character: left behind


okay I’m close to finishing this picture. Tell me what you think. I’m pretty satisfied about the emotion on her face but it can be you think different. If so please tell me. Anything to improve the mood of this image is welcome.

the title is temporarely

for the wip thread please look here



What kind of emotion is it that you want to portray? That she is left behind and she feels sad because of that? Well she does has a sad look in her eyes. If she is sad I would suggest you would make her eyes more watery. She doesn’t have to cry though.

Please work on the scene and the lighting. What is the story behind it? Now I see just a wall with some graffiti. The lighting appears to be a spot very close to the face of the girl. Is she outside? Is it sunny or an overcast day?

You’re on your way to something, but there is still some work to be done to make it truly evocative.


thanks for your reaction.

you’re asking a lot of questions about what I have in mind, but I really want to do it the other way around. What do you think it is? evoking emotion is not only about understanding the image.

I can answer some of your questions though

  • I’ll make the eyes more watery
  • yes she’s outside
  • time: night, neon and street lights.
  • by the way the title is temporarely so don’t think about that.

you say there is still some work to be done. I know that :slight_smile: that’s why I posted it here. I really like to know what I need to change. Do the lights need different color? Any idea’s on stuff I should add?

[note] some level-changes in photoshop enhanced the image a lot, I’ll post them later.


Ah I see you’ve posted a update already! Or was I so blind to miss the tear the first time? Well it’s a nicely shaped tear. Now try to change the shader to make it more water-like. So by increasing the specularity. You could also make a ‘tear’-mesh resting on the lower eyelid to make the eyes more watery.

Ok for a night scene I think she is too well lit. I don’t know where you’ve put the lights now, but they seem to be at the same level as the head. Instead, put one above her head (well not exactly above her head, 'cause that would probably won’t look that interesting, just put it higher), like it’s a lamppost. Make sure you enable shadows for this light so the character will have some selfshadowing.

The expression on her face appears to me like she is shocked because of some incident, but she aware of the situatie and knows she can’t do anytime anymore. Maybe she witnesses something like her (boy)friend taken away in ambulance. In that case you can put some lights that are the flashing lights.

Well this are some suggestions for now, hopefully you can work with it. Vooral doorgaan!

Btw you were right about evoking emotion isn’t only about understanding the image. You don’t have to explicitly tell a story with the image, so something like the flashing lights can be too much. It isn’t important that the viewer (exactly) knows what story the artist had in mind, but I think it is important for an artist to know why he is making whatever he is working on and to have some sort of idea behind it. Then it is up to the viewer to interpreted it in his own way.


thanks, that was helpful. You didn’t miss the tear :wink: I planned on that already but added it right after the post here. I increased the specularity.

I’ve been playing around with the lights exactly the way you said but I didn’t get it quite right so I indeed moved them lower. I agree with you though, I moved them back up (added some colours too).

Your last paragraph is perfectly put. I can’t but second it :slight_smile:

the hairshader is very transparent now, but I can fix that too. Also, and that sucks, the expression on her face is way less evident. any idea’s?



I won’t comment on technical stuff i guess the wip people already help you out with that :slight_smile:

I’d change the color and intensity of the light to make it fit the mood better, i guess some cool tint might work better.

Maybe it would help to make the graffity on the wall more interesting, it might help improve the strenght of the image if the graffity fits her mood or if it does exactly the opposite.

For me it is just a crying person at the moment, since there are no hints why she cries and since we only see her head there’s no pose/action or so hinting what happened. But well maybe you don’t want to make it really clear. But i think it will need a lot of small mood/color/ refinements to make it real good without a hint of a story because that’s pretty hard to do.

The background could play a role here, see her silent silhouette by daniel conway, there’s no clear story there but the whole setting is pretty evocative.

The composition also isn’t very good at the moment it’s not bad but it doesn’t add anything. It hard to get that right, i know, but sometimes a good composition can help what you want to convey.

Lots of comments from me, sorry about that i know how hard it is to create good artwork ^0^


thank you very much jawine and please don’t apologise :slight_smile: all your comments were very helpful.

there are a whole bunch of changes. Completely new face shading network, another composition and different light colours. ALso I added the lantern and the trash container. As you can see, also another size, it fitted my needs better. I added DOF ([edit] which is not correctly tuned I just saw).

I agree with you about the graffity, I need to think about it though how to fix that. The render is pretty lowquality but this one’s for mood and composition only

And indeed while doing this I really start to understand how hard it is to do good art. But I will keep trying for sure.



Wow great improvements! It shows the emotion a lot better. Only her right eye is bothering me. It’s aimed too high.
The composition is a lot better, but I suggest you move her a little more to the left. Now the subject is exactly in the center.

The lighting you have now is pretty good, but I’ve got the feeling it can be even better. Do you have a light in your scene other than the light of the lamppost in your scene? If you get rid of it, her face will be to dark? Change this light in a flashing light or a neon light. Especially for this light I suggest you use a projector map since because not everything is evenly lit. This is just a suggestion, I’m not sure if it will work.


here goes. I moved her a little to the left. I don’t think flashlights will add to the picture I have in my head. It can certainly work, but I don’t want the picture to become busy in a stressful way. I want to preserve some sense of serenity. Hope you get what I mean :slight_smile:

[edit] by the way, 2 lights are used: a key light (lamp post) and a supportive light a little lower to soften the shadows. Due to the shader the right side of the face isn’t completely black.

smaller render this time. I still think the scene misses some things. Can’t put the finger on it though. More dirt on the wall?stuff on the ground?



allright, close to finish. I changed the graffity. I took the render through photoshop tell me which one you like best, or pick one and tell me how to improve that one.

here’s the link to the original render

  1. original render
  2. autolevels
  3. autolevels + diff. glow


Just on quick judgement I say the second.
The diffuse glow is too much. I think it takes away attention on the emotion.


It’s gotten better ^0^

I like the bottom render the best, since the light there is very white and hard which fits the emotion best. I think ^0^

I think it would be better if there wouldn’t be such a white spot on the wall, and if the colors on the wall change a bit from left to right, so that the shadow on her left side is not only darker but also deeper in color and more the opposite of the color were light falls on the wall. Gives a bit of depth to the wall. ^0^

If the light is pure white now, maybe you should add in a tiny bit of color (blue is best i think) otherwise there’s no color complementary to the light color for the shadows ^0^ But that’s 2D artists point of view, the complementary color trick is pretty handy to perk up 2d stuff :stuck_out_tongue:


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