Author Topic: Background Workshop II - Concluded  (Read 37180 times)

Andail

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Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #200 on: 07 Jul 2015, 11:34 »
Ben, I think your picture is nearly perfect, and would never think of touching it had you not invited me :)
(Also note that I've made my edits on my "travel laptop" so no tablet or even a mouse to work with, so this is mostly cutting and copy-pasting image parts... )

I did experiment with some basic composition changes and also neutralised the colours to allow for a fresh viewing of the picture.


Basically, these are school book principles applied;
1. I removed the boat skeleton from the center bottom, because this is where the viewer "enters" the picture so it shouldn't have obscuring, distracting shapes that block the viewer's path.
2. I added sky above the house, because I've learnt that you should crop a picture either so that its objects are properly cut, or left with plenty of space around, or they will appear crammed into the picture. The way your chimneys and crane end just under the edge of the image isn't ideal for that reason.
3. I've raised the lower part of the image, to remove some of the empty ground, and also to have the building situated lower.

In addition, I brightened the sky a bit, especially the part near the horizon, because this part of an outdoor scene is usually the brightest.
I don't particularly mind the dreamy greenish hue in your original version, but I used neutral, realistic colours in mine.

Edit:
Here's the before-version:
« Last Edit: 07 Jul 2015, 13:42 by Andail »

ThreeOhFour

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Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #201 on: 07 Jul 2015, 11:50 »
My first thought is that taking that boat shape out opens the image up really nicely, and probably acts as a decent, really clear south exit, and the part I had intended to be the exit now blocks my eye off from thinking that's an exit really nicely. I actually really like how much more open the comp feels like this, it's a really interesting contrast to what I tried to do, thanks!

I want to do some measuring and stuff of your other ideas, but so far this has already been quite informative and revelatory, thank you!

Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #202 on: 07 Jul 2015, 12:44 »
Good to see you joining in Andail (though one day after the deadline).

Painters tend to fake details, and they are extremely good at it. They make great choices which areas should have real texture and which areas can do with a couple of brushstrokes. This is something I can't (yet) get my head around, and it's something really mysterious to me.

I think the main difference is that painters take a holistic approach to a piece, where it's not enough that the parts are good on their own, the main thing is the whole.

This is why outline based approaches such as the one you seem to be taking make me nervous, because you work on the parts one at a time, instead of iterating the whole piece. Your method does make sure that all the parts look detailed n nice early on, but it says very little about how the piece will work as a whole.

The iterative approach ensures that everything is working together, and since you incrementally add details to all areas, some areas might not be worth having any details in, since some areas need to be suppressed or become distracting when seen as part of the whole. So  instead of each part becoming a sort of independent piece in itself, the iterative approach subjugates all parts to the whole.

This is why I often have problem a with ink artist's work, where you have this huge bunch of details and shadows, but very little focus.
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Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #203 on: 07 Jul 2015, 13:10 »
Ben, I think your picture is nearly perfect, and would never think of touching it had you not invited me :)

Btw, anyone should feel free modifying mine, was gonna upload a photoshop file for easy editing, but my coloring system makes it tricky, perhaps gonna add coloring file n one with different layers.
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Misj'

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Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #204 on: 07 Jul 2015, 14:02 »
I think the main difference is that painters take a holistic approach to a piece, where it's not enough that the parts are good on their own, the main thing is the whole.
I think that is only partly true, while I can work a lot on a single object, I also move from area to area as to not loose sight of the overall piece (especially during inking). I'm also not afraid of obscuring details I just drew if the overall piece requires it...although you always run the risk of falling in love with a particular object/piece/area and have to really force yourself to get rid of it for the greater good. But I do understand where you're coming from. At its core it's about making compromises and for a painter these compromises are fundamentally different from a line-artist.

Quote
This is why outline based approaches such as the one you seem to be taking make me nervous, because you work on the parts one at a time, instead of iterating the whole piece. Your method does make sure that all the parts look detailed n nice early on, but it says very little about how the piece will work as a whole.
Well, I make the assumption that when I have a strong rough sketch that adding strong details won't take away from that. Of course that assumption is not always valid and a strong layout can very much be ruined by over-rendering. However, taking a line-approach does not mean that every part will be equally detailed. Again, we I compromises in this respect, but these compromises can be very different from a painter's.

If you look at this piece:

I have a lot of details, but there are also areas (like the trees on the left) where a lot of detail (or even part of the object itself) is removed or extremely simplified. This kind of comic strip-look is of course the ultimate playground for line-artists. And it is actually my preferred medium (black and white, no grays).

Quote
This is why I often have problem a with ink artist's work, where you have this huge bunch of details and shadows, but very little focus.
Well, inkers tend to be obsessed with a certain noir-look that is heavy on blacks. When I do a black-and-white piece like the one above I can easily be accused of taking the same approach...but there's nothing more thrilling than making a piece that works without colors or values (well, for me at least). But I understand you problem, although I look at it differently.

There's also a difference - for me - when it comes to the final medium. Adventure games are background-centric. The player is a glorified cursor used to explore that background. In an animated movie/series it's quite the opposite: it's character-centric. The backgrounds are there to give a backdrop the the character's actions. Comics are somewhere in between. People are invited to explore the background at their leisure, but each panel is ultimately about the action/characters who's position you fully control. As a result, additional details that could be disastrous in animation might be beneficial in an adventure game: it's about exploring the background so adding actual details to explore will be in service of the main purpose. You also want to make sure that - even though you guide the player - the focus is not too much on a single area because part of the puzzle is finding the area of interest. On the other hand, you should also not obfuscate your area of interest by adding every little minute detail for the sake of details. That would basically be the same sin as pixel-hunting.

Of course there's also the technical aspect of having hard outlines and shadows with a universal ambient lit backdrop over soft edges, shadows, and shapes. It's simply much easier to integrate characters, walk-behinds, etc in the former to a level that truly fits the art(ist). That is not to say that it's impossible with the painterly approach. There is ample evidence of that. It's just a consideration/compromise I make; largely based on my background.


ps. compromises is the wrong word, it's more design-decisions.

edit:
pps. I'm always a bit torn whether these workshops should be part of the competitions and activities, the critic's lounge, or something else entirely. It kinda felt like it was cluttering up this area, but I also never thought there should be a special workshop section. Maybe with the micro-workshops my stance on this would change. But it's something to consider...
« Last Edit: 07 Jul 2015, 14:11 by Misj' »

Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #205 on: 07 Jul 2015, 15:58 »
The kind of ink art I mean is kinda like this, which was like the 2nd google image that popped up with the queary "inkart":



Now the above is kinda extreme, but I often see the same tendencies in less cluttered work.

Then you have artists like Bill Watersson, which style your former entry kinda was in, who are more restrictive (and just annoyingly good).
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Misj'

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Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #206 on: 07 Jul 2015, 18:00 »
The kind of ink art I mean is kinda like this, which was like the 2nd google image that popped up with the queary "inkart":

Now the above is kinda extreme, but I often see the same tendencies in less cluttered work.
AAarg my eyes! - No, I completely agree with you on this kind of inkart. I really can't look at it and think it's just a cluttered mess with no understanding of empty space or focus (or someone who had a psychedelic experience). As you said this is an extreme example, but yes, the same happens in certain (American superhero) comic books.

My heart is in the European (Belgian, French, Dutch) comic books like Franquin, Uderzo, Morris, Hergé, Kolk, Lodewijk, etc. or in the good old newspaper comic strips (for the record I also love the painted style of Don Lawrence or Vicente Segrelles), and my style is heavily influenced by them. They had a very different understanding of lines and ink. Lodewijk's work (Agent 327) sometimes runs the risk of your example (though much less extreme). I think that's because he uses a lot of reference photographs that he tries to (semi)accurately copy (within the limitations of his cartoony style).

Anyway when I talk about line-art and inking I talk specifically about this style. And even then your warnings are valid.

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Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #207 on: 07 Jul 2015, 22:13 »
I know I'm pretty slow, but I'm still working on it. Here is some small progress pic:


Click image for link to main post.

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Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #208 on: 07 Jul 2015, 23:05 »
no understanding of empty space or focus

I think you're still dealing with the same issues in inked line art that you are in painting--namely, contrast--but you use different tools to approach it (line weight, negative space, etc.). Here's an example of a drawing that would seem equally cluttered without masterful (by Moebius) use of negative space and spot blacks, even though the line weight is mostly the same:


Cassiebsg

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Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #209 on: 08 Jul 2015, 21:01 »
I'm also still working on this, slowly...



I've trashed the previous version (the one that looked like a cylon head) and reverted to my first model.
But am having a serious scale problem at the moment, as you can see.... :-\
So after adding the stairs to the docks on the left and making door and windows... it completely messed up! >:(
So now I have two options... trash this model entirely and do a correctly scaled one in ACAD, or forget about actual measures and eyeball it... :-X
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Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #210 on: 08 Jul 2015, 21:09 »
This workshop has been really great for non-participants as well. Seeing all the discussions and critique, the edits and self-criticism, the brainstorming and analysis is both revealing and inspiring (though also a bit daunting).

On the one hand I wish I'd have time to participate. On the other I'm happy I didn't, since I would have felt much guiltier about blowing off the whole thing and going swimming every day the moment the recent heat wave set in.

cat

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Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #211 on: 08 Jul 2015, 21:31 »
The heatwave here just ended with rain and a 20°C drop in temperature, so more time for painting now!

However, I'm a bit stuck at the moment - I have tons of windows in my pic, but how should I colour the glass? I googled for tutorials, but they mainly show how to draw a window frame, not the glass...

@Cassiebsg: maybe you could change the building to have just two floors and make the door higher?

Cassiebsg

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Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #212 on: 08 Jul 2015, 21:50 »
cat, you can try the comic book approach with a few horizontal lines. I found this link the other day for ID: [url]http://www.wikihow.com/Draw-a-Glass-Window/[url]. Also don't google "how to draw a window" but "how to draw glass" you can add "window" to the search if you like.
Main thing to remember is that they reflect what ever is happening outside, but you can get away with just blackness, and maybe a vase or two, a curtain or something else that might be set behind the window.
Also look at reference pictures, and see what happens to the window glass. :)

Thanks cat, that was my original idea, only 2 floors, but when I scaled everything else all of a sudden I had a huge door to a tiny man. :-[
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Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #213 on: 08 Jul 2015, 22:03 »
Thanks for the link, Cassiebsg. I found this link and was not sure if (or how) this comic style would work with a more painterly background style. I guess I'll just try the approach from the link.

About your background: I'm not really sure I understand correctly where the scaling issue is. Is the person too small? Too large? Or is it in the foreground?

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Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #214 on: 09 Jul 2015, 09:40 »
However, I'm a bit stuck at the moment - I have tons of windows in my pic, but how should I colour the glass? I googled for tutorials, but they mainly show how to draw a window frame, not the glass...

One suggestion (and what I try to do) is to think in terms of the layers of light that happen on the glass. So if you paint them in order you have: The room behind the glass, and any curtains/blind that might be near enough to the window to be ssen, the glass itself and any colouring that dirty/tinted/stained glass might be adding on top of that room layer as well as any direct reflection of the light source on that surface, and then the surroundings that are reflected on the glass if the room behind the glass isn't brighter than the outside.

Here's a quick step by step that might work for you:



First I put the room in, which is in shadow. Next, because I'm painting without curtains, and because they're plain windows, I just very lightly put a bit of the white light of the sun over the top to show me where the glass is. I keep the bit off to the left unlit because the frame of the window is going to block the light off here. Finally (and the third and fourth panes of glass are the same here) I took a tiny bit of very transparent blue and just touch the lit area, showing the blue of the sky that we can assume with be reflected at this angle. I also boosted the contrast of the frame on the second window to try and show the depth of the structure a bit better.

This isn't some official method I've read or anything, just the way I usually do glass when I need to. If it helps you then that's great!

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Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #215 on: 09 Jul 2015, 09:52 »
@ThreeOhFour Very helpful indeed! Thanks for the explanation!

Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #216 on: 09 Jul 2015, 15:48 »
Regarding reflections:

I like to think of them as more or less transparent mirros. So, the steps would be:

1. Paint the inside om the room, as if there was no window, just a hole.
2. Paint a mirror in the place of the window. Usually this means making a reflection of the window pane, and the sky, so just make a perfect reflection.
3. If your program allows it, set the blending mode of the layer to "screen". The screen blending mode will make the layer only brighten the image, (it's the opposite of Multiply, which will only darken), and that's exactly what we want, since a reflection can only add light, not darkness.
4. Lower the opacity of the layer, to a desirable level.

Nerd fact: Surfaces are more or less reflective depending from what angle we're looking at them, the more straight on we're looking at a surface, the less reflective it is, and the sharper the angle we're looking at it with, the more reflective it is.

Can test this by holding up a fairly reflective object, and changing the viewing angle from straight on, and from almost completely from the side.

A window that we're looking at straight on will reflect some of the environment, while if we're looking at it from almost completely from the side, the reflection will be very clear, and probably obscure anything inside.

Getting this wrong is not a big deal, but it can we worth noting, and incorporating on reflective surfaces, and objects in general (normally just by making surfaces brighter that are at a sharp angle (providing that there's some light stuff behind to reflect), and doing it gradually if the object is round (making them brighter the closer they are to the edge).

(For the curious, it's called the Fresnel Effect, here's some article about it I just googled: http://filmicgames.com/archives/557)
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Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #217 on: 09 Jul 2015, 19:01 »
@cat, actually both. The character is too small and the building too big. I have a couple hours now before bed time, so I'll see if I can fix it. :)
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Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #218 on: 09 Jul 2015, 21:36 »
Another tiny progress... I work on different areas of the picture to avoid getting bored.

I also think about working the houses at the back with less detail to avoid drawing too much attention.


Click image for link to main post.

Misj'

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Re: Background Workshop II - Stage III
« Reply #219 on: 09 Jul 2015, 22:49 »
To proof that I (very slowly) make some progress, to show how a more painterly rendition can be combined with my regular style, and because Cat and CassieBSG also haven't given up on their background, here's another small step to completion:


(this is the final size for the piece)


ps. considering that I basically have to render twice the amount of background (in a rendering style I've never done before), I really hate that I decided on a scrolling background :)