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Messages - Misj'

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Critics' Lounge / Re: Improving the walkcycle
« on: 18 Nov 2017, 22:13 »
First of all, the animation is quite decent, and it's not a bad 'general' walk-cycle. It is, however, not very feminine or lady-like.

Snarky quoted a diagram from Richard William's The Animator's Survival Kit. And he makes quite a point about up-and-down movement. Unfortunately he is incorrect. Snarky, not Williams. A few pages before the quoted diagram Williams has the following equation:
women often take short steps in a straight line - legs close together = little up and down on the body
And he goes on to say: "Women mostly walk with their legs close together, protecting the crotch, resulting in not much up and down action on the head and body. Skirts also restrict their movement."

Just take a look at how women walk and you will see that it's entirely different from men. A lot of up-and-down movement is intercepted by her hips. In addition, a lot of arm movement is also more subdued when comparing it to men. That is not to say that there is no up-and-down movement. But especially when a lady strides - and from her clothing I may assume that she learned how to stride - the goal is to be majestic and solemn, even when moving quite fast, and her teachers would have taught her to have limited movement in her upper-body.

So I would go almost the exact opposite route from Snarky's advice (actually I agree with points 2-4). Of course you have to make sure that her upper body doesn't become rigid or you need to have some movement in there, but it should be a bit more subdued and elegant. Maybe have her hands folded in front of her. Something like that. William's initial example is very generic and he continues to point out that a walk should represent someone's character (and emotion). Currently I see a functional walk-cycle, but not one that tells me anything about the girl.

Anyway, just my two cents.

some questions. As I understand it, the following applies, but correct me if I'm wrong:
1. The word 'fantasy' in the title refers not so much to the genre but to the weapon being fictitious.
2. The weapon should be 'held' (in the broadest sense of the word). But should not be e.g. a tank, or be handled by multiple characters (though it might be held by multiple creatures while one handles it).
3. The weapon is the character, and the 'voted-on' piece should not contain 'creatures' (is an impression of the weapon with a creature allowed?).

Critics' Lounge / Re: Monster in a jar
« on: 19 Aug 2017, 19:13 »
Now we reach a design impasse.(at least for me) This is going to be in a horror game after all, so does not being able to make it out well make it creepier?
Personally I would argue that especially for a horror game you want the silhouette to be strong, while details are much less interesting/relevant. You don't have to have able to recognize every every part of his/her anatomy, just the most story-telling parts (and yes, you will want to keep some mystery). But when you look at the fetal-version, the general shape is a blob...and blobs are rarely horrifying (though I really like the position and direction of his head).

I would probably draw most of his body in a (near)black shadow with some (as few as possible) light outlines when needed. With a nice bottom-front-light direction to focus on that head of his. Also, the Barrel eye fish-inspiration is weird and I find it really interesting.

Of course these are just some personal ideas to what I think you're trying to achieve. And as with everyone's advice: if it doesn't fit the story you want to tell, or if you feel you have a better solution...just ignore everything I just said and follow the direction you feel you need to go.

Critics' Lounge / Re: Monster in a jar
« on: 19 Aug 2017, 16:34 »
My first thought is: the silhouette of the creature is not easy to read (the color of the liquid isn't helping either). The last version even less so. Also, if you make the jar itself a bit bigger, it'll give you more room to experiment with the creature's stance and shape.

Ok, guys last day for entries if someone need a little more time let me know today!
Wait...what? - you said the deadline was the nineteenth.
Deadline: the 19th of Agust 2017

I didn't need any more time, but I wasn't on the forums yesterday, so I'm kinda - well - not happy you changed the deadline mid-contest.

Anyway, here's my entry (not even 24 hours after you said it's the last day...two days early, but still after you closed it for some reason).

(in case anyone is wondering: yes, this background is finished)

EDIT: (very) loosely inspired by the first room in Space Quest 1
EDIT2: I wasn't even online (internet in general) during the time to ask for more time (that is: ask for the time originally indicated), so there was no way to respond. But as you can read from my tone, this change in deadline really bothers me, since I spend quite some time and energy on this background.

Concept: Blondbraid. I feel the story it tells is the most compelling and clear. And I feel that the addition of the prayer shawl raises the tension (first puzzle: we have to get it out of sight without raising suspicion). Plus I like the bleakness of the piece without it being depressing.
Playability: xBRANEx. It was a bit of a coin toss between x and Rocchinator, but in the end I felt that Rocchinator's piece played it a bit too safe. It's a very traditional one-point perspective that's completely centered. x's piece has a much worse perspective (or a very weirdly sized pool-table), but I feel it's a bit more daring.
Artistic Execution: Blondbraid. I just happen to like B's style and emotional storytelling. I don't like the tangent lines, or the perspective, or even the squiggliness of the lines themselves. Actually, from a technical (execution) point of view I feel it needs a few more paint-overs, and I would probably have voted for one of the other pieces...but the 'rules' focused on atmosphere, and that's something I think this piece has in spades.

All in all a nice selection of entries, and my votes would probably be different if I cast them tomorrow.

It's a great theme, and I had an idea I wanted to draw...I even started some
early sketches. But I just can't find the time. It's really annoying because
I liked this one.

Misj', do you work on professional comics/cartoon?
If not, please do!
Who has the time? ;)

But no, as I have no formal background in anything related to illustration. I just happen to like it as a hobby (and I'm very happy in my current job, so I don't expect that to change).

I do want to explore this style a bit more, because it's one close to my heart and one that has really influenced me as a kid. And it felt really good (and liberating) after playing around with a more American- and animation-influenced style over the last...well...almost a decade I think.

Clive & Richard: Animal Uprising

When Clive and Richard are attacked by a crocodile in the middle of Amsterdam, they discover a plot by Owen (also known as the Baron) to conquer the world using a mind-control helmet by which he controls a multitude of wild (though innocent) animals. They manage to track him down the the jungles of Africa for one final confrontation (in which no animals are harmed by our heroes). 

-- click for a version without characters and context --

This background is inspired by - and an ode to - the work of Franquin and the other artists working on Spirou and Marsupilami; though with a personal spin on it.

Well, the process isn't very difficult. Basically it comes down to: lot's of layers.

The process itself is fairly simple: line-art -> flat coloring -> shading -> masked layers for the color-effect of a partially lit room. Most of this is the standard approach using is comics (rather than paintings). The painterly look itself is something I still experiment with, but I haven't had enough time to really practice (and it takes a lot of practice) since I started my new job.

As for my tools, it's done entirely digital. I still draw a lot on paper, but I knew where I wanted to go, and I knew which tools I wanted to use to achieve that. I paint on my desktop (running Windows 10) using a Wacom Cintiq tablet/monitor; and my go-to painting application is currently Corel Painter 2016. But all of this can easily be achieved using ArtRage and/or Sketchbook Pro (or Photoshop if you happen to have a huge budget) a fraction of the price.

While I understand your aversion to "merely shapes", I think there's an inherent usefulness in abstract forms as framing devices, rather than specifically relevant/fitting objects, in that these are often framing devices rather than specific points of interest, and our attention should be directed away from them more than towards them.

Perhaps it's a "lines guy" vs "block forms guy" thing once again.
Let me first say that I absolutely agree with their usefulness in framing...which is one of the main reasons why I still use them. I also don't think it's the difference between approaching the piece from lines or block-forms. I actually think this is me. Pure and simple. One could easily argue that I'm simply not good enough in this particular field. When used correctly, the frame is an intrinsic part of the image. But whenever I do it, it kinda feels like a non-well-thought-out after-thought. There are too few images of mine where the foreground elements (at least when I use the pure-black silhouette style) turn out the way I envisioned them. And I always find that a shame. Maybe I don't approach them creatively enough, or maybe I try to over-simplify (or over-complicate) my shapes for these silhouettes. Maybe it's also just me being overly critical about my own work.

When done correctly, foreground-elements - both as a framing device, and as an indicator of the path-of-movement - can elevate the impact of a piece (which probably not every screen in your game needs of course). I just never truly felt I managed to do that. And I often think it is, because I tend to fall back on the same (boring?) shapes: a tree here, a box there, some weirdly shaped blob for good measure.

If you look at your examples, none of the foreground elements are just coincidental shapes. With the exception maybe of DOTT, where the weird foreground elements are (at least partly) used for comedic effect (which incidentally is the most silhouette-only example in your list). And it's that purposefulness that I feel missing whenever I draw foreground elements.

I always find foreground elements difficult to draw. Especially when using black elements for framing. Too often they merely become shapes rather than real objects...let alone objects that are relevant or fitting to the scene.

I find it interesting that in the Indy-background they actually used two backgrounds: one with and one without the foreground (just look at Indy's famous refrigerators that is partially covered by the foreground, but not at all when you see the menu).

1. Blondbraid
2. Ponch
3. Danvzare

I really like this presentation of the subject on Blender Guru's  youtube channel. Starting at 11:24 he talks about complementary colour-schemes.

I also agree with him, that images work best when there's a clear dominant and recessive colour. I tend to feel - especially with red-green - that the more equally they are used, the more tension there is in the piece...with two opposing colours competing for your attention. I think your Conquest of the Long Bow suffers a bit from that, while Gabriel Knight and Beneath a Steel Sky have a much more cohesive feel. Of course that can also be due to technical (palette) limitations.

Nice job on the examples. They clearly show the effect and different usages.

Critics' Lounge / Re: The visual power of pure form
« on: 11 Jan 2017, 22:06 »
I wonder if Peter Chan did the bike, and is guilty of those tangents. It's likely, but maybe objects like this were done by another team member.
I actually think he wasn't. Full Throttle use 3D renderings for the vehicles, so it was probably created by someone else, and added there by a programmer (similar to your hose-hypothesis).

Then again, it's also difficult to say what Chan's involvement was exactly for this specific room. While he was the lead artist, both he and Brian Rich were responsible for the backgrounds. I haven't been able to find anything on Rich (in my 3-minute Search Engine Typitype), so It's hard to say. I know that in many comic-books there are regularly three artists: the pencil-artist, the inker, and the colourist. The former normally gets most of the credits. It's very well possible that Chan drew the original design/sketch, while Rich drew the final art and colouring. Or Chan did this piece all by himself. Who could say...

On another side-note...The background made me wonder how I would implement something similar in my style. So I set out to draw a single object (a locker) just to figure out the steps I would take and see where I would deviate from my regular approach. I wanted to keep the hard edges common to both pixel-art and line-art. So this wasn't going to be too painterly (fortunately, because that would have pulled me really out of my comfort-zone). Of course there's much more to these drawings than only single objects, and my locker is far from perfect. But it did make me feel that this is a style I would like to explore a bit more.

Yugh! - Look what you've done. You've made me think and study.

Critics' Lounge / Re: The visual power of pure form
« on: 10 Jan 2017, 21:02 »
I think we're both really good at editing our posts...and requiring the other to re-read posts six, seven, or eight times. I think it's a superpower ;)

As I said, we would probably both use the same solution of 'fix' the hose. Either re-colouring it to have a higher contrast with the background, or re-position it to a more obvious location. To be honest, if I were to fix the piece I would probably choose the latter option if only because I don't understand why they chose to have both inventory-items in basically the same spot. But yeah, we come to the same solution...but approach it from a different 'problem'. I absolutely agree that the green-on-green is a design-error in the piece, and it's the easiest fix to make the scene better (I'm still bothered with the far-left thing though, but mostly because I want to click it; and that's not a 'fail' in the image but in the game (in my opinion)). Which is why I really can't for the life of my understand why they chose to keep this obvious error in the remastered version as you can see from this outside screenshot. I understand being faithful to the original, but It's not like they didn't completely redesign Ben's bike.

I think that failures like this - whether due to line-art, colouring, shading, composition, etc. - that cause confusion or make the piece less clear / less readable basically cause a variation of pixel-hunting, and should be avoided at all costs.

As for the tangent lines for the hose...I'm not going to say that tangent lines are okay. They are not. And you should always do your best to avoid them (for those less acquainted with the subject, you can see some  nice examples here). Oddly enough the hose bothers me the least. Although now that I look at it, they apparently really wanted a tangent there, because when you pick up the hose they've created a new tangent line using the colouring/shading.

There are, however, several tangent lines in the image that really did bothered me when I drew the line-art, and that I continuously wanted to correct. The worse-ones are from the floor-boards to the mattress. There are some lines that actually continue over two separate objects. The ones caused by the exhausts and the back-plate are quite bad too. I can understand the ones caused at the corrugated sheet. But the exhaust that keeps touching each of the steel-pins in the back-plate really annoy me. As do almost all of the ropes holding the bike (which cause several tangents or near-tangents).

How dare we say this piece is flawed? - How dare we say it's not perfect? - Shame on us :D

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