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    senior thesis show rant

    Last edited by LRomel; December 20th, 2009 at 04:08 PM.
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    In my thesis show, I made what my professor suggested: a book that documented the making of a mural I was helping with, that opened up/unfolded into a facsimile of the mural. During the show he nodded and smiled, as the person who was observing him for quality oohed and aahed (he also got drunk, lost all the final papers he needed to correct, and told my wife I should "shut up, shut up, shut up"). Then afterwards, he said it was unoriginal and I had to make something else.

    He said all I had to do, considering the work put in, was a couple sketches. When I sketched out a plan for another mural, he said what I made constituted just a couple sketches, so he gave me a lower grade.

    Long story short, never yell at a professor/advisor at the beginning of term, whether you're right or not - especially not if you're right.

    LRomel, what you did is better, but it's unfinished. It's a rough sketch. Some people might prefer the first piece because it tells more of a story. Here's a quote from Loomis - whether or not people like your work is 10% how you draw and 90% what you draw.

    Last edited by TASmith; December 20th, 2009 at 01:54 AM.
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    Maybe the judges liked the fact that he included several human characters with more or less believeable anatomy (excluding mister torso in the foreground.) or the fact that his work looks clean. Yours would lose points on those criteria. Your work looks quite sloppy, to be blunt. I don't know how much time you spent on it, but if i were to guess i'd say around 15 minutes. If i was a judge for a senior thesis show I'd dismiss pieces that looked like they were made minutes before the deadline.

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    TBH, I don't blame your school.

    Despite all the flaws in this other kids work, it's obvious he worked fairly hard on it. He has 10 gestures, 10 character designs, and a clear environment.

    While yours on the other hand, is just some robot. There's no design to it. How does the arm function? Where is he? What is it's purpose?

    These are things to think about in an illustration. Bette luck next time.

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    I'm sorry, but is this a college/university level Illustration dept? Both are very weak pieces. If both of you are seniors and this is yall's best work, then something is wrong. Post your stuff in the critique center and get some improvement going stat.

    "Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."
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    go to bottom of page 2

    Last edited by LRomel; December 20th, 2009 at 04:08 PM.
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    At least you got in. I spent all of high school in the IB arts program, and when the day came to pay for the senior thesis show, my grandpa died. Another teacher and I pleaded with the teacher in charge of the program to let me in under the circumstances, and he told her, "I'm sorry, but that's about as likely as Bush pulling the troops out of Iraq."
    ...
    Hey, I got to have a little rant too!

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    yeah but this is my last year of college. i need to shape up and i need to do it fast

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    Is there a reason you didn't get the apple holding person accepted? That stuff looks much better than this. I'd understand if you were mad about that, it's a great piece.

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    I think the reason why your rendering of the character doesn't have great impact is that you haven't really figured out the forms. The front/back view are very flat and the only indication of depth is overlapping of the arms with the rest of the figure. what is the basic 3D shape of his body? How would it look in perspective? This is where shading would come into play and give you some sort indication in the initial concepts.

    If you have no depth information you can't realistically place your subject in 3D space.

    "Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."
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    the apple is not part of my thesis project. im not really proud of it because i just looked at a photo and painted what i saw. all the lighting and proportion work was done for me. my goal here was to actually start learning about anatomy and all the technical stuff without relying on photos.

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    Maybe it wasn't original enough? It looks like a standard mech, perhaps they were looking for more character in the designs.

    "Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."
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    I don't know what to tell you then. I can only critique the final piece and regardless of what work went into it there are some rudementary things that would have made it better.

    "Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."
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    So long as you graduate, and pass your classes, it really doesn't matter who showed more art in the show. Don't think about the need to compete with this other student. Think about your need to compete with people like Jaime Jones, and Kekai Kotaki. Start thinking like that, and press yourself to work, work, work!

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    Exactly, it's the same principle except the photos are in your head. Build a memory bank of how things look in life, and then apply them to your illustrations when necessary. For your robots look at photos of industrial machinery, tanks, military equipment, guns, etc. If you know how all those things look in real life, then you can just mix and match the forms and materials for a mech.

    But on the same side of the coin, being realistic isn't everything. I think Elwell said "You are not a meat camera." It's not being realistic that counts, it's being able to effectively communicate ideas. Sometimes that means being hyper-realistic, sometimes it doesn't.

    "Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."
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    honestly I would have given it to the first guy too. It's a more interesting piece all around. sure it has its weaknesses, but at least the guy had the courage to work on an ambitious project. Compare a piece with 9 different figures on a landscape; shows a complicated composition, perspective, overlaying, story colors. versus one robot, which could look good in any anatomical shape, on a rock with a blurry background, with not really as much colors used. Your work is safer, it looks technically better but you didnt take as much risks as the other guy.

    you may have spent weeks on the character design but there's no way you spent weeks on that piece itself unless you worked on it 5 minutes a day. And the other guy doesnt have to 'work' as much as you, maybe he's more talented or knew how to manage his time better.

    also to be honest, if this is senior year of college, you both need seriously more training. for example... you both forgot cast shadows. Are you going to grad school?

    PS! He's your freaking classmate, cant you be proud of him. I know you both will be competing for the same jobs, but you both will most likely work together too, or may find a job more suitable for another illustrator. You can only get benefits out of keeping in contact with a fellow artist.

    Last edited by nauvice; December 20th, 2009 at 04:34 AM.
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    I have read all of your posts and my heart goes out to you. I don't mean to insult you, but I have a few questions. I can tell you've worked hard and your not bad, but you still have a metric ton to learn.

    Was the winner "special"?
    What school is it?
    Are your teachers working professionals?
    Were the classes geared towards your goals?
    Are you getting some kind of job placement when you graduate?

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    You've got a couple of things in your sketchbook that are Much more interesting than either of those pieces from the first post. To be honest I'm really surprised if this is senior level work at Parsons.

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    This is senior level work? Both pieces need to completely be reworked. Your robot though looks totally unfinished, it looks like it would be the first step or underpainting. If it makes you feel better, your work looks at least salvageable, it just needs a lot more work. Your classmates work needs to be totally redone with better references and a better idea of composition. I'm curious to see what kind of work your other classmates have in the senior show.

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    "If it makes you feel better, your work looks at least salvageable"

    this.

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    I don't care how long it took you to come up with the character if this is the final result. The final presentation is sloppy, which makes the rest of your work pretty meaningless. No matter how tight the deadline was, i'm sure you could have taken ten extra minutes to clean it up somewhat. I worked for ten minutes on your piece to show you what i mean. Its still sloppy, but it illustrates that a minimal extra effort could take it much further. In the other guy's piece its clear which way each limb is facing. On your piece the left leg (our right) could be either pointing forward, backwards or straight to the side, its impossible to tell. And this is just one in a number of issues that i didn't touch.

    And you say you spent weeks trying to make the character more funtional looking, well, i'd say try again. Get some more input. Study mechanical joints. Don't be afraid to draw your robot without his shell to explain how things actually work. Study human skeletons, learn the difference between ball and hinge joints, and how they can be applied to robots. But also consider that if you want to make a robot with human-like limbs you need to keep in mind what's possible and not. Our arms and shoulders have a great range of mobility because our scapulas are floating freely on a large organic mass of muscle. Robots can't really do this, so you need to figure out an alternative to achieving similar results. Also, when working on robots and other machined parts, it helps to make them look just that if circles are round, weld seams are straight, etc.

    Anyways, noone is gonna care about months of preparation if it doesn't show in the final product. It needs to stand on its own. (Assuming you were judged on one final piece, the one you posted in the original post.)

    Just out of curiosity, how long DID you spend on it? (The illustration that is, not the whole project.)

    Sorry for the TUF love, but I think it'll benefit you a great deal more to think about what you should and could have done differently instead of making excuses and whining about other people's art.

    //edit: If you're really interested in improving this piece over the break, I'll be happy to go more in depth and help you get on the right track.

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    goto bottom of page 2

    Last edited by LRomel; December 20th, 2009 at 04:09 PM.
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    I know exactly how you feel on the time constraint thing and your profs favoring someone else's work. I worked my butt off on a piece, submitted it 5 hours before the deadline and it got rejected at first. Fortunately I could hand it in, even though my grades took a hit.

    But the truth is, your audience won't care how long you spent on it - they want to look for a somewhat polished piece that packs a punch. Both are rather weak pieces but the one the other guy drew has more visual interest. I believe that's why more of his stuff was accepted. In contrast, your robot painting doesn't do much in the way of catching the viewer's attention. I see muddled values on its body as well as the BG - you didn't quite push the colors enough especially in said BG. If I take off my glasses and compare both drawings, the more vibrant one - ie. the other guy's - would catch my eyes first.

    In slash's paintover, depth was added to the background and the values in the foreground were pushed further. It made a whole world of difference.

    On the robot itself:
    Echoing Slash here, the joints especially on the hip and the heel (second 'knee'?) make no sense. It looks like it's fixed in one place. Even when the thing's biomechanical nature is taken into account, heel it does not look like it can bend much, if at all. On the waist/hip the bit of armor on the front would, in a more or less realistic setting, block off the articulation on the thighs.

    One more problem is that its 'musculature' breaks my suspension of disbelief. The way the arms go from near-mechanical to what appears to be palms that are entirely organic is rather jarring. If you absolutely must keep the spindly look do not settle for just stringy, wiry bits. Put some meat on those bones. The thighs need more muscle as well.

    I love the spindly look of it and it's great that you're trying very hard to make the best possible painting, but if you have a deadline it's sometimes best to sacrifice some things and polish up what you already have. Part of what makes a piece successful is how it presents itself - or rather, how you, as the maker, present it.

    Last edited by crossmirage; December 20th, 2009 at 09:25 AM.
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    He never said you suck. He said your ILLUSTRATION needs work and he was gracious enough to point out specific major flaws and suggestions on how to improve the design, something you obviously did not get from your teachers. Although if this is how you've been taking crits all semester, I'm not surprised they stopped bothering themselves.

    Show it to your parents or best friend if your looking for hugs and kisses and everything nice.

    Oh and the amount of time you spent on it has no relevance of you getting in to the show or not. If it not up to snuff its not. Work harder next time. Revise what you did wrong and learn from it.

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    no I wont laugh, most people dont go to grad school, Im not even sure I need to though my teacher is telling me I should.

    And its hard to believe everything you're saying... there's no way you studied/trained for 2 months, to have to redo an illustration over and over for 3 weeks until this was your final version... Maybe 2 months ago was when you started, but an estimate of how many hours were actually put in it?

    in my school some classmates use that excuse all the time; teacher looks at their work and tells them "if only you spent one more hour" then they complain that they were up since 5am all week working on it. He critiques their works, and the following week they repeat the same mistakes in the next assignment and complain that they worked for sooo long on it.

    Is this the thread where you asked for help in the WIP section? http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=172831

    the first comment in that thread is the same thing that Slash just said in this one...
    "It might also be a good idea to work out how the joints move--that is, how the shoulders and hips work mechanically, because right now the hardware on those joints doesn't really make any sense."
    You learned nothing from that helpful crit. if you didn't understand, you could have asked him to elaborate dude. And 7 days passed between your update of it and the changes are so minimal.

    so stop making excuses, the final work doesnt really show any weeks of effort you claim to have done. Maybe a lot of hours were wasted on repeated mistakes. if you cant tackle something on your own, ask for help. I'd take Slash's proposition, that's pretty cool that someone would put their free time to help another artist, and he's really good too.

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    I take it all back, your work is glorious. I don't know how I'd bring myself to question it. I guess i just needed to say that someone else suck so i don't have to deal with my own shortcomings.

    You are right, your teachers are wrong. How they did not fail that other guy when seeing his competition is completely beyond me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slash View Post
    I take it all back, your work is glorious. I don't know how I'd bring myself to question it. I guess i just needed to say that someone else suck so i don't have to deal with my own shortcomings.

    You are right, your teachers are wrong. How they did not fail that other guy when seeing his competition is completely beyond me.
    /thread

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    Quote Originally Posted by LRomel View Post
    after looking at everyones portfolios though. i dont feel as bad. were pretty much all in the same boat with the exception of duke
    No, we are all in our own boats. Some are sinking faster than others and some are puttering along just fine..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slash View Post
    I take it all back, your work is glorious. I don't know how I'd bring myself to question it. I guess i just needed to say that someone else suck so i don't have to deal with my own shortcomings.

    You are right, your teachers are wrong. How they did not fail that other guy when seeing his competition is completely beyond me.
    look i know i need a lot of work. im just having a hard time taking the harsh criticism. please dont patronize me

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    Quote Originally Posted by LRomel View Post
    i seriously question the people who are criticizing my work and fail to see any flaws in their own
    LRomel, before all this gets out of hand - stop.

    Seriously, stop. Right now.

    You made mistakes, had trouble, and didn't manage to save your work in time. That's fine. We know it's frustrating. Take it as a lesson and move on. Don't try to use this as a reason to justify brushing off whatever people are telling you.

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