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Postby Phi » Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:00 pm

  Phi
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:57 pm

Subject title: Illustration Critique Please?

Hi everyone!
I just finished this painting and it's... not great. The composition is off and the values seem weird even though I checked it with gray-scale multiple times and it seemed fine. The painting process was a mess, so after a while I lost oversight of what was going on and just finished it up.

If you could help me figure out what went wrong and tell me what to look out for next time, I'd really appreciate it!

Image

(The taller character might seem a bit odd to you, but she's supposed to look like that, black flames and all. It's Pillars of Eternity fanart.)

 

Postby Spider » Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:28 am

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  Spider
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It feels a little boring to me. Maybe add some more dramatic lighting.

 

Postby OwlenArt » Wed Jul 05, 2017 7:28 am

  OwlenArt
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I think the big issue with this painting is the clash between the fairly clean and minimalist background and the character in the very foreground. Basically, you brought the weakest part of the painting right in front of the viewers eyes.

The issue with that character is that a lot of him is basically solid blocks of color, but then all of the sudden he has a very detailed chain mail. Contrast in detail is nice but it can't be this extreme. The other big issue with it is that its unclear what is going on with his head. The thing covering his eyes doesn't look like anything identifiable as either a helmet or a feature of a fantasy characters anatomy, and the way the black stuff (hair?) pops out from the sides only makes it more confusing. The other minor issue is the sword handle which looks a bit inelegantly large and hastily rendered.
There are also form/perspective issues with that body but I don't think they are as relevant to making the painting look good as the rendering choices.


I believe that even leaving everything else as is, and just changing or cutting out that foreground character, your painting would instantly look much stronger and much more complete.

 

Postby Phi » Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:17 am

  Phi
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Spider wrote:It feels a little boring to me. Maybe add some more dramatic lighting.


Hi!
Could you be more specific what you mean with boring?
If you're referring to the mood, the scene is supposed to be calm. ^^

 

Postby Spider » Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:41 pm

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ohh
I think the dark buildings behind them offset the vibe then.
If the buildings need to be there cause its a specific location, then maybe make the clouds a little bigger/brighter. Clouds tend to give a really calm feeling, so maybe they could balance out of the relationship between the scenery and the buildings.

 

Postby Mandilor » Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:03 pm

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  Mandilor
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Yeah the composition is pretty weird. Really I don't know how to help you make this look right without changing that. You need to go back to the thumbnail stage and work out the layout of everything. Think about what the story is. What it the main thing you want to show with the piece and build everything around that.

Right now you have two equally competing focal points. You have the characters and you have the background and they don't have much to do with each other. You characters are made extra awkward by being cropped out at and odd point. They're also very close to the camera and they look pretty odd when compared to the cobblestone ground you have. It feels like they're just torsos without legs.

Also have them in front of that building behind them feels tangenty. It's also have a bunch of perspective issues that help to make the whole thing feel off and out of space.

Random crystal rock thing on the left is weird and not helping your comp.

Do more thumbnails before you start a piece. Doing that should eliminate most of these problems. Don't forget how important silhouettes are.

 

Postby Phi » Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:45 pm

  Phi
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Mandilor wrote:Yeah the composition is pretty weird. Really I don't know how to help you make this look right without changing that. You need to go back to the thumbnail stage and work out the layout of everything. Think about what the story is. What it the main thing you want to show with the piece and build everything around that.

Right now you have two equally competing focal points. You have the characters and you have the background and they don't have much to do with each other. You characters are made extra awkward by being cropped out at and odd point. They're also very close to the camera and they look pretty odd when compared to the cobblestone ground you have. It feels like they're just torsos without legs.

Also have them in front of that building behind them feels tangenty. It's also have a bunch of perspective issues that help to make the whole thing feel off and out of space.

Random crystal rock thing on the left is weird and not helping your comp.

Do more thumbnails before you start a piece. Doing that should eliminate most of these problems. Don't forget how important silhouettes are.


Thanks for taking the time to write me a critique! ^^
I did have a pretty solid thumbnail but I might have gotten lost in the details while painting. The tower was supposed to balance out the "weight" of the right side with all it's darkness and detail, but I guess that makes it confusing more than anything.
About the cropped characters; in what situations do cropped characters work? Or would you recommend just always showing the entire body no matter what?

Spider wrote:ohh
I think the dark buildings behind them offset the vibe then.
If the buildings need to be there cause its a specific location, then maybe make the clouds a little bigger/brighter. Clouds tend to give a really calm feeling, so maybe they could balance out of the relationship between the scenery and the buildings.


Now that you mention it, making the building just a tad brighter would have set them apart better from the characters, correcting the issue I have with clear silhouettes. Thanks!

 

Postby Mandilor » Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:23 am

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No you can crop characters. It's how you go about doing it that matters.

It's not really the value of the buildings that make them awkward its the shape. The over all shape of the building echos the over all shape of the characters.

 

Postby DiskBreaker » Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:30 pm

  DiskBreaker
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So, this is my first critique, so if i mess up on something, srry.

I think the problem can be sum'd up in this: The eye guidance is a mess.

What do i mean by this? (first of all, for this, i am going to assume that you wanted to make the characters the point of attention) The general placement of the characters, midground houses, the kinda random cristal formations and background
make the path where the eyes travel very confusing.

Because of how the characters, the houses and the sea are placed, the characters being covered by the houses, and the sea following the general shape of those; the eyes go from the top right, down to the bottom left, already going off track from the wanted point of attention (characters). Also the crystal formations in the sea make the eyes go in a zig-zag way towards the tower, which leads to nowhere, more confusion. I've also noticed the shape of the clouds, following a circular-like shape, clouds with those exagerated angles are usually used to lead the eye towards the center of an imaginary circle, thing that i assume you didn't want.

I might be going too into detail, but i think it's important to know why some elements can mess the composition of a picture.

So, how to fix. As Mandilor said, most of the problems can be solved with thumbnailing the idea first. Pay attention to where you want the focal point to be, and use elements to guide the eye towards that point of attention. Again, as Mandilor said, silhouettes are important, if your intended focal point is covered by something else completely, the flow of the composition gets messed up because now you have the eyes following a unintended path that goes to nowhere.

Again, this is my first critique, so don't take this too much in count before having done some research on composition stuff, as i might've messed up in something.

Hope this has helped you.

 

Postby Phi » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:40 pm

  Phi
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Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:57 pm

Mandilor wrote:No you can crop characters. It's how you go about doing it that matters.

It's not really the value of the buildings that make them awkward its the shape. The over all shape of the building echos the over all shape of the characters.


Huh, now that you mention it it does seem like the characters are framed by the buildings somewhat. I'll try to keep shapes and tangents in mind next time.

 

Postby arodude » Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:16 pm

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Forgive me for messing up your painting, but I felt like it would help to illustrate some issues I noticed. I feel as though there's too much empty space where there's not enough visual interest to hold the attention of the viewer. One approach you could take is sort of squishing the composition together, like playing around with how much of the composition the sky and buildings take up. The rhythm of the piece would look a bit tighter.

I think getting a sense of composition is tough because it's a little more difficult to put into words than other aspects of art. One of the things I think can remedy this is to consciously analyze compositions you find pleasing to see why they work. I think also this tutorial on composition may be of some help.

I'm not sure if it's just my computer screen but I felt it was hard to distinguish the values of the character's face, head piece, and I think flames on the right. Some value separation would help add more interest.

comp.PNG


I really do like the rendering on the armor and face. It's very beautiful and obvious that you put a lot of care into them.

 

Postby Phi » Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:15 pm

  Phi
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:57 pm

arodude wrote:Forgive me for messing up your painting, but I felt like it would help to illustrate some issues I noticed. I feel as though there's too much empty space where there's not enough visual interest to hold the attention of the viewer. One approach you could take is sort of squishing the composition together, like playing around with how much of the composition the sky and buildings take up. The rhythm of the piece would look a bit tighter.

I think getting a sense of composition is tough because it's a little more difficult to put into words than other aspects of art. One of the things I think can remedy this is to consciously analyze compositions you find pleasing to see why they work. I think also this tutorial on composition may be of some help.

I'm not sure if it's just my computer screen but I felt it was hard to distinguish the values of the character's face, head piece, and I think flames on the right. Some value separation would help add more interest.

I really do like the rendering on the armor and face. It's very beautiful and obvious that you put a lot of care into them.


You're right, now that I see your version it seems like there was a lot of unnecessary negative space!

I agree, from all the fundamentals, composition has the fewest/least clear explanations in my opinion, so I appreciate the link you shared! It's a good guide and I'll definitely check on it next time a start playing around with composition.

And thank you for your helpful feedback! n vn


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