View Full Version : Smokey the turtle: Smokey's Dilemma

10 October 2003, 03:16 PM

This is one of the earlier wip's that I kept working on in one of the other forums, unfortunately it received almost
no feedback at all. Is it too boring? Something missing? Lack of detail?
too simple? too complex? Is the message in this image obvious?
If anything...anything at all - please DO tell me what area's it could improve on, I'd LOVE to hear as much critique as possible.

in advance - thanks for your kind attention.


10 October 2003, 03:25 PM
I guess you're making a statement about the slowness of traditional mail. It would perhaps work a little more if you had an example of what speed of email somewhere in the picture.

As for the rest of it, the primary colors strike me as a little odd because they don't seam to match the street/sidewalk. I don't mind the detail on the turtle but his face is really scaring me.

All in all it's not a horrible piece but playing with colors and maybe adding detail where it's needed might help.

10 October 2003, 04:25 PM
when i saw tis picture i thought that smokey looks up sad at the letterbox because he is too short too reach it.
if you want to say that with your drawing, you could try changing the viewpoint to emphasise that the box is too high for smokey, make the box a bit higher and make his pose more sad/wondering and make his body lend towards the box more.

his head looks cute but his paws very sharp like they are from a mean critter, maybe that puts people off as well. i know that turtles are that way but well you seem to have to be superconsistent in atmosphere when you make a drawing.
so maybe a bit of work on his shell and paws might help the character look nicer :)

good luck with it,
jawine :)

10 October 2003, 08:28 PM
Going by your title, the turtle obviously has a problem. When I first saw the picture I too thought that maybe he couldn't reach the slot in the post box.

After looking for a while I realised the real dilemma is, does the turtle trust the letter to the mail delivery service or deliver it himself - which is faster, the post office or a turtle?

So I think a problem is that your message is not necessarily immediately apparent, which I think is important in this type of humourous picture.

Another thing I find odd is that here is a turtle that I assume wrote the letter and interacts with the human world but still looks very much like an animal.

I wonder if you could solve both of these things by making Smokey more human. Perhaps have him stand on his two back feet so he is able to reach the post box and make his front feet more hand like.

Another small thing would be to make the post box a bit more obvious, although this will depend on where you are from of course (to me it could be a sort of rubbish bin, which would give a completely different meaning).

10 October 2003, 10:52 PM
Thanks guys, your comments have really made me think!

So, what you're saying is:

- The face is scary, but cute
- He's cute but somewhat mean
- The plot is not that obvious (only two got it right)
- The enviroment colors doesn't match smokey's colors
- The turtle look too "turtle" like, and less human
- The post-box doesn't actually look like a "stereotype" postbox.
- The camera angle isn't exciting enough, make it even more
obvious that the mailbox is hard to reach, make it huge!
- Human hands on smokey, or at least "cartoonish hands/feet"
- Shell's too turtle like, less tooney.

Did I get them all? Please do keep posting suggestions for
extreme's etc. Your help is valuable to me.

Again - a thousand thanks for your kind attention to detail
and for taking the time to help me improve.

Meanwhile I'll be working on an update with improvements
to the mentioned areas.


10 October 2003, 11:39 PM
OK ... yes this forum IS about the content and emotion in an image and not the technical aspects -- but -- in this case its largely the technical aspects that break the believability in the image.

On the side of believability you need to either go for moe cartoon or hand drawn look or dramatically improve the 3D aspects -- models (bevel every corner and edge for a start), textures (more detailed and hand painted rather than procedural), ighting (soft and pay attention to the character and underneath the character), render (soften it and rim lights and atmosphere), camera (go for an even lower POV to make the turtle look more the hero and the post box even more impossabily high).

10 October 2003, 12:04 AM
Thanks Mark, I'll do just that.

It's nice to know that the technical aspects of the scene destroys
the beliveabillity in this case, because now I have something
to work on and with. I'll update after a heavy reconstruction of the scene.


11 November 2003, 07:20 PM
i would like to see the antenna more droopy and slightly longer.
the letter a bit more droopy in his mouth.

speedy mail logo on the side of the box.

11 November 2003, 08:02 PM
well, a little nit I don't see anyone else said: turtles don't have antenae/eye stalks. Did you really mean this to be a snail? With the turtle, I would change the angle of the camera lower and make the mail boh MUCH taller, have it dominate the right side of the pic to show the monumental effort he is undertaking. Personally, I would accentuate the cartoon aspect and not try for realism (and work on those textures a whole bunch). What I would suggest is putting a parallel posting in Focused for the technical stuff and concentrate on what is said there for the moment. You have a ways to go to finish this, but it IS coming along and actually does invoke some interest cause there is a clear message here. You definitely get big points there from me! *smile*

11 November 2003, 09:50 PM
oof, a snail turtle and I didn't even pick that out in my review!

11 November 2003, 11:07 PM
@Flingster, Good point! That's excactly why they where created.

@Drakaran - I put the antennas in for emotions, and it's not supposed to be an realistic turtle so I figured why not.
I agree whole-heartily about your comments, and especially about the texture work.
As a matter of fact I'm reworking the whole scene from scratch
because as the other stated - the scene isn't beliveable and
it's the technical aspects that's killing it.
And yes - the camera-angle should be a lot more exciting.

Guys - You are so kind to help me out on this - again - THANKS!

Information on the progress right now:
Texturing isn't easy for me, I've concentrated most on learning
how to model all-kinds of stuff over the last 2-3 years, now
it's about time to test-forces with texturing work, and
as most of you know - mapping textures is a PAIN but
dooable. Right now I'm texturing like mad, and I also decided
to rebuild the entire scene and put more detail into it such
as Mark suggested. Combined-mapping & texturing in
3dstudio max 4 alongside a 2d-paint program...well...most
of you know the "growing pains" of that, that's what I'm
doing right now.

I've gone for the more "pixarish/toon" look and I'm greatly
excaggerating the colors now, everything will be hand-painted
but I have a LOT to learn here so have patience - Next update
I'll post will be with the new scene and with your suggested
change's. Hand painting 4-5 buildings + entire enviroment
WILL take time, but I'll post as soon as I have something
worth your time.

Again - thanks!


11 November 2003, 02:05 AM
That's looking good! It's a nice situation comedy.

Some things that stand out to me:
-Too many primary colors. You want the focus to be your turtle character and the mailbox, but the bright, primary buildings, especially the red ones, really distract and draw your eye.
-The colors are all similarly saturated as well so equal weight is carried by all the elements.
-If you made a break in the tree shadows and perhaps added a bright light focused on the turtle and mailbox you would really help it pop out. You could even fool around with a volume light as well. You could set the mood as well by using subtle colored lights. Or you could add a colored rimlight.

-The shadows are really confusing to look at. The shadows from the tree which are being cast by a far off object are crisp when they should be really blurry while the shadows from the turtle are very fuzzy when they should be clearer.

Hope this helps!

11 November 2003, 07:24 AM
as texturing goes, you're pretty lucky, the only thing that would really benefit from UVs is the turtle, the rest can be Projection (Yea!). Have you posted this thread on any of hte forums for the technical? I'd like to keep track of your work.

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