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It's been a while since I last posted in this section but last time I got great feedback and it helped me improve the picture a lot.
So here I am again. I'm having difficulties with this image.
The concept : It's a kind of alien amphibian bird, living in a mangrove type environment. It climb trees with its claws and lies head down hanging by his one foot claw waiting for fish.
His hand claws can go into a pouch on his sides for when it swims underwater.
There are several issues with the presentation of the animal itself : The one foot isn't very obvious, the pose doesn't quite work, especially the legs and tail but what I'd like to focus on is the lighting and the rendering.
I wasn't able to really put forward the different textures (beak, skin, claw) and the lighting is very diffuse and I wasn't able to make a real choice. It probably lacks contrast in terms of both value and colors.
Despite knowing that I can't quite manage to improve it.
So I'd be glad to have your suggestions, critiques and redlines/overtain if you feel like it.
One of the original sketches for the critter. There are some differences with the "final design" but I thought I might share.
i think the color is too uniform, also it could stay better on the darker bg.
would like to see some spikes and arm longer
Danilo : Thanks for your feedback. I agree the color is too uniform. I've tried to add some variations but it still looks very dull. I'm not sure of what to do. I've looked into salamanders a bit and I think emulating their colors/skin textures and or markings could be interesting.
I also made the one visible arm a little longer, like you suggested and added spikes in a similar fashion than in the original sketch.
I like your other sketch without the arm. Maybe just eliminate the arm altogether?
You're flattening out a lot of your forms in the body and arms. That main arm looks weird because it would make more sense if you overlapped it more. Right now you're trying to show off all the anatomy of it, and there's no need.
The elbow is also in the wrong position. If we're doing comparative anatomy, the elbow in a human is the olecranon process on ulna, one of the bones in your forearm. At the moment it looks like the elbow is coming from the upper arm, which makes it look like it's arm is broken or something.
If you want to sell the left side more, overlap the body on the left leg. It's suffering the same problem.
For skin texture, what have you considered? Your problem isn't value or contrast, or even color (which I quite like, honestly), it's that from what we see, you have not considered the texture yet. That will dictate how you render it out. Look at gurney's post on texture in the halflight, that will solve some of the problems you're having. If he's supposed to have bumpy skin, then show it, if it's supposed to be slick and wet, well consider that too.
I hope you don't mind, but I did a draw over of the forms for the bird's arm and leg. It would be easier than trying to discern what I'm describing with words.
Gorgonzola : Thank you very much for your critique and redlines. I agree with pretty much everything you said. I really have a bad tendency to flatten everything and difficulties correctly expressing volumes and lights. Your redlines are really helping me better understand the critter. Though I havn't really managed to do what I wanted with the latter update. The anatomy for the arm stil doesn't make much sense yet. I wanted something that would hint for more insect like joints while still being fondamentally mammal. But I should probably g back to basics with monkey or human anatomy.
For the skin textures, I'd would have wanted to express something similar to what is seen on salamanders with a smooth, wet look with spot markings for example. While the tail and air sacs on the back would be rougher with a scaly texture.
I've tried to doodle some textures but they're not very convincing. I need to go back and look at more references. I do have Colors and Light by Gurney and I also need to go back to it and study his techniques.
I've done a quite sculpt in zbrush to gime myself a better idea of how to put lighting on the critter but it's really rough and I should probably push it further and work more on it to make it really usable.
Tjmsaint : Thanks for the feedback. It's an interesting proposition. Entirely removing the arms would make a simpler shape and it might be more original, that's what the pouch was originally for. But it's not really well presented in the image.
But I thought it was important to show at least one arm to give a better idea of how the critter could be living.
Danilo : Thank you for the sketch, it helped. I hope I managed to at least put the arms a little bit more in perspective.
I'm also posting the horrible zbrush sculpt to give you and idea on what I based by less than stellar lighting.