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Thread: Almost done but need fresh eyes

  1. #1
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    Almost done but need fresh eyes

    The problem is, I thought I was done a few months ago and once it was posted elsewhere for critique I soon realized I had lost my objectivity which I fear is the case now! So if you wouldn't mind I'm looking for "brutal" critique in regards to execution

    The inspiration for this image was a book called "Madeline" that was published in the 50's. On the cover was an image of a water fountain (pretty lame art direction if you ask me!), but regardless its a part fiction story of a lady of the Empress's court in revolutionary, plague infested France (late 1700's).
    The image I have tried to create was to show what Madeline might have looked like and the day she bluffed her way past the guards and bolted from the confines of the castle/grounds she and the remnants of the court had been holed up in for a few months under guard ( in part to keep them in and to keep others out...to long a story to go into...) Anyway this is my 3rd completely digital image (the learning curve is a pain) and I am happy with the (book style) layout and feel that the image is ready for the final touch, a "blowing snow storm" that I have planned to layer over top. And yes I know she has a stunned/fearfully shocked sorta look on her face. you would too if you were her lol


    Again though, I'm looking for a critique of my execution of this image not the layout or pose. if you like you can find me on dA or CGS as T-DA2 where you will also see the original work lol. Thanks for your time!

    Last edited by Elwell; January 30th, 2012 at 06:52 PM. Reason: formatting
     

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    well I don't feel like being nice right now so I will just say FLAT...copy and paste does not work and cluttering up the picture with stuff does not make it better......get rid of all the stuff and work on the character till she is dead on she is like one shade away from be a paper cutout character right now.....take your time if this is for yourself and if you care for it to be more than an a idea post, if you hope this to be a portfolio piece or what have you, then I suggest that you grab a pencil and find a local life drawing class and fill your sketch book with people.....I have taken many life drawing classes and still I struggle with anatomy and always seem to miss something....so don't take this as a message to give up just take it as a realization that you may have to work harder to get where you want to be.....

     

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    don't quite get it

    Yes I am working on a portfolio of strickly digital works as I have been airbrushing and sculpting the old skool way for many years and things they gotta change!

    What your saying is she needs more detail or depth, I agree. What is it that strikes you as missing or wrong? Is it just lack of definition for elements like cheek bones for example? Or what? And what do you mean by cookie cutter???? this was done with no reference(?) I don't get it exactly



    Ya most everything in the background will be blurred by snow...

     

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    Quote Originally Posted by TArnell View Post
    this was done with no reference(?)
    Yes, that much is very obvious I'm afraid.

    I'm very sorry TArnell, but this picture has no redeeming qualities at all. Do not carry on working on it and PLEASE do not consider putting this in your portfolio.

    Please do start from scratch, please do leave the digital programs behind. Study real people, real objects and how they relate to each other in the world.

    This picture is a dead end, for so many reasons. But to sum it up, computer drawing programs are hurting you, not helping you. You need to go back to the basics.

    It's clear you have a love of art and drawing. So please understand its not your potential I'm slating, but this piece itself. If you want to depict the subject matter you described, for yourself, then I would suggest ditching this, then doing some small thumbnail sketches of various layout options, then finding actual references for your heroine. Be careful of trying to place her in surroundings straight from your imagination. Without an idea of the effects of the environment and lighting, it will look completely unnatural.

    Last edited by Star Eater; January 29th, 2012 at 07:19 PM.
     

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    The cookie cutter look they're talking about comes from the mix of really sharp details versus soft blurry looking areas. Look at her hair versus her face, for instance. You've painted really sharp strands of hair, but her face is just a blur. Her coat also is blurry and shapeless but has a sharp outline.

    Her expression doesn't read as stunned or fearful to me, just blank I'm afraid. And why is the little bird guy cropped so abruptly?

    I also think you should rework this, sometimes it's better to just start from scratch. Keep focus on the girl and make the backgrounds more vague. If you're planning to add a snowstorm on top of everything there should be lots of atmosphere between the girl and the castle.

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    What the others said... I think what might help you the most, besides picking up a pencil and doing some drawing on paper, would be to study up on value. As it stands now everything is the exact same value; the castle is the same colour & shading style as her coat, even though one is stone and the other is presumably not stone. And like another said, on a snowy dismal day like that one, the castle would be receding into the background atmosphere, at least a little more than it is now.

    Your biggest issue with this picture is, I think, that there's little sense of depth and no real storytelling going on. We have the girl staring at us, a dwarf in a plague doctor mask and a guy lying dead on the ground behind, there, but nothing saying she's fleeing. Did the guy in the mask kill that guard and now he's after her? Is he her companion? Read up on composition (something I also have to do), learning more will help you better tell the stories you want to tell in your pictures.

    As for depth, as I said earlier, studying value will help, then move on to colour & light.

    Obviously this doesn't mean you can have fun and make imaginative pieces between studying all these things, but this picture here, I'd recommend you do some studying and then, once you have the tools of more knowledge under your belt, revisit the concept and try again!

    I hope this was helpful. I don't want to appear as though I'm just bashing it! But I do think you could use some brushing up on the basics and that it'll really help.


    We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.
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    in addition to everything that has been mentioned, for future reference i'd point out that plague doctors costumed in the way you depicted in this picture would be out of place in a late-18th century setting.
    but yeah i'd really suggest scrapping this and giving it another shot in pen and paper before going for digital again.

     

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    Talking hmmm.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Star Eater View Post
    Yes, that much is very obvious I'm afraid.

    I'm very sorry TArnell, but this picture has no redeeming qualities at all. Do not carry on working on it and PLEASE do not consider puting this in your portfolio.

    Please do start from scratch, please do leave the digital programs behind. Study real people, real objects and how they relate to each other in the world.

    This picture is a dead end, for so many reasons. But to sum it up, computer drawing programs are hurting you, not helping you. You need to go back to the basics.

    It's clear you have a love of art and drawing. So please understand its not your potential I'm slating, but this piece itself. If you want to depict the subject matter you described, for yourself, then I would suggest ditching this, then doing some small thumbnail sketches of various layout options, then finding actual references for your heroine. Be careful of trying to place her in surroundings straight from your imagination. Without an idea of the effects of the environment and lighting, it will look completely unnatural.
    I can totally appreciate where your coming from but it would seem that your missing the point here! Any idiot can do photoreal from a photo! Of which I've spent close to 30yrs making a living at. This image is about learning the digital tools not layout ,anatomy etc...Of course it hurting me thats why I I'm trying to learn it one aspect at a time..... inccidently this image started as a bust and just grew..... I could sit around and cut peoples work up all day without ever answering the question too, thanks for your thoughts though!

    The question was "What is missing in the execution of the elements?"

     

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    Quote Originally Posted by TArnell View Post
    I can totally appreciate where your coming from but it would seem that your missing the point here! Any idiot can do photoreal from a photo! Of which I've spent close to 30yrs making a living at. This image is about learning the digital tools not layout ,anatomy etc...Of course it hurting me thats why I I'm trying to learn it one aspect at a time..... inccidently this image started as a bust and just grew..... I could sit around and cut peoples work up all day without ever answering the question too, thanks for your thoughts though!

    The question was "What is missing in the execution of the elements?"
    Best of luck in your career.

    Last edited by Star Eater; January 29th, 2012 at 04:41 PM.
     

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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by FuzzyTingleTimes View Post
    The cookie cutter look they're talking about comes from the mix of really sharp details versus soft blurry looking areas. Look at her hair versus her face, for instance. You've painted really sharp strands of hair, but her face is just a blur. Her coat also is blurry and shapeless but has a sharp outline.

    Her expression doesn't read as stunned or fearful to me, just blank I'm afraid. And why is the little bird guy cropped so abruptly?

    I also think you should rework this, sometimes it's better to just start from scratch. Keep focus on the girl and make the backgrounds more vague. If you're planning to add a snowstorm on top of everything there should be lots of atmosphere between the girl and the castle.
    Ya I know her hair is rough and straw like, can't decide if its my choice of brush or my tablet not responding very well, could also be Ram but that'll remain to be seen....
    Shock tends to have that effect on peoples faces, is it that her face doesn't have enough definition/character lines?

    Define atmosphere .... if you've ever been in a snow storm you can't see very far and what you can see is blurred by snow so yes the sharpness of some elements won't be as harsh and the background will be lighter and obscured a fair bit.
    thanks for the input so far!

     

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    You've spent years copying photos, you say? It shows, I'm afraid. Judging by this picture, you seem to miss out on how basics like how to construct figures/faces and how to suggest form.

    I can understand why you feel ditching refference entirely will make you grow, the problem is, it won't. Not unless you're backing that up with atleast thrice as much studying and learning.

    Whilst copying mindlessly doesn't help someone grow, neither does entirely ditching refference. You've done a 180 turn and completely missed the nice middle ground.
    Like others have said; start a new picture and mull over any advice you've been given on this thread. Good luck, mate.

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    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by littlebones View Post
    What the others said... I think what might help you the most, besides picking up a pencil and doing some drawing on paper, would be to study up on value. As it stands now everything is the exact same value; the castle is the same colour & shading style as her coat, even though one is stone and the other is presumably not stone. And like another said, on a snowy dismal day like that one, the castle would be receding into the background atmosphere, at least a little more than it is now.

    Your biggest issue with this picture is, I think, that there's little sense of depth and no real storytelling going on. We have the girl staring at us, a dwarf in a plague doctor mask and a guy lying dead on the ground behind, there, but nothing saying she's fleeing. Did the guy in the mask kill that guard and now he's after her? Is he her companion? Read up on composition (something I also have to do), learning more will help you better tell the stories you want to tell in your pictures.

    As for depth, as I said earlier, studying value will help, then move on to colour & light.

    Obviously this doesn't mean you can have fun and make imaginative pieces between studying all these things, but this picture here, I'd recommend you do some studying and then, once you have the tools of more knowledge under your belt, revisit the concept and try again!

    I hope this was helpful. I don't want to appear as though I'm just bashing it! But I do think you could use some brushing up on the basics and that it'll really help.
    Wow thanks for taking the time to tactfully bash and chop it up, everyone needs an informed butcher! Just so you understand though this is a book cover layout(in case you didn't get it). I coming to this digital format with close to 30yrs airbrushing -book & album covers ,retouching photo's and doing large scale photo-real murals, the latest now residing in a museum (there is a pic of "Mr.Gully" on my T-DA2 dA page. I can do stuff like this image here with an airbrush no problem but!!! I'm having trouble with the digital tool set as they obviously are not the same..... Yes I agree the values and depth of field leave alot to be desired but that will be sorted out in the final image.

    Since most of the background will be obscured by blowing snow the womans face is the issue, and having taken so long to produce this image my objectivity with it is waning. So far the drive-by bashing has not really answered the question of what is wrong or missing with the execution of (specifically) her face "what have I missed". Yes her face is soft but it seems outta whack or something is missing or doesn't have enough definition! aagghhhh! BUT WHAT THE H3LL IS IT?

     

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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by Naidy View Post
    You've spent years copying photos, you say? It shows, I'm afraid. Judging by this picture, you seem to miss out on how basics like how to construct figures/faces and how to suggest form.

    I can understand why you feel ditching refference entirely will make you grow, the problem is, it won't. Not unless you're backing that up with atleast thrice as much studying and learning.

    Whilst copying mindlessly doesn't help someone grow, neither does entirely ditching refference. You've done a 180 turn and completely missed the nice middle ground.
    Like others have said; start a new picture and mull over any advice you've been given on this thread. Good luck, mate.
    Oh I plan to do lots of "Mulling" lol thanks for your input its greatly appreciated.

     

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    could you upload some of the photo-based work you've done? it would help to see if these problems just come from working without reference or if they are more prevalent throughout your work.

    if you want general advice on how to use the digital tools (i'm guessing photoshop), i've come to discover some very basic ground rules for getting started on digital:

    - never use the blur, sharpen, dodge or burn tools. just don't.
    - avoid copy-pasting different elements if a) you've moved past the early sketch phase and b) you still don't know how to properly blend two different parts convincingly
    - don't make shadows by adding black. don't make highlights by adding white.
    - avoid the fancy brushes. avoid mixing different kinds of brushstrokes until you understand what each of them is meant for - try to stick to medium-size, hard round brushes for your first pieces. don't fidget around with layer/brush opacity yet.
    - don't use gradients.
    - don't use filters. there are, like, two useful ones in that entire mess of a menu, and you shouldn't rush into them.

     

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    Quote Originally Posted by TArnell View Post
    This image is about learning the digital tools not layout ,anatomy etc...
    If your goal is really to just learn the tool, then pick up a simpler subject.

    StarEater gave you some really good advice you should listen. Your image looks bad not because you don't know how to use digital, but simply because you don't know the fundamentals of art very well.

     

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    Quote Originally Posted by TArnell View Post
    Any idiot can do photoreal from a photo...
    ...but it takes a real artist to be able to use reference properly.

    I'm with Star Eater on this one (IE start over) but mainly because you went about it in the worst way possible, and that is;

    this image started as a bust and just grew
    As for the technique, everything is just blobby, poorly constructed and lacking any sense of lighting or depth. Get back to basics with some studies of people and lighting situations and really try to construct your images in the future. Think about what pushes forward and back in space.

     

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    The face is stuck at the 'symbols' stage. Rather than creating features, there are simplified symbols for each surface.

    It looks like photo elements shoved into a composition, masked, then painted over.

     

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    Quote Originally Posted by MiniGoth View Post
    The face is stuck at the 'symbols' stage. Rather than creating features, there are simplified symbols for each surface.
    O.K. this is what I was looking for....I can relate to it!

    Last edited by Elwell; January 30th, 2012 at 06:53 PM. Reason: formatting
     

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    hmmm...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Rainville View Post
    ...but it takes a real artist to be able to use reference properly.

    I'm with Star Eater on this one (IE start over) but mainly because you went about it in the worst way possible, and that is;



    As for the technique, everything is just blobby, poorly constructed and lacking any sense of lighting or depth. Get back to basics with some studies of people and lighting situations and really try to construct your images in the future. Think about what pushes forward and back in space.
    I'm finding the digital tools way to much like working with real brushes the likes of which I never have used....Now on the other hand I get what your saying but I have not the digital skills to compose or rather "execute" an image the way I would do it with an airbrush. I know its blobby, but I don't agree about the construction and lighting part. From the work I've seen of some of the commenting artists they seem to have been taught oil painting techniques, yourself included. I am self taught so I can see why some are so offended by my work lol. Airbrush and shields are way different than working with brushes.....This following link will take you to an example of my airbrush work done strictly in black, no erasing and no white was used..... http://t-da2.deviantart.com/art/Mr-G...F35006671&qo=3 If your opinion of my art/layout skills remains the same then I guess I really have no clue and no business calling myself an artist...Please let me know would ya?

     

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    Drawing on the Right Side of the Brains (book) has some great discussions about how our brains simply objects into symbols for the sake of recognition and filing speed.

    The goal in art, and it's tough, is to tell that part of your brain who's boss, and draw what's actually there, rather than the symbols that your brain has put into that space.

     

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    Smile should have just posted this !



    I should have just post it like this in the first place as most comments can't seem to get past layout/composition which is fine but I really want a critique on only the woman's face.

    Last edited by Elwell; January 30th, 2012 at 06:53 PM. Reason: formatting
     

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    Ok, here goes...The face is flat, her lips look cut & pasted on, her hair looks like dry straw and is also floating off her head at the forehead,there are serious anatomic and proportional issues, I'm not even sure whats going on with her neck, and it looks like you used a "fur brush" in photoshop for the fur trim, because it doesn't match the rendering of the rest of her face. Everyone said this kind of stuff in other ways, but here you go nice and blunt. I'm sure I missed some things. Really man, the other comments are valid, even to this cropped image.

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    I honestly don't believe you've been copying photos for that long. At least not photographs of portraits then. Or just not while thinking or looking at all. As someone else pointed out you're using symbols for the different elements of the face (mouth, eyes) rather than actually drawing them as they are. I also don't think you really understand the structure of the face properly; try studying skulls and faces from various angles. Pay good attention to the smaller details, such as how the eyelashes sit in the eyelids, where the eyebrow starts and ends, the shape of the mouth in relation to the nose, etc.

     

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    Well, if you want critique on just the woman's face, that's pretty straightforward: It doesn't look like a living person's face. Use reference and get the structure of the head right. Get the lighting right. Did I say use reference already? I did? Well, use reference. You're obviously not able to paint convincingly without one.
    What's wrong with it, exactly? Everything, but first of all it's flat, like everything else in your picture. And I'm sure I'm repeating what others said already. So leave this image, go work on your basics. Show us you actually can do "photorealistic from a photo", that you can give a sense of 3d to your drawings, in whichever technique you like, using whatever tool you like. Stop defending this image, it's not worth it.
    Did I sound harsh? Well, maybe because it looks like you're just being defensive about this image, instead of just sucking it up, and getting down and dirty with fundamentals.
    Good luck!

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    Ok. This thread has really gotten long. There have been some really useful comments but if you'll only listen to advice on you're digital execution I'll try to suggest some resources. I've taught people how start cging before and I know that the learning curve IS steep. As a first attempt this is pretty good and it's clear that you've put a lot of work and effort into it. Your trying out different brush tools, attempting some blending, and making use of layers which is all great, but there are plenty more tools to learn.

    I'll assume that you aren't working with a tablet at this point? You should pick one up. Trying to work without one is a real pain and a bit of a waste of time (Although I'm sure some people do it with great effects, somehow)

    It looks like you've used blur to smooth out the shading. While it does blend the colors together it also kills the sense of form you would have had. Most experienced digital artists blend using pressure sensitive brushes or by leaving it up to the eye. The problem with blue and smudge is really clear in her jaw, well, more like it isn't. There's no defined border between chin and neck. Although it's clear you've put time into putting in a cast shadow from the hair, there should still be a crisper divide.

    Augustc4 has a phenomenal tutorial about this that also shows you how you can fine tune a brush to fit your needs. http://augustc4.deviantart.com/art/S...orial-24105181

    There's also a huge array of custom brushes available for free from da and some other sites. You can load them into your brush pull down menu and a lot of them give a huge boost when texturing skin. This tutorial by Dianae not only takes you through the process of making a stunning painting, but it has a great set of resources in the description; including some skin brushes that I've been using for years now. They're amazing.

    http://dianae.deviantart.com/art/Dig...orial-74468761

    You might not be able to follow it step by step, because it assumes that you have an intermediate level of experience. Still, it's pretty good to read through and she covers lighting and reflective lighting as well.

    As for the eyes - It's important to remember your light sources. Eyes have somewhat their own rules for lighting, because they're actually a colored bowl (Concave) with hole in the middle and a convex glassy cover. The highlight falls on the darker part of the eye and the light is dispersed on to the bottom of the iris because it's actually parallel to the light source. (Except when dealing with flash, which is pretty much the only time the face will be flooded with light dead center).

    Example : http://browse.deviantart.com/?q=eye&...et=120#/dqu276
    Tutorial: http://browse.deviantart.com/resourc...&q=eye#/d5z3ko

    You also need a lot more tonal variation in the skin. It needs darker darks. Try taking a cg portrait that you admire and using the eye dropper tool to pull out the different colors used in their face. It should give you a bead on the range you should use. You could even try painting a portrait directly with those tones.

    Keep working hard. When your learning a new tool it's best to turn out tons of images and studies. You'll learn something new from each one. If you need advice on a specific tool or task, just ask. I probably have a tutorial saved for it.

    Good luck.

    Ps. They're right about calling it quits on this image. New works are always clamoring to be made and it doesn't do to keep them waiting.

     

  43. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to MoKhi For This Useful Post:


  44. #27
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    TA, like I just said, the face is a mess. There's no sense of form, just of symbols pasted on top of a vaguely potato shaped cutout.

     

  45. #28
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    "From the work I've seen of some of the commenting artists they seem to have been taught oil painting techniques, yourself included. I am self taught so I can see why some are so offended by my work lol. Airbrush and shields are way different than working with brushes....."

    The human eye sees only patterns of light. Those patterns indicate the 3D form of the subject. If you fuck up those patterns the 3D form interpreted by the eye is going to look wrong. This is going to happen whatever medium you use and however you happen to have learned it. You cannot argue people into seeing a different pattern by explaining that it's your style or medium. If you intend to have a face look realistic and 3D then you need to get the values and colours right and put them in the right places.

    Here's my fast monkey paintover using the proportions & colours already in the pic:

    Name:  paintover.jpg
Views: 7124
Size:  68.8 KB

    Note: I don't know what the hell it is that newer artists have against eyelids. They exist, they have a very definite 3D shape, study them carefully and put them in! The lack of definite eyelids makes the eyes look pasted-on and creepy.

    Note 2: The forehead is a bit too low for these proportions so I folded the hair over.

    *** Sketchbook * Landscapes * Portfolio * Store***

    "There are two kinds of students: the self-taught and the hopeless."
    - Dr. Piotr Rudnicki
     

  46. The Following 9 Users Say Thank You to vineris For This Useful Post:


  47. #29
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    Thanks for the tut "Vineris" I'll take that into consideration when I'm "finishing" this image since the whole plan was to learn the tools and create an image, start to finish digitally.... I totally appreciate all the help and time you folks have given me! oh and for BASHING the $h!t out of my piece too (I did ask for it and my wife is still laughing). Funny how many of you would just bale on this instead of encouraging me in how to use the tools....(My wife is still laughing , mostly, at me for posting here) Anyway I'll post something again in a few....and you can tell me what else I did wrong.....

     

  48. #30
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    The tools work pretty much the same way that paint does, in that if you don't understand form, structure, light and shadow, or color, it won't magically fix those problems for you.

     

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