To realize the pages in the Road Goes Ever On, we first had to make a central panoramic scene at the desired screen size x 4 – one for each season. To do this I illustrated each season or page with a particular element I wanted to convey relating to each season . For Spring there had to be flowers and trees present – something we could make grow over time. For Winter – rolling landscapes where snow could fall. For Summer- the sky and water I wanted to play with to show the brilliant summer sky reflected on the water. For Fall, there had to be trees where the leaves could change color and bluster away. (click for larger versions of the images)
Once the line art was finished, it was a simple task of scanning and stitching all 4 images together.
We used color coding to denote which season were which as we worked and on the far left, added a portion of the first part of the wrap from the fall season to the beginning of the winter season in order to generate the additional portions of the fall pages leading into winter.
From there, everything was carved up into “slices”. These increments were the space which each page selection would move and then be exported from, giving the effect when turning each page of moving across the landscape. Additionally the color was added in Photoshop in a flat manner so that elements in the scene could be altered for each page or slice. Alternate versions of trees were drawn, and hobbits, wizards, and dwarves were drawn separately and digitally inserted.
Once each scene was colored, text was added, and the process of moving along the landscape and exporting each page or slice was undertaken. We estimated that the time to generate a comic like this from beginning to end was about 60-80 hours. The real struggle came when the file size of the image became too cumbersome, and scene sections had to be broken out separately (fall-winter, winter-spring, spring-summer, summer-fall). Also the day changes made lining up the phases of the sun and moon tricky – we altered that a few times and it required changing the lighting across the landscape as much as in the sky itself.