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  10 October 2012
Looking for Feedback...

Hi Everyone-

Been awhile since I got on here to post anything, but here it goes...

Working on an indie game and this is going to be the coverart for the title.

The team seems to like it, but I need some non-programmer's opinions.

Thoughts... opinions?



  10 October 2012
The image lacks a sense of structure in the forms and the major elements. Your major background shapes tend to look like large flat shapes with textures painted on them, instead of sculpted forms that actually have structural shapes that cast distinct shadows on itself. Take for example that forest below. Go and pick up a cauliflower and hold it up against the light so it's back-lit and has a bright rim. Look at how distinct each nook and cranny is, and how it's not just a vague, blurry, amorphous field of textures--there are sharp, distinct shapes with strong forms and distinct shadows and highlights. Now apply that kind of thinking to also the mountains and the castle.

You need to work on your understanding of lighting. You have a distinctly back-lit scene, yet your scene is so brightly lit from the viewer's (our) direction. What is that bright light coming from our direction? It doesn't make any sense. A back-lit scene is basically just dark silhouettes with strong rim highlights, and if you need the side facing us to be visible, you need to have a logical way to do it, such as additional light sources, such as artificial lights (from vehicles or buildings), a big bonfire, magical lights, or bounced lights from large surfaces, etc. You might be able to get away with a fairly strong ambient bounce light from the sky dome, but you have to match the entire front side of your scene to the color cast of the sky dome. So if your sky is orange like in your scene, then the entire scene should be orange in color cast because the only prominent light source it has is the orange sky dome, while the direct sunlight only provides the rim light and cannot reach around the scene (light rays don't bend--they can only bounce, like billiard balls do).
  10 October 2012
Thank you for taking the time to provide me with constructive feedback.

Yeah, it was definitely feeling flat to me just the idea of depth was there obviously as you pointed out with my light source but the execution wasn't there as you pointed out as well.

I'm having several issues while working on this piece.

1. I had the character more silhouetted, but then the team was saying that the character wasn't popping as much as they liked. To my better judgment I brightened him up. The story is that he is coming out of this huge mountain pass behind him and I was thinking well the light bouncing off the walls of the mountain would brighten his back side and the perch he is standing on, but at the same time how does the audience know that unless they have read the first couple of pages of the story.

2. Previously, the overall image was relaying the color casting from the sky. The team then agreed that the overall image seemed confined by the over tone and again to my better judgement I started separating elements with color. Earthtones upfront, Green for the trees and then bluish for the mountains leading into the pink of the sky. They thought it popped more once it was done that way.

3. The mountains look like crap. You're absolutely right about them, I fought them for so long to the point I became frustrated with it. I used reference, but because of the back story behind the mountains it needed a mined, gouged look in places, and this is the first time I've painted an actual scene, as I usually just do character work only. I really want them to look as if they been mined for a 100 years and battle torn as well as the kingdom shines in the midst of this dark land surrounded by these mountains, so at the same time I want them to look majestic as well.

Thanks again for your valuable feedback, its much appreciated!

  10 October 2012
Here's an update for this piece.

I hope I was able to update the piece to a better presentation using the feedback provide.

Comments welcome!

  10 October 2012
The mountains now looks too much you pasted photos into a painting, and the level of detail, naturalness, realism, etc is too inconsistent with the rest of the image. Your foreground/main focus is obviously not painted in the same style, so it looks awkward. the mountains also look strangely flat and lacking the necessary contrast from such a dramatically back-lit scene.

The castle still looks wrong. The entire structure is back-lit (slightly to one side), yet you painted it as if it's side-lit.

The forest still looks vague and amorphous, lacking any concrete structure/form. It's also still not lit correctly, lacking the distinct characteristics of being back-lit (strong rim-light).

The interior of the forest doesn't make much sense. What's lighting it? If your sole light source is the sun and the interior of the forest is not receiving light from the sun, then it needs to be very dark.

Keep in mind that when you try and take artistic license and ignore the laws of physics, your image will appear awkward, and it will lack impact. You can only exaggerate so much before you "break" your image and then instead of looking creative, it simply looks wrong. The average person on the street might not know why it looks awkward, but anyone who's mastered the foundations of visual art will see the problems very clearly.

Instead of defying the important laws of physics, you should try to come up a more creative setup of your scene, so that you don't have to break all these laws of physics and light an inconsistent, illogical scene. If you set up your scene properly, you can adhere to all the laws of physics and still have an amazing looking image. If you look at all the respected concept artists and illustrators out there--they don't ever have to defy the laws of physics and arbitrarily place lighting illogically in order to make their scenes work--they simply know how to set up their scene so they only need to follow the art direction of Mother Nature, and everything looks beautiful.
  10 October 2012
Thanks for the feedback. Looks like its time to abandon this piece. Thanks again.
  11 November 2012
Well obviously I couldn't let this one go as I was determined to try to get as close to "starting to look better" as possible since we are going to port our game to iOS we wanted to have the better art with it...

I did a little research, went out and took pictures at dusk to study the setting light. Also redid the mountains from scratch.

So here we go... crits welcomed...

  11 November 2012
Looks much better. The overall aesthetic sense is much improved.

I'm not sure why you keep portraying the light on many areas (castle, mountains, forest) as if they are lit from the side instead of being back-lit. You have to keep in mind how incredibly far away the sun is from earth, and that sun we see in the image is millions of miles away BEHIND everything we see in the scene, and it is smack in the middle of the image, so essentially your entire scene is directly back-lit, and we should be seeing very distinct silhouette contour shapes all around everything in your scene. But for some reason, you keep painting those areas as if the sun is right next to them instead of millions of miles behind them. While there's the light bloom effect to consider, you need to consider it as a totally separate element from the fact that your entire scene is a cleanly back-lit image with a bunch of dark silhouette shapes. It is on top of that foundation you add the light bloom effect, instead of blending the light bloom effect with what looks like side-lighting instead of back-lighting. Just do a google image search of "back lit sunset" and you'll see lots of examples of how this is supposed to look--distinct, clean, dark silhouette shapes, and the sunlight's light bloom does not obscure the silhouette contour edges completely, or cause them to look like they are lit from the side. At most, it'll make the values of the silhouettes lighter, and maybe in extreme cases of overexposed images, the contour edge might be lost due to the overexposure, but in general that is not the ideal way to portray the dynamic range--you can keep the dynamic range in control and still create the visual drama you want.

Last edited by Lunatique : 11 November 2012 at 01:13 PM.
  11 November 2012
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