Why did I call the new film Restless Sleep? As I’ve mentioned, I’ve wanted to animate Paradigm Shift for a very long time. A lot of this hinged around Kate’s fateful transformation into a werewolf.
The title of the new film—Restless Sleep—actually comes from a drawing in my sketchbook that I did way back in 2002. I imagined her tossing and turning in her sleep in the lead-up to transforming for the first time. You can see it right there in the upper left hand corner.
However, with the completion of Equilibrium and the launch of ModernTales.com, I got wrapped up with working on continuing the story instead of focusing on this side project. And so “Restless Sleep” got put in the drawer, and only existed as a series of pages in my sketchbook for 20 years.
So, when I started playing with 3D last year, knowing that I wanted to animate Kate’s metamorphosis, this story immediately sprang to mind. The project started with a smaller scope—just animate the transformation and her going out the window into the night. And set it all to some music. But obviously I got a bit more ambitious, and it turned into the final film you see today!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the film, and if you did, please consider sharing it with your friends!</p<
PARADIGM SHIFT—Restless Sleep is now showing!
Based on the cult werewolf detective comic series PARADIGM SHIFT, classic werewolf tale meets paranormal mystery in this new animated short!
Detective Kate McAllister is in for a rough night. While investigating a strange murder, she discovers she has a connection to the killer that is stronger than she could possibly imagine!
PARADIGM SHIFT—Restless Sleep is my first animated film. It as was created in Blender with characters rigged using DAZ Studio’s Genesis 8 platform. Composited in Adobe After Effects and edited in Adobe Premiere. I also composed and performed the music using Apple’s Logic Pro. The whole project took me just over a year to complete.
Additional assets provided by:
Catara by D.Master
Everyday 2 by Aeon Soul
Flak Vest by The AntFarm
Genesis Starter Essentials by DAZ Originals
Genesis 3 Male by DAZ Originals
Genesis 8 Female by DAZ Originals
Genesis 8 Male by DAZ Originals
Genesis 8 Starter Essentials by DAZ Originals
Genesis 8 Female Mega Wardrobe by outoftouch
Girls Baseball Style Jacket by DAZ Originals + fefecoolyellow
The Guy 7 by DAZ Originals
H&C Police uniform by IH Kang
HnC Leather Jacket Outfit by IH Kang
H&C Business Suit A by IH Kang
H&C Weekend Casual Suit by IH Kang
H&C Dress Shirt Outfit by IH Kang
Jax for the Guy 7 by DAZ Originals + Jessaii
Killian for the Guy 7 by DAZ Originals + Jessaii
Michael 4 Skeleton by DAZ Originals
Michael 4 Internal Organs by DAZ Originals + noggin + shaunahowell
Police Officer Outfit by Toyen
Riviera Noon Outfit by DAZ Originals + 4blueyes
Torn Clothes by smay
1998 Honda Civic LX by Cartoon + Comotor
2000 Chevy Impala by Paul B. + bmrct + csi guy
2005 Honda Accord by Kevin N.
2002 Dodge Neon Sedan by Paul B.
Chevy Z71 Suburban by Kyle
Chicago CTA Elevated Train by W P.
Glock 17 by CFD 9437
Honda Element by ZXT
Lamp#1 by Graham
Maple Nightstand by archangel
Toyota Corolla Sedan by Joce
Unmarked Cars by Paul B.
Wooden Bookcase by waveydavey
Brick Wall 012 by Katsukagi
Save the date!
I’m proud to announce that I finally have a release date for Restless Sleep! I’m hosting a local premiere at Back Beat Brewing here in Beverly, MA at 7pm EST on Tuesday June 27th!
WHAT: PARADIGM SHIFT—Restless Sleep WORLD PREMIERE!
WHEN: Tuesday, June 27th 2023 @ 7pm EST
Back Beat Brewing Co.
31A Park Street
Beverly, MA 01915
In addition to the film showing, I’ll be doing live, behind the scenes demos on how I made the movie, along with a Q&A. I’ll also have books and prints in tow for a signing. Plus there will be excellent beer on tap! Back Beat specializes in English-style bitters and cask ales. I’m a huge fan!
Film will post to YouTube @ 7:30pm!
But if you can’t join us that night, I’ll be live-streaming the event on my YouTube channel, too. The film will drop at the same time we show it in person, and you can join in the demos and Q&A afterwards!
Watch the trailer here:
One block at a time.
Chicago has always been a character on its own in Paradigm Shift. So, when I embarked on creating an animated version of PS, it meant I needed to bring the Windy City to life as well!!
I started with Kate’s apartment building. Using photos I had taken as reference, I modeled the architecture by hand, and then used my photos for the textures and materials.
Next, I needed to create a version of the back alley where poor James Wilson meets his untimely end. Using a model of the El tracks I modeled while creating the cover to The Art of Paradigm Shift, I built up a street scene based on the backgrounds in the opening scene. To create the buildings, I created modular sections of walls with various windows, doors, and brick colors which I then copied and pasted in various patterns to quickly build up the street. I then added various details to the buildings that would be closest to the camera. The cars are free models downloaded from SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse.
Lastly, I needed to create a 3D version of the Chicago skyline. To achieve this, I ended up using something called “procedural” buildings, which were automatically generated using a set of modular building pieces, kinda like LEGO bricks. Thanks to a tutorial by Kammerbild on YouTube, I developed a customized engine that could quickly generate new buildings of any size by plugging in the height, width, and depth, and customize the look by swapping out vertical and horizontal stripes. I can even turn the lights on and off at random. By using a couple of different sets of pieces, I could build up the entire skyline and have enough variation to create a useable matte painting that I then pasted into the background of my sets.
Curious about how I created the animation of Kate’s werewolf transformation? I’ve made a video that goes over the process I used to make it happen!
If you’re still curious about some of the technical details, and want to learn how to do something like this yourself, here’s some links to the tutorials I used:
- First off, I used DAZ Studio’s Genesis 8 Female model as a starting point for Kate. Let me underscore that I did *not* model this starting figure. DAZ’s amazing artists did all the heavy lifting by creating that model. Since I had no idea how to create my own character rigs when I started this project, using a pre-rigged figure like Genesis 8 was a logical starting point. What I did need to learn was how to create “morphs” in Blender that could be used on the model.
- This tutorial by Jay Versluis proved to be the magic key for me: https://www.versluis.com/2018/01/how-to-create-daz-character-morphs-with-blender/
- Of course, this meant learning to edit the model in Blender. Now, in this case, I wasn’t starting from scratch. I’m an experienced 3D modeler, and have been working in 3D on and off for over 25 years—just mostly to create sets and architectural models. Character modeling is new to me, and I did have to learn Blender’s interface. This tutorial series from Blender Guru is the one I used to teach me the basics of using Blender’s modeling interface:
- The key to making the transformations was to make sure all the parts of the model lined up up between forms. For instance, the polygons that made up the nose in the human model had to directly correspond to the polygons that would become the snout. In this case, it was my knowledge of anatomy that was the key skill. Whether you’re learning to draw or learning to model in 3D, there’s no substitute to learning the basics of human—and in this case, canine—anatomy. I had already thought through all this long ago when I designed Kate’s transformation for the comic:
- If you want to see more the design of the werewolf transformation, you can find ALL of the sketches, sequences, and details in my art book, The Art of Paradigm Shift. You’ll also find tons of art, sketches, and tutorials in there, too!
- Editing the textures for the Genesis 8 model was pretty easy. I just had to find the location of the original image files for the model in my DAZ library, copy them over to a new folder, and then create new ones in Photoshop. It also helped to have the UV Map templates that came with the model for free (downloadable for free from DAZ from your account’s asset library), which I used as a guide to draw and paint the new texture maps. Child’s play in comparison to drawing comics! 😉
- If you want to learn how to edit your own textures in DAZ or Blender using Photoshop or another image editor, check out this tutorial from rdaughterDAZ : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmbO0zoypJA
- Download the UV Map templates here:
- If you want to learn how to export a finished character out of DAZ Studio into Blender, I recommend using the DAZ to Blender Bridge. It’s pretty powerful, and will even export out all the morphs and modifiers that will keep the figure’s shape while moving. It even creates a rudimentary rig you can use to animate. It’s not as versatile as Blender’s built in Rigify armature, though. I recently found a great add-on called Rig GNS from 22722 Studios that will convert DAZ to Blender’s default armature to a Rigify one, though. It’s a paid add-on but worth the price in the amount of headaches it saves! I’ll definitely be using this as I move forward with new animation projects.
- Tutorials on how to use the DAZ to Blender Bridge:
- Using Rig GNS to Rigify your DAZ characters once they’re in Blender:
- Here’s a bit about the basics of how armatures work:
- But this series called “Introduction to Rigging” on the Blender Studio site (requires a subscription, sorry) is the crash course I used to do a deeper dive on how rigging works. Don’t worry, though! You don’t need to be an expert rigger to start out!
So, how do you go from this…
The answer is 3D. While I would dearly love to see Paradigm Shift animated in a traditional hand-drawn style, the truth is that it is far too labor-intensive for me to do by myself. Perhaps one day I will be lucky enough to work with a studio full of professional animators to bring that dream to life, but in the meantime I’m relying on a tool that is much more accessible to me: the amazingly powerful, FREEl open source animation program BLENDER.
The trick was creating a version of Kate that could actually be animated in the first place. Creating and “rigging” a 3D character is really complex process. And frankly, it’s still not one that I could do from scratch. Thankfully, this is 2023, and there are a TON of resources out there for someone who’s just starting out.
In this case, I turned to another free program DAZ Studio, which has been offering fully rigged 3D human characters for FREE for over a decade. I ended up modifying one of their Genesis 8 Female models to create Kate. But it was a fairly long learning process. In fact, I when I first started out, all I wanted to do was see if I could make a more “human” version of Kate that would be able to transform into her werewolf form.
Once I had a working werewolf transformation up and running in DAZ, the next step was to figure out how to make Kate look more like an anime character. I started by looking (and purchasing) a few anime-esque character mods for the Genesis 8 model, then it was back to Blender to fine tune them into a recognizable version of Kate.
This whole process took about two months. I spent the first month or so figuring out how to get the transformable version working in DAZ Studio, then another week or so to make the “anime” version. Then once I got her moved over to Blender using the DAZ to Blender Bridge, it was a couple of weeks to create these test animations.
I’m making the very first Paradigm Shift animated short! Go ahead. Watch the trailer. I’ll wait. 🙂
I’m calling it Restless Sleep, and I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am to be working on it! I love comics, but I can now tell you that I love making animation even more. This project has me firing on all cylinders in the best possible way by bringing all the skillsets I have to bear on it—writing, design, illustration, 3D, computer & programming skills, video editing, and music!
Bringing my characters to life through animation has been a lifelong dream, and now I have the time and technology to actually do it! It all started when I started poking around with Blender during a fit of writer’s block, and with the help from free and paid models from DAZ Studio, before I knew it, I had a fully posable and transformable version of Kate, just begging to be brought to life! And even better, using Blender’s powerful shader engine I could make her look like an actual cel-shaded cartoon.
It’s about 7 minutes long, including a werewolf transformation sequence I’ve always wanted to see animated. I’m currently in the final stages of post-production on the film. I’m hoping to have it finished and ready to release this summer. Where and when are still up in the air, but there will be an online release at the very least.
In the coming weeks and months I plan to give you some behind the scenes looks into the creative process behind bringing Kate and friends to the screen!
In preparation for Mini-MICE last month, I was printing up new posters to bring to the show and realized they needed to see the light of day on the new website here. So, here’s a selection of freshly created full color art along with some Paradigm Shift classics for your enjoyment.
Paradigm Shift — Part Three: Emergence starts today!
Detective Kate McAllister has big problems. Not only has the killer left yet another dismembered corpse on the streets, but the Feds are butting into the case. Worse, her nightmares have invaded her waking life, threatening more than just her job — her humanity itself is at stake!
“An entertaining read with characters that grab you. ” –Joanna Draper Carlson,Comics Worth Reading.
“Exactly the sort of professional, entertaining American genre comic that is flying off the shelves in some alternate universe… Tiede assimilates manga visuals… with as much grace as any Westerner I’ve seen. His craftsmanship is impressive.” –Noah Berlatsky,The Comics Journal
“While it looks like a traditional manga webcomic, it doesn’t read like one — it reads like it was written right out of Chicago. ” – The Lowdown, Broken Frontier
Lincoln Park stretches for about five miles along Lake Michigan from North Avenue to Hollywood Avenue. The location I chose for the final scene of the crime lies near the southern edge and affords some impressive views of the skyscrapers on the Gold Coast.
I used a selection of photos taken on a couple of trips to the park as sources for the views on this page and throughout the first half of the book.
Back in the late ’90s, my editor, Ris, worked at an ad agency in Old Town and we used to meet up in the park for lunch. We often took walks here to discuss this story.
The park also lends its name to the adjoining neighborhood, one of the more upscale on the North Side, and thus is prime territory for bikers, joggers, and others seeking outdoor recreation, especially in the morning hours. At night, it’s a little less populated.
Generally, this is considered to be a “good” part of town, so a brutal killing would shake things up quite a bit.