System Shock 2 - Cyborg Midwife Homage!

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Thread: System Shock 2 - Cyborg Midwife Homage!

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    System Shock 2 - Cyborg Midwife Homage!

    So I just finished Dead Space, and while it was a lot of fun, it kind of just made me miss System Shock 2. So I wanted to make an homage to the Cyborg Midwives, which I always thought were some of the creepiest things ever.

    I recently got a Cintiq because I'm going to be working super hard to get good at painting, but I'm still very new at this. I'd love for you guys to take a look at my WIP and give me feedback... obviously it's still early but ANYTHING will help. Please feel free to draw all over this thing.

    It's good to finally get back into this!

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    Hey Conejo Blanko, I'm not too active around here anymore but i saw this and couldn't resist.

    I really like what you have going so far. I think the pose is great and you really captured the creepy look of the cyborg midwives, especially in the face!

    I know you're still at the early sketch phase so some of the things I mention are perhaps just areas you haven't got to yet, but:
    I'd consider shaping the hair a bit more. Use the silhouette shape to show where the part might be or where the larger clumps of hair are bending even at this early stage. I personally might show a little more forehead. It'll give you a place to show individual strands of hair, making it seem less like a wig or hat, without obstructing the face.

    I feel like the lower forearm and wrists are a bit thick and straight. I'd play around with making them slightly thinner and a touch more gestural, particularly her left arm.

    I think the light source could be clearer. A more defined cast shadow would help with that. You may not be aiming for super dramatic lighting, but I'm not sure which side she is being lite from. Also, just a value range thing, the lightest part in your sketch is her shoulders/skin. Since her lower half is metal in the finished painting I'd expect the highlights on the metal parts to be a lighter value than any area of her skin. I would block those highlights in at this stage just so you have an idea of how light they are gonna be and adjust the other values accordingly.

    I did a quick paint over to illustrate some of this stuff:
    Name:  System Shock 2Edit copy.jpg
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    The highlights in the paint over are pretty close to pure white. This makes me think the skin may have to go darker in some areas so you're not pushing the very edge of your value range. My two cents.

    Recalling how great your other pieces turned out I look forward to seeing where you take this!
    Rock on!

    Last edited by Mute; February 24th, 2012 at 07:55 PM.
    ...my humble and uneducated opinion.

    -Nate
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    unnatural, loosen up.

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    Mute- Thank you so much for the feedback! It was very helpful! As you can see I've tried to address many of the things you brought up, but if there's any that I've missed, or new things you think of, please let me know.

    Wunts: I'd like her to look stiff, like a zombie, but you were right that it was too rigid. I think I've loosened her up a bit.

    Here's an update on it. I was gone all weekend and otherwise busy, so I haven't gotten so much farther on it, but I've been iterating quite a bit as you can see (biggest change is her hand, and I've flipped her legs around upon thinking of actual walking).
    Her haircut is very particular, though I agree it still looks wiglike (haven't worked on it too much). It's a particular hairstyle that she has in the game, which I found out was based on Louise Brooks, who was a famous actress.
    I've worked more to increase contrast in the piece and to identify the light sources. What do you all think of the values, composition, etc? I liked the idea of her being partially backlit by a character, and SHODAN was too obvious, so I picked XERXES. I'm going to have Annelid slime everywhere, including on the XERXES monitor, which I know will look good, and a few Annelid spiders and worms crawling around.
    Going forward I'm thinking of highlighting her hand in the spot as it reaches forward, I think that might be a good look.
    This will go to color eventually, of course, but since my skills in that area are severely lacking I'm going greyscale to color
    Crits very very welcome!

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    So I'm continuing to slowly pile hours onto this painting. I worked more on the figure, the face, the lighting, the slime in the background, etc.

    As I work on it I'm going to detail up a bit of the surroundings/background, trying to add a few SS2 familar-looking things, like consoles and writing on the walls or something. I've thinking about the coloring, which should be fun, and add something to the painting, but I imagine I've got another six hours of work to do before I start adding color...

    Thoughts/critiques?!

    (Edit: Replaced picture, the other looks too dark.)

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    Last edited by Conejo Blanco; March 5th, 2012 at 10:37 AM.
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    Hey man, I think this is looking great!

    I think your rendering is looking great on the figure. I like how you handled the hair and the way you've set up the lighting!

    With such extreme lighting coming together all over there should be harder cast shadows on the floor similar to the hard cast shadows on the figure. That would really hit home the scenes lighting.

    Concerning the values overall, for me some areas are attracting attention that perhaps shouldn't be. My eyes keep going to the figure's illuminated hand and the screen in the background because they are so bright making the contrast there highest. I would think her shoulder and face should be the primary focal point, and therefore have the most contrast in the image (though not necessarily by alot).

    Areas of high contrast (in this case the dark tone of the background next to the very light tone of the monitor) grab the most attention. Because of this you generally want to arrange your values in a such a way that your primary focal point has the most extreme contrasts in the image. This way the viewer is drawn to it first without distraction. Limit the value range you use for the background so that it doesn't ever get as light or as dark as areas of the foreground figure. This will enhance the sense of atmospheric perspective as well, bringing the figure forward and pushing the background back in space.
    It should be pretty easy to adjust at this point. If you are using photoshop just mask off some areas and play with the value levels to get the values of particular areas to be "correct" relative to the more important areas.

    Hope that makes sense and is helpful.

    Keep going man! It's turning out great.
    Rock on!

    ...my humble and uneducated opinion.

    -Nate
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    Hi all,

    Mute, once again thank you for your fantastic critique. I've darkened the screen a tad in the background, though I have yet to balance the overall values of the face/hand/shoulder/screen to a satisfactory level. Your comments on the overall brightness have been echoed by others, but at the moment I'm not sure I'm gonna change it too much because I'd like to see how much of a difference color makes... most of the picture will be blue/green like the screen in the back, and hopefully the silver and red and flesh tones of her body will push her forward as much as the values. I'd also like the screen in the back to be fairly bright, because I want people to see that XERXES is on the screen in the back, trapped under all that growth.

    With all that said, I think you're probably right, and I'll have to make that change soon. And as for the harder, harsher shadows on the ground, I will most certainly work on that, just haven't done that yet.

    Here's an update. I've taken to adding details from the back to the front. The background is gonna be a bit blurred out, but I want those details to look real regardless. As you can see (except for her, who I'm detailing on a separate layer), I'm saving the foreground elements for later, since they're more important.

    It's slow going, but I'm really enjoying this project!

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    Oh wow, system shock must of been a creepy game. Whats with the alien eggs though?

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    Haha yeah it's one of the scariest games I've ever played. The eggs are an alien species called the Annelids, and the midwife was a nurse (Nurse Erin Bloome) who was forcefully operated on by a mad scientist to become part cyborg so that she could take care of the highly toxic alien hatchlings without dying. Now she's mindless, spouting creepy nurturing phrases one moment and sweet, calm promises of agony the next. It's a sad, extremely disturbing story. You can hear her creepy mindless voice here.

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    Starting to color the piece! Would love some advice, this part is quite hard for me...

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    I would of made a the rim lighting blue personally. Looks great anyway!

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    More updates today. Not sure if my Cintiq is calibrated correctly, it reads as mostly blue but on my monitor the background looks purple. Oh well.

    Finally getting to be happy with the way the coloring is going! Will add more details later, like her arm-gun (which is barely detailed), and a bit more paneling in the walls. Would love to hear feedback about my use of color!!

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