help me take this image to the next level
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    Exclamation help me take this image to the next level

    Hey Everybody, I am just now getting back into digital painting. having kids put a lot of things on hold. I love what can be done digitally, and i am continually amazed by what i see here and places like deviantart, and cghub.

    The image is incomplete as it is now, the plan is to have a large crowd circle the mountain funeral procession style. This image is for a buddy of mine as a cd insert, the virticle lines are the fold markers.

    I like it so far, but i want to take it to the next level and i dont think i have the developed eye for it yet. but i know there are some very developed eyes here so what do you think? where can i improve on this image.

    Thanks in advance
    SM

    Name:  landscape.png
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    Really nice colors and lighting! I like the texture on the rock too. Maybe the halo of the sun could be smoothed more, blurring the contours of the background hills a bit could give more sense of depth and when the whole thing is printed in full size, the clean looking sky and background might need a hint of texture. All in all though, I really like it!

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    dpaint is offline Registered User Level 16 Gladiator: Spartacus' Retiarii
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    the light source and the landscape don't relate to each other at all. You need to calculate the perspective for the stone shadows and hills and get a better sense of lighting for the whole scene.

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    Hi SeeMonster

    I feel lie the sun should be place a little bit lower to create the shadow we see on the foreground.. The placement of the sun right now and the range of the shadow on the hill(i.e from the right corner all the way to the left) seems a bit odd. I also think that you should blend the hills in the background more using the color of the sky. just to push it more back... the edges are pretty sharp right now for a mountain so behind. Also the lighting on the sky.. you could darken the corners a bit or bring a little bit more variation there...the sun also seems to be placed between the mountain behind and the foreground hill...( i guess its because of the contour of the mountain right next to the left rim of the sun...on the right side, the contour is a bit lower.)

    Do note that whatever i have written is what i feel and not necessarily right... I am not that good of an artist..so just check it out and see if any of the crits above are valid or not...

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    I would say go back a stage or two and put detail on each pane of the insert, because at the moment you have folds going through you main focus, so I would definately say go back and plan it some more mate.

    For example if it is a cd insert then;
    where is the writing going?
    how much is there?
    what size is it going to be?
    All of that will have a direct bearing on how much detail there is or can be put in that pane of the insert. If the text is masked or is visually competing with the image then it will NOT work.
    Once you have it all planned out then follow "dpaint's" instructions to the letter, this all may seem like a waste of time but the end result will be much, much better and you will be happier with it as a result.

    All the best with the work and I hope this helps you out.

    A great kind hearted lumbering bullock



    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=209918 = my Sketchbook
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    Thanks, I see what you mean about the sky. I am going to try and mess with the halo as well it does look a bit too cartoony for the vibe i am trying to pull off. thanks for your input!

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    Thank you for your suggestions. I agree about the mountains in the back i am going to give it a try. The light above the foreground mountain is not supposed to be the sun it is the light of salvation its location is right at the peak of the foreground mountain. I dont know if that makes a difference with the shadows you mentioned or not. however it is apparently hard to read anyway... Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    You need to calculate the perspective for the stone shadows and hills and get a better sense of lighting for the whole scene.
    dpaint, Could you please elaborate on this process. I gather that the lighting if off, but i am kindof at a loss as to how to fix it. Also does it matter that the light source is supposed to be at the top of the mountain and not in the sky?
    Also what do you think i can do to enhance the contrast overall?

    Thanks for your input
    SM

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    Quote Originally Posted by SeeMonster View Post
    dpaint, Could you please elaborate on this process. I gather that the lighting if off, but i am kindof at a loss as to how to fix it. Also does it matter that the light source is supposed to be at the top of the mountain and not in the sky?
    Also what do you think i can do to enhance the contrast overall?

    Thanks for your input
    SM
    Basically you want the light to appear to radiate from that mountain top, it would move out in all directions so the sky and everything else would be affected by it. Right now that isn't the case. Look at Noah Bradley's work he is really good at getting dramatic light in his scenes.

    Edit: Here is a quick paint-over you still need better shadows and decide on the scale for the monoliths
    Name:  mountainlightCrit.jpg
Views: 553
Size:  168.6 KB

    Last edited by dpaint; December 10th, 2012 at 11:50 AM.
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    Hey SeeMonster. First of all, very cool image and idea...I can't wait to see where it goes. I have a couple of thoughts for you though.

    - You can really push the depth in this piece with a few easy tweaks. Instead of those 3 stones standing more or less parallel with each other, why not stagger them, bringing one much closer to the foreground, and one to the mid ground? Just one of these cropped off to the side, very close to the camera, can help pull you in.

    - Push the contrast & saturation to establish the distance. As a rule of thumb, distant objects in a landscape lose saturation. Right now they have a comparable saturation level and crispness to any foreground element, which tends to flatten the image. Likewise, add crispness, contrast, and detail to extreme foreground elements. You might also try fuzzing the contour of those bg hills with some of those low lying clouds...mist in the distance, so to speak.

    - The sky looks pretty flat right now. The clouds don't appear to recede as dramatically as they could, and the sky as a whole is fairly uniform in contrast and color. If this is near sunset / late afternoon, try a low source of light behind the hills...make the sky lighter and less saturated towards the horizon, and use the clouds (like the stones) to establish scale...i.e. larger volumes up close, smaller ones near the horizon.

    - I love the idea of the procession running up the hill. Remember that most people tend to read images left to right, so try using that you your advantage by placing foreground people on the left, then walking a line up and into the piece. Use the line of people to naturally guide the viewer to the hotspot at the top.

    - Have you tried some dramatic shadows cast by the stones? The long lines radiating out could create some interesting compositional elements.

    Hope this helps, and good luck!

    Donovan Valdes
    Sr. Concept Artist
    Redstorm/Ubisoft

    Portfolio: www.donovanvaldes.com
    Private tutoring: www.conceptcritique.com

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    Hi SeeMonster,

    You've received a few good ideas here, but I have some more suggestions you might consider.

    -Consider your main light source. The hilltop nearest the 'flare' should be receiving more light than the surrounding area. Currently, there is a uniform light across the entire hill and surrounding valley. The same applies to the stones. That intense light would also have a more dramatic effect on closer stones than the ones farther away. Currently all stones have the same treatment regardless of distance from hilltop.
    Also, long shadows from the stones can create interesting shapes to draw the eye towards the center.

    - Depth. The stones are a key indicator of depth in this piece--but the arrangement of the most prominent three is a bit flat. Try staggering their placement in relation to the camera by moving a stone closer to the fg...one could even be cropped off to one side of the screen. This will not only accentuate the scale and distance, but make the composition more asymmetrical. Remember contrast decreases with distance from the viewer.

    - The sky and bg hills come across as flat. This is because the clouds are very uniform in scale, saturation, and value. Where is the sun here? If it's behind the hill, then use that to create some contrast in value from the rest of the sky. The perspective could also be emphasized a bit with some scaling of clouds. The hills should be less saturated and less crisp than the foreground elements, but currently they compete with the foreground in both regards. A third layer of faint hills would add an extra bit of depth as well, partially obscured by lower clouds.

    - The idea for the funeral procession is a great one. Use it to your advantage by having the 'line' lead your eye to the hilltop.

    I hope this helps, and I look forward to seeing your final piece. Good luck!

    Donovan Valdes
    Sr. Concept Artist
    Redstorm/Ubisoft

    Portfolio: www.donovanvaldes.com
    Private tutoring: www.conceptcritique.com
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    Thank you for the suggestion and the paint over. the light bloom at the top really helps ( cant believe i didnt think of that)

    I m currently reworking the image and i will post when i am done, i would appreciate your input again when i get to that point

    Thanks

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    Donovan-

    Thank you! those were some great suggestions, I have been fighting with understanding the distance contrast /saturation link so that helps a ton.
    I am currently reworking the image and i will take your suggestions into the final product.
    Thanks again
    SM

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    When I look at this picture, the first thing I think is, "Look at all that space he could add to!" For me, part of what makes an environment believable is the chaos and details. You'd have to assume on this mountain there'd be some weeds, some holes, some more rocks (not more monolith-like things, but just... rocks), some patches of dirt, some patches of grass, maybe even some sparse wildlife, if you want (doesn't need to be a scene out of bambi, but maybe a crow, or something more dismal like that). You have a lot of room in the sky to play too.

    Adding those details is one of my favorite things about finishing a piece. It brings it from this sort of invented reality, to something that feels like it could really exist. Good luck.

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    the ground and the sky are fairly "empty" (for the lack of a better word).. so add some random patches which are more grassy. adding some flowers might also help but be careful on picking the type of folowers so that it sits nicely with the mood of your piece. for the sky i would have definitely had some more space on the top to have a more appealing sky.. my guess is yo

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    So already this has helped a ton! thank you all for your great suggestions, paint overs and pointers.
    This is kind of my revised plan for Phase two of the image. plus a value exercise

    Name:  Composition test.jpg
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    Name:  Value test3.jpg
Views: 435
Size:  314.1 KB

    so plan of attack above, tonight I paint!

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    Ok I have been stressing myself over this, but i think i might be getting it. This is the revised WIP composition for the CD fold out. I pushed the whole scene way back. I am focusing on the contrast for now and i will overlay color on adjustment layers. Over all i feel good about how its going, I have taken a lot of the suggestions i have received here to heart and a lot more will make it into the final image. Thank you guys so much the help has been invaluable.
    SM
    Name:  SeeMonsterCD DEMO.jpg
Views: 390
Size:  84.8 KB

    What do you think so far?

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    New revision, pushed it back some more, brought the light up and to the right, the characters are placeholders right now. i put a lot of thought into the contrast... I am slowly figuring out what effects the main light source would have on the environment. still working on the clouds. A little hazy on how to color it. ive been playing with adjustment layers, but not totally thrilled with the results.
    I think thats it for now.
    SM

    Name:  lek cd DEMO.jpg
Views: 355
Size:  214.4 KB

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    Hi mate! Let me say that the semplicity and the intensity of your pencil line is incredible. I'm studying it to try replicate it. Love your works.

    "The fulfillment of oneself is achieved with victory over their challenges"
    My thought

    My SkEtChBoOk
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    Thanks !

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    Yeah, I gotta say those pencils have a LOT more soul than any of the digital work you've posted. If it were me, I'd try to take it as far as possible with the pencil, then scan that in and do some minimal coloring in Photoshop. Just my two cents.

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    Thanks for the Comment, I will always push my pencils its in my DNA, but the digital thing is an insatiable drive, a monkey that i cannot kick... Do you have any suggestions for melding pencil and digital?

    Cool comics by the way.

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    A few steps closer.

    I have pretty much finished rendering the mountain range... Now i am working on the foreground and the people, There will probably be more people dispersed throughout, possibly torch light into the background. then on to details, birds, rocks, light fx (light bloom and what not) all the tiny bits.

    I have been experimenting with color on an overlay layer, kinda the look i want but the process is kind of confusing. Do i do an entire paint over of the whole scene then apply the overlay layer mode, because I cannot re-sample the surrounding color when in overlay mode. the color goes way too dark. I realise this will most likely take a few layers and some tweaking, but it still throws me...

    Name:  lek cd DEMO2.jpg
Views: 306
Size:  345.4 KB

    Over all i am pleased with the progress from the original to this one, but i feel it still lacks some dynamics.

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    Wow, it has been a really long time since i have worked on this image. It is about 4 in the morning, I have put a few hours into it and I am pretty happy with the direction it has taken. I have chopped up the mountain range and played with their composition, made them more dominating. I have revised the concept as well, in the valley of the shadow, originally I had the concept that it was the masses taking the pilgrimage, I have put some thought into and came to the conclusion that this process happens alone. everyone has to face their demons alone.

    Name:  Justin Barnes Concepart wip.jpg
Views: 229
Size:  75.3 KB

    Any suggestion as to how to add color to my greyscale? I gather it is through blending modes, and I have been experimenting with them... Also do the clouds look a bit wonky? foe now this is still a WIP, but i feel the end is near.
    Thanks everyone
    SM

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    Cool. Reminds me a bit of this image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wandere...the_Sea_of_Fog

    First of all, I think you should try scaling it down and playing with your value hierarchy. The shadows on your distant mountains are almost the same value as the foreground. Consider atmospheric perspective and try to emphasize your focal point (the figure) by lightening the area behind him. Don't be afraid to push less important elements back in space. Right now that light valley in the center of the image is really pulling my eye because of its location and because it's rather light in an otherwise dark image.

    You also might want to consider reproportioning the composition a little to improve the sense of focus. What if you pushed the right mountain to the left a little, cut off a little on the right border, and extended the left border a little?

    I agree the clouds look a bit stodgy. It looks more like choppy waves on the ocean. Get a reference for an overcast sky or go out and take some yourself the next time weather permits. A little more detail in the foreground would be cool too. I understand you're probably just not done with it yet, but I'm thinking a bit of rocks with some weed patches could be nice.

    For adding color, try a layer set to Color mode. Pretty self-explanatory really. Again consider scaling it down and doing some rough experiments with different color schemes before you settle. It's good practice and you might find a more effective palette than your first idea.


    Here's a little paint-over for ya. I'm not saying your image should look like this, but rather that this is one possible direction you should consider.

    Name:  Justin Barnes Concepart wip_PO.png
Views: 218
Size:  422.8 KB

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    dierat-

    Thanks for the suggestions, and for taking the time to do a paint-over. I think you are right about scaling it back, it is interesting seeing what the little bit of space on the left did for the feel. The final image is for a CD fold out so i need to play with how i am going to d=crop it.

    Thanks

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    Changed perspective, Foreground and main character are smaller. Altered mountains a bit. It has been raining all week so I have been able to cloud watch. The last version had too much texture. the clouds I have been watching are gradients in some spots and lumpy in others. Color is still a battle. I am exploring the nature of light, I am in over my head... many thanks to everyone who takes the time to make suggestions. They are all considered not all are understood. Thank you!

    Name:  Justin Barnes Conceptart WIP.jpg
Views: 122
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    Name:  PO1.jpg
Views: 102
Size:  179.7 KB

    Hi! I really like the direction and progression you've made.

    An easy way to start applying the colors can be done through overlays (Now mind you, I'm no expert). In the attached image I laid down the blue/green color on the entire background just to get it in. It ended up too saturated so I dropped the layer opacity to 54%. (create a layer above your overlay layers called palette. When you find a color you like using on the overlay, paint it into palette and voila. You can just colorpick from there.)

    Next, I started with another overlay layer for the greens I pulled from your foreground. That ended up pretty ok for what I needed so I put it down where I wanted the color (sticking to the focal areas for now and letting the color drop off as we reach the far BG) - again, just to get it down and not get bogged down with details.

    After that, I threw down more saturated green/yellows with a skinnier brush so I could get a focal line going leading up to the figure. This is done on a normal layer but my brush at 45% opacity. (in retrospect, I should drop that layer opacity down to about 50% to make it less intense). Ideally I'd probably go a few more layers more on top of this one, One to push the darks and lights (once colors are established), another few detail layers, and then another pass at the foreground.

    Hope this helps! (It took longer to write this out than to do the paintover)

    Oh, and your clouds are kind of weird. Those you may want to fix

    Please PM me if you'd like an individual crit.

    idrawyouonthesubway
    huxleycreative
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    The clouds are a little better in this latest version, but they are still the weakest part of the piece in my opinion. Maybe some different references would work better? You could also look at other similar paintings and see how other artists do their clouds.

    I design for a living. I create art for fun.
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