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  1. #1
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    critique needed please

    Dear ladies and gentlemen,

    it has been a while since i've posted last time, so its time to for a (some will follow) new illustration. I hope you can give me some feedback, critique and advices are very welcome.

    The Illustration isn't finished yet, so some parts look a little bit odd, but I wanted to see if there is more I could improve before finishing it. For example I'm not sure about the boys shoulders, the granny's pose is odd, the lightening on the characters isn't quite right and they're probably too saturated, but on the other hand I wanted to make them to stand out a little bit (by complementary colours etc.). I hope you have some suggestions and could help me.

    Thanks in advance an all the best to you!

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  3. #2
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    OK, standard questions,what references are you using for the two figures?Did you do any thumbnails of your picture?

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    I'm kind of confused by the narrative in this scene - is the boy supposed to be having a hard time carrying some really heavy bags for an older neighbor? Or is he just sad and this mean older person is heckling him as he walks home? Right now it looks more like the latter than the former. Either way I think the shoulders could handle being pulled down (either because he's depressed or because the bags are heavy, or both).

    I feel like right now the characters don't feel like they belong in the scene because they're not receiving quite the same light or color as their surroundings. I understand you want them to stand out, but I think they could at least use a bit of blue in their shadows, and they should be a bit more backlit with the highlights on the left side of their forms to fit the scene. Right now the contrast between the lit and shadowed planes on the figures is very low, like they're being lit by a vague atmospheric light, whereas the background has a really nice, strong light creating hard highlights and shadows - bring some of that confidence into the characters and make them shine, especially the boy's face. The dumpster behind could also use some help in this area, and I would recommend tossing some blue onto the whole dumpster to cool it and push it back in space a little to separate it from the boy.

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    Hi Arti and Diedra, thanks a lot for your replies!

    @Arti: to be honest, the poses and figures itself are kind of freestyled. I'm not good at photographing reference, and as google becomes more and more an accumulation of crap it becomes difficult to find good reference online, do you maybe know some good reference sources?
    I did some thumbnails analog, lost in one of my old sketchbook, as i initially started the illustration already some time ago. I did then a very basic thumbail digitally first (first pic) and continued with a sketching (second pic) - which finally also changed a little bit.



    @Diedra, thank you very much for your very long and elaborate post. So I'll try to describe my idea behind that illustration, i intended to show that there are still friendliness, manners and/or respect for older people even in usually "difficult" urban areas (Urban ghetto -> "dumpster" of society), where it might be even least expected. The scene should show a boy who maybe saw an old woman carrying heavy bags, and without hesitating got out to help her (he didn't even had time to put warm clothes on). His pulled up shoulders should show that he is freezing, therefore also his face is some kind of frozen, while the old lady is happy and kind of teases him in a friendly way.

    At the beginng I had a stronger lighting situation, the shadow especially of the left house were much more prominent, but then I thought to put some snow flakes in, so i reduced the light as the light is normally more diffuse when its snowing.

    Your suggestions with putting more blues into the characters and dumpsters to make them more part of the scene are very good, also the pushing back of the dumpster. I'll change that! I'll have to mess around with the lighting too, your backlit suggestion is very fine, I'll give it a try and see how it looks, otherweise I'll probably have to push the overall lighting back when I don't want to get the character to get too dark because of standing in the shadows (+ snowing situation). I'll check which appeals more and post both versions hopefully tomorrow. Thanks a lot again!

    All the best to all of you, more critique is of course always appreciated :-D

    P.S. I hope its somehow understandable lol, sorry for my bad English

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    The boy is leaning forward, making it look like what he's carrying is pulling him down, even though the bags look quite light. The shoulders need to be brought down on him.

    For the old man, straighten out his legs. They can still be bent, but they're leaning forward, and that would make him fall over. Keep his legs straight, and bend him from the hips up. Also, angle his head more vertical, it's leaning forward too, like he's looking at the ground. People usually keep their head straight even when they are hunched over.

    Their feet also look like they are floating, try some darker shadows directly next to their shoes on the ground.

    And to make them fit in the background better, wash out some of the color. Make sure to wash out that dumpster behind them more than the characters themselves so that they still pop out. The dumpster is actually a littler distracting and you might want to make it more of a grey to fit with the scene. It contrasts because everything is a subtle blue, but it's a bright orange.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talib View Post
    Hi Arti and Diedra, thanks a lot for your replies!

    @Arti: to be honest, the poses and figures itself are kind of freestyled. I'm not good at photographing reference, and as google becomes more and more an accumulation of crap it becomes difficult to find good reference online, do you maybe know some good reference sources?
    I did some thumbnails analog, lost in one of my old sketchbook, as i initially started the illustration already some time ago. I did then a very basic thumbail digitally first (first pic) and continued with a sketching (second pic) - which finally also changed a little bit.

    Well the problem with this 'freestyling' is that it leads to guesswork,which impacts how your figures look.Off the top of my head,the best refrances that I know of are found by drawing figures from life (with the photographing stuff I am no expert ether) and Google..or http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

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  12. #7
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    I'm sorry didn't make it yesterday, tried to overwork it a little bit but didn't finish it because wanted to ask first if you think its better or at least ok now lol.

    @Katie

    Thanks a lot for your long post and very helpful advices, oh yes you're right the head was strangely twisted, I hope its better now, I've also changed the feet, but I'll still work a little bit on them when I have more time, I will also the improve the shadows then as you already mentioned right that they are floating.
    The shoulders are pulled up and pushed a little bit forward on purpose because i tried to show on one hand that he's carrying something heavy and on the other hand that he is freezing (as he has no coat on).
    As also Diedra already suggested I tweaked the colors a little bit an pushed the dumpster a little bit back.

    @Arti

    Thanks for the links ! Oh yes you're right I have to stick more to reference, overall I have to work on my picture making routine as I haven't been the picture planning one lol - but it gets better and hopefully even more.

    Thanks again Diedra, Katie and Arti for your comments, suggestions and advices. Here is a new version - still not finished -I'll finish it when I get the green light :-)

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    Last edited by Talib; August 17th, 2012 at 12:44 PM.
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    The dumpster looks much better now that it's been subdued. The older character also looks much better, more honest and less mischievous, and more feminine (as I believe it's intended to be a woman?). I would suggest adding more warmth back into the highlights to push the contrast in temperature a little bit. When you cooled the characters all over, you kind of dulled the piece a bit. I understand that snowy days have minimal direct sunlight, but having warm lit areas can do a lot to add a positive atmosphere and make it pop. (Just my 2 cents of course.) And this is a small thing, but I find it kind of weird that you blurred the falling snow behind them - that makes it feel like those snow flakes are far back in space, but they must be quite large since they appear the same size despite being further away. I still think the guy looks depressed - maybe you could add a slight smile, like he's kind of meh about the weather but still trying to be nice to the old lady.

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  15. #9
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    Why, is he wearing slippers?

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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    There's something bugging me about the composition big time. In the thumb it's fine though, I think it's that you shifted the figures from the thumb a little to the right and now there is this massive negative space right behind them. Maybe spilt up the values from the buildings and the snow, like in the thumb.

    There was one other thing that was bugging me and that was the snowflakes "behind" the figures their size suggests they are big but they're all blurry like they're far away and some depth in that section between the snowflakes like you did on the right side of the piece.

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  19. #11
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    Some update, took a while but its just too hot to draw and paint, thanks a lot for your replies and new suggestions, Diedra, Omen and Ali.

    @Diedra

    Thanks for your advices, haha yes its supposed to be an old lady, changed her again because I was still unconfident with her. After your suggestions I also changed the boys expression, hope its ok now, but probably I'll have to work more on him, because he looks somehow strange.
    The snow flakes weren't intended to be blurred, but I somehow forgot to mask them lol but I changed it now to. The snow isn't still finished but this version should suggest somehow how it might look.

    @Omen

    The boy is so helpful that he didn't hesitate to run out to help the old lady, therefore he didn't even had time to put some coat and/or shoes on.

    @ Ali

    Thanks for your suggestions Ali, I changed the colors very slightly and seperated the figures from the dumpster to change the space-ratio, I hope its better now, but I'm probably not very good in such things, so there is a lot to learn for me.
    The snowflakes issue was just a failure of mine, I forgot to mask them lol.

    Thanks again to all of you for your advices and suggestions, further critique is still very welcome :-). All the best to all of you!

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    Last edited by Talib; August 19th, 2012 at 03:54 PM.
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  20. #12
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    Oh, then your background needs to be reworked because the story you wish to show doesn't currently fit. If his dwelling were someplace in the image then the viewer would understand that he ran out of the house for the reason you said.

    Right now he's in the middle of a city block in his slippers, while she's appropriately dressed for the weather.

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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  22. #13
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    Thanks for your suggestion Omen, yes you're right it't not really obvious, maybe its a result of my problem that I normally put too much story and elements in a picture and therefore I tried to reduced that, maybe too much :-).
    But this picture here is part of a students work, it'll be part of a reduced animation with an off speaker who describes and comments on the pictures, so the picture should become more clear then. But you're right if it would stand alone this picture might be unclear and even somehow senseless lol. Thanks again and all the best!

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  23. #14
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    some update

    Cheers and all the best to you :-)

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