I am starting a portrait of my gf since V-day is around the corner.
Finding time to paint is tough as I started my brand new job in marketing, which is exciting, but when I get home I am often a little too tired to paint.
Anyway I can't decide on the background colour, so I need help with that.
I also want to make it clear that this time around I did not trace at all, so my lines may be a lot different from the photo. The photo itself looks a tad distorted to to me so maybe that is a good thing!
Somebody's bound to come along and tell you to lose the black lines, but I kind of like how that's working at this point.
Except above her eyebrow. Her forehead, where the hair attaches...see how the transition is so gradual and subtle you can't really say where the flesh ends and the hair begins? I find those hair attachment points really exciting to look at.
I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
So I've had a good look through this thread and I see you've come a long way already, as mentioned by plenty of others, there's been some fantastic crits in this thread (many of which I plan to take myself). I'd just like to say first up that you're a great painter and to me what's lacking is your sense of story and with that, life. Your painting itself is lifelike but it's lacking that living, breathing sense that this is an actual person.
I think enough people have mentioned that you use photographs too much in that your pieces become a carbon copy rather than an image of the person, so what I'd suggest for you to try (and where better to start than with a picture of your girlfried) is to put some feeling into your art. Think about not simply "the photo shows a shadow here" but what it is that makes your girlfriend beautiful. Try to capture the essence of what it is that attracts you to her. For example, a long time ago I did a portrait of my girlfriend for her birthday, I chose my favourite photograph of her. It wasn't a fantastic artsy photograph but to me it captured everything I loved about her. She had fantastic blue eyes so those became the focus of the picture, I didn't included every glint and reflection because that was what was in the photo because on paper it drew away from what made her beautiful, it actually just looked odd and cold. In fact, I actually used my own knowledge of light to give them more energy, thus creating more impact. Again, she had a cheeky little grin in the photo and there was some hard light that whilst showed the little dimples in her cheeks, gave too much contrast to her lips. If I put that down exactly, that smile that made her her would become an odd grimace, so I changed the light to make it less hard. Just simply softening it drew out the feminity and again brought that life to the picure.
Anyway, unfortunately I did it traditionally so I dont have a copy I can show you, nor would it serve much purpose other than to show my own work when this thread is about you. My point is simply, feel what it is that you are drawing. You will find that thinking too much about blurring the edges to give it a cinematic effect and pumping up the saturation of colour rather than what makes this person look like them, takes away the soul of the subject. Once you've captured the person, by all means do what your great at and add those extra nuances and you'll find that you've made that leap from good to great.
Oh and finally, I don't know whether you still submit stuff to CG Society but forget it for the moment. You'll know when you're ready .
For next V-day take your girlfriend outdoors and shoot some nice photos in natural light. If you start with a crappy indoor flash photo you'll have an uphill battle to make something decent out of it. And I'm sure she'll love this pic but for the next one you might find one where she's not leading with her nose, it's a flaw in amateur close-up portrait photos. (Weird fact -- apparently professional photographers sometimes shoot models with a telephoto lens to avoid this effect.) I'm not sure how many people want to be immortalized with their nose looking enormous and dominating their face.
If you're stuck with a crummy photo to work from, one thing you might want to try is turn it B&W and work (in colour) from a B&W photo. You'll need other reference photos for skin tone and hair colour and stuff, but it doesn't need to be 100% exact and then you can choose your colour ref from photos where the lighting is much better.
Yea I really need to work on instilling some life into my paintings, you are absolutely right. That is why I plan to keep this painting around this consistency, with loose lines, and just have what matters.
I am also trying my best to stay away from the photo. I learned with my earlier portrait of my friend that photos can get distorted as many posters have pointed out. I noticed that here with my current photo and for that reason I just forgot the photo and painted her more the way I think she looks. And it ended up looking a lot more like her, then the photo. In fact, now that I look at it, the photo doesn't look much like her.
Yea I noticed that the photo is a little werird, and that my gf doesn't have such a giant nose and such a tiny chin. So I forget the photo and painted her more the way I think she is! Looks better then the photo I think!
I do agree, that natural light would probably make a much better ref. I am trying to paint this portrait as if the light is from the sun and not from a camera flash.
Here is the painting that seems to have been overlooked from the last page:
Last edited by Pavel Sokov; February 12th, 2012 at 09:32 PM.
I am extremely frustrated, I can't find the brush I used to make this painting, so now I am fucked. It is from a very large set of brushes and I cant ever be sure if I'm using the right one. This is infuriating.
Is there a way to save the brush I am using to the painting?
Depends on what program you are working in?
Have a limited brush set, then you won't lose them
(If it's photoshop - just break your brush sets down - it takes a lot of time but it's probably worth it.)
Personally I tend to use 1 brush for most things and break out texture brushes when I need to.
Back to the picture - being trapped by using a photo, well, then you're going to have to use the lighting it has as well. So the background would be more lit on the right.
A quick question - you did colour correct the image before you used it as ref right? (there's a lot of green in your pic)
EDIT: I got bored through lunch - admittedly I'm working just off the photo (after a quick colour correction.)
Bigger strokes for the forms, and then sculpt into it with a smaller brush, or should I say refine.
The backdrop follows the same as the photo with a little bit of creative rim lighting.
Last edited by Venger; February 13th, 2012 at 02:41 AM.
Holy shit! Your boredom is my gain!
I use Photoshop.
The green is in my painting because I made a green underpainting because I thought it would be cool and make the painting vibrate. I have not color corrected the ref I must admit.
Now please tell me exactly which brush you used and program, because I NEED to replicate that!
If you don't mind sharing the secrets of course!
Last edited by Pavel Sokov; February 13th, 2012 at 05:11 PM.
Well I use photoshop CS, but any version will do.
The brush isn't that important (there are no magic brushes)
Any solid brush with 'other dynamic' and 'smoothing' and low spacing will do (I use a hexagonal one)
Here's my basic brushes - though I mainly use the hexagonal one all the time. There are a few I use for texture and some shortcut brushes - like the chainmail brush.
Don't expect them to create miracles for you, they are just tools.
(These are not all my creations - they are a compilation of other brushes I've found and use and © belongs to there creators - I have modified some of them though.)
Vengerbasic.abr.zip <<I hope that works?
Colour wise I use this as a basic palette and alter them in the colour picker.
Not the best way to work, and it probably wastes a lot of time but it's a system I'm mostly use to.
Anyway my brushes are really unimportant, it's the technique you need to get.
Work unzoomed with a large brush, don't just look at the colour (as in flesh is pink etc), look at the lighting.
Once you got that down you can zoom in a bit and still with quite a large brush refine the forms.
It's all about form and value - if I reduce the saturation to greyscale is should still read ok, or change it to blue, or sepia etc - the values and forms should read fine.
Thank you so much for the brush pack! I used it just now. Yea I often get more focused on texture and colour then value and form
Your script link didn't work. I also don't really know what to expect in that link. A series of colours?
Thank you so much for the links. I agree completely! However I just had to grab a photo of her since she doesn't know I am making this portrait, and hoped to fix up the lighting during the process like I did with the triple portrait earlier. However, I did take the photo of my stubbly friend (the orange/blue portrait), although very un-educatedly! I will have to focus more on the ref next time.
Here is where I am at so far. How long was your lunch Venger? It took me 3 hours to get this far.
How very odd - CA is changing the url? it wont link to CGHub, it keeps deleting the CGHub bit.
Am I missing something here?
Are you using my image to colour pick? - you're just echoing my mistakes if you are.
It might have been and hour and a half on and off.
http:// cghub .com/scripts/view/96/
remove the spaces at the beginning and end of cghub - if you type cghubDOTcom it disappears.
MODS:If theres some rule I've broken here let me know and I'll alter my post
Last edited by Venger; February 14th, 2012 at 10:14 AM.
If she has a Facebook or something, I often find people usually have at least some photos taken outside and without a flash. It doesn't have to be super-fancy, just natural-looking.
It's getting much more likeness to the ref! Shapes are looking better and stuff. However, the skin tone is starting to look a bit grey/dead. Try warming it up a little and upping the saturation just a tad and see if that looks good.
Another major thing is: you have quite a lot of very light highlights, which gives a waxy feel. If you convert it and your ref to black and white, you'll see the ref has very smooth gradations except a couple areas like the nose and red parts of the lips -- whereas your painting has a lot of hotspots like on the skin around the nose and above the lips, in the corner of the eye etc. You want to make those gradients a lot softer and milder to convey the soft, matte texture of her skin.
Explanation of highlights and waxiness:
There are two things one might call 'highlights'.
One is just when an object is fully lit. Even if you shine a strong light on it, it will still only throw back the local colour of the object -- it won't desaturate or get lighter. (N/B: Getting lighter than the local colour means desaturating by definition -- something can only get darker and retain the same saturation.) This is usually just called 'full light' rather than 'highlight'.
The second is 'specular' highlights. These are reflections of the light. They take on the colour of the light (except rare cases like gold and copper). Specular highlights typically appear on shiny, wet or smooth objects -- that's what makes them look shiny. They hardly appear at all on matte surfaces, like paper or powdered skin.
Wax has stronger highlights like that because it's shinier, and so reflects more specular highlights.
Keep it up!
i thought youd done a great job with this one
poor girl, its a terrible photo, but i thought you really brought out her prettiness in your interpretation, and deserved a star.
the newer one, her skin is deathly pale, her snoz looks giagantic and her eye looks a bit glassy and dead. my 2c.
The Photo is a bit out of control, doesn't look like her.
My gf does have extremely pale skin, however I don't think she has a giant nose.
Hey, I opened your cg hub link, and it is a pallet of colours. What is that for?
Is there something better about using colours from that pallet vs the regular colour picker?
I thought about it, and showed it around and after my analysis I do not think I was lead astray. I see my gf more in the repaint then in my old version, although my old version captures a different sort of truth in her face. It looks like her.. in a different way? It is hard to explain what I mean.
The whiteness of her skin and the texture is something I am wrestling with. I am trying to stay away from smoothness in order to capture a "painted" feeling. Not sure if it is working or not..
Shes a fox!
Changed her face shape because I think the photo is strange. I also made the mouth, nose, and eye smaller.
Last edited by Pavel Sokov; February 19th, 2012 at 08:39 PM.
I know this is in terrible taste, but I am not confident with myself and have gotten used to getting a "go-ahead" on all my pieces before resting easy. It is a sort of mental crutch.
So I must be the guy that bumps his own thread...
Well, for what it's worth, it looks good to me. I'm quite certain that your girlfriend will love it...if you haven't already shown it to her. I really have nothing to critique on it.
I did like the style in #126 better, where you could see the brush strokes, but that's just me.
My Sketchbook: Criticisms and Feedback needed
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu
Hmm but you have 'rested easy' with past pictures in this very thread without people giving you the "go-ahead". And, in fact, while there have still been unaddressed criticisms, which you excused or said you agreed with but couldn't fix them due to time pressure to complete for a client, but then go on to repeat some of the very same mistakes. (For example, using references with ugly on-camera flash and not learning about portrait lighting.)
I'm not saying you should accept every criticism as gospel, but rather I'm trying to point out that it isn't other people's standards you rely on to finish a piece, but something inside yourself.
Maybe you just need to hear others' criticisms to be confident there isn't something you're missing, and that's fine. But note people might be more hesitant to really engage and keep giving you criticisms if you're more focused on finishing a piece on time than learning. You probably know all this but I figured it was worth mentioning.
I do see improvement, it's just that there's potential for so much more if you did some of your own personal research on the stuff people mention in their criticisms.
Anyway, back to the piece: You don't want to smooth out the waxy appearance because you think it would look less painterly? Really? XD Google some French artists, like Impressionists, and you'll see they're hella painterly but still smooth and soft in the skin (or at least not waxiness).
The reason it looks like wax is because it's a desaturated highlight, which reads as smooth/shiny (specular highlight). Making the gradients more gentle is just one way of getting rid of this. Depends on what style you want to go for. I recommend looking at how artists you like resolve this issue, rather than just taking my specific suggestion which may indeed look slightly less 'painterly' depending how you follow it.
i think its looking good, and a massive improvement!
now choose some better reference photos and youll be smashing it
Here Lulie, I adressed the wax issue by removing all the white highlights. I think it looks more like skin now, but I have departed rather far from the paleness of my gf's skin.
So I am not sure what I think of it, allthough I am leaning towards this newer one. The white highlights started to bug me.
Last edited by Pavel Sokov; February 23rd, 2012 at 11:34 PM.
Hey, nice work!
The black and white makes good effect on the image, I like that.
Your girl will be happy for this. I mean, who wouldn’t be!
Hang in there, you’re improving.
Hello, I made changes. Less chin, less nose bridge, smaller eye, different hidden eye.
Also as shameful as it is, I used pixlr-o-matic to adjust my friend's portrait. It got into Cg Society by the way!
Finally I played around with my Athena wallpaper.
Congrats on getting in, man.
I really like the portrait of your friend and the 1st version of Athena the most in your last post.
My Sketchbook: Criticisms and Feedback needed
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu