WSAS: Milestone Three

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thespaceinvader
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Re: WSAS: Making a start

Post by thespaceinvader » July 6th, 2009, 2:37 pm

Cleaned up clasher.

I'll do some portrait polishing once my shoulders have had a chance to calm down... New desk = not terribly comfortable.

EDIT: frames. EDIT again: messed up slightly with file naming. Fixed.
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Re: WSAS: Making a start

Post by thespaceinvader » July 6th, 2009, 5:20 pm

Various fixes.
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Re: WSAS: Making a start

Post by Boucman » July 6th, 2009, 5:33 pm

thespaceinvader wrote:it's intended that the unit stays basically static and strikes from his hex into the neighbouring one without any slide, hence having two separate directional animations.
since I'm not sure there are any such animations yet, i'd like to mention that the engine can already do that... just override the default "sliding" offset= parameter
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Re: WSAS: Making a start

Post by thespaceinvader » July 6th, 2009, 6:02 pm

There are indeed - the Water Serpent i designed a couple of months ago does this. You also need to make sure that the amount of extra space taken up by each frame is the same on both sides of the centre line.
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Re: WSAS: Making a start

Post by Valkier » July 6th, 2009, 6:11 pm

Looking good so far I think. A few things I've noticed that you may want to take another look at.

First the chest guard: I see where you were going with it with the segmented look, but I think you need to push that idea further. It doesn't look like he has enough flexibility in that to ever actually bend over or lean forward with it. The edge at the bottom, while aesthetically pleasing to the eye, looks like it would cut into his stomach if he were to crouch down.

The perspective on the right side of the breastplate also seems a bit off. The right side (the side with the arm holding the spear) doesn't seem to go back like it does on the side closest to our view. It just looks like that part is rounded off. Putting a dark there should fix it up easily enough however.

My last critique is on the coloration. It looks to me like you're going for a realistic coloration and shading, but with the cartoony lines. I feel for you here, because if I am indeed correct in my observation, you suffer from the exact opposite problem that I have on my own portrait.

To get to the point quickly, the coloration as you have it makes the image look flat. The main culprit in this being the direction of your lighting, and how you portray it on the material. On the far right side, I can tell you initially intended for the light to be coming head on at him, which is fine. I can also tell you wanted a soft blue light to his back, which is also fine and rather well done. The problem occurs in that his shoulder guard closest to us seems to be reflecting a third light source, and your highlights on the armor are too big.

Both are actually relatively simple fixes as it turns out. If you'd like, I can do a paintover to demonstrate exactly what I mean, but I'll try to just quickly explain it. The whitest part of a highlight is actually pretty small, which means you should have more darks in the coloration. You want to use highlights solely to direct the eye to areas of importance on the figure. This will help bring him more depth. Also, make certain you have the highlights facing where the light source is coming from. My advice here is to not mess with your secondary soft blue light, instead, reposition your current highlights and work from there.

I actually like how you did the chainmail by and large. I think you could stand to put more of a highlight in that area to really make it pop out.

I like how it's coming. Keep it up!
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Re: WSAS: Making a start

Post by Skrim » July 6th, 2009, 6:23 pm

The new blades in the portrait look much better, less fragile compared to the old ones. Though, the belt ornament thingy looks a lot like a bull head instead of a drake head, since it doesn't have a center horn like the Clasher wearing it does.

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Re: WSAS: Making a start

Post by Boucman » July 6th, 2009, 6:32 pm

thespaceinvader wrote:There are indeed - the Water Serpent i designed a couple of months ago does this. You also need to make sure that the amount of extra space taken up by each frame is the same on both sides of the centre line.
that, or you can use x= and y= to compensate... both work
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Re: WSAS: Making a start

Post by thespaceinvader » July 6th, 2009, 6:47 pm

I tried that last time and found it way too confusing ;)

The clasher doesn't have a central horn, his helmet does =P

Valkier: thanks for the in-depth crit. I'll look at it in detail and get back to you in an edit, since reading it in the reply panel is a pain.
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Re: WSAS: Making a start

Post by Valkier » July 6th, 2009, 7:04 pm

Did a paint over for fun and profit. Hope it helps.
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Re: WSAS: Making a start

Post by thespaceinvader » July 6th, 2009, 7:11 pm

Valkier wrote:Looking good so far I think. A few things I've noticed that you may want to take another look at.
First the chest guard: I see where you were going with it with the segmented look, but I think you need to push that idea further. It doesn't look like he has enough flexibility in that to ever actually bend over or lean forward with it. The edge at the bottom, while aesthetically pleasing to the eye, looks like it would cut into his stomach if he were to crouch down.
Messed about a bit with that.
The perspective on the right side of the breastplate also seems a bit off. The right side (the side with the arm holding the spear) doesn't seem to go back like it does on the side closest to our view. It just looks like that part is rounded off. Putting a dark there should fix it up easily enough however.
Ditto.
My last critique is on the coloration. It looks to me like you're going for a realistic coloration and shading, but with the cartoony lines.
You've basically defined the canon portrait style there - it's what we aim for nowadays with mainline portraits.
I feel for you here, because if I am indeed correct in my observation, you suffer from the exact opposite problem that I have on my own portrait.

To get to the point quickly, the coloration as you have it makes the image look flat. The main culprit in this being the direction of your lighting, and how you portray it on the material. On the far right side, I can tell you initially intended for the light to be coming head on at him, which is fine. I can also tell you wanted a soft blue light to his back, which is also fine and rather well done. The problem occurs in that his shoulder guard closest to us seems to be reflecting a third light source, and your highlights on the armor are too big.
I think you're misreading the lighting slightly - look at the head in particular, the lighting is from more side-on, and higher up, than you've put it.. And i really don't see what you're getting at about the shoulders - i've fiddled somewhat with the shading there, though, to try to clear things up.
Both are actually relatively simple fixes as it turns out. If you'd like, I can do a paintover to demonstrate exactly what I mean, but I'll try to just quickly explain it. The whitest part of a highlight is actually pretty small, which means you should have more darks in the coloration.
I'll try to shrink them down a bit.
You want to use highlights solely to direct the eye to areas of importance on the figure. This will help bring him more depth. Also, make certain you have the highlights facing where the light source is coming from. My advice here is to not mess with your secondary soft blue light, instead, reposition your current highlights and work from there.
No I don't, I want to use highlights to show where the points are which reflect the most light into the camera... The areas of importance have nothing to do with highlighting...
I actually like how you did the chainmail by and large. I think you could stand to put more of a highlight in that area to really make it pop out.

I like how it's coming. Keep it up!
Overall, your paintover looks WAY too dark and muddy, and has moved the light source a good deal.
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Re: WSAS: Making a start

Post by woodmouse » July 6th, 2009, 7:23 pm

I like the flames of Valkier's version a lot more. They're much more Drake-ish, I think.
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Re: WSAS: Making a start

Post by thespaceinvader » July 6th, 2009, 7:24 pm

Tough.

I intend painted detailing to be a feature of drakes' armour, to distinguish it from the engravings used on the dwarves, and metallic inlays on the humans. I'm getting in touch with LordBob for some hints on how to do it better.
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Re: WSAS: Making a start

Post by Valkier » July 6th, 2009, 8:55 pm

I in no way intended for you to take that my quick paintover was "right" for you. I merely did it to quickly better illustrate what I was trying to explain. You are, of course, free to listen or ignore it. I'm learning, same as you.

As for the direction of your lightsource, i'd look into shading the leg underneath the spear arm, have a longer shadow from the shoulder plate on the spear arm, the underside of the spear arm's arm guard, and a longer cast shadow from the head onto the breast plate.

One thing that I think would really push this piece is giving the armor some thickness to it. I sort of did this on my paintover of the helmet around the snout, but I didn't go too far with it. Show the armor curving under itself to give it some heft. It will make him appear much stronger and heavier.

One final bit about the lighting since you corrected my on where it is coming from: The head would be the brightest part since it would be closer to the light source. Everything else as it goes further down would not catch the same amount of light. It wouldn't neccesarily become super dark like the exagerated shadows I had in my paintover, but it would be noticable. If you have equal lighting on all points, it makes the bright areas seem somewhat flat.

Edit: I re-read your reponse to me and I wanted to clarify what I meant about highlights in important areas, etc. Again, take it or leave it as it is your project, but I was speaking to more of a compositional effect than realism. Using the highlights in that way directs the persons eye to where you want them to look. Without that direction, people have a natural tendancy to just wander around briefly and then move on. Highlights help you tell them to basically look a little closer a little longer. Same with dark darks.

Hope that clarifies. I also wanted to note I liked the scales on the arms. One of the strong points of the portrait.
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Re: WSAS: Making a start

Post by thespaceinvader » July 6th, 2009, 9:01 pm

I'll wait on any further changes until I've heard from Kitty about it.
Again, take it or leave it as it is your project, but I was speaking to more of a compositional effect than realism
We ARE looking for realism, quite explicitly. We are not looking to use our highlights to point to important areas, we are looking to make them as close to reality as possible.

I suggest you take that on board.
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Re: WSAS: Making a start

Post by kitty » July 6th, 2009, 10:19 pm

Just a quick comment today, I'll write a detailed response/critique tomorrow and will do a paintover, too.

Valkier and you have both right points. And even if his paintover wasn't perfect (that's not what paintovers are for, they are done to quickly illustrate a point) he mentioned a couple of right and important suggestions you should follow:

* More contrast and darker darks (like lordbob told you concerning the metal already)
* No big pure-white highlights. Like always: observe your surroundings. Pure white is ultra-rare, use it sparingly and with thought not in big patches.
* Add more thickness to the metal parts. They seem very thin right now.

Those are the most important advises to follow I read out of his posts. Apart from that the loincloth still doesn't fall like cloth (not so much of a shading issue more the way the folds are drawn) and the guy lacks a whole lot of cast shadows (mainly nearly everywhere next to the armour).




For the painted on armour issue:
I'm not fond of the way it looks now - but if you manage to get it look right it could be an interesting cultural distinction. Their shading is part of the problem (and lordbob should be able to help you sort that out) but the other part is their design. They look pretty much like the standart burning flames I see on every cheap painted on motorcycle... Yes, use flames! - but come up with a more interesting and by that more drake-typical representation of them!


And compositional effecs vs. realism:
Those should never clash. Period. You are the artist and should start planning your lightsituation according to the areas you want to get your viewer's attention to!
And to me realism should never be a goal on its own - it is a style, a method we use in order to communicate with the observer. This is an illustration not fine art in its own right - you are drawing to communicate, to tell a story to the player. And because of that using light as a dramatic means is extremely important. You set up you light to accentuate something about your character and it is perfectly legitimate, or rather advisable, to do so to achieve a compositional effect and exaggerateing your light a tad to accentuate something even more is perfectly fine. :eng:

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