View Full Version : Hello again - a little help?

10-08-2006, 03:39 AM
Hey guys, I am back - well I never left but I haven't posted anything in a long long time. Started playing World of Warcraft heh. Didn't stop painting though, just slowed down.

In any event, I was wondering if I could get some assistance/techinical help with a particular subject.....

I just did this tonight, totally on a whim and without reference (which is really a first for me, so JM you better be happy if you check this thread! lol) Anyway --- my question is this:

How can I make her look less flat on her facial features?

I would really love detailed answers on this instead of generalizations, since generalizations don't really help very much :)

Basically, since I didn't use a reference (hard to find women drowning, ya know?) what needs to be done to this painting, specifically, to make her pop?


10-08-2006, 05:30 AM
It looks really flat. Add some highlights to the nose and cheeks, forehead highlights, shadows where the face meets the hair, and additionally she has a really wide face which doesn't help things. Might want to put a skull overlay on her and figure out exactly where the cheeks cave in and the jaw begins.

10-08-2006, 01:14 PM
quoting my post:

How can I make her look less flat on her facial features?

I sort of knew that already.

I'm not so sure that super bright highlights would be appropriate here -- but that could work, I already thought of that I just didn't execute it, because I didn't think that someone underwater would have a lot of highlights going on.. I am just too new at this to understand how to make strong highlights while making them behave like they are underwater as well.... that's why I'm asking here. ;)

I like the skull overlay idea a lot!!! thanks :)

10-08-2006, 02:35 PM
Hey:) So nice to see you after so long!

I think you could try darkening the edges of the face a little bit and make them a little less sharp. It would help in not making the face look flat. Also a little darker in the nostrils and around maybe. I don't think highlights would look right, but a little lightening on the bridge of the nose and on the cheeks etc might make them pop out a little more. You know how the light underwater is broken up by the waves? I think that would look nice :)

I think the eyes could use a little work, the shape seems slightly off.

10-08-2006, 03:10 PM
Hey there thanks so much for posting!

Honestly, this needs work - but the reason why I'm asking for help is I think it has promise....sometimes though i look at stuff and just have no CLUE how to go forward.. that really drives me crazy :D

The hair is on a seperate layer but I think I understand waht you mean - by darkening the side of her face/thinning them out that would help a lot in making them recede... I hope I can execute it properly.

By the shape of the eyes, you're probably right in the sense that, to be perfectly honest I didnt use a ref for anything, I just winged this -- this entire thing was done in an hour or so... but I like it enought to want to flesh it out. Do you mean the shape isn't as almond as it should be?

10-08-2006, 03:26 PM
Here's a skull layer on multiply; you can clearly see what you need to do in order to get the anatomy right. The bubbles irk me, they look non-spherical. Someone else mentioned water bending light, or maybe they didn't, either way you could add lighter parts where light goes through the water and hits her face. The darker spots where the hair meets the face are definitely going to help this piece of art. Use highlights as a last resort.


Don't be upset that I overlayed a skull on your artwork, I just wanted to help you along. Plus this is a critique forum and should be used as such. People blow too much smoke up each others' asses around here and it's rare that you get a good critique where someone tears your painting apart so you can improve on it. Hopefully I've helped you a bit?

10-08-2006, 03:42 PM
I'm not going to crit it, just respond to your question on how one could make it pop.

The first thing that stands out to me is the eyes look too small in comparison to the mouth and nose, so I would definitely increase their size, or decrease the other two.

while her hair might be flowing in front of her forehead, it seems as if she doesn't have one right now, so perhaps add one and then go over it with flowy groups of hair.

the shine on her lips is more where you would fine the shine on one's nose... right in front. I would move it over to our left as the lighting seems to be coming from that direction.

the bags under her eyes are too thin, work in some shadows there.

Shade on the right side of her nose, and highlight the left side some. It'll make it pop out from her face a little more.

I would have done a paintover to show you what I mean, but I've found doing them can be considered rude, and many times, any effort I would put into it wouldn't be so appreciated as the person takes offense to it (as do I)

hope I helped a little... and good luck. Bubbles can be tricky, I would probably look up references for those.

10-08-2006, 03:59 PM

Ok I did this before you guys helped me out so much! So I am going to go back and work on this some more, DEFINATELY!

Yes, the skull helped a lot and YES the eyes are small. Honestly, if I had used a reference it would have started out better, but all I did was blobs of paint... so I dont feel TOO bad about all of this, since I really just painted this from scratch LOL I'm a n00b, totally.

You're right, you spotted it, she didnt have a forehead --- my laziness shines through. I can go back though, her head is on a seperate layer. Her hair is also, but I wouldnt mind a paintover to show what you mean about the blobs of hair, I really can't visualize that.

The bubbles, CLEARLY, were an afterthought - I only like the ones coming out of her nose/mouth. I plan to adjust them accordingly, but wanted to fix her flatness first.

I think its funny how when you get a concept you like, you're willing to work at it more than when it's just something you're doing by rote. I never expected to want to work on this as much as I do.

in the next WIP I plan to:

make her eyes bigger and try to do the forehead/hair thing -- but cypherx a paintover to show what you mean would be appreciated and lovely.

Thank you for asking first - that common courtesy is so lacking elsewhere *cough* and yeah, I make a fuss over it. heh.

I just feel like I can really LEARN something from this piece, I don't know why, I just do. It's bizarre and intangible, but for some reason I think I can push a little forward... so thank you all so much for your help and guidance through this :)

10-09-2006, 02:18 AM
I think this has something to do with how realistic the features look to make it less flat for this angle. This front on view as I've been told by others is flat and well I still keep painting those lol. That could also be reason too.

The eye's shape is rather strange and her iris is so large but the eye opening is quite small. Also the eye lashes are pointing in all different directions. The eyelids don't really follow the shape of the eyeball, since these are deep set eyes with almost no fat tissue under the eyelids they need to really follow the shape of the eyeball.

The edge of her face is also too straight now. She has high set check bones but the outline is not saying what the shading is.

10-09-2006, 03:57 AM
Well I was about to offer some suggestions on contouring, shadows, and highlights, but everyone who's already posted seems to have said it first, and better. :) In fact, peachstapler's post with the skull overlay really hit home with me, and would be an incredible guide to making the face pop.

Given you did this without reference, you did an amazing job, and I totally agree with you that it has promise!!

Looking forward to see what you do next. :)

10-09-2006, 07:29 AM
I don't think the face looked at all flat in your last update. But I still think you could smooth the cheek area a lot more. It darkens too sharply if you get what I mean.

One thing that will definitely put depth into the picture is depth of field. That should be easy to do on the bubbles. But if your really feeling up to it try it on the hair. Have some strands coming closer to the viewer than others and blur them at different strenghts.

The lighting on the bubbles seems kinda strange because it looks like they are being illuminated by the face instead of by the sun.

Hope that can be of some help.:)

10-09-2006, 08:34 AM
A few images for you.







10-09-2006, 01:05 PM
Wow guys thanks so much!!! I didn't get a chance to work on it yesterday, and I cannot work on it until a couple hours, I have my kids conferences in a little bit.

But this is GOOD stuff to ruminate on in my head before I sit down.. I am so excited to try and improve this image - thank you all so much for your help!! Cris, those images are awesome, thanks!!

And sorry about the crap bubbles, honestly, it was like 3-5 minutes total -- GAHHH I totally plan to re-do them :D

10-09-2006, 07:23 PM

Ok this is a tad more work, I end up not having a lot of time when my kids are home from school! :)

I have no idea if I did the hair thing right, I was just winging it... and I tried to soften the edge by the cheek and bring it in a little more to define it better, but most of the time I'm just flying blind and trying stuff randomly to the best of my ability, which admittedly is scarce.

I looked at lots of pics of bubbles, and these need even more work, but I think they are a small improvement to the first versions, but still need more defining.

I haven't done her forehead yet, nor pulled down her chin to match te skull overlay -- i tried but it looked completely bizarre. I may just re-paint her jaw and cut and paste the lips and blend them in. I really dunno what to do.

Oh I made her irises smaller and tried to adjust the contour of her eyes -- did that help any??

I know this isn't /perfect/ but I'm taking baby steps. Thanks so much for all the feedback so far! :)

10-09-2006, 09:57 PM
After looking at this after awhile, I'm beginning to despise it. I almost like the eyes when they were smaller -- so I've obviously done something horribly wrong.

I get bummed at this feeling, but i want to work through it. Tomorrow will be a good painting day, kids back at school and the game is down =D

Any more kicks in the rear anyone? Have I managed to glean anything from the help I've recieved so far?

10-10-2006, 12:01 AM
Hey han't seen this before sorry :blush:... coincidentally was looking at an underwater photograph yesterday. Thin that strikes me as that the features of the face change when under water, it gives them a strange otherworldy effect alongside light behaving differently under water. it's that the overall relative weight reduces and consequently some parts swell and then some others decrease in size because of being pushed back. SO the eyes being smaler is normal, have a look here >>link<< (http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/38602999/?qo=78&q=underwater&qh=boost%3Apopular+age_sigma%3A24h+age_scale%3A5)

As frostblade said it's all in the proportions, we can recognise eachother easily by memorising key fetatures so it's good to work on getting those in first. you have the features in place, but now you need to get the right hints in place... anatomeeeehh. :p
For instance check the shape on the eyelids and subtle curves and the fact that they seem to be swollen in the picture. Also the lack of highlights strikes me a lot in underwaterphotography. Good going so far, I'm gonna dabble around with your image if you don't mind, and see if I can't show you some tricks.

10-10-2006, 01:34 AM
Be more than happy to see, as I'm at a roadblock and not sure where to go technically --- though I'll fumble around tomorrow as best I can :)

10-11-2006, 01:02 PM

Well I didnt do much, mostly because the changes proposed are so drastic that I cannot really do then without a fresh start over, and I'm too lazy to do that. I keep trying to lengthen her jaw to match the skull, and it looks SO weird to me for some reason... so I've just scrapped that. Thank god I'm only just new and learning HAHA!

I'm really interesting to see the proposed paintovers, but I can understand how life gets in the way of such things -- anyway, I don't know where to go from here without completely starting over... so dunno!

10-11-2006, 01:17 PM
Whoa, creepy! I like the colors here ^^. As for crit, it might help to soften the feature of her face a bit, it too square-jawed for a female (at least for my taste ^^).

10-11-2006, 02:00 PM
This maybe a result of the eyes being too small, which has already been talked about. But Looking at the image, I can't help but feel her nose is just a little to low down the face? again, it may well be due to the eyes, but thought I give it a mention. One thing I am not 100% sure on, is the direction your light source is? From the image, it seems like it is coming from above, close to the top section of the page? If this is the case, then maybe a bit more shadow above the eye would help bring out features on the face. Also above the upper lip, under the nose. The final thing is the high lights on the two strands of hair in the lower area of the image. I think the high light is a little too think, it gives the impression of the hair binding in a larger clump. Under water, the hair is very lose, moving with the current. I think if you can give that feeling of 'wight lessness' to the hair, and give it some good sence of motion it will really help the image.

Hope this is helpful. Btw I really like the colour palette your using! look forward to see your next WiP Image.

10-11-2006, 02:55 PM
Oh hey, I'm sorry, I got in my own way, but I need to take a break from my own painting now... so I'll try and havea go at it as soon as I cn put my lenses back in (pulled an allnighter you see). I think you did a great job on the bubles. :thumbsup:

10-12-2006, 09:58 AM
Hey! Good going so far. I don't think the colours or lightning are what you should worry most about. Rather, the facial proportions and anatomy is what breaks this image, and that is something that should have been in place from the very start. If the anatomy had been there, the image would have indeed been very good with this palette. I don't know how you progress from sketch to completion, but it's very easy to rush towards the colouring and thus skip important founding stages where issues such as anatomy, postures and dynamics are established. Some artists even complete their images entirely in greytones before applying colour. So when one reaches a dead end, going back to stage one is some times less time and energy consuming than trying to compensate for the lack of work in the early stages by tweaking the image in its later stages. And, well, that's my advice to you: concentrate on nailing the image in its very early stages, and it will save you a lot of work and frustrations later.

10-12-2006, 12:40 PM
This is looking very impressive, you make huge improvements with each WIP you post. My advice would be to work on the eyes a lot more (they're the focal point afterall). Looking forward to updates.

10-15-2006, 12:37 PM
Just wanted to let all these very kind and patient people who have posted here that I am going on holiday for the next week and cannot work on this while I'm there. My mom has also been in town and I have been entertaining her for the past two weeks. She is here for two more!

I think it's good that I sit and think about the advice I've recieved anyway, I tend to rush when I work non-stop on something. So learning to not rush and take my time is a valuable lesson.

Besides, when i finally sit back down to my computer and tablet, it's all that more satisfying :D

Thanks everyone, I look forward to learning with this piece when I get back!

10-22-2006, 03:10 PM
Hey all -- I am back from my vacation :) I am ready to get started on improving this - JM did you ever work out a paintover - or anyone else for that matter?

Perhaps I should try again and start over... something to think about anyway.

10-22-2006, 04:54 PM
:blush: completely forgot ... sorry

gotta warm up now anywees so I'm getting right on it.

10-22-2006, 05:23 PM
ok I went real rough because I never use layers, and it was unpredictable when I was blending.

SO what I basically did was add more anatomically correct overall forms, but as you can see in shape and proportions you were gettign close early on. The onyl trick is folloging flow of musclees and bone in the face, if you want ehr youngand softish you can always blend it more afterwards and decrease sharp edges.

http://img348.imageshack.us/img348/650/waterno4.gif (http://imageshack.us)

10-22-2006, 05:43 PM
well done jmBoekestein!

10-25-2006, 04:01 PM
Thanks JM!! I saw this last night but I wanted to think about it before I sat down today. I drove my mom to the airport and things are back to normal in my household so I will finally have more time to get back to painting!!

I have a small update after working for another hour:


I moved her eyebrows, her nose, worked up her eyes some more and tried to define her face a littlemore, worked up the strands of hair, etc. I flattened the image and worked all on one layer.

10-25-2006, 05:19 PM
Iím not sure if youíll like this but this is what I was trying to say last time.

This way she still has big eyes but they are relaxed big eyes.
I think the nostrils should have some details inside.
Lips could do with a touch of pink but still be green.

Anyways no ref just what I think... so probably not correct anyway, but a different direction.


10-25-2006, 05:56 PM
Thanks frostblade, I think i understand the subtleties you are trying to portray :)

CGTalk Moderation
10-25-2006, 05:56 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.