Enviroment WIP - Feedback appreciated

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  02 February 2013
Tomb raider - Feedback appreciated!

Hello, CGSociety!

I was looking around the forum, and it seems like a nice place to get some critique on my art so I thought I would give it a try. (Sorry for being selfish ^_^')

So in this piece I am trying to illustrate the peace/stillness before a storm. The mountain at the back is supposed to be read as a far away goal. If you look carefully u see a fox hunting for food, (though the food(frog) is quite hard to see due to the resized image). I wanted this to liven up the image abit, give a hint of wildlife in the area.

It is intended to be submitted as a contest entry for Tomb Raider Reborn @ deviantart.com, or rather it is submitted already, but I can still change the entry. But what I really am looking for here isn't a better entry, rather an improvement to my current level as I feel like I have pushed to my limit already.

photo uploader

Last edited by Atlanca : 03 March 2013 at 05:15 PM.
  02 February 2013
Hi Atlanca,

I don't have much to say about the overall composition. However, since you mentionned the "calm before the storm", I'd like to point out that my first impression was rather that of twilight - a feeling carried by both the warm tones and the layout of the shadows.

In other words, the stillness is there but hardly the storm. If you want to render a storm as in the weather condition, I would recommand picking a colder tone for your atmosphere (for instance, a greyish-yellow might induce a subtle, yet efficient change)
Similarly, if a storm is coming up I would expect ambient light diffused by the clouds, i.e. lighter shadows (which in turn would make the foreground easier to read).
  02 February 2013
Hey TheArtSquid!
Thanks for pointing it out, there's no sign of a storm at all. I do not want to change the mood all too much though, graying it out would, I believe.

I tried another approach, well it is quite similiar to what you said, except for a few points. I also fleshed out the enviroment abit.

The piece is going to be judged by the following:
  • Creative treatment of the new Lara Croft character.
  • Overall Impact of the Work.
  • Technical Skill.
  • Appropriateness for use on a print
I don't really know if it's the correct place to ask, but based on these points, what do I fall back on? I am intending to start another more action paced piece for my second entry. So some advice and pointers on this would be nice!

  02 February 2013
I think it captures the mood very well but as you said, it lacks action. You could add a two or three wolves (there where a lot of them in the games!) in the foreground (a bit blurred and very dark) to add some "omg, turn around!"-feeling.

Last edited by laber : 02 February 2013 at 02:05 PM.
  02 February 2013
Ah, well, in that case I'd see two more things :

- I don't know precisely about the contest, but your picture feels only remotely related to Tomb Raider - if you hadn't said so, I would not even have recognized the Lara Croft character. We see only her back, she's in the distance, and while at the center of the composition she plays a minor part in the storytelling: it could be anyone, really.
- while definitely "appropriate" in the sense "does not hold any explicit or offensive content", your picture could be difficult to use as printing material due to its very dark foreground : low-contrast black tones are more difficult to read on paper than on a backlit screen. I'd really encourage you to rework your foreground with that in mind - it is actually quite doable to lighten shadows while retaining the overal atmosphere and a high contrast with the sunlit background. Plus, lighter shadows would make small details easier to catch.

One last thing : the distant mountain top feels weird, probably because it is located in such a tight spot at the top of your composition, cut away from the scene by the horizontal branch and not echoed anywhere else.

Last edited by TheArtySquid : 02 February 2013 at 02:04 PM.
  02 February 2013
@ laber godamnit dude, thats genius! The image I have in my head now lol. I'm gonna try scribbling abit and see how it turns out.

@Squid, yeah you're absolutely right. Adding some wolves in the foreground chasing her as laber said and reworking her pose abit, I could make it really Crofty I think. It would change was I was going for before, but I think it can work better this way. I will also see about the lighting and mountain.
But would the 'squirrel looking at mountain' work?

Last edited by Atlanca : 02 February 2013 at 02:11 PM.
  02 February 2013
Nice, can't wait to see what's in your head now!
  03 March 2013
sorry to let you down laber, but it just didnt work out at all. So I went on working on a few ideas, then back to refining my very first idea.

kinda almost done, just some details I need to add, any critique now is the chance since I dont want to touch it anymore after im done.

  03 March 2013
really like the perspective of this one and the rain hitting the girl. this painting defiantly has more of a peace/stillness before a storm feel to it.
  03 March 2013
I like the new atmosphere and the rain, and the character is now the obvious center of the picture.

Perspective-wise I think you overdid the foreshortening, which results in an exaggerated distorsion between her upper and lower body. Plus, the bow doesn't seem to have any foreshortening, which makes the distorsion all the more obvious.

- larger head
- wider shoulders
- vanishing point for the bow

I also still find the whole picture quite dark. You could use the light source closest to the character to emphasize part of her body/gear with halftone planes (chiaroscuro - some paintings by Rembrandt or Caravage are good examples), which would make her come forward while still giving room for dramatic shadows.
  03 March 2013
Thanks guys.
There's way too many perspective/anatomy problems on this one. Spent quite a few hours trying to fix things but it's just not doable lol. I'm gonna trash it get some references and draw something new. (Noticed when I flipped horizontally. everything seems out of balance as well)

Well lesson learned: never work without reference, and flip it before detailing to check porportions.

Chiroscuro (that the way it's spelled?) seems quite interesting, I think I'm gonna play around with that technique abit!
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by Atlanca: sorry to let you down laber, but it just didnt work out at all. So I went on working on a few ideas, then back to refining my very first idea.

No problem, as long as you find your way to the final image! The new one looks definitely better but the points TheArtySquid mentioned are true.
  03 March 2013
So I couldn't give it up after all :P tried to fix the porportions, but not sure if I messed up the perspective now <_<

picture sharing
  03 March 2013
Another approach.
what do you guys think about the composition?

image upload
  03 March 2013
Hey, I went on and drew a new one again. Tried to use the chiaroscuro technique
Before I go on, could you guys give me some advice on lighting/content to make it creepy? I also want to show that Lara's scared, but doing her best to keep her calm. Maybe I shold make her bite her teeth? and give her goosebumps?

pic upload
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