    it's attached in a zip file below

    I also boned the cat and weight mapped it as best I know... it can be improved.. I mean I only did it today... about 6 hours in which a few hours took weight mapping it! far out I hate that!

    anyway as thanks here it is to add to your challenge renders and play with as you see fit as long as you have fun yes

    This image was rendered in Carrara using ToonIII
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  • DiomedeDiomede Posts: 9,560

    Thank you, Stezza, for the cool cat!

    Stezza said:

    It's nice of you @UnifiedBrain to include my dog in the challenge...  when I read it this morning I thought you can't have a dog toon without a cat so I quickly got about modeling one just for the challenge if anyone would like to add it to their toon render..

    it's attached in a zip file below

    I also boned the cat and weight mapped it as best I know... it can be improved.. I mean I only did it today... about 6 hours in which a few hours took weight mapping it! far out I hate that!

    anyway as thanks here it is to add to your challenge renders and play with as you see fit as long as you have fun yes

    This image was rendered in Carrara using ToonIII
    speech bubbles added in post

     

     

     

     

  • DiomedeDiomede Posts: 9,560
    edited February 2018

    Quick workflow for creating a hairstyle that will work in Carrara's native Toon Part iii scene filter

    This uses Philemo's amazing hair converter, and it is free!

    Carrara's dynamic hair modeler can be a great way to create character hair but it does not work well with the native Toon Part III filter.

    Here are two toonish characters  Adult has prop hair.  Kid has dynamic hair.

    Unfortunately, the kid's dynamic hair does not perform well using the toon filter.

     

    One easy solution is Philemo's free hair converter.

    Before using the converter plugin, go in the modeler for your dynamic hair and adjust the display percentage and the number of hairs.

    .

    The plugin will create a prop mesh with "convert" added to the name.  The plugin unchecks visibility for your dynamic hair.  It does not delete it.

    I then like to move the converted prop hair to the bone skeleton of the figure.

    Now the Toon Part III filter will handle the prop hair better than the dynamic hair.

     

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  • DiomedeDiomede Posts: 9,560
    edited February 2018

    And here is the little menace in class.

    .

     

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  • MystarraMystarra Posts: 31,774

    toon homages?   'h; is silent?  pronounced like omlette?

    first thing comes to mind, my lil ponies. bronie dudes.  cat girls.heart  is it a guilty pleasure to love catgirls, being i'se female. they so cute

  • VyusurVyusur Posts: 1,562
    edited February 2018

    One of the first things that came to my mind was something like was shown in this video:

    https://youtu.be/zNmO233OztQ

    Post edited by Vyusur on
  • DiomedeDiomede Posts: 9,560
    edited February 2018

    Veronica, Had never seen that one before!  Love it.

    .

    UB inspired me to google some old Mad Magazine cartoons.  So much fun.  Spy vs Spy.  The old movie spoofs.  And all the rest.

    But then I was reminded of a category that Carrara and 3D may be especially good at with the ability to control visibility and shadows.

    The Shadow Knows

    .

     

     

     

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  • UnifiedBrainUnifiedBrain Posts: 2,099
    edited February 2018
    Stezza said:

    It's nice of you @UnifiedBrain to include my dog in the challenge...  when I read it this morning I thought you can't have a dog toon without a cat so I quickly got about modeling one just for the challenge if anyone would like to add it to their toon render..

    it's attached in a zip file below

    I also boned the cat and weight mapped it as best I know... it can be improved.. I mean I only did it today... about 6 hours in which a few hours took weight mapping it! far out I hate that!

    anyway as thanks here it is to add to your challenge renders and play with as you see fit as long as you have fun yes

    This image was rendered in Carrara using ToonIII
    speech bubbles added in post

    Thanks Stezza!  I now officially designate you as resident genius of Challenge #38.yes   It's too much hassle to redo the "pooch" category, but I will add a note telling everyone to be sure to check out your cat as well (and use it if they want).  A perfect compliment, for sure.  Great captions, btw. :)

    Post edited by UnifiedBrain on
  • Diomede, thanks for the mini-tutorial on using Philmo's hair plugin!

    The cartoon was a little grim for my tastes...but OK!

     

    Diomede said:
    UB inspired me to google some old Mad Magazine cartoons.  So much fun.  Spy vs Spy.  The old movie spoofs.  And all the rest.

    Great minds.  I was just thinking of Spy vs Spy yesterday!

    Diomede said:

    But then I was reminded of a category that Carrara and 3D may be especially good at with the ability to control visibility and shadows.

    Awesome that you brought this up!  Muchos gracias.  It is also a perfect example of a classic cartoon which does not need a caption (as the image tells the story).  So, captions are not needed in Homage/Original category 2, if the image itself is clever enough to tell the story..

    Diomede said:

     

  • UnifiedBrainUnifiedBrain Posts: 2,099
    edited February 2018
    Mistara said:

    toon homages?   'h; is silent?  pronounced like omlette?

    Yep!

     

    Mistara said:

    first thing comes to mind, my lil ponies. bronie dudes.  cat girls.heart  is it a guilty pleasure to love catgirls, being i'se female. they so cute

     

    Will this do?

     

    Toon 3 filter and G'MIC, no postwork.

     

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  • Vyusur said:

    One of the first things that came to my mind was something like was shown in this video:

    https://youtu.be/zNmO233OztQ

    Sorry Vyusur, it says that it will not play in my country.  I'm in the US, btw.  Not sure why Diomede can see it, and I can't.

  • DiomedeDiomede Posts: 9,560

     

    Vyusur said:

    One of the first things that came to my mind was something like was shown in this video:

    https://youtu.be/zNmO233OztQ

    Sorry Vyusur, it says that it will not play in my country.  I'm in the US, btw.  Not sure why Diomede can see it, and I can't.

    I copied the title, googled, and watched from a permissible source.  Of course, I'll never really know for sure if it was the same.  

     

  • DiomedeDiomede Posts: 9,560
    edited February 2018

    Catgirl subtheme!  Here are some outlines for G2F Callie wearing the V4 Techno Tabby action heroine.  Pumpkin Jack doesn't stand a chance.

     

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  • DiomedeDiomede Posts: 9,560
    edited February 2018

    One last Toon Part III bit of silliness from me.  Here is a Star 2.0 / Aiko 7 mix (via Misty's Jeanette character for G3F) in a widely circulated workplace meme.

    here is one of several versions of the original

     

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  • MystarraMystarra Posts: 31,774
    Diomede said:

    Catgirl subtheme!  Here are some outlines for G2F Callie wearing the V4 Techno Tabby action heroine.  Pumpkin Jack doesn't stand a chance.

     

     

    technokitteh!heart

  • VyusurVyusur Posts: 1,562
    edited February 2018
    Vyusur said:

    One of the first things that came to my mind was something like was shown in this video:

    https://youtu.be/zNmO233OztQ

    Sorry Vyusur, it says that it will not play in my country.  I'm in the US, btw.  Not sure why Diomede can see it, and I can't.

     

    It was the first version of “Obsession” with La Camilla starring. No matter what the video is about, I meant only several images from there.

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  • Bunyip02_CarraraBunyip02_Carrara Posts: 2,930
    edited February 2018

    Diomede - you're quick off the mark this time around, very nice work.

    Start of mine, will be a cartoon when finished - "Hulk MAD - WANT TO SMASH"

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  • JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,375

    Awesome theme UB!  Already some great work from Carrarists too, it's inspiring to see things taking off so fast.  Inspiration hasn't struck me yet, I'll have to put on my thinking cap, but I'm looking forward to playing  smiley  Calvin and Hobbes was always my personal favorite comic, but on the other hand I found the Far Side was always the comic that was most likely to have me rolling on the floor laughing.  And on the other other hand, Scott Adams is perhaps my favorite cartoonist, though that's mostly because I enjoy following his periscopes on youtube discussing current events and the psychology of Persuasion (though I have nothing against his comic, Dilbert, and find it enjoyable too).

    Dude, Stezza you are too good to us!  Thanks for the awesome lasagna-eating cat and the drooling doggie.  What comic could they possibly be from, I wonder? laugh

  • Bunyip02_CarraraBunyip02_Carrara Posts: 2,930
    edited February 2018

    Toon! part III render, got some post-work to do.

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