Sunday, March 13, 2016


This post will serve as both a 17 panel cap AND a discussion.

As I said above, this post will have two parts.  I'd like to present a cap I made celebrating Dee's 1000th blog post and the normal write up on how I made it, but I also have a couple things to talk about.  If you are just interested in the cap itself, feel free to read/view it, and let me know what you thought about it (or, you know, don't let me know).

On to the cap!

I'll start off by saying that I am very proud of this cap.  It encompasses so many things that I like about caps and creating caps.  I'm not going to say it's perfect or even approaching that level of polish.  It has it's warts and even outright errors.  BUT... it's good.

The impetus for this cap was an email from Dee.  She was approaching her 1000th post and was asking for a cap from several friends.  She figured it would be about a month before her 1000th post.  She actually sent this email while I was away on vacation and I got it a week later.  Now in my heyday three weeks to make a cap wouldn't be a problem.  But this is most certainly NOT my heyday.  To be honest, I was a little gun shy.  I quickly replied with a "I'd Love To!", although I had doubts that I could make something good in that time frame.

I figured the brute force method would work best and give me a good chance to gather up any creativity whenever it came knocking.  By brute force I mean that each and every morning I would try to make a cap for Dee.  Thank god I didn't just wait for the creative itch to strike as I failed at making a cap 11 days in a row.

Most attempts were my normal 'looking for inspiration out of nowhere' type attempts.  I'd think of Dee and consider the caps I've made for her in the past.  I didn't actually review those caps as I didn't want to repeat any of them.  But I'd think about the themes I've covered with her.  The biggest theme and the one I chased after the most was the whole Goth Girl things.  It's how I picture her most of the time... or rather it's the feminine version of how I picture here.  You see I picture Dee/Damien as a kind of Henry Rollins.  But I didn't just focus on that idea.   I tried to think of hypnosis.  I tried to think of her 'park bench' theme.  I tried to think of stockings.  I tried to think of underlying compulsions.  I even tried to think of the one theme she's asked for and that I've never delivered on... going from a powerful masculine adult and changing into a girly girl, mall shopping, giggling, clean cut teenybopper.  

Each day I'd look at images with one or more of those themes in mind, and each day I would get exactly zero inspirations.

Now, one problem I have is finding images.  I'm sure all cap creators have t he same issue.  My main source of images is fuskator... but Dee doesn't particularly like the XXX style caps and that's fuskator's specialty.  Thankfully fuskator shows many images in most of their galleries and that includes the 'before' pictures.  i.e. before the fucking.  They show the sexy women with their clothes on.  They also have many solo galleries with just the one girl in them.

One such solo gallery caught my attention on that 12th day.  It was from suicide girls and had one of their sexy girls in all her tatted up glory.  It didn't necessarily give me inspiration, but a path to hoped inspiration... I could use fuskator's search function to look for suicide girls!  Most of their models would work great for a Dee cap.  So I did that.... and lemme tell you after looking at about a dozen galleries worth of tattooed sexy women I was distinctly in the mood to cap!

Now something that Dee requested for this cap was that it include not only her, but 'me'.  She wanted both of us to be in the cap.  One idea I got from all of those suicide girls galleries was that I could use two of them.  I could make a kinetic text style cap (less writing!) and bounce between two girls... one Dee and one Caitlyn.  Maybe they both got transformed against their will.  Maybe they both wished for the same thing and were reacting differently.  Maybe they were inadvertently changing each other.  I just liked the idea of using two image sets instead of endlessly searching for an appropriate suicide girl gallery with two girls in it.

And then I came across this gallery.  It ticked off just about every box I need to make a kinetic text style cap.  It had a lot of images.  Many of the images had a lot of empty space.  The images seemed to progress instead of just having a lot of variations on the same pose.  They were large images.  The only knock these images had for this particular image was the fact that it was a dark haired beauty (obviously that one would be Dee) and a blonde beauty.  Ideally that blonde would have red hair if it was going to be me.  But hey... I wasn't about to drop an image set just because it only hit 9 out of my 10 criteria!  I'd just have to be blonde.  I figured I might even work that into the cap somehow.

I decided to just go with it.  I pulled up the first image into photo shop and tried to picture what was happening.  The dark haired beauty was looking at the viewer, and my mind immediately went to breaking the fourth wall.  Maybe it was all the Deadpool trailers.  I didn't want to start the cap that way though.... so I looked at the image some more.  And some more.  And some more.   A lot of ideas came and went, none of them really giving me an idea of what was happening.

Things I was trying to figure out by looking at that one image.... how did Damien and Calvin get transformed?  Where are they?  Who did this to them?  Why isn't Dee looking at Caitlyn?  What IS Dee looking at?

No answers came to me.

Now I liked the images, I was in the mood to cap... I just needed an push to get started.  Looking for that push I went over to Dee's blog and read a few of her caps.  She is always so 'in the moment' and while my caps tend to explain more of what's going on, I figured I might be able to use one of her 'moments' to get me going.

And nothing.

The next push came from focusing on the design.  Eventually I would need to establish characters by their text, so I just wrote up the first thing that came to me in a 'Dee' voice.  That happened to be her writing about a cap on her blog.  It didn't matter that it would obviously not stay in the cap, it was just words so that I could pick a font and maybe even a size (the size is important as that would dictate how much text I could push into each panel).

Once I had those first few lines into the panel I went through a lot of fonts.  I knew I wanted something more stylish for Dee's voice.  Now I have about 600 different fonts.  I've never had to go through all of them as no matter where I start in the list there is always a selection that includes some good standard sanserif fonts, some good standard serif fonts, and some really creative fonts.  The font I ended up with is an oldie but a good stylish standard.  Florentine Script Regular.  It worked, but it was going to really limit how much I had Dee saying in each panel as the font is fairly hard to read when it's small.

I was happy with the font selection, but still nowhere near a story idea.  So I worked on the Caitlyn voice.  If I limited Dee, I wanted Caitlyn to be able to carry more story... so she had to have a font that looked good small.  To me that's almost always going to be a sanserif font.  So I wrote up a few lines to be Caitlyn's voice.  On a lark, I had Caitlyn responding to what Dee was saying... which is more or less following my previous thoughts;  Dee was breaking the fourth wall so Caitlyn would obviously object to that.  You can see how I search for fonts as what I wrote as Caitlyn's lines started out in the same Florentine Script Regular font.  I then simply select the text and start scrolling down until I see a good standard sanserif font.  In this case; Futurist Regular.

I played around with both 'voices' for a bit trying to guess ahead of what I'd need.  As a Kinetic Text style cap I didn't want any underlying text boxes, so I needed to get both the color of the fonts and some kind of background affect to make them pop even when they were overlaying a part of the photo that they'd normally blend into.  I think it's when I made Caitlyn's voice red that it hit me.  This COULD be the first panel.  Instead of going with a standard cap with a background, a story, and a conclusion (or cliffhanger!), I could make this a meta caption.  One where this isn't just two people named Damien/Dee and Calvin/Caitlyn.  This could be Dee the cap creator and blogger at Deelusions of Grandeur and Caitlyn the former cap creator and blogger at Caitlyn's Masks.

The only thing I didn't like was that this would immediately narrow my audience.  About the only thing I ask my audience to understand and know when they read one of my caps is that a man is going to turn into some form of woman.  That's it.  If I made this into a meta cap they would need to know who Dee is, what Deelusions of Grandeur is, who Caitlyn is, and what Caitlny's Masks is.

So I went into this half heartedly... it wasn't me trying to make what ended up as this cap series as much as it was me arguing with my own muse.  Having the discussion out in the open that was going on inside my head.  My muse in this argument would be played by Dee.  If nothing else, this would give me several panels with text that I could later edit and format cropped and sized to the right format.

It wasn't until I finished the 4th panel that I realized this would be a fun gift for Dee.  And that happened just as it did in the cap with the "oh wait!!!" line and the idea of my muse telling me to make the cap in Dee's style.  That idea actually made me laugh out loud, especially when the Caitlyn voice responded.  That response IS what went through my head.  "What the FUCK!? I can't just change this up in the 5th panel!"

From there I decided this would be the cap.  I wouldn't be going back and changing the story.  I wouldn't need a beginning or an ending... I would make a cap of me arguing with my own muse.  I purposefully changed the voices in that fifth panel onward... the 'Dee' voice changed to what I approximated as her font selection.  Now, I don't know what font Dee uses, so I got as close as I could without spending an hour of research on it or breaking the mood and asking Dee specifically what she used (requiring me to send an email and likely waiting a day for the response).  So the font I used for her became Impact.  Yeah.... ick.  I don't like that font, but it IS close to what Dee uses.  I fiddled a bit with the shadow to try and match Dee's style, but again I wasn't trying to mimic it perfectly... I just wanted it close enough so that I could have another voice.... Dee in the Florentine font which would represent the Dee in the cap, and Dee in Impact which would represent the muse.

While continuing the series.... inspiration struck.  Maybe it was just me arguing with my muse both inside my head and in the cap, but I got an idea of how the story should have progressed.  Calvin transformed Damien into Dee.  Not just a gothy girl, but the gothy girl that Dee wanted to be including her powers.  Dee would be in control of herself and give the gift right back to Calvin by transforming him into Caitlyn.  But not the Caitlyn that he pictured himself as... no, she would make him into a slave girl to her mistress persona.  Caitlyn would get what she is almost always looking for... humiliation, embarrassment and that great 'Noooo!!!' feeling.  I even figured out the ending.... Dee would use Caitlyn to help transform others and use those transformations for the next 1000 posts to her blog.

Yeah... you're reading that.  I was making a cap that would end up being meta inside of a cap that was already meta.  A meta meta cap if you will.  And while most of the time I would argue with my own muse on that idea.... I figured Dee would really get a kick out of it.

Seeing as I was making the cap as an argument with my own muse, I just went ahead and made that cap as the result of that argument.  So the meta cap would fold right into the other meta cap.

While I was writing out those next few panels (the seven panels of the cap within the meta cap), I figured I'd have three endings.  I'd end the cap within the cap, I'd have a panel or maybe two where I returned to the meta setting and talking to Dee/Muse about how it worked, and then one final panel which would just be me writing to Dee.  Talking about her 1000 posts and how I felt about her and her blog.

But as happens fairly often now.... inspiration started to slip.  I started to rush as I had no idea if I'd be able to capture this moment again and didn't want to just throw away 10 or so panels of a cap just because it had no ending.  You can see one of the mistakes and I'm surprised that I didn't catch it.  Notice that the 13th and 15th panels are the same image.  Yes, I used several images over, but that was playing around in the meta stage of the cap.  Once I rolled into the 'cap' stage I wanted it to sit like any other cap series.   I fucked up.  That 15th panel should have been a different image.

Another sign that I was rushing is that I didn't get one of the endings I wanted.  I knew that I could write up the final panel... the one with me talking to Dee... but I just didn't have my muse any more.  I couldn't write up an discussion between me and my Dee/Muse because my real muse walked out on me.

So... that's how that cap came to be.  Dee posted it as part of her 1000th post on March 6th.  She wrote that she liked it in the post and even sent me an email reiterating it.  So at the very least I know my target liked it.  It also got a heart warming review from Helena Radiant in the comments.

Now... I intended to add to this post a discussion on how my muse works.  How it's tied in with my Caitlyn persona and how it often disappoints me by leaving me wanting.  But sadly.... it's leaving me wanting right here and now.

You see, I've been struggling again with my muse and with my Caitlyn persona in general.  It's one of the reasons I didn't push this post out soon after Dee posted the cap series up.  I always intended to post it as I didn't want to comment on Dee's 1000th post about how I made it.  But Caitlyn has taken a vacation and took my muse with her.  I thought I had captured enough of her today to write out not only the creative path this series took but to talk about the creative process in general.... but she's gone again.

And I guess that's the discussion right there.  At least the last part of that discussion.  When my muse is gone it's just gone.  I can look at all the images I want, I can have the desire to create, the desire to share, and the desire to think sexy TG thoughts.... but when there is no muse there's nothing to do.  No caps, no obscura, no posts.  Nothing.

1 comment:

  1. Jeez! 2 days later and not one comment? This was a whole lot of fun to read .. and receive.

    IT had humor, it had hotness, submission, sexy girls in tattoos, seduction, a parody of my captions and one of the panels was the "classic Caitlyn" style that everyone loves.

    Once again Caitlyn, I truly appreciate the work you put into it, even more so when I read this writeup and how you had to work your way through it. I thought it was truly wonderful!