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  1. #1
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    Skog Troll

    Hey, so i've got a few large projects that could really use some outside perspective. Kinda going through some self induced art hypnosis, or something.

    I've been working on and off with this piece for a while and its really starting to come together, but I'm having a hellish struggle with these last polishing passes. I keep trying to mess with things and am perpetually left feeling unresolved about them. I apologize for being vague, just hoping to get some trained eyes on this. Thanks

    Here is the rough chronology so far via GIF, with the current version below.

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  2. #2
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    Correct translation of forest troll would be skogstroll ;D

    Not to mention this troll doesn't look very scandinavian... But whatever floats your boat.

    I have a few main issues with this. The composition is way too centered. Everything is pointing towards the troll head. There's no room for compositional movement at all. Also the perspective looks pretty weird. It's hard to tell what height the characters are. They're all seen from below. But the guy in the front looks really tiny because of his relative position to all the other figures. I actually think it looked better at the start when the troll face had a lot less contrast on it. It looked a lot bigger and further away like that. And it didn't steal as much attention. Thirdly, anatomy and proportions look pretty off in many places. I'd suggest getting some reference for this. Because it's a pretty difficult scene to draw just from your head.

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  4. #3
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    Damn, its his nose isn't it? Not big enough.. And not nearly enough moss. Thank you for the translation though, thought I had the proper Norwegian syntax.

    Thanks for the observations! I agree that it is very centered. I've been considering cropping it lower from the top and left in an effort to shift the focal point higher and get some balance on the closest foreground figure. I even thought about skewing it 10 degrees or so, but I hoped my low perspective was interesting enough. Maybe I pulled the troll too far forward.

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    Quick follow up. Mostly passive, superficial tests, but I fixed an elbow, tried to push a few things back, laid some mist down, softened some edges and cropped it a little differently. Mostly placeholders just to illustrate the intent but I think I was able to separate things a little bit.

    Considering it just a potential iteration, but I think the changes are suiting. Going to keep blending. Thanks again to tobbA for the input.
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    New composition looks better, but maybe you could position the knight a little to your right, and make the troll's right foot\ leg a bit thicker and closer, that way you would get better perspective and the knight and trollhead wouldnt be competing for the viewers interest.

    Here's a photomanip to show what I mean, where I also added some green to head and torso of troll :

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    Last edited by Inkrabid; October 17th, 2012 at 05:13 PM.
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    I'm much more rookie than you are but here are my two cents.
    I support totally Inkrabid's modification, it really makes your image more appealing to my eyes.
    One thing stroke me when I saw it is the lighting of the central knight. It looks like there is a light coming from some place in his back. It's distracting, especially when you compare his back to his fellows (agreed he's a little in front of them).
    Excepted that, I do like this painting. Keep up the good work!

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    Thank you to everyone so far for the input. Inkrabid I appreciate the visual aid there I like the idea, it makes sense, funny how obvious the impact of just a little shift can be.

    Trying to integrate the edit effectively now, just wanted to show some more adjustments. Fiddled with more atmospheric color, really feel like this has given the whole image better depth and a more pleasing palette. I'll be continuing on with residual clean up and some more texture application, just feel like its missing some ambient effects, little wind debris, some better use of fog, ect.. back to it. Further input is totally welcomed

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    I think you need to decide if you want all the foreground figures to be light or dark, and then stick with it. The middle figure can be lighter than the rest, but what you have now makes no sense. When you make the troll as dark as the figures on the sides you are essentially saying there is no distance between them and flattening the picture. Consider having a secondary bluish lightsource for the troll, now he just looks really muddy. If you want him feeling big I'd also consider making him a lot more blue and less dark in general. His head is up there with the trees, you'd think he'd be getting more light than a few dudes standing in the middle of a forest shaded by trees. He's got a white headress! How is it getting that little light?

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    I'm loving the new colors, looks a lot more like he's found some heroes hiding in the forest now. I also understand your highlighting the hero, but maybe the lower part of him can be darker ?

    "..now, to unleash screaming temporal doom.."
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    Hey man, good to see the progress on this piece.
    Hope you don't mind, I've done a quick paint-over to show a few small fixes which I think could bring your image together. Again, hope you don't mind.

    A: Composition is quite centered, with very up-right character poses, vertical trees, and the front-on face of the troll. This is flattening the composition and could be more dynamic, with more movement. The characters either side turn to almost black very quickly, this again flattens things by not letting us feel the distance between pike-guy and archer-guy. There's some tangents (circled in red), which can confuse the eye and read badly; bottom of the bow touches knight shield, top touches troll ear etc. Avoid these in composition OR make objects definitely overlap and read correctly with correct value/accurate drawing.

    B: I've twisted the the troll's head a bit, and skewed the centre knight a little, this adds some dynamism to the composition and their interaction. See his shoulders and hips are at opposite angles, this can always help in posing a character. The vertical trees all shoot to the open sky, and tend to take our eye of the page at the top, hooking some branches over, and your use of the flock of birds are good ways to pull the composition back into the action.

    There's some colours in the shadows in the characters at either side, greens/yellows from the forrest, and some dusky blues/ purples from the sky through the tops of the trees. This allows you to give form to shapes not lit by the main light, ties objects into the environment so they don't look cut-out, and just adds a bit more contrast to the colour scheme.

    I've put some shafts of light through the branches hitting the hero knight, and the troll head, this highlights the main event, allows your character to be lit in a heroic way, and adds focus to the composition. There's all also some haze/dust at the bottom, progressively separating the background(troll), midground (hero-knight), then fore ground ( the archer, then the pikeman respectively). This adds some depth, showing the distance between each figure. Also, bigger weapons! Totally your choice, but I always take the chance to draw a big axe, sturdy cross bow etc, these are the cool things we want to see!

    C: Just some construction drawing to nail the poses. I so this loads when painting, just to re-set in my head the underlying structure. You've picked a cool/difficult low angle, this really helps the feel of this giant troll confronting the guys, but, you gotta have a sturdy drawing to sell the angle and keep the bodies firm.

    Sorry, I wrote an essay, but yea, your image is cool and I think these few principles can help : )

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    Thumbs up Awesome critique

    Quote Originally Posted by maths82 View Post
    Hope you don't mind, I've done a quick paint-over to show a few small fixes which I think could bring your image together.
    Hah I couldn't have possibly asked for more, this is wonderful! Absolutely exemplary critique and paint-over, thank you so much for doing this. Admittedly, seeing such well illustrated indication of numerous fundamental flaws is tough.. but it hurts good I knew this was an ambitious idea for me, but it has been tremendously educational as well. Everything you suggest here works brilliantly, the original seems SO stiff now.

    ....need to process all this a few times. The demonstration of issues and their solutions will stick with me even beyond this project, so thank you again, I will spend some time with it and hopefully create something stronger using these principles.

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    Maths82, I feel like I didn't reciprocate as articulately as that critique deserved. I hope you'll forgive the brief response (I tend ramble otherwise ), was just a little overwhelmed by all of the information you gave me. But it really meant a lot that you did that. I have tried to take several of your suggestions and use them in this latest revision. Its a big mess, but I definitely feel like it has tied some things together.

    Repaired several proportional/anatomical inaccuracies - + tusks! - , reposed the center figure with limited success, added some atmosphere stuff(directional light, tree debris, dust), attempted to strengthen the eye-trap, desaturated the troll and experimented with a different pose to get better scale and eliminate some tangents(unfortunately making more elsewhere i'm sure), but I still need to resolve the two outer characters.. Wow this whole process is going to make me to be much more conscious of my work in the future, which is great.

    Going to keep working on it, but I hope I got some movement going in the composition.
    Oo just realized I could use some blur to cool affect with that dust and debris~

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    Wow, amazing progress from the original piece. It looks a great deal better.

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    Oh, shouldn't the troll's arm be visible behind the trees under the archer's armpit?

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    Ha, yes it absolutely should, i noticed it almost immediately after posting it. a by-product of that last scrub. But thanks for noticing.

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