AuthorTopic: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?  (Read 19712 times)

Offline Q.K.

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #10 on: March 05, 2016, 03:15:41 am


So I tried incorporating a more natural fur pattern, with the bristles flowing around the contour of the fox's torso, etc.
Version A is more of a subtle approach than B, but I can't help feel they're both too noisy. I guess that's what I get for trying to render hair at low resolution haha.

Edit: Added a version C as a midpoint between the two extremes.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2016, 03:43:16 am by Q.K. »

Offline API-Beast

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #11 on: March 05, 2016, 09:13:34 am
Don't be afraid to use larger areas of a single color, a lot of the texture can be implied.

Offline Night

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #12 on: March 05, 2016, 09:48:41 pm
Consider the size you're working with, in relation to how the fur is perceived. At this size, making the fur the way you did will make it seem like there are huge chunks of fur sticking out, rather than continuous layers.
There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Offline Atnas

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #13 on: March 06, 2016, 03:24:37 am
Night beat me to the punch with that great edit  :y: :ouch: Been working on this on and off for the past day.

We could just do edits for you and show some thoughts on how we would do foxes. That'd be great. We could also focus on small things to critique, and leave you puzzled at the rest. That'd be great. But it wouldn't help you very much. You need to understand why. So lets start.


What is a fox?

Start from the beginning.

Foxes are a lot of things. You like them enough to know how to shape their back foot. You raise their head with pride. You spend presumably hours struggling to bring this fox in your head onto the screen. You do it with pixel art, a medium more intimately precise and close than most. You really want to draw a fox.

So lets actually draw a fox. Number 1 thing: a fox is an animal. You are an animal.  :-* There's a LOT of mechanisms you could research to understand how a fox works. But we can start small. You don't have to know a whole lot.

Lets gently study anatomy.

I looked up "fox skeleton". Then I roughed in bones in a similar pose to what you had. The proportions are maybe a little off from the reference skeleton, to fit your vision of a fox more. But that's fine. It's not so much about exactly copying, as it is understanding. If you understand it, you can break it. So look at skeletons. This is under the foxes you love. This is why their head is so round. And importantly: This is the deepest level to see how the fluffy fur you immediately appreciate is placed. But there are a few more steps before we can start rendering this fluffy fur (or even keep it simple, as the title of your thread asks)


The basic meat chunks of your fox
Skeleton helps to understand the basic forms. These are just flesh hunks. You don't need to know all the musculature with what you have set out to do. But you do need to understand exactly what masses are under the fluff, because that's where the fluff springs from. Color coded just for seperation.


What is this sloppy thing? lighting? Volume?

It's both. From looking at your progress, I don't think you grasp this quite yet. You're all about the contours. You don't seem to grasp this "fur" you're trying to render, because perhaps you don't understand yet: it is just more fox. So here's a simplified, not-too fluffy, smooth volume of a fox. It's lit in some arbitrary game-y way. Nothing extreme. Just enough light to define where things are, and where they are separate. With THIS step, we can see how you've been approaching it. Except you add some texture on top, like it's a 3d model. It's not. It's all fox.


A result.

All of this was preperation, and now you can draw foxes better. Well, now I can draw foxes better. I learned a lot. I hope you did too. Pixel technique is something you learn incrementally. Color theory as well. But the message I want to drive home: If you want to draw a fox really well, you need to understand the fox really well. All parts. The extent of your understanding is the foundation that all will follow from. You don't even need to understand anything that well, just better relative to the people viewing the artwork. So don't tunnel vision on the fur, or wonder about specific parts too much while ignoring others. Wonder about all of them. Until you understand where the bones are located, you won't understand how the flesh collides and how that bunches up the fur.

But you won't be perfect, and my edit isn't perfect. If you study this way too, you will find things I didn't find. Small things that contribute to selling the idea of a fox, that you can communicate in your own way.

A much shorter critique on your actual execution: Eyeburn. Ouch. Way too red. Neon Fox. Unless he's emitting light and made of fire, that doesn't make a lot of sense. Fur scatters light. It's matte, except where its smoother, and then its shiny. So in normal lighting conditions the light will desaturate the orange fur when exposed to light, and as the light is allowed to bounce around in the clumpy shadows, it will get more orange and saturated. Don't be afraid to use more colors. A big part of "fox" to me is that their fur gets darker as their legs go down. And you can totally include the dark bits at the roots of the white fur at this resolution, just understand it is the roots: so show it where the fur is facing towards the camera and the fox skin is more exposed. That can actually be a trick to milk some more volume, you're saying the viewing a plane is facing you just by adding a few detail pixels.

This might be a lot to digest at once, so if you have any questions I will always be around to answer and help.

Offline Night

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #14 on: March 06, 2016, 12:49:13 pm
Sorry  :P

That's really quite wonderful though, Athas, great job!

I think that your remark at the end "If you want to draw a fox really well, you need to understand the fox really well." is very true and is applicable not only in this situation, but quite broadly with art. When drawing any creature, I think it is at the utmost importance for you to understand the structure of that creature, the anatomy, in order to draw it well.
Furthermore, I think that this can be applicable to even non-living things; say you're drawing a landscape - you see trees, mountains, a small lake and a cloudy sky. In order to draw all of these things well, I believe you must know why they look they way they do, what causes them to bend the way they do, what causes them to be the shape they are, etc. While you might do a decent job without acknowledging all of these things, I think you can do much better when you do.
Take the trees for example, they have some very clear patterns in their branches (similar to lightning, river deltas, veins, and numerous other things I can't quite remember at the moment). Or perhaps the mountains (being considerably harder) -- their topology also has a predictable pattern.

It is quite off-topic, but I believe everything in nature has a pattern, rules; that is why nature is beautiful. And because of this fact, it is also possible to learn these rules and apply them yourself in your art. It is hard, but very rewarding.
There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Offline Q.K.

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #15 on: March 07, 2016, 01:54:36 am
I... wha...  :o Let me just pick my jaw up off the floor. Atnas, that was eye-opening, I can't thank you enough! I suppose it was foolish to think I could escape having a working knowledge of form & anatomy and still get by. I think my biggest struggle with art in general is visualizing things in 3D. That and colour theory apparently haha. I agree that it's way too over-saturated. For some reason, my instinct was to increase saturation as things got brighter. I'm going to read this over a few more times, take in as much as I can, and take another shot at this. Thanks.

Thanks also to API-beast and Night, I really appreciate all the edits and advice!

EDIT: Went ahead and spent some time looking at bones. And muscles. Then fur.
I tried working mainly from reference photos and anatomy diagrams but it still draws a lot of inspiration from Atnas' edit (especially the colours).
I'll keep refining this though (I deviated a bit from the bone structure in a few places, and his right hind leg looks a little off to me, for example).

« Last Edit: March 07, 2016, 06:24:26 am by Q.K. »

Offline Indigo

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #16 on: March 07, 2016, 11:46:39 pm
Awesome progress!  *featured*

Offline Atnas

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #17 on: March 07, 2016, 11:58:46 pm
 :D

You've made my day, Q.K. People often become intimidated by having their fundamentals critiqued, and they run away.

Excellent progress. And while I can see it's heavily influenced, you've brought a wealth of your own observations and decisions to the table, and I'm very excited to see that.



Some fresh crits:

There doesn't seem to be a clear plane separation between both of the back legs, so when looking closely I become confused. The lit interior of the recessed hind leg is whats doing it. Maybe it should be dimmer/flatter lit.

Looking forward to seeing what you do next! And gratz on the feature. :)

Offline Q.K.

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #18 on: March 08, 2016, 05:41:03 am
Whoa, that's awesome, I never expected this to get featured haha. Thanks!
And the critique was more motivating than anything :) I agree about the back legs though, so I'm going to try a few things...


« Last Edit: March 22, 2016, 05:20:37 am by Q.K. »

Offline Q.K.

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Re: Fox - Render fur or keep it simple?

Reply #19 on: March 22, 2016, 05:41:53 am
I normally wouldn't double post, but I made some minor edits to the fox.
Also tried going another route and making a simpler, tiny fox.
I've been playing Momodora lately so I drew some inspiration from that.