Cut and Paste Critiques
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    Cut and Paste Critiques

    Cut and Paste Critiques


    I am putting this thread together for people to use as a starting point for many commonly used critiques as well as some things to keep in mind to look for while critiquing work and remember when creating their own pieces. I am hoping that people use these to start a critique, and then expand on it to make it relevant to the piece.

    I am also hoping that this can become a helpful topic for newer people to see what are common pitfalls for artists in hope of possibly avoiding them in their own art.

    I hope to update this one frequently. I have a lot more which I will add when I get more time.

    DeviantArt vs. Conceptart
    Don't take it personally, just take it seriously.

    I am adding this because I keep seeing new members to the site migrate from DA to CA.org and are shocked at the style of critiquing found in these forums. DA can be a great place, but much of the time I have found what they call critiquing to be a little soft and overly flattering. "Wonderful", "Amazing" and "Can I worship/marry/serve you" are comments rarely found here. Instead, what you will receive is extremely hard hitting, often times painfully accurate advice as to the many, many things wrong in the piece in an attempt to make better art, and better artists.

    Remember that the people in this section are not getting paid for their help, and the lessons they are sharing with you sometimes cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of trial and error to learn the gems they are giving away for free. My art education cost me over $140,000 and 5 years of my life with little to no sleep... for the duration of the 5 years. You don't have to agree with every critique, but at least respect the intent in which it is given.

    Just to clarify in case people take it the wrong way, I am not intending to bash DA at all. Just noticing the differences in styles.


    The Library List

    After lurking around the forums here for years, I have seen so many people suggesting so many different books to study, so I am going to try adding an essential library reading list at the bottom of each section. Might as well start with Loomis.


    The Art of the Critique

    Right before I posted this thread, I was working on a similar thread that I thought would be very helpful in this forum too, but since it was not stickied it got buried pretty quickly. I definitely think that it is also worth reading and adding to if you like this thread. It is all about how you should approach a critique, both from the viewpoint of giving a crit as well as from the viewpoint of receiving one.

    Please feel free to jump on over and give it a read.
    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=145590

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    Last edited by Lukas Esch; March 27th, 2013 at 07:16 PM.
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    ANATOMY


    I have read a number of responses to critiques regarding anatomy that say things like “the anatomy isn't wrong, it is just under baggy clothes”. Just because we can't see actual skin doesn't mean we don't understand the underlying structure.

    STUDY STUDY STUDY!!!!
    One of the most frequent comments I have seen in the forums lately is "Study Loomis". So... STUDY LOOMIS!

    THE LIBRARY LIST
    http://www.amazon.com/Figure-Drawing...1478136&sr=8-1
    http://www.amazon.com/Drawing-Head-H...1478136&sr=8-2
    http://www.amazon.com/Drawing-Head-H...1478136&sr=8-3
    http://www.amazon.com/Fun-Pencil-And...1478136&sr=8-7

    PROPORTION


    Manga artists are usually well versed in both realistic human anatomy and proportions, as well as environmental perspective and architectural drafting since that is what is commonly taught in Japanese art classes. Stylization is great, but you have to know correct anatomy and proportions to understand how to stylize it.

    Breaking anatomy down into basic shapes such as cylinders and boxes greatly helps one to understand the 3d form that the body is made up of. {Muzzoid}



    POSE and GESTURE



    A figure's balance is based on the center of gravity, so if the character is leaning in one direction, to be balanced, enough weight must be pushed in the other direction. One can gain a better idea of a figures balance if they extend a vertical line from the figures feet, and up through the center of gravity. {Muzzoid}

    An appealing and flowing pose has to have a good rhythm, to achieve a good rhythm an artist can base the figure on simple smooth and flowing lines, and build up the complex forms around this simple line. {Muzzoid}




    REFERENCE MATERIAL


    Always reference from life or a photo, avoid referencing someone else's work as you will end up copying their mistakes. {Ayem}

    Last edited by Bai Fan; April 28th, 2011 at 03:41 AM.
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    LIGHTING / SHADING


    Other than anatomical problems, I think lighting problems are the most common comments when artists post their work for critique here. When taking something past the sketch stage and starting to flush out the form, consistent and deliberate lighting is crucial to creating a believable, finished-looking piece.

    It will really help keep your lighting consistent if you add arrows to the piece telling you where the lights are and their direction. If the light source is visible within the piece, you can draw lines on a separate layer radiating out to see what is being hit by the light and what would fall into shadow. Doing this will really help if you are using multiple light sources, have really complicated overlapping forms or if you have large gaps between painting sessions where you could forget the original intent.

    I think adding a rim light to the character will help to pop it out and add depth to the piece. It doesn't take much.

    The piece feels really flat because it is lacking any believable/dynamic lighting. Remember that form is shown through shadow.

    A warm light source has a cool shadow and a cool light source has a warm one. Showing this in your work will help add depth to the piece.

    When dealing with highlights, remember that the wetter something is, the sharper the edges of the highlight will be.

    A light from where the viewpoint is should be avoided because it flattens out the forms. {Muzzoid}

    Light bounces, and it takes the colour of the object it hits along with it. Adding in bounce lighting does two things, it helps unify the colour scheme by creating more complex colour mixes and it helps to make the lighting system more believable. {Muzzoid}

    Try and study naturalistic lighting setups; it is rare to see a character under a single strong light source, and because of that it makes a characters believability a lot weaker. {Muzzoid}

    Light travels in straight lines until it hits something. If there's no possible way a certain light source can hit something, don't light it. {Ayem}

    When dealing with different light sources (bounced light, diffused, etc) try and get the major light source looking right BEFORE you move onto anything else. Then proceed to do each different light source one by one. Doing things in stages will make it much easier. {Ayem}



    COMPOSITION, RHYTHM and FLOW


    Try offsetting your focal point from the center, it's keeping our eyes glued there and you want to have some kind of movement throughout the whole painting. {Chagan}

    Identify the points of interest in the painting and try to establish some kind of visual rhythm that keeps our eyes moving around the piece. {Chagan}

    There is too much going on in the piece and it is hard to understand what we are looking at.
    --- Use contrast, gesture, saturation, value, etc...
    --- Use frame in frame (foreground elements that create a framing element inside the picture)
    --- Use vectors (lines in the piece, blades of grass, etc. aimed at the focal point will subtly direct like arrows)
    --- Use leading looks (when someone in your piece is looking a certain way, the viewer tends to look where that character is looking, creating flow)
    ... to create focal points and flow.

    Last edited by Bai Fan; April 25th, 2010 at 10:14 PM.
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    COLOR


    I think it is too early for you to be thinking about color. Work monochrome for now and try to get the form, anatomy and proportions better first.

    Your skin colors appear too yellow/orange. The character look jaundiced.

    Don't mix your warms and cools, it creates a muddy look and takes away from the form. {Chagan}

    It is hard to give an accurate color critique when you use white as a background. Try throwing in a background color / texture / image and start from that.

    If possible, avoid using pure black or pure white... especially when doing shadows or highlights because it tends to flatten out the form.

    If you are going to do an extremely dark background behind an extremely dark character with extremely dark clothing and extremely dark hair, you might want to add a rim light to show us at least a hint at the character's silhouette, otherwise everything becomes lost. It is like Calvin drawing a polar bear in a snow storm blinking.


    TECHNIQUE, PROCESS and APPLICATION



    Working on an image part by part ends up usually looking fairly inconsistent, and the result is a much weaker image. Instead, try working on an image and bringing it up in stages of polish, this yields much better results.{Muzzoid}

    Don't work at the same zoom size all the time, and don't work too zoomed in on details, try to understand the overall feel of the picture. {Gaussian Raider}


    If everything looks so blurry and you're wondering why, try to use harder brushes. {Gaussian Raider}

    Last edited by Bai Fan; March 5th, 2009 at 04:01 PM.
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    MOVEMENT


    I had to add a movement list for the people who work in animation so as to recommend this book.

    THE LIBRARY LIST
    http://www.amazon.com/Animators-Surv...1694868&sr=8-1

    PRACTICE!!!


    Draw from observation as much as possible. If you carry a bag frequently, have a sketchbook in it. If you don't carry a bag, get a small sketchbook and keep it in a pocket. Draw what you see, how you see it. Drawing from life will help you learn the foundations of structure that will let you draw from your imagination for more believable works.

    Do plenty of studies from George Bridgman, Andrew Loomis, and any other figure drawing teachers that work for you. While drawing from life is irreplaceable, you need to know how to analyze what you're looking so that you know what to put on paper. {Chagan}


    START A SKETCHBOOK THREAD!


    I would recommend picking one of them to have us critique thoroughly and start a sketchbook topic to show the rest of your work. You can post a link to your sketchbook in your signature. It takes time to critique even one image, and when there are so many images in front of us we can't really focus on any problem.

    Last edited by Bai Fan; April 28th, 2011 at 03:40 AM.
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    Composition:

    1) Identify the points of interest in the painting and try to establish some kind of rhythm to keep our eyes moving around.

    2) There's too much going on all over the drawing/painting. Use contrast and gesture to create focal points.

    3) Try offsetting your focal point from the center, it's keeping our eyes glued there and you want to have some kind of movement throughout the whole painting.

    Those are the 3 I end up stating most of the time...

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    Always reference from life/photo, never from someone else's work as you will end up copying their mistakes.

    (By the way, some of these pointers have really helped me. Thanks!)

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    Hm.. I always end up telling people to remember that light does more than just illuminate things. There's no such thing as just light. What colour is it? What does it do to your subject? What does it do to the surrounding area? What source does it come from (is it.. organic, mechanic, fire, car?) And so on and so forth. If done well, it'll tell as much a story about your picture as the subject does (or maybe that's me wishful thinking).
    Also, lighting consistency. If a big bright light illuminates your subject, it sure as heck will have to light everything around it to (usually)

    Lately I've also been checking up on some people's perspective lines. It's nice to have a basic grid built up somewhere to check on your perspective once in a while. Even if the error is minute, people often get a gut feeling that it's awkward.

    Also, don't be afraid. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Don't be afraid to experiment. Don't be afraid to step away sometimes. Don't be afraid to let go and let your hand instead of your mind to do the work. And so on, I suppose.

    Oh, and kill your darlings if you have to.
    (even if you've worked so hard on something and it looks so pretty, if the picture is better without it, take it out.)

    I think I say these ones fairly often -ahem-.

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    Try breaking form down into 3 categories of lines. Straight lines, S curves and C curves.

    try using graphic shapes. The most realistic and dynamic paintings are a bunch of simple graphic shapes indicating an illusion of realism.

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    Figures:

    Breaking anatomy down into basic shapes such as cylinders and boxes greatly helps one to understand the 3d form that the body is made up of.

    A figures balance is based on the center of gravity, so if the character is leaning in one direction to be balanced, enough weight must be pushed in the other direction to maintain the balance.
    One can gain a better idea of a figures balance if they extend a vertical line from the figures feet, and up through the center of gravity.

    Rhythm and flow:

    An appealing and flowing pose has to have a good rhythm, to achieve a good rhythm an artist can base the figure on simple smooth and flowing lines, and build up the complex forms around this simple line.

    ext.
    Rhythm can be seen in nature everywhere, observe how a plant grows and how it sends out its limbs in directions that create appealing shapes. Also studying how graceful animals, such as a gazelle, or a woman in high heels move can give a much better idea of why we have rhythm and how we apply it, as rhythm is directly linked with flowing movement.

    Lighting:

    A light from where the viewpoint is, should be avoided because it lights the forms in a way that makes everything appear flat.

    Try and study naturalistic lighting conditions, it is rare to see the character under a single strong light source and can make a images believability a lot weaker.

    Don't just do the generic strong warm light source, and blue rim light, try something unique.

    Light bounces, and it takes the colour of the object it hits along with it. Adding in bounce lighting does two things, it helps unify the colour scheme by creating more complex colour mixes and it helps to make the lighting system more believable.

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    Horizon

    Though often times I see pieces that need work with regards to perspective, this applies more to figures set into an environment (and figures that lack an environment:

    The horizon corresponds with the viewer's eye level. The viewer will be able to see the bottom of an object that is above the horizon, and the top of an object that is below the horizon.

    The human figure can be envisioned within a box. Take the perspective of the figure into consideration in the same way that you would a building within a city.

    I'll add more to this when I have time.

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    I got one:

    If your image is too big when you preview your post, for heaven's sake,
    resize it!

    Please,
    my scroll wheel begs you...

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    Process:

    Working on an image part by part ends up usually looking fairly inconsistent and the image isn't that strong as a whole.
    Instead working on an image and bringing it up to stages of polish yields with much better results.

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    Lighting: Define a light source, and stick to it. Lighting things where it just 'looks pretty' will not do anything for the image.

    Light travels in straight lines until it hits something. If there's no possible way a certain light source can hit something, don't light it.

    Last edited by Ayem; December 31st, 2008 at 02:35 AM. Reason: Adding more...
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    Color: Don't mix your warms and cools, it creates a muddy look and takes away from the form.

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    Don't work at the same zoom size all the time, and don't work too zoomed in on details, try to understand the overall feel of the picture.

    If everything looks so blurry and you're wondering why, try to use harder brushes.

    If everything looks the same and feels too fake try switching to a different brush (with a different edge)...or try fixing the illumination.

    To a painter the most powerful tool in photoshop should be the brush itself, you don't really need to switch to burn/etc, it's probably something you can easily accomplish with a brush, given that you know what to do.

    Think of objects as the summa of basic 3D shapes, your mission should be (depending on your style) giving the illusion of 3D on 2D.

    Always try to push yourself out of the comfort zone, it's like learning to snowboard, you know it's gonna hurt but in the end it will pay off.

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    Your skin colors appear too yellow/orange. The character look jondus.
    Sorry to interrupt your helpful thread, but if people are going to be using this as an example... the word is "jaundiced" not "jondus"

    'Cuz life is full of your regrets, and I should be one...
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    When dealing with different light sources (bounced light, diffused, etc) try and get the major light source looking right BEFORE you move onto anything else. Then proceed to do each different light source one by one. Doing things in stages will make it much easier.

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    Not sure whether this would go under Reference or Anatomy.

    - Do plenty of studies from George Bridgman, Andrew Loomis, and any other figure drawing teachers that work for you. While drawing from life is irreplaceable, you need to know how to analyze what you're looking so that you know what to put on paper.

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    I stuck it in practice because it is about practicing and covers both anatomy and proportion. Thanks guys, you are offering some gems.

    Last edited by Bai Fan; January 24th, 2009 at 01:38 AM.
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    This is pretty much all I ever say, haha:

    - More variation in the thickness of the lines to show depth, form, lighting, etc.

    - The colors look metallic, not everything needs bright highlights and dark shadows, it ends up looking like this: http://www.artlex.com/ArtLex/p/image...nyneggs.lg.jpg

    - don't just make the color of the object darker for shadows and lighter for highlights, shadows also contain the complementary color of the object

    - the forms only look 3D on one side, like a portrait on a coin

    -

    Last edited by eminkey2003; January 9th, 2009 at 11:53 AM.
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    Crappy crap crap crap.... I just read over my stuff and the amount of grammar errors is amazing....

    Bai fan, if possibly could you fix these up. Sorry about that

    Process:

    Working on an image part by part ends up usually looking fairly inconsistent, and the result is a much weaker image
    Instead, try working on an image and bringing it up in stages of polish, this yields much better results.

    Figures:

    Breaking anatomy down into basic shapes such as cylinders and boxes greatly helps one to understand the 3d form that the body is made up of.

    A figures balance is based on the center of gravity, so if the character is leaning in one direction, to be balanced, enough weight must be pushed in the other direction.
    One can gain a better idea of a figures balance if they extend a vertical line from the figures feet, and up through the center of gravity.

    Lighting:

    A light from where the viewpoint is should be avoided because it flattens out the forms.

    Try and study naturalistic lighting setups; it is rare to see a character under a single strong light source, and because of that it makes a characters believability a lot weaker.


    How embarrassing :/.

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    This is not a place for your sketchbook. We are not here to criticise every single thing that you produce.


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Spot View Post
    This is not a place for your sketchbook. We are not here to criticise every single thing that you produce.
    I think you mean "critique".

    Muzzoid: Changes updated. Thanks again for taking the time.

    Last edited by Bai Fan; January 24th, 2009 at 01:38 AM.
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    That's what I meant. Sorry.


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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    No worries.


    EDIT: Are people finding this thread helpful?

    Last edited by Bai Fan; January 24th, 2009 at 01:37 AM.
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    EDIT: Are people finding this thread helpful?
    I regularly come here and use it as a checklist. (Did I do bounced light? Check... What about diffused? Check... etc)

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    Awesome. Glad to hear it. I will continue updating it then.



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    thanks for the general tips on critiques, great post

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    I think it is also instructive to discuss how not to critique. I've created an example below of the kind of critique that we community members would rather not encourage.

    Thanks,
    kev

    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by kev ferrara; February 20th, 2009 at 10:49 PM.
    At least Icarus tried!


    My Process: Dead Rider Graphic Novel (Dark Horse Comics) plus oil paintings, pencils and other goodies:
    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=101106

    My "Smilechild" Music. Plus a medley of Commercial Music Cues and a Folksy Jingle!:
    http://www.myspace.com/kevferrara
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote  

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