Undead Portraits

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BigGoon
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Undead Portraits

Post by BigGoon »

Cool game all! I had lots of fun, and it really gets the imagination juices flowing. So thanks for the adventures! Thanks for all the hard work!

So, maybe I'm off in left field, but after looking at the forums a bit, and the tutorials a bit, and the graphics a bit, I noticed that there weren't very many undead portraits... only lich portraits (and a ghoul).

I thought I'd draw a couple of sketches, and see if you like the style and what not. I'm following some of Kitty's styles, with basic units more zoomed in, and advanced units more detailed and zoomed out. I'm trying to follow the Lutes-cell shading style too...

I'm starting with the skeles, because they're more core units. Here's a first attempt at an archer. I must confess, there isn't very much there that distinguishes the Archer from any other skeleton... so if anybody has any ideas to make it more archer-y, please let me know. I'd just like to keep the image as unemotional as possible, since it's (un)dead. Thus, no raised weapons in victory.

I can take comments of any sort... shadowing, inconsistent details, lack of a body, needs more cracks, etc...

Some other ideas to add: grass or dirt on the body (for freshly dug corpse), gore stains, an arrow through the head.
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Archer Portrait
Archer Portrait
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BigGoon
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Post by BigGoon »

Here's a prelim sketch for the skeleton portrait. Now that I look at it, I need to redraw it... some of the proportions are off. I'll fix that later, I intend to finish the archer first.
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Skeleton
Skeleton
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BigGoon
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Post by BigGoon »

...aaaand a bone-shooter portrait sketch.
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Bone Shooter
Bone Shooter
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Post by Thumper »

Those are nice.

There aren't many undead portraits, as you've pointed out. This is a golden opportunity for you to make your mark on the faction portrait style. The most important points:
  1. You're going to get a lot of comments about the general artistic direction, the expressions on units' faces, what colour their robes are etc. Ignore all of them. A lot of commentators see artistic critique as their chance to express their opinion on the colour of the bike shed, but don't have much constructive to say.
  2. The general layout for new faction portraiture only really needs to match Wesnoth's basics (black background, either bust or upper torso) so long as it's internally consistent. All your work should be from a similar aspect and use the same style.
  3. Keep churning out new pieces. One of the problems with portraiture thus far is that because artists usually don't produce whole factions, their work isn't adopted because there's only piecemeal representation of the faction.
  4. While general art direction should be entirely your own, Wesnoth's portraiture does generally try to be anatomically correct. If an Art Contributor points out some anatomical detail please take it into consideration. They usually won't mind helping out with overpaints or revisions if requested.
Anyway, yeah. Good luck! Some of the best portrait art yet came from a branc new contributor, so there's plenty of opportunity.

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Post by Shadow »

Hello and welcome.
I want my bikeshed is blue please thank you.

The skeleton and the Bone-Shooter look quite good. I like them but personal I can't say much about them technical yet. While the sketches are good the the pictures aren't completely colored to be used.
To criticize a sketch is always delicate. Because you never know what is simplified for sketch purpose or will stay. So excuse if it is hard to give any advices yet. :)

Anatomical I can't see any "errors" though.
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Post by thespaceinvader »

Agreed with above - these look very promising. The bone shooter looks great. The archer needs to show far more of the unit, though - at the very least, a bust. This allows you to show gear that IDs the unit, too - the leather helm is very archer-y, but if you could show a quiver or bow that would clinch it.

Anatomically, i can't see anything major off (but then, i'm not great at skeletons) apart from the fact that the distance between the nose and teeth on the archer's skull seems a little long compared to the reference i've googled up.

Great work =) Welcome to the forums. I look forward to seeing more work like this :)
Last edited by thespaceinvader on February 29th, 2008, 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by AI »

FYI, both your links are 404s to me.

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Post by thespaceinvader »

Fixed them I left some google image search junk on the end by accident.
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Post by turin »

Not bad. I think the Bone Shooter is the best one, compositionally. I would vote for using that basic style on all the portraits, even the lower level ones, rather than zooming really far in on the face. Skeleton heads aren't that interesting, after all.


Just a quick comment on that portrait, though. It's all well and good for his bow to be made of bone; composite bows often had bone stiffeners. But the bone used wouldn't look like a segment of spine - that's just completely impractical. It's really kind of silly - it makes the unit suffer from "cover the unit with as many skulls, bones, etc, as possible and it'll make it scary!".
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Post by Jetrel »

:? These are neat and all, but I can't really judge whether they're appropriate or not.

Do some linework as if it would be final linework, and post that for review. These preliminary sketches don't really tell me anything. You can look at kitty's elven portraits thread for inspiration on the relative zoom/crop factor to use - that's one major difference between these and what the final portraits would need to be like.

Just a quick comment on that portrait, though. It's all well and good for his bow to be made of bone; composite bows often had bone stiffeners. But the bone used wouldn't look like a segment of spine - that's just completely impractical. It's really kind of silly - it makes the unit suffer from "cover the unit with as many skulls, bones, etc, as possible and it'll make it scary!".
^ Heed this, more especially the general point he's trying to make. Undead don't use skulls in all of their decor - they're enforced not to in our art dept, because it's tacky and silly. That said, it's fine for necromancers to use the "death's head" as their heraldy/standard-cap, since their trade is heavily involved in death, but they don't have, say, skull-pattern ties. That's just [censored].

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Post by BigGoon »

thespaceinvader wrote:
Anatomically, i can't see anything major off (but then, i'm not great at skeletons) apart from the fact that the distance between the nose and teeth on the archer's skull seems a little long compared to the reference i've googled up.
I've never drawn skeletons either, and thus the reason I'm asking desperately for advice. I shortened the "upper lip" distance, although she doesn't have any lips javascript:emoticon(':D'), but it definitely looked off after another review, thanks.

"Shoulders" and a bust were added. A quiver has been added, although it will be easy to remove. I should probably give the cap and quiver another polish... but the idea + colors are there.

I'll probably hate this picture later on, when I get better at the whole "skeleton" drawing technique. Portraits are supposed to be 205 x 205 pixels, right? Should I post them bigger then that?

Note: I hate drawing faces "face on". This will be only one, I promise. But since it was my first go, I wanted to try something simpler.
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Archer.png
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BigGoon
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Post by BigGoon »

These are the kind of comments I wanted for the bone-shooter sketch. Sketches are important, and take very little time to put together. So really, the only comments I wanted from the sketches would be about pose + accessories.
Jetryl wrote:
Do some linework as if it would be final linework, and post that for review. These preliminary sketches don't really tell me anything. You can look at kitty's elven portraits thread for inspiration on the relative zoom/crop factor to use - that's one major difference between these and what the final portraits would need to be like.

^ Heed this, more especially the general point he's trying to make. Undead don't use skulls in all of their decor - they're enforced not to in our art dept, because it's tacky and silly. That said, it's fine for necromancers to use the "death's head" as their heraldy/standard-cap, since their trade is heavily involved in death, but they don't have, say, skull-pattern ties. That's just [censored].
Ah yes, I understand. Bones should be reserved for more practical uses: such as building more skeletons. I wasn't thinking like a necromancer. Actually, the truth is that I took the spine-like bow from the unit sprite.

I'll use the skull/bone/necromantic themed accessories sparingly from now on.
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Post by thespaceinvader »

Nice work on the archer additions. I like that you're keeping things simple here, so that the more impressive later levels have some room to be impressive IYSWIM.

One slight issue, though. I think all you additions are a little on the small side compared to the skull - the shoulders could do with being a touch wider, and the quiver a touch bigger.

Finally, don't forget that the eye sockets and nasal cavity in particular, but to al lesser extent the gaps between the teeth and the gaps between the jaws, have depth, and thing behind them. At the moment, because of the black you've used, it appears as if we're only seeing the front half of the skull, and we're looking through its eye sockets directly onto the background. It's less important for the mouth, because for most of it we will see directly through to the background (i think...) but don't forget that the spine will show through behind the teeth right up to where it joins the skull at the back.

BTW, bust doesn't actually mean breasts, in this case, it means 'view down to shoulders and/or about the bottom of the rib cage - the view seen in the vast majority of the Loyalist portraits by Lutes. This doesn't mean the archer can't be a female skeleton, though =).

WRT sizes, the final size should be 205x205, you're quite right. But for critiquing purposes, it can be beneficial to show larger sizes, and wider crops if you have them (particularly the latter, as it's easy to have things (particularly weapons and their meetings with hands) go wrong if you draw only the top half without at least sketching how they meet up out of crop). When drawing for a crop at bust level, i tend (more recently, at least) to draw the whole of both arms and the body down to the waist. For a crop any lower than that, i'll draw down to include the top half of the thighs. Of course, that's just me. You may find it easier another way :)

=) nice work. Can't wait to see more.
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BigGoon
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Post by BigGoon »

thespaceinvader wrote:Nice work on the archer additions. I like that you're keeping things simple here, so that the more impressive later levels have some room to be impressive IYSWIM.
IYSWIM? Whatever... I'm pretty sure I know what you mean.
thespaceinvader wrote: One slight issue, though. I think all you additions are a little on the small side compared to the skull - the shoulders could do with being a touch wider, and the quiver a touch bigger.

Finally, don't forget that the eye sockets and nasal cavity in particular, but to al lesser extent the gaps between the teeth and the gaps between the jaws, have depth, and thing behind them. At the moment, because of the black you've used, it appears as if we're only seeing the front half of the skull, and we're looking through its eye sockets directly onto the background. It's less important for the mouth, because for most of it we will see directly through to the background (i think...) but don't forget that the spine will show through behind the teeth right up to where it joins the skull at the back.

BTW, bust doesn't actually mean breasts, in this case, it means 'view down to shoulders and/or about the bottom of the rib cage - the view seen in the vast majority of the Loyalist portraits by Lutes. This doesn't mean the archer can't be a female skeleton, though =).

WRT sizes, the final size should be 205x205, you're quite right. But for critiquing purposes, it can be beneficial to show larger sizes, and wider crops if you have them (particularly the latter, as it's easy to have things (particularly weapons and their meetings with hands) go wrong if you draw only the top half without at least sketching how they meet up out of crop). When drawing for a crop at bust level, i tend (more recently, at least) to draw the whole of both arms and the body down to the waist. For a crop any lower than that, i'll draw down to include the top half of the thighs. Of course, that's just me. You may find it easier another way :)

=) nice work. Can't wait to see more.
My personal version is 615x615... but I'm making my other pictures even bigger. Using larger picture sizes and drawing outside the borders should be used in almost every case in digital art IMHO. So I'm doing that now... it's just that I started incorrectly with the archer... with only the head.

I'm impressed, I threw in the "she" as a joke, but I really didn't think anybody would pick up on it :) Most units seems to have both a female and male sprite, but not the undead.

As for size of shoulders... I know it's hard to see (due to my crop), but the shoulders are not straight. Notice how the colorbone is not straight below the spine? It's not a problem to increase the size (yay for layers!), and I seem to have a little room on that bottom right corner for extra room. I'll see how it looks with larger shoulders. I wanted to keep the quiver small... I'm more concerned about the arrows being too small. Again, it's very easy to increase in size (yay again for layers), so I'll give it a try.

Last point is the most important... the inside of the skull. So there's three reasons why I might *not* include depth (ie the inside of the skull). 1) I'm debating whether I might throw in some "magical" effect inside the eye sockets - like glowing eyes 2) darkness: I'm also debating whether I will decrease the darkness of the overall picture - which would make the inside of the skull complete darkness 3) complexity: I really want to minimize the detail since the picture is small, the depth adds another level of detail that could be left out so that the picture remains simple and easier to identify.

Anyways, if it's okay, I'm not going to add internal depth until I've made another picture or two... and will decide what's best.

Thanks for the comments.
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Post by thespaceinvader »

No worries. Be aware, when talking about decreasing the darkness of the whole portrait, that portraits (ones like these for generic units, at least - there's some leeway for campaign portraits) should be presented on a black background to fit in with the Help screen GUI.

IYSWIM=if you see what i mean.

I think what you've said about depth is reasonable - i was wondering if you were intending to put some kind of glow into the eye sockets. I think you're right about the size of the arrows.

WRT male and female - the vast majority of units are of only one gender - the only units (and their upgrade lines) with 2 are the Thief, Footpad, Mage, Elvish Archer and Dark Adept (i think, i could have missed a few). The Undead are all genderless and nameless - it's a feature of the hard-coded 'Undead' trait.
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