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I think I am fairly happy with this so far, yet I wonder if I am missing anything because my objectivity is dulled. Please note, that when I get closer to the finish I will be adding in a glow to the dragon's mouth/belly and falling snow which will push the background back even further and I figured that with it being slightly overcast the colours are going to be pretty muted (I am aiming for a dreary look). I wonder if the castle gate needs to be pushed back in value a bit? I'm not happy with the sorceress either, something about her is bugging me but I can't place it.
It's a minor point, but my eye gets drawn to the edge of the dragons wing where it overlaps the castle wall. It's not quite intersecting, but there is a lot of contrast in that spot. The sorceress looks pretty good to me, though the way she's leaning to the right makes it look like she might be running.
darnis - thanks for that idea. originally that area was going to be open like the space between two bridges… but it could also be part of the bridge too
Now my issue I don't know what colour to make her cloak… I think white actually might work… I've done some more refining, pushed back the castle and background a bit, redrawn the sorceress, refined a bit of the dragons face (much to do). Just for fun I also quickly mocked in some blowing snow… right now it's a bit overwhelming, but it's a mock up… I do however like the snow that is blasting away from her glowing hand…
The new bridge setup reads much better I think.
I can't quite say why, but something about the new color of the dragon isn't reading quite right to me. It might be the snowy setting, or it might just be that the farthest object is the warmest (normally farther away = cooler). You might want to try a mock-up where the dragon's a a little duller and darker, maybe more of a brown, and see if that pushes it back into the distance a little bit. Or you could up the saturation on the humans to bring them forward.
I think the white cloak works quite well if you drop the saturation on the dragon. Makes for a nice bleak & snowy scene
the latest update looks good.
yeah, the dragon doesn't look right to me either. not its form but the way it's painted.
I think its wings lack that translucent quality
If you look at, say, bats (the only animals I can think of right now that have wings similar to a dragon's) and, well, they usually fly in the dark but when they fly in a light sky and you see them from the front, you see that their wings let the light through and therefore appear illuminated. Like these:
I think if you do that it'd really help.
I figured that being overcast there wouldn't be much of a direct light source… it would be more diffused. I guess I cheated by making some shadows darker then they should be, but making objects standout without them was beyond my technical ability.
In terms of adding translucency to the wings, I figured that since they aren't really being harshly backlit then they wouldn't be much more translucent then they already are… I did lighten them a little more and they are slightly more saturated then the dragon so I hope this achieves the necessary effect.
I applied the following fixes:
-cooled off the background
-dulled and cooled the dragon
-played with the soldiers armour to make it look like it fits in the environment, but I have no fucking idea what to do with the helmet! Help!
-in order to account for a diffused world light source I globally compressed and lightened the mid tone values
-added a little glow to the dragon's mouth
I know I need to fix:
-the soldiers face… I am trying to keep it simple…
-paint back in his hand
…then maybe it's render/detail time in select areas and add snow build-up to parts of the castle wall
I suppose I could spend forever on this just doing stuff, but I feel I am at my technical limit so I need to stop. I was going to add a banner hanging from the tower and iron torches on the bridge, but I think at this point it wouldn't serve the illustration any. I regret adding the fleeing soldier… oh well. Calling this done. Thanks for your help and feedback!