Author Topic: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen  (Read 6481 times)

John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« on: 17 Apr 2010, 19:01 »
Okay people, this starts as a "Making Of-Thing"
here
in the "AGS Games in Production"-Section but than it turns a bit more in a Critics Lounge Theme.  ::)
So I´ll go on here:

You've done lots of good art for this game (which looks really promising), but this one has some problems, I think.

Now it looks like you've given him a shiner (black eye) on his right eye (i.e. our left).   :'(

The other thing that stands out is that the pupils are very uneven. His right eye has a larger pupil (particularly because it looks like you can only see about half of it, while only the top sliver is hidden by his left eyelash), and it has a touch of red to it (why? is he bleeding?).

I would also question the anatomy of that fleshy fold that curves down from the left side of his nose, over his cheek and under his lips.

The basic form is good, the pose is good and dramatic, and you have a nice technique, but your shading doesn't really seem to show grasp of the facial geometry. You'd be better served by following Steve's example more closely, and by focusing less on small wrinkles than on areas of light and shade.

Similarly, there's something really strange going on with that wrist, and the emphasis on deep, harsh wrinkles makes it look wizened and ugly.

(I realize this isn't the critics lounge, but it looks like we've got into a critique of this image and that it's welcome, so I thought I'd add my two cents.)

@Snarky:
Thank you very much for your useful feedback!
I tried to solve every problem you wrote me.
@All:
Now you can let me know what´s still bad or what´s good:


« Last Edit: 17 Apr 2010, 22:51 by NEON-GAMES »

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Re: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« Reply #1 on: 17 Apr 2010, 20:40 »
Yeah, it looks better now. Could probably still be improved, but I don't have any more major points of criticism.

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Re: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« Reply #2 on: 17 Apr 2010, 20:53 »
I think the shadow contrast on the skin should be greater, to increase the moodiness of the piece (somewhat like I posted in the other thread, or stronger).
It looks like the bottom of the cross is bent.
The lines on the leather jacket's right shoulder (his right) are going in a confusing direction. Also the lines on the sleeve are too deep.
The font for "Ghost Hunter" is bland. Three different fonts may be a bit much for a title. Actually, three different phrases might be too much too. Hmm, two different languages is rather odd, even. You could just drop "Ghost Hunter".
The leather jacket and the water are too similar in colour, so it just looks unfinished in the corner rather than him fading out. I would continue the main character down to the bottom of the screen.

Very nice though!
Still waiting for Purity of the Surf II

Re: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« Reply #3 on: 17 Apr 2010, 23:15 »
Okay I edited the image:



Because the Title:
I could only add a couple of flashes to the "Geisterjäger"/"Ghosthunter" because that´s the font of the original Logo of "John Sinclair" which is a german horror-novel series.
That´s the original german Title of the novel the game is based. It´s an accident that the title has the same meaning in English :).
You can see the novel-cover here:


Re: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« Reply #4 on: 18 Apr 2010, 08:42 »
Had no idea it was based on a book - the demo characters and locations seemed so close to those in GK1 that I assumed it was a pure Jane Jensen homage. So of course I had to look up "Jason Dark" on wikipedia, and wow, if that guy doesn't use ghostwriters he's one productive puppy: "the stories [...] have now reached the astonishing number of nearly 2,000 separate novels [...] Jason Dark continues to write three or four novels a month and shows no sign of losing his inventive vigour".  :o

There's also links to English translations of a couple of wonderfully pulpy stories. Can't wait to use Mr. Sinclair's magic boomerang in the game :)

Really like what you've done with the title screen - much prefer your version of Tower Bridge to that on the book cover. Hope you're going to use that foggy atmosphere in-game too. Reminds me a lot of Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Serrated Scalpel.
My one suggestion would be to raise the arm holding the cross slightly, so the sleeve doesn't merge with the shape of his shoulder - at the moment it gives the impression that his right shoulder (our left) is extremely wide. 


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Re: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« Reply #5 on: 18 Apr 2010, 11:07 »
I don't know really...I think the overall design is nice and retro and all, but his pose and expression is just...hard to read.
What is he trying to convey? It looks like he's just holding up something he found on the floor...there's no swooshiness, no drama, no tension.
I think there's definitely room for improvements here.

edit:
had to make an paintover:


just to show some ideas on how to make it more dramatic
« Last Edit: 18 Apr 2010, 12:06 by Andail »

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Re: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« Reply #6 on: 18 Apr 2010, 13:56 »
In addition to Andial's paintover, having the silhouette of something nasty rising behind him would be cool.

Re: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« Reply #7 on: 18 Apr 2010, 14:32 »
Title "Voodoo in London" and a guy with a cross next to it is just weird to me. But it's probably something to do with the story.

I like the Andial's paintover, seems more dynamic. Still would like more of the London bridge to actually be seen, that background looks really nice but I almost can't tell it's the Tower bridge anymore.

In addition to Andial's paintover, having the silhouette of something nasty rising behind him would be cool.
Something similar to those hands from the book cover? That might be cool.
Then again my idea might be from watching too many Bugs bunny cartoons where that hairy orange monster sneaks up.  ;D
« Last Edit: 18 Apr 2010, 14:51 by anian »
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Re: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« Reply #8 on: 18 Apr 2010, 16:45 »
here's my rendition of the title screen.



there are a few tools in photoshop that work wonders - among them are:
Color Balance
Dodge
Burn
Levels
Brightness/Contrast
« Last Edit: 18 Apr 2010, 18:06 by DrewCCU »
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Re: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« Reply #9 on: 18 Apr 2010, 18:40 »
I think there's a problem with the lighting in your original, and several of the paintovers. You've chosen white as the colour for correctly exposed skin, and orangey red as the colour for skin in shadow. Most problematically, you transition from highlight to shadow across every contour of his face, as if he's carved into a flat surface rather than a three dimensional volume.

Try approaching the shading with a transition from light to dark which goes from one side of the face to the other. Consider a healthier pink for skin tones, and a less saturated shadow tone but not grey. Here's a rough example of what I mean:



I've also added a coloured backlight to help separate his dark side from the dark background a la Gabriel Knight 1, but Green, not Magenta.

I'd disagree with Drew about Dodge and Burn, those tools will not give you lighter and darker shades that reflect the way colours change with more and less light. Choose all of your colours yourself!

The other tools he mentions are useful, here I've used Color Balance to change the mood a bit:


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Re: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« Reply #10 on: 18 Apr 2010, 19:22 »
The points Ali makes about dodge and burn (and I'd add drawing shadows with a low-opacity black brush) are crucial. It doesn't work. In your latest edit, and to a somewhat lesser extent in Andail and Drew's edits, what you have looks less like shadows than just some black smudges across his face, like he's dragged an ink-stained finger across his cheek and forehead:


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Re: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« Reply #11 on: 18 Apr 2010, 19:43 »
I agree that the original shading is quite unsatisfactory, and makes him look old and dirty in his face, and I'd also say that DrewCCU's version is basically the original version with a lot of cheap photoshop effects on, which makes it arguably worse, but I'm not 100% sure Ali's versions are better - to my mind they appear more rubbery, like Ken-dolls, especially along with the very strong contrasts around his eye and the tacky highlights in them...

I'd make another paint-over with more attention to his face, but I'll probably save that for tomorrow...

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Re: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« Reply #12 on: 18 Apr 2010, 19:58 »
Well, it's famous so I gave it a shot. It's probably the worst edit. But I focused mostly on the character shading, even if partially done wrong.

No more military army stuff. I'm alive and back.

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Re: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« Reply #13 on: 18 Apr 2010, 20:16 »
I'm not 100% sure Ali's versions are better - to my mind they appear more rubbery, like Ken-dolls, especially along with the very strong contrasts around his eye and the tacky highlights in them...

I'd make another paint-over with more attention to his face, but I'll probably save that for tomorrow...

I was just saying I agree with the point Ali was making, not that his edit was perfect. BTW, that art style reminds me strongly of some old games, but I can't quite place it...

I liked many of the features of your paintover, but didn't think the shadow on the face was quite convincing, and of course you changed his face completely...

In some ways I think I still like SteveMcCrea's first sketchy paintover best (except for screwing up the eyes):



Personally I'm terrible at drawing people, so I'm not even gonna try.

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Re: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« Reply #14 on: 18 Apr 2010, 22:09 »
I'm not 100% sure Ali's versions are better - to my mind they appear more rubbery, like Ken-dolls, especially along with the very strong contrasts around his eye and the tacky highlights in them...

I'd make another paint-over with more attention to his face, but I'll probably save that for tomorrow...

I was just saying I agree with the point Ali was making, not that his edit was perfect. BTW, that art style reminds me strongly of some old games, but I can't quite place it...

I've tried to diminish the ken-doll-like tackiness and keep the features closer to the original. It's still cheezy but hopefully it illustrates the points I made a bit better than the previous version:



I also think Dualnames has done a good job of adding volume to the face without ken-dolling it up!

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Re: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« Reply #15 on: 18 Apr 2010, 22:35 »
wow - this kind of turned into a big bash-off. lol.

let me say i agree with Ali's methods.  Also let me say that i'm not a digital painter. I do a lot of professional work in photoshop but my "paint-over" (if you will) wasn't designed to give you a painters/artists perspective on it - but an overall design aspect.  Yes i realize that when it comes to painting (in any medium) the burn/dodge effects aren't what you want to work with.  However, as a graphic designer's perspective - dodge/burn work great for many different things.  I was merely using it here as a quick way to give you an idea of how to blend the dude into the overall design of the title screen better.  

Anyway, to better make my original point:

The issue with your original design is the imagery isn't blended together as well as it could be.  It looks like a couple of different pieces of artwork thrown together into one.  Shading will add more desired contrast to the design and thus make it more appealing to the eye.

Color balance is the big one here - you need to use something like this to bring it all together - this is what will really make the whole piece come together.

as a final note let me add:
The way i did it versus the way Ali did it doesn't make either of us wrong.  It's just a different idea - different amounts of light in the design.

My idea was to completely (or mostly) black out the right part of the man - which would give it a different look than what Ali did (neither is wrong or right - just different preference is all).  take a look at this image that will give you a better idea of what i was trying to create:



« Last Edit: 18 Apr 2010, 22:42 by DrewCCU »
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Re: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« Reply #16 on: 19 Apr 2010, 07:26 »

I've tried to diminish the ken-doll-like tackiness and keep the features closer to the original. It's still cheezy but hopefully it illustrates the points I made a bit better than the previous version:




I think this is arguably the best face version so far.

I would still like to bring focus to his pose - I made an attempt to increase some sense of drama and tension, but the edits after mine have gone back to the initial stance, where he's basically just holding up something without expressing the least what he's intending with it.

Re: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« Reply #17 on: 19 Apr 2010, 11:40 »
I think Andail's pose alteration makes an enormous difference, but think the lighting could be taken further, along the lines of Drew's reference image. Also find Drew's colour conformation important. Ali's suggestion of working from dark to light really helps in these cases.

Also pushed his head features more towards ideal proportions, which makes it rather generic, though less like that obnoxious guy in CSI miami.

Here's a slightly exhaggerated version:



For reference:



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Re: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« Reply #18 on: 19 Apr 2010, 19:10 »
loominous FTW!
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Re: John Sinclair- Voodoo in London Title-Screen
« Reply #19 on: 19 Apr 2010, 21:37 »
I  want to thank everyone who took the time for the editings!

@Andail: I agree with your opinion that the pose and the mimic isn´t dramatic enough. But when I would change the whole image(like you did(and I know it was only a demonstration)), my drawing and painting work on paper was useless, which took a long time. I thought I could change his mimic and don´t let him seem so imotionless/characterless.

@Ali: Your edit was really much diffrent as my original image. Anyway I was impressed of your drawing technique. And I agree with you in the point that the skin of John is a bit too pale. So I tried to get the color like in your edits but I saw only the way to paint it over because I haven´t found a function in Photoshop(CS4) to overlay his skin-color with this brownish skin color you used but I´m sure there must be such a function. There are some in the "Image"-Section but in my cases it was the overlay color was too red or too dark or sth and it didn´t gave me the aim-skin I wanted.
Can you/anybody tell my where I can find this function?

I´ve also noticed that your edits are really sharp and detailed. If I make my pics in Photoshop usually I just have a backgroundcolor for example skin color and when I draw the face contures I start to shade(black) and brighten(white) until I have my finished image.
This works good but my result with this technique is everytime a bit blurry.
As you can see here on my try on which I´m really not proud of:

It should only demonstrade what I mean with blurry results. My other original work is sharper because I scanned in a painted image.
So, can you tell me your secret?  ;)
« Last Edit: 19 Apr 2010, 21:41 by NEON-GAMES »