Yet another rejection! Help!

Become a member of the CGSociety

Connect, Share, and Learn with our Large Growing CG Art Community. It's Free!

Thread Tools Display Modes
  03 March 2013
It's a little frustrating to me how overly diplomatic people are being here, so I'm going to do what I always do and post a really frank, honest critique. Once again, I ask that people please refrain from treading so lightly - critiques help artists, not fluffy comments that don't address any of the issues. And considering this is specifically a critique forum, it's consistently disheartening to see so many people shy away from being critical about work here. But anyway...

To me, both pieces need a lot of work. To be brutally honest, this is the level of work I'd expect from a beginner; I mean no disrespect to the artist here (we all started somewhere), but you really owe it to yourself to develop a thicker skin and a more realistic appraisal of your own work, because you're just going to be setting yourself up for disappointment again and again if you don't look at your own work far more critically, and disappointment is discouraging and destructive to artists. To me, the problems with your work are obvious, so it was frustrating for me to read your indignation over your images being declined, when I'd never have submitted images like those in the first place. I know this sounds harsh, but evidently nobody has ever been harsh with you before, so perhaps you can't really be blamed for your surprise at the declined images. I learned to develop a harshly critical eye for my own work in my years of art school, whereas not everyone has had that kind of experience and developed in that way. Critique is how artists learn; being rejected from a gallery is a kind of indirect critique, actually, but not a very helpful one as it doesn't explain to you where you went wrong. That's what this forum is for.

Suffice to say, I hope you'll read my feedback here in the spirit in which it's intended: that is, to help you. Remember, critique of your work is not a critique of you as a person (I always have to put this note in, as I've had some bad experiences with people taking things too personally before - I wouldn't be posting this long reply if I didn't genuinely want to help, so keep that in mind).

I'll post about the wasp as that's the one you're currently working to improve. Is this meant to be a realistic image? I'm assuming it is. The biggest issue here is simply the fact then that this image isn't realistic, for a number of reasons I'll go into here. But first I wanted to comment on a point made by someone earlier in the thread - the black background. Usually I hate black backgrounds on artwork too, but in the case of imagery like this, which seeks to emulate macro photography, a black background is actually appropriate, as the types of flashes and shooting techniques used in macro photography often result in black backgrounds, with only the subject and a bit of its immediate surrounding being illuminated. Sure, it's possible to shoot without this happening too, but personally I've actually always liked the look of that particular type of macro work, as it's quite dramatic and gives a kind of other worldly feel, which is appropriate for insects and such, as it sort of enhances the feeling of looking into "their" world. But ultimately that's a creative choice the artist needs to make here, suffice to say that a black background wouldn't necessarily be an issue in a case like this.

But onto the actual render itself. The model is mostly okay but could benefit from refinement and more detailing. For example, the legs could do with quite a bit of tweaking; the top segments look like little more than cylinder primitives; a real wasp's legs have a more curved shape, tapering from a broad base to a narrower tip:

The antennae suffer from a similar issue. This kind of attention to detail is imperative if you wish to create memorable imagery, because people do notice these discrepancies. The rest of the body could also do with a bit of fine tuning, specifically the enhancement of the segmentation that you can see in the photo of the real one. The body segments aren't just blobs with a bit of unevenness, they have distinct detailing on the surface.

You can see here, for example, how the tail segment has distinctive panelling on it, which is missing in the render:

The photo also clearly shows a remarkable amount of detail on the middle bit of the body. The panelling (for lack of a better word) is very, very distinctive and specific.

Here's another crazy closeup showing the immense amount of detail on the real thing:

While this photo shows how the front antennae are much more than simply pipe-like structures, as they're segmented themselves:

I may be wrong, but to me, when I compare your render to real photos, it looks like you generally went with what you think a wasp looks like, instead of closely studying and copying what photos actually show. And it's perfectly natural for this to happen; everyone does it at some point. It's really hard work to painstakingly study hundreds of photos of a reference and accurately recreate it, so instead we tend to cut corners here and there to make an approximation of how we imagine the subject looks instead.

The same goes for your texture work. You've done an okay job with yours but it's a very generic look; rather study references super closely and emulate exactly what you see. Unfortunately with things like this you may end up having to hand paint a lot of it, but use as many photographic sources as you can, blending them into your textures to give them an appropriately organic feel. Notice, in particular, how the details change along the lengths of surfaces, often becoming quite intricately detailed around joints and edges.

With regards to your shading, notice how the real thing is very reflective. You've used a high value of specularity on your model, but while spec is a sort of fake reflection, rendering with proper reflectivity yields superior results. If you look closely at photos, you'll see how the wasp's body is delicately bumpy all over - emulating this with a displacement map would help to break up the reflectivity and get a natural, realistic result - and not only on the body, but also the wings, which need a lot more of this type of detailing on them, as well as reflectivity. Again, this is shown clearly in photos. The wasp's body is also quite translucent (this is particularly noticeable in the third photo I posted), so try experimenting with some SSS to get the right look. This is really important for organic surfaces.

As for the honeycomb, to be perfectly blunt, that's just not what honeycomb looks like at all. Both the model and the lookdev needs work - start by fixing the model and then creating new textures for it (and pay attention to your texture seams because they're showing up all over the place on your current model), and set up your shaders for a more appropriately organic look. Don't just make a model of what you think honeycomb looks like and slap a random noisy texture on it. Even though it's not your main subject, your environment is just as important, and should have just as much careful attention and effort put into making it look great. Study references, do your UVs properly, create proper, beautiful textures for it and a shader that gives it a sense of depth and substance.

Here's a really great reference:

Notice how translucent the honeycomb is, and how brittle it is. You need to get the same feeling with your 3D version. Maybe filling a few of the orifices with honey would look cool too.

When it comes to lighting, since this is a likely an attempt at creating an outdoor scene, study outdoor macro photography and see how the lighting tends to be; there's usually very little strong shadowing and the subject is usually lit quite evenly and intensely due to the types of ring flashes that are used. Notice how there's very little shadowing in the photos I've posted. Lighting is absolutely crucial for realism so ensure you spend enough time on this to get it right; lighting really can make or break a render.

Lastly, it's crucial to emulate the depth of field found in this type of photography. Macro photos have very, very shallow depths of field due to the techniques and lenses used; the DOF is often little more than a millimetre or two, and it's essential that you emulate this if you want a realistic looking result. I notice you've got some DOF in your latest update but a real macro photo taken under those conditions would have a far shallower DOF than what you've got. An understanding of photography is helpful here, but if you don't have any experience with that, then once again, simply study ample references and copy what you're seeing. It may help to render a Z-depth pass and do the DOF in post, as it saves render time and is a more flexible way of getting the right effect (you can do this easily in Photoshop using the Lens Blur filter).

As an end thought, AJ1 mentioned a nice idea about flipping the subject upside down. I mentioned earlier this idea of "looking into the insect world" and using interesting perspectives can really enhance that.
  03 March 2013
Well, I wouldn't copy it so exactly that it would look like I'm stealing the shot, but the concept or idea of the photo is pretty good. You know what I'm saying?
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by leigh: It's a little frustrating to me how overly diplomatic people are being here, so I'm going to do what I always do and post a really frank, honest critique. Once again, I ask that people please refrain from treading so lightly - critiques help artists, not fluffy comments that don't address any of the issues. And considering this is specifically a critique forum, it's consistently disheartening to see so many people shy away from being critical about work here. But anyway...

Yea, guilty as charged. I'm not a very good artist myself, so I can see that an image needs improvement, but I may only have a few simple anecdotal thoughts about how. Thanks for continuing to come on the WIP and showing us what a proper critique should consist off.

As far as using a photo as reference, that's fine. The photographer owns that specific image, and not what's in it (unless they own the copyright for that too). Its just like if a photographer took a picture of a building. You cant use that exact image file for anything with out the photographers consent, but you could use it as reference to model the building. The photographer doesn't own the shape of the building. That being said, if you pull extensively from a particular photograph, its polite to get in contact with the photographer and see if that's ok.

I might be spewing complete rubbish here, so let me know if I'm off base...

  03 March 2013

I wouldn't have come to CG society if I wasn't looking for answers, or If I surely did this just as a hobby. But the truth is that I've been training my self without any help for a long time in order to make this my future career. I feel I have recently reached the next level to where I need help from eyes not of my own to help me see what I can't see and push even further to build my portfolio.

I think your post was honest, straight to the point, and not mean at all lol. It really did contain a lof of useful information I'm going to take straight to the drawing board.
I mean, I can't get mad. I know im getting closer to achieving great results, but just need expert eyes to help get further. I appreciate every word, and the time you took to help me in this quest.

You to AJ, I love the words of advice.

Moving on, My model is more of the European yellow jacket, and not so much of the wasp, so making the material translucent really isn't going to flow. In fact, I used dozens of reference images to get the model very very close, even the legs, although maybe you can't see it....

I think my materials need a lot more work, and I'm going to start a new scene with new nest.
earlier this morning, I messed around with the idea of putting the image upside down, but I personally just don't want to go this route.

Tonight, I'm just going to work on the yellow jacket and materials, and tomorrow I'll start the new nest and rest of the scene. I also noticed my rear leg has flipped upside down somewhere between rescaling, or importing the scene :(

Stick with me guys, and I'll post the work in progress. Thanks to everyone again.
  03 March 2013
Here is the updated version of the yellow jacket.
The box below it is just to provide light reflection.

Please let me know how you guys feel about it.

  03 March 2013
Here is the progress on the new nest.
I have a little more work to do, and want to add maybe some honey in the comb, but I think its coming along pretty good.
Than I have to finish the tree branches, add the yellow jacket, and adjust the lighting.

Comments welcome. Thanks

  03 March 2013
Moving in the right direction. I concur with the earlier comment RE: be harsh with your criticism and have the balls to take what you can dish out. It doesn't help any of us if we give each other a pass when we may be churning out mediocre work.

The wasp and hive specifically prove a point that holds true no matter what you are modelling - your work is only as good as your reference material.
  03 March 2013
Yeah, I really want my work to stand out and be accepted. I just needed a little guidance no matter what that type was.

I'll be the first to admit that the original nest took off with my imagination lol.
  03 March 2013
I feel you man I'm exactly the same way. I like to create/design stuff that I think looks right. but for example, just last night a buddy called me out on the airplane I'm modeling; he pointed out that I had modeled the cockpit dashboard without regard for scaling vs. the seat and the body of the craft.

Turns out I was totally off on scale in a ridiculous margin, but I had no idea because I was head-down focused on my own "what I think is cool" thing.

I pulled up some reference material and half an hour later my cockpit dashboard now fits properly and so does the pilot, and the seat. Though my buddy did dress me down pretty hard, lol
  03 March 2013
Either way, i bet that cockpit looked pretty frikin sweet before hand LOL... j/k
  03 March 2013
I sure as hell thought it did LOL
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by leigh: It's a little frustrating to me how overly diplomatic people are being here, so I'm going to do what I always do and post a really frank, honest critique. Once again, I ask that people please refrain from treading so lightly......

That's why we rely on you leigh, to come in with the whip.

I would guess that most of us try to make our points without being too harsh, in case it drives the original poster away from the forum. Most of them get the message even if it is subtle. Only a few are too thick to get through to.
I like to learn.
  03 March 2013
Hey everyone, here is the final scene.
I hope you can see all the hard work I have put into it.

Thanks again to everyone's input, help and direction.
If there is anything that stick out, id love to hear your thoughts.

  03 March 2013
Better, but still a lot of improvement possible.
In a nut shell: lighting is very flat, you could use some extra lights, not just one GI solution, add non-renderable white reflection cards to the scene.
Materials are sort of flat too. Check Leigh's examples in order to see how the reflections on the eyes and torso show some depth, some structure on the surface
The honey combs lack translucency and the cells could be deeper and sort of darken into the depth.
  03 March 2013
Hmm... Not all nests are translucent, or at least not by much. All the cells are deep and proportionate to a yellow jacket, some of the cells are filled with honey, the others that have white caps are sealed off with eggs in them.

I have at least 5 IES lights lighting the scene. The main focus is actually on the yellow jacket.

Example reference Nests searched on google

Thread Closed share thread

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Society of Digital Artists

Powered by vBulletin
Copyright 2000 - 2006,
Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Minimize Ads
Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 05:11 AM.

Powered by vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.