Lighting help needed !

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  01 January 2013
Lighting help needed !

I'm doing this drawing atm and have just started colouring the mid ground soldier on the right but the lighting looks cartoony.. where as i think the sky looks more real...not sure how to get the soldier looking more real Its at dawn so the light is diffuse.. no direct sun light which would be easier :P thinking of getting more soft sky light on him but grr tricky ! any advice, links to similar art works or tutorials would be great
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  01 January 2013
The most glaring weakness in your portfolio is anatomy/figure.

You haven't studied or practice anatomy/figure enough, so you are stylizing in ways that are very unnatural and awkward.

You need to spend a lot of time learning how people look in reality, familiarizing yourself with not only anatomical structure and body language, but as well as the surface properties of skin.

You also currently do not give enough consideration to how skin actually responds to light, or how wrinkles are really formed, how the fat under the skin changes the way skin stretches over the bones structure and muscles, and so on.

Another problem is you don't have enough understanding of value coherency and proper lighting behavior. You tend to skew the ratio between lit and shadow sides of your subjects way too much, creating arbitrary contrast when there shouldn't be that much, as well as incorrectly portray forms and volume.

To strengthen your weaknesses, you need to:

-Stop working solely out of your head and start using proper references (including shooting them yourself. We all have cameras and smart phones now, and a tripod is cheap, while we all have household lamps of some kind--there's no excuse not to do the extra work to make sure you have proper references for your artwork). Even stylized approaches must be grounded in reality in some way, because that is the standard all stylization stems from. If you don't know how things look and behave in reality, how can you do a convincing stylized version of it without knowing what aspects you should be idealizing, simplifying, exaggerating, etc?

-Start doing a lot of portrait and figure studies from life, and if you can't do that, photos are an acceptable substitute--although you must understand enough about photography to know exactly what you're looking at when you look at photos. Photographs can be skewed in any number of ways by lens distortion, exposure latitude, digital processing (drastic enhancement of contrast and colors), and so on. If you aren't aware of all that, you will be mislead by photographs. This is why working from life is always the gold standard.

-Start doing still life and landscape studies (from life, and if using photos, the previous caution about using photos also apply), so you can learn to portray values accurately, instead of arbitrarily skewing dynamic range and value coherency without understanding the logic behind it all.
  02 February 2013
First post on CGtalk. implications clear no? :-) Thank you for taking the time to read my critique and I'm giving my advice as someone on a learning curve as well.

Things I enjoyed:
- The aerial perspective of the mountains.
- The dusty wind especially around the crouched soldier.
- The sky light (it seems like a bit after dawn to me).

Now observations, things I would work on this was mine.

Light wise:
- There is no unified light direction or intensity in your painting. The alien seems lit from the right, the main soldier seems lit from the left, the soldier in the back is not lit at all and his rifle is a blob of color for some reason, the crouched soldier is also not lit at all. So there doesn't seem to a plan here.

I would simplify the shapes into sphere, cylinders and cubes. Then experiment lighting them properly, then if I get a good result I would apply the same general result on the painting. Get google sketchup, its free, draw some spheres, cubes, cylinders there and work by flipping back and forth through them and your painting.

Resources: (look of the light section inside, i've kept the link general so you can benefit from the whole topic)

Composition wise:
- The alien so too much to the left, so the viewer feels it is a secondary character. Also the pose seems to be too fearful and pitiful for the me personally to care about the alien.
- The soldier body language is not clear. Is he reaching out to the alien or ordering it to move? His rifle is pointed towards the alien but his hand gesture is unclear to me.

Focus wise:
- I think I should see more details on the crouched soldier.
- We should get slightly less detail on the soldier in the back than the main one but as little as is shown here.
- The black blob on the right is not working at all. I think you wanted to it to create a depth cue, but it is too simplistic to achieve that effect.

Last edited by FarisB : 02 February 2013 at 12:51 PM.
  02 February 2013
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