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Thread: Pavel Sokov's Sketchbook
November 19th, 2011 #61Registered User
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I'm not sure you're still interested in critique regarding the original picture, and, furthermore; lots of people already pointed a lot of stuff out. Nonetheless, I'm just going to add that I think the picture needs more work concept wise. I realize that its a picture of a fantasy scenario, but it still feels like you've mixed too many different cultures into it without adapting to another one.
I think this is why, apart from the strictly technical errors, the image looks a bit odd. You've got the renaissance/classic statues, standing in front of what looks like a gothic or maybe victorian (unsure) metall fence, above which floats a summerian/egyptian pre classic age throne, and It just doesn't work.
Looking at the wanderers approaching the gate, I get the feeling that they are exploring an ancient place, now desolated, (partly also because of how worn down the statues are); but I just can't picture any civilization or culture ever having put together such a mish mash of different styles. I think that you should shave more of an intuitive grasp over the concept or background present before you get to actually painting, just so that the picture becomes coherent (not demanding realism though).
And finally, I think you would find it a lot easier to get the scale right if you studied a little historical architecture and bought yourself a reference book with historical buildings, because there are lots of things which distinguish really huge buildings from smaller ones, (different forms of supportive structure being one example).
Furthermore if you did this you wouldn't need to throw in arbitrary stuff like the chains which do not seem to fill any function, but rather details that tell the viewer something.
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November 26th, 2011 #62
You are absolutely right. The reason why you feel confused when looking at the image is because I didn't put enough thought into it as always. I just launched right in. I have a difficult time just sitting down and thinking about the piece for some reason..
Here is an update on the triple portrait. Hopefully I am done!
November 26th, 2011 #63
I like what you've done with the mother. The girl's teeth are what stand out the most, when your reference shows that her eyes are much darker round the edges with the false eyelashes. Tone the teeth down and emphasise those eyes. You've also softened the father's face to the point where he's lost all the planes of his head. Put a box around his head.
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November 26th, 2011 #64
sorry i only had like 3 minutes but heres some (super messy) suggestions
November 29th, 2011 #65
About the 3 people portrait: The photographer in me is crying that you copied a photo that uses on-camera, front-lit flash – one of the most unflattering types of lighting.
It's also really unfortunate light to draw from, because it flattens the face and makes it really hard to see form. You've done a pretty good job rescuing that here, but flash like this has other undesirable qualities. It's very unnatural (the sun never lights people from directly behind the viewer's eyes ), and the associations are with amateur photos of celebrities and people at drunken parties where it's too dark to get a sharp picture.
You've also tried to hide where the light is coming from by moving the catchlights to the right, which again looks a bit unnatural/inconsistent. (Okay I imagine you moved them because they look nicer there, which they usually would, but with that strong an indication of direct front light it's a bit 'off'.)
Given this thread has been about struggling with form and lighting, it might be worth learning some basic photographic portrait lighting (look up these types of lighting: Split, Rembrandt, Butterfly, Loop – also rim lighting to add oomph). Playing with this lighting in real life, moving a lamp around a subject, taking pictures to see what looks better.. this stuff can help you go further than copying photos by knowing what photos to copy, and what to look for in a photo. So you can still do it the 'cheap' way if you want or don't have time, you'll just get away with it more.
Disclaimer: I don't especially condone tracing – I think working out the structure and all the other stuff people have been saying in this thread will lead to the best results and be the most interesting to both do and view – but if you're going to do it then learning what makes a good photo will help.
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December 1st, 2011 #66
What do you mean by tone her teeth down and put the box around the father's head?
I have taken a few of your suggestions! I added the extra volume to the girl's head, and I also added green hues to the background and the mother's outfit. I am wondering though, how did you bring out the green hues the way you did? I tried color balance at first and it didnt give me your effect. In the end I settled for a color layer and an overylay layer, but it still doesn't look like yours.
I couldn't agree with the changing of the mothers and girl's mouths though. If you recal from earlier, the contour of my linework was blatantly traced over the photo like a complete cheater, so I know at least that the placement of things is right. What made you change the mouths?
I absolutely agree about the flash photography and it's unnatural treatment of forms. In fact people say amateurs like me have no business using photography even if it is good! Apparently working from life amounts to less confusion.
I however didn't have a choice and was told to make that photograph so I did.
What is a catchlight? You said I moved it to the right.
I will definitely look up those lighting types. And I hope the photo I created of my friend on the 2nd page (the one that is a portrait of just one dude) is better!
So here is an update. This is a cropped version to fit into the frame that will be bought for this piece. The print itself will be on 100 year archival art paper. It is pretty expensive, and completely matte which I love. Don't enjoy the gloss getting in the way at all. Below the picture I am posting photoshop mockups of what the painting would look like in the frame. IT IS NOT REAL YET!
What is better? The light blue background that is kind of "open" at the top, or the updated version where I darkened the ceiling to close in the composition? I am kind of having second thoughts and wondering if the plainly cropped open top background is better. Also I'm not sure about the green hues in my background, Velocitty's looked better..
Last edited by Pavel Sokov; December 1st, 2011 at 10:05 PM.
December 2nd, 2011 #67
Ahhh, I really wish you had followed Velocity on the darkening of the lids/sockets. Makes 'em look "prettier" in a realistic way, so I think they'd be happier with it if you did that. Your choice of course.
sb's sb: Crit it! Hurt it! Make it cry!
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December 2nd, 2011 #68
even though your art is slightly defective - it is VERY VERY good, it wont be long - my friend, just keep at it.
my sketchbook! http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...97#post3332697
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December 2nd, 2011 #69
Sorry, slight photographerese: a catchlight is what artists call a 'specular highlight', almost always when it's in the eye in particular. In other words, that dot of white light in the eye. Photographers look for this because it makes people look alive -- not having it makes the person look dead/lifeless.
They're also useful/interesting because sometimes its possible to work out what the lightsource was only by looking at them. A window might be a large square highlight, while the sun or a flash might be a small round one. This gives you clues about how to think of and treat the lighting in your picture: windows will be soft light, soft shadows; the sun will be harsh light, hard shadows.
This is a very nice tutorial that explains some of the properties of light that photographers tend to know but artists tend to know less well, aimed at artists. Hope it helps, or at least is interesting.
By the way, you could have use that photo as a reference but then used different photos to reference the light, thus use the photo but use different light. That would have been harder and took up more time, but it's worth learning to do because most photos don't have good light for what artists want.
December 5th, 2011 #70
I am going to try it out! I got the frame for the client, and I will print this week on 100 year archival paper, but no harm in trying out the different eyes!
Thanks, I hope it won't be long! Do keep in mind that my portrait of these 3 people and my orange/blue friend had as well as Athena had a lot of photographic help. If I tried to draw my friend without reference, or even with reference on the side without ever having the chance to correct it, it would be a disaster. My main problem is creating correct lines, and I think that no matter how good my lighting and form will become, I will still look like an idiot.
Thanks so much, I am going to check out the tutorial now!
Nobody answered which version of the image is better, witgh closed composition or opened? If nobody says anything I am printing the closed composition.
December 7th, 2011 #71
"I have taken a few of your suggestions! I added the extra volume to the girl's head, and I also added green hues to the background and the mother's outfit. I am wondering though, how did you bring out the green hues the way you did? I tried color balance at first and it didnt give me your effect. In the end I settled for a color layer and an overylay layer, but it still doesn't look like yours.
I couldn't agree with the changing of the mothers and girl's mouths though. If you recal from earlier, the contour of my linework was blatantly traced over the photo like a complete cheater, so I know at least that the placement of things is right. What made you change the mouths?"
without sounding too much like Swiss Tony women are infinitely beautiful. eyes are a key part of their aesthetic appeal. theres a giant part of our brains devoted to studying faces which makes drawing them an unforgiving task; get the location of something wrong and youve made a hot girl look like matt lucas. forget bullshit like the background and focus on that.
i didnt do anything to the green in the background, i think just uploading images makes them more contrasty, thats all.
but theres something seriously wrong with the main girls face and specifically her eyes and mouth. you might have traced them but they look nothing like in the reference.
i guess you didnt have a choice in the photo, but its shortcomings ahve been discussed above. within that remit yoouve got to compliment these women, the old boy wont care but you have to make the chicks look great. you were right to tone down mums double chin, so why have you pulled out all their eyelashes and made the shape of Hotty McMedals's mouth less appealing? what was the logic for doing that? dont tell me, explain it to yourself. everything else in the image is fine, the denim, cloth etc is all reproduced with camera like accuracy, but her face is letting it all down. mine is messy, it needs your intense level of detail to replace my splodged on mascara, but it does flatter the girls and that should be priority A 1 for you if you expect a good response from the client. if this is on their wall they every time they see it they want to be reminded of her triumph and good looks, and their happiness and pride, not your shitty painting skills.
Last edited by Velocity Kendall; December 7th, 2011 at 01:30 AM.
December 7th, 2011 #72
Well I have good news!
Before I read that comment I decided to spend a few hours changing the girls face to include the eye changes. I also noticed a strangeness in the mom's nose bridge and adressed that.
I have no idea who Matt Lucas is, but the comparison is hilarious! I sure hope she won't stumble upon this haha.
Also why do your uploaded images change so drasticaly in contrast? When I upload images they stay the same I reckon.
So here is the painting with the added changes as well as added noise and color intensity. I will print it tomorrow morning, so I hope everyone is happy haha!
Closeup of middle girl's face without color intensity and noise:
December 7th, 2011 #73
glad i caught you in time.
no idea, for some reason uploading to this forum always makes areas of different dark greys into flat black, ie it seems to darken the brightness and slam the contrast about 10%. no idea why.
i always upload images with their lightness bumped 10% to compensate.
also you missed the nice diamond sparkle on her cheek, a shame i thought.
December 7th, 2011 #74
I didn't paint the diamond sparkle because I thought it would not be apparent what it is and would confuse people, no?
What do you think of the color intensity? Are they too orange? When I gave her all the options she picked this super intense one.
What do you think of her adjusted face?
Is her mouth still bothering you? Does she still look like that bald guy?
December 7th, 2011 #75
see if this helps
youre still not drawing in her eyelashes. in a rather ugly photograph her eyes are the best bit, but yourenot getting them right yet.
also i hate that crappy Riki Lake Show type logo in the bottom left it looks tacky as hell
Last edited by Velocity Kendall; December 7th, 2011 at 02:04 AM.
December 7th, 2011 #76
December 7th, 2011 #77Registered User
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If you compare the reference to your painted image there are quite a few characteristics that you've missed. As Velocity all ready mentioned the eyes don't match hers. Pay attention to the curve of the eye, the size of the pupil, the eyelashes and the saturation and color of the makeup itself. The nose is quite off too, you have definitely changed the shape of it compared to what she really has. You are missing a lot of the darker tones and highlights that add that extra little bit of definition to her face.
As a general comment in seeing your work though, is that you are missing all the subtleties which can take your work to the next level, it's something you'll have to train your eye to see. Part of it is you are being too technical and your people end up looking like wax manikins rather than people with personality. I notice it with that grid stuff you are doing in your sketches. What's the meaning of it? I find it kind of pointless and more of a crutch.
Sketchbook - http://conceptart.org/forums/showthr...=1#post2697831
Blog...(Updated more regularly!)
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December 7th, 2011 #78
So I decided to not print yet because I can still hold off and make changes, so its not logical to print today for no reason and lock myself into the version that I printed.
I used your ref image above and went ahead and further intensified the young girl's eyes, added the diamond sparkle, and also changed her mouth around. It doesn't match the photograph's mouth but maybe thats not a bad thing. It looks more like her now I reckon, allthough I haven't seen her in a couple of months and my memory is defective.
I also decided to add the mascara to her mom's eyes. I tried last night but failed, so today I tried a more subtle approach and I think it worked.
I tried painting her nose the way it is in the photograph, but it is actually bigger in the photo then in my painting. I thought this was unfortunate and decided to make it thinner which I percieve as being more womanly.
Last edited by Pavel Sokov; December 7th, 2011 at 01:21 PM.
December 7th, 2011 #79
Eyelashes are fairly thick, seperate strands of hair, which effect gets exaggerated when using mascara because they clump together and are thickened. The way you painted them makes them look like animal fur. You really, really, really need to start paying attention to the small details and constantly compare what you are doing to what you are looking at. Things look different in reality than they do in your head, so don't rely on your head too much.
You've really improved the picture so far, but most of what is still lacking is details that will make the artwork when done right.
December 7th, 2011 #80
Well I mean I noticed in the photo that the lashes are giant, probably plastic, and far away from each other. But it kinda creeps me out, like a bunch if spider legs sticking out of her eye. So I made it more uniform thinking it would be more appealing.
December 7th, 2011 #81
Well that's kind of what happens when one uses cheap mascara, haha. The clumps get bigger because the brush doesn't separate the lashes enough (and sometimes actual clumps of mascara stick to the lashes as well), which I'll agree is not the prettiest sight, but still far more natural looking than a thick bush of tiny soft hairs. You could always make the lashes a bit more organised and even in your version, but make sure that there is separation visible between the strands of hair.
December 7th, 2011 #82
I might try and seperate the hairs!
In the meanwhile here is my other friend's portrait:
A quick experiment with the color and contrast using a normal layer, a grescale version over it in overlay mode, and then a really saturated version in a colour layer to top it all off.
Last edited by Pavel Sokov; December 7th, 2011 at 10:18 PM.
December 8th, 2011 #83
Awesome job on that portrait. I have nothing bad to critique on it, lol...just wanted to pop in, and say good job :thumbup:
-I often post from my phone; so please excuse the typosSketchbook
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December 8th, 2011 #84
December 8th, 2011 #85
another excellent reproduction of another hella ugly photo.
i think half the trouble isnt your photoshop skills, which are clearly advanced, but your source material choices need work; why not try painting a nice landscape or pleasing sunlit street or gorgeous woman instead of some stubbly greasy guy in his ill-lit porn dungeon?
re the group painting, its looking way way better, only thing id say is try not to make the mascara super black, its outblacking the entire painting atm, maybe try bringing it up to a very dark grey. old guy still looks like he's made of clay but like i say, if mum and daughter are happy he'll be well pleased. I think youve done a great job on mum, the smile creases on her cheeks are really subtle, and youve improved her fringe a lot; good work.
Last edited by Velocity Kendall; December 8th, 2011 at 09:50 AM.
December 8th, 2011 #86Registered User
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your image suffers from what I see alot in digital art it is washed out, select luminosity paste it onto image also select luminosity and inverse then play with modes and see what you get....also the whites of the eyes are to white only the very bottom inside corners wil be light and still not as light as the highlight......
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December 11th, 2011 #87
Haha I laughed when you said ill-lit porn dungeon hahahaha! I don't think the photo reference is greasy, I must of done something to the painting to make him sweaty and dirty looking. But I don't mind that, more interesting I reckon. I am a bit confused as to why my ref was bad for my friend, I took and set up the photo myself. I am by no means a photographer but I tried to set up an interesting light. The green/blue light was artificially added to the photo with photoshop btw for added interest.
I'm not sure how to take a better photo to be honest.
I am glad you like the changes to the triple portrait though! I will save your image and compare it to mine to check differences.
Can you please provide a more clear step by step of the luminosity trick? I feel confused, just slowly explain it please! I will try what I think you meant, but I doubt I interpreted you correctly.
December 11th, 2011 #88
hehe yeah i was justing messing.
the triple is looking a lot better, i think with a bit more work theyll be proud to have it in their family room. see what venger or javier think first though those guys really understand human anatomy and painting 1300 trillion times better than I do.
"The green/blue light was artificially added to the photo with photoshop btw for added interest."
it looks like his stubbly blankly dead-eyed face is being illuminated by a CRT screen, ie about as glamourous as fertively masturbating to episodes of Star Trek Voyager in ones parents basement
"I'm not sure how to take a better photo to be honest."
really? youve never seen a photo portrait that is in any way better than that?
hmm, well im no photographer, but photos of young dudes dont have to be depressing
(all by ryan macginley)
my personal favourite:
December 11th, 2011 #89Registered User
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the mother is certainly the most accomplished part of the group portrait - perhaps it's because you didn't have to draw anything from imagination (as with the father's un-glassed eyes, which definitely need to be retouched) or you didn't feel the need to "correct" her features to make her look better. with the girl, on the other hand, I get the feeling that you were so certain that she would look ugly if you just painted her as she was, that you smoothed over her entire face and ended up with some airbrushed visage that entirely clashes with the work you intended. try to be faithful to your reference first (by this I mean her face, not the photograph), and then see what you can do to improve her looks. her nose, her cheeks and her eyelashes certainly need to be brought back to real people land.
December 12th, 2011 #90
I think your photographer had used a wide-angle lens instead of a long-focus one more appropriate for portraits. The face is distorted; the center bulges while the edges recede. Combined with the low viewpoint, it produces the "all chin, no skull" look you've copied.
Work from life, Pavel. Learn to construct your drawing instead of copying the visual field. You aren't getting anywhere with these copied photographs.