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So I did this for the most recent CHOW, and while I like this (I got 5 votes instead of my usual 1 or 2 woot!), I always feel my finished pieces are missing something. They get stale, there's no punch. I'm really trying to move forward with my work but I always get this feeling at the end. I'd specifically like comments on rendering and color, as that is always what makes me end up hating what I'm working on. I really struggled to find any help on painting transparent cloth (just googling), so advice on that would be so helpful as well.
Right now I just look at this and wonder what I could have done to make the lighting more realistic/interesting, and how to achieve a painterly look while also not looking amateur, and whether my color choices were correct (I'm getting conflicting comments on it right now).
No comments on anatomy please, if only because I know I need to work on it and always am (and I am cringing at her back hand). It's the rendering process that kills my desire to see a work finished.
High res is at my website in the sig if you'd like.
Last edited by carakhan; March 22nd, 2012 at 02:27 PM.
If its tutorials you are after you could do worse than have a look at these:-
the one on silk and see through material is No 20 I think.
all the best mate
A great kind hearted lumbering bullock
http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=209918 = my Sketchbook
Hey there carakhan. I know I gave you some crits on this a while back, but I have a couple more for ya
As Satupeikko mentioned in your sketchbook, the cloth doesn't seem to be affected by the color of the surrounding area, so it feels like it doesn't belong in the scene. Also, the entire image is a mix of neutral greens except for this bright red cloth, so naturally it's attracting the viewer's attention away from more important areas like the face. I preferred the cloth in your WIPs where it appeared to be very clear and colorless, so it was able to create some lovely movement in the image without calling too much attention to itself. If you want to keep the red for contrast, I would recommend desaturating it or adding some of that green from the background on top to subdue it and help it feel more at home in this setting.
The other thing that's really bugging me is that back arm; having the hand flat as if it's resting against the platform doesn't make sense in terms of perspective for me. In order for that to work, the platform would have to reach up in space like the arm of a chair to meet the hand, or the hand would be resting down behind the leg, or she'd have to be leaning back and the arm would be foreshortened.
There's still a little wonkiness in the anatomy that's a little hard to pin down. I feel like the breasts are too far to the left, like they're lifting off the torso rather than resting against it. The left (her right) breast also feels to me like it should be facing us a little more. Her neck is kinda wide and her shoulders are pretty flat, though whether that's part of the creature's design or not is hard to say.
And about the color and focus thing again, like I said, aside from the cloth everything feels about the same color. If you want the figure to pop out a little more, you could try adding a little purple to her shadows or maybe some blue to the highlights, something to make her (and particularly her face) an anomaly that stands out against the background.
And obligatory quick paint-over.. don't take the perspective and such too seriously; I just kinda eye-balled it based on how the space looks to me.
Btw I just wanted to say that the face and the ornaments in the hair are just beautiful, excellent work there, and the texture on the platform is really nice as well. < 3
Thanks dierat! I knew I could count on you I see what you mean about the arm, it was feeling... light, like it wasn't quite where it was supposed to be. I wonder if I could play around with some rock placement to bring that together, would help break up the otherwise flat rock as well. I think the highlight on her left (our right) breast is probably too much and its lifting off of her chest and I agree about the other one, I can at least address those without major changes I just noticed the neck today when posting, I think it just got thicker and thicker when I was painting, oops! I like yours much better. I see you rounded the shoulders off a bit more, I like that suggestion as well. What was I thinking asking for no anatomy crits?! This is so helpful.
I wonder if red was the correct choice, I felt like if I went with white the whole piece would be really monochromatic, so of course I dived into the other end. I think desaturating it makes everything a little more boring, but perhaps your suggestion plus touches of brightness towards her face might lead you to the focus? Or should I experiment with different colors all together?
My other impression of this is that overall, it feels so overcast and it makes it boring. But I know overcast can be done beautifully, just right now it feels flat, like the clouds and her body are on the same plane...
Will be reworking this tonight, I humbly welcome any other suggestions to make the most out of this!
If might be best to do a bunch of quick thumbs where you can try out some different color combinations and see if anything tickles your fancy. Of course you could always have a bit of sun breaking through the clouds and lighting her up with a touch of vibrant color, but I think that works against the bleak atmosphere you're going for right now. Pushing the tonal contrast could help; I was thinking if you added a couple of extra bright highlights to the figure and darkened the clouds a little more, that would help push her forward in space a little as well.
Oh and I have two more little nitpicks that I guess I'll throw out there and you can address them or ignore them if you want. The horizon line feels a bit low to me, but I think you were going for a soft, hazy transition, in which case I think it needs to be softer than it is now because that's not quite coming across as well as it could be. And the hair starts to look a bit stringy towards the back, like it's actually wires or cords instead of hairs, which become very soft and light at the end as they taper off.
She doesn't really stand out much and blends in with the background because her skin and sky are of very similar hue and value. I also think the rock is showing too many details, it takes attention away from the main focus, the woman.
Another anatomy note - her arms and legs feel a little to cylindrical; I think they'd be slightly curvier. The neck might also need more shape.
Also, as well as what's been said about the red cloth picking up colours from the environment, I think the red would reflect on to her skin here and there. Admittedly, with this sort of overcast light, I'm not sure how much.
If I may add yet another anatomy note...her head is just slightly too big.
Ok worked on this a bit last night, addressing the following notes:
Head slightly too big/ neck too big
Darker (little) less saturated red in her clothing, while also adding more shadows which I think helped ground it more.
Darkened the background clouds, adding some brighter/bluer highlights to separate her from the background.
Rounded off her breast to bring it around to the front more, rounded off shoulders a bit
Added some warmer shadows to bring some of the red into her skin where the cloth is touching.
More fog/transition in the bg sea to sky
Still need to address the hand/rock issue, perhaps the cylindrical arms and legs, and I didn't really play with transparency but this is what I could get to. Gimmie more notes! I really appreciate the help!
Saw this in chow and thought it was really nice. Cool to see your taking it further.
Did a po suggestion. Other than mostly nitpicking and adding a little more space to the comp. I think it would be better if you toned her skin back down a bit. Think you might have been overcompensating a little for her blending in with the bg with mostly contrast and its left parts of her skin very nearly white. Instead I would set her apart from the bg more with the use of color. I did a light overlay of cyan to the entire bg and a layer of yellow on her skin, then adjusted the whole image with some magenta.
Other than that I think her pose is somewhat forced and unnatural, like she is intentionally posing for a camera.
It's very good though. Nice work on it.
I really love the work you've done here. I think it is the fabric that needs work since the rest of the piece is greatly rendered. I think red is a hard color to manage, and it's looking a little flat, if you put some more blues in the shadows and a few highlights that aren't as saturated a red, it will give more life to your dress.
I hope I helped, great work!
This is great!
I would definitely smooth out the skin so that you can't see the lines in between your shifts in value. Secondly I might try emphasizing the lighting on her head and chest by darkening her lower body. And as for the fabric it is an easy fix, you got a good base but the highlights are much too strong. This is a transparent material so the light hitting it is going to pass through and defuse. Stop down the highlights until they are just above your mid tone and see how it looks.
All that said I really like this picture. She has a great expression!
Ooh thank you all for the crits!
Blankslate- I definitely see what you mean on the skin now, I was very attached to her greenish skin but you've helped it a lot. I'm also sort of attached to the brownish/blues I have going on in the clouds but I like yours too... I'll play with it
I see what you mean also about the pose, it was supposed to be sort of pinup/just saw the boat so raising up from her knee a bit. One of the few times I decided to forego reference because I rely heavily on it. Thats what I get!
AngeliqueBenrahou - Thanks! I agree, I went back and forth on a few colors, liked how the red stood out but also struggled with it and kind of gave up. I'll try what you said.
Logan Turner - Thank you! Yea I can definitely see what you mean about her skin. I'll take a pass on all of your notes.
Thank you guys so much! I figured I hit a wall with this one but your comments have made me want to make this better again.
Excuse the very rough OP:
Tonally she's very similar to the background, push the extremes some more.
If she is light make the background dark (mine's a little strong)
Use light to guide us to our focus.
Check out John Singer Sargent work as a classic example of how to do things.
I wont mention the anatomy, but you know it needs more work.
Hope it helps
Thanks for the paintover, I appreciate it.
But this was meant to be an overcast day, I don't really want to change the time of day to bring that much darkness into the background. I feel like Blankslate's PO is on the right track without taking away the feeling I was going for. Perhaps she can also be set apart through saturation, or maybe the value shift could be more subtle. I'm trying to find an example in Sargents work of an overcast day, this is the best I can do I think: http://www.johnsingersargent.org/On-...ays-large.html
where he does seem to have light on lights and it works well. Now I just need to figure out why.
I looked at Howard Pyle's painting a lot, especially for the water. I see how the figures are separated here, I need to figure out how to do that with a separate sea and sky.
Last edited by carakhan; March 26th, 2012 at 07:52 PM.
I Really like the image and am glad you decided to keep working on it. What if you were to make the shadows richer and warmer, and light the scene from above to really accentuate the effect of an overcast day? I made a rough paint with an idea of what it could look like. Hope this helps.
BTW That Pyle image really is fantastic.
I accidentally rated your post 2/10 JavierP - sorry about that! I really like the colours in your paintover. I also like your work Carakhan - particularly the cloud shapes and rock details.
Hah I rated you 10 JavierP Balance it out a bit.
And thank you for the paintover! It's a really cool interpretation to see it like this, very impressionist. I like what you did with the the composition in the bg, I wonder what that will do to my perspective on the rock but it looks really cool. I also like some of the little lighting changes you've made on her legs, You're probably right about the overcast day, greys tend to be warm and so in reality the shadows would be warm as well, but I specifically wanted a cold, dark (feeling) palette, but no sunrays and not at night...cloudy. (Now I really don't know if I'm making sense) Maybe I could have cold light and warm shadows... I'll have to play around with it. I hope you don't think I'm dismissing you because I really appreciate the work you did. Your paintover is just much warmer and more inviting than I wanted - and maybe its something I need to think about if that's not coming across either.
I didn't want to post it yet because I hadn't really addressed all the notes but this is the most current version I put in my sketchbook a few days ago. Darkened the background to push her off while maintaining the brightness of her skin (a la the wonderful Pyle painting), smoothed out some of her skin, tried painting a little warmth into her as well, some blue bounce into her hair (standin) and other things I'm probably forgetting. Been working a lot of OT, hoping to get back to this this weekend. Thank you all so much for your time and crits!
Last edited by carakhan; March 30th, 2012 at 04:42 PM.
JavierP - I tried some of your suggestions, pushing the ocean up and back, but ultimately didn't work with the perspective I had and I liked my rocks as is I did decide to make the shadows warmer, which I think works really nicely.
Worked some more on rounding out the legs, bringing down the skin but still keeping some brighter highlights. Warmth in the face, and brought some shape into the hair and the bounce light. Overall very happy with this, and I couldn't have done it without you guys! I might even be able to call this finished, IMO.