[Book Cover] How do I get people to look alive in an analogous blue colour scheme?

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    [Book Cover] How do I get people to look alive in an analogous blue colour scheme?

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    My sincerest apologies, I'll close this thread. I'll come back when I've improved my ability to take criticism.

    Thank you to everyone who contributed

    Last edited by Tintreas; August 17th, 2011 at 12:33 AM.
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    A couple key thoughts:

    1 - Just because your scheme is mostly brown or blue in itself doesn't dictate whether skin looks lifelike. Our eyes are suckers for relative distinctions between colors, so a slightly warmer blue will look quite red in an overall blue scheme. You could actually go significantly bluer and still be fine. Try it out - make the overall scheme as blue in hue as you could imagine, and try giving the child "rosy cheeks" with a purple.

    2 - James Gurney represents a technique called "gamut masking" to limit his palette. There's a nice flash tool that makes this pretty easy here. I'd go for a triangle in the lower right corner - giving you blues, purples, and just a hint of green. If there's some torchlight, you could also try doing a gamut where you take a hint of the opposite orange color. By limiting your gamut, you can pursue #1 to great effect.

    3 - Skin is far more reflective than we often assume. The biggest thing that makes a face texture "lifelike" is its reflection and subsurface scattering of surrounding colors. A corpse looks dead because it looses this reflectivity and has a much more matte quality. Throw in a vaguely dominant blue source in one direction, a somewhat less dominant and ever so slightly warmer light source in another, and go to town on the reflectivity. This alone will make the faces look considerably life like.

    I'd do a paintover, but I'm at work. ;-) If you still need one tonight (Asia time), I'll do one up.

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    Here you go. I'm by no means an expert painter, but this should at least serve to point out the sort of things you need for skin to look life like. As you can see, I stuck with a very cool palette, but it doesn't matter - The deep purple looks plenty warm.

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    Take a look at paintings that have cool colour schemes. What makes the skin look cool, yet alive? In most cases there is no actual blue in the skin, it's just about choosing the right values and colours NEXT TO EACH OTHER that make it APPEAR as if the skin is blueish. I'd personally make the figures have pale marbly skin, that will also make them stand out since I am assuming they are supposed to be the focal point. Right now the statues in the back are way more prominent, especially with that bright blue shining in from the background.

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    A subtle, cool pink blushing would stay within your set ambiance/pallet. Moist lips and eyes will also help bringing your characters to life so don't forget to add some reflection/highlights in those areas!

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    I think the thing that's not clear here is if this is painted blue stylistically, or if this is supposed to be an actual scene lit by strong blue light. That would make a pretty major difference to how this bears out. Certainly, as thegiffman says, it's not the colour that makes it seem lifelike.

    If it's lit by blue light, making the statues close to flat grey isn't helping. If you make them bluer, and then bring the shadows on the skin towards a purplish grey, it should warm it up a little. Get some higher contrast on the faces to make them the focus, and lower contrast on the statues to push them back a little. A few sharp highlights to show skin's reflective properties, especially if the highlights are actually bluer.

    Although it's a very different style from a rendered, painted image, I'd suggest looking at stuff by Tomer Hanuka. He's a master of making skin all sorts of crazy colours and still making it work in the context of the image.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revidescent View Post
    Although it's a very different style from a rendered, painted image, I'd suggest looking at stuff by Tomer Hanuka. He's a master of making skin all sorts of crazy colours and still making it work in the context of the image.
    Holy shit thank you for bringing this artist to my attention! I love his stuff. His website is tooooooo small tho--I can hardly see the awesomeness!

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    The best thing would be to throw a blue piece of cloth over a lamp and see for yourself. This is one of those instances where setting up the scene with you and your friends will give you way more information than just trying to fake it without ref. Especially when you don't have a clear grasp of color fundamentals.

    In the mean time here is a blue night scene from the master Dean Cornwell.

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    One of the things that really distinguished living people from mannequins is variation in the local color of the skin, especially the face, due to sun exposure, blood supply, body hair, etc. As a rule of thumb, the middle third of the face is redder than the forehead, while the lower third is more neutral. These variations can range from incredibly subtle to dramatic, and tend to be more noticeable in pale complexions. Also, and this is where things tie into your particular situation, cool light tends to increase the contrast of the redder areas, as seen in the Cornwell piece above, and in this page from huevaluechroma.com.


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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    The best thing would be to throw a blue piece of cloth over a lamp and see for yourself. This is one of those instances where setting up the scene with you and your friends will give you way more information than just trying to fake it without ref. Especially when you don't have a clear grasp of color fundamentals.

    In the mean time here is a blue night scene from the master Dean Cornwell.

    I did go out in the moonlight with a friend, but when one is surrounded by all blues in a half-light it becomes hard to see objectively what colour you're looking at. Its harder to colour pick life when there is no reference point.

    Also I resent your poke at my fundamentals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revidescent View Post
    I think the thing that's not clear here is if this is painted blue stylistically, or if this is supposed to be an actual scene lit by strong blue light. That would make a pretty major difference to how this bears out. Certainly, as thegiffman says, it's not the colour that makes it seem lifelike.

    If it's lit by blue light, making the statues close to flat grey isn't helping. If you make them bluer, and then bring the shadows on the skin towards a purplish grey, it should warm it up a little. Get some higher contrast on the faces to make them the focus, and lower contrast on the statues to push them back a little. A few sharp highlights to show skin's reflective properties, especially if the highlights are actually bluer.

    Although it's a very different style from a rendered, painted image, I'd suggest looking at stuff by Tomer Hanuka. He's a master of making skin all sorts of crazy colours and still making it work in the context of the image.
    Thank you, I hugely admire tomer and i think that is more the direction i was approaching this from, I've found very realistic light rarely suits a cartoonish style, and can throw of the graphic design elements of a book cover quite badly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thegiffman View Post
    Here you go. I'm by no means an expert painter, but this should at least serve to point out the sort of things you need for skin to look life like. As you can see, I stuck with a very cool palette, but it doesn't matter - The deep purple looks plenty warm.

    Thank you! That colour wheel site is brilliant, I'll paint away tonight and hopefully I'll have a big improvement to show you

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    Quote Originally Posted by freiheit View Post
    A subtle, cool pink blushing would stay within your set ambiance/pallet. Moist lips and eyes will also help bringing your characters to life so don't forget to add some reflection/highlights in those areas!
    Thank you frei, i will do

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tintreas View Post
    I did go out in the moonlight with a friend, but when one is surrounded by all blues in a half-light it becomes hard to see objectively what colour you're looking at. Its harder to colour pick life when there is no reference point.

    Also I resent your poke at my fundamentals.
    Resent it all you want, your crappy attitude won't help your poor understanding of color.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Resent it all you want, your crappy attitude won't help your poor understanding of color.
    Why be a dick? I've come here to improve that very understanding, I realise theres something I've missed here, and came to learn. Quite apart from which you've seen one single piece of mine, why treat me like a clueless newbie? Its just arrogant.

    Last edited by Tintreas; August 12th, 2011 at 10:43 PM.
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    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tintreas View Post
    I did go out in the moonlight with a friend, but when one is surrounded by all blues in a half-light it becomes hard to see objectively what colour you're looking at. Its harder to colour pick life when there is no reference point.
    Take a digital camera next time. Tripod, slightly longer exposure.

    If you want to take a different approach, the last time I wanted to do something like this I went looking for photos of people in aquariums.

    But anyway, colour aside, you might want to do something with the perspective. I'm not sure the people being drawn straight-on and the statues in one-point perspective is really working here.

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    Smile

    Aye Aye sir I got you I fully intend to heed good advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    Take a digital camera next time. Tripod, slightly longer exposure.

    If you want to take a different approach, the last time I wanted to do something like this I went looking for photos of people in aquariums.

    But anyway, colour aside, you might want to do something with the perspective. I'm not sure the people being drawn straight-on and the statues in one-point perspective is really working here.

    I know, the one point is absolutely dire, but its what the client wanted.
    Aquariums is such a good idea! I searched pictures of people underwater, but mostly they had diving suits on. Shark tunnels would cast just the right light.

    I'll bear the camera in mind, I certainly need to use one more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tintreas View Post
    I did go out in the moonlight with a friend, but when one is surrounded by all blues in a half-light it becomes hard to see objectively what colour you're looking at. Its harder to colour pick life when there is no reference point.

    Also I resent your poke at my fundamentals.
    James Gurney's book "Color and Light" has a pretty great spread on moonlight... and since most (all?) of his book content is pulled from his blog, I went and dug it out. Interesting stuff. If you haven't before, check out his blog and/or book.

    Edit: Just noticed I'm the second person to mention Gurney in this thread, and for a different reason, too. Hooray for Gurney.

    Last edited by Revidescent; August 12th, 2011 at 11:56 PM.
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  30. #21
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    Resent it all you want, your crappy attitude won't help your poor understanding of color.

    Why be a dick? I've come here to improve that very understanding, I realise theres something I've missed here, and came to learn. Quite apart from which you've seen one single piece of mine, why treat me like a clueless newbie? Its just arrogant.
    Sheesh...here we go again. Conceptart.org is awesome, and I'll take it as is gladly, but I wish I could get custom service. "I'd like a motivated artist please, and an order of spot-on critique - but please hold the touchy hypersensitivity on the first and the demeaning attitude on the second."

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    Quote Originally Posted by thegiffman View Post
    Sheesh...here we go again. Conceptart.org is awesome, and I'll take it as is gladly, but I wish I could get custom service. "I'd like a motivated artist please, and an order of spot-on critique - but please hold the touchy hypersensitivity on the first and the demeaning attitude on the second."
    Poking peoples fundamentals is best left to the bedroom

    Otherwise heres a mini update for you sir:
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    I know I'm going slowly as the heckins but I've always been an idiot for working on one layer

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  32. #23
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    I know you've focused on the faces, but don't crop your image, it makes it harder to guess how warm/cold they are against the background.

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    Don't have a crit at the moment but I would like to just say that is awesome!

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    Even though I don't agree with Dpaint's delivery, I do agree with the content. Taking for example the Girls face, her lips don't match up with the angle of the nose, and it seems to be a bit misplaced on the side as well. In addition to that her left eye is completely flat. From that it seems that you don't have a good grasp on shapes in 3 dimensions and how they relate to eachother. Which is part of the basics.

    Anyway, you lacking in the basics isn't to say something derogatory about your artistic ability, it just means that you're not able to express yourself as clear as you may wish to. The only way to cure this is to practice through the basics. In terms of 3d figures relating to eachother, you simply need to learn to draw the same arrangement of basic figures (wether it be a simple or advanced arrangement) from different angles. This is something you have to do with practice. In that vein, drawing a face made up of 3D shapes from different angles, and really concentrating on the shapes looking as if they are in space and relating as good as possible to eachother is good practice. But simply drawing something like a sphere and a box that are connected from different angles will help as well. It all boils down to understanding how shapes relate to eachother in space, as well as practice it so much that it becoms close to instinctive for you.

    You have other issues as well for example in terms of lighting and perspective (assuming those 3 long statues/ghosts are standing on the floor that the characters at the bottom are, or are connected to the walls.) which I would encourage you to pratice as well. And it always starts as simple as rendering a ball a box and a cylinder, and when that works, you can do more complex shapes with a lot more ease. But until you really work through your basics, you will struggle with making consistently good artwork, because without some degree of mastery of the basics it is hard to be consistent.

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    I'm torn between cursing and busting in to tears. Basically you've shattered my self confidence.

    I've thought always i was pretty good at drawing, but maybe I'm much worse then I thought? University is over now, I have an agent and I'm struggling all day every day, without sleep, or contact with the outside world to draw book covers and cd covers and character designs... and you're telling me to go back to shading in spheres and drawing cubes in perspective?

    I'm sorry, i guess I'm breaking the rules: I can't handle whats probably the most well intentioned criticism, i won't post on CA again until I can.

    Its still unfinished, I still hate it, I'll work on those eyes.
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    My sincerest apologies for this 5.07 am flip out, I'll go do some more basic training, and improve my ability to take criticism before coming near here again.

    Last edited by Tintreas; August 17th, 2011 at 12:36 AM.
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    Hi Tintreas

    Personally I think your last Image has worked rather well, I also dont think you need to listen to some comments here too much, take them with a pinch of salt, your Portfolio is very strong and with a clear direction.
    And many of the comments stated here, you have in fact mastered, in Illustrations you have on your portfolio. We all Struggle as Artists, I sure do, so just roll up your sleeves and keep moving forward.


    DF

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  38. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devilfruit View Post
    Hi Tintreas

    Personally I think your last Image has worked rather well, I also dont think you need to listen to some comments here too much, take them with a pinch of salt, your Portfolio is very strong and with a clear direction.
    And many of the comments stated here, you have in fact mastered, in Illustrations you have on your portfolio. We all Struggle as Artists, I sure do, so just roll up your sleeves and keep moving forward.


    DF
    Thank you Devil, I'll take it all on board Keep to my basics is pretty good advice, and I will keep going, Just thank you for the kind words.

    Love your Agean work

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    I think as far as the color goes, you're tackling it in the most difficult way possible. Trying to nail the color in a single shot is extremely tough. To make things a bit easier, why not try painting this way:

    -Do the entire picture with soft, natural light. Imagine as if the scene was taking place under a hazy afternoon sky (you know the type, it's bright out, but the shadows are still soft and there's not enough sun to get a tan).

    -Once your picture is fully colored, open a new layer, set it as a Multiply layer, and then use the bucket tool to fill the layer as a dark color. Then choose the paint brush, pick a very light color, and start painting everywhere the light is hitting.

    -Once you painted all of the shadows and highlights, open a new layer and set it to Overlay. Choose a bright color and start painting all of the areas that need very strong highlights.

    I attached a painting I had been working on to show how this works. You can see with the original painting, it looks decent, but the lighting it neutral and unexciting. This allows me to go in and really play around with it as you can see in the examples. This method is extremely fast and it allows you to try out a variety of lighting schemes very quickly.

    Is this method 100% perfect? Absolutely not, but it gives you a very solid foundation for you to work on top of. But what's great is that it preserves the original color underneath. Plus, you can always go back and paint in stronger highlights or add more color.

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  40. #30
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    yeah i thoguht it looked nice to be fair. the characters are well drawn and the composition makes sense. its looking flat cos the people and the background are the same colour and tone, which is easily fixed..
    click through peoples sigs to see if theyre good or shit too before you get too upset. you'll need to toughen up though. people can be rude dicks any time, so imagine what theyre like when theyre paying you and think they own you..

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