Classwork: Cyborg Mercenary
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Thread: Classwork: Cyborg Mercenary

  1. #1
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    Classwork: Cyborg Mercenary

    This was done entirely in PS on a Wacom Cintiq 12WX, from the sketch down to the painting itself, it was my first piece but I did my best to do a bit of research on the subject.

    I'm not quite sure if I have the basics down, as a lot of my textures look rather flat and sanded, I'd appreciate any tips on how I can get my image to "pop" and establish a greater value scale, and anything to do with using Photoshop and increasing my efficiency (total work time was roughly 7.5 hrs), with special focus on the art of digital painting

    If there are any online resources for things like brushes and textures, it'd be nice to be pointed in the right direction as well

    As for the character itself, it's not really what I'm concerned about as I'm attempting to discover an individual style (Keywoard "attempting"), but all remarks are appreciated

    So without further ado, the jaded cyborg mercenary at a diner table

    Thank you in advance!


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    my thoughts

    You've got a good start here but you want to push it farther. You want it to pop. You want great value range and sweet textures. I'll tell you what I'd do it it were mine and you use what thoughts you find useful and ditch what you don't.
    Handling all the issues at once is too complicated and overwhelming so I'd break it down into steps. First I'd convert the image to black and white. Yup, just drop the color right out. I'd do this because I know images pop when their values are expertly used. If the image "works" in monotone, it'll work in color. This will also allow me to focus on each aspect fully without being fettered with the others. Next I'd address a couple of anatomy issues. The ear falls about an ear width too far back and the neck than needs to branch off with the trapezius and curve down to the shoulder. The hand then would be shortened a bit in the wrist area. The other arm comes off odd so it could be considered to be changed to holding a rifle, pistol or bottle on the table. Finding some reference for the face I'd pick out a couple of aspects and apply them to the character. Wouldn't need to be a copy, just basing aspects on a real source could help to lend credibility. The face has to many dark lines in it that need to be worked out. The features need to look as they are all connected and not individual objects attached.
    After the anatomy was adjusted I'd rework the values to see how much image I could get with them alone. At some stage, possibly before starting any changes I'd look for resources to help me define what mood, atmosphere and or lighting I'd like to capture in the image. It would not be until I was satisfied with the image in monotone that I'd add color by placing a color layer over the monotone. Other layers could be added over that to help finesse parts that need extra attention or introduce atmospheric layers.
    This progress is common practice used by numerous professionals. Something to remember about textures is that they are really two parts; one is the surface feel (smooth, chipped, woven etc) and the other light behavior (shiny, dull, translucent, etc.). Not all textures will reflect white highlights and not all will reflect light evenly.
    I came across another character by Hardy Fowler on CGtalk that seems similar and I thought you might find it useful to see how he handled various aspects. Click here to link to the original thread and click the image there to see a bigger version. To see a tutorial on how Jeffrey Guzman used a process much like the one I've described on his piece go here. I'd be surprised if Hardy also did not use the same process. Note on the image below how it "pops" even in black and white and the color is just a bonus.
    Well, I wish you the best, Cheers



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    I can't thank you enough for this advice, both on coloring and anatomy, I'll take it to heart and do my best to make sure I put it to practice!
    The first things I noticed after posting was that the back arm does look awkward, as though it's raised too high, and I was thinking of lowering the arm + the back of the seat where it rests.
    As a result, the entire pose looks stiff and forced, despite the relaxed posture of the arm in the foreground, which contradicts the straight torso, which looks as though it should instead be leaning in some kind of forward or backward direction.
    Also, being my absolute first piece done in color, it wasn't until after I'd printed the piece out, mounted, and then submitted it to my professor that I'd noticed the somewhat wanting value scale throughout the entire thing; I'd been advised to intermittently check my piece in grayscale, which I did, and I believe my weaknesses came from my poor use of the darker values and a very weak use of ambient lighting and specular highlights / reflections.
    I gave it a cursory go on one or two of the planes of the character's armor on the left side of the composition where the burgundy bench would reflect red light onto the sort of powder-coat flat texture of the armor, but I think the execution was just sloppy (or lazy ) If you'd notice, the reflected light on the right side of the armor is bluish in hue, which makes absolutely zero sense.
    Also, that hair makes me regret turning the thing in entirely, for the whole what... 5-8 minutes I spent on it just blocking two solid shapes, giving the top an awful-looking "noise" filter and then roughing in some contrasting lines to imply the unevenness of lighting on a block of hair which somewhat resembles Guile from Street Fighter xD
    It just overall feels like I didn't devote enough time into the piece, which may be a combination of inefficient technique and lack of experience, which I hope to bang into shape in future work

    I feel that you're correct when it comes to referencing a face to make good use of the lighter values; in my pride I went and did the thing from scratch, somewhat overestimating what I could hash together.

    As for the bit about the trapezius, that's a fascinating insight as I'd so far been imagining a sort of head suspended on a set of pneumatic actuators but that "hole" where one may expect an object which is omitted by the subject matter is a very valid observation.
    I'll have to keep that in mind when designing a character with such a theme as a cyborg, where it implies the form of one object with the exceptions imparted by the character design itself.
    It needs to be practical, after all, and it would make sense to replace the missing trapezius muscle with some kind of mechanical device meant to emulate the movement like I did with the abs and latissmus dorsi

    As for working in grayscale and adding a color layer, is that how people typically operate? To this point I'd been somewhat under the impression that pieces were painted in color after the initial line-art or sketch had been completed, or is the grayscale + color overlay more practical overall?

    Once again, thank you very much for the insight and the resources that you've linked; I'll be sure to study them post-haste!

    Last edited by Asplode; March 4th, 2009 at 06:23 AM. Reason: forgot the bit about that awful hair
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