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This weekend I decided to spend a little time just doing some quick unplanned environment sketches. My goal for each was to pay attention to what would hopefully be striking lighting and somewhat iconic simple images that would have an immediate impact.
Maybe the next batch I'll make them a little more involved.
Last edited by J Wilson; April 30th, 2009 at 03:32 PM.
i like the chromatic values on all four, but i think my favorite is the green one, it has the most atmosphere, easily readable as a story in itself. very inspirational since i need to work on my enviros myself
Thanks, that's good to know. I agree the green one sort of has the most going on. My favorite tends to be the lava one, because it's surprisingly my first lava environment. Lava should be a staple of every fantasy artist's portfolio shouldn't it?
Since I've been thinking about environments lately, I decided to participate in this weeks Environment of the Week challenge "2 Ancient Markers". The brief calls forNot as much of a strong color influence as my previous 4, but I was going for a more dark overcast feel for this one, more natural than the previous ones.Two ancient markers. Jutting out from the moors, two large navigational markers on the path that hints to what lies beyond."
The lava one is cool(pun intended), but the blue kind of grey stalacite in the farthermost left distracts the eye and takes the integrity of the scene away.
NJ on the other ones! and the newest is pretty cool despite me not knowing the motif.
Originally Posted by KILLA-CATIt's not supposed to look like a cat because it's actually it's a giraffe.
Thanks for the feedback, very useful. My thought process was that without something cool in the image, the scene wouldn't read as as "hot", that I needed some contrast. I probably didn't incorporate it as well as I could- I should try a series of them to see if I can find a better approach.
Hello, great pictures, I like the green forest the best... it tells the story the most.
However, it's good that you're working on all different ideas and feelings so that you can really explore and see which you like the best. Don't ever stop doing that! Two thumbs up!
Oh I have one crit, on your last picture, I believe that the grasses are too saturated/green to really blend/mix in with the overcast sky. Since the grasses have a bit of spec reflection, it will reflect overcast sky's color so you might want to mix that in by using desaturated green some more... Not to mention that grasses have a very dark value too, so try to use that as your advantage to enhance the contrast feeling like you did with your rock material.
I hope that helped a bit!
Dm7, thanks, that's a great point about the grass. I tend to work very saturated in color, so it's an adjustment for me haha. I think you are right though, the grass would fit better under that sky if the grass was darker and greyer. I'll try making an adjustment tonight.
Hey J Wilson. I'm really excited by the way you're using colors in work. I would encourage you to try putting more thought to how they are built and put together though. Perhaps even blocking things out in 3ds or sketchup could go a long way. Especially in that first sketch, you have a big issue with perspective on those spikes that could be fixed by considering distances and planes.
I found the first piece especially interested and had to try a paintover, so I hope you don't mind. One of the weakest aspects to me was the storytelling. We have a figure that's ascended a small slope to cast a dramatic lighting spell? If we're going to go big with this, I say let's really go big and reap the benefits of taking it all the way. In this case I've tried to use that lightning to describe the forms in the foreground. I really haven't solved your distance/depth and massing issues on those spikes, but I think there is now at least a better distinction between the different spaces of the scene.
The balance of detail and descriptive sculpting could be assigned and spaced more decisively. Consider all the ?cracks? in the side of the slope. Do you need this much of that detail to say what you want to about the terrain? Could you shake it around to highlight a certain area? Could you vary it to make it more interesting and break it up with other forms and shapes? Does it strengthen or weaken what you are trying to say with the piece about the character?
I've also moved your figure to the upper third. This allows us to say more about what has happened and boost the drama. You could also use those spikes to really intensely focus the viewer on what you want, which here I assume would be the figure. You'll have to excuse how rough and fast this is. It's really only a start to all the cool possibilities you could do with a piece like this.
What are your thoughts? Does any of this make sense?
BrennanPM, thanks for the lengthy post, and I certainly do not mind the paint over, in fact it's very much appreciated! I love the direction you took it in, and I agree it holds a lot more drama. I get where you are coming from in everything you are saying, especially the using different planes more effectively to create space, and limiting detail to the areas where I want to concentrate attention etc.
I'm really enjoying exploring the environment concepts, because it's a different kind of thing than I usually do, so I'm excited to see how it evolves as I begin to incorporate more of the thinking that you are suggesting.
The improvements in that paintover are interesting, it feels like we can gauge the distance of the close spikes with the rest because we can see where they connect. Having them right up close to the camera isnt bad, but perhaps we needed that midground connection
I am not bothered by the cool colors on the left side of the volcano piece, I don't think they ruin the feeling at all, but more enhance how bright the lava is without steal too much attention. The shapes on the left also steer our eye back towards the focal point if we wander to that side.
I would also agree that the green has the most depth - the bright background makes it feel murky and very 'open'. It almost makes you feel lost. The blue on the ground might be too pure for the ambience, and we could use a bit more contrast or detail on the left foreground details, but I would like to see this one turned into a larger piece! See you around
nice start- bout time on the sketchbook.
Thanks Dan!, I've been meaning to do it for a while but then would keep getting distracted, or caught up in projects that I can't show off, or produce sketches that are so far from refined that I often feel they wouldn't look all that interesting to many people. My rough sketches are 75% of the time just vague shapes and lines trying to feel out the bare bones for what I have in mind.
I'm trying to get into the habit of playing more directly in color and value like I did here. When I do I'll be sure to post it.
Good advice on the contrast, I can definitely agree with that. A little more contrast would have made the depth really work. On the color thing, I was kind of working with a self limitation, striving to make environments that fit a color theme (well the first 4 obviously, the last was for the environment of the week challenge). I hope that doesn't sound like an excuse (because I hate excuses), just trying to share that it was a conscious decision to see if the restriction would spark anything.
very interresting environments. pretty cool compositions. lets see moreeee
Hey there, I really like your enviros, would you mind doing a step by step of your next one? I'm trying to get into enviros myself. What software are you using? Well keep up the good work!
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
I really love your 2-ancient-marker artwork. It is dream inducing, something I'd like to walk into.
The four first paintings don't touch anything in me, though. Why? The uniformity of color is uninteresting. They might as well be greyscale, because the color does not convey any information (apart from the blueish stone in the fire scene), but for greyscale/unicolored images there is not enough structure or detail or interesting linework or whatnot.
Don't misunderstand me. The paintings are not bad, only the use of unicolor is - excuse me - boring.
The 2 markers, on the other hand, have a defined atmosphere, a mood, the color creates a landscape, not only colors it. If it had a little more detail and definition, I'd call it a masterwork.
I'm glad you enjoyed them. Environments as a stand alone element isn't normally my focus, so I'd be hesitant to make a step by step. There are guys here that are really amazing and serious about environments and I'd suggest you seek them out, because I'm sure you (and I) would learn so much more from them.
As just a general run down of my process though, I just started these with a strong color theme and started working in light and dark elements with no real plan or direction at first. I just waited to see what the forms suggested to me. The strong predominant color schemes were there as an obstacle/limitation to see if it would spark ideas. I think I used at most 1 or 2 other colors in each in a very limited fashion. Putting limitations on yourself I think is a good way to spark ideas. I find that the more wide open the possibilities, the more you can get frozen by too many options. Narrowing your options forces you to invent new solutions, at least in theory.
To answer your other question though I did these in Photoshop.
First, let me say that I absolutely love this stuff! Second, I really enjoyed your theory on limitations forcing you to be creative - loved it, too.
Please stop by my sketchbook!
Great stuff here.
love the lava scene, that blue area on left almost gives me a feeling that the lava is gonna rush out. Maybe you can strengthen this impression a bit by changing the direction of the lava anyway.
I'm a fan of the color schemes of your pictures. Keep it up.
Great efforts. Decent work, but you need to work on consistency and flow. The green enviro. is the best, because it is the only one with a truly decent visual flow up, over, down, across, and back again. The rest all either tilt, echo, or are so unbalanced, constrast/line/shape wise, they are almost stactic, like a Kodak snapshot...
Same goes for the cool looking creature concepts. The inconsistencies are killing your natural talents. Arms need to have the same general sizes and diameters on both sides of the body, especially wrists, thighs, and upper arms. Forearms need to be proportional and the same length, and you're nipping in the waists too much. They look like wannabe's for Fashion Week, with a size '0' waistline...
Excellent color work across the board, 'tho...Especially the sea creature with the heads.
Keep it up!
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Madster, thanks for the great feedback. You've given me a lot to think about for my next batch of enviros and creatures. I have a couple of weeks to finish up some assignments, then I hope to do a new batch of both. Always need to keep pushing for improvement, and luckily no one gives feedback like the artists in the trenches every day!