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  1. #1
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    Grumpysaur- Color and Light 1.1

    It feels very exposing putting up a self portrait, does it not? Maybe it's just me. Anyway, I'm planning on putting another 1-2 hours into this, or however long it takes, but I would appreciate some feedback on the composition before I start wrapping things up. My initial composition is on the left, but I'm worried it looks too cheesy, like zoolander or something. I do like the diagonal force it's creating, so I took out that forearm to see if it would help, but then I'm thinking it looks a little empty. Maybe if I had a parrot on my shoulder? I'm really starting to understand the value of thumbnails.

    Any thoughts?

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  3. #2
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    The one on the left is the better piece. It is not cheesy at all.

    Do take your time to map out all the shapes and get your propotions just right. You are getting attitude in there, which is super key, but the drawing is off in some areas like the arms look two different sizes. If you can get the proportions and values accurate to what you see then you will have quite a good piece, especially if you hang on to the mood and attitude you are already capturing.

    keep it up


    JM

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  5. #3
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    I've got it to a point where I think I can talk about it in the terms given for the properties of light. Like Revidescent, I was distracted with the fill light from the computer when trying to figure out a light source, so I just turned off the lights and used the monitor as the source. My mirror was quite close and I had a hard time seeing the composition as a whole, and I really struggled with the proportions. Changing my shirt helped me figured out shape relationships.

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    My light source created a low key painting. The mass light was quite obvious on my face and neck. For some reason my arms are darker and a warmer color temp than my face and neck and the mass light on my arms turned out to be darker, so it almost looks like they are half tone in comparison. I wonder if this is actually the case or if I didn't observe everything as a whole carefully enough.

    Mass shadow was pretty apparent and almost seems to make those areas disappear into the dark background.

    Halftones- I think they occurred most obviously on my forehead, cheek, and neck. Though maybe my cheek was part of the mass shadow?

    Fill light- The only fill light I notices was on the part of my hand that was facing my neck.

    Cast Shadow- My nose an lips created a pretty strong cast shadow. The cast shadow created by my arm onto my chest had a dark core and lighter, more diffuse edges. It got lighter and bigger the further I moved my arm away from my chest.

    Highlights- Nose, cheek, eyelids, ear, and the edges of my mouth, all very subtle.

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    big improvements!. Thanks for sharing. At this point the most glaring area is that the mass shadow on the far side of your face seems to be a little bit dense and dark. i would be really surprised if it was like that in life. Just a thought...

    Keep up the great work.


    jason

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  8. #5
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    Thanks Jason. You're right about the mass shadow. Part of the problem is that when I open the painting in anything other than photoshop it is super dark. I tried lightening it in another program, but I don't think I went far enough. I will work on it.

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    Hey. that is looking great. I love the mood in the overall dark tone of the piece.

    Your zoolander comment made me laugh. love that movie. I might have to give it a blue steel for my next self portrait.

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    hmm...it is a photoshop setting I think. Try googling the problem. There is a setting somewhere to tweak that you can keep that from happening.

  11. #8
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    Hey. that is looking great. I love the mood in the overall dark tone of the piece.

    Your zoolander comment made me laugh. love that movie. I might have to give it a blue steel for my next self portrait.
    Thanks. Haha. I would love to see a blue steel portrait from you, but I'm worried that your poor face would get a cramp!

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    I recalibrated my screen and I think things are more accurate between photoshop and external programs now. I don't understand how the darkening happened in this particular piece and not in others. I will have to research more. I had to adjust things with curves and levels, and I will check the accuracy when I work on this again from life. I adjusted my proportions, cause I was starting to get a big head. I will have to figure out what's going on with my lips as I think they are straying into duck lips territory.

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    Great painting! I like how the shadow in your face is in line with your shirt and that you're doing more then just your face.
    Mayby a little more sharpness in the drawing hand to make it a third focus?

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  15. #11
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    excellent work!! The improvement is inspiring. I am wondering if the darks in the shadows on the other side of the nose and the face are truly that dark. Your hair is handled flawlessly. I am also wondering if the far eye is fitting perfectly in the socket, and think that part of the portrait could be reinvestigated.

    Agreed on having just a bit more light on the drawing hand...and outside these things perhaps the marks on the forehead are a bit rougher than life.

    Keep up the great work. Beautiful stuff.


    jm

  16. #12
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    Hey, thanks you guys. I agree about the hand and I will work on it later. I painted from life again tonight and I re-assessed the eye. You were right. This is a reoccurring problem. I have proportion and placement problems in general, throughout my studies. I've been incorporating head structure into my perspective and constructive form studies here and there, and will tackle it more in depth once I get a better grip on other areas.

    So, my painting is darker again. When I looked in the mirror, I realized I probably brightened it too much earlier. Now I'm thinking I went too dark, or maybe the values have been flattened a bit. I will get to that another night. Tonight I focused mainly on my facial structure and I think the likeness is a lot better. People tell me I have a stern face, and I am starting to see it show up in this portrait.

    It was a struggle. It was an awkward art night.

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  17. #13
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    keep it up. Make sure your eyes are of a closer value in the pupils/iris so that you dont look like you have one dark and one light eye (unless you do of course). The structure is starting to read really well.


    jason

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    While holding your eye on the focal area which you paint from, ie your eye and cheekbone 9when looking in the mirror), double check all your edges in your peripheral vision. You need to lock your eye in on the focus and paint all your edges in accurately, including the entire far edge of the face. Right now you have that far edge the same throughout it, yet i am confident that that form is shifting and changing and wrapping around and so the edges will tell a story if you look for them. just lock your eye down and relax. You will see them.

    great job.


    jason

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    I worked on it a little bit more- don't know if you can tell. I'm not sure if I've improved my edges or not, though I tried. Everything else gets blurry when I focus on my eye on one point and I'm not sure if I can spot the subtlety of the edges yet.

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  21. #17
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    try throwing a little more dark in the upper left quadrant on the background so that the dark of the hair and shadow on the face blend into the background more...conversely you could also lighten those areas up so they blend better atmospherically...right now its flattening just a little due to the contrast. think of it as atmospheric perspective.

    with that said the next thing to look at is the overall big forms and space...the front hand on the left bottom for example...if you were to pop some more dark into the shirt on the lwoer left side of the image that hand will pull forward and the other arm will begin to read better in space. look at the image...the whole of it...at the same time...look into the piece...let your eyes relax and look into it...try getting the overall space to read just a little better.


    great job on the face...beautiful.


    j

  22. #18
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    Nice job Grumpy, you are brave to go for such a difficult pose, hands, arms and all that. Looks really good.

  23. #19
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    Thanks Bri!

    Jason, I tried to follow your advice the best that I could. I hope it looks a little better. I looked at this on someone else's monitor and it looks awful. . . almost like it's just two shades and highly contrasted. I hope it's not looking like that to you guys.

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    It seems dark on my monitor. The rendering looks great.

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    @cricketts- Thank you. I was wondering if the rendering is a bit boring. I see all these portraits with interesting mark making, and mine feels a little blah. I'm not sure about the dark thing. The room and light set up are pretty dark and my complexion is relatively dark, so I feel it's somewhat accurate, but maybe I should lighten it to make it look better? It's hard to say what it looks like for on other people's monitors as well. The other monitor I saw it on. . . it looked weird for this painting, but not weird for my Comp 1.1 stuff. Is my file cursed? Arg.

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    I think you have handled it beautifully, really soft and delicate. Wouldn't bother making areas lighter, just be true to the actual light. To me, the lighting does look believable, and the earing is a nice addition. Great job, and you don't look at all grumpy

  27. #23
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    Hey, thanks Bri. I really admire your work with your own self portraits, so it means a lot. Also- thanks for saying that I don't look grumpy.

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  29. #24
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    I like the last one a lot! Especially the eye that is in the light, it feels very alive. People I know called my portrait grumpy too... they just can't recognize our super focused faces. Painting portraits is serious business after all!

    Even though I personally feel your rendition looks great, you could gently pass through the painting with a very low opacity brush to get a more painterly look? Just use the brush and gently follow the curves you see.

    Awesome work!

  30. #25
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    watch your edges on the lower arm...the whole of the arm has the same edge work. check out ingres portraits and you will find subtle edge play that describes both form and space. sargent as well.

    i am also wondering if you can find an opportunity or two for the light value that is on the cheekbone to be placed elsewhere on the face or the rest of the piece..the highlight on the pen or...

  31. #26
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    The painting looks great, Its really nice to see how it continous to improve.
    about the lightning issue, i was struggling through the same thing this weekend. I started thinking about buying on of those spectrometers (until i saw the price) to get the screen correctly calibrated. After some research I managed to figure out this much:
    • make sure your screen shows darks and light as good as it can be (google monitor calibration and you can find several test to see how far off you are)
    • in the photoshop menu: view -> proof setup you can choose in what value condition photoshop is showing your picture.
      When doing my composition 1.1 studies I usually opened a picture, removed the content and painted in there - thus I got the same viewing profile as the previous version, which probably saved me from this problem before.
    • when saving chose save for web. choose the 2-up view - that allows you to control what is changed in your picture before posting it online
    • part of the problem with darkpictures loosing their contrast when uploaded is the glaring light background of this forum. While painting in photshop you probably had a nice grey background behind your picture, creating a nice soft glow. When uploaded all the extra whites send out so much light that the pupils constrict and softer nuances is lost. Best way to counteract that is reducing the webbrowser site to just include the painting, and hold it up against a nice grey/dark background.

    I don't know... maybe all of this is obvious for everybody else... but I was basicly ripping my hair out trying to figure out what went wrong with my image. So I thought maybe posting it all out here somewhere might save somebody else the trouble,

    and ofc this doesn't help if the person viewing is using a browser which doesn't care about embedded colorprofiles in images, is badly calibrated or is using a mobile phone

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  33. #27
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    @SerJef- Thanks! I will play around and see what I can do about those "brushstrokes". Not feeling confident in that area. I think I'll have to study some master portraits in the future.

    @Jason- I will work on it, thanks!

    @Meilin- Wow, Meilin to the rescue! Thanks for being incredibly helpful. After playing around with the things you mentioned I think it's mainly that my lighting set up is dark, with a dash of too bright background and I think a little of the info gets lost when I save it to another format. Either way, you've provided me with a lot of good information.

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  35. #28
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    That's really come a long way! Great detail in the shadows on the brow, and nicely drawn ear.

  36. #29
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    @Nathan- Thank you! An ear compliment is always welcome.

    Ok, so I tried to tweak the arm. Blarg. Super hard. I also tried to amp up the highlight in the pen, the earring, and the reflection on the tablet from my arm.


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    Last edited by Grumpysaur; April 9th, 2014 at 01:47 AM.

  37. #30
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    Wow. Really great work. Nice touch with the reflection on the table.
    Just wondering whether the light on your cheeck is keeping my eyes from looking at your eye first. But maybe that's how you intended it?

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