Emperor Septimius Severus and Empress Iulia Domna with their sons Caracalla and Geta
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Thread: Emperor Septimius Severus and Empress Iulia Domna with their sons Caracalla and Geta

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    Emperor Septimius Severus and Empress Iulia Domna with their sons Caracalla and Geta

    ... taking a walk in a sunny street, in A.D. 210.

    I look forward to paint the effect of sunlight and generally to brood over and study the work of Alma-Tadema, but I'm not sure:

    - what to do with the old man's hand (I believe that hands shouldn't be hidden, they are wonderfully expressive)

    - whether the perspective looks right. I based it all on the Sketchup model of the arc (the arc of Septimius Severus, it stands in the Forum Romanum), and guesstimated the horizon line and position of the figures from there.

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    I look forward to your input on these points and anything else you may notice.

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    His wife seems to be listening at him, why don't pose the hand like he was discussing ? Palm a little on top, like when you are explaining something in a natural gesture of "opening" ?

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    Nice, loose linework. Do you leave any showing or paint it out?

    I did a double-take on the sons holding hands. Looked to see if one of them was a girl, so that's a little odd.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    Looks good...I can't say there's anything "wrong" with it. I like your use of 3D to really sell the arch in the background--you might want to consider putting similar effort in on the building to the right.

    As Stoat notes, the smoldering glance and hand-holding definitely makes it seem like there's something sexual going on between the two boys in the background. (I guess that's why Caracalla later went on to build a giant bathhouse. )

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    I am not sure they had umbrellas in that time and place.

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    Thank you all! Yes, the hands, all of those hands - I will figure something out.

    arenhaus, they did not have umbrellas, but most likely had (non-collapsible) sunscreens that looked similar. That kind of sun-shield predates the Roman Empire.

    Stoat, the linework probably gets buried under a million layers of digital paint my usual method.

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    Current status.

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    The color, lighting, and rendering are very nice. The proportions of the Emperor's face are pretty odd and cartoonish, though...his nose is huge and his eyes are really close together. His wife's expression is a sort of weird glassy-eyed stare, too...it feels like she's completely ignoring her husband and looking at something off in the distance, which I suspect might not be what you intended.

    I suppose my advice is: don't lose the psychology and emotion of the scene as you tighten down the forms.

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    I agree with the above comment somewhat. If you're doing an historical character, you may as well give him his actual features, as these are quite well known in the case of Septiumius:



    Watch the architectural details, too. I've a feeling those should be ionic capitals on the arch, which should therefore look more like this...



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    Really nice handling of the light so far. If it were me, I would pull back and/or extend the bottom so that the figures aren't cropped right at the crotch with their heads horizontally centered.
    Be careful of the building on the right, it's not following the perspective of the arch, the roof is almost tangential to the parasol.


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    Giacomo - Thank you. I worked on the faces more, her look is more "targeted" now and he looks a bit more realistic.

    dashinvaine - Thanks! I'm not sure the real emperors looked as idealized as many of their portraits. (But if they did we can conclude that they were chosen for looks rather than qualification which would partly explain the decline of the Roman empire )
    The actual form of the capitals is hard to make out now (should have taken photos when I was in Rome), it looks neither quite ionic nor like anything else to me.
    Perhaps I was able to approach the form somewhat here.

    Elwell - thank you! I added a bit more at the bottom so the heads are just slightly off-center. I tried adding more bottom but it looked strange.
    Also, "fixed" the perspective of the building. It's not supposed to be truly parallel to the arch but naturally needs to have the same horizon line.

    Current status. Not yet finished, of course.

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    To be honest, her expression still looks pretty "out of it" to me...in fact, all the characters in this picture have a kind of zoned-out emotionlessness that comes across as somewhat comical, at least to my eye. (JPEG with captions below.) I suspect you're using Poser or some similar program to set up the figures--and although your painting skills produce an end result that's about a million times better technically than anything *I* could accomplish, there's still an awkward mannequin-esque quality to the figures and faces.

    As always, just my two cents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maidith View Post
    Also, "fixed" the perspective of the building. It's not supposed to be truly parallel to the arch but naturally needs to have the same horizon line.
    and the same vertical vanishing point . right now the arch is in 3point perspective and the building to the right is in 2 point. its corner edge is perfectly vertical.

    id also like to see more interlocking happening on the 2 figures in the front, as theres a quite clear cut now seperating them.

    and the boy to the left has a massive turtle neck.

    small things though, its coming along nicely!

    [edit] i also think the reflected light under the jaw of the woman should be warm... coming from the necklace instead of the dress.

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    its a lovely image id love to know what theyre talking about. i imagine an emperor is a very worldy man, whats he thinking and saying? some sardonic remark or maybe being super charming while thinking of who to execute. love it.
    i think that part of the problem where the characers look 'out of it' is their eyes, mouths and forehads and eyebrows are in neutral, as if they are hiding or donr feel any emotions. maybe try pointing thier eyes in different directions and stuff to see how it looks.
    as always just my 2cents but i thought his head seemed a bit compressed at the top so you couldnt read his expression easily. i know very little anatomy and trying to learn too so this is all just my speculations! ref is on the left.
    i made him look like paul robinson from neighbours :/


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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post

    I did a double-take on the sons holding hands. Looked to see if one of them was a girl, so that's a little odd.
    You know what they say.... When in Rome...

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    She looks awfully young to be the mother of those boys (if she is). The light striking up from below on her face is a nice touch, though (one of those subtle things that you sometimes see when people are out on a sunny day).

    You realize everyone is piling on because it's a good picture, right?

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    The age of the woman is not too much a problem, I'm not sure they wait until 18 years old to get maried in the ancient time
    I'm really impressed by the painting itself, beautifully done. Nothing to add to other comments, this will be a strong piece when you finish it !

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    Looking good!

    What’s in the guy’s hand?

    A couple of crits.
    I’d,
    1-Reduce the contrast on the large building to enhance it’s size presence.

    2-Darken the sky, keeping it on the neutral side.

    3-The rightmost sentry is pretty small. I’d make him taller. I’d also add more of them to enhance the procession factor. I think they all can use a sterner look. No smiles.,

    4-I think eye contact between bros would help connection them (as in VK’s po).

    5-As sone_one noticed the 3-pt perspective on the large building, you’ll have to skew the verticals on the other building to conform with it.
    Personally, I’d straighten out the verts a bit, on the big building, to conform more with 2-pt perspective. The little bit that the 3rd VP has on the composition is negligible. I would skew the verticals on the small building just a little (leaning left), though not to suggest 3pt perspective, but to strengthen their ‘verticalness’ that far right in the composition. Sometimes a vertical line looks skewed when perfectly vertical in a scene.

    6-There are some neck area anatomical issues on the left ‘son’ and ‘dad’. The son’s neck is too long and too thick from front to back. Dad’s trapezius rides a bit too high on his neck, and his right shoulder doesn’t comply with the end of the clavicle position.

    Here’s a visual:

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    Calling it finished

    Giacomo, no Poser nor kittens were abused in the making of this painting. I haven't used Poser in many years. Of course you're right about the lack of interaction and emotion. I suppose it happens when I focus too much on other stuff: getting the anatomy and perspective correct because I don't have enough routine at that yet.

    sone_one, thanks! I didn't consider that the background house should also be in 3 point perspective. Good point! I have fixed this. The effect is negligible though. Previously, I tried making it more tilted but that looked weird.

    Velocity Kendall, thank you. Afraid I don't like the overpaint, sorry. But I appreciate it.

    You realize everyone is piling on because it's a good picture, right?
    Good to hear Thanks!

    What’s in the guy’s hand?
    Nothing - he is making "you get it?!?" gesture.
    Bill, thank you for the important points!

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    (it's finished)

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    hehe suit yourself. but the main point was they emperor and his wife have tiny stunted foreheads and braincases. their eyes should be at the halfway mark up their heads not almost at the top. as it is they have tiny brain pans and he has a steeply raked brow and small inexpressive monkey face (because so much expression happens in the eyebrows and forhead) He looks like Emperor Bush as a result...
    neither him or his wife's eyes ar eboth looking in the same direction, giving a sense of detachment or mental dullness. his ear is hanging off at a wierd angle too.



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    The building on the right does not comply with the perspective of the arc, please refer to bill618's paint over. His wife still looks like she is mentally challenged and her gaze seems to be towards the sky.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maidith View Post
    ...no Poser nor kittens were abused in the making of this painting. I haven't used Poser in many years. Of course you're right about the lack of interaction and emotion. I suppose it happens when I focus too much on other stuff: getting the anatomy and perspective correct because I don't have enough routine at that yet.
    Well then, I stand in awe at your ability to draw correct-looking heads from your imagination. Seriously. For whatever it's worth, I think your technical skills are well beyond adequate right now and going forward you'd do well to focus on emotion, psychology, and drama.

    Also, the placement and spacing of the coffers on the interiors of the arches is still WAAAAAY off. I'd strongly recommend you fix that before you declare the piece finally complete.

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