"Behind You" (lighting and color crits, please)
 
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    "Behind You" (lighting and color crits, please)

    FIRST POST UPDATED. THANKS SO MUCH, finally moving on to a real painting now! I'll leave the rest of the post here for history's sake:

    I was introduced to the idea of using silhouettes and abstract solid shapes as a technique for character/creature creation to help you get around writer's/artist's block. This would be my first attempt outside of the classroom to apply some of the techniques we discussed seriously to a character design. I don't have any future plans for this character as of yet; this is more for me to learn from than anything else. And with that, I'll say that it's free-for-all and all crit is welcome.


    Is my lighting really poor? I tried to have at least SOME sense of consistency and directional light. I'm trying to work gestures and poses, as well as technique and fundamentals.

    I'll admit that I am still working on anatomy, but the purpose of this drawing is to work on gesture more than anatomy. I've been having issues with uninteresting and uninterestED poses. The little roman numerals indicate the order in which they were drawn, and when I changed things about the character, I left the older images alone.

    If you mean a specific figure, just use the numbers for simplicity's sake. And feel free to be as harsh as needed. My storyboarding professor this semester doesn't sugarcoat anything EITHER, so I've had my skin pre-thickened for me, thankyouverymuch.

    Thanks in advance for any and all crit, positive or negative. I'd especially like to hear the negative, since that helps me more than the positive. I've learned to construe the silence to mean that there's nothing wrong with what isn't mentioned. I will continue to update this thread with new gestures of this character, as well as improvements on the existing image.


    I removed all but the current image, since you can just scroll down to see the original gesture drawings.

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    Last edited by JereduLevenin; December 3rd, 2010 at 01:17 PM. Reason: update
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  3. #2
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    Is that an Elder Scrolls Khajiit?

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    It wasn't intended to be. Then again, Khajit are just the Elder Scrolls' flavor of cat-person. I was just going for a panther with humanoid anatomy, because I don't draw cats often and it's fun.

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    Up top, the first set looks a bit too ''plastic'' because of the way its lit. Perhaps sharpening the lights on his hoodie would help?

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    By sharpening, you you mean to shrink them, so it looks less frosty and more glossy? Your wording confuses me a leeetle bit, Purgatory. I can kinda see how it's a little too plastic.

    Thanks, though. Should I start over on the highlights, or work on the existing ones, do you think?

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    Redo

    Okay. I repainted most of the light values. Let's see how this worked~! I was more detail-oriented this time. The first one, I was going for that quick, painterly, kinda sketchy look that uses rapid brush strokes and simple/more abstract shapes for the color pools. This one is more deliberately rendered.


    EDIT: rearranged them for easier viewing (and updated first post):

    "Behind You" (lighting and color crits, please)

    Last edited by JereduLevenin; November 21st, 2010 at 07:34 PM. Reason: smaller file size
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    New drawings:

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    cool stuff

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    Question The next step

    @DAMJAN: Thanks!

    Does anyone spot things that need fixing? I know the anatomy is kinda wonky in a few of the poses on the first page.

    I'm thinking about taking image IV from page 2 (the one with the torch) and doing a full illustration. Are there conceptual things about this character that needs work? I appreciate the praise, but in order to improve, I also need to hear the criticism.


    I STILL don't have a name for this guy yet. His outfit keeps changing because I'm still experimenting with his character. I don't draw cats often, but I love how I was able to render a recognizably feline face with just a few well-placed green blobs!

    I've attached the pose I mean to use:

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    Last edited by JereduLevenin; November 22nd, 2010 at 03:28 AM. Reason: whoops
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    Well, I've decided I'm gonna move forward and attempt a full illustration using the torch image. I mean, a redrawing of it, not copypasta.

    Do you folks think I should keep the posterized, stylized coloring, or would this character lend himself to a more realistic style well enough that it's worth a shot? I work much, MUCH better with a limited palette. Thus the simple cel-shading or monochrome (or both) I prefer for this sort of quick rendering. For example, my PIXEL art seems to actually be my highest-caliber work. However, the sprite field is getting smaller professionally, since even handheld games are making the shift to polygons. Nowadays, I mostly see pixel art in online, amateur, free, and indie games.

    Anway, that's a little off-topic. If you want me to post my spritework here for crit, I'd be happy to, but it's not what I'm focusing on at the moment. This character is actually an exercise for my Storyboarding class that I've decided to develop further on my own time for the sake of improvement, thus my unnatural desire for punishme- er, constructive criticism. I know it's not exactly a WIP or painting YET, but that's because I simply want a solid character to work with BEFORE I begin inserting him into any sort of environment.

    For example, does he tell an interesting story with his posture and clothing? Is it easy to tell what he is? (a panther man) Does his outfit design seem ludicrous or physically problematic? It appeals to ME, but that doesn't mean it's practical, a good idea, or appealing to anyone else. Does the specific pose I plan to use have any glaring anatomical issues that need addressing?

    I will admit that absolutely zero references were used in creating these images (other than the image itself, for some consistency between gesture drawings), though I DO usually use reference as much as possible.

    How is the lighting, drapery, foreshortening, etc.? I know my memory can't be perfect. I was attempting to see how much I've learned about those concepts to see if I could render at least SOME of them accurately from my own head.

    I hope I'm not being a pain; I just want to improve. That's why I came here, and not deviantART- I trust you guys to have at it and tell me what's wrong with a piece or concept so that I can learn. It's what I love about CA.

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    As far as gesture work and quick sketching to get your character down I think what you're doing here is working out really well. This would be a good way to start the "final painting" in my opinion.

    At this point I think you've gotten all you need to get out of this. His outfit isn't ludicrous, but I will say the "Assassin's Creed" character armor gets a little old after a while. Still, there is a time and a place for everything and this seems to work well as is.

    At this point I would encourage you to take a step back and REALLY examine your character. Look at him in every context- is what he's wearing REALLY enough to survive in whatever environment he's in. Does he carry any heirlooms, have any marks, etc. from his previous journeys. Anything you can do at this point to help make him believable, and still make him memorable and stand out will really help you transcend that "Khajit/common panther man" into something memorable.

    "She took the ice cube trays out of the freezer. What kind of a sick bitch takes the ice cube trays out of the freezer?"

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    @Quigleyer: All right. I think some of those characteristics are things I'll need to figure out in the next phase, which is creating an environment for them. It feels kinda like creating a conlang, trying to crate from scratch what would be a product of its environment in real life, so I don't think I can give definitive answers on those things yet- which means, yes, it is time to start on a "final painting."

    Ha, I haven't played Assassin's Creed, but now that you mention it, I can see the resemblance. I'll try to help alleviate that by not putting him in eye-catching white (what kind of assassin wears white? I never understood that, any more than ninjas wearing orange jumpsuits. Ahem). His outfit is loosely based on one I constructed in Soul Calibur IV, actually. Dark colors, and the metal parts more bronze-hued than steel, well-worn and with a nice patina from the copper coating used in the detail.

    I picture him either spelunking or in a forest, either thigh-deep in water or surrounded by greenery, casting light on some ruins he's investigating. Maybe Aztec/Mayan/Incan, since Panthers ARE just black jaguars/leopards (I can't remember which), thanks to melanism, and he would actually be of a species with ancestors native to such an environment. Then again, it's fantasy, and I'd rather not B.S. a real-world culture's relics when I can create my own. It really comes down to which version I can paint successfully- stone or greenery.

    Thanks for the feedback! The previous times I've come to C.A. with art, it's never passed the initial inspection, which is why I didn't want to move on here before hearing something definitive one way or another. It's a pleasant shock to hear that my initial gestures are turning out well enough that I can move on without needing to really do anything else to them for now.

    I guess I'm improving. Well, hopefully my next update will include some roughs for a full painting. Alas, I have class now that the weekend's over, so I won't be able to spend as much time on it. And then I'm going out of town for Thanksgiving.

    Anyway, this is what I needed to hear. Thank you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JereduLevenin View Post
    I picture him either spelunking or in a forest, either thigh-deep in water or surrounded by greenery, casting light on some ruins he's investigating. Maybe Aztec/Mayan/Incan...
    Quite tropical and hot, it would sound. Would armor really be the most appropriate thing to wear?

    Is he going to be wanting to get greaves/boots all wet all the time? I think there are other solutions you could come up with- could be a worthwhile investigation.

    However- there's nothing wrong with just rendering out your character and I don't mean to be a pain. If you want you can try to use some of this thinking in future paintings or something- don't feel like I'm telling you to change what you're doing. Your project is already underway and I'm suggesting something long gone.

    "She took the ice cube trays out of the freezer. What kind of a sick bitch takes the ice cube trays out of the freezer?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quigleyer View Post
    Quite tropical and hot, it would sound. Would armor really be the most appropriate thing to wear?

    Is he going to be wanting to get greaves/boots all wet all the time? I think there are other solutions you could come up with- could be a worthwhile investigation.

    However- there's nothing wrong with just rendering out your character and I don't mean to be a pain. If you want you can try to use some of this thinking in future paintings or something- don't feel like I'm telling you to change what you're doing. Your project is already underway and I'm suggesting something long gone.


    No, it's helpful, and definitely not too late. I've already decided to go with ruins, but I'm gonna try something a little colder. I may regret bringing up Final Fantasy, but the Feywood from FFXII, as well as Giruvegan, the Necrohall of Nabudis, the Pharos and Ridorana, and just about every other hostile environment in the game are full of fascinating ruins in places besides caves and jungles. And ice, frost, snow, and mist might not have me tearing my hair out in frustration. I like reflective surfaces, so I'll experiment. I've decided that I'll do a quick render of the general idea using the existing drawing first, and post it here for crit. You've already brought up some very valid points I hadn't really considered, like climate. I may do away with the greaves in favor of worn leather boots (which would let him move more quietly and flexibly, anyway). I'm just fond of greaves. Loose clothing is also more difficult but ultimately more believable. I just like light armor because it's a comfort zone for me- I'm better with rigid, curved, reflective surfaces like armor than I am with materials like skin and fabric that require much more work to get believable values.

    Thanks! I'm more inclined to change the environment to suit the character, since I DO have a general look and feel for him that I like, but I'm still figuring out the environment.

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    All right.

    Here's a rough sketch along the lines of what I have in mind! I know it's really rough and doesn't show much yet, but I didn't want to leap into this without posting it here first. Are there any huge problems with, say, perspective or whatnot? Redlines welcome. And that is supposed to be a really, really big statue. That's sky visible behind him- these ruins are outdoors, in a somewhat barren environment. Arid, cold, snowy, and hopefully not too crazy. I like tall pillars and vaulted ceilings. I'm picturing a strange mixture of Greek and Egyptian architecture for inspiration, but staying away from pyramids.

    Oh, and he's holding a photo of a machete which is a placeholder while I figure out the environment. Also, I forgot to sketch in his back foot. Oops. I picked this pose with the right foot forward to imply that he is walking forward (albeit cautiously). I found that keeping his torso straight and putting the other leg in front just made him look like he was standing still, and boring to boot.

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    Okay, it's looking good so far (another thing that this reminded me of was Garrett from the Thief series... but that doesn't mean I don't think the image is bad or unoriginal), but one thing you do have to remember is that torches cast a bright light for a small radius, and then slowly fall off... at the angle he's holding the torch, his face would be completely lit, sort of ruining the effect you're going for there. I'm surprised nobody else mentioned it...

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    It's an odd composition - you'd be better off going for a portrait rather than landscape.
    What's important in your picture? your character and the statue basically, so concentrate on them.
    You don't really need the left portion of the picture, it's not really telling us anything.
    You're already directing our gaze along the arm towards the statue (going portrait will allow you to make the statue larger. I'd move him closer to the statue, just off centre with it towering over him.
    It's easier to show you (I might have gone to far, but I hope it helps)

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  20. #18
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    Oh, goodness, I do need to fix his face. D: Thank you. It's the odd one out, so fix it I shall.

    Venger, that PO is awesome. Maybe a little too awesome, because I prefer yours over what I envisioned, ha ha. I agree about going portrait, now that you've shown me how much better it looks. Thank goodness for the flexibility of a digital canvas!

    I'll get to work. I think I know where I'm going now. Composition is always tough for me, because I'm so indecisive. Thanks for the feedback!


    Edit: I hope you don't mind if I use two statues instead of only one- your PO gave me an idea. I am reminded of a certain story I read once, with the hellhounds Makima and Kimaki. Oh joyous day, I can finally put together a more specific STORY for this picture to tell. Thanks a ton~! I'm assuming that's a mirror behind the figure in the PO, but twin statues would work well for what I have in mind.

    Last edited by JereduLevenin; November 23rd, 2010 at 02:18 AM.
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    There's still so much more to do, but this alters the composition a bit. Is it too heavy on the right side, now? Anyway. Not quite like the hounds in the story, which were simply the SIZE of large statues, and twins, these are guarding something and he MISTAKES them to be statues. To his credit, they ARE very good at sitting still for centuries, though. So I'll cut him a little slack for the oversight, if he survives.


    This is a bit of a callback to something that terrified me as a child. When I played the 3D Zelda games, there were these statues. Some of them were JUST statues. But other ones, which looked exactly the same, would come alive if you accidentally touched them, and chase you, trying to kill you. Some variants involved glowing eyes, teeth, and spikes coming suddenly from their bodies. They were often hard to kill, and they were STARTLING. Familiarity was the only way to recognize which were really monsters, by already knowing where they were from multiple playthroughs. I still get an adrenaline rush sometimes if I play the games again years later, having forgotten where the monsters are. Anyway, the idea is frightening to me and makes for an excellent bit of suspense here!

    Also, I finally have a possible name for the piece:





    "Look Behind You"

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    Last edited by JereduLevenin; November 23rd, 2010 at 02:44 AM.
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    Not a mirror (in my PO) - I was thinking of a long line of similar statues that he's passed, sort of matching the pillars opposite, for scale and perspective (if needed)
    But either way if it's inspired you then that works too - I like it, the story is coming together.

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    Oh. My bad. I think the lighting was throwing me off. No worries- I have finally made a decision, so we'll see where it goes. :D


    I don't know what to do for colors, so I'll focus on values at the moment. As you can see, the values in the latest update are all over the place since I'm still blocking out the forms themselves.

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    I'd suggest that the forward 'statue' has attracted his attention - a little trickle of dust (as if its waking up and has moved slightly)

    Something dark and creepy I suspect - I'm put in mind of this one by Todd lockwood
    http://www.toddlockwood.com/gallerie..._silence.shtml

    or maybe something with a cooler palette - greeny blues to work against the torch light?

    Last edited by Venger; November 23rd, 2010 at 02:58 AM.
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    New WIP! I'm inclined to show less of the rear statue, not get too distinct with the features.

    Like a classic horror movie, the uncertainty and imagination of the audience makes it better than I ever could, but I've hopefully put in just enough detail that we can tell it's a creature like the one he's looking at, a ginormous quadriped that's most likely feline.

    I'm thinking the creatures are stone, but alive. Enchanted by whatever, or whomever, they are guarding. Living statues, sort of like the so-called "gargoyles" Disney is fond of (Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the TV show), which are actually "Grotesques," since they do NOT contain functional waterspouts when they are in statue form.

    EDIT: Is it a bad idea to start in monochrome or greyscale with the intent to add color later? I'm always more value-oriented than color oriented, and it helps me sort out my lighting and whatnot. I think it's a habit left over from my traditional media days. I've been drawing with graphite since I was a kid, rather than markers or crayons. My sense of value is much better developed then my sense of color related to composition, and photoshop and gimp are both great when you want to add in color after the fact.

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    Last edited by JereduLevenin; November 23rd, 2010 at 05:03 PM.
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    I'd like a hint more on the monster face (but that's me - actually I prefer the other one where you can see the 'cat')

    If your values are right then adding colour should work - I always find the colours are flat, muddy and cold when colouring grayscale, it's something I struggle with (I always end up working over the top of them so it doesn't save me anytime)
    You might find this useful:

    http://en.367art.com/final.asp?id=93

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    Something more like this?

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    Like the head but not the leg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    Like the head but not the leg
    Can you elaborate? Is it the posture, placement, lighting, or any combination of the three? Or the design? Or something else entirely?


    Here's my vision: The rear "statue" needs to be visibly and unambiguously stepping down from its pedestal, towards the panther man. I'm trying to convey the body language a predator (like a cat) possesses when it's stalking its prey.

    I'm all ears if you've got some more specific suggestions along those lines. Redlines are cool, though I'm afraid if you do another paintover I'll be spending the rest of the time trying not to copy you because I like it better, ha ha.

    The statue is more obviously a cat now, which is fine (as that was my original plan). But the figure is ALSO a cat. Is that too many cats? Maybe the temple he's exploring was made by his (his race)'s ancestors.


    EDIT: Goodness, I hope the statue in the background isn't starting to look too much like The Cave of Wonders

    "Behind You" (lighting and color crits, please)


    Here, I've attached a WIP.

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    Last edited by JereduLevenin; November 24th, 2010 at 01:43 AM.
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    No that looks a lot better - I'm not going to do anymore paint overs - it is after all your picture not mine
    The other arm didn't seem to be attached right, this new one looks much better.

    No problem with it being a cat either - we make statues of ourselves or add human elements to animals (the sphinx for example) so I don't see why your cat people wouldn't do that as well.

    Last edited by Venger; November 24th, 2010 at 02:10 AM.
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    Oh, okay. Heh, anatomy issues, not stylistic issues.

    Okay, I'm trying to make that statue as dark as possible without being completely swallowed by void behind it. Is it okay to have it darker than what's behind it? I can add in lit sconces along the receding pillars, dimmer than his torch, though. He would've lit them as he walked by. OR, I can go back to my original idea of having night sky visible in the distance, implying that this place is open to the elements. Probably in a mountain somewhere.

    Also, point lighting is HARD. Much more so than directional lighting. All crit on any errors I might make is welcome, though the lighting is still largely unfinished while I sort out the scene. I also realized my perspective was off on the base of the near "statue," putting it at eye level when it should be below eye level. there's no obvious horizon here, but that's no excuse.


    If you see something, feel free to point it out even if I'm not done with it yet. Like the leg, I'd rather fix it before I go through the trouble of polishing it, ha ha.

    Thanks for the feedback!

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    I'd keep it to a 'Frazetta style' tone (which you basically have already there) - don't over complicate it with detail or by adding in extra light sources (keep the drop off quite harsh I'd say.)

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