Pool of Light - I can't see what's wrong

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  04 April 2013
Question Pool of Light - I can't see what's wrong

Hi, I submitted this into the 2d gallery forum and was rejected and I honestly don't know what's wrong with it. I've had many other images make it in from 4 years ago and older that are not nearly as good as what I am capable of now.

Maybe someone can point out what I can't see. I am trying to capture a cinematic scene in which a frightening water guardian is crawling from a glowing pool toward the viewer. The pool is providing the blue light and there is a warmer light shining from just over the creatures right shoulder. I'm pretty sure my perspective is right, I used a grid and calculated my cast shadows.
The anatomy is right, the rendering I think is quite good, especially on the metal. I think that the composition is pulling the viewer into a cramped and dangerous fantastical horror scene.

Is it the rendering of the water? I'm at a total loss.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg PoolOfLightSmall.jpg (96.6 KB, 71 views)

Last edited by ianllanas : 04 April 2013 at 02:07 AM.
  04 April 2013
Yeah I'm with you. Not really seeing the need for this to be rejected. Awesome work!

Maybe the reviewer didn't like the out of focus tentacle in the foreground? You could try enlarging it some to really sell the effect that it's closer to the "camera lens" and maybe even just loose the blur and render some detail in it like the ones grasping the columns. That's about all I've got to offer.
  04 April 2013
That looks awesome! I agree with ZombieMariachis, probably the tentacle in the foreground, the rest looks great though.
deviant art: http://algorithmic.deviantart.com/
  04 April 2013
I would say anatomy, lighting inconsistencies and a somewhat vague background.

Anatomically speaking, the definition of the abdominal belt is very graphic with black lines where soft creases are expected, which doesn't really fit with the rest of your picture and feels more like scuplted plastic than actual flesh, plus they're maybe a bit too wide. You've also shrouded the hip region in shadow when it should be in plain light, or at least receive some reflected light from the water, which removes consistency from the overall anatomy (because there's no apparent reason to shade it so, the first thing that comes to mind is that you hid it because you're not sure what's actually happening in there)

Lighting has a good start, but at some point you seem to have lost track of the bluish secondary light that comes from the water. For instance, the blue highlights on the rear wall are so bright that I would hardly expect any actual shadow on the body of the creature. Then, there's blue light on the closest rings of the foreground tentacles, but none on the pillars they're wrapped around. Not to mention the reaching tentacle which doesn't receive any light at all. If you've done so because he is stepping out of the water and there is no reflected light coming from the front, then make it more obvious. Show the edge of the basin, stone marches, or wathever.
Also, the water splash on the sides feel a bit grey. I would expect more specular highlights in them.

Next, the background could be more fleshed out. You went as far as to place fine textures on the foremost pillars, you've detailed the water splashes, but of what happens beyond these back pillars we do not see a thing. Merely a spot of blue that hints of a wall, but not even a cast shadow that would suggest how far it is from the pillars and how tentacles can find the space to wrap around them. Such a degree of simplification might be acceptable if there was empty space or a long distance to the next obstacle, but it doesn't seem to be the case here.

Last, the picture is almost a duotone of greys and turquoise blue, which makes it somewhat dull. Adding a (not-so-) subtle contrasting colour somewhere might increase the interest of the entire picture. This one's more subjective than the above, though.

Last edited by TheArtySquid : 04 April 2013 at 02:58 PM.
  04 April 2013
Wow! Great feedback everyone! Thanks for that! I'm glad to know I'm not completely off. Maybe it's a blessing that it got rejected so I can push myself harder. Although I still feel like a lot of these issues are pretty nit-picky.

I really resisted rendering that foreground tentacle, I thought that it looked more dynamic being blurry like that. But I'll try it out and see how it looks.

Artysquid, you bring up a lot of interesting points. I would have never thought that having the abdominal/tentacle transition area in shadow would make it look like I am hiding, but I see that now.

I will take everyone's advice into consideration and make some improvements and post the results here.

Thanks again!
  04 April 2013
"Technical excellence" is near or at the top of the criteria for the judges. At first look the only fault I could find is the OOF tentacle, which is inconsistent with the sharp pillar beside it. But TheArtySquid's observations give us an insight into how closely the judges look at submissions.
Better luck next time.
I like to learn.
  04 April 2013
Alright, I quickly made some changes based on everyone's input. Thanks again so much for that, it really helped a lot, I was a bit blinded to my mistakes. I'm not done yet, still need to do something more about the back wall, but it's gonna be tricky... unfortunately I flattened everything awhile ago. I'll have to go back and merge parts of older files to fix that. Anyway, here's where I'm at.

Changes I've made so far:

The transitional anatomy issues have been brought to light. I have clearly rendered the transition between 'man' and octopus at the abdomen as much as I feel needs to be shown given the lighting scenario.

I added some reds around it's mouth to give some more color variation. Not too much, I like minimal colors personally, but I liked the idea. Thanks!

Foam and splashes have been given more specular highlights, I think its more convincing now.

The OOF tentacle has been given some light and rendering. I want to add that it was/is blurred because of motion, it wasn't my intention to make a depth of field effect.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg PoolCroppedCGS.jpg (97.0 KB, 28 views)
  04 April 2013
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