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Hey everyone! This is the latest image I've been working on. I'm having some issues adding that last layer of detail.
Do I need to be cleaning up/tightening edges? Rendering surfaces out more?
Well, the good news is what you've got so far is quite good, a strong basis for an illustration. The bad news is you're talking like it's near completion when this looks like it's in its earliest stages, some rough greyscale rendering with an initial colour pass. First, work on your colours - right now, it's very paint by numbers. Explore warms and cools. Play with skintones - skin has so much colour in it. Then work on refining and rendering out. Looser painting is okay if you know how to use it stylistically, but right now, it just looks unfinished. (My eyes are drawn to the hands, especially.) Edges and surfaces both.
The composition needs a bit of work, but mostly just because of all that empty space; you could do wonders with a bit of a crop and some more interesting clouds. Also, watch that tangent between the mountain and the sword hilt. It would help for you to post it a little smaller, on my screen, at least, I couldn't see the whole image without scrolling.
Thanks! This is great feedback. I'll get to work!
Also, if you could direct me to any good resources/videos on color in general, that would be amazing.
Well you just missed the on-demand sale which was pretty good on here
Anyhoos... I wanted to draw your attention to a bigger problem than finish (in my opinion) right now. Although as revidescent said, the fact that you feel it's close to being finished is a bit concerning. How long have you spent on this? As a benchmark I reckon 20-30 hours is a decent amount of time for a piece of professional illustration work. Those applibot cards you see all the time would be in that region most likely.
The lighting is very inconsistent in your piece right now - this needs fixing if you want to make the piece believable. Here's a paintover to try and illustrate the main problem areas that I could spot...
Excellent. Some great points. I think one of my big problems is confusing a piece of concept art with a finished illustration. I feel like I should get a piece done in a few hours, and am not realizing just how long a nice finished piece of artwork can/should take to complete.
Here's another piece I started working on, maybe about 3 hours in? I spent more time cleaning up and rendering a few areas.
Some more work on the knight sketch. Added some more clouds to fill the empty space to the left of the knight. Knocked back some of the brighter gradient transitions on the helmet and on the shoulder. Refining face and hands. So much work to do!
I'm sorry to do this to you mate but your latest update shows that you really don't understand how lighting works at all (or perhaps you're not sitting down and thinking about it properly, you're just painting what feels nice in any particular spot).
I've done a paint over to try and explain. You have shadows in lots of different places and in conflicting angles but confusingly you don't have lights in opposition to those shadows. If something is casting a shadow - which side is getting hit by the light? Secondly your bounce light on the back of his arms is as strong as the strongest light. This breaks the fundamental rule - you can't have shadows that are lighter than your lights! Simply doesn't make sense unless he has like a fire or something at his back - in which case it should be casting shadows!
In the little spherical lighting studies I did to try and explain - you can clearly see where the light is shining in each case (even without the annoying red arrow) - and you can see the corresponding shadow and the bounce light - light that would be bouncing off the surface that the object is sitting on and lightening the darkness... Obviously if both sphere and surface have high specularity (meaning more light bounces off) there will be more bounce light - but I think I might be confusing you so ignore that until later - for now - just concentrate on the dark vs the light.
As you obviously like painting figures I can recommend loomis' book - think it's called figure drawing for all it's worth? Or something like that. Anyhow he explains it very clearly.
If you understand this stuff and are just being lazy - definitely don't be! If you don't understand this stuff, I'd really stop working on this, go and do some value studies - here's my favourite - in a dark room shine a lamp onto an egg or an orange. Paint it. Then move the light to a different side and paint it again. Do this several times until you can paint where the light is coming from and, the resulting shadows, halftones etc... correctly, completely from your mind.
If you carry on working on it without understanding what you need to be doing, there's a real danger that you'll simply waste hours of hard work and end up with something that looks nicely polished but completely disjointed and weird.
To use a cliche, you have to be rigorous. You can draw a potato - but if you get the light correct it'll look amazing. In your case, you obviously have a nice grip on form (liked your explorer dude with the gun btw) - but are being completely let down by poor lighting.
I've done a paint over to show 2 simple lighting systems applied to your painting. And here's the thing to remember. If light isn't hitting something you ain't going to see it, it's in shadow!!! Imagine what happens when you shine a light into a completely dark room! I've stuck him indoors so there's no confusion over additional ambient light (light bouncing from his surroundings)
Hope this helps your understanding! If not then I'm a bad teacher and you should read loomis
Last edited by lovingit; February 9th, 2014 at 05:25 PM.
I realise I've been a bit simplistic in my haste to hammer home the point. What's more likely in my scenario is that in a dark room you get used to the dark and your eyes will begin to a see the shadows whilst the lights get blown out. So if you want to be really realistic you'd take this onto account. But let's assume you've just walked in on him!
Wow, I really REALLY appreciate you taking the time to do this crit. At it's simplest level, I do understand light, I think I am just trying to make things too complicated and not obeying general rules. You are correct, I am throwing in shadows for no reason, as I had not really established where the primary light source would be in the image.
Try not to leave light planning to later. Establish values early on via thumbnails and then when you do your full piece, do it with a fat brush then scale the painting up for your next levels of detail. Light is everything in painting as I've only just discovered myself quite recently! Anyhow, you could definitely do a better job than mine. I kinda rushed it! Missed the light rimming his nose for instance. That's wrong for sure. His nose should be casting a shadow.
Okay, tried to correct the lighting in the scene, based on an upper left primary source, and then a warm bounce light.
It's getting better. That being said, there are always some general issues remaining:
-first, the background still seems to show a light source from behind the behind the silhouette that contradict a lot the efforts you've made on giving a light direction. Seriously, change the background
-second problem: your colors (especially on the armor are really too saturated. And whiy this armor is blue in the first place?
I like what you did with the skin tones though :-)
Anatomically it appears as if his forearm gets too narrow too fast. And if you are going for consistent lighting then StefRob said is true about the background contradicting the sunset. Although for all we know there's some glowing light in front of him from an angel or magical being. Ofcourse if that were the case it would be better for us to see that.