“Crap” is really too harsh a word, y’know? Have you met that professional standard of quality yet? I would say “no”, BUT you’re getting there. Here are my initial observations.
- PROPORTIONS: It is very important, before a single detail or prop gets laid in, that you block out your key forms. Using simple primitives such as spheres, cylinders, and/or cubes to define your character’s basic volume. Doing this early on will save you the hassle of having to adjust things after details have been added. Right now, she’s looking pretty squat and ill proportioned. The length of the various limbs relative to the key anatomical landmarks are off.
- ANATOMY: Take a look at areas such as her hands, thighs, face, and arms. Do yours look anything remotely like that? Do your thumbs sit flat like hers? Do your legs pinch at the knees? Does your face flatten out at the sides to that extreme degree? Do your arms, at rest, twist like that? These are all things to consider. When in doubt, use an anatomy book, physical maquette, or some image references to guide your work. Right now, you’ve got the basics down, but are missing some of the finer points such as underlying bone structure and understanding of muscle flow. Also, I can literally see your brush strokes.
- CLOTH: Traditionally, cloth is a very tricky thing to model or sculpt convincingly. It can also be time consuming. It’s one of the reasons why Marvelous Designer was created. What you’re doing here is well intentioned, but shows a real weakness in your understanding how cloth folds and wrinkles. It’s either confused looking in the case of the shirt or and utter mess in the case of the boots. Again, your intentions here are good, but the execution is not. I would strongly suggest that, with anything you model, that you have ample image references on hand. Don’t just look at them. Study them. Dissect them. Figure out why these things fold the way they do and how something like flannel is different than leather. Going forward, there IS a quick hack trick to help you sculpt folds more easily. It all revolves around the letters X, Y, and Z. I’ll let this youtube tutorial say the rest.
- MODELING: It’s all a good start, but there are some fundamental missteps. For starters, I think that the shorts are penetrating the legs. For another, and it might just be the angle, the hat looks a bit weird. I’d have to see other shots of it to be sure.
- TEXTURING: I’m getting the sense here that you don’t know much about UVs or proper texturing. Some of what’s going on looks like you slapped image textures on and hoped for the best. Onto of that, what’s here is muddy, blurry, and/or stretched. Areas such as the shirt and belt are suffering a whole lot.The situation IS fixable though. Take comfort in that. You’ve just gotta make use of those UV tools though. IF you are then you might not be laying theme out properly and maximizing your texture space. Bigger textures yield more detailed characters. 2k should be the minimum for a decent level of visual quality. Use a separate texture/UV for the head if you really need to squeeze out a prettier image. If you cannot afford a Substance subscription or even the Indie version, at least do yourself a favor and download either the FOSS ArmorPAint or Material Maker; ArmorPaint IS free, but you have to pay ~$20 if you can’t be bothered to compile the $0 downloadable source code yourself.
- POSING: Simply put, she’s stiff and unnaturally posed. She’s also tilting on her heels with no natural contrapposto type balance to hir hips. I’ve said it numerous times already, but you MUST make use of your photo references and concept images. Right now, she might as well be leaning up against a wall trying to avoid detection. All fixable, but worth noting. While, I’m at it, it’s also worth mentioning that posing extends to the face too. A still, dead look doesn’t do much to convey personality. I’m suspecting that you just modeled her in this position and haven’t even applied a basic rig. Just a sneaky suspicion. You don’t have to be a master rigger or animator since most apps have pre-built rigs available, bundled or downloadable. However, even a basic rig should be applied if you want to take that model ot the next level.
- PRESENTATION: I’m not sure if you’re working from concept art. I hope that you are. However, even if you aren’t, you have to be able to pretend that you’re somebody else seeing this image for the first time. Ask yourself a few basic questions. Is this image conveying any personality? Is it telling a story - even if that story is all subtext? Have I picked the right camera angles? Does my lighting set any mood? Does it show off the character well? Is it too flat? Honestly? I’ve seen much worse work. This isn’t pro level, but it’s definitely still a level above newbie. You just need to get your ducks in order. Better/cleaner texturing. Better posing & lighting. Better anatomy. A sense of artistic direction and personality. Individually, these things are super important. Combined, they are far more powerful and can make your image pop to a higher degree.
- MISC: I’ve zoomed into areas such as her boots and shorts, but I can’t quite get what you’re trying to accomplish with those blocks of red. They seem to stand out for the wrong reasons. I would also say that poly hair is fine and a lot of people do it, but I think that you might reach another level of visual quality if you go with hair cards instead. Lots of tutorials on how to do that regardless of what app you use. What’s that brown element on her back? It’s hard to tell. Also, it’s a bit odd that you’ve got this cowgirl with a belted holster, but no actual gun. Just a thought. Again, as with the arms, I can see your rough brush strokes in the hair. It looks incomplete.
Anyway, those are my initial observations. What you have here ISN’T crap and you DO have potential. However, you need to work past a bunch of problems before you reach pro level. I also feel that, maybe, you’re rushing the process and adding in details before you nail down the processes that come before. IOW, you’re jumping straight into anatomical detail before perfecting the proportions and texturing before UVing. Slow and steady wins the race. You’ll get faster with more experience, but you should be more methodical right now. Get as many UNBIASED critiques as possible. Honest criticism can sometimes/often hurt, but it’s part of the process of growing as an artist. Never move onto the next phase until you’re confident that you’ve done the absolute best job you can do on the current on. Getting 3rd party input is important to that.