How can I get this to look good as a printout? In my experience, an image like this dependent on lots of dark shapes look ok on a monitor but horrible when printed out.
I'll try to get this painting mostly done in 1 day.
It's a fanart of Ancalagon, possibly the biggest dragon Tolkien ever imagined. The scene is during a huge battle.
Elements I plan to add:
an elven airship and giant eagles swooping in the foreground
an army firing lots of arrows at the airship
a swarm of "normal" sized dragons chasing the airship
3 volcanoes dripping lava, surrounded by huge fortifications
Last edited by rubendevela; January 6th, 2010 at 10:22 PM.
i like where this is going. just make sure you dont make the image "too busy" where you lose your focal point.
Thanks! I'm actually afraid of over rendering it.
Here's some progress, I'm not sure how to texture and shade the torso...
getting the arms. I'm having trouble with the dark colors, it's almost too dark for me to see what I'm shading!
Depending on where you put the volcanoes, you could underlight the dragon with the glow of the lava, or add some fire and underlight him with that. You could also add some red to his upper chest, as the flame from his mouth would illuminate him a bit.
Thanks! Should I add all that red light after I get the form done?
Wings. A bit of a mess, I'm not sure what to do.
Just a thought, might it be beneficial to you to be able to see some of the backlight behind the wing membrane? Maybe detail some veins--reference some bats wings in flight?
Also, seems to me like maybe the wing on the right should arc upward a little given the angle in a faint "c" shape on top.
Thanks! blood vessels might be a good idea, but this thing is so big that maybe the wing membranes will be as opaque as a whale's tail. Maybe I'll add a bit of translucency at the very edges of the membrane.
That could work! Plus you mentioned something about volcanos? Some lighting from the front--just a faint glow--might help give them some more shape and highlight some texture, maybe some mottling?
I'm not sure when to add in the red lighting effects. Probably when the main forms are done?
Anyway, here are the wings with blood vessels and a bit of edge.
Ah! Yes I like the addition of the vessels--enough detail to give them some "meat" but not so much as to be distracting. Though the light around the curve of the membrane (more toward the edges of the image, in particular that heavy stroke on the one directly above the peak on the left) I think could stand to be thinner and lighter as not to combat with the light within it's mouth (at least that's just me--when I look at it I tend to see them both simultaneously and it's slightly distracting).
Looking really good so far!
To answer your first question on how to get it to look good in print, this is something you will have to tinker with when you are around 3/4's of the way finished. If using photoshop, flatten everything down and desaturate the image to raw black and white. What are your values like? Can you make out the details? Where are your eyes focusing? Does your composition get washed out in a lot of neutral greys, or does everything hold their shape? What about when you zoom out? Is the image still readable?
This is mainly used as a reference so you know where to brighten things up, darken other places, and find those points in the composition to really spruce up and make them jump out of the page. If it looks good in greyscale, in most cases it will print very nicely. Readability is everything!
Looking forward to see how this turns out.
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It's looking pretty cool - I'm a little reluctant to offer my suggestions as they may influence too much toward the films or in a direction you don't want to go - so, I'll leave it up to you - just let me know if you'd like to hear my thoughts...
Sure, JeffX99! I'd love to hear what you think!
Cool - I was hoping you'd say so because I think the piece rocks!
I was thinking that this dragon is essentially on a class, or even greater than a Balrog? A "flame of Udun" - actually quite a bit more powerful - more like a spawn of Melkor, right?
To address the problem of so much dark/black space - what if between his armor plates and at joints, etc. you showed that same cool glowing effect you've already established in his mouth/throat? That's what gave me the idea - but it also leads more toward the Balrog from the films - but that was pretty sweet, so heck, why not use that? The Balrog certainly had that "shadow/elemental power/fire demon thing going for it - so maybe Ancalagon could benefit from some of those same effects - it could provide definition and light sourcing where you want it - maybe don't get so carried away that it breaks all up but just some glowy areas in broader places with some crisper notes here and there.
Just my two cents - like I said - don't want to influence too much 'cause this is pretty sweet!
Thanks for the suggestion!
I dunno about giving it flame under its skin, but it does give me ideas.
Talons. I'm figuring out how to make the one on the right look better.
Nice!! I have a big problem with the upper arms though. I'm no expert in dragon anatomy but usually the arms lookes a little different.. BUT! I really like the idea of human like arms. It's just two things.
1. As a concept. what use are they? Try to look at it in a evolutionary perspective.
2. The upper arms biceps and sholders lookes "bubbly" try checking anatomy.
Looking forward to see where this goes.
It's the sketchbook.. I don't get the html stuff
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Thanks! I was aiming for more anthropomorphic shoulders. I'm not sure what you mean by bubbly, but I'll look at the muscles again.
Here's more progress on the hands, I think it's time to work on the lighting and the mountains.
Some lighting effects. I think the light i a bit ugly, I'll see what I can do.
I now regret not adding the red light into the base form.
Nice WIP you have going there. First of all even though itís a dark picture there still can be plenty of light and color. This by itself could well be a stand alone image but since you have mentioned so much more that you are going to add, some of the smaller details I think would enhance the image might clutter the dragon up too much. There are things I think would help it out a bit.
Hightlight on the dragonís chest armor.
A little light peek through on the wing.
These are just a couple. Iíve posted a paint over to show what I mean.
Love your picture. The dragon is awesome!
Btw, I see that youíre getting lots of help.
Great paintover, thanks! It gives me some good ideas to improve the lighting I have now.
Glad to help!
BTW, I see that you have been working on this image quite considerably. I posted the paint-over before scrolling all the way down and seeing your progress. The pic is looking GREAT! I can see that youíre putting a lot of time and effort into the work and that means a lot.
I have to say that the dragonís head looks incredible!! Youíve done a fantastic job there. The body is working out very well too. The arms and claws are cool and I like the holes youíve put in the wings giving them more character.
You mentioned volcanoes and hmo mentioned batwings. This is why I added the translucent effect on the wing area. The light from a distant volcano maybe filtering through. Also makes for a competing light source to get the viewers eye traveling around the image but going back up to the head area, the dominate part of the picture here.
Great work! Keep it up.
Post 23 looks a bit like the fire inside the dragon is radiating out through his flesh of his chest, like if you shine a torch into your closed hand. Not sure if that's what you intended or not. If you could pull that off then that would look pretty impressive as well as being original (which is quite something when it comes to dragons). If you go that way I'd recommend actually doing that with the torch and your hand and referencing the results. It would be very difficult to do well (to make it look like light shining OUT THROUGH the chest rather than ONTO the chest) so I'm not saying do it, but it might be interesting to work on a copy and see what happens.
Thanks, Baron Imposible! It's an interesting idea, but I'll leave it for now. Here are some lighting effects.
I'll try to get the dragon to cast a shadow on the clouds behind it.
One volcano out of three. I'm not satisfied with it and I might redo it.
The combination of a very dramatic perspective/composition, good rendering, and an AWESOME looking dragon make this a very powerful piece. This is one of my favorite ones in the W.I.P section currently.
My only criticism is that the fire (or is it lava?) on the volcano on the far left looks kind of weak. The sort of fake looking lava-mountain next to a hyper-rendered dragon looks awkward. However, I'm pretty sure that you haven't really started rendering that mountain to completion yet, and that's why it looks out of place.