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"Show, don't tell."
I have a few compositions I've been working on, and I'd like to ask what you see in them, what do they read as? I've worked on them kind of in isolation and I think I've gone blind as to if the values and subject matter work or not.
So, I'm asking crits on readability, composition, values and scale and anything else you can think of. I'm trying to get the initial values and composition right so I can start rendering.
EDIT: Added thumbs as suggested by JeffX99.
Last edited by Kauil; June 28th, 2012 at 07:53 AM.
I see a tornado in a plain that has a small river, a headless mecha in ice (like there's the upper arm, other shoulder's armor spike and chest/ab armor plates) and a giant Faberge egg of ice. Or Avatar the Last Airbender movie fanart. Honestly said the two first are kinda abstract that to me it's really hard to get a clear reading of them.
A gorge with a bridge - but the far canyon walls don't continue down into the gorge
No idea - a dark rock outcropping on side of a snowy mountain
A big thing coming up out of a snowy plain
To me each one is missing two critical aspects of environment - an interesting, dynamic point of view/composition and a feeling of natural, outdoor light. I would work on comnposition and a sense of light.
The same problems...only now with added color issues.
Maybe this will help...what direction is the light from? Why is there a single cast shadow indicated on the right...yet the left cliff face and mountain wall are darker than the right?
Why does the distant canyon end at the plateau like it is sitting on top of the ground?
Why are the cliffs green?
Work out your lighting and composition first...the rest is easy.
Last edited by JeffX99; June 25th, 2012 at 03:44 PM.
Thanks for taking the time to crit, JeffX99.
My thinking with this wasn't the best. Initially I thought the mountain faces would be sort of bathing in light, with a part of the middleground (the path) also being cast in light, and the foreground in the shadow. The I somehow thought that the mountains that were below the path would somehow be a lot darker than the higher parts, which didnt make sense.
My light is coming from upper right, as shown by the backlit/sidelit green forms (grassy rocks?). But I lost that in several points, like with the cast shadow, and the cliff faces.
Is there any uniform direction one should take when figuring out light and shadow. One approach that sort of makes sense to me would be to first put in local colors. This way it would be easier to put in the forms first and then figure out your lighting direction. But then you only have silhouettes to work with, and where there would be shadow separation (like where the cliff faces show form through shadow).
I might build this from scratch, thinking what I want to tell with it. It sort of evolved as I went on, which probably partly attributes to my incoherent thinking throughout the piece.
I'm a bit confused with what I should do first. Currently I'm trying to think of light direction, atmospheric perspective, and form design all at once. Is this correct? Is there a way to simplify this?
EDIT: Oh, I guess DRAWING the scene first would be the way to simplify and to convey form before going to value and light.
As for composition, I thought it was one of my strong points. Do you have any suggestions for improving my compositions?
Last edited by Kauil; June 25th, 2012 at 07:35 PM.
Sure...lots of questions but they're the right ones.
Yes you should really start the process with thumbnail sketches. In the thumbnails shoot for exploring two things: 1) copmposition and 2) light and shadow. Keep it all big simple shapes with a strong indication of the direction and altitude of the light/sun. Keep your thumbnails the size of a large postage stamp.
Yeah, you can think of form, light and atmospheric perspective (which isn't that big of a deal - mainly just value shifts and a little color shift, loss of detail, etc.) all together when thumbnailing.
No on the local color approach to defining light - light is defined by value, not color. The amount, intensity, direction of the light affects local color but is mainly defined by value, planes, cast shadow and lastly form shadow (which mainly defines the planes and volume of form).
So yeah, take the bridge/chasm idea and redevelop it with a good process.
Gurney's book "Imaginitve Realism" would be a great asset. For composition and environment I also recommend "Drawing Scenery: Landscapes and Seascapes" by Jack Hamm. It isn't flashy but it gets right down to it.
Good luck - post some thumbnails when you get them!
Okay.. here's five thumbs. I did more, but these are the ones I've fleshed out so far. Some time went to figuring out a process for these.
I started with pencil to make a rough line art, then did lines again in photoshop, and set the line layer on multiply. Then I just thought how I wanted the lighting to be, and started adding values with the airbrush, erasin with the hard round to create hard edges.
How well do these read?
Number 3 has nice depth and number 4 has some nice dramatic lighting. One of those two would definitely be worth exploring further.
In the first one the large rock wall on the left seems very flat because it is so square and has te very thin black shadow on the right side wich indicates it is only a few meters thick.
The second one lacks hard edges to make it interesting. The last one looks a bit confusing, like an escher illusion or something. Maybe it could be interesting, but the light doesn't read so well.
#4 by a mile. It's the only one with anything approaching believable space and light.
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