What is Outsider? It is a starship combat space opera chronicling the adventures of a young human officer thrust into an alien society in the midst of a galactic war. It is presented in a for-web, full-color comic format, which combines digital 2D, 3D and hand-drawn artwork.
Humanity is caught in the crossfire of a galactic war, and it's up to the members of Earth's Scout Corps to forge an alliance that will ensure Earth's survival. But which side to choose: the oppressive, insectoid Umiak or the ruthless, elflike Loroi?
Outsider is written and drawn by me, Jim Francis (a.k.a. Arioch). It was started as something of a learning project, and has since grown in scope. Visit my gallery if you'd like to see more of my work or learn more about me. Outsider is updated irregularly; when available, updates are usually posted on Monday morning (Pacific Time, GMT-7). The first pages were posted on October 31, 2001. You can help support the creation of the comic via PayPal or Patreon.
Outsider is a copyrighted work; please do not alter or redistribute these materials without consent. For more about questions of use, see the Legal Stuff section here. If you have any other questions, you can contact me on the forums or by email.
Outsider is created (written, designed, penciled, inked, colored, modeled, textured, rendered, lettered) by Jim Francis, with the following assistance:
TrueType implementations of Loroi Hand and Loroi Block fonts:
Jesse "Quazel" Israel
Additional Mechanical Concepts: Francois "IgnusDei" Cannels and Karl "icekatze" Hauber
Additional Character Concepts: Lauren "WeeKelpie" Francis and Amy "DeepChrome" Leeds
Additional Texture Image Sources: 3DStudioMax f/x (Dave Jerrard), Startopia (Gary Carr, John Steels, Mark Smart, Richard Franke)
Cameo Appearances: Dylan Meconis (as Ellen Kirkland) p.2-12; Jim Kroutch (as self) p.3-5; Faith Hicks' Raven (as Loroi medtech) p.19-25; Jennifer Anderson's Orin (as Loroi medtech) p.20-25; Lauren Francis' Luma (as Loroi Unsheathed) p.22-26; Gopal Prabhu (as Lieutenant Chandra) p.96; Martin Koza & Andrew O'Dell's Eloree (as Loroi porter) p.100-101; Karl "icekatze" Hauber's Cerulean (as Gora Relay officer) p.132-139.
The Loroi borrow stylistically from previous space sirens (especially the Elerians from Master of Orion 2, and the Syreen from Star Control 2) and from the blue-skinned aliens of Japanese animation (most notably the Gamilas and Deingil from the Space Battleship Yamato series). They are intended as an homage to the "Space Amazon" archetype... blue and otherwise.
Artistic inspirational nods also go out to: Patrick Owens & Judith Peterson (Master of Orion 2), Rob Cunningham & J. Aaron Kambeitz (Homeworld), Yoshikazu Yasuhiko (Crusher Joe, Venus Wars), Shoji Kawamori (Macross, Crusher Joe), Kazutaka Miyatake (Yamato, Macross, Crusher Joe), Leiji Matsumoto (Yamato), Hideki Kakinuma (Gall Force, Mospeada), Masaki Kajishima (Tenchi Muyo), Wendy Pini (Elfquest), Hayao Miyazaki (Nausicaš of the Valley of Wind), Masamune Shirow (Appleseed, Dominion), Joe Johnston & Ralph McQuarrie (Star Wars), Syd Mead (Tron, Blade Runner), Hijiri Yuki (Chojin Locke), Jes Goodwin (Warhammer 40,000), and Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, UFO, Space: 1999).
Q: What software & hardware
tools do you use?
A: For drawing, inking and coloring, I use a Wacom Intuos4 Medium pen tablet and Adobe Photoshop CC. Prior to page 45, most of the character linework was drawn with an ordinary #2 pencil on plain paper and inked with Micron Pigma pens, and scanned and colored in Photoshop; now the whole drawing process is done entirely in Photoshop with the tablet. 3D models are created and rendered with Newtek Lightwave 3D [9.6]; pages are colored, composited and lettered in Photoshop. Fonts used include those from Fonthead, Comicraft and Blambot. My main computer system is a Dell/Alienware X51 R2 (Intel Core i5-4430 quad-core 3.0GHz processor) running Windows 10 with 8GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD hard drive, and an AOC E2752Vh 1920x1080 27" LCD display.
long does it take you to do a page?
A: Right now, each page takes somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-20 hours to complete, depending on the number and complexity of panels. 3D models and textures can take several days to weeks to create.
Q: May I link to your comic/website?
A: Sure, no need to ask permission. Should you need them, banners are located here.
Q: May I submit fan art?
A: Certainly, just email it to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I generally post all fan artwork in my gallery, unless it is inappropriate in some way. I reserve the right to resize or alter images as necessary.
Q: Do you do "link exchanges"?
A: No, sorry.
Q: Will you add Flash animations and sounds?
A: Not planning on it.
Q: How long is this comic going to be?
A: The story as currently outlined is 8 chapters (of about 75 pages each), plus a short prologue and epilogue; probably a total of about 600 pages. When I started, I didn't really think realistically about how long it would take. If I had known how much work this would be, I would have chosen a less ambitious project as my first webcomic... but, here we are.
Q: What are your long-term plans for this
comic? Will you ever finish it? At the current rate that would
take a long time.
A: It's my hope to get faster and more consistent with producing pages, but whether or not that occurs, I promised myself that I will continue with the comic in its present format through at least the end of chapter 2. If after that it becomes clear to me that I can't sustain production of the comic in its current form in a timely manner, then I will make a decision on whether to change the format -- perhaps a simpler comic format, or illustrated prose, or perhaps something else. But the story eventually will be finished in some form.
Q: Will you ever have the comic printed and marketed?
A: Yes, at some point I will have a hardcopy printed and available for sale. When I decide to do so, information about it will certainly be posted on this site.
Q: Will you upload your 3D models so I can use them?
A: No, sorry.
Is Outsider based on the anime series Crest
of the Stars?
A: No. I have seen the series, but that was not until I was already several years into production of the comic.
Q: Your 3D
modeling seems to take a long time. Wouldn't production of the
comic go faster if you drew everything by hand?
A: No, I don't think so. While the gaps in updates tend to happen at the transition to a new scene, the roadblock usually has as much to do with the design of the new environment as it does with the actual creation of the 3D assets. I do paint some backgrounds by hand when they won't appear in the comic often enough to be worthwhile building in 3D, but when they appear in dozens and dozens of panels, it saves work in the long run by building them in 3D.
знает русский язык? Я видел его пост на русском языке. Почему
сразу не выпускать версию на русском языке?
(Does the author know Russian? I have seen him post in Russian. Why not immediately release a Russian version?)
A: Я могу немного говорить по-русски, но недостаточно, чтобы написать русскую версию, которая не будет смущать. SVlad достаточно любезен, чтобы сделать перевод, и я ценю это.
(I speak a little Russian, but not enough to write a Russian version that would not be embarrassing. SVlad has been kind enough to maintain a Russian translation, and I appreciate it.)
Here are banners for linking-type purposes (the URL is http://well-of-souls.com/outsider/):