One interesting application of skeletal strokes that we have been exploring is its use in comics and stylish animation production. Snoopy and the characters in 'The Yellow Submarine' are characters falling under this category. Comics is a now a highly respected sub-culture in many countries especially in Japan. Works by famous comics artists like Tezuka Osamu have even been studied and given literary praise. Pragmatically, comics publishing is also a mega-dollar business. Even though demand for quality comics is high, the production of comics is still mainly a hand craft. Day in and day out, teams of overworked assistants are painstakingly filling in the buildings and pedestrians in the background and drawing in special dramatic effects to meet deadlines. Computers have not yet been able to offer substantial help because of the lack of efficient support for stylish strokes, which are essential for creating variety and atmosphere creating, and hence important to the success of a comics work.
Skeletal strokes with the use of the general anchoring mechanism could provide the comics artist with a library of faces, limbs and features which are pseudo-rotatable (Figure 7). Colour gradation and shading changes of the models can also be encoded into the strokes using gradation lines or points. This library could be created by the artist at the character design process. With it the artist could quickly lay out the characters in various postures and positions. Wildly different looks that are not readily available from the library can be introduced by editing the looks of applied strokes. Without sacrificing the flexibility of hand drawing, this approach not only speeds up the production process dramatically, but also helps to make sure characters have a consistent form. The time consuming task of drawing buildings and other objects in the background can also be sped up with a library of pseudo-3D architectural strokes and recursive plant strokes.
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