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  1. #1
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    Fun_and_fear composition 1.1

    Hey guys, I'm excited to hear some feedback and finally do some real grinding.


    This one is pretty poor, my technique is awful. First time digitally painting, and first time using anything but a pencil since an acrylics class years ago.


    I thought I had a pretty good understanding of value from years of portraiture but maybe not. Leaving my comfort zone has humbled me, for sure. And left me frustrated. Whole new drawing program AND operating system to learn with iOS. No computer makes things a bit tricky for sure. Any tips for basic digital painting would be great. Right now I think I need to learn to take more time and block out basic values and move onto details when that's all done. I started on detailing long before the full values were boxed in, or however you'd say that.


    Anyways. The Mill by Rembrant. The thing that stuck out most for me was the contrast. There's a nice contrast between the mill and the sky, as well as the boat and water down there at the bottom left. I don't believe the boat was much of a focal point, at least compared to the mill. Eyes drawn to the mill first, I'd say. The boat is located pretty far from the focal point.


    There was a nice balance between dark and light in this painting, almost as if half was dark value and half was light. The water and sky contrasted to the land take up around an even space in the frame.


    Economy was a word I wrote down. I think it was a nice use of the even values in most of the painting to make the contrast of the windmill and boat stick out even more.


    I need to learn the difference between value and tones. From what I understand value would be dark vs light, and tones would be similar but with colour? I'll look it up anyways don't worry, just rambling.


    Thanks for any and all responses.


    Cheers.

    Edit: Also, I might have uploaded two of the same threads. If it's not gone in the morning I'll delete it. Do threads always take a while to pop up?
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    Last edited by fun-and-fear; February 24th, 2016 at 03:47 AM.


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  3. #2
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    2. Death of the Prince de Talmont by Fleury-François Richard

    50 minutes. Tried a different technique for this one. Started broadly and didn't switch brush sizes until I felt the values were all well enough to move down a touch. Only got to do that once before time ran out. At the end went over a bit with a big brush to smooth out the values. Of course the lines are very blurry and it looks terrible again.

    Not sure how well I'm doing it technique wise. YouTube tutorials seem a bit too advanced. I feel as if it's just as simple as continuing on refining? Getting smaller and smaller. Which means time is the factor here. Or, maybe I am on the wrong track?

    Anyways. Death of the Prince de Talmont. The thing that stood out most for me while painting was the use of shadows that wouldn't be there if it were real life. Around the pillars at the top right, for example, he creates shadows to show contrast between the pillar and wall. That's nice to know, it doesn't look bad in any way.

    Big contrast between the doors, windows, ground and the rest of the building. The corners were also shadowed, obviously, creating contrast. The pillars and the steps made for some nice repetitious lines. Contrasting each other, maybe.

    Eyes were immediately drawn to the dying man, as was probably the intent. Ya know, full of action. The man sitting down to the right may be used as a contrasting element, but that doesn't sound right. What I mean is.. He's not too exciting, there's excitement elsewhere to be drawn too. Contrast sounds like a catch all buzz word here.

    There's also a man outside pointing towards the viewer, he's got a pretty intense demeaner and adds some form of feeling to the picture. It's not just a realaxed afternoon carrying a dead man home, people are upset.

    That's what I got.

    Cheers
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  4. #3
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    Hi fun-and fear, welcome to the fold I enjoyed reading your analysis, particularly the one about the death of prince Talmont. Looking at your studies, the most apparent problem seems to me that you use a lot of small brush strokes to block in values. Try zooming out your canvas until it's the size of a stamp and block in the values with a large brush. Zoom in, and refine the shapes. Rinse and repeat. I know the assignment says you should do them in less than an hour, but take a look at the other threads. Most of the people here seem to take their time doing these.

    You mention you are new to digital painting, and while i'm no expert myself i can perhaps point you in the right direction. And this direction is ctrlpaint by Matt Kohr (http://www.ctrlpaint.com/library). While most of the software info is limited to photoshop, the basic principles are the same regardless of what program you use. Of particular interest to you should be :
    * Digital painting 101 http://www.ctrlpaint.com/dp101-1/
    * Value sketching http://www.ctrlpaint.com/videos/sketching-value

    I hope this helps you a bit. Best of luck, and I hope to see more of your studies

    PS Yes, it takes some time for posts to appear. Posts by new (non-premium) users are probably checked by a mod to see if they arent spam.

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  6. #4
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    Thanks for the reply Chris. It's really nice to hear input. I'll give your advice a shot now that I have a bit of experience under my belt (these two are actually attempts 3 and 5, I am that bad).

    With that said, moving on to my next one. Swithced up my technique. I made this with a hard brush and made super blocky values. It looked pretty awful, even worse than it looks now, so I went through with a softer brush and tried to add a bit of texture and loosen up those lines a bit. Nothing detailed, used a pretty big brush as of course I was trying to keep it under an hour. I think I'll increase my time limit as these are too hard under an hour with my skill level.

    I also need to maybe take a break. Sitting here for an hour and a half of set up and finding the image leaves me antsy by the end of it. After writing this out looking back at the painting I see a lot of inredibly simple improvements in value ranges and some very obvious placement issues. Maybe turn up the sketching process instead of jumping right in before getting the placement down. Again, I think it comes to the self imposed time limit. "Needing to get it done" with an ongoing tension instead of enjoyment and focus. Mental shit, really.

    Anyways.

    Pablo Picasso - The Old Guitarist

    Composition. It has a nice dark value range, as the piece isn't supposed to be upbeat. Sets the mood ablaze with apathy, to put it stupidly. I again noticed some values that were placed solely in order to create some contrast. Behind most forms there's a fairly subtle background value to make it pop.

    The background lines seem to point towards the subject. But then again the subject is taking up the whole frame.. I think Picasso was going for some form of.. Actually, I don't know what he was going for. What I felt was some form of agony or despair, the tilted body and crooked neck, open mouth and those fingers. Underweight was definitely a wise move to fit with the scene, would that fit under emphasis?

    That rip in the shoulder was also a great way to create some contrast to his torso. That whole area is a bit blue and really adds to the composition.

    Those fingers should be mentioned. Maybe it's just me but they seem in some way a focal point. They are both contrasted out fairly well, and there is lines moving towards them. The lines of the legs point towards them, the background horizontal and vertical walls too, even his neck and shoulders seem to draw the eye there.

    But I'm not sure. I mean, we can find lines anywhere.. I'm not confident enough to say anything for sure with this.

    Thanks for reading.

    Cheers
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  7. #5
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    Thanks again Chris, I checked out those videos and holy smokes, layers make things so much easier. Unreal stuff.

    This was my shortest yet, 45 minutes, and up until I started messing around the best. Maybe still is, I dunno. Tried to get rid of some of the soft lines and made the whole thing look a bit.. Some word, meaning not very static around the whole image.. Random hard lines thrown about don't go well with the softness of the rest. This maybe wasn't the best picture for utilizing hard lines, don't know why I threw them in.

    Anyways. La maja desnuda by Fransisco de Goya y Lucientes (what a name)

    There's a nice contrast between the background shading and the couch, which I didn't show very well in my attempt. Seems to be a nice value between light and dark values as a whole. A recurring theme here.

    There's also a nice rhythm with the fabric on top of the couch. I'm sure that was added to give some form of contrast to the rest of the image, which is fairly smooth by comparison.

    That's what I got. Cheers.

    Edit changed number to 4
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    Last edited by fun-and-fear; March 2nd, 2016 at 03:45 AM. Reason: Changed painting to 4

  8. #6
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    Starting to get the hang of this digital paint thing. This was also the first one where I enjoyed the work, I didn't set a time limit and things seemed to flow well. 2 hours. I can quickly seem some pretty poor proportions (he's smaller and to the left, broadly speaking). Little things all around. Again, focus more on the placement before getting into the nitty gritty.

    It's nice enjoying the process tho. I forget why I do this sometimes.

    The Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough. I think we all know the story here. At the time (1770s) a well known artist was preaching that colder hues should be saved for the background, with warmer hues up front. As a bid to rid the world of defining rules The Blue Boy was made. And what do ya know, it worked.

    Really got to feel the highlights this time. The undershirt poking through the jacket, hands, collar, front legged sock, under the armpit (not sure that would be there in a real garment. Maybe. Seems added for the sake of composition) and some tufts. It doesn't quite feel the same without adding them in, a bit more bland.

    There's the usual variation in the background to provide some contrast, lights behind certain dark foreground forms and dark behind light forms. Give that extra pop that's needed in an overall dark image.

    The wrinkles seem to point towards his guns. Perhaps Gainsborough was trying to emphasize this young man's figure and self assuredness.

    I just noticed too that there seems to be contrast with each separate object, not just the whole picture. The ground has some lighter and darker, the sky, all of his clothes, his hair, hat, rock etc etc. I'm gonna take a guess and assume anything that is to be pointed out in any way should have it's own contrast, the more severe the more it'd stick out?

    I dunno. That's what I got.

    Cheers.

    Edit: Oh my, this is number 5, not 4. Please forgive me.
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    Last edited by fun-and-fear; February 25th, 2016 at 10:28 PM.

  9. #7
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    Why the long face? Ahahaha!

    This thing was pretty bad. Getting better overall, for sure, but this one was embarrassing. Looked up and saw what was happening and decided it's done. An hour 40 minutes for this beast. This problem is applicable to any type of drawing, losing the big picture in the details.

    Pushing myself pretty hard these days, though. Can't expect to be on my game all the time with a constant stream of new information. Anxiety creeps up throughout the day and doesn't let go while filling every minute with new shit, drawing or otherwise, never allowing my mind to rest.

    Anyways. Hugues Merle - Young Beauty

    Nice contrast of the background and foreground values. I think I've noted that with every picture so it's time to move on. After this one. The textured hair and smooth face make for again, a nice contrast. The background being plain helps out economy wise by putting more emphasis on this fine lady. The fabric brings in some nice texture and contrast as well.

    That's what I got. Cheers.
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    Hi fun-and fear. I'm brand new here, and I figured I'd jump right in with some feedback. It's nice to see your progress. You've come pretty far in just a few pieces. Clearly the process works!

    As for this last piece, you're right,
    the face is a little long, but you really captured the intensity in the eyes. The strong lighting on the face is also in line with the values of the original, but it could be brought out more in a few places on the fabric. You've correctly identified the points of emphasis and clearly spent the most time working the detail of those areas. In terms of improvement, it looks like your brush is too soft. I'm not sure what program you're using, so I don't know how much customization is available, but I would experiment with hard edge brushes if you can. Bringing some hard edges into the finer details will enhance the contrast and make your work appear cleaner. If you are using hard brushes, then you are probably overworking them, which is a problem that plagues experienced even digital artists. I would also be mindful of your brush stroke. Take the highlights in the fabric for example. The brush strokes in the original run parallel to the stripes in short strokes. They are also stronger in every other stripe, which makes it appear as though the fabric is shinier in those stripes. You can also see short strokes in the highlights in the hair at the top of her head, which run parallel to the strands of hair. Hard lines and deliberate strokes will make your work look more confident.

    I hope that helps. Keep up the good work. I look forward to seeing it progress!

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  12. #9
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    Wow, fun-and-fear I've been looking at your thread and you've been improving with leaps and bounds! You are obviously getting to be more comfortable with your medium. I also assume you have set aside more time for your studies, which I personally think is a really good idea. Honestly, they should set that 1 hour bound as a goal not as a limit .

    #3 I'm impressed by your ability to distill the major forms and thereby the major edges. Most of the information is here, only the values need more work
    #4 I think the largest problem here is the lack of time spend on getting the planar transitions right. The large value masses are correct, but you need to spend more time on getting value right along the plane changes - soft versus hard. Don't think in terms of lines like you are a draftsman.
    #3, 4, 5 and 6 I've already mentioned this in other threads but I think it really pays off to spend a bit more time on getting the face right. This is difficult, and something I personally really struggle with. Us humans are very good at recognizing faces, unfortunately this also means we are very good at recognizing thing that are "off" in the face. You did a good job capturing the highlights in #6, but if I were to draw a thick line through both eyes in the original and your version, the angle is off by a few degrees. Similarly if you were to draw a line through the keystone (the area just above the nose, between your eyes and below your brow line) and the middle of your chin, you would see the line is off by a few degrees.

    Don't forget to take some time to zoom out and squint at your painting to get the values right. Also if possible, see if you can mirror your canvas, it really helps "reset" the eye.

    Again, I'm really impressed by your improvements. I think most of your problems will probably be solved by getting more practice with your chosen software suit, and just taking the time to carefully observe.

    PS I just thought of another ctrlpaint video you might want to watch: http://www.ctrlpaint.com/videos/the-tiny-study

    (*) The normal vector of a plane A is like a line perpendicular to the plane (A)

    Edit: Got your study numbers wrong .
    Last edited by ChrisR; February 26th, 2016 at 09:42 PM.

  13. #10
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    Edit: Forgot to link to the artists site: tuomaskorpi.com/wp/slider/featured/

    Thanks Chris.

    I'm starting to get a feel of hard vs soft lines, if only through the use of hard and soft brushes. It really feels more intuitive when using soft brushes, go a bit more by feel. It's something to really keep an eye on.

    Also, if anyone can answer this question it'd be great. Is there a standard procedure to begin? I've tried blocking in major values with soft and hard brushes, but I'm terrible with both. They both kinda work, so it's difficult to tell. I think I prefer the hard blocking because it's a bit easier to differentiate forms/edges. Soft for the finishing touches?

    I might be getting ahead of myself here. Composition is the focus of these exercises. I'd just like to get the right habits down.

    Anyways. This is an unnamed (as far as I can tell) painting by Tuomas Korpi. It was taken from his website where no information is given.

    This image again has a nice contrast between dark and lighter values. Almost 50/50. He used a fairly blurry background to bring the viewers eye to the foreground, using that economy wisely. The lines from the roots and the ground line just below the waterfall seem to point off to the painting where the main characters are looking.

    That's what I got. Cheers.
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    Last edited by fun-and-fear; March 9th, 2016 at 10:07 PM.

  14. #11
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    ChrisR, I think I took your advice the wrong way. Tried a different technique for this one without using lines. Took 45 minutes or so to very sharply draw the shapes with some value scheme, basically just darker and light, nothing like the image really. It didn't work well, as going through again was tough with all those hard lines between forms. Very slow process, and the end product has that ugly blocky look still.. Not very organic at all.

    I'm gonna go back to the original sketch out the forms and work from there. Keeping in mind hard and soft lines. And not being so serious about avoiding smaller brushes, get into those corners as they come up. Little things. Learning a lot.

    QUESTION: I was watching a video that said sketching out with "pencil" was a beginner technique. Is that true? Seems pretty smart to get the proportions correct in pencil and move on to paint.

    Gabriel Von Max - Monkeys at the Piano

    The background and piano creates a nice background and foreground combo to frame the subject, both are simple and create a contrast to the detailed scene. The painting gradually softens as it gets further back, which subtlety creates a monkey is the focal point economic model. Stupid wording.

    That's what I got, cheers
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    Hi fun-and-fear, I'm still trying to figure things out for myself and am experimenting quite a bit. That being said, I'll try my best to answer your questions.

    Your questions seem to be centered around how to approach this exercise; should you use a hard or soft edge for the initial block in or should you do an initial sketch with some linework? I can't offer you a definitive answer because I don't think there is one. My advice is to look and study (yes take a few hours) other threads and see how other people approach this problem and also just use what works for you. And no I don't think making an initial pencil sketch is beginner's mistake. In fact a lot of professional painters work that way. All that matters is the end result. Seriously, just experiment a lot and eventually you'll figure out a method that works for you .

    That being said this is my process:
    (1) I find a picture of a painting I like and convert it to gray scale.
    (2) Importing it to photoshop I increase the canvas to the right by 100% and create a new layer beneath which I'll use to paint without painting over the original.
    (3) I zoom the canvas way out , like literally thumbsized, and then use a hard edged brush (*) to block in the initial value shapes.
    (4) I then zoom in and refine the overall large shapes and values with a hard edged brush until i'm happy. This doesn't mean things are absolutely perfect, I generally make some adjustments later.
    (5) Once I'm happy with the overall value shapes I'll start to look how the different values transition to each other. Is it a fast gradient value transition or a slow gradient value transition? There's also the abrupt value transition, where one value just jumps to another (**). These value transitions are generally what I refer to as edges. Generally, I'll start using a soft brush (see (*)) during this stage.
    (6) Refine until I'm happy(ish).

    Finally, looking at your last two paintings:
    (1) You have the overall shapes right.
    (2) The value in #7 is good, but in #8 it could use some work (mostly corrupted due to (see #4).
    (3) The edges in both #7 and #8 can be improved. I haven't studied fur much, but if I paint hair I generally find that there are soft and "hard" (***) edges. Note that these do not just pertain to the outline of the fur, but also to the overall value transitions within the shape (from shadow to light, and from one type fur to another).
    (4) Particularly in #8, you try to paint in the "idea" of fur and scratches on the wooden paneling. My advice is to to just don't to try to capture these "textural" details. Getting the shape, values, and the edges (value transitions) right is far more important. The viewers brain tends to fill in the details .

    I hope this helps!

    Cheers,
    Chris

    (*) I use the standard brushes from ctrlpaint:

    Name:  brush_examples.png
Views: 1457
Size:  25.8 KB

    The first one is hard-edged, the second soft-edged, the third is again hard-edged. Note that both hard- and soft edged brushes have blending.

    (**) This value transition typically happens from the outline of objects to their background, where the object has one local value whereas the background has another.
    (***) These edges aren't really super hard, mind you.

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  17. #13
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    Thanks again for the reply ChrisR.

    That's a good way of looking at things, that there is no right way, to just practice and find what works. I often struggle with the "exact" line of thinking, perfectionism you could call it. Then comes frustration as my skills devolve and thinking more perfectionism will fix things if only I knew the exact way - something different. It's a terrible cycle. The screen is right there, focus on that and the process and things will naturally improve.

    Also, I'll take my study time a bit more seriously and a bit more laid back. You're right there. The pursuit of information isn't a quick one, and leaves a lot on the table when taken as if it is. I do have a sense of urgency to everything I do as I'm working hard on quite a few areas in my life, thinking more time for other stuff will help. I'll have to focus more on taking the time in every area and cut what needs to be cut if it comes to that. Quality over quantity. Again, more journal entries. Sorry lol

    Again, I appreciate the criticism. I will spend the time to think about what you've said and watch the CTRLpaint videos series.

    Thanks again Chris, I can't state enough how helpful you've been.

    Edit change of tense, would to will
    Last edited by fun-and-fear; March 9th, 2016 at 04:12 AM.

  18. #14
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    American Gothic by Grant Wood.

    I got a little detail happy with this one, got lost in the house details. I continued with that level of detail for a while but decided this is a composition study so threw on a layer and did some quick details to call it finished (for now). Used solely soft brush for this one. About 4 hours, I'd say. See some pretty clear proportion mistakes, again going for detail too quickly.

    The focus of this one appears to be on the couple. They're just the biggest subject in the painting, while the rest is also very detailed. Maybe that was done on purpose to keep secondary focus on the farmhouse instead of drawing the eye away from it had it been blurry.

    There's a lot of unity in the lines of this image. The lines on the walls both vertically (I'm not sure what exactly those are, they just appear to be decoration) and horizontally, the pitchfork, his shirt, and strangely enough, her blouse has very exacting lines to the pattern. They don't flow naturally with the shirt. Repitition in all that as well.

    There's a nice balance between detailed and non detailed sections. His jacket and the sky being rather short on detail, as well as her blouse, but that might be a stretch.

    That's what I got.

    Cheers
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    Itching to move on to the next set of assignments at this point. Ten more to go. I'm going to spend an hour and a half max on the next 10. This one was right around that mark.

    10. David Gaillet. davidgaillet.deviantart.com, he's got some great stuff.

    Really like this scene and the execution here.

    The emphasis of the painting appears to be on the upper body of the mermaid. The economy of value points that way with the use of dark values everywhere else. The scene is also set up to border the mermaid torso with the fishermen, ropes, and side board of the ship. The ropes in the top corners of the image work as a nice border, while the other ropes appear to point towards the mermaid. The rain also points towards her head. I'd imagine the image would have a slightly different feel if it were pointed the other way.

    There is also a lot of texture in the image as a whole except for the mermaid. It looks like she's rather smooth compared to the rest, and even the rain is less emphasized in front of her.

    That's what I got.

    Cheers.
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    Fun and Fear,

    I just found your thread and you are definitely making improvements overall but your definition of edges (hard versus soft) still needs work. I am trying to figure out why on this particular image (study 9) you did not complete the faces? You are eager to get into the next level but you need to ask yourself why you feel the need to get there and why rush through any of these or skip parts of the image? You are only taking away opportunities for your improvement. The next lesson will be building on top of this one but it still involves more drawing/ painting so a good foundation in careful observation here will only benefit you more in the next level. Instead of rushing through the next 10, try to take the time to get it right. ChrisR has been giving some really good advice and basically showing you how to do it but you need to put the real time in to realize continual growth. From a book I read called "Talent is Overrated", keep in mind that the great artists who became great did so by doing repeated tasks not in a mindless way but in what is known as performing with full 100% cognitive awareness. Basically, someone who spends 3 hours of really focus time and effort on one painting trying to get it "right" to accomplish specific goals one set forth will grow much more than the person who cranks out 3 paintings in that same hour and does it a more superficial awareness. For you, the one goal you should have with next painting (along with correctly capturing the values) is to replicate the edges as you observe them in the original. Flip between original and copy a lot as you work and you will be surprised at how many little things jump out at you to correct and refine. Good luck and keep it going.

    Check out this thread from Blackspot.

    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho....php?&t=320549
    Last edited by arcitek; March 9th, 2016 at 11:16 PM.

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  22. #17
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    To answer your question simply, impatience. "Let's get this done before heading out to work"

    I agree rushing isn't ideal and growth happens with conscious effort, which hasn't been there every moment of every drawing of mine so far. I'm partially eager to move on from this section of assignments due to my limiting outlook towards it- mainly that this is to be an exercise in composition, a quick study of values, and I should simply keep to that. You're right in that there is much more to learn if I were to take a bit more time and effort. Edges namely, as you've mentioned, as I've managed those quite poorly. I will stick edges to the forefront of my next 10 assignments.

    It's also a much more relaxing and rewarding experience when cognitive awareness is put into play. I personally call this mindfulness, something that is actually coming along quite well in my life, despite the faces on #9 haha. I hit a point where I wonder how much detail is enough for me to use this time wisely and then run away from it. When in reality, the two extra hours of being aware would be a better use of my time then the 20 minutes it takes to slap on a layer of "finishing touches" mindlessly to get it done before I head out.

    You're definitely right, I will put in the effort from here on out. Not overly detailed, as that is in itself a form of poor awareness, just a consistent conscious effort. I'll try to watch myself when I feel that impatience tinge to rush it done and move back to home base.

    I really appreciate your angle of criticism. Thank you.
    Last edited by fun-and-fear; March 10th, 2016 at 12:12 AM.

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    Edit: Number 11, not 10 as the image says.

    11. Hayao Miyazaki. Anime background artist.

    This one took just under 3 hours. Testing out my patience with this one. There was a couple times I didn't want to erase a mistake. At one point the mistake was making a window too detailed, it felt like a shame to erase the work but that's what ya gotta do. Else it looks off unless that level of detail is pushed everywhere.

    "Do not waste time in the details. Purposely avoid rendering the "fingernails and eyelashes" or insignificant details which distract you from paying attention to the design principles", "Spend a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 1 hour on each one. If you are having problems, take a bit longer, but this is what you should be aiming for by the end."

    I gotta keep this in mind, the man himself says keep it short, it's to learn design principles not learn how to render details.

    I could have pushed the value a lot harder, the foreground hills aren't very dark, the stone wall on the left sticks out the most. The road, which was originally an afterthought, should have perhaps been a main area to spend time on, considering it's a major section of the foreground. Mountains are soft as well and could do with some harder lines.

    Anyways.

    There's a nice contrasting element with the clouds. Economics is used in that whole area, the smooth simple clouds and background hills in contrast to the rest of the image.. Not sure where the emphasis would be, my guess is the foreground house, road, and wall area, judging from the level of detail..

    That's what I got.

    Cheers.
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    Last edited by fun-and-fear; March 11th, 2016 at 03:03 AM.

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    12. Bathsheba at her bath - Rembrant

    This one came along well. I paid attention to hard and soft lines, for the most part. It's interesting using the hard brush to get a clean edge and then soften it out. Before I'd try the hard brush and wasn't confident enough to soften it well enough afterwards. As you can see in this image.. It still looks very poor in some areas (under her left arm, look at that blotch of straight lined of darkness)

    I focused mainly on Bathsheba, as you can probably tell. The background was an afterthought, I perhaps shouldn't have kept it that much of an afterthought, though. Drew it sort of graphically. A bit more time there in the next one.

    This one was 1.5 hours. I'm happy with the outcome. A bit more time on proportions would get them better as well (long legs, a bit too chubby, angle of torso not quite more towards the viewer)

    Anyways.

    As with most of the older paintings of this type, and I'm sure the new school ones as well, a simple background is used to keep the economy on the subject. Which in this case is clearly Bathsheba. I hope that's her name and not just her title. The sofa is quite detailed as well. Adds some texture to the image, as well as the clothes.

    That's what I got.

    Cheers.
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    Last edited by fun-and-fear; March 12th, 2016 at 05:30 AM.

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    I am seeing the improvement in every piece. I would recommend seeing the overall tone of the piece and starting that as the main background color and paint the lights on top of it. The dark nurse who is washing the feet becomes to noticeable in your piece and detracts from the over all composition. Keep at you are getting it.

  26. #21
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    edit: how bout we add the images

    Thanks fox and moon.

    Got two drawings for this post. First one was done pretty poorly. It actually came out alright, taking a look at it again, but it's really soft and I deleted it out of frustration. Partly because I didn't follow the steps correctly, the whole thing didn't feel right.

    Second one is some concept art by Noah Bradly. The Last Whisper. Took about 2 hours. At the end I got a bit graphical with the hard lines as time was wearing down. It also looks fairly blotchy with shades sticking out a few shades lighter than they should be.

    The first thing I noticed when converting it to greyscale was how important the colour scheme is. The orange fire contrasting with the blue tone of everything else sets it apart nicely and draws the eyes in. The creature is also looking towards the fire, and should be the first thing the eye is drawn to. In the black and white image the fire barely stands out at all.

    This work is pretty complicated, for some reason. Ideally, shouldn't it all be similar no matter the image, broad strokes to close? Maybe it's a problem with the way I look at it, all the different shapes in the rocks overwhelming me. The next piece I'm working on is giving me the same problem.

    That's what I got. Cheers.
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    Hey Fun and Fear, you're definitely making progress, but here are something i think you could do to progress a little faster (i'm still figuring out my way too, so take some of my advice with a grain of salt).
    While I do agree these exercises are for studying composition, i think it's a very good opportunity to kill 2 birds with one stone. It looks like you're still not very familiar with PS, so when you do these studies take your time and try to not only learn something new about composition, but also PS. For me, i try to pick a piece that is has a interesting composition, will provide me a particular challenge, and ofc it has to be a piece i actually like. So for me i may say something like "How many guides/rulers do i actually need?" and then in my following studies challenge myself with using as few rulers/guides as possible while maintaining decent proportions.
    You also seem to have a bit of a white glow along the edges of the painting (number 13) which isnt really in the original. In case you haven't been doing it already, it a lot easier if you use some kinda of boundary so you can paint confidently near the edges. I just use the square selection tool.

    Finally, I think your values could use some work. Try zoom waaaay out, like small enough that you could easily cover it up wit your thumb, it really helps you see the values and since the images end up so close together, it's a lot easier to compare them. Once i'm finished with a piece i also like to take the color picker and work on my "absolute values", i.e. i look at the original, pick a spot and guess what its values is (0-100%) and then compare with what the color picker tells me it is. I like it think of it kinda like "absolute pitch" and "relative pitch". In case you don't know, absolute pitch is the ability to hear a note and say what it is without reference (a very desirable talent for musicians) and relative pitch requires some kinda of reference to tell what note was played. And don't take that as "you can just cheat and use the color picker!", i would not suggest using the color picker during the study. I really hope some of this helps!

    Anywho, best of luck in your studies Keep it up! (again take the advice with a grain of salt, i am a beginner)

  28. #23
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    Thanks digitalpanda.

    That's a good idea. I'm using procreate on the iPad so there's some limitations. I should make myself a list of things I'm comfortable with and work on those while doing these. Namely, layering and the lasso tool. It would any mistakes a lot easier, but I almost use it as if it's a piece of paper. \

    Those white glows lol. They haunt me. Some drawings they're bad, and sometimes they're easy enough to remedy, I'm not sure why. Mindset maybe, frustration and rushing making them a bigger deal then a simple slap of paint. Number 13 was pretty sloppy, it was a bad day all together.

    In this one here I used that values strategy and it worked out great. I didn't know about relative pitch pitch and absolute pitch, that's a nice comparison. It's always nice to hear about.. Whatever that is lol. I guess the arts and artists, taking a big interest in it all. I dunno.

    Thanks again, that's some good advice. Appreciated.

    Number 14. Stańczyk By Jan Metejko.

    I love this painting. It reminds me of the old days. When I used to chase attention, going to parties all the time, only able to handle so much before drifting away to get lost in thought somewhere.

    Stańczyk looks out of place. I spent the last twenty minutes on him with a smaller brush so it doesn't look like he belongs.. He's a lot more stubby than in the original. 1.5 hours.

    The composition here is interesting. I'm not sure if we're supposed to speak about the composition in terms away from the physical painting, but here goes. There's a contrast between the dark room where Stańczyk sits and the party going outside the door, both with the use of lights and the.. what would that word be called. Theme..? Emotion? I'm not sure. Parties are upbeat bright social gatherings and this dude is in the dark alone.

    That's what I got. Cheers.

    edit: also, I'm a little sick of the airbrushed look. Maybe it's time to try out a different style?
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    Your edges are still too soft where there should be more defined edges. Your lightest values are off as well in #14. I think if you can fix these things you will have this down well. Keep going.

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    Edit: Thanks arcitek. This one is way too soft as well (wrote a bit about that whole issue). Focused a bit more on the values and I think I got a better go at it this time. Whites could take a bit more work.

    15. Matejko Self Portrait

    First off, I see that it's really soft. I'm wondering, is my process not ideal for this? Does that look like the way I'd draw up to that point before hardening the edges? If it is, my process would be to find the hardest edges and go through them with a smaller soft brush, or a hard brush.. And then lighten the other side of the stroke to fit with the rest of it..

    That doesn't seem intuitive. Or maybe it's because I need the practice doing it. Either way, it doesn't feel right, I tried a bit around the coat, the top of the chair, and around his right hand collar. It makes it look graphical and seems out of place compared to the rest of the soft image. I guess I'd just have to soften the other sides and leave an abrupt edge in the middle.. That already seems to make more sense the way I'm thinking now. A lot of time and patience? Maybe if I were to do it a bit earlier it wouldn't seem so bad.

    In one of the images with the moose character I used hard brushes for most of the image and switched to soft for certain sections. It worked well, but that doesn't seem to work for photorealism. I dunno.

    I've noticed myself paying attention to the works I see out there in the real world. Kind of nice.

    Anyways, a self portrait by Matejko.

    There's a large variety of colours for the major masses in this one. Blue on the right hand side along the outer wall and box on the ground, reddish orange around the chair, green curtains in the top left, a black mass with his suit, dark brown wall, and a duller brown for the floor. Grey beard and skin tones on the face and hands, though not huge masses take a fairly large piece of real estate. I'd reckon it's the emphasis of the painting. Lots of variety. I don't think it's too appealing, to tell the truth. Seems a lot of colours that don't seem to mesh well. (Could someone critique my critique for me? I'm sure it's not supposed to be displeasing to the eye)

    The whites of his shirt showing through the suit create a contrast to the painting, not that it's there to emphasize anything. There's rythm to the tassels on the bottom of the chair, in that they're not all uniform, variety fits as a keyword.

    That's what I got.

    Cheers
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    This image seems like it went through a blur filter in photoshop. I think you should post snap shots of your image as you create so we can see why the edges are not being sharpened where they should be sharpened. Just try using the two basic brushes, hard round and soft round. Do a basic blocking out of main value shapes to get started and then start refining each shape with the value variations within. The main value shapes need to be accurate to start with. If you search various posts in this forum, you will see where the process has been demonstrated.

  32. #27
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    I don't know why I go at it like this time and time again. It makes for a snappy process that appears alright with everything in around the right area, until it's time to get the edges sharp and it becomes a huge problem.

    I also take the whole suit as one huge form, as an example, instead of cutting it down into smaller shapes. And look at it as a 2d picture instead of 3d forms like I previously learned. I was just thinking about that in this next one I'm working on. Seem to be moving backwards in some areas. But that's to be expected.

    Thanks for the reply.

  33. #28
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    Keep at it. You will get it but I recommend looking at some other processes because you will need to get this down for the following assignments, I am sure. You understand the values, it is just the edges that need work.

  34. #29
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    You are starting to see tone very well. You are just slightly off in your shapes. Resist the urge to start painting before you map out every aspect of your painting first. This will help create the emphasis and secondary emphasis. The sharpness of the objects around the man have more definition and that detracts form the man himself who this should be about. I'm happy to see you have worked so hard on the tones. Now get the lines in order and you should will see a dramatic change in your work. I'm looking forward to see how you apply these in future studies!

  35. #30
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    I am going to post a detailed image capture accounting of the process I am using to go from start to finish. Although I am still very much learning and I know my process/ results could be better, I am doing this so you can see what I mean by developing the shapes early with hard edges and working to detail and varying the edges as needed as you finish. I am posting it since the more experienced people don't seem to ever post the process graphically. I am hoping you will see something in the process I post which will allow you to get over the hurdle of the edges. If you can do this, you should see a big improvement in the finished product. You are 80% there and if you get control of your edges, you should be good to go. It is funny, I know what I want to see in my learning but I am still trying to get to a better, more refined image myself so bare with me. I should be posting this over the weekend.

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