Character rendering WIP

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  10 October 2013
Character rendering WIP

I would be happy to get some critique and advice on improving these character renderings I'm working on:

Thanks a lot!
  10 October 2013
It will be easier to give advice if you tell us more about your purpose with these. The only thing I can really point out, without knowing your purpose, is be careful of your lighting, and watch your brush strokes. You seem to have conflicting light sources in the first picture, because I can't tell exactly what is causing the sheen on his uniform, and your reflected light, especially on his tank, is very bright. With the second area, I can see that you're thinking about light, but with some areas, like the near side of the basket-thing, you seem to have forgotten to paint in the shadows.Your brush strokes, this early on, look like you're fighting against poor technique or a poorly set up brush/tablet. Either way, start with a big brush, and work your way down to small. Watch out that, with areas like the tank, again, you're rendering counter to the form, not along it, so that you avoid flattening it out.
  10 October 2013
Thank you Anaxa,
My purpose is mainly to practice the points you mentioned. My brush work and color & light.
I'm not very experienced with digital painting so these are my exercises.
I understand what you mean about the inconsistent lighting on the first picture. I wanted a bright bluish light from above and behind the character to light it's back, and a warmer light from the front.
I guess that by 'sheen' you mean the bright reflection on the arm, shoulder and knees? Its not correct? I painted it as a reflection of the light.
The rendering of the tank is indeed flat, and now I understand that I had to had to choose the direction of my strokes to better describe the form.

The second picture is still more in progress, so I will try to take better care of these things there,
  10 October 2013
One really effective way to help your forms read more clearly, is to accentuate the different planes whenever possible. Render less with smooth gradations in value transitions when describing the turning of forms, and more with distinct planes. You can even do some training exercises where you are limited to only 5 distinct flat values (like cel-shading--all sharp edges between values) with for the entire image--it really forces you to make some very hard choices and sharpens your ability to manage your values effectively. This is one of the many exercises I have my students do, and it really pushes them to think about value management and describing forms with limited resources.

Rendering along or against forms can achieve different results, and there isn't a universal rule for all surface types, brush types, and situations. You kind of have to experiment and figure out what looks best in what situation. How you render with a flat brush vs. a bristled brush can be different, and whether it's a high contrast lighting or a diffused lighting again might change how you approach the brushwork. The form itself also often requires specific handling in order to read clearly. You need to consider all these factors when deploying appropriate brushwork.
  10 October 2013
Thank you Robert,
I'm also practicing with markers, where I have less range, and I will try to limit myself to 5 values in Photoshop as well, like you suggested.
With the tank, I tried to get the effect of brushed metal, this is why I rendered with the form and not against it, but I guess it wasn't a complete success.
I still find all the different digital brushes very confusing, and I just stick with one or two simple ones.
  10 October 2013
Sticking with a limited range of simple brushes is the right idea, but from the streakiness of some of your unfinished areas, I feel like you're using brushes that are making you work harder than you need to. But, this is also partially my personal preference, since I like to start with a slightly soft, mucky brush, that will blend easily and get my base values and colours down, and then tighten everything up after, while I know some others like to start with harder transitions and then soften them. So, there's a bit of exploration on your part to figure out what works best for you.
  10 October 2013
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