It's falling apart!

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  1. #1
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    Question It's falling apart!

    Hey guys!

    Here's a picture I've been working on for a long time, but that was the point, I need to practice my rendering, though I want to keep some roughness to it.

    The thing is, I've been knocking colors back and forth, moving characters, redoing the whole background and all but I can't seem to put get at what's really wrong with it. So that's my question, really. I think the picture is uninteresting and lacking focus, it falls apart.

    Is it too bright? Lacking contrast? Too diverse in colors?

    I do realise the ground and background are in a very early stage and the horses will be a bit more downtrodden in the snow, but I don't think that will change the overall impression.

    Any help is much appreciated!

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  3. #2
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    I really like this, however, I think the background is much too busy. Try to loose some of the details behind the characters to make them stand out. The green knight is a bit small I think, and my eyes can't help going out of the image because he is pointing out of the edge. Try to let him point into the image instead. Keep up the good work

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  5. #3
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    All the problems you mentioned - and the searching and uncertainty are because you didn't begin the piece properly. A major piece needs to begin withthumbnail composition exploration and quick value study - then move on to color roughs and then a final design that you can go into with confidence, utilising reference as needed.

    The battle for a successful painting or illustration is won at the beginning, not at the end.

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  7. #4
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    This is looking pretty good. I don't really see anything wrong with the overall composition or design. Three suggestions:

    1. Lighten the background so the figures don't blend into it so much.

    2. Adjust the pose of the standing figure. Right now it looks like he's cut and pasted from another picture...the pose doesn't even make sense in the perpesective of the picture. Also, if his arm was extended a bit more you'd get a clearer sense that he was pointing at something.

    3. Print out what you've got here (as large as possible), do a tight line drawing in pencil (trace the forms and clean them up) to get the contours of the forms right, and then scan that back in and use it as an underlay to continue working. There is so much precise form that needs to be indicated accurately here, and a tablet/stylus is just an incredibly clumsy tool for that job, especially for a beginner.

    As always, just my two cents.

    It's falling apart!

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  9. #5
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    remember that even snow isn't that white unless it's being hit directly on a sunny day, in this case it isn't. Also, remember to use references of it if you aren't used to drawing it. People often forget cast shadows and they are one of the easiest things to add to make an image believable.

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  11. #6
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    I lke the piece, a lot. but thers a lot of stuff going on, giacamo gave some really great advice. but really what I think u have to do is just stick with it, theres a lot of content in there and sometimes u just get tired of all the job ahead of you. so take a brake, breathe, and then come back and render the hell out of that one, cause if u do its gonna be AWEZOME!

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  12. #7
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    Let's see... With an illustration like this, it's best to ask yourself what's really going on in the picture. In this case, its a group of characters standing around. Its a very basic description, of course, but already you can see that you've got your work cut out for you if you want to add some excitment to the scene. You don't need epic swordfights or goblin ambushes to do this, either, but a dynamic composition would help. (Just to make sure I mention it, a thumbnail, as suggested above, is definitely the best way to start - it can help you plan out the drawing without haveing to rearrange the individual elements to try to make a "good" composition.) What you could have done was to make sure you planned out a good foreground/background/middleground relationship, rather than have all the figures clustered in the center. The good news is, I think you can still add some elements of foreground (bushes, branches, rocks, etc. at the bottom edge and overlapping a bit onto the figures) to help tie everything together and give it a voyeuristic sort of feel.

    Additionally, it does appear that the figures have simply been placed and rearranged - there's no character interaction between them, and that's making the drawing feel static. Each character seems to be an isolated element to the piece rather than a cohesive whole. The one that seems the most successful is the one who's talking (green fellow), not necessarily for the rendering or the pose or general appeal, but because he's noticeably looking at another character and acknowledging his existence. Your other characters are somewhat looking at each other, but without the fully-rendered eyes and etc, its ambiguous. Even afterwards, you might still have to turn a head or two to look directly at other characters, but I think I would render the eyes a bit more first to see how it may help.

    Fantastic work so far on the painting, I look forward to seeing it finished and polished.

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  13. #8
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    Nice pic! love the rendering of the riders and horses, and that the horses fit so well with their riders.
    I would move the gent to the right even further to the right, so there's a clear divide between him and the groups of riders. And I would change the arm of the rider to the left, he's holding his arm so the eye of the beholder is lead off-frame and there's nothing in the background to bring the viewer back. Maybe he can have the bird on his other arm?

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  14. #9
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    Thanks so much everyone for taking the time to comment and give some critique, much appreciated!

    ranunkel: I loosened up some the background, especially that around the characters. Your tip about the green guy (who's not so green anymore ) got things moving as well (quite literally actually). First I tried to move him into the picture, and then tried flipping him horizontally, but then I started moving the other characters around as well, and after many different tries I ended up flipping the background and move the characters more to the right, I think it works better now, so thank you for that!

    What also interested me about your post was the fact that you called him a knight, when they're really supposed to be a ragtag band of raiders, so I tried to add more furs and change some stuff to make that more apparent.

    JeffX99: You're definitely right about what you say concerning sketches and thumbnails. I did do some of them actually, to test different compositions and different looks for the characters. But they where all quite rough and I severely underestimated the sheer amount needed for a piece like this. I didn't do any color sketches either, which I see now is much more important than I thought, just sorting values out isn't enough! I will definitely remember this for my next piece of this kind.

    Giacomo I tried changing the pointing guy's pose and redirecting his arm but I ended up with the same problem I had with the other guy pointing out of the picture, which was disturbing, so I kept my original pose and instead fixed the surface he's standing on, I hope it looks better now.

    jbrown67 I added cast shadows but since I'm trying to achieve an overcast light-situation here, I didn't want them to be prominent, but I think it worked out, thanks!

    Lotet I'm so happy you like it, I will try my best at the rendering, but as I said, I'm a more of a sketching person so I'm not very good at it

    ILickSquirrels Hm I see what you mean with the interaction between the characters and stuff, I think it works better in this version, but I might be wrong, so I might have to turn some heads...

    Anyways, here's the updated version, my chief concerns in this version are the two horses at the back, they don't look very interesting, and the guy to the left. His right arm holding the falcon is quite hard to discern, I tried changing the background color there but maybe I should just lighten up his glove instead?

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  15. #10
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    Here is what I would do to keep the interest on the standing man so everone is engaged in the conversation.

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  17. #11
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    dpaint, well spotted. I'd hit that.

    That comp could make this a very nice piece.

    -NWS

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  18. #12
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    I like dpaint's idea. I would also rotate the standing guy's head and torso so that it's facing the viewer a little more (although his eyes should fixate on the same point). Both compositions remind me of a stage setup, and one way to engage the viewer is to orient the body language of the 'actors' in a way that subtly interacts with the viewer.

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  19. #13
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    Hey that's a great idea dpaint I'll try that out

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  20. #14
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    I would add something like fog to push the idea that it's really cold where they are. I think more blues would also give that impression.

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  22. #15
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    No time for any real qritique, just a quick idea for making it look cold. Give them red noses.

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  24. #16
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    if your going to put that guy on the right there you need to pic him and the falcon out a bit, there getting lost in the trees

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  26. #17
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    So I just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to comment and for all the helpful tips I got. Here's the finished piece, I'm not entirely happy with it but it has certainly improved a lot since I started out, and I've learnt a great deal from it.

    By the way the image is really blurred, and I tried to save in different formats to counter this but without success, I'm working in Painter so simply sharpening isn't really an option, unless of course I open it in the Gimp and do it there but I didn't want adjust that in a jpeg format as I thought the quality might decrease...

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  27. #18
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    hey there, it turned out great, though there is still some contrast issue with the characters melting into the background. but why not take it into gimp? its should totaly work, dont worry about the quality that much, u still have the original file.

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  29. #19
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    well import it into photoshop if you have it and use the sharpening tool to sharpen your image. It makes a huge difference.

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  31. #20
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    I'm not sure whether you'd be able to see so much red in such an overcast winter day.
    And it seems to me that every rider is like "and not a single fuck was given that day". They don't really seem to be engaged in conversation, more like staring at the photographer.

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