Updated March 22: Monkey King Scene 1 & 2 Finished, Scene 3 New Sketches
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Thread: Updated March 22: Monkey King Scene 1 & 2 Finished, Scene 3 New Sketches

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    Updated March 22: Monkey King Scene 1 & 2 Finished, Scene 3 New Sketches

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    Hi people,
    Im starting this thread for my junior thesis project. We were assigned to do 4-5 illustrations that involves "location as character", we could pick any book we like. I choose The Journey to the West because there are alot of cool scenes that i think would be really fun to illustrate.
    Here is the first scene im doing. The monkey king is at the gates of the underworld, bout to go in and cause some trouble.

    I did alot of sketches and finally settled with this one, i added some base color and lighting to see how it would look. the characters (monkey king and the 2guards) are not colored yet.

    should i make the guards bigger...? shud i curve the top corners of the door a bit?
    any comments are welcomed, composition, color, lighting etcetc. or just tips if u have done a similar scene

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    Last edited by Koncept; March 22nd, 2007 at 03:41 PM.
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    here are the 2 first sketches and some character studies.

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    Great layout and the base colors are good too. The only thing I´d recommend for now is to increase the tilt of the whole picture. Take a point of view from behins and below the monkey king. To show the guards looming over him and the even bigger door behind them to enhance the feeling of how uneven the odds seem to be. we know sun-hou-tzu(?) will emerge victorious but we don´t want ti to seem to easy, neh?

    I´ll include a real fast shot on what I mean. Just for ideas. If you take it up you should however widen the borders of the pic to show a bit more of the location. And the monkey kings pose should express more "attitude". Your poses speack of serenity. A trait I´ve almost never found in the stories of the monkey king. To me he allways seemed hot headed and adventerous. Plus he´s about to enter hell. There should be the promise of "hellish" action. All tips IMHO.

    Hope that helps.

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    damn i really like the quick sketch u did...
    how do i include the light source tho? cause i really like the statue i did thats holding the bowl of fire.
    ill doodle something up to see if anything works.
    ur right about the current sketch i have tho. it seems so peaceful, looks likes he gonna go in to have high tea or something

    and when u said widen the boarders, did u mean for the sketch u did as well?

    Last edited by Koncept; January 20th, 2007 at 09:01 PM.
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    Man I really like those sketches.

    I agree that it looks peaceful and the best way to change it without changing the figures would be to go to more dramatic colours. Use contrast to make the guy and the doors polar opposites so that they are 'confronting' each other.

    BBwolf's quick draw was a good idea. Perhaps you can use the skew in pshop? I like how you are piecing things together...I'm going to have to use that approach sometime.

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    Ian Mack is right that more opposing colors prolly would help with the original sketch.


    I tried to give a second sketch a more wide angle. That´s what I meant with widening the borders of the picture. I think it would be a good approach but am not quiet happy thou. It seems I grace the limit of my perspective abilities. Calls for more research. Can´t push the thing aside thou.
    In addition I thought it would be a good idea if the guardds cross their weapons in front of the monkey king. They´re trying to deny him entrance, don´t they. This would illustrate the fact better.

    I think I´ll try to give the thing an own whirl just for the fun of it. *bah* who am I kidding. I have too much work at my hands allready.

    Btw, I am very happy that you found my advice helpfull. You shouldn´t however forget about the initial task of "location as character".
    Better check back with your teachers before maybe going too far in a different direction. I am anxious to see your next steps.


    Wolf

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    Ian: thats a great idea. im gonna have the eyes of the guards glow green and the monkey king is gonna have a red cape... thanks!

    bbwolf: im glad uve taken an interest in my project. im currently redrawing the scene, it looks something like my colored sketch but a more pushed perspective like u mentioned in ur first post. i also made the guards larger like in ur first sketch, and i "combined" them with the sculpture. the idea is so that they look like sculptures but i want the viewer to get the feeling that they might come alive any second.

    ur second sketch is even cooler. but this has to be part of a seris, my teacher mentioned that if i push the perspective too much on a single one, it might not fit well into the seris.

    in the end im aimming to have 4 peices in the gallery by may. (5 if i learn how to work faster)

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    This is looking really good. Who's class are you in?


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    here is the latest sketch (thanks so much for the idea bbwolf!), i think im gonna settle with this one and start focusing on color. i know after reading more comments ill want to change stuff again but i just dont ahve the time to, i found out these are due end of march... so i gotta start cranking them out.
    the color scheme is gonna be pretty much the same as the first one, the guards are gonna be stone.
    and here is the second scene im doing (actually the last scene of the seris).

    the monkey pissed off too many gods and they teamed up with buddha and trapped him under a mountain that is made from buddha's palm... this is pretty close to what i was hoping for, but ill probably make the monkey alot larger and push the perspective a little bit more because right now it looks too peaceful again
    elwell: im in stan matucci's class. why? are u in sva too?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Koncept
    elwell: im in stan matucci's class. why? are u in sva too?
    In a manner of speaking . I took Stanley's class a long, long time ago. Now I teach painting there.


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    here is how the peice is going...
    things i still have to do:
    -paint the monkey. i might add a flowing red cape that blows to the left to break up the symmetry of the piece
    -clean up the fire (right now its just sketchily painted to see how it would look)
    -add another layer of bright highlight to the metal parts of the painting
    -add reflected light in the area around the glowing green eyes
    and lastly ill need to go in and tiddy some edges and sharpen some areas, but before i do that id like to get some crit on it.


    does the pose of the monkey king still seem too "nice"? (hes suppose to be real bad ass)
    thanks!

    elwell: what class do u teach? is there a digital painting class?

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    I'm really impressed by this. You did a great job with the dramatic angle and the light source. The amount of detail on the two guards is really nice.

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    Very very VERY COOL. Really great progress and improvement on the whole piece. I could pour sugar on ya for some time but unfortunatly I dont have it right now. Iīll drop by again later.


    The idea with the cape for the monkey king is good. Do that. But yes the pose isnīt looking badass.
    He doesnīt look like heīs going to jump into "Monkey King supercool Action" Modus any second now.
    The pose lacks tension. Take a broomstick and try some poses in front of a full length mirror and get somebody to take photographs.

    Iīll be back. Keep ub the good work.

    Wolf

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    I love this man! Nothing else to say

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    to me the lighting scheme on the giant guards makes them look more bas-relief than in-the-round, although this may be intentional given that they are now stone.

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    u've got a tangent with the monkey head and the crossing of the two swords,
    dunno if it was on purpose, i mean it does push you to look at the monkey more.
    digging the hand mountain on the monkey king, very cool~

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    Thanks every for looking, i read the crits and worked it into the peice.

    Wolf: thanks for looking. it wouldnt have turned out as good if u didnt help me in the early stages. i changed the figure of the monkey king. i think it still could be better but i should really move on to my next peice.

    masque: im not sure what u mean by "the lighting scheme" but i added a bit more highlights to the stone guards to make them seem more rounded.

    afterthought: it was on purpose so the view goes to the monkey first. but i think the directional lines of the two swords were a bit overwhelming so i made the monkey "break" the tagent by pointing up.

    here is the latest version. almost done. trying to finish up the monkey king and then i think its ready for the FF section.

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    "lighting scheme" = how you've set up the lighting for the scene, and how you've interpreted it in terms of values and patterns of highlight, midtone and shadow.

    in the previous pic, the torches/braziers at pic R & L seem the only light source. looking at the stone figures and the progression from highlight to shadow as the light "wraps" the forms, there's nearly as much light on a lot of surfaces that would be facing well away from the light source as there is on those facing toward the light in a fully-rounded form. this tends to "flatten" the form, taking away the sense of full roundness.

    there is also a problem with light fall-off, in that the surfaces significantly farther from the light source are lit to the same level (or brighter) as those close to the light. this isn't naturalistic -- intensity of light fades strongly with distance (google up the "inverse square law" for a tech explanation). so those overly-lit surfaces tend to look closer than they are, again reinforcing the sense of "flatness" and hence "bas-relief" (another term to look up if you don't already know it -- a form of sculpture).

    unfortunately, to my eyes, intensifying the highlights has worsened the effect considerably.

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    I was going for a very dramatic and impactful image. the logical step was to make the light source toseem really strong, so i made all the surface that is facing downwards to become fully lit. however u do have a point about the diminishing returns of light through space.

    if u have time would u mind doing a quick paintover of where u think i should lower the intensity of the light without reducing the effect of the image as a whole?

    shud i also lower the intensity on the metal surfaces (the black n gold areas) i kept it at full intensity because its metal so i was going for as much contrast as possible

    i threw on a contrast adjustment layer before posting this.. maybe i overdid the contrast toggle too much

    anyone else have thoughts on this?

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    I have to say, I liked the previous version better, both the lighting on the background and the pose of the Monkey King. There were some tangent problems with his placement that have only gotten worse in the new vesion. The new pose also doesn't fit in with perspective of the background as well.


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    OK, here's your paintover:
    Name:  gatepaintover.jpg
Views: 364
Size:  141.3 KB

    i've perhaps over-dramatised the contrast of light to shadow, but it's to make the point that you can let detail fall off into shadow if it helps strengthen the sense of form (in this case, a fully-rounded form). note how as the form curves away from the light, more and more details get swallowed in shadow, but most detail forms are kept "legible" by a judicious use of subtle tones to reinforce them, even in the shadow areas.

    i've created a basically spherical fall-off to the intensity of the light as well, so that farther from the light, detail is suppressed (but not entirely lost -- the viewer's mind can fill in an awful lot!). detail also gets reduced with distance (the door panels are a good example).

    as far as how different surface react to light (e.g., metal and stone), that's something to learn through observation, practice, and study. stone often diffuses the light somewhat (unless it's highly polished, of course), so its tones tend to be a bit broader and smoother, but a great deal depends on the specific nature of the stone. sandstone, granite and slate will all have very different surfaces because of their composition. weathering also greatly affects a stone surface's character.

    smoothly reflective metals (e.g., polished, or not corroded, or not with a specific finish given to them) reflect in a different manner -- very smooth and diffuse areas of "true-metal hue", tight, sometimes intense patches of color reflected from the environment, often shaped by both the object being reflected and the contours of the metal object, and small bright "specular" highlights. but none of this is dogma -- the best teacher is observation and practice!

    note in the paintover the now major differences in how the light is relfected from the two different types of surface. also note that a lot of the gargoyle above the door is now in quite deep shadow, but the form isn't lost.

    another thing to consider is the saturation of the hues in your image -- i did some manipulation in this regard to show how it can be used. i desaturated what i interpreted as the stone surfaces (less intense color, closer to a grey) and boosted the saturation a bit on the metallic objects, intensifying the contrast with the stone and enriching the sense of "true-metal" color. keep in mind, though, that another aspect of things being farther away is often a lessening of saturation, so a balance must always be struck.

    btw, there may be a lot of pure black in this paintover, something i usuallyavoid, although near-blacks are fine. i just didn't spend a lot of time finessing the shadows, wasn't needed for the paintover. don't assume i'm recommending pure blacks.

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    mmm damn lol just when i thought i was closed to finish and celebration...
    i fixed the contrast on this one... and free transformed the monkey king to try to fit the perspective more.. played wit the size too... not sure if it worked (pls give some suggestions!)
    ive been looking at this image for the past month... got so used to looking at it that i cant tell wuts good and bad anymore...
    think ill take a break from it and move on to my next peice and come back in a week or so. so burned out.

    as much as it sucks finding out the new version is worst then the old, i appreciate the honesty better to find out now then to relieze it when i see it on the gallery wall

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    holy crap ur paintover made my image look so awesome..
    really thanks so much for ur time and detailed explanation! i read every word carefuly.
    i didnt understand what u meant at first by the light getting diffused, i thought if i lowered the intensity of the light my image will have less impact. but damn ur paintover is stunning. its exactly what i hoped the scene to look like, just that i couldnt pull it off.

    i m beginning to grasp the light theory ur talking about. but just a few questions on the techique u used for that paintover.
    im guessing u did it in photoshop?
    did u drop a layer of black on top of the whole thing then work on top of that?
    how did u desaturate certain areas only while saturate some areas, lasso tool?

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    yes, Photoshop CS2

    i use adjustment layers extensively, because they allow making changes to certain areas by "painting" the strength of the change. to darken the image i used a Levels adjustment layer. this also boosted the saturation, so to change that i used a Hue/Saturation/Lightness adjustment layer. you then paint on these layers in greyscale to modulate the effect of the layer -- pure white = 100% effect, black = zero effect, greys in between of course. this gives you much greater control than the selection tools (though they can also be useful in certain situations).

    to repaint over certain areas i mostly used a small (3-5 pixel) soft-edged brush set at about 50% opacity, with pen pressure controlling stroke weight --light pressure, thin stroke, heavy pressure, full stroke. i then picked up colors from the picture and laid them on in a slow build-up. sometimes i set the opacity lower for subtlety, sometimes higher for more impact (like the specular highlights).

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    gotcha! gonna get right to it right now, thanks so much!
    been painting on photoshop for about a year now, and i always only use the brush/eraser tool. never thought of using adjustment layers that way
    will post as soon as i get it to a spot i like

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    Very good work, perhaps you should add some atmospheric haze on the top of the image to emphasize the scale?

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    I think im finished! here it is!
    the only thing i think i will add is little sparks and burning ashes kinda thing near the fire to make it more fancy. but i dunno how to get the sparkle effect... does anyone have any tips?



    Wasker: sorry for not replying earlier i read ur suggestion and i did try adding some smoky fog effect near the top, however the top is so dark in the new version, to make anything visible ill need to make it lighter (the layer of smoke was lighter then the background to get it to show) and it kinda messed up the "descending into shadow" feel on the top areas of the peice. Thanks for the suggestion tho, just wanted u to know i did try it.

    here is the thread for this peice i started in the FF section http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...91#post1215691
    im just posting this here so i can keep track of my progress on the seris as a whole

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    Oh and here is the second scene im doing... i posted this earlier but i tweaked the scale and perspective alot. i would really need some crit on this on
    the drawing problems,
    suggestion on pallete
    suggestion on a light direction

    please be specific...
    the reason my first scene took so long is because i colored it half way and found all these drawing problems (perspective/scale/size and position and pose of the monkey)...would reallly like to solve all that before i tackle the color

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    Heya Koncept

    Very good finishing moves for the pic. Iīd have some tips for the "sparkle" for the fires but thatīs PS 7 tricks. You can work with that? I seem to recall that you work with a somewhat outdated vers. of PS.

    My last call for improvement is rooted in my first thought when looking at the last picture:

    Whereīs the monkey king???? When he was standing a bit taller and in the middle he was clearly to recognize. Now he vanishes because thereīs not enough contrast to his surroundings and the size makes him even harder to spot.

    Overall, very good development.
    Keep it up.

    Wolf

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    Wolf@WorK aka Sketchbook

    my Heavy Industrie, Military and Steampunk References/Textures (updated Oct 2012)
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  30. #30
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    man, i can really see the Photoshop perspective shift in this drawing! everything looks very, very flat, as if it's a screen with the art drawn on it and photo'd from a low POV with a wide lens -- exactly the effect PS persp. distortion gives! i think you'll have to redraw this to take into account the new POV. it could act as a solid base for the redraw, but keep in mind that as POV shifts, new information is revealed, and things are seen from different angles, something no PS manipulation can introduce into your drawing. you gotta do it.

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