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Spotlight Comics

Spotlight – Cesium



-Comic Name – Cesium

-Creator(s) – D.B.

-Genre – Sci-Fi

-Synopsis – A group of physics grad students fight lasers, tame robots, and
travel through time.

-Webcomic Link –

-Facebook Link  –


Please leave your critiques in the comments!

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  1. I read your entire archive today and I enjoyed it. I wonder if you suffer from some of the same problems with me about your physics jokes limiting your audience. You did a good job explaining them though, and the stuff you’ve done with time travel is fun.

    It an interesting choice to use POV-Ray for your comic. I remember back when that first came out and playing around with it. I had no idea they had support for human bodies in there, that’s neat. I can’t decide whether I like the rendering or it bothers me, but regardless it is an interesting choice, and you really brought back some nostalgia from me with the stuff I tried to create in it. It was certainly a great lesson in combining 3d geometric shapes!

    • Thanks for the comments. I usually don’t try to avoid physics jokes in the comic. I see it as an opportunity to improve at explaining things to non-physicists.

      POV-Ray actually doesn’t have support for human bodies. There is a library available for POV-Ray called “Blob Man” that I had considered using, but the results from Blob Man don’t look particularly realistic and I didn’t think it fit what I was trying to go for. Instead I use a program called Poser, and I use another program called PoseRay, which can export the files Poser outputs into POV-Ray format.

  2. ahhhh I remember reading this comic a while back and thinking “this is so weird but in an awesome way” but then I forgot what the comic was called. I don’t even remember how I found it the first time around but now that I’ve found it again I’ll make sure to bookmark it!

  3. OK, this is the niche of the niche comics. Extreme obscure geek humor and POV-Ray world.
    First I want to commend D.B. for creating the comic that way: use what you know to tell the story! Of course I cannot picture Cesium in a different format now. Well, that is not true, I could picture Cesium as a photo strip with the visuals of a classical Doctor Who show: campy and cheesy on the outside but with a powerful storyline.

    As mentioned by others, Cesium features some local jokes and physics jokes. Most I can understand even if I’m no physicist (I am a CS Ph.D., does that help?) and there is always the explanation below. Some don’t like explanatory text so the biggest challenge of Cesium is to attract more casual readers.
    I’ve been enjoying the major storylines and I really like how all the characters have been fleshed out. Mike is kind of a jerk-ass, but a lovable jerk-ass. Ashley is a good opposite for him with her cynical attitude, and Bob is genius!
    One criticism I have is regarding the story arcs. Specially at the beginning some story lines are left unresolved and then we see some other unrelated story, which makes the comic confusing and hard to read (and you still have to deal with geek humor).
    The other thing that gives a strange vibe is the POV-ray thing. Since we don’t have motion lines or blurring, it is difficult to see the action sometimes. Also, Bob looks two-dimensional sometimes. And it would be great that whenever he is disassembled (which of course happens very often) that we see more pieces around to figure out what is going on.
    So, in a nutshell, this is a comic I like, I usually prefer to bing-read it, and it gives me an obscure satisfaction when I make out what is happening.
    Cheers from the Hippo

    • Thanks for the comments. One of the issues I’ve had with doing a weekly schedule for my comic is that it can be difficult to finish the stories, since at one comic per week it can take a very long time to finish a story. I think I’ve been getting better at that, but it definitely is an issue. I’ve also been thinking of implementing some sort of tag system in my code so I can set up tags for each story arc to make it easier to follow.

      I’ve also been increasing the amount of post-processing I’ve been doing to my images. I could definitely add some blurring in motion scenes to make it clearer.

      Adding more detail to the robots is definitely something I want to do. I don’t want to give away future plot details, but let’s just say I have plans for Bob and particularly for TeX. :)

  4. I’m going to be honest and admit that I simply don’t get any math joke beyond “duh-huh, pi sounds like pie” (happy Pi Day, by the way). I’m not your audience, so I won’t critique the humor.

    That being said, I do think there’s some pretty good situational humor here and there, even if some of it is buried under math, not that burying it under math is a bad thing. For example, the whole incident with the ticket from 1989 is easy for anyone whose had to deal with irritating state workers or computer glitches to relate to. His exasperation with the whole deal is pretty amusing, too.

    Much like math, I don’t know a whole lot about this kind of 3D art, so if I suggest something unfeasible, I apologize in advance. There’s a rather static quality to everything in this comic, as if the figures are posed but immobile. If there’s a way to make them less stiff, you might want to try it. However, I suspect that’s easier said than done, However, I do wonder if you can control your light source more. Some scenes are much darker and dingier than they should be, while others have a light source that seems directionless. One thing I do like about the art is the time you take to create a full backgrounds. Some of the textures you use, especially for things like fabrics, are nice too. I don’t know why, but I tend to like the objects that have some grit rather than being smooth. They seem more real, I guess, and there’s a weight to them when the texture is a little more rough. It’s not to say every single thing you render has to look gritty. For example, you actually do a nice job with hair, especially in recent pages, but you might want to explore other textures too for things like grass, stone, paper, wood, metal, and skin.

    As for the website’s design, I really like how it looks. It’s simple, but fits the theme and it’s easy to navigate. Having the page navigation follow the scroll-down is a great idea, too. It makes it super-easy to go from one page to the next. Obviously, you know a thing or two about coding a website and it shows.

    • Thanks for the comments. For the website it’s not so much that I have experience with websites (my prior experience is mostly from the 1990s…) but that Google and w3schools are really useful resources. :) I also have keyboard navigation enabled on my website since I like having that available, though I didn’t put a note about it on the page.

      I’ve been trying to put some effort into making my 3D art better. The textures are definitely something I need to look into making better. And I probably need to add some blurring to some of the frames to make motion look less static. In fact, since I still have to finish putting together today’s comic, that will give me a chance to try it out on one of the frames.

      And the page about dealing with the car rental agency is roughly based on a real story (the guy refused to rent to me because he thought I didn’t exist because the computer couldn’t find my credit report). I think the best stories come from real life. :)

  5. Pingback: Cesium Fan Art - Webcomic Underdogs

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