View Full Version : jramauri - The self improving thread

05-09-2010, 10:51 AM
Hi guys. I started this thread on some other CG foruns, to get professional feedback, and fortunately, CGS now has open this hard crits sub forum to us. I think this is the right place to post my WIPs. My main goal is to improve my skills on illustration (2d and 3d) and modeling. I want to reach a real top level. I hope I can improve on these points:

Expressivenes, on body and faces;
Scenes composition;
Develop a better eye to details;
Capture better the sense of weight;
Better finalization and presentation of my works;
Make better use of Zbrush render capabilities;
Improve the ability of translating 2d concepts to 3d models.

The softwares I'm using are Photoshop CS2, Zbrush 3.1 (and eventually 3.5 for something 3.1 doesn't do) and Silo 2. Feel free to make crits, suggestions and give tips, I really want to improve myself.

This is my try to make a more realistic manga girl, based on Masakazu Katsura works. She was modeled on a plane on Zbrush. Hair added from a photo on PS.

These three are for an illustration I did for a newspaper. The theme was house financing. Sketch was done on PS, everything was modeled and rendered on Zbrush. Photoshop was used to colors, and add photos on BG, and to make some lighting effects.

These two are a try to make a good final realistic render, over a zbrush render. Colors, and improvements made on PS.

It follows the original Zbrush renders, for comparison.

05-10-2010, 10:12 AM
Well I am still learning basic anatomy myself, so take what I offer up with a grain of salt. That said, The first image of the girl caught my eye and there seems to be something in particular about that area between the eyes and eyebrows that is looking strange to me. It may be that the eye socket is more circular than normal, or it may be that she almost seems to have a surprise look on her face with wide eyes and raised brows, but no expression on the forehead or space between the eyes. Also, I have a feeling that the eyebrows themselves may have a bit too much space between them. Hope that helps at all! :)

05-10-2010, 03:12 PM
Thanks for your comment Zepher. But I'm not sure if you undertstand well, she's not a realist girl, is a manga girl, with a more realistic aproach. She's supposed to have big and rounded eyes, and eyelashes a little bit upper than real girls. She was based on this drawing:

There goes my drawing of Lei Lei, from the game Darkstalkers. For those who don't know her, she looks like this. (

I started modeling her too. Crits and suggestions to get a better similarity between my drawing and the model are always welcome.

By the way, I felt very happy when I found my previous version of her, made on 2008. It seems I improved a lot since then :)

05-11-2010, 12:10 AM
I was interested in your manga girl, mostly because there is something really creepy about it!

The eyes are large - but everything else is normal - it makes for a grotesque image o__O
I think you need to be careful about what proportions you take and which ones you leave behind

The ref looks cute and innocent I have made a comparison and I think it might be best to keep all the stylisation and create realism thru the texture and lighting just like you have done

Stylise the hair too? - your picture is gonna ride a knife edge along the uncanny valley - stray but a little and you shall fail!!

I like the character with the house image - but the backround looks badly done - maybe get rid of the background and simply use a nice gradient?

the concrete and fence are really straight but the house has a cool angle, you could apply the angle to the fence too, that repeating element (the angle) can add appeal to your picture

your pot plant is floating - simple clone some grass in front of the base

nice work!

05-11-2010, 12:32 AM
Your realistic anime girl looks very creepy. I think it's because the eyes are too far apart and maybe a bit big for it to look normal and the hair looks a bit like a wig. You have an almost realistic shading that reminds me of latex/plasticine. It makes it feel a bit like a doll/mold and then the sweater looks really basic. You have a mixture of styles in there that kind of clash so it would probably be best to try and unify it. But the biggest problem is the facial features, they don't fit together properly.

I really wish I could give you some better criticism but my brain is fried so hopefully you won't take this too badly.

05-11-2010, 03:08 AM
Thank you very much for your input, guys. There's a long time I know there's something wrong or at least strange with my manga style, but nobody could tell me, maybe because they didn't want to tell me, or maybe because they just didn't know what's was strange. I think your points about stylisation/proportions/style are very well said and I hope I can improve this. First of all, I believe my own drawing style can play a big role on the entire process of weirdness, so, I'd like to you guys give me a honest feedback about the faces I draw. I gathered some samples here:

My intention was make something more adult, realistic, with volume, perspective, etc. But if it's not working, on the sense of not to be eye catching, I believe it's time to change my direction. Maybe for something more stylized even if it's not so realistic or serious as I have planned before...

embryotic: The house picture was made in a hurry.. so I had to use photos as BG. Unfortunately sometimes things don't come as we'd like... :) I agree about the lack of angles on the fence, I could have work this better. I'll remeber this next time. Thanks.

urgaffel: Thanks, mainly because of your point of unifying style. This is something that I can see sometimes on my works, but I'm not able to identify. I'll try to be aware of that from now on.

05-15-2010, 02:53 PM
And here's the final piece. Do you think her face is creepy? Do you have suggestions about, lighting, pose, weight shifting?

05-17-2010, 12:22 AM
Da CRAW is huge! She is very relaxed with it so it would be floating in the last picture. The normal body proportions look pretty good. The lips are too wide for a little girl maybe, also when she smirks the cheeks go up a bit so the front of the face is not as flat as it is here.

05-17-2010, 01:31 AM
Thanks Kanga, great advices for the new upcoming pieces. Mainly the advice about her face, I agree that the smile should have deformed her cheeks.

I did some speed modeling, based on the original model of Jean Sebastien Rolhion ( 2 hours and a half for completion.

05-17-2010, 04:34 AM
And there it goes another speed head.

05-25-2010, 10:47 AM
Some 2d into Zbrush:

05-27-2010, 04:07 AM
Some fun on Zbrush. More to come.

05-28-2010, 03:45 AM
And here's the final version. It seems this more stylized approach really works much better than the previous pseudo real... If you guys could give some opinion, it would be great. I noticed that my painting tends to be pale in some areas (in this case, mainly on the highlights on chest and face. Any ideas in how to avoid this?

05-29-2010, 08:19 PM
There goes a new concept I did today. It's not complex and overdetailed, but I tried to focus on expressivity. My intention is to model this guy entirely on Zbrush, to practice hard surface modeling there.

06-01-2010, 02:41 PM
Some progression shots of my 3d model.

06-01-2010, 07:11 PM
As I'm not receiving critics or comments here anymore, I'd like to ask a moderator to move this topic to the regular 3d WIP section, please.

06-02-2010, 01:41 AM
As I'm not receiving critics or comments here anymore, I'd like to ask a moderator to move this topic to the regular 3d WIP section, please.
You cant demand response, because advice or reaction are voluntary. If you are smart you will realize that no comment is indeed a comment. No crits on a thread does not mean the work is not good it means the work does not inspire comment. Really crap work put up by someone who is willing to learn and is enthusiastic about the advice they receive has many responses. Someone who puts up good work that is not inspiring gets very few responses. That means the work is in limbo.

How you respond to the situation is up to you. C'mon man, this is the heavy weight league, buckle down and bounce back, that is what we are doing here. Take it on the chin and get in there and go at it harder. Don't wimp out. Your work is technically very good but that doesnt mean the narrative of the work is. Making appealing products is dead hard. That comes from someone who made plenty of misses. The work isnt a waste, its a stepping stone to the good stuff.

Keep going!

06-02-2010, 02:06 AM
Hey Chris, this is one of the most sincere and useful comments I received last times. I've already realized that I'm on limbo and I'm trying to coming out of it. But I believe you understand me, receive no comments sometimes is more frustrating than to receive a lot of crits. Crits help you to improve, no comments make you think your work is not worth, or that nobody cares.

Anyway, let's keep working, I believe practice makes it perfect. And thank you for your comment, it's always good to know that anybody is looking what we are doing.

06-02-2010, 11:46 AM
Great Amauri,
You have understood what this part of the forums is really about. Now back to work.

06-03-2010, 11:27 AM
Modeling part is almost completed. Next step is to add some detail and colors.

06-04-2010, 03:26 PM
A quick sketch, to refresh ideas. No Paintstop this time, just SingleLayer and Paintbrush brushes.

06-06-2010, 04:29 AM
Well, for the record, I think your sculpting skills are great. The very first image posted in the thread does seem a bit odd, though, especially in juxtaposition with the rest of your work. Not sure if it's the skin shader or the shape of the face, but it stands out from the other sculpts.

Loved your 2d sketches in zBrush, as well.. Don't see many people do that. :)

06-06-2010, 05:38 AM
Hi there, I've been following your thread since the beginning but haven't commented because I saw nothing that I felt I could critique in a constructive manner. However after viewing all of these posts I do have something to share-

It is a rather strange critique for you Jramauri. It is not specific to any one piece of work you have posted so far but it does sort of relate to what Kanga mentioned.

Everything you have put up in this thread seems relatively well executed and, frankly, looks more like practice done to keep up skills than a push towards something better. I think you should start on something more ambitious, something that will take you a few days or even a week or two to finish.

I should also mention I'm still starting out myself and this is only my opinion and while I will help you in any way I can I can't guarantee that this will work, or that I have the knowledge or artistic skill to critique whatever it is you may decide to create.

Anyway, keep up the good work, I'll be watching!

06-07-2010, 03:26 AM
Thanks guys. Your comments are sincerely appreciated. Mainly the part of lack of "soul" on my work. This can be effect of the time I worked in publicity... I had to draw in many styles, and I think this could had left my work without some personality... But I'm trying to get back to my roots. My favorite drawing style is some sort of adult manga, with a more realistic approach. My work is lacking gesture too, and I hope I can fix all this things... But just practicing to see what is going to happen.

Taps: I agree about spend more time in something really worth. But by now I'm concentrating in short projects, because I'm not sure if I can manage well a long project. I'm doing these sketches at free time, so for while I believe it's better to keep them simple. When my self confidence gets better, and you guys see some more soul in what I'm doing, so I can think in higher flies.

There goes some pencil sketches I did today. I'd really like to improve my drawings, on anatomy, stylization, gesture and details. Tips and crits are very appreciated.

06-09-2010, 03:24 AM

06-11-2010, 04:51 AM

06-11-2010, 09:33 AM
Hi, I'm not sure if your using this forum correctly.
Its almost like a sketchbook, how your currently presenting work to be crit.
If you really need advice and direction, Id suggest posting one piece and working on that.
instead of posting lots of art. I don't think anybody will comment on so much of your work when you have a fairly good grasp of the process, and yet still post for critique.
I would be happy to offer advice on one project, but not one every couple of days. :)

06-11-2010, 09:39 AM
They are right man. Listen to them.

06-11-2010, 09:51 AM
I agree with Airflow's statement.

06-11-2010, 11:22 AM
Hi, I'm not sure if your using this forum correctly.
Its almost like a sketchbook, how your currently presenting work to be crit.
If you really need advice and direction, Id suggest posting one piece and working on that.
instead of posting lots of art. I don't think anybody will comment on so much of your work when you have a fairly good grasp of the process, and yet still post for critique.
I would be happy to offer advice on one project, but not one every couple of days. :)

I see... but I'm working in one project at a time. First Lei Lei, after Happy bot, now the Orc. I post the process because someone can look and say "this anatomy is not right", "this figure isn't reading well", or something like that. So I could make corrections during the development. Unfortunately, I have to keep these projects short, because if they turn too long, I know I'll problably lose the interest in continue working on them. It's about one week each.

And I made direct questions too, about the weirdness on the faces I draw, and about my sketches, if they look better than the first creepy drawings on the begining of this thread.

Everything you guys want to say, about any piece posted is welcome. Even If I have no intention to come back to that piece, the crit will be useful for next ones.

Anyway, even if I didn't receive comments, that part where the "Limbo problem" was detected was the most useful, because made me aware that I was going too technical and leaving the artistic part behind. I'm looking for a balance now.

Thanks for taking your time to give me feedback about my thread, fellows.

06-11-2010, 11:46 AM
My crit is your working on too many projects, too quickly.
Your not stopping on one and trying to finish it through the normal process.
So what point is there giving you any crits if you move on to something else.
Spend a month on a project, learn to keep focus...

06-11-2010, 01:47 PM
My crit is your working on too many projects, too quickly.
Your not stopping on one and trying to finish it through the normal process.
So what point is there giving you any crits if you move on to something else.
Spend a month on a project, learn to keep focus...
QFA I fear.

06-13-2010, 03:02 AM
Hey Airflow and Kanga, thanks for your input.

I agree totaly. To really improve, I must to dig in some project, and take it to the limit, for a longer period, such a month. The question is: I was a long time without touch 3d and study Zbrush. I have a lot of technical things to learn, on the software and on 3d in general. And now I'm taking the time to experiment with these things.

I've watched some time ago the Gnomon master classes with the wonderful artist Craig Mullins. There, he spoke about the importance of sketches. That you must to experiment and learn with them, and refine your methods. So you can apply the acquired knowledge on the final/commercial works. That's what I'm doing here. Even if this projects are in sketch quality, believe me, they are helping me a lot to understand how I can use Zbrush and PS to get what I want.

One month ago, I couldn't believe I would develop a robot inside Zbrush, from the begining to the end. It's mundane for the great part of users on this forum, but it's a great step to me. The method I used to make each project help me to understand a lot of things, that I apply on the following project.

I have about 3~4 hours a day to dedicate to my studies. And during the day I always think about some kind of problem and what I can do to solve on Zbrush. When I arrive home at night, It's great to test my theories and see if they work or not, or if they could be improved.

What I'm saying is that this first part of my improving is dedicated to the tests and discoveries. I feel I must to master the technical part, to freely the artistic part. So, it's natural to try different things. It would be a kind of frustrating if I couldn't do experiments with varieted themes, and focus and just one project on this first period.

Currently I'm doing this Orc. It's a mini challenge, me against a friend. We're going to do three busts, one orc, one witch and a robot. Two weeks for each bust. I think it's a good thing to work on, I feel motivated and I'm learning a lot with any sculpture. I'm posting the development here, and anyboby can comment, if it's his will.

But if you guys think my use of this forum is being inapropriate I can create a new thread for these busts. Or even return when my experimentation stage be completed, and I have conditions to started more complex projects.

06-13-2010, 03:06 AM
I made the blocking and paintover of the armor, and now I started to make the component pieces.

06-13-2010, 11:19 AM
Nobody minds at all, just keep going. We were just responding to the reason why you were receiving few comments.

06-14-2010, 03:23 PM
Thanks Kanga, I'll keep posting then.

Some more progression. I haven't touched the helmet yet. And it lacks some accessories. All the pieces were done inside Zbrush.

06-20-2010, 05:13 PM
And there it goes the Orc's finals.

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