Valkiers portraits: It's like I can touch you!

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LordBob
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Re: Valkiers portraits: Insubstantially exuberant

Post by LordBob »

Quick review of Rakshas :
* The bald head and facial hair are almost good, (though kitty's right about that stubble) but arms and hands deserve some hair too.
* The eyes can't remain white. It took some pain to get rid of that cheap trick in generic portraits, but we can now pride ourselves in mean-looking orcs with pupils ; so I'd rather this continued.
* The teeth currently look like Random Pointy Stuff. However, our orcs are ape-like and this includes their teeth. Monkey teeth can be scary, too. Please use some reference. If he really must have sharp teeth, make them look like regular teeth filed sharp (all the scarier), but no RPS.
* His armour will look all the better for wear and tear and rust. Lots of it. Orcs don't take proper care of anything (except maybe their weapons) and it should show in his gear.
* I agree with Kitty's comment regarding the skull design of the belt

Side note on Stalrag : in addition to the valid axe + hands + weird chest (wait for upcoming paintover) comments, I'm really not convinced by his beard and hair.
* Your hair outlines are very smooth, giving it the looks of incredibly well combed hair or, worse, plastic. Especially the moustache and streaks of hair on the side of his head.
* Similarly, the shading is very smooth and has low contrast, giving once again a feeling of very clean hair that would be more at home on a dwarf lord or - God forbid! - an elf. :whistle: So unless this is intended in regard to his character, I'd say some reference and scrubbyness are in order.


All in all, I do realize we as a whole may be asking a lot on a large number of portraits when your time's running short.
But if it really comes down to a matter of time, I'd say take your time. Work out the small details for each and every portrait, even if it comes at the cost of your workrate. I'd rather you finished less portraits of higher quality (or took longer to finish the whole lot of them) instead of providing tomorrow or the day after a very large set of half-rushed stuff that won't stand the test of time.
However, this is my view on portraiting. Since you seem to be working under a commission, I understand there may be other obligations to account for and the final word on all this really should be Jetrel's.

Edit: Stalrag paintover and i'm glad to read that :)
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Last edited by LordBob on August 10th, 2010, 4:00 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Valkier
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Re: Valkiers portraits: Insubstantially exuberant

Post by Valkier »

First of many updates tonight. I tried to get all the fixes Kitty and Groovy mentioned. The only one I'm not entirely sure of are the wrist and hands. I tried to define the wrist bones a bit and hoped that's what Kitty meant, but lord knows.

LordBob: As for my time limit on all this, it's really bothered me throughout this project. If I had to speak my mind on the entirety of this project thus far, I'd say I'm overly unhappy. I want to go back and redo parts of many pieces, with very few exceptions. What I am HOPING will happen is I get to purchase my laptop sometime before or shortly thereafter and can continue working on it a bit longer once classes start. The first couple of weeks are never too terrible so I should have time. But it hinges upon a lot of ifs that I don't like bothering Jetrel or any other admin about.

Rakshas is not even close to done, so I don't really disagree with any of the current critique, but most of those issues were on my list to do. Most likely tonight. The teeth will be fixed however.

To speak my mind a bit further, it's frustrating to know I'm not getting what I want to complete the way I wish I could. It's been my intention from the beginning to go back at some point, whether right away or a little in to the future, to clean up some portraits or add some things I want to. Not much I can really do at the moment.

edit: Still need to clean him up here and there and add the final details, but he's coming along pretty well now.
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Re: Valkiers portraits: Insubstantially exuberant

Post by LordBob »

All getting better. don't forget the rust on his armour.

I think we're not quite there yet with the belt thing. Because the material looks like bone, what you painted would have to be the skull of a saurian or drake infant given its size. Not a very likely decoration for drake armour... :whistle: I think what TSI and I had in mind would be best described as a large piece of terracotta (such as you painted) ornate with a stylized drakish decoration sculpted in the very same material. (Said decoration can of course picture the head of a drake). In other words, a piece of armour taken from a slain drake, not bits of the late and rather unfortunate drake :mrgreen:

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Re: Valkiers portraits: Insubstantially exuberant

Post by thespaceinvader »

I did mention that several times already...
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Re: Valkiers portraits: Insubstantially exuberant

Post by johndh »

Do you intend to redo the spikes on his club? At this point they look kinda like random bits of jagged shrapnel from an exploded soda can. It also looks like they can't decide whether they're blades or spikes. Maybe something more akin to this or this would work, with some bent spikes/nails, rust, blood, and brain matter, of course. :wink:
It's spelled "definitely", not "definately". "Defiantly" is a different word entirely.

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Re: Valkiers portraits: Insubstantially exuberant

Post by Valkier »

LordBob: He will rust in peace. No worries.

johndh: The club has hardly had any of my attention as it is not the most difficult area. So no, it is not done.

No updates tonight. Family came first today sadly. Tomorrow shall see some work done however.
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Re: Valkiers portraits: Insubstantially exuberant

Post by Valkier »

New Rakshas. Still refining it obviously, and adding details here and there. Here's hoping his sword passes for ok. I know orcs are all about maintaining weapons and such, but I was trying to go for something heavier and more savage.
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Re: Valkiers portraits: Insubstantially exuberant

Post by LordBob »

A quick comment :
* The angular pauldrons really look like they were scavenged from some gundam robot. It screams sci-fi armour all over the place. Make them round.
* I insist, the drake thing really cannot be made of bone. The way TSI designed them, the size of a drake's skull would be somewhere between tiger's and horse's, i.e. darn big. If you're really bent on using an actual skull, make it the top half of a grand helm.
* Metal-wise, our orcs use very little steel save for weapons (being poor craftsmen). What steel they have is scavenged and adapted from other races' armour, the rest is bronze and leather. Your colour scheme should reflect that. Judging by the looks, the helm and possibly gauntlets would most likely be orc-made.
* Assuming that the skulls hanging from his belt are human or elvish, they could afford being bigger. Our orcs are bulkier than humans, but roughly the same size so the skulls ought to match his. (Hell, they'd even be larger, what with orcs being dumb and all :P )
* Provided that in the end it looks like it can do more than bludgeon to death, I'm ok with the sword :mrgreen:
Last edited by LordBob on August 13th, 2010, 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Valkiers portraits: Insubstantially exuberant

Post by boru »

I think the only thing that makes it look like a skull is the color.

But those horns ... it looks like he'd stab himself in the neck if he turns his head.
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Re: Valkiers portraits: Insubstantially exuberant

Post by Valkier »

LordBob wrote:A quick comment :
* The angular pauldrons really look like they were scavenged from some gundam robot. It screams sci-fi armour all over the place. Make them round.
* I insist, the drake thing really cannot be made of bone. The way TSI designed them, the size of a drake's skull would be somewhere between tiger's and horse's, i.e. darn big. If you're really bent on using an actual skull, make it the top half of a grand helm.
* Metal-wise, our orcs use very little steel save for weapons (being poor craftsmen). What steel they have is scavenged and adapted from other races' armour, the rest is bronze and leather. Your colour scheme should reflect that. Judging by the looks, the helm and possibly gauntlets would most likely be orc-made.
* Assuming that the skulls hanging from his belt are human or elvish, they could afford being bigger. Our orcs are bulkier than humans, but roughly the same size so the skulls ought to match his. (Hell, they'd even be larger, what with orcs being dumb and all :P )
* Provided that in the end it looks like it can do more than bludgeon to death, I'm ok with the sword :mrgreen:
A couple of questions about all this. First off, I'll change the pauldrons and the skull sizes. You don't seem to like the drake skull at all, so I'll just ditch that, as I have other designs I can easily go for in its place.

I am just a little confused about orc apparel it seems, so I'm hoping you can correct me on a few before I go and make any changes to this guy, potentially doing them wrong in the process. First off, I had always heard orcs use whatever they happen to pick up on a battlefield off the people they have killed. I'm having a difficult time understanding why steel would not be more prominent amongst those spoils since just about every armored unit and their mother in Wesnoth appears to wear the material. Now, you just mentioned they adapt some of what they find, which I get. I'm just not understanding why they aren't able to adapt that specific material very readily, and instead gravitate towards weaker materials like bronze in their place. Or perhaps I have misinterpreted the entire metal situation of Wesnoth, a scenario which is entirely possible.

You're the one who designed the orcs, so please don't think I'm trying to contradict you. It just seems I am using a design philosophy I either don't understand or don't entirely know from the start. The only thing I will add is that scavenged or not, I figured the big bad orc war boss would most likely get first pick of the best material. Once more, I have absolutely no problem with making the requested changes and am not trying to get out of them. I think I just need better clarification of what I should be designing towards at the moment.

As for his weapon, I don't really know if you understand what I was aiming for or not with it. I mean, the thing could physically cut someone with the lashed on pieces of broken sword bits I suppose. By and large it is just a very large, crude, makeshift human brutalizer fashioned from a beaten slab of metal, leather straps, and whatever pointy implements he found one day. If you want me to make it a sword more likely to cut or stab someone then all right.

However if you don't like my original idea, then I need to change it to something more forged and "modern". As it stands now I was trying to follow the sprite which has a sovereign carrying two swords. The problem is that against plate, swords aren't very effective at all. So I tried to come up with something resembling the sprite to some degree, while still making it look like it would do damage to whatever he came across. If we can stick with my idea or adapt it then great. If we can't and I need to just make a normal sword, also great. I just want to get a better feel before I start making these design changes. Till then I'll work on Morvin.
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Re: Valkiers portraits: Insubstantially exuberant

Post by thespaceinvader »

I think the idea would be that any bits which were specifically made for the orc (the helm, for instance, wouldn't fit any other species) should be made out of lesser metals than steel, or be obviously made out of scavenged bits of steel. Orcs don't make steel, ergo anything complex they make for themselves isn't steel. They get away with swords because, as you say, most of them are just beaten and sharpened out of big solid slabs. Maybe bits of horse armour, or something.

The idea of a sword lashed together from broken bits of other swords is nice, and looks cool, but it simply wouldn't hold together in combat. lashings can be strong when they've got wide, round surface area to grip against, but on smooth, flat metal with tight corners, not so much. Not to mention that when you start hitting them against things, they will work loose, even more so if they go round sharp edges. Cool concept, but I think it doesn't stand up to a cursory thought about how it works.

Give him a big cleaver. Give him a cool battle axe of some kind (or a lochaber axe, like the one in the grunt...6 alternate I think). Give him a big-ass sword. Give him a machete or bill hook or sickle stolen from a farm that he just happens to like. Go back to the mace idea. With a campaign character you have leeway, to my mind, as long as the damage type is believably correct.
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Re: Valkiers portraits: Insubstantially exuberant

Post by LordBob »

I did some digging for history and revised my considerations accordingly. Below are a selection of posts where Jet discussed orcish gear, and hereafter how I think this should translate in your Rakshas portrait.
On the equipment of grunts
On the equipment of higher levels
On orc background

Overall, I'm perfectly fine with the leader obtaining the best scavenged (& redecorated) pieces of armour. What I considered when designing the orcs, though, was that the moment orcs would pillage the most was when they'd hit remote kingdoms and low-grade troops. Once they meet elite troops wearing high-grade steel armour, it usually wouldn't smell good for them. So iron & steel armour wouldn't get plundered in large enough amounts that every one of them had some. What little they had would end between the hands of the stronger orcs, who are enough respected (or brutal) to take it from their kinsmen. But they would rarely collect enough of it to ensure full body armour. And most of the time it would have been taken from several different foes.

As a result of this, every orc portrait, even the higher levels, displays some amount of bronze or leather armour. It has become a visual feature of (my idea of) wesnoth orcs, a mean to recognize every orc portrait as belonging to the same faction. In the case of Rakshas, being a campaign-specific character you can take some liberties, but it will help if someone seeing him next to, say a grunt portrait, immediately understands they're the same faction.

In the end, more than bronze, iron or steel, the key to orc armour is that it should clearly have been assembled from different sets. Stacking up very different materials is the easy way of doing so, but using steel coated with different enamels, or raw steel with colour variations (imagine they're steels of different qualities), or varying degrees in the rusting and general wear-out, can be a valid mean to that end.

Voilà, we're done with the armour. I hope this helps you in your next design steps. If not, we can meet on IRC to further discuss it. :)
EDIT : also, TSI nailed the steel thing perfectly :)


As for the "human brutalizer" (love that name :lol2: ), I'd follow TSI's advice . What could help recognize him as a leader, in addition (and allow you to have more fun with the weaponry), would be a second weapon, possibly hanging in its scabbard : orc sprites for Lvl 2-3 of the grunt and leader lines are all shown with two weapons.

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Re: Valkiers portraits: Insubstantially exuberant

Post by Valkier »

Hopefully this is closer to what you wanted to see.

edit: Update. Made the weapon a bit larger. Need to add corrosion to the bronze and whatnot. Also need to clean up a few parts still.
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Re: Valkiers portraits: Insubstantially exuberant

Post by thespaceinvader »

Nice weapon, but make it bigger =D Rest is looking good.
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Re: Valkiers portraits: Insubstantially exuberant

Post by Valkier »

Just wanted to let you guys know I'm not dead. Been getting moving details finalized with roommates and packing and whatnot, as well as trying to get on a normal sleep schedule. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to wake up and get some work done. Sorry for the lack of updates. Should be rectified soonly.
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