I'm pretty inexperienced with photoshop. These "START!" exercises are forcing me to sit down and figure it out which is great. Here is my first composition exercise. This copy of an Albert Bierstadt landscape took me about 50 minutes. I noticed that he controls the viewers eye with detail. The detail in the clouds and rocks and some of the trees creates emphasis. In this study I mostly tried to get the major value shapes right by squinting my eyes. That took me a long time. With the remainder of time i tried to fiddle with brushes to get some detail right. Not too much success there but I think the knowledge of where to put the detail is the important bit at this stage of the game...
1. Albert Bierstadt
Hey Jason. Thanks for the crit I reopened my sketch and tried following your advice. I spent a little bit of time de-contrasting the clouds and re-contrasting the mid mountains. I didn't spend too much time but I think it turned out a bit better.
Last edited by dbw; February 4th, 2014 at 12:35 PM.
nice start. It seems you are maybe a little bit contrasty in the sky and not enough contrast on the back mountain that's catching the direct light. Double check all your big areas of value and you'll find you get super close.
Your round two definitely works better now, especially taking the contrast (and detail) down on the clouds. The MG mountains are working out better now that they're brighter. I did notice that the very far light against the horizon is a little too bright in yours, compared to the original - it might help to tone that down, since it will compete less with the focus on the mountains and lead the eye into it, rather than have it compete against them.
Here is a shy peasant by Repin. I really liked this original portrait. He is so intense yet seemingly harmless. The peasant in my version looks more dishevelled because he's slouching more and he has messier hair (mistake). He's also got a fatter head. I noticed that Repin creates a lot of emphasis in this Peasant's facial expression through contrast in value. The extreme change in value (especially around the bridge of his nose) creates that spot as the focal point of the image. The viewer can't help but look into those very curious eyes. I tried to follow Repin's techniques.
Here is another painting by Bierstadt. I really like his epic style landscapes. I'd like to be able to capture that sense of scale and hopefully, one day, the awe that comes with it.
I noticed that there are many implied lines in this painting. This painting is filled with rhythm. The snaking land and river creates rhythm. The clouds have rhythm and the sun rays do too. I think this rhythm and these implied lines help make this image interesting to the eye. Also, this image is symmetrically balanced from left to right. The heavy rock structures on either side are balanced by the dark value bushes.
Nice number 4! I think it's missing some of the luminous quality of the original. As the cliffs descend toward the right they look like they lose a lot of contrast until you can't even see where the mountain touches the sky. And where that hill climbs toward the left in the foreground it should catch some of the light of the setting sun.
Great work so far, you definitely captured the mood of the painting well
Great job. You might want to introduce a textured brush for the images that surface is being played with by the artist. That seems to be the main area to be aware of as you continue through these. Your values are starting to hit the nail on the head...more more more
Here is a painting by Fengzhu. He's really good at getting that sense of scale that i'm after. There is a lot of emphasis on that middle, distant mountain top because it is contrasted with the total economy of the sky behind it. He uses really intricate detail on the rock structure. I didn't have too much success emulating that. (Anyone one know how to get jagged rocks on photoshop?). As for the rhythm of this one, all of the implied lines and shapes are pointing to the right. Fengzhu designs landscapes for MMORPG's. With visual theory, not only can artists like Fengzhu guide the viewer's eye, but actually guide the active players through this virtual world... pretty cool.
You too, Dire! Is that emoticon of one smiley licking another's butt?
I tried using a textured brush for these mountains. Don't know if I was using it correctly because I would turn down the brush size to like 5 - 20 pixels and then the texture of the brush disappeared. Also, I can now see (after uploading, of course) that i should of used brighter highlights.
You are a value step off at times, in this case, a bit dark in your background and less contrast and value range than the original. Watch for that. I really want to see you get your values fully under control by the end of this. Once you get your values on point, from the get go, you will see a boost in your own work. I promise. Value control is key and a root foundation of what you are learning to do. The texture brush is a nice start...keep at it with that. You will figure it out. You are getting there.
I chose this sketch by Repin because I thought it'd be quicker than the landscapes I've been choosing. Not true.
getting the values right (in conjunction with the other parts of getting the image right: composition, rythym, waterer) feels like a game of bludgeon the badger. I feel like i hit the value right and then i come back to it and it seems to have popped up in a different value. Also whenever I'm immersed and painting it looks right. Then I come back even 10 minutes later and I see all the wrong values. I guess its just practice.
6. Repin - music guy
Last edited by dbw; February 12th, 2014 at 09:17 PM.