WIP critique please? **updated!

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  1. #1
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    WIP critique please? **updated!

    Name:  Screen shot 2014-06-16 at 10.14.45 PM.png
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    my original character who I've been concepting for a while, and I'e gotten to final character illustration stage. I want it to be very detailed, and I would like help on creating a good finish to bring it to a level of professionalism (mtg or loc?). Critique on anything else on the image is appreciated though.

    **THe creature is created from his darkness energy and rage, how do I make it clearer? **edit: The creature is called the "Hellhound" it's loosely based off german sheppard. Hellhound also has another meaning, it was his old prisoner nickname. Sorry for the confusion, theres a reason why it looks wolfish/dogish. Also, since the creature is just apart of his power, the character is more the important than the creature, he is demonstrating his power.

    Thanks!

    Last edited by denaliah; June 23rd, 2014 at 11:24 AM.
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  3. #2
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    I like the attitude of the character. The proportions feel natural, and my limited-knowledged eyes don't see any glaring anatomy problems. The rendering of the shoulder spikes seems a bit hasty, with some arbitrary lighting. The creature has more issues, IMO. It reads as an under-researched wolf. Its undersized lower jaw and large eye make it look weak, and the anatomy of the snout and eye area aren't very satisfying.

    Google image search of 'scary black wolf' yields some pretty badass inspiration:
    https://www.google.com/search?espv=2...vid=2131577554

    Regarding the overall image, the lighting could perhaps be more dramatic and engineered to draw more attention to the face. The costume is a bit plain. To me, the creature DOES read as being related to the personality/psyche of the character. Lastly, I think the rendering is pretty good.

    Hope that helps.

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  5. #3
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    I think it's a very good start but there are some issues IMO:
    -the head guy anatomy is not good, he has a big skull but narrow face with asymmetrical jaw angles.
    -his right hand is too big (remember that an opened hand almost cover a face but not entirely).
    -
    -you could add some move to his jacket
    -shadows aren't just a darker version of the main color. Colors in shadows depends here of the secondary light source aka blue sky light. So shadows should be bluer, even on his green pant.
    -finally, I agree with DPFX, there are issues with the creature. I've made a quick sketch that could may be appeal to you to show more anger.
    Here is a little paintover:

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    I agree with what the other two above have said, here's a couple of other thing's i've noticed:
    - The way his jacket is blowing and how is left leg is lifted slightly, gravity will push/pull the jacket down and not rest on his leg anymore.
    - Also i think the lighting is inconsistent on his left leg, i think you've pushed it around the leg too much.
    - Maybe to get the feeling of the wolf being part of him have the smoke coming from his hand blend into the wolf more, like a smoke wolf or something!

    Really good work though! keep it up!

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    Hmm.. Ok, I understand that since this is character illustration, you might want to show him this way.

    However, things that I don't see here are Darkness, Energy and Rage.. What I do see, is a male clothes catalog model dressed as a bad boy, showcasing his pants and coat. His legs/pants dominate half of the composition, even though there is no reason for that. While your painting is of good quality, the current colors are fairly generic and don't support the concepts of darkness, energy or rage.
    The downwards facing profile of a monster or wolf doesn't communicate those things either.. Monster would be demonic powers, wolf would make me think werewolf. Face downwards is a bit submissive, not rage and the sideways profile lessens the connection to the Dude.

    If you wish to portray 1) His 2) Darkness 3) Energy 4) Rage, then those are the things you have to show and put in focus while you downplay things that are not important.
    For example, you could use the Dudes face in the background, twisted in rage, made out of smoke, energy or whatever (google movies like '28 hours/days/weeks later' for examples of inhuman rage), change the perspective to lose the mighty pants and alter colors to support the concept.

    I'll attach a very quick Cut/Paste Transform/scale/perspective modification with adjusted colors and some other messing-up. It's obviously not anatomically or otherwise correct, it's just meant to show the general direction I'm talking about.

    With your painting skills, I think you could push this a lot further and it would be great to see you do so. Hope that helps.


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    Name:  Screen shot 2014-06-19 at 2.15.43 AM.png
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    Update. Thanks for all the replies. I haven't the time to cater to them all, but i changed the overall color direction and repainted hellhound creature because according to most of you, those are the key problems. I want darkness energy to have a purple hint to it. Also fixed jacket a bit. I'm gonna have to really control those hard vs soft edges!

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    Wow, it's a lot better like this! -Though I think you could push the agression of the spirit more, right now it looks angry...but also kinda old/tired.

    If you cannot find a ref of that head angle for a german shepherd go with a wolf or coyote: http://hal_macgregor.tripod.com/kennel/snarling.jpg
    Make the nose a bit smaller, lengthen the upper canines and pay attention to the proper fur pattern! (eg the divide in the middle of the forehead. An animals features can be very clearly and easily modeled by looking for where the fur changes length/direction of growth!)

    Also give the eyes emotion; Dogs have eyebrows too, or well...eyebrow muscles, at least. So you can do the same you'd do when drawing an angry human: squinty eyes, brow down-turned in the middle, eyes very slightly angled upwards! (Btw canine eyes don't have the same shape as human eyes, look up refs!)

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    Thanks. I was wondering about the new color palette.

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    The wolf design is much improved. I feel like we're losing the figure against the background a bit, like the values need work to establish a focal point. If this were a magic card, it would be really hard to tell what was going on.

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    Name:  Screen shot 2014-06-23 at 11.01.58 AM.png
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    Last edited by denaliah; June 23rd, 2014 at 11:04 AM.
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  16. #11
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    I think the image continues to improve. I've played around with the values to make the face more of the focal point. I'm no expert. To my eye tweaking the lights and darks is an improvement. Hope this helps.
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    I know this is your original character, but honestly, it's 99% Dante from Devil may Cry... Change it up into something a little more original design-wise and i think you'll be better off.

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    Attachment 1997640Update, value and design tweaks, but want second opinions before I render out details.

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    Last edited by denaliah; July 9th, 2014 at 08:53 PM. Reason: wrong file
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    there's something about the spikes that disturbs me. Plus the pants are taking up too much space considering they lack detail.

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    Ok, second opinion.. Thank you about clarification about that wolfhound thing. Loosing the shirt was a good thing too.

    However, multiple problems.
    1. The hound/it's snout has almost no depth, it's face, like most of the background feels very flat.

    2. The lightning from his hand is very distracting and messes with the depth even more. Also, electrical effect like that is a strong light source that would change your current highlights/shadows structure almost entirely. Hmm.. and if its not intended to be electrical but smoke.. well, doesn't look/feel like smoke, sorry.

    3. On the bottom part of the picture you have some relatively strong contrasts and saturation differences (coat & pants vs. background, kneepads vs. pants) where they draw too much attention to stuff that doesn't need attention.

    4. The overall color is tinted towards grey-ish.. I believe in english its called "muddy" color. Are you painting with low opacities? Mixing color with low opacity pushes the color tint towards grey. If that is your intention, then okay, but it can flatten things a lot and make them feel dirty.
    The overall color scale is not unified and has a bit too much black-ish in it. (sorry if my earlier message has affected that.. at that time it was to suggest the Darkness part.)

    5. If you wish to push to MTG level, the background is as important as the dude. Currently the top right and bottom left of the picture are almost useless in the composition. Either put them in good use or get rid of them. I'd suggest using the smoke (or lightning) and for that do Google image search on "Oil fire smoke".


    Aside from the hound head, almost all the problems are about value relations, saturation and the overall color.
    I'll attach another quick cut-paste-scale-rotate pic with color adjustments and small overpaint. Again it's just to show what I'm talking about, not really entirely correct itself..

    The key things in my adjustments: Unified colors, pushed Vibrance a Lot, adjusted value relations (contrasts) and saturation relations, cropped and rotated a bit to reduce unnecessary areas and to make composition more dynamic. Less is more with the lightning, unless you want to redo all shadows and highlights.

    Notice how the knee pads still stand out too much? Difference on saturation, value and edge sharpness compared to to surrounding pants does that, but the picture doesn't really need it.

    Well.. hope that is of some help.


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  23. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by samwaulu View Post
    Ok, second opinion.. Thank you about clarification about that wolfhound thing. Loosing the shirt was a good thing too.

    However, multiple problems.
    1. The hound/it's snout has almost no depth, it's face, like most of the background feels very flat.

    2. The lightning from his hand is very distracting and messes with the depth even more. Also, electrical effect like that is a strong light source that would change your current highlights/shadows structure almost entirely. Hmm.. and if its not intended to be electrical but smoke.. well, doesn't look/feel like smoke, sorry.

    3. On the bottom part of the picture you have some relatively strong contrasts and saturation differences (coat & pants vs. background, kneepads vs. pants) where they draw too much attention to stuff that doesn't need attention.

    4. The overall color is tinted towards grey-ish.. I believe in english its called "muddy" color. Are you painting with low opacities? Mixing color with low opacity pushes the color tint towards grey. If that is your intention, then okay, but it can flatten things a lot and make them feel dirty.
    The overall color scale is not unified and has a bit too much black-ish in it. (sorry if my earlier message has affected that.. at that time it was to suggest the Darkness part.)

    5. If you wish to push to MTG level, the background is as important as the dude. Currently the top right and bottom left of the picture are almost useless in the composition. Either put them in good use or get rid of them. I'd suggest using the smoke (or lightning) and for that do Google image search on "Oil fire smoke".


    Aside from the hound head, almost all the problems are about value relations, saturation and the overall color.
    I'll attach another quick cut-paste-scale-rotate pic with color adjustments and small overpaint. Again it's just to show what I'm talking about, not really entirely correct itself..

    The key things in my adjustments: Unified colors, pushed Vibrance a Lot, adjusted value relations (contrasts) and saturation relations, cropped and rotated a bit to reduce unnecessary areas and to make composition more dynamic. Less is more with the lightning, unless you want to redo all shadows and highlights.

    Notice how the knee pads still stand out too much? Difference on saturation, value and edge sharpness compared to to surrounding pants does that, but the picture doesn't really need it.

    Well.. hope that is of some help.
    Thanks for the detailed advice. I can see now looking bad how messy the other one was.
    Unity is something I understand in theory, but in practice I sometimes get distracted from it. I took your advice and attached a Work in progress which looks more focused in color than before. I also fixed the lighting a little bit in the spikes. This is still not done but i better direction i think.
    Attachment 2000519

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    Last edited by denaliah; July 14th, 2014 at 05:20 PM.
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    Name:  Screen shot 2014-07-16 at 5.01.10 PM.png
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  25. #18
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    Definite improvement in rage/darkness feel, and nice unity! Though I have to admit half of me still likes the cleanliness of the very first image. Also, the stylized hellhound at the beginning felt more like a spirit animal, whereas now it seems more like just a visualization of anger (though apparently I was the only one who liked the original hellhound? Feel free to ignore me...)

    My biggest suggestion at this point is to make it 'tight'. When you clean it up (I know that you've been messing with it a lot and it's a WIP, so you may already know to do this) make sure to focus on clarity. It's very muddy right now. The big wisp of smoke across his legs is distracting, and the background is very hazy and pretty uniform. The wolf could also use a bit more reference, and ideally be shrunk a bit (the eyes are getting close to the edge of the canvas). See if you can give your new rage-filled painting the crispness of the original.

    Also, side musing - His face doesn't feel angry enough to me, at least not matching the background and mood of the painting (which has escalated to violent-angry). It feels like he's smirking. He seems self-confident and composed, but I feel like if you're angry enough you're not thinking about yourself, you're thinking about the object of your anger... Less look, I'm a badass and more Where are those ****ers I'm going to shove their bloody eyeballs down their throats. You might try adding just a couple pixels (seriously, like two pixels) to turn his lips down into the slightest frown, and see if you like that better. Or try opening his eyes a touch more to give a hint of rage-insanity. Unless you were going for the confident bad-boy look to start with, in which case all of the above is irrelevant.

    Overall I really like the painting though.
    I'll let the experienced people critique anatomy and lighting.

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  28. #20
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    Looks great to me
    Nice work!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahlia View Post
    Looks great to me
    Nice work!
    Thanks, for the tips. I definitely agree with you about the cleaner composition in the first image. I was struggling with the haziness of the image when I tried to make it darker.

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  30. #22
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    Hello again.. Yeah, starting to look nice and some good points from Dahlia. I like the feeling of movement on bottom part of the picture now.
    The thing that jumps out a bit is the crossed leather straps, especially on the left where the studs feel a bit like floating in darkness. This is somewhat similar thing what happened before with the kneepads.. Considerable value difference with the surrounding area plus the straps don't quite follow the mass and curve of the chest and the coat.
    But as you continue, just keep an eye on those value/saturation amounts and relative differences, then you'll be doing fine!

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  31. #23
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    Second op on this image. I feel like where it's going crazy dark and laden with effects it's actually loosing some personality and the appearance is tending towards 'muddy.' I liked the idea of using some visual mechanism like smoke to connect the guy with the wolf... and your initial composition seemed most suited to that.

    Just an idea, feel free to ignore!

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