Crafting a digital comic: Q&A with André Bergs

André Bergs is no stranger to animation. And the iPad is no stranger to digital comics. 

But André’s recently released “Protanopia” sports a unique look that begs users to pick up their device and dive into the story’s world.

We asked André for details about the process behind his passion project — and why he’s giving it away for free.

Making “Protanopia”: A Q&A with André Bergs

Where did you come up with the idea for Protanopia?

The story idea came during a lunch talk with a friend of mine in Bangkok, where the idea of all the soldiers confidently being dressed up as clowns gave me the giggles for hours.

As for the digital comic format, I’ve been fantasizing about digital comics from the moment I got my first iPad, about 6 years ago in Copenhagen.

I knew I wanted to see the medium being used better as a narrative tool. So over the years, I did experiments when I had the time, learning what doesn’t work mostly. And eventually I came to the form that Protanopia has now.

You have a lot of experience directing and creating serialized animations. (Impressive work, by the way!) Creatively, how was the process for Protanopia different (or similar)?

Thanks! The creative process was extremely similar for me — with the big exception of music.

Music is such an important part of any movie, and one that I love working with very much. I realized at one point though that I shouldn’t use sound at all in this project. You could use ambient music for sure, but in a movie music dictates or supports the pacing, tempo and tension arcs so strongly, and for a comic to be a comic and not a movie you have to let the reader decide his/her own pace.

So I wanted to let go of that part completely. I did really miss setting a mood with it though. So I think I’ll use it for any next comics.

Did you use Unity to build Protanopia? Did you code everything yourself?

Yep. I actually did a failed year of studying programming wen I was younger and hadn’t found animation yet. I was always interested in programming.

I’m really not good at it at all, but Unity and the online community that it has really makes it so much easier s solve problems. So actually a big thanks goes out to all of those guys, too!

Did you build your project in a way that you’ll be able to easily build more episodes/stories?

My original plan was to make a comic, because it would be so much faster and easier then making another animation. It didn’t end up like that unfortunately. The amount of work that went into creating this comic is pretty much the same as if I would have made a short animation of it.

But then again I have learned a lot from this, and I feel the next one should be a lot easier to build.

What are you hoping will come out of Protanopia?

Most importantly, I’m hoping that everybody will agree with me that this is awesome!

I’m giving this comic away for free to get people excited for the medium and see how far the reach can be, how many people are interested. And then I would love to get started on another one. A longer serialized story that’s been on the back-burner for a while now.

If enough people like what I did here, then hopefully I can make a living out of this. :)

Anything else you’d like to add?

Just that it’s been great to get responses from people all over the world these past days. It’s really really nice to find out that I’m not crazy for thinking this is awesome.

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About the author

Justin Cone

/ justincone.com
Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.

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  • Vuyo Serote

    Wow this is mindblowing! Wish you could deploy one for android or the chrome browser so people without iphones could dive in too!

  • HECMAR JAYAM

    This is the extra that was missing from digital comics. Beautiful.