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Thread: Ben Zehner - Composition 1.1

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    Ben Zehner - Composition 1.1

    I chose this painting because I like the balanced zigzag rhythm of the sky and mountains in the background and the beautifully posed figures in the foreground. In doing this painting I noticed how Frazetta uses economy in areas such as the lower right leg of the warrior. I find that my eye feels comfortable traversing the zigzags and exploring the whole painting and then returning to the figures.


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    watch your values...you are missing the light lights in this piece, as well as the crisp edges. nice start though. keep up the good work.

    jm
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    I really liked this portrait of Rembrandt because of the range of values used. I figured it would help me with values and also with shapes. If you get a shape wrong on a face it is so noticeable. Great use of emphasis on the face with the high values and detailing around the eyes. The details then fade rapidly as you go outward from the face into the darkness. I like how Rembrandt used the design principle of economy when depicting the hat and hair - they just blend into the background.

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    I really liked how Bierstadt used diagonals in this painting and how they all point to the fisherman in the middle of the composition. The fishermen are small but the eye is easily led to them by looking at the slopes of the mountains and angles of the rock formations. I especially liked the variety used in the form of the trees...how the one tree on the right side of the river is strategically bent to give more visual interest and character to the scene. It took 6 hours broken into 3 sessions to complete but I learned much. I experimented with the chalk brush tool in adobe photoshop cc and worked with tilting the angle of the brush to aid in getting proper flow and movement in the strokes. The process was super tedious but maybe I will figure out a faster workflow in the future. Can anyone point me to a useful tutorial on working with brushes? I am a noob.

    Thanks and I really appreciate this forum!

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    Last edited by Ben Zehner; March 7th, 2014 at 10:54 AM.
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    beautiful job. this is very very close and for the quick studies, right where you need to be. my only feedback really is that the trees could use a little more appropriate brush size to knock in the smaller shape feel that is going on. great job. really.

    j
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    Thanks for the encouragement and advice Jason! I think I need to work at higer resolutions to get those details a little better. Things became pixelated pretty quick as I zoomed in to detail. I realized you can always scale down an image once complete....so working at 5k rez is a good idea when doing these studies.
    more to come if my two younglings can go to bed earlier! lol!
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    Work in progress (instead of using a grid I did a gesture study and drew the forms first):
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    Ok this took a bit longer than the 1 hour time limit. My goal is to hit the 1 hour time limit with something recognizable by study #15! I chose Chrome Robot by Boris Vallejo for many reasons. 1) it is a great study in anatomy 2) the value range is super challenging – if there is any error in value then the chrome reflection just will not read.

    As far as design principles used, Boris has a mastery of emphasis by using the high contrast of values near the face & spark between the hands (the darkest darks can be found here as well as the lightest lights – in addition they are adjacent without gradiation). The eye is immediately led there by this extreme contrast and is also helped by the inward sloping of the clouds toward the hands and face. As you move down the body the highlights become less and details are toned down illustrating economy in design.

    Economy is also used in the background as it just blends into nothingness at the bottom- putting any details in the background would only take away from the main idea in this painting (the Chrome Robot).

    Overall I really enjoyed this study and learned much about controlling line and sensing shapes. I hate using grids because I feel it makes things way to easy and then what is the point….you are not really training your brain to see the shapes and forms with a grid.
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    Hey Ben,

    Some really great studies going on here! The Bierstadt was a very cchallenging one and you did a really good job.

    Maybe just use large brushes and try to get the shapes correct if you are trying to do something within 1 hr? Remember these pieces took days/weeks/months to paint by the masters so don't feel disheartened if youc annot achieve it in 1 hr I was going hours trying to paint as accurately as possible. I'll do that too still, but I'm going for a more blocking in approach so i can learn from the piece as well as get my painting better.

    I also noticed in the last screenshot how you arrange your workplace. Would it not be more convenient to have the reference and the study on the same canvas? What I do is I open the reference up in a document, double click on the ref layer to create its own layer, then resize canvas and set it to 200% from the left. This creates the exact same size on the right for your study to go. Then I Create a grayscale from left to right and resize the canvas again from the bottom for about 105% of the canvas size. This creates space above the pictures. Then transform the gradient layer to fit the top space.

    Make sure to fill in the background with a middle tone. I never begin with just white. I find it better to start with a middle tone so I can bring out the darks and lights from there.

    An example of what I mean can seen in my latest updates, which I see you already seen

    Good job and keep it up
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    Rist! thanks for the suggestions I will have to try that as my workspace is super crowded with my current work flow. A lot of my references are of such low resolution because I get them of the internet. when I put them side by side on the same canvas I have to work at super low resolution. With Chrome Robot I painted my study at 4k resolution and scaled it down when posting to this thread. How do you deal with the resolution issues? Maybe there is a better way that I am just not seeing (I am very new to digital). Thanks again Rist for taking time to help!
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    excellent work on your values and great start to this. I would like to see your process in steps if you wouldn't mind sharing. I am going to hold off on more feedback til I see a little more as this one is very close and you seem to be on the right track. keep up the good work.

    jm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Zehner View Post
    Rist! thanks for the suggestions I will have to try that as my workspace is super crowded with my current work flow. A lot of my references are of such low resolution because I get them of the internet. when I put them side by side on the same canvas I have to work at super low resolution. With Chrome Robot I painted my study at 4k resolution and scaled it down when posting to this thread. How do you deal with the resolution issues? Maybe there is a better way that I am just not seeing (I am very new to digital). Thanks again Rist for taking time to help!
    When searching for images set the filter to LARGE in google. This will find the largest res images. Also unless its below 1000px I wouldn't worry too much about the res of your ref at this stage as we are limited to how long we were on them (meaning we cant get each brush stroke in there anyway).

    If you use the key command CTRL+ALT+I it will allow you to resize the whole image. Do this before folloing the other steps. You can then resize it to however size you like. I always resize to around 3k-4k for this. it will 'blur' your ref a little. But the reason why this is not a scary as it sounds is because we are having to paint at playing card size anyway and also if you look for LARGE images on google, chances are your ref will be this size anyways.

    There are ways to clean it up if you are really picky. You could set the resize type to Bycubic Smoother and also resize in increments to reduce the artifacting.

    If this is still a little daunting I may think of creating a simple guide on it, which should explain it better.

    And no problem.
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    Rist, I had no idea google had that option! and rezzing up in increments is something i never thought of. thanks! where on the web do you go to get compositions to study. I spend a lot of time hunting for cool images to copy but wonder if the choices I am making are optimal for these lessons. thanks again for the reply.
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    see post below
    Last edited by Ben Zehner; March 18th, 2014 at 11:13 AM. Reason: replying as quote
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