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C.O.W. #309. The Evergreen Giant - Voting!
Voting round is now open! Vote for your favourite entry and please refrain from voting for your own entries if you have submitted this round!
-It is very big, at least two stories tall
-Resembles evergreen pine trees
-Must be mostly green.
Last edited by Rob Powell; December 19th, 2013 at 12:02 AM.
Concept: the Pine Phantom
Though scarcely documented, the pine phantom is believed to inhabit parts of North America. Enthusiasts claim the sightings are spotty due to the creatures' extensive hibernation periods in addition to residing in dense forests. These same ones speculate the phantom's hibernation period can and has reached upwards of 13 years, in which time they grow to maturity. Lying dormant on its belly, the creature accumulates seeds of various flora in its deep pores which sprout and grow off the warmth and oils produced from the body. Because many plant types flourish with these elements present, no two phantoms look identical.
Without solid evidence, scientists have dismissed this creature's existence.
Concept: Semper Viridis
Although no person in living memory has ever seen this fabled creature, many swear by it's existence. Reports of sightings go centuries back and are always roughly the same, which leads to believe that there might be only a few or even just one in existence. It is said to be a most graceful being and awesome to behold, as tall as a large stag and much taller still if you count the evergreen branches growing from it's head like a most intricate set of antlers. In it's last documented sighting, it was additionally described as having evergreen branches for it's tail and mane which, combined with it's coloration and timid nature, make it extremely hard to find. Although many are skeptical, scientists have dubbed it Semper Viridis - simply "Ever Green" - and hope to find it before it dies, assuming it was ever alive or even capable of dying.
Concept: Big Green Meany (BGM)
Big, green, and extremely territorial, especially when it comes to their relationship with the evergreen forests, the "big green meanies" as their called, do not like any humans interfering in their business of tending the trees that give them life. These massive beasts have a bad habit of showing up where most rural families come to collect their annual Christmas trees, a practice that that sends the meanies into a blind fury. Overtime, the BGMs have adapted their bodies to mimic the evergreen trees which provide them with sustenance, shelter, and someone to grunt to.
Concept: Evergreen Wanderer
The Evergreen wanderer is a rare sight and a being of mysterious origin. It is benign and majestic, ever traversing the vast northern wilds. Just like the evergreens of its habitat, the wanderer is slow-growing yet resilient and full of life.
Concept: dread athem
Despise its gigantic size the dread is rarely seen on its complete form, because it spends most of its time buried into the forest using the evergreen trees embedded on its body as camouflage, the dread loves to locate itself near battlefields to attach squads or even complete armies that go trough the forest.
Concept: Northern Pine Dragon
The Northern Pine Dragon is a a very seldom-seem, seldom-escaped predator that hides in the towering pine trees and waits for likely prey to walk by, frequenting deer paths and trails.
This strange, gargantuan insect likes to use its massive bulk to topple its food before mauling it with it's many spiny hairs and it's razor-sharp, multi-faceted mandibles. When it has thoroughly mutilated it's victim and gorged itself, the female will shake it's vicious brood out from under it's moss-like hairs and onto the gaping husk of it's prey, which will be picked clean within a few hours. If separated, the young will hide among the thistles of low lying pines, disguised as pine cones, and drop down in a gory frenzy on small game that passes by.
During the mating season, the male Pine Dragon will drag carrion up into the branches of nearby trees and vomit a viscous, sap like glue to affix the bodies into a macabre "nest" in hopes of attracting a mate. Certain species of deer and caribou have learned to avoid the Car-Freshener sent of pine trees bent over with gooey husks.
Topic is closed and Poll is open!
No cuts this week...
...however, 0000-the creature being green was part of the requirements but I allowed you into the poll simply because of the assumption that it would've been green if you did the piece in colour, and it does state in the rules that greyscale is allowed. But if a colour is listed in the requirements, please try to stick to that for next time.
defeciton001; The camouflage theme works well with Rob Powell's description of the rare sightings. Good shapes on those leaves on his chest. I think you've overdone the shadows just a little. The lower part of his body is one massive black area. Nice job using the squirrel to convey size as well as the beast's movement.
ded; I love the mossy feel, overall shape, and the tail/chin. Bears resemblance to a pine cone, which is a very nice visual cue. Overall I think this is a very solid creature. The back legs are slightly confusing- perhaps because (his) left back leg seems placed in a strange place.
Lhune; Nice smooth rendering and very solid forms. I assume you used a repeating brush for the leaves, but it doesn't show. That's usually not easy to pull off. My critique would be mostly on the conceptual/creative side - it's mostly a normal deer with pine branches. After seeing your sketchbook I think you could push the concept much further!
scorge; I thought you were off to a weak start at first, with a big beast with just a few branches. I think the bark spine was that conceptual touch your creature needed - Nice one. That and the green colouration set it apart. Nice rendering on the head. Though I'm not a fan of the heavy black outline on the claw, it does create focus. There's something off-putting about the trees. Perhaps its not so much the actual trees itself but their spacing. Doesn't strike me as natural. The 3 metres in between each tree is a bit awkward, haha.
0000; Love the 'face', or hint at a face. Kind of reminiscent of statues of demons and spirits. Looks old, mysterious, possibly dangerous. I also like how you combined the symmetry of his body with the organic, asymmetric evergreen growth on top of his body. Bottom part of his body is a little hard to read, try to work on the forms there. Perhaps its because there is no solid light source. That usually helps.
ProzacaryBrown; I Love the shape of your creature, very strong concept. Clearly a creature, with great resemblance to a tree. The head especially is recognizable, and the larvae are a great touch as well. I would say your image is very heavy on the black, especially the outlines. But perhaps the graphical approach is required for a complex creature like this. I do think the bottom part (where he grabs the tree) gets slightly lost in all the darkness.
defecticon001: I agree with Anthis regarding the camouflage and shadows. I very much enjoy the "COME AT ME" pose and the facial structure. I think it could have done with a little bit more cleaning there to give it some extra solidity, but it's a good concept, well done!
ded: Very nicely rendered, though I'm not sure about how hard to find this thing would be if it got up haha! It reminds me of Neverending Story's Morla in a way and I love that. The only thing that bothers me a little bit is the stance of the hind legs. They look a bit uncertain, as if he is halfway between standing and sitting down. Just to add interest, I think you could have added some bits and pieces (dirt, branches and all that) falling from it's shell and tail. It strikes me as a bit too clean at the moment. Still, nice concept and good job :>!
scorge: Love the humorous twist of the concept, though it doesn't at all strike me as a creature that would be hard to spot! In fact it could probably not be more in-your-face and out there haha, but I kind of like that as well. I agree with Anthis about the spacing of the trees, but I very much enjoy your rendering and I like the fact that you added a human in there. It's really more of an illustration than a concept and I like it :>. Keep up the great work, I always enjoy your work in the weekly challenges!
Anthis: I did not expect a spider-esque creature with this challenge, so your concept is definitely very refreshing and eye-opening. I absolutely agree with your critique that I took the safe route and seeing your piece definitely backs it up. I gave you my vote simply because of the uniqueness of the concept. I do think the rendering could have been a bit tighter, especially around the creature's face at least because I can't really make out what's what over there. Also I'd love to see this thing move, haha. Good job!
0000: The concept is good, but the value distribution needs work as right now they are a bit scattered all over the creature. What might help is to start with a dark to light gradient and a clear idea of where your light source is, so you can render your values accordingly. I think you have the texturing down well though, all it needs is a little more solidity . Keep up the good work and continue to challenge yourself!
ProzacaryBrown: You certainly have a very unique way of rendering. I like the graphical look mixed with the painterly feel. The mood of the piece is definitely very threatening and I could tell that this wasn't a friendly creature just from the colors you chose and the way it's posed, so good job on that! I would personally have liked to see a slightly more solid anatomy but that's probably taste more than anything. Keep it up!
Great entries everyone, I voted for deds because I really liked the way he did the ´forest on the back of a turtle shell´ thing without making it a cliché. great job.
I have one general question I´m confused about. What is the line between a character and a creature? Is anything humanoid considered a character or does it depend on the context?
I really appreciate the critique and invite anyone who hasn't submitted for this to make suggestions or comments. Hell, be brutal if you think it's accurate.
Defecticon01: You have a very good sense of contrast throughout the piece. The form could be clarified with some middle values in the darks and a few extra details in the areas that transition from different groups of textures to the next.
ded: The sense of scale is very well established and the surface details seem to read very clearly within a consistent value pattern. I do feel like you could bring sharper contrast into the hind and mid legs, and perhaps a darker, more distinct shadow under the beast. It's blotting out the sun for a mile or so of ground.
Lhune: Best rendering and sense of Chiaroscuro here in my opinion. The focal point of the face is very strong and the expansion of that face into the background works well with the piece. I do think the very top of the tree looks choppily masked out compared to the rest of the silhouette and distracts from the transition to focus.
scorge: I enjoyed how you chose a dynamic tilted perspective and your abstraction of the trees into a white frosty mountainside adds depth to the piece. The finish of the rendering is consistent and up to a great standard. That said, The jaw of the creature is very, very long compared to a more bear-like snout above. Also, I think the trees in the foreground in need to be more distinctly lit from the same direction as the creature (overhead). You might also add a darker, more crisp shadow looming over the foreground to really push the doom-looming-over vibe the piece gives off.
anthis: the level of abstraction over distance, and the angle of the creature as it interacts with the environment is very convincing. If the very front of the ground were crisper and darker, and you brought more value and detail into the closest parts of the creature it would quickly improve the finish, as it's very solid as is.
0000: I think your concept has more potential from the standpoint of your draftsmanship in your sketchbook (damn good work ethic from the sheer volume of the thing! Since you post it, I thought I'd apply it's strengths/weaknesses to this so I hope that's called for). You succeed, even excel, in your linework but it seems to get covered up and blurred when you work digitally. I feel that you could achieve a more painterly and solid form if you blocked in directional value patterns with a three-tone white-grey-black, and kept a distinct line drawing before rendering details into it. Separate your value pattern more and try to bring your line work into your CG more.
Just the friendly neighourhood moderator here stopping by to post some crits and comments, man I haven't done crits in a little while....anyways; ded, Lhune, and Anthis ended up on my shortlist for voting, while ded ended up getting my vote! Well done to everyone this round!
defecticon001: Basically what other said, camouflage works well, too much dark shadows (don't forget about bounce lighting) The face could be polished up a bit as well. The main thing that bugs me is the water? I'm assuming unless he's sitting on a big log which doesn't really make sense. Some detailing could have been added there to help reinforce the water (remember is highly reflective almost like a mirror cept when in heavy shadows also a few ripples and maybe even a frog or two)
ded: After a bit of contemplating you managed to get my vote this round. I felt this was one of the more creative designs this round, plus I also felt it was one of the better representations of the brief. I agree with everyone else's observations on the hind legs. I also feel like a just a bit more time could have been spent on detailing the trees on it's carapace a bit more.
Lhune: Some really nice lighting one of the stand outs with your piece. Also a simple but effective method for indicating all those annoying little evergreen tree branches. You may have gotten a vote from me, but this piece doesn't really say 'evergreen giant' to me. Evergreen Beauty maybe, but although it does look rather big, given the collective height of all the branches making it big enough, but gigantic not so much. Overall really liked your piece, but there were others this round that better respresented the brief.
scorge: Good to see you hop on board once again! Definitly worthy of being called a giant, and something I would not want to fuck with. I feel as though this guy should have more evergreen trees/branches over it's body kinda like a fur, cuz it kinda reminds me a of a giant partially plucked chicken (with claws and teeth mind you). Also the way it's head and body connect at it's neck seem very awkwardly bent, perhaps because it is an almost fully frontal view probably makes that part of it's anatomy a little unclear. I also feel like the man and sled are a little bit out of perspective slightly, but then again the composition is set in a bit of an angle so that could be throwing me off a bit.
Anthis: Very neat creature, you were also on my shortlist for voting. I think in the end the fact that your creature seem to lack texture and some better defined features may have put me off a bit. Some parts seem a little bit unclear simply because they appear to have been indicated rather than pushed further in terms of rendering. Definitly a cool beast that would be epic to see animated in some way!
0000: Values are the main issue here. As stated decide on a light souce and work using larger shapes first, block in planes of light and shadow before getting into the details too early. Another issue is the texturing doesn't really seem too natural, and makes certain parts a bit hard to read. I have a bit of an idea how his legs? roots? tentacle leg roots? are formed but there needs to be a more definite understanding from us (the viewer) of what's going on in terms of shapes and form.
ProzacaryBrown: Really clever idea. Little pine cone larvae and an adult pine tree creature. Sort of reminds me of pokemon in a way. The style is pretty neat, a bit of a comic book feel to it as well, however as stated you may want to ease up on the black outlining just a tad.
stinkypanda: in general a character is a specific individual with a given personailty and traits; while a creature is an individual that is used to represent a species. Humanoids can be creatures as well as characters, however as I have stated, it depends on how they are presented. For example a picture of Brad Pitt shows a specific individual, a character; while a picture of a random caveman shows an individual used to represent the human race. I go over this in a bit more detail in the RULES THREAD if you want to look under rules 1.a) 1.c) and 1.d).
Last edited by Rob Powell; December 20th, 2013 at 03:29 AM.
@Rob powell: Thanks for replying. I think I get it now