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Old 05-07-2013, 04:08 AM   #1
rrogerscg
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Russell Rogers
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WIP - The "Underground" Space Scene

I'm shooting for a futuristic/underground/fight-to-the-death in space piece. I am also shooting for some dramatic lighting, as well as making the scene look and feel like it has the potential to someday exist in the far off distant future.

The back-story is that this is an asteroid in space that has been mined of all its resources and sold to politicians whom decided to make it an underground fighting ring where convicts can fight for their freedom wearing specially designed space suits(yet to be added).

I need critique on:
  • Composition - Do elements distract you? I want the entire canvas to be interesting, but I also intend on having the main focus be in the arena once the characters are in.
  • Depth - I thrive to achieve massive depth in all my pieces. Do you see where I can work on it in this piece?
  • Value - Do they appear correctly applied? I feel I have the basic lighting down, but maybe you see something I don't.
  • Detail - Should I add more information to the piece?
  • Anything else that comes to mind is appreciated



Larger Version: Here

My blog has a more in-depth story that will be updated frequently as I finish this piece. It's just a personal project I'm working on with no real relevance except I need portfolio work, and the practice.

Thanks-Russ

Last edited by rrogerscg : 05-07-2013 at 04:17 AM. Reason: Trying get the image to link properly
 
Old 05-08-2013, 07:12 AM   #2
rrogerscg
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WIP_Update

Although I have received no critique here yet, I have updated the scene that I've been working on. All the questions I listed in the first post are still valid. Also, any direction is appreciated.

The only thing I've done is change the composition, but it has more appeal I feel, as well as being more dynamic.



Full sized original: Here

Thanks -Russ
 
Old 05-10-2013, 09:38 AM   #3
BillyWJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrogerscg
  • Composition - Do elements distract you? I want the entire canvas to be interesting, but I also intend on having the main focus be in the arena once the characters are in.
  • Depth - I thrive to achieve massive depth in all my pieces. Do you see where I can work on it in this piece?
  • Value - Do they appear correctly applied? I feel I have the basic lighting down, but maybe you see something I don't.
  • Detail - Should I add more information to the piece?
  • Anything else that comes to mind is appreciated


It's too dark overall to tell if anything is distracting. Honestly, that's the #1 issue. You have some shapes working, but they don't lead the eye to the focus, whatever that is - the eye is overwhelmed by black, and wanders.

I would strongly urge you work this out as a drawing, at least with basic block shapes, first.

As for depth, there are a couple ways to handle that - perspective by drawing, values (black to white) and hue (color). Distance is generally handled by making things lighter, and blending with whatever the color of the sky/environment is, or fading into dark colors. Since your piece is black and white, and you're not working with a drawing, then the only tool you have is value, and you'll need to make some major changes in the painting to accomplish that. In this case, with darkness being the overall theme, you'll have to carefully use lighter and lighter shades of grey the closer the objects get to the viewer, making sure those values are not the same as the values in the background. This is where color would make it a lot easier to accomplish depth.

Values: see above.

Detail: Yes, more detail is needed, as well as more definition to the space, the objects, everything in the painting. Right now, honestly, it's just swathes of black and white, and they don't read as anything to eye.

My strongest recommendation is to perhaps work more with a line drawing, get the composition established and then use value and hue to work the piece up. Landscapes like this are hard to accomplish without a strong drawing as a foundation. At the very least, color would help you immensely with what you're trying to pull off. Perhaps some study and practice with real night time landscapes, looking at how to use value and hue to establish volume and depth and such.
 
Old 05-10-2013, 11:25 PM   #4
rrogerscg
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WIP & Thanks

Thanks for the critique Billy. By the time I made it back to post this you had already said everything that I think I worked out. I wish I had your advice a bit sooner, it would have saved me from spinning my tires.

Also, I've been doing a ton of research into everything you critiqued me on, especially composition. I have learned that instead of going balls deep into a piece, I will spend more time on researching the subject matter, as well as doing sketches to see what works and what doesn't work.

As per your critique...
  • Too dark - I lightened everything up as you suggested.
  • Composition - I think I have a fix on leading the eye through my scene
  • Depth - I repeated the floating platforms, as well as shifted value. Subtle, but noticeable.
    Quote:
    you'll have to carefully use lighter and lighter shades of grey the closer the objects get to the viewer
    I did sorta the opposite, but i think it added for a dramatic lighting effect. (More faded and less dark the further back you go)
  • Detail - I want to believe that I left the viewer enough detail so their brains can fill in the rest.
  • Final Note - I will be doing as you suggested with the studies. Not just night, but every environment there is. I found some good sights with excellent photography that I've been doing color studies off of.



    Full Size: Here

    Is there anything you would have done differently from my final result? If so I may rework it some more.
    Again, thanks and I hope you can help me with another piece in the future.
 
Old 05-15-2013, 07:00 PM   #5
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In the narrative of this scene, do you want to show an all-out fight among multiple combatants, or is it supposed to be an one-on-one fight? What are the details of this premise? It's important to establish this so you can place the main focal points of your scene according to the needs of the narrative. Right now, showing a guy in a jetpack suit at the very edge of the image and a spider-like shape on the left with something that looks like either a spotlight or a jet exhaust, doesn't convey your premise or narrative at all.

As a visual storyteller, you have to think more like a movie director/writer, and plan your scene carefully so that the story you want to convey can be seen clearly, so that any decently intelligent person with common sense and logic will be able to look at your scene and understand the narrative. The ability to do this will elevate you from just being a guy who makes pretty pictures to a visual storyteller.
 
Old 05-16-2013, 06:12 AM   #6
rrogerscg
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Thanks

Thank you for the feedback Lunatique. Like you pointed out, I have realized I don't put enough pre-planning into my work. This image would still need a bit of fixing to get it going into the right direction, from a fundamental standpoint.

That being said, I think I will scrap the image and plan out the illustration using thumbnails to start. One of my goals is to still use a panorama canvas, since it's the most challenging for me to work with. I'll emphasize on composition to begin with, then play with color pallets to hit the mood I'm trying to achieve. I've been doing a ton of anatomy research lately, so my characters should look improved as well.

My overall goal is to achieve a narrative that can be read by a monkey picking its nose and looking the opposite direction.

Again, thanks for your feedback and I hope you can help me with my next attempt. -Russ
 
Old 05-16-2013, 06:12 AM   #7
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