View Full Version : “Keep a Sharp Eye”, Ron Crabb (2D)

03-28-2008, 05:03 PM
http://features.cgsociety.org/gallerycrits/159819/159819_1209608259_medium.jpg (http://features.cgsociety.org/gallerycrits/159819/159819_1209608259_large.jpg)

Title: “Keep a Sharp Eye”
Name: Ron Crabb
Country: USA
Software: CINEMA 4D, Photoshop

This is an all digital fine art piece from a series I'm calling “Illustrations From Untold Stories”. It is meant to inspire writers and storytellers as well as those who just like to daydream to come up with a story to fit the image. It was all done in Photoshop and looks very much like my actual oil painting technique (only it's much faster!) Hope you enjoy—and daydream just a bit.
NOTE: This image has now been updated to include revisions made based on excellent feedback in the forum. I also revised the water reflection a bit. Thanks for all the input!

03-29-2008, 12:58 PM
That is simply gorgeous Ron. Stunning work that sends shivers down my timbers. Your oil paintings must be something to behold in the flesh.

03-29-2008, 01:14 PM
I quote 100% Nickillus.
Beautifull work and very inspiring!

03-29-2008, 01:21 PM
This is really beautiful piece. Great atmosphere, i like it. 5 stars.

03-29-2008, 01:45 PM
absolut light and mood cool dress and faces only crit to fire I dont like it:thumbsup:

03-29-2008, 02:00 PM
Absolutely stunning. You hve really nailed the mood and coloring. The folds of the man's shirt are beautifully done. Oustanding job! 5 Stars!!

03-29-2008, 02:23 PM
really many beuatiful work , i love the atmosphere , 5 stars :applause:

03-29-2008, 02:50 PM
very very Cool........nice lighting and mood...!

03-29-2008, 03:12 PM
It's really good~
the light of torch makes the scene more mysterious~

03-29-2008, 05:15 PM
i like this a lot. Good job :)

03-29-2008, 05:38 PM
This is really impressive!!5*:love:

03-29-2008, 06:35 PM
just perfect

03-29-2008, 10:26 PM
Wow, gorgeous. Great reflections.

LS Knight
03-29-2008, 11:45 PM
Slammin'! Has a Hilderbrant feel to it.

03-30-2008, 05:07 AM
Great work!!! :D

03-30-2008, 12:36 PM
Each character is stunning and can survive as invidivual pieces, but when together really gets your mind going to imagine a story behind them. Love everything about it, the warmth of the colors is very inviting. Thanks for the new desktop!



03-30-2008, 01:51 PM
Absolutely stunning! this is just beautiful....

Hmmm.... I'm going to present this to my kids...(ages 8 and 11) I'm curious to see what story they can come up with....


03-30-2008, 02:02 PM
Good gods, that's spectacular.

And the basis of the concept is really wonderful. Not ony have you presented a beautiful artwork, but you've told a story without even having to tell it, and that is far more impressive than the stunning realism or the technical prowess you've demonstrated. This is the side of art that everyone on this forum should be aspiring to, and I mean that wholeheartedly. Really, really very well done indeed.

Oh, and it's purdy 'n stuff. :)

03-30-2008, 02:14 PM
A very beautiful and inspiring piece! And like someone else posted, your picture truly speaks a thousand words :)
Someone please hand this man an award!

03-30-2008, 02:23 PM
i love the lighting works,great job overall:)

03-30-2008, 02:46 PM
Love the ligthing and mood. :love:

Great job!

03-30-2008, 02:46 PM

03-30-2008, 02:53 PM
wow, thats amazing! Everything about it is stunning.

03-30-2008, 03:40 PM
I have one crit: This is too perfect !!

03-30-2008, 04:12 PM
Respect !! This artwork is very realistic !! There is a beautifull choice in lighting. Congratulations !!:thumbsup:

03-30-2008, 04:39 PM
The details and atmosphere are great. Love how those characters are almost alive.

One note though (probably nitpicking, cough): is it me or the lighting on the girl on the left is a bit off? It makes an impression of another orange light source above it, but then it doesn't affect the man in the middle. To me it looks like the lighting on the girl would be weaker and the shadows on her hand would be at a different angle and maybe not as sharp, considering you have a torch as a source.

Just my 2 cents :)

03-30-2008, 05:01 PM
This is 5* without a doubt, it does remind me of many great masterpieces that were presented back in school, which brings me to the 1 technical (not artistic) question that poped up in my mind. Can the torch light make it all the way to the back character without falling off more into darkness? I bring up this point only because in 3D we use light falloff like that all the time to create a sense of distance and isolation, but the back character is just as integrated here with the other two as she seems to receive a full share of the light intensity. There are many reasons why I think you may want to do that, but it did register with the lighting part of my brain. Am I way off here?

Anyway, it’s an awesome piece and I suck at painting so...


03-30-2008, 05:13 PM
Wow, master piece! Awesome!

03-30-2008, 07:02 PM
Gorgeous work Rob. Other than the superb rendering and lighting, I love the way the girl is looking back - adding an eerie quality to the piece! The only thing catching my eye just a touch are the flames of the boy's torch. For some reason, they don't quite stand up to the amazing quality of the rest of your painting. However, I am really nitpicking and overall, I think it's beautiful.

All the best,

03-30-2008, 07:31 PM
very sharp and very cool

03-30-2008, 07:37 PM
strong talent. Very nice painting.

03-30-2008, 07:38 PM
This is truely amazing ...

Would it be possible for you to post a breakdown of your work here, I think there are many of us who would love to see how you progress from the C4D render through matte painting to this final masterpiece?

03-30-2008, 07:43 PM
That's Awesome! :thumbsup:

03-30-2008, 07:57 PM
Absolutely 5 stars or more for me ..

The mood and the balance of lighting is really amazing, the environment is perfect.

I also quote completely lildragon :D Each character is stunning and can survive as invidivual pieces, but when together really gets your mind going to imagine a story behind them. Love everything about it, the warmth of the colors is very inviting

amazing piece man !


03-30-2008, 09:07 PM
Yar, I give this 5 stars!! Just curious, why has this has not received a CGtalk award?!! This piece is clearly TOP "TOP" notch work. Lighting, contrast, texture, and color are perfect.

03-30-2008, 10:03 PM
wonderfull , sublime, extra

03-31-2008, 01:48 AM
Just curious, why has this has not received a CGtalk award?!!

You might want to refresh the thread. :)

03-31-2008, 02:33 AM
Fooled again...!
I thought it was photo,,,just kidding!

03-31-2008, 02:42 AM
That is just such an awesome piece of work. I really just starred and studied the faces of each character and their emotion their conveying. The lighting and overall atmosphere is absolutely awesome. Great Job man!

Could you show us what you used the 3d application for (cinema4d), perhaps initial wires before the paint over? Just curious to see where the 3d geometry ends and photoshop takes over. Thanks for sharing!

And yes... It really can make one day-dream. Thank you for that.

03-31-2008, 02:57 AM
You might want to refresh the thread.

I didn't have to refresh, I checked back again just recently and noticed it was there. I'm really glad to see it there. Ron really deserved it!

03-31-2008, 02:59 AM
beautiful work!


03-31-2008, 03:43 AM
:thumbsup:It's great! I like your lighting

03-31-2008, 04:40 AM
just awesome!
making of please..

03-31-2008, 06:57 AM
Wow, this is stunning work, congrats Ron. Great to see this gets front page, and good to find you here on CGsociety too. Ill be off to take a look through your portfolio now :)

I hope you make a graphic novel one day. I dont even really read graphic novels, but if they were illustrated like this i certainly would!


03-31-2008, 06:58 AM
Fantastic work of lights, really good job!

03-31-2008, 07:23 AM
Ah, just beautiful. Superb!
Great job. 5 stars plus.

03-31-2008, 07:29 AM
Really nice mood and realism! Nice work.

-Anwar Bey-Taylor

03-31-2008, 07:38 AM
Amazing! I love this painting! :thumbsup:

Just great!!

03-31-2008, 08:30 AM
millions of WOW dude .... waiting more from your series :)

03-31-2008, 09:41 AM
great work, really nicely lit. My only crit is the fire, a little wispy for my taste, but thats just a minor thing, you deserve your stars my friend!!

did you get the title for this piece from Pirates 1 - the Curse of the Black Pearl? if so, nice interpretation too!


03-31-2008, 10:13 AM
wonderful portraits...its so hard to be constructive with a piece this accomplished! Did you have models pose for this?
From looking at your portfolio I personally would like to see more portraits combined with environments.The backdrop here really 'takes a backseat' to the portrait work. Thats just a personal opinion though.

I'm going to see an adaptaion of Treasure Island at the theatre this friday so this really sets the mood :)

03-31-2008, 10:44 AM
You WIN!



03-31-2008, 10:44 AM
thats realy great work, the lights are perfect

03-31-2008, 12:04 PM
This is great. But why did you put Cinema 4D on the software used? What did you use it for?

03-31-2008, 12:43 PM
Brilliant and so worthy of an award Ron. Congrats.

03-31-2008, 01:14 PM

You say it's all done in Photoshop, but it says that you used Cinema 4D?

Is it a combination of 3d and 2d? If it is I think it's one of the best combinations of the two I've ever seen.

Whatever it is it's briliant!

03-31-2008, 02:56 PM
Beautiful! It FEELS like a fine art piece! I can imagine a large Giclee print bringing out all the depth and detail. You have great painting skills for sure. How big of a canvas (pixel wise) do you work on? I love working digitally too! Top notch!

03-31-2008, 03:07 PM
This is a really beautiful piece.

I'm curious how much of it is Cinema 4D and how much is Photoshop?

03-31-2008, 04:07 PM
A work of a great quality, congratulations.

03-31-2008, 06:55 PM
Nice Atmosphere, just a narrow river surrounded by dark wood, i like it very much, great work :thumbsup:

03-31-2008, 07:01 PM
The color and light is just amazing. Well done. I cannot wait to see more of your work.

03-31-2008, 07:19 PM
Wow... The image doesn't do itself justice. You took so much care to detail, that it can only be fully appreciated if one zooms in, as the plugged thumb is on the front page. Otherwise that fine detail is lost in the image. Though its still stunning none the less. As someone else said, each character could be expanded and stand alone as an amazing work of art.

Its things like this that make me sad, as I wish I could pull images from my head and make them real like this. But then the way you talk about telling stories through art, it can only inspire.

I hope you'll be able to take the time to dive into your techniques and write some tutorials some day, and explain how you can take a blank canvas and create something like this with Photoshop and some geometry. I'm sure many people would benefit greatly from you and your experience.

03-31-2008, 07:40 PM
Thanks for all the kind words and support! It's awesome to be able to link to such a massive art community and get feedback and great crits. In fact, I've already applied the critiques to the image (all were valid) and it can be found in my portfolio (thumb with REVISED on it).

I'll try to answer some of the posted questions and when I can post attachements (not allowed to yet) I'll show some WIP images so you can see more of the process.

About the Cinema 4D: All that was done in C4D was the boat (just to get the curved lines right). I don't know if it's a good thing but since I started using 3D for my Port Blakely work I've fallen in love with the precision of using it for layout of architectural/constructed objects. Is it a crutch? Probably. But a very useful one. I like leaving it basic and then adding detailed structure and lighting by hand but I did use it sparingly on this one so I mentioned it.

It's fair to say though that this is 99.9% Photoshop.
I'll expand a bit on the process when I can post some images with it. It's pretty straight forward really.

Let me also say that I'm finding all the work here very inspiring and challenging. There's some awesome artists out there and I will utilize you for inspiration and WIP critiques. I'll thank you all in advance for making me a better artist.

(OK, I think I need to post a couple more before I can use the attachment function. I'll do that soon. But back to work in the meantime)

Ron Crabb

03-31-2008, 08:16 PM
Hey, that is a perfectly respectable way to use a 3D program. :)

I wouldn't call it a crutch. I know a lot of people rely on it a lot more than you used it here.

Anyway, thanks for the info. And like I said - beautiful work.

03-31-2008, 09:59 PM
Awesome revisions Rob. :thumbsup:

04-01-2008, 07:02 AM
simply awesome. ..jsut one thing the edges of the boat seems fairly smooth, too smooth i guess, could have roughed up those a bit, would add to the drama. amazing work nne the less. 5 stars

04-01-2008, 07:08 AM
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, oh and did I say beautiful

04-01-2008, 09:19 AM
huuu ! ! excellent ligths .. . very fairy !

04-01-2008, 11:45 AM
wow, thats all really, just superb!

04-01-2008, 03:05 PM
Awesome! It's very impressiv. just one critics if i can (just a detail): the fire is not as realist as the rest of your picture. And the girl is far and would'be less lighted than the two other guys.

Anyway, great picture. Five stars!

04-02-2008, 01:34 AM
It is meant to inspire writers and storytellers as well as those who just like to daydream to come up with a story to fit the image.Wow. I want to read that book. Quick, somebody write it!

04-02-2008, 07:34 AM
What factor did Cinema 4D have if you did the entire image as a photoshop painting?


Michael Angelo

04-02-2008, 10:58 AM
absolutely FANTASTIC! great work Ron. very solid! I just love the lighting in this one!

5 stars! :applause:

04-02-2008, 02:47 PM
I probably should have left the Cinema 4D reference off but I did use it for the boat to make sure I got the curves right. Boats can be tricky from certain perspectives. It was just a rough model and then I completely painted over it.

What factor did Cinema 4D have if you did the entire image as a photoshop painting?


Michael Angelo

04-03-2008, 07:03 PM
wow, we have a new desktop. The lighting, and expresisons... fantastic stuff.

04-05-2008, 12:28 PM
really beautiful mesh of modern 2d paint look with traditional oil look, very impressed:applause:

04-06-2008, 03:05 AM
Beautiful illustration! Excellent style and mood!

04-06-2008, 11:48 PM
it´s a nice job!

04-07-2008, 11:30 PM
this is awesome, i love the atmosphere and expressions on the characters. ****

04-10-2008, 01:25 PM
very nice work :thumbsup:

04-10-2008, 02:30 PM
very nice, great mood/lighting

04-10-2008, 06:42 PM
Fantastic... very great work

04-10-2008, 09:25 PM
I'm definetly dreaming.

04-13-2008, 12:27 PM
Nice work! I love the reflection & I really like the atmosphere.

04-14-2008, 09:27 AM
it's good i like my english is poor hehe excuse me

04-14-2008, 03:46 PM
Inspiring! Great job!

04-16-2008, 07:02 AM
that's very fantastic>>
i love it so much ..

04-17-2008, 03:01 AM
humm a very detailed stuff ..keep it up brA*

04-17-2008, 04:18 PM
This is amazing. I would love to see your works on canvas.
One critique, and I apologize for being nit-picky, but the fire seems to be a bit stylized and artsy versus realistic, which contrasts somewhat with the incredible detail you put into the clothing and facial expressions.
To be honest, I can't think of anything more difficult to capture than a flame that needs to look flickering and alive. Much easier with oils, I assume.

04-18-2008, 01:20 AM
This is awesome work.
Definite personality in the characters.
Excellent piece.

04-20-2008, 05:42 PM
very beautiful!

04-22-2008, 10:36 AM
Amazing work! :buttrock:

04-23-2008, 07:42 AM

jaw-dropping artwork!


will there be "pirate found the treasure!" after this?

keep up the good work!

04-24-2008, 04:56 PM
Ron! gimme phone number to this babe 1st on the left! =) but seriously - beautiful piece of art!

05-08-2008, 09:06 PM
This is a masterpiece.

06-05-2008, 03:53 AM
i love it absolutly stunning!! im glad the aim is to spark inspiration because thats the first this i thaught!! where are they going i wonderd...?

the atmosphere is beautiful, and the reflections in the water suggest this serene environment but the chrcters know somthing els is going on ;)

top knotch :)

06-07-2008, 12:41 PM
very cool! I liked this...

06-09-2008, 10:37 PM
You just got a new fan! ;)

06-11-2008, 10:22 AM
Great lighting & reflection..........so realistic....good job

06-15-2008, 04:21 PM
Fantastic atmosphere (specially love the torch flame, besides million other things). I am glad I looked back through the galleries to find this. Really awesome work!

06-22-2008, 12:32 PM
great! I love this one! 5 stars for me

07-03-2008, 06:50 AM
Excellent work…Keep it up!

07-16-2008, 03:56 PM
Really very impressive.

07-16-2008, 04:01 PM
If you can, tell us a little about the making of.

07-29-2008, 07:27 AM
Great work!

07-29-2008, 04:34 PM
If you can, tell us a little about the making of.
There will be a “making of” on the 3dtotal website in August.
I'll post again when it's actually up.
Ron Crabb

08-19-2008, 09:23 AM
I've checked your home page. Impressive portfolio! Have you got any tutorial of how to make

something like this?beautiful composition and theme.

Truthfully beyond any words!

10-17-2008, 10:32 AM
Man reminds me of pirates :d very nice work


11-27-2008, 06:59 AM
Really admire

12-23-2008, 09:20 AM
I quote 100% Nickillus.

02-13-2009, 05:04 PM
Just beautiful sir, everything you touch turns to gold. Also, I saw a bio on you at Linda, and wanted to say ixoye. Good work!

07-19-2009, 11:13 AM
Impressive ! I like how the light plays with the faces of the child and the pirate. They seem to be alive, some hidden brigands waiting underwater to catch'em...

09-04-2009, 08:04 AM
Great Work John!! I love everything in this image! and I like your creative inspirations on Lynda.com too! thanks.

07-01-2010, 09:00 AM
This image has wonderful atmosphere. I very much enjoyed watching you film series with Lynda.com and saw how this image was put together.

Thank you for the inspiration and keep on doing what you do!


08-19-2010, 07:37 PM
Oh! I really love it...Great...

03-10-2011, 04:08 AM
wow ! what a work !
I like everything of it...the shading, lighting, drappery painting, the surroundings especially the woods behind which add alot in the mood of the composition, I think......
fantastic work..!

03-23-2011, 02:12 PM
Lots of work in this piece,
the foreground silhouette, and water reflection
really help set the mood,
Great Work!

01-06-2012, 05:24 PM
Wow, beautiful image, great feel. Best of luck!

01-07-2012, 04:03 AM
visited the link. very nice works. 5 stars here

09-08-2012, 07:52 PM
Amazing work!! n great detailing as well as lighting.....congrats Ron :beer:

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