Serious Environment - Cave city
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  1. #1
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    Serious Environment - Cave city



    Dear Friends,

    Here is an image I created using the technique Scott Robertson uses on one of his Gnomon DVD's. It was developed from a sort of random abstract which I will put at the bottom.

    Now, I think that this is finished but I dont feel like it is finished.
    I'm really struggling to find where to go once Ive established value relationships and composition in all the paintings I'm doing at the moment. I feel (and probably look) like someone who knows a few tricks but lacks the real foundations.

    With this one I overcame my fear of 'what do I do next' by just pitching in and trying to render out some detail. Fortunately it's all pretty dark so I could get away with not doing too much.
    1. value relationships seem OK to me. There is depth.
    2. Focal point and compostion seem to be working fine.
    3. Colour scheme... Well, pretty much monochrome. But effective for portraying mood.
    4. The lighting.... (these dots indicate my uncertainty) It's working ok to focus the eye but it seems to not have a source. Is that ok do you think or should I have it really coming from somewhere?

    Anyway, I'd really appreciate some feedback from some of the great artists who post here. As I said It doesn't feel to me finished and I don't know why. I think I might post some of the other stuff I'm struggling with over in the WIP section if you want to take a look at that too.

    Regards,
    EtaCarinae

    The staring point.


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  2. #2
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    hello, first id like to say thank you for putting in the effort of explaining briefly your concept and intentions that you have met and others you wish to get to. you show a very positive and strong desire to excell towards your goal. i, will do my best as a fellow CA member to give you the same dedication, and care in my crituque as you have with your post. my intention with it will only be at your benifit. at no garantee my crituque is the RIGHT way, only a suggestion
    that being said, here are the thoughts and questions that arose after about 15-20 minutes of viewing your post.
    You are correct. You are missing some basic principals here.
    Message: I assume your image is about light. (If not please tell me because I am not sure)
    Key: What is the intended key of the image?
    I believe it to be a low key. It is not keyed properly and MUST(before anything else) be in order to give your wishful effect.
    Background:
    The atmosphere is thick, which regulates a greater amount of light radiation. The thicker and atmosphere is the more charged it will appear from the light source. Whatever color the light source is will dictate the color of the atmosphere.
    Particles far away seem closer together so the light source has more dictatorship over the overall color of atmosphere and solid objects. Particles closer to the foreground appear more spread apart therefore giving more freedom to the local color of the object to show.
    There should be some gradual change in the intensity of the lights that move deeper into the image. They should appear to radiate off of more particles the deeper they go back.

    Light: (it is assumed that you are basing this from reality)
    You are correct, there is no function with your light source. The edges that are reflecting the intense light indicate that the light should be from the right, center, and left (total of three) of the background. But the background holds no such light source. This gives an effect, but not one I think you wish to give. It separates the foreground and background to the point of the appearance of two separate images patched together. Fix it by placing the light source in the correct spot in the background then have the forground relate to it. I say do this from reference in life. Use boxes to represent the buildings if you must and use intense light. this will change many things in your image, especially the key.

    Foreground/Light2: (it is assumed that you are basing this off of reality)
    Planes that are in shadow have too much activity inside them. Too much detail!!!! I look more into the shadows than in the light. Do you want your image to be about shadows? No! It should be about light! In order to give the appearance of light you must not look into the shadows for aid, you must look into the light! Areas that have light hitting it should have the most detail and separations of tone. The shadows should be flat, with little separation in tone. You will agree when you look at an object that has shadow and light. Look into the light side and squint down. The tones are limited and the shadow becomes flat while your eye is attracted to the light. You do not have to make your shadows opaque; they can be transparent as in nature. The light areas should be opaque.

    Focus: (it is assumed you are going for the effect of the human eye)
    What is the focus? The aircraft? If so then make everything in the image relate to it. You have a focus for everything in the foreground. If you wish to paint how the eye sees paint only with one focus, William M. Hunt said that when painting a bird in flight you cannot paint the bird and its feathers, for that requires two focal and we only have one! And like Henri says, when painting the background of your subject do not look at the background to paint to background, look at the subject to paint the background!

    Color:
    organize your light before organizing your colors. Keeping it monotone first is effective In order to keep it simple.
    That is all I can say for now.

    - Kinjark
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    Dear Kinjark,
    Thanks for the detailed reply! That's really generous of you and I really appreciate your help.
    Yes, I believe my image is meant to be about light. I think I originally had not given the purpose too much thought. I think I'm like most amatures in that I'm more concerned with getting something with the use of effects or tricks.

    I have done a quick paint over dropping back the shadows more and creating a strong light source. I used a high value of the atmospheric colour and then dodged/glowed it. I think this is what you were saying about atmospheric perspective and light,right? (Forgive my ignorance but I don't really know what you mean by Key? Is it the value relationship?) I think that goes some way to fixing the light problem, no?

    I have also moved the ship to put it more in contrast with the light source. I tried just doing the light but it drew the eye even more away from the ship!

    Still no colour to speak of - I don't really know where I'd start. When I look at something like this I feel like it's fine in such subdued tones but then I know how effective good colour can be.

    If I were to re-add the landing lights and various coloured lights in the city should I increase the 'light pool' around them, reduce the chroma and intensity as they go further away? And the reverse for closer ones? You can see I've done a bit of this already but it looks kinda dum.

    Regards,
    EtaCarinae




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  4. #4
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    Eta Carinae, I have just been stimulated by your second image, it contains beauty. You have established your key. This is great! I apologize for not explaining what the key of an image is last time but it has to do with value relations. In an image of real oil paint on canvas your level of brightness and light is limited to pigments. If all the colors were bright on a painting it would look dull. Very small amounts should reach a peak level because the peak is very small! Every thing else lower then the absolute brightness gradually falls towards the base, being the grave colors or dull colors. it works with light as well. First you establish how light you would like to go in an image and how dark as well. This relationship of values as you put it well, is the key. Images can be keyed in many ways. Finding the right key for the right purpose is very important. More so then any detail you could every place on the image. Take Rembrandt for example self-portrait 1628. it is a low-key image in the unconventional sense in order to show the brilliancy of light. He kept his eye where the light was, never in the shadows, and look what he came up with! He was a master at this.
    read more about key beyond what i say, and i promise you will soon progress faster. it is a tool that is so very important for mood and representing light. which is what we both are striving for.
    btw when i say gradually this doesnt apply to everything, form dictates how abrubpt or how gradual the changes of color or values are.
    color is dictated by light and atmosphere. both are influencial especially in this image. in fact your atmosphere is so thick it would appear that im looking at an underwater city! effecitve yes, if it is your aim. but if not, tell me where it takes place. not with words, but with your medium.
    as for the landing lights. they need not be so dull, just enough to be less bright then the others in the foreground. they are surrounded by grave tones and are grave themselves, this makes them look dull and unappealing, or dum.
    expirement to how dull/bright they should be by gradual subtle changes in order to fix it step back or zoom out and moniter each change. also these are details that you shoulnt concern your self with so soon. the beginging of the image is of most importance and requires the most from the artist than the details. it is more challengeing, time consuming, and holds most of your message. details are just simply blocks you slide into premade empty slots when you are finished with the begining.
    continue on i cant wait to see where you go next!

    Last edited by kinjark; August 1st, 2006 at 11:01 AM.
    - Kinjark
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    Hey Eta

    Your second draft works for me!

    kinjark, your crits are gold! I just wanted to ask though if you could please clarify when you say about the lights in the distance appear to radiate off of more particles the deeper they go back. Is that essentially meaning that the fall off from the light would be more dense or more spread out? Or both? Or something else?

    Also with lights decreasing in intensity in the distance, I would imagine them to still have a bright hot spot in the middle?

    The only other thing I could comment on is have you thought of including an object in the foreground? In your second draft I would probably class the building on the right to be mid ground and the image still has some good depth so a foreground object may give it even more of a ‘pop’. Just a suggestion.

    Good work!

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  6. #6
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    Dear Gep,
    Yes I think your right about the FG element. A figure in bottom right is most obvious. Go for a 'Churchian' cloaked guy on a balcony.
    I think with the lights it's a matter of yes hotspot, when you look at a light in the distance it still is quite hot and the colour/ saturation is still there and when I think about it the light bloom only seems smaller because it's further away. Hmmm... Better leave that one to Kinjark.
    Regards,
    EtaCarinae

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