Finishing Trollhunter
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  1. #1
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    Finishing Trollhunter

    I finally had some time off to get back to painting.

    Spend the last 4 days or so on this. I changed the troll and knight like 100 times. I kept everything as simple as I could for now. Using reference for the mountain. I wanted to start detailing the knight but stopped because I changed the light souce. I want an orange light coming from the left and light from above. I didnt want it to look too boring so I was thinking about adding some blue magic fire on the sword.

    Need some helpful critics obviously.

    Thank you and greetings from cold Germany :/

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    Last edited by BurnYT; November 29th, 2011 at 06:35 AM.
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    I like number 5 the best as well, because it is the most dynamic composition. But I feel that this composition has been done many many times, and, I am actually more intrigued by the potential of number 4. Their poses and the composition are not very dynamic as is, and the cropping at their ankles is distracting, but I love the story (the orc here is clearly intruding, as he is using his massive strength to bypass the security of the castle/dungeon/sewer gate). I would play with more thumbnails, and a wider variety of viewpoints. And I would do many simple value compositional thumbnails at this point rather than few thumbs consisting of carefully blended values on the characters and little to no value/definition on the backgrounds.

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    A few tips on thumbnails in general:

    1) The point of thumbnails is to work out the entire composition - the general flow of things, the big lights and darks, and how they fit on the page. Doing thumbnails without showing the borders of the composition (all of these to some degree, but the first 3 especially) isn't a good idea unless you're specifically going for a backgroundless vignette.

    2) Take a look at Lyno's thumbnails in this thread. See how simple they are? The grey ones especially, since they're more relative to what you're doing here - they're mostly basic shapes, but they give a very good sense of the shape of the picture. What you've got going here is mostly silhouette. While I wouldn't say shading in thumbnails is completely pointless - as it can often define the composition, if the lighting is sharp enough - the kind of sutble highlights you've got here are pretty useless at this stage. Unless there's a big value shift, don't bother.

    3) Do more thumbnails. These look like you put a decent amount of time into each of them - without knowing your process I'd guess at least 10 minutes each. Instead, do like 30 or 40 thumbs, but only spend a couple of minutes on each of them. Just generate a whole bunch of ideas. You may end up finishing that and liking the first one you came up with, but most of the time the better stuff comes later... and if not, at least you'll be more confident that you tried everything, and your first composition idea was the best.


    These images do have some decent stuff going on. The last couple read well in silhouette, but they lack drama, which can be dealt with both in pose, and in the general atmosphere of the composition. Why not change the angle? Why not tilt the page? There's a whole lot more you can do here if you're willing to keep going with a pile more thumbs.

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    Pretty cool, I personally like #1.

    check out the videos from TAD, there is a thumb nailing one in there that's really cool. Feng Zhu also has some really valuable video tutorials on thumbnails too.


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    Is this going to be a 'Lord of the Rings' fanart? Only asking because that troll design looks pretty much the same as WETA's one for the films and if it's not fanart, you may want to change it a bit so that it's not so obvious.

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    Im back. Thanks for the comments.

    Normally I dont do thumbnails. I sit in front of my paper until I have a good scene in front of my mental eye and start to sketch. I know I didnt do many but it was the right amount for me.

    So now I made these images to choose from. I like 2,6 10 and 11 but 10 is my favorite so far.

    The troll design will change too once the image is chosen.

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    Sorry, thought I was clicking page two, put rated your post 2 instead. That was not my intention.
    I do however have something to say I love that your new thumbnails feel more dynamic, especially number 6. Would love to see that one finished. That's just my opinion, because I don't know enough about composition

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    No problemo with the rating

    If noone objects I will proceed with Number 10, even if I really like 6 and 11 too. But 10 does have the potential to look epic

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    impressive speed drawing! I like the one where hes lifting the gate up.

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    Update on top now.

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    I'd make the troll pop out more, and the troll looks about the same size as the guy. Also, tangent with the trolls hand and the top of the snow.

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    That sword has a tangent with the edge of the canvas.

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    Thanks for replying.

    I gave the sword more space and worked on the trolls hand. Also let the troll pop more.

    The lighting situation really blocks me from working further atm. Id like to know if i can go with it. I have a feeling that it needs fixing. Would be nice to hear some thoughts about it.

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    Well at the moment ur right, the value pattern is not working.

    Play around with making the trol darker and the background lighter. Or maybe some light is hitting the troll and making him pop. Try some things. In the future, try to figure that out from the thumbnails or the latest, your greyscale rough.

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    Thanks for replying.

    Yea, I still want that top light together with the sun from the left. That would help me to get more form to the troll and knight.
    Maybe I should just try to go with the background clouds.

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    Hey Burn. I like your image and I saw a simple thing I could show you. As I was painting, I noticed the armor on your guy is killer

    I was talking about value pattern, and hopefully these paintovers show you what I mean. From the thumbnail stage, you want to make clear shapes that read easily. There are grey areas(no pun intended) where you have fog and fancy lighting, but the image should read well with 3 or 4 values. THEN you add fancy lighting.

    So I did 3 versions--the first 4-value rough you should be doing, then some refining adding direct light and some bounced light, and then basically your version with more easy-to see-shapes. Adding the snow was a good idea to make the ogre read easily in front of it.

    Hope this helps. I can't recommend enough the method of using a 3 or 4 value rough like the one I did here. Use SIMPLE shapes and ONLY 4 values. NO fog, NO lighting, NO nothing. THEN you add fancy stuff. This will gaurentee you a good value pattern and interesting shapes and composition. You will see in black and white if your image is interesting or not.

    Good luck!

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    Woah, thanks man. Thats really helpful, cause you totally nailed my idea with your last image. I did a b/w first with shapes but the values got lost while I was coloring and changing stances. I forgot to change it into b/w once in a while to check.

    I apreciate your effort and will try to put it to good use.

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    Allright! This is my progress so far. I played with the background alot. Needs a lot of cleaning up and detailing. Working on the Troll lighting right now. I think I need more atmosphere?

    Kinda really bugs me, cause I dont know if I can bring this to a great quality. I wanna get this at least 3/4 close to ImagineFX quality. (Keep dreaming haha ) I need this to keep me motivated.

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    Last edited by BurnYT; November 22nd, 2011 at 11:39 AM.
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    I'd think this far along you'd at least want his face blocked in. Every new rendition I looked at my eye went straight to the face first, human eyes tend to do that.

    But parts of the painting are starting to look more finished and you're moving along. I think the texturing of the troll's skin could use a little work, especially since he's so close.

    I don't like the tangent created with that mountain and the guy's cape in the background. I would try and move the mountain around or push it back even further or whatever, just make it so they don't overlap so "perfectly".

    Good work man, keep it up.

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    I think its coming along nicely!

    Remember, the snow should cast white bounced light. But not too strong!

    I dont think it needs more atmosphere--can you specify your question?

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    Thanks for replying guys.

    If I look at the background I have a lot of fog on the right which clears a bit to the left so the mountain is visible. I was wondering if that would look unnatural.

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    Finishing Trollhunter

    Allright I would say its finished. Worked mostly on the troll and knight. Added some more snow here and there.

    What do you guys think of it ?

    And thanks for the support on this.

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    Last edited by BurnYT; November 29th, 2011 at 07:17 AM.
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    I worked on the lighting a bit more. Now Im satisfied.

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    Might be a little late at this point (but I don't think so or I wouldn't bother)...you have a pretty nice composition going but two main things are killing the drama for me.

    1 - the troll looks like a guy in a foam latex suit ala bad '50s movies. There isn't any feeling of power in him and he seems a bit flat as far as form. Mainly I think the reasons are the lack of underlying anatomy and proportion. He has a massive head but chest and deltoids are like, "wuss-troll" proportions. There is no understanding/definition of deltoid-pectoral-neck relationships. Work out a more powerful anatomy and proportions first...

    2 - the CU camera is further diminishing drama because it throws the scale off. The troll is like right there in our face...and the sense is he is uphill a bit anyway...making him see about 5'4"...plus the warrior is maybe 10-12 feet away at least? So by the time the troll gets up there he is sort of "little buddy" troll and we feel sorry for him because the troll hunter is a big bully, for killing him and stuff. Most of your thumbs have much better scale relationships. This one could be salvaged by pulling the camera back so we're further away from the troll...gotta be careful with that, because when we're right up there on him he needs to feel immense, if he really is a lot larger than the warrior.

    3 - compositionally I would reverse the warrior which does a few things...makes him facing in-frame rather than looking like he wants to run away...points the sword in-frame...sets up a more interesting angle dynamic...and makes him seem right-handed which feels more comfortable.

    Anyway, good luck with it...

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    Jeff brings up good points that I agree with. It's really a GREAT piece and I think you can still bring in some feedback into it. I did some ghetto-mouse-lasso things, no paint-overs really quick just to see what would happen.

    I made the guy's face a bit more determined (but I'm not sure if that's what you were going for, so I apologize in advance if it's not) and blew way up the troll and did a motion blur on his arm as well as blow up his weapon. I don't know how to use blurs very well, but I do know that motion blur is good for adding action (you did it with the snow a little). I don't know if it looks like an improvement or not, this is just my opinion. I hope it helps!

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    Well, thanks for replying and it is never too late for constructive critics but I am not going to work on all that (Not intended to be rude or so) . Youre telling me to change the whole troll, inverse the warrior (which means I have to change the whole lighting) and zoom out.

    I understand your first point. I have no experience painting trolls so I used multiple references to build my own troll. In that case a lot of the references are wrong as well.

    Your second point confuses me. The troll is pretty close to the knight as you can see if you look at his hand and the knights leg. If you measure it the troll will be towering over the knight.

    I would have to change it to see if it would look better regarding your third point.

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    Sure - no worries - just things to keep in mind in the future. If you notice in most of your thumbs you set up a much better sense of scale that indicates the size and power of the troll. In most cases it was because the human figures were in front of the troll and yet the troll was still massive - even much larger than a horse. In your final image though, with the troll in the foreground it just makes him seem human size or even a bit smaller. Look at any of your thumbnails - imagine reversing the pov to being behind the troll looking at the human - if you were that close to him looking back the only thing you'd see of the troll might be his knee and part of his thigh.

    I'll try to explain on the distance thing...it is kind of ambiguous that the troll is grasping at the rock ledge...I see it now but thought he just had his arm thrown out for balance/attack. Even so they are 8' apart at least and since the troll is in extreme CU foreground, he's going to diminish rapidly in scale by the time he gets to where the warrior is.

    The problem is there are a lot of very subtle, but critical depth and scale cues that are all working opposite of what you were going for. If the troll is clutching at the rocks he feels off balance and feels like he's slipping on the snow and tallus of the slope, the close in cropping and high horizon indicate he's just average in size, etc.

    Anyway, just things to keep in mind. You did a decent job with thumbnails but I think just chose the wrong one...at least for making this seem like a massive troll. Always a good idea to work this stuff out really thoroughly before putting a lot of time in the wrong direction. But yeah, all just part of learning so good job.

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    Allright, thanks. I will think of these things the next time.

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