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So this is Photoshop, and man could it use a few more pairs of eyes... I am working through a new style; really trying to push the level of detail I use.. and what I use it for. Is this totally boring? I've been head-downwards in it since early Sunday afternoon, and something is goofy about the eye, I think. Upper-right is my palette swatches; lower-right hasn't been worked up much at all, the hair hasn't been detailed at all, nor the ear... I'm still trying to get everything to play nicely together, especially that freaking hair. Why did I choose red!?
Very much TIA for any input at all.
[PS - Attachment is newest version, thanks! Below is what was originally with this post]
Last edited by razimo; December 11th, 2009 at 09:35 PM.
I don't think it's the eye that's odd so much as the eyebrow. It should follow the curve of the brow ridge all the way to the outer edge of the eye: ref photo to better show what I mean. As it stands, it's angled oddly, even if he's drawing them together in concentration or whatever.
Looking forward to see where you'll take this.
yea I is angled wrong as well as from a slightly different perspective.
Here's what I'm seeing: (first of all I think it is a decent start)...
The eye is definitely quite off - and because it is so critical in any portrait - especially when you only have one...that is where you need to be dead on...eyebrow is not correct which has been pointed out - but the main thing is you've drawn the iris/pupil circular as if the eye is seen straight on - even looking left as it is, it will follow perspective and the pupil/iris will be elliptical.
The lighting is sort of that magical glowy light that doesn't come from anywhere - so it doesn't define planes and forms well - establishing a directional light source will help.
All shadows are sort of blurry and soft - form shadows are in real life - they have fairly smooth transitions depending on the abruptness of the plane shift - but cast shadows have crisper edges.
You're more concerned with surface than structure - the head itself is off with not enough forehead - the eyes are actually halfway down the face - the head is somewhat uncomfortable crammed into the corner there - which is maybe why the forehead isn't accurate - I would expand out my canvas size to give it a little breathing room.
Also watch your neck anatomy - the major muscle running down the sides of the neck from the ear drops in toward the center of the throat at the collarbone and forms the hollow of the throat...yours sort of just fades off at the wrong angle and heads toward the shoulder.
Anyway - I hope some of that helps - it really is pretty nice - you have good technique - just work out the structure, value and a few fundamentals a little better. Good luck!
First off, thank you; thank all of you! I had this warm, fuzzy hope that someone here would be able to tell me what was wrong, and I wasn't disappointed!
SaintAsh and DAMJAN - SaintAsh's ref pic plus DAMJAN's remark about perspective resulted in a big lightbulb moment - thank you both! I asked myself, many times, what was up with the eyebrow, and realised that it was actually a lot of things.. the tight crop I chose wasn't giving the viewer much information on the pose. We're actually looking slightly up at this fellow's face, but that wasn't at all obvious. I've tried to mend that with some tweaking around the jawline. I may just need to change my framing, and show more of the chest, to give the viewer more information?
JeffX99 All of your remarks were much food for thought and I am very, very grateful - thank you! As I worked this up I asked myself if it was boring; and at the end of the afternoon I decided that it was, and the vagueness of the lighting is, I think, the biggest reason why. The piece started as an idea that I turned into an exercise that I liked well enough to try to work into a finished piece.. I used a black-and-white photo for reference, so that while I had information on value placement, I had to make all of the temperature choices myself. I deliberately chose a reference with very even lighting, thus couldn't crutch on the visual power of deep shadows, instead I have to search out very subtle stuff. Good idea, but dull in execution.. definitely I need to punch it up somehow. The neck anatomy is still off, I think, and I'm going to have to whine at my boyfriend until he poses for me. (It's nice to be a girl with a tolerant beau. )
Anyway I've made sharp, stabbing motions at fixing the eye.. haphazard shading is making our redhead look like he's been punched (or is hung-over), but is the placement of the brow / eye / iris better? I also messed with the jawline to give more info about the angle of the head. I shot myself in the foot with the choice of hairstyle; perspective already makes the forehead look short, and the hair crossing it cuts it off very oddly.
No problem man, I'm glad I was able to help. Now it looks a lot better. Even colors give better depth. Hey I don't know if you know this little trick. If you go under filters-sharpen-unsharpen mask. You set as much as you like, it will improve your overall look. It will add more sharpness, increase detail and make it look better. Try it.
I like it very much - the colour of hair and eyes. I like the pose of head - inteligent face expression. Me seems only the down part of head (chin) a bit female.
SO I am back again!
DAMJAN - Oh HEY! That IS a good trick! I've used unsharp mask to tidy up my lineart before; but I never would have thought to try it out on something I'd shaded.. it makes perfect sense, though, thank you!
lobster007 - Thanks for the kind words on the expression! I was starting to worry it just looked.. odd. I mean, it still might. The chin IS a bit too light, isn't it? Fuss and bother, and thank you! This is the sort of thing I mean when I say I need more eyes - I get so zoomed in on making the corner of the mouth look realistic that I don't notice that the whole chin looks girly.
In this one I've worked a little more on the face, getting into the bottom-right corner a little, but in the main I'm trying to do what you're supposed to do right at the beginning.. heh.. and get the background sorted out! It was SO dull, before; I'm trying to make it pop a bit more. Kinda I'm psyching myself up to really polish it and enter it in a competition, perhaps. Maybe. What do you think?
Well, the background kind of showed up your shading making it looked less finished then it was before. I think if you're really trying to polish it, you've got a long way to go. Try getting rid of at least some of the background, but I think you couldn't just go with a nice rough gradient in the background if you detail the portrait enough. Try looking up things on skin textures and maybe even try to resize bigger? I know, it's really scary because most of your original painting may be lost, but it could give you a lot more room for detail :/.
Nisshoku, thank you for the commentary! I was afraid that the background was going to put up a fight with that I'd done so far! 'Polish' is a little subjective; I do want a very clean level of detail, but I have no particular desire to go for 'photoreal'.. loosely put, I want it to stand clearly as a work of art, not try to mimic a photographt; I want the marks to be visible.
Like Anthony Ryder.. he lets the underpainting show through in spots..!
.. only not; he IS painting portraits and that's the focus. I want a little more 'story' in what I'm doing.
I have room, should have room!?, in my original file to put in as much detail as I need to; puppy is two pinches short of 4300 pixels tall!!
I like how this is coming along, especially with the new background indicating a drawing coming to life type of deal and the decision to render the key in cooler colors to make it pop more.
However, while I really like how you rendered the strands of hair, the lack of part is throwing me off. Even the thickest, messiest hair will show a groove where the part is:
The the neck and chest anatomy bothers me, too. If he's looking down, we shouldn't be able to see that much space between his jawline and shoulder, since the head sinking down would block our view:
SaintAsh, thank you and thank you! Thank you the first for liking the faded background + cooler key, I do still have hope I can make that work (making the hair solid red is just.. just.. it's so visually obnoxious. This is my character and it's my choice to make his hair crimson-red, red; but the hair just takes over everything when I make it as solid and dark as it 'should' be. I realise that it's an imaginary colour, but I am trying to render it in a realistic way, trying to match the hair colour to the skin as if it was a colour that it's possible for hair to be. Blah blah, and it's like a bull in a china shop. I like trying to balance it out with the icy blue, though.)
Thank you the second for the ref images, because that gave me a head-smack!! moment that's telling me what's Wrong with this.. well, one thing anyway.. the pose just ain't readin' right. Here are my refs (probably should have posted these sooner, duuuuh):
Left was my reference for the face; I very much used it as a roadmap / close reference, since this started out as an exercise in skintones. Right is my inspiration for the rest of the pose.. he is looking a little down, but really mostly level, and that should be cancelled out by the low angle.. but that doesn't come through at all in the tight crop I've done!! Back to the composition drawing-board, I think. I liked focusing on the expression, but it may be that that just doesn't work. Perhaps the perspective also makes his part make sense? Only the front of it is visible from this angle, then it mostly disappears since we're seeing it from the side. I think?