AuthorTopic: Feature 08 - Gregory faces the dragon  (Read 9697 times)

Offline Cyangmou

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Feature 08 - Gregory faces the dragon

on: May 05, 2011, 12:05:44 am
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rough sketch:

This is another try to create a pixelartwork, in fact it'll be my second artwork.
So far it's not more than a simple rough sketch (just did the base areas so far), but the thing I am thinking about at the moment is the composition and about the reading of the whole thing.

The next things I'll do is fixing the lighting and start with fixing/cleaning/outworking of everything.
The palette is also not final so far and i am sure I'll add some more colors.

If you have critiques, suggestions or anything else let me please know it =)
« Last Edit: February 16, 2015, 07:08:41 pm by Cyangmou »
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Offline Joe

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #1 on: May 05, 2011, 12:25:45 am
I have a few comments,



Firstly, the area in yellow.  Maybe in the background there's something that's casting a shadow on that building, but as far as readability it looks like that's a surface and the dragon's wing is casting a shadow on it.

The second thing I wanted to point out was that Gregory's torso and face are looking off to the left of the dragon, but his legs are facing it.  This looks akward.

I would suggest that the dragon's eye be less cartoony.  Reptilians have slit pupils and in general can't bring their pupils that far forward.  Also where his hand meets the fire in the force shield, those marks take away from the piece.  If you can figure out how to imply there being a shield there without that, it'd look much better.  And where is your light source coming from?  Because if the sun is in this picture, then it would be brighter than the flames, which would mean the shading on the dragon's back and the rightmost pillar/column is off.

But I think you're off to a good start.

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #2 on: May 05, 2011, 11:47:49 pm
I have a few comments,

Firstly, the area in yellow.  Maybe in the background there's something that's casting a shadow on that building, but as far as readability it looks like that's a surface and the dragon's wing is casting a shadow on it.

The second thing I wanted to point out was that Gregory's torso and face are looking off to the left of the dragon, but his legs are facing it.  This looks akward.

I would suggest that the dragon's eye be less cartoony.  Reptilians have slit pupils and in general can't bring their pupils that far forward.  Also where his hand meets the fire in the force shield, those marks take away from the piece.  If you can figure out how to imply there being a shield there without that, it'd look much better.  And where is your light source coming from?  Because if the sun is in this picture, then it would be brighter than the flames, which would mean the shading on the dragon's back and the rightmost pillar/column is off.

But I think you're off to a good start.

At first thanks to your comments, they really helped me.

Let's see now.



Today I created out of the rough sketch a finer one. I also set the lightsource (dragon's fire) and added very rough shadows to it. I also changed the scenario - now it's night - and I refined the palette a little bit.
I also refined some parts a little bit, but don't worked out anything so far.

I reminded just that I've forgotten to do the shadows at the top of the broken bow and there is a mistake with the mermaid sculpture's shadow at the wall of the house behind it.
I also want to redo the background fire, add clouds in front of the moon and tweak it more. And I'll rework the dragons eye later - just did some little changes that it looks more reptilic.

The most important thing for me is at the moment if the arms of the dragon can be recognized as them and not as his feets (I think dragons have usually 6 limbs, so there shouldn't be a problem)
Feel free to tell me your opinion about the artwork.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2011, 07:48:26 am by Cyangmou »
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Offline blumunkee

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #3 on: May 06, 2011, 01:23:18 am
Rendering is good so far, but there's a distinct lack of contrast. Lots of middle tones, but not enough brights and darks.
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Offline Froli

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #4 on: May 06, 2011, 01:34:47 am
I wonder if the dragons mouth should be opened wider, specially it's breathing it's fire breath.

Offline Mush

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #5 on: May 06, 2011, 03:40:00 am
The biggest problem at the moment is a lack of focus.

-My eyes get lost in all the details and has nowhere to rest.
-Readability is an issue.
-There seems to be a lack of depth.

All theses problems can be solved when you establish a hierarchy of focus. Things in the distance  should have very low contrast, while things in the foreground should have high contrast. In effect you need to create contrast in the "big-picture" (foreground vs. background). There also are a lot of details that don't really add to the picture but add a lot of clutter (the flower pot, buildings underneath the dragon's left wing, and the Triton statue to name a few).

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #6 on: May 09, 2011, 06:24:32 pm
I wonder if the dragons mouth should be opened wider, specially it's breathing it's fire breath.

Thought so too, changed it

The biggest problem at the moment is a lack of focus.

-My eyes get lost in all the details and has nowhere to rest.
-Readability is an issue.
-There seems to be a lack of depth.

All theses problems can be solved when you establish a hierarchy of focus. Things in the distance  should have very low contrast, while things in the foreground should have high contrast. In effect you need to create contrast in the "big-picture" (foreground vs. background). There also are a lot of details that don't really add to the picture but add a lot of clutter (the flower pot, buildings underneath the dragon's left wing, and the Triton statue to name a few).

Yeah I also worried about the details and most about the cluttering, it's good to hear it from somebody because it's really hard to guess how the artwork will look for other people if you have your own idea in the head.
Lack of depth is true, i am usual creating and refining the palette during the work, improve here a little bit and than change there something, but it helps if somebody reminds something as important as you did. Thanks.



-built the first rough palette
-set a focus
-killed the flower pot, changed the foreground buildings reworked the mermaid statue (now it fits better together with the buildings architecture, think it's better now)
-improved the dragons head, improved anatomy, added the second horn (very rough), opened the mouth
-did some little things at the background

thing's i'll change:
-add another skin tone between the dark and the light one
-change the colors at the buildings under the dragons wing (right side of the artwork)
-remove some lighting mistakes
-add more light at gregory

I think it's now ready to begin with the outworking of the whole thing, although some comments would rather help.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2011, 06:27:24 pm by Cyangmou »
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Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #7 on: May 10, 2011, 11:41:41 pm


Today i worked out the first part, foreground without Gregory. There could definitely be some minor failures in it, I don't overlooked it (at the last artwork i did it during the work and a completely fix at the end)
I also get tired about the bricks at the broken arch, could be that I'll do some changes there.

things I'll do:
-fixing mistakes/outworking of Gregory
-tweak the dragons head further
-add the new skin color at the wings
-remove mistakes/work on
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Offline pistachio

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #8 on: May 11, 2011, 03:20:23 am
Foreground looks nice for a start, even if the lighting could use a bit of work. Background scenery, however, seems oddly pieced together, making for lack of depth that I think has been mentioned in this thread a few times. And I find it hard, once I've got my eye on them (after I've looked at the brightly colored eye-candy in the foreground), to take my eye off. I think I can't resist the subconscious urge to nitpick and ponder over all these little problems you have. Some sort of isometric perspective you've got, I think, but in isometric, distant buildings don't get smaller. Here, a little guide for you. It's probably not that technically sound, as even I'm not all that used to using perspective and it would ruin a lot of aspects of the drawing as they are now:



:yell:

This hurts my head. (...How many times have I used that emoticon anyway?)

Other than that, "Gregory"'s pose is pretty odd and rigid. His face seems to look off to his left side, rather than face the dragon, so, you know, that's not very true to the title of this piece. His... left? Foot/boot is visible, but should probably be in shadow. Fire should be more yellow/bright towards the source, and give off some smoke farthest from the source. Here's a picture of a flamethrower in action that someone posted on another thread regarding some adventure game. Should help. Link here.

Dragon's limbs are a mess. Just found that out after focusing my attention off of its head. I really can't discern if those are forelegs or hind legs. If the dragon really could squeeze himself into such a position, it'd be rather uncomfortable, something along the lines of a yoga position for dragons, and he'd have to have a really big head.

EDIT: It might be better, actually, if the perspective lines spread out left to the image rather than from about the dragon's eye.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2011, 04:35:25 am by pistachio »

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #9 on: May 14, 2011, 11:01:58 pm
Foreground looks nice for a start, even if the lighting could use a bit of work. Background scenery, however, seems oddly pieced together, making for lack of depth that I think has been mentioned in this thread a few times. And I find it hard, once I've got my eye on them (after I've looked at the brightly colored eye-candy in the foreground), to take my eye off. I think I can't resist the subconscious urge to nitpick and ponder over all these little problems you have. Some sort of isometric perspective you've got, I think, but in isometric, distant buildings don't get smaller. Here, a little guide for you. It's probably not that technically sound, as even I'm not all that used to using perspective and it would ruin a lot of aspects of the drawing as they are now:

Other than that, "Gregory"'s pose is pretty odd and rigid. His face seems to look off to his left side, rather than face the dragon, so, you know, that's not very true to the title of this piece. His... left? Foot/boot is visible, but should probably be in shadow. Fire should be more yellow/bright towards the source, and give off some smoke farthest from the source. Here's a picture of a flamethrower in action that someone posted on another thread regarding some adventure game. Should help. Link here.

Dragon's limbs are a mess. Just found that out after focusing my attention off of its head. I really can't discern if those are forelegs or hind legs. If the dragon really could squeeze himself into such a position, it'd be rather uncomfortable, something along the lines of a yoga position for dragons, and he'd have to have a really big head.

EDIT: It might be better, actually, if the perspective lines spread out left to the image rather than from about the dragon's eye.

I don't really constructed anything, just took some colors and put them at the canvas :), although you are right, your feeling can play tricks on you. All things you pointed out helped me much.
And the point about the limbs, I wasn't sure if it's clear to everybody, i wrote it, but you comment showed me that i also had to change this.
Oh and it's OK if you are nitpicking and saying all those little things, I really appreciate that - if i wouldn't like critique I weren't here, so thanks that you took the time to wirte such a helpful critique.




Now I overworked the whole piece, I changed nearly all things, don't worked out more, just improved here and there a lot. the only thing I haven't changed much is the bg. I know there are tons of lighting mistakes now, I'll remove all i recognize till the end

some important points i have changed:
-construction of everything (except bg building(s))
-completely overworked dragon anatomy (maybe will change the serratus anterior, although I'll look how it'll come out with scales)
-completely overworked fire
-removed the forceshield, I am not sure at the momen, maybe I'll play around with that if all the other things are done
-completely overworked Gregory, more active pose, not sure about the morning star holding arm
-corrected the tiles in the foreground, not finished

What I'll do next:
-change the spikes at the neck (make them bigger (don't fit together with the tail spikes)
-add light from the little fires
wait for helpful critique and work on.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2011, 11:14:46 pm by Cyangmou »
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Offline pistachio

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #10 on: May 14, 2011, 11:07:17 pm
Much better now. :y:

At least, an improvement from what you had last time. Only thing I would suggest is toning down the highlights on his hind legs, maybe his right arm, as such bright values might distract the viewer. There's more, I can tell, but for now it's all I've got.

Offline EyeCraft

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #11 on: May 15, 2011, 07:55:54 am
Bit of an edit:



You're keeping your ramps' hues a bit isolated from eachother. For example, the dragon's skin is very green, the roofs are very red, etc. Consider the hues of the lightsource(s) and the ambient light in the scene. These will affect the hues of the highlights and shadows, respectively.

Also think about the overall palette of the image. It's better that there are only a couple of major hues running across the entire piece, in the example of my edit purple is the dominant colour with reds/oranges being a secondary colour, and thats it. Being selective like this harmonises the piece much more.

Don't mix your shadows into your highlights. It destroys the sense of volume. Compare the difference in the feeling of volume in the dragon's limbs that I editted.

Be mindful of where you want the focal point(s) to be and how the eye will travel between them. You want travel of the eye to be unhindered. Noisy stuff like the high-contrast area of smoke and fire impedes the movement of the eye and distracts it as it moves between the human and the dragon. I fiddled with the contrast a little jut by lightening up the smoke, but it really needs MUCH more than that.

This carries over into the contrast in all the background elements of the piece. Keep them to a minimum, since they are not focal points. The statue is a good example; tone it right down to match the rest of the background scenery.

Hope this helps. I love big, dramatic scenes like this, so look forward to seeing more. :)

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #12 on: May 17, 2011, 10:37:02 pm
You're keeping your ramps' hues a bit isolated from eachother. For example, the dragon's skin is very green, the roofs are very red, etc. Consider the hues of the lightsource(s) and the ambient light in the scene. These will affect the hues of the highlights and shadows, respectively.

Also think about the overall palette of the image. It's better that there are only a couple of major hues running across the entire piece, in the example of my edit purple is the dominant colour with reds/oranges being a secondary colour, and thats it. Being selective like this harmonises the piece much more.

Don't mix your shadows into your highlights. It destroys the sense of volume. Compare the difference in the feeling of volume in the dragon's limbs that I editted.

Be mindful of where you want the focal point(s) to be and how the eye will travel between them. You want travel of the eye to be unhindered. Noisy stuff like the high-contrast area of smoke and fire impedes the movement of the eye and distracts it as it moves between the human and the dragon. I fiddled with the contrast a little jut by lightening up the smoke, but it really needs MUCH more than that.

This carries over into the contrast in all the background elements of the piece. Keep them to a minimum, since they are not focal points. The statue is a good example; tone it right down to match the rest of the background scenery.

Hope this helps. I love big, dramatic scenes like this, so look forward to seeing more. :)

Ahh yeah, completely understood what you said and some points are really helpful as well.



made the palette (29 colors so far) and cleaned up the whole concept and mirrored it, not quite sure which side is the chocolate side.
Did some changes (anatomy, volume, still not finished). I tried to make the fire look like the wizard splits it up (maybe add here and there a little bit smoke later, not as much as before)
I personally think tydiing up was quite helpful for the focus, now I am worrying about the warm/cold combo, because there isn't really lots of space to get away from the heat of the flame (midground, background and some shadows are done with the cool colors)

All in all a really small step forward, but gathering some opinions here is quite useful
(and ignore the mistakes at the shoulders of gregory, will fix it)
« Last Edit: May 17, 2011, 10:54:41 pm by Cyangmou »
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Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #13 on: May 23, 2011, 10:40:05 pm


Played further around with the finished palette and came up with this,
I also worked on the foreground the last days (maybe some technique mistakes there (especially banding), but I'll check it out in the end.
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Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #14 on: May 30, 2011, 10:19:20 pm
It was a little bit quiet here for a while, but I found some time to work on it.



I made the dragon and the background.
Midground bottom and the fire aren't outworked so far, but it's quite near to finish (if I haven't overlooked some mistakes you'll maybe see)
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 10:24:25 pm by Cyangmou »
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Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #15 on: June 01, 2011, 08:52:23 pm


I'd call it finished. I made the fire and improved some little things. Because I didn't recieve any response previously, I guess nobody had anything to complain about?
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Offline Mathias

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #16 on: June 01, 2011, 09:00:10 pm
Don't ever challenge me to come up with "complaints" . . .

(this post soon to be edited with some . . . points)



*EDIT. nm

« Last Edit: June 02, 2011, 12:25:23 am by Mathias »

Offline alex pang

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #17 on: June 01, 2011, 10:31:40 pm
1 # Dragoons wings blend to easily with the colum to the left.
2 # Texture on the wings are to "floppy" if you get what i mean.
3 # Clouds are just boring to look at.
4 # The tiles under the dragon should have more variation in hue.
5 # The robe needs more texture.
6 # The girl to the right needs some highlights.
7 # I don't see how the dragons left arm is naturally connected to his body.

Offline st0ven

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #18 on: June 01, 2011, 10:45:07 pm
Quote

TBH i think this was your best rendition right here. you had the atmosphere and proper contrast levels that made for the most interesting read to my eye.

Your latest version sort of flattens the contrast out, which takes your eye away from the main point of interest, which should be the flame. As you come to the foreground, rich blacks hitting vibrant lighting from the flame, which will dissipate with distance, seems to be the proper treatment IMO.

i made just a quick edit from your most recent rendition to point out how much of a difference it can make as an impact to the eye.



Forgive my rather roughness in this edit its done only to show some points. i dont wish to do any detail work for you (mainly because i dont have the time, but it wouldnt help you anyway i dont think).

Basically whats going on here at the lowest level is a decrease in brightness with an increase in contrast. This is a pretty easy photoshop adjustment to make. From there im just using a few layers to rough in some brighter highlights that might be hit by the flame's lighting. Noe as well that the character being hit by the flame will have very similar highlights wherever the light will hit. high contrast because he is very close and silhouetting the source of the foreground lighting. If i wanted to go through and make this thorough, your railing/floor areas that are catching that light would have a similar value that the pillar has. This general contrast area will also help define the silhouette of your wizard character (forgive me for not editing this in). The ornate mermaid structure should probably also get just a slight more lighting on it to put it on the same field of depth as the claw that is holding it.

Note that with the dragon i threw in an additional lighting treatment in certain areas to help place his entire figure more in the foreground. We want that backlighting thats hittimg him to be slightly lighter in value than the sky behind him to bring those edges forward. You dont HAVE to do this but i think given the twilight setting it felt appropriate (and is a nice cooling contrast to the very warm fire).

Quote
I'd call it finished. I made the fire and improved some little things. Because I didn't recieve any response previously, I guess nobody had anything to complain about?

Heh - well if you want to go there, i think theres lots that cna be fixed and adjusted in terms of the layout, some of the perspective happening in the piece, the wizard's form/anatomy, the treatment and detailing of the sky, but it doesnt seem to me that you are hoping to go through a gutting of this piece at this point. the time to do all that was way closer to the beginning of the thread. sorry for not jumping in on that sooner.

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #19 on: June 01, 2011, 11:34:55 pm
@st0ven:
Yeah it'd have been better if you jumped on earlier, but it's great that you jump on now.
The time I spend with this piece is unimportant, it's a practice thing and I really appreciate good critiques like yours. It's also good for me to try out and see different ways and how to improve some parts. I learned a lot during I did it and I am also open for suggestions, critiques and other helpful statements. Your quick edit is filled up with a lot of good points and I really think about it. If you'd go with me through all (or some) points you see, it would help me a lot. If I am not thinking about the things you said of this piece, I won't know the things next time and if I don't know them I won't be able to avoid them. The great thing about pixels is for me that I am able to overdraw huge parts =)
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Offline Mathias

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #20 on: June 02, 2011, 12:24:35 am
Hehe, I'd decided to not post a barrage of crit points and just let you be happy and move on to the next project, it's simply not healthy to linger too long on an old project. But you got crit above anyway.

No, instead I'll just lend a little bit of help by animating st0ven's edit toggling your latest version for easy comparison (otherwise I find it impossible to conclude which details have been altered)


THIS IS ST0VEN'S EDIT:



What on earth is that flying thing top left?

I will say this - my 2 biggest complaints - that boring sky  &  your foreground lighting: The ball of flame is hitting his hands, his hands are directly above the stone floor and closer to us than the busted up handrail, YET the lightsource is set obviously further away from us than the handrail. Do you see what I'm saying? This seems like a major folly.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2011, 12:30:01 am by Mathias »

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #21 on: June 06, 2011, 10:34:30 pm
Thought the last days a lot about some things and how i can improve it, I wasn't really satisfied with the result. Now I am at a point where I need somebody who pushes my thinking or can help me

At the moment I am at this state


Used st0vens really helpful edit and worked on. I changed some major parts, especially the lighting (foreground, dragon's arm, midground), some textures (dragon's skin, other little things), and other stuff. Don't made a gif. Overtook his contrast sheme just to work with it. THe fire edit was great too, but don't worked it out. Just added a sparkle, maybe I'll make it that the mage deflects the fire.

At first one of the things is the anatomy of the mage, I thing the bigger problem was the reading of the position of his feet, because of this I changed the right foot to the left and made the right foot visible, if there are other problems i don't see at the moment, it'd be great if somebody can show me the issues.


(help lines could be useful)




Then there is another thing, i changed some of the colors with the darker fire colors just to see if there is a chance to get the heat of the fire.

I know it's a little bit eye-hurting at the moment, but I think especially in the foreground (podest, railing column, let the midground buildings maybe as they are) it could turn out nice. I also think it helps at the dragon's wings (don't edited the texture there, but I'll).
Now it's just the question if it's worth to work more in a directory like that. I think the focus will be save if I only use the darker colors of the fire ramp and it harmonises up the piece a lot. Of course there is some adjustment work to to but I wonder if the idea'll work.

The other thing is that I tried dither at the sky (don't added clouds) but I think it don't works. THe thing is that I am not really experienced with drawing skies and some basic tips would be quite helpful. At the moment I think a layered background and some interested composed clouds could be good.

Another thing i am quite not sure about are the midground tiles (the blue ones). Don't really thought about this so far, but I think there is also a better solution.

I really appreciate Helpful critique's. A special thank to Pistachio, Eyecraft and st0ven so far for their great help.
"Because the beauty of the human body is that it hasn't a single muscle which doesn't serve its purpose; that there's not a line wasted; that every detail of it fits one idea, the idea of a man and the life of a man."

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Offline PypeBros

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #22 on: June 08, 2011, 07:21:00 pm
I prefered the eyes with pupils "blinded" by the fire. It made it more malevolent ... a brutal beast.
the tongue seems pretty thin and not appropriate to such a T-Rex-like head.

Otherwise, it's impressive and I would be eager to see it finished.

Offline Mathias

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #23 on: June 08, 2011, 10:44:01 pm
I agree about the eye thing. For pixel dragons disgorging fire, look no further. Notice the eyes even. Try it. Gives the impression that there's some serious energy being expelled.

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #24 on: June 09, 2011, 11:21:14 pm
I also preferred the blinded eyes, although the othe rones looked nice too. Now I improved the blinded version.



I remade the wing texture, worked out the fire and tried to improve the sky. I chose the warm/cold color sheme , don't know if it hurts in the eyes (maybe I just looked to long at it).
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Offline Cyangmou

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #25 on: June 14, 2011, 12:10:29 am


Now I'd really call it finished, overworked the whole piece and it's definitely bette rnow. Also changed lots of little things with this last edit, more AA and other unnoticeable things unless you compare it with the earlier version. Another thing I changed is the orange of the yellow tan gradient in the foreground.
With a total working time of a little bit more than 120h and 32 colors I'd call it finished now. I learned a lot from this piece and I also mentioned tons of things I'll do in a different way the next time. Big thanks to all who are posted here useful critique and helped me.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2011, 12:19:32 am by Cyangmou »
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Offline DungeonDan

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #26 on: June 14, 2011, 09:10:18 pm
I been following this post for awhile and i see so much has been done and it looks great keep up the good work man

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #27 on: June 15, 2011, 09:25:03 pm
before it gets closed/burried/featured, I'd like to point out that it's a bit strange to see that much contrast and details on the things (teeth and dragon skin, mostly) that are just next to (and behind) the line of fire. I'd have expected the light of the firespit to erase any visiblity of what's nearby to the point it's reduced to a silouhetto. I'd love to know whether anyone with more drawing experience than myself feels the same.

Offline piffany

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Re: Gregory faces the dragon [WIP]

Reply #28 on: June 16, 2011, 06:09:29 am
I keep coming back to this thread cuz it's so amazing O_O
--Piffany
Disclaimer: I am still fairly new at pixel art, so please don't be offended by my negative critiques :)