Mount Creature WIP - Looking for Critique

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  1. #1
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    Mount Creature WIP - Looking for Critique

    So I'm working on a beastie for my university course, it will be modeled in 3D so i'll need to consider every angle and the end result should be something that would fit into the Skyrim universe. I've been through a number of different designs and this one was the favourite, its something like a stocky horse with a lion-like head. I'm thinking about ways to make it look a little more intimidating and vicious but I still want it to keep somewhat of a friendly feel.

    At the moment I'm thinking about colour, I'm hoping for some opinions on these colour palettes, which is your favourite and how could they be made better? General crit on anatomy, lighting etc is also welcome. I hope to end up with a number of finished or semi-finished paintings showing the creature from a variety of angles and poses. I really need to get rid of the cartoony-ness too :/

    Mount Creature WIP - Looking for Critique

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    University? This isn't anywhere near university level work.

    The color scheme is almost irrelevant, and three out of four are essentially the same scheme. Come up with four distinct ones.

    But this fails on every fundamental skill that goes into drawing: structure, perspective, anatomy, and lighting. So be warned of that; if you want to work in concept art, you should get some practice in the fundamentals, and fast.

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    Thanks for the kick up the back-side, i think i desperately need it. Good quality feedback has been a major problem with this project so far, so i'm really glad I happened across conceptart.org ... before now the only feedback I've got is from veterinary surgeons and friends who don't know a lot about art, and one comment on the game artisans forums that said simply "good work" (although in hindsight perhaps that was sarcastic).

    I'm going to work on pinning the anatomy and structure down first, the perspective and lighting will benefit from this too I think as i'll have a better idea of the form.

    My supervisor says I need to do more drawings from life. I've attempted a few at the zoo, but I find it difficult to get more than a very rough/crude line drawing as the animals move so much. I've seen some fantastic animal life drawings though, so there must be good techniques out there for sketching moving animals. Do you have any advice on this?

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    hey fish4brains, proper anatomy will probably help get rid of that 'cartoony feel'. I suggest you do some research and try and understand how a horse looks. I think with the stocky type of horse, you should reference a shetland pony (though a lion head on a shetland pony is going to look a little bizarre...). I'm linking to a great anatomy resource below. Hit 'search the collection' and type in 'horse'

    http://uwdc.library.wisc.edu/collect...ce/VetAnatImgs
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    I've also tried a rough drawing of how I think your animal works, but I honestly can't visualize a giant lion head on a tiny horse body.

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    last but not least, an image of a shetland pony. Notice the way the fur works ? It bunches up behind it's shoulder blades and follows the curves of it's body. Around the stomoch, down the legs, and around the haunches. Try and incorporate that into your drawing.

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    Arenhaus does make a point though. You need to get back to basics. Study anatomy, box out your forms, try and understand structure, value and light. I think the first thing you can do for this piece is copy some of the anatomy drawings I've posted above. Try and understand what they're illustrating. You need to know how a horse works before you try and abstract it into a different animal. Best of luck

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    Woh, that animal anatomy page is great!

    Fully agree, you need to use some real horse reference shots in order to get the shape right.

    Are you in university to become a concept artist or to become a 3d modeller and this is just reference for a 3d model you will be working on? Either way you will need to know basic fundamentals. How far into your course are you?

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    ive seen way worse drawings used as previsuals.

    imo the problem is on the design front. my take on this design issue is, that you cant just mix random stuff. not without reason. e.g. ive seen no animal having hooves and fangs. afaik all animals having hooves are herbivores. herbivores and carnivores have very distinct builds due to the way they aquire food. etc.

    think about those when approaching creature design... where does it live, what does it eat, what are its enemies, etc. study why certain animals are what they are and how they work.

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    ive seen no animal having hooves and fangs
    well.. uh.. SURPRISE!

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    chinese water deer

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    and a siberian musk deer
    Water deer and musk deer don't belong to the same species.

    (and also Uintatherium. But it's extinct.)

    Everything else has been said .
    There are some animals which are always handy to know and which are really common:
    It's mainly the one's in Ellenberg - dog/wolf, horse, deer, big cat, house cat, cow, pig and maybe the two most common birds, chicken and eagle
    I'd guess that these animals and close variations of these animals make about 90% of the animals that are depicted in media.
    If you know the anatomy of these and know how they move, you're on the safe side with animals.

    For the zoo sketches: Love castle:
    http://lovecastle.org/draw/
    90 second poses of horses and cats
    Do these 90 sec poses for some hours and see what happens.

    Last edited by Kiera; February 22nd, 2013 at 03:24 PM.
    I just took a break to post this.
    But sometimes I also draw stuff
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    When you're drawing moving animals from life, you have to have some knowledge of the anatomy and proportions so you can fill in details when the animal moves. Being able to sketch really fast and having a good memory is a bonus. If you're going to draw at the zoo, it might be helpful to concentrate on one set of animals, like birds or hooved mammals, so that you can study their anatomy before going there. Then hang out in that one area doing gesture sketches for a while. And like all other things, this is a skill that gets better with practice.

    When you're not at the zoo, practice on people and urban wildlife.

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    Hi cumquat, the Ellenberger Atlas of Animal Anatomy is an awesome book, I know because I have it open on my desk and have been studying from it for the last few hours And that Shetland pony image is great, thanks so much. I think I may need to change the angle of the neck to make the head work, and maybe make the head a little smaller in comparison to the body. I'm experimenting with it a little bit at the moment.

    Kiera, thanks for those pics, I knew there were a small number of hoofed carnivores and omnivores, but I didn't know there was one with fangs. Will definitely be finding some more water deer and musk deer references. I know its an unusual mix but with fantasy art I thought I might be allowed to break the rules a bit to have some fun - after all there are some pretty weird animal combinations in Greek mythology.

    Quote Originally Posted by cfhd View Post
    Are you in university to become a concept artist or to become a 3d modeller and this is just reference for a 3d model you will be working on? Either way you will need to know basic fundamentals. How far into your course are you?
    My course is called 'Games Concepts Design' and I'm in my third year, the course name is deceptive though because it mainly focuses around 3D modeling and game engine work, with a tiny bit of life drawing and matte painting thrown in. The course has been restructured for the first years though due to complaints, so the current first years actually do concept design, and a new course called 'Games Technical Art' has been introduced which is similar to what I actually do. In addition to this some of the compulsory modules on the course are pretty unrelated to art at all - like 'Games business and legal studies' which I had to do last semester, and 'Video Games Marketing' which I have to do this semester - so its not really as concept art orientated as you'd expect from a course titled 'Games Concept Design'

    Also yes, this will be modeled in 3D but I wanted a nice looking concept for my portfolio too, so I'm not going to use the modeling as an excuse for poor drawing.

    Thankyou everyone for your replies, and please keep them coming

    Edit: Here's a skeleton showing the revisions to the anatomy that I think would work, I was hoping to add muscle tonight too but that's going to be a job for tomorrow.
    Mount Creature WIP - Looking for Critique

    Last edited by fish4brains; February 22nd, 2013 at 05:22 PM. Reason: finished a new drawing, didn't want to double post.
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    hey Fishforbrains, that's a great start. Maybe also try thumbnailing your creature a few times before you commit to a design. Really try to explore the proportions of it's body. You can think about whether it's carnivorous or a herbivore. How it moves, what kind of environment it lives it, if it hunts, is it a pack animal ? Is it a beast of burden ? What is this creature about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fish4brains View Post
    My course is called 'Games Concepts Design' and I'm in my third year, the course name is deceptive though because it mainly focuses around 3D modeling and game engine work, with a tiny bit of life drawing and matte painting thrown in. The course has been restructured for the first years though due to complaints, so the current first years actually do concept design, and a new course called 'Games Technical Art' has been introduced which is similar to what I actually do. In addition to this some of the compulsory modules on the course are pretty unrelated to art at all - like 'Games business and legal studies' which I had to do last semester, and 'Video Games Marketing' which I have to do this semester - so its not really as concept art orientated as you'd expect from a course titled 'Games Concept Design'
    Business courses are useful even if they are not strictly "art". But it seems to me your curriculum includes not nearly enough actual drawing, for something that claims to be concept design. You'll have a lot to catch up with.

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    The business stuff was definitely useful to know as I learned the legal side of setting up as a sole trader if I wanted to do freelance work and also the pros and cons of being a sole trader vs setting up a business as freelancer. I do have a lot of catching up to do though, as you say.

    The brief I set for my project is that the creature should be a domestic mountable animal. I really want to keep the large canine teeth and the lion like head, however with those hooves it would have difficulty chasing down fast prey so having it be a hunter/carnivore isn't really an option. I've done some research and there are a variety of omnivorous ungulates around that live off both vegetation and fish, insects and small birds and mammals. In addition to this there are some ungulates known to be scavengers so I think an omnivorous diet would be suitable. As the animal is domesticated its also possible that it was bred to have these traits over thousands of years by humans. Food would be provided by humans so it wouldn't matter so much whether it was able to catch its food by itself if this was the case.

    I made the neck a little longer as the old proportions made it look difficult for the animal to reach the ground, I also shrunk the head slightly to make it look more balanced. I've had a look at how the muscles and skin would work, I'm looking for a good way to indicate fur at the moment.

    Mount Creature WIP - Looking for Critique

    Mount Creature WIP - Looking for Critique

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  20. #13
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    I decided the upright neck looked better, I made the body slightly shorter too.

    Mount Creature WIP - Looking for Critique

    Obviously its by no means perfect but unfortunately I need to move onto the next stage of the project and take this into 3D, I've made a good deal of improvement I think and I'd like to thank everyone for helping me with this.
    The only thing left to decide on now is colour, I've tried to make the colour schemes more varied this time, but using similar hues to what I had originally. Unfortunately I get marked down for making 'arbitrary decisions' or using any opinion other than an informed opinion therefore I'd really appreciate if everyone would give me some feedback on which colours are best/ most suitable and why. Thanks again

    Mount Creature WIP - Looking for Critique

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    Does your university have a biology or zoology department? They may have an anatomy lab that they'll let you in if you ask kindly. The anatomy professor here is more than thrilled when artists ask to come in, and the department has a massive collection of all sorts of animal parts. Hell, they've got a horse skeleton right in the middle of the lab. Your mileage might vary, but it's worth looking into for some life drawing.

    Maybe this isn't an issue for you at the moment, but your Shetland lion's legs seem unusual to me. I've been looking at a lot of photos trying to figure out what exactly is striking me as "off" about it, and I could be wrong so take it with a grain of salt. The front-right leg is straight like it's in mid-trot, but there aren't any legs directly underneath the body to support the weight or help it balance. If it's just walking, the legs wouldn't need to be straightened that much to catch its fall. Think about the difference between how you run and how you walk.
    That was probably a horrible vague description, so here's some photos I found that might help you understand what I'm saying:
    Mount Creature WIP - Looking for Critique
    Mount Creature WIP - Looking for Critique
    I think the sixth image in this sequence is similar to what you were trying to convey. Note how the front leg's been picked up off the ground and is curved quite a bit.
    Mount Creature WIP - Looking for Critique
    Mount Creature WIP - Looking for Critique
    Mount Creature WIP - Looking for Critique

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    Hi Keeptime, I looked back at my reference and you're absolutely right - I don't know how I missed that. I think the back near-side leg should be planted firmly on the ground and bearing some of the weight. The front leg should then either be higher and curved/ bent at the joints or planted on the ground. I think this would fix the problem. Thank you for pointing that out - I feel a bit dumb for not noticing that myself.

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    Nice, I like how this turned out. The solid coat feels more natural and logical than the poodle continental cut.
    There are still some issues with the drawing, like the nose not being centred on the muzzle but ah. Ah.


    Unfortunately I get marked down for making 'arbitrary decisions' or using any opinion other than an informed opinion therefore
    I'd really appreciate if everyone would give me some feedback on which colours are best/ most suitable and why. Thanks again
    Awesome, Wikipedia time!!! I could roll around in these articles all day.
    This article might be relevant, you have countershading in 2 of your creatures and one reverse countershading (why?) in the red one:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countershading (explanation why the back is darken than the belly in many animals)
    This one is interesting:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_coloration (phenomenon where the tips of the animals limbs, muzzle and ears have a different shade than the main coat)
    Wild horse coloration might lead you to cool, natural occuring coats:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primitive_markings


    The spots on the one animal are a bit strange.. spots are effective camouflage for animals that live in environments with dappled light (that means forrests lol)
    Here's a small article about big cats and why leopards have spots and lions not:
    http://www.bigsiteofamazingfacts.com...ions-are-plain

    Many animals also have a dappled coat when they are babies and loose the camouflage once they get bigger, like
    deer: http://images.fineartamerica.com/ima...a-mckinzie.jpg
    tapir: http://www.marwell.org.uk/images/con...UGSLEY_000.jpg
    wild boar: http://cdn1.arkive.org/media/1A/1A7A...around-sow.jpg
    I figure because the animals get either too big for many predators that could harm them as children (like birds of prey) or change their living environments and move from dense forrest to more open clearings, like deer do.
    There are many deer that keep the dots on their coat when they are full grown too.
    Horses don't have spots, mainly because they live in open fields.

    So the spots and coloration depend on a large part where your creature lives.

    I just took a break to post this.
    But sometimes I also draw stuff
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  26. #17
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    First off, you have my sympathies. I know UK art-related courses are somewhat of a joke. Keep going with the advice people are giving. It's paying off.

    Also, natural history museum Good ref for still animals and skeletons. If you're in your 3rd year the lecturers should allow you to take some research time off for trips etc, right?

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    thanks Kiera, I didn't know half that stuff about counter shading and point colouration, that's some really useful and interesting stuff. I spoke to an equestrian artist yesterday who is currently writing a book on drawing and painting horses and she also suggested I look at horses with primitive markings such as Duns to get some cool markings.

    I was sure that I had seen fully grown horses with dappled patterns before but it seems that this type of coat is just an 'intermediate' stage between infancy and adulthood which disappears when the horse is fully grown, as you said yourself.

    Unfortunately money is more of a limiting factor than time when it comes to trips. I've been to the natural history museum in London before and i'd love to go again but unfortunately I don't live near London and train fares keep going up.

    Anyway, after talking to the equestrian artist, Alison I made it look less friendly and derpy, and decided on the blue/grey as it looked a little wolf-ish.



    Mount Creature WIP - Looking for Critique

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    The ear looked wrong so I've adjusted it. I hope there aren't any other mistakes as glaringly obvious as that ...
    My friend came up with the name "sabre-hoof" for this animal/species, I quite like it.

    Mount Creature WIP - Looking for Critique

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    Fish4brains, lol, I've just double-checked horse coats because I've always assumed that spotted coats just appear in domesticated horses.
    Nope, it seems to be a mutation that appeares from time to time in nature:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15619885
    Spotted horses are old.
    Wiki has a lot of examples of leopard complex horses: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopard_complex
    Here are some cool looking moose with leopard complex: http://retrieverman.net/2012/09/11/appamoosa/

    Also how did I assume that your animal must be a tamed wild animal and not a domesticated one?
    In domesticated animals you can of course go crazy with the colors .

    I just took a break to post this.
    But sometimes I also draw stuff
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    Those leopard spotted moose are amazing!

    I've learned so much about different horse breeds and colourings recently that it seems a shame that my creature only has one variant. Perhaps if I have time before the end of my project i'll make a few different re-textures for the model (and even if I don't have enough time before the project deadline I might do it anyway just for fun).

    Thanks for those links, they were a good read

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    Last edited by LaCan; July 14th, 2014 at 06:52 AM.
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    I've never seen this approach used before, other than for blocking out poses for figure drawing so I never thought to use it here, but I can definitely see the benefits of it - particularly how quickly and efficiently it translates information.

    Thankyou for sharing this

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    Last edited by LaCan; July 14th, 2014 at 06:52 AM.
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