Wales Castle

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  06 June 2013
Wales Castle

Hi all, I've been looking through these forums for a long time, and been looking to join the society some day. I'm going to be studying production design later this year, so I'm trying to ready myself for it. So far, I've always been self critiquing and I really think it can only get me so far. So perhaps it's time I face the real world and get some critiques from the pros!

As a concept painting, how shall I improve the image? Basically I think I almost got what I imagined, but it still looks lacking. Any critiques and suggestions are mostly welcomed .


A little bit about the piece, I got inspired for this piece from looking for places to go in wales. It's got so many beautiful castles and nature, and there is this one house full of flowers, and I thought this could be an interesting subject. So this is a huge castle with comfy looking gardener's/ maid's dorm.

Looking forward to some replies
  06 June 2013
nice comp, improve the reds

Good stuff!
I like the composition. It has a pleasant cozy feel to it.
I think it would help if the arch ended just an inch or less to the left of where it is right now. That would give just a bit more breathing room to the house.

The reds exhibit atmospheric perspective. They should be fading and becoming more grey. You'll need to decide if you want the reds in the foreground to be as strong as they are, and knock back the reds on the house; or, you'll need to fade/change the reds up front.

A few more quick notes:
clouds behind the castle are shaped weird
the shadows in the trees on the hills are too warm. They should be more blue.
the brush strokes up front grab too much attention. if you'd like them to not draw attention, which it would seem, then you'll need to strengthen the shape as a silhouette.

hope that helps
Bryan Beus
Artist and forthcoming author.
  06 June 2013


Thanks for the comment, I'll have a look into improving it as you suggested. About the last point, do you mean try to make the bridge as a silhouette? And also about the redness, this is a general question as I really don't know how to overcome this. I think the reds in photoshop looks much less vibrant than the image posted on the web. As I vaguely understand that photoshop alters gamma or something on the display? So how should I adjust the colors so it matches with what I see in photoshop?

Thanks again for the comment! I'll work on it.
  06 June 2013
To me, it looks like the darker foreground areas are way too dark (the tree on the right also looks like it's got a dark mist around it?). Your lighting in the background on the castle looks a lot more diffused than in the foreground (much brighter on the shadow side compared to the foreground), and you need to be consistent. Either make the background just as directional as the foreground, or make the foreground just as diffused as the background.

Compositionally, that bridge and the house are butting right up against each other, sharing a contour edge, and that is a really bad idea, because it unintentionally flattens your z-depth and the readability of your major shapes/silhouettes. It's better to separate them or overlap them (which will help creating more depth).

The way the hill splits the image into diagonal halves doesn't work very well either, giving the two halves similar sized real estate in the image. Also, the castle and the red house both have similar sizes too, further worsening the problem. You want to make sure you composition has a strong hierarchy of size, so there's a variety going from large and dominating, to medium, to small, to tiny shapes.

To get consistent colors between Photoshop and the web, as well as across different displays, you need to manage your color profiles. The easiest way to achieve consistency is to set everything to sRGB (your operating system's color profile, in Photoshop, and if your monitor is wide-gamut and has an sRGB preset, use it). The only web browser that has color management is Firefox currently, so if you use Firefox, set it to sRGB too. Generally speaking, the OS and your monitor's color profile settings should override everything else (in terms of what you see). Also, when saving your images for web, make sure the embedded color profile is sRGB. I also highly recommend any serious visual artist to get a hardware calibration device, such as i1Display Pro from X-Rite. It'll make a big difference in how accurate your monitor is displaying the images.
  06 June 2013
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