Critique => 2D & 3D => Topic started by: Mathias on May 03, 2011, 07:42:34 pm

Title: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 03, 2011, 07:42:34 pm
Having trouble getting this girl to look 17, instead of 71.

Very WIP.

Will update soon . . .

(http://i.imgur.com/wPfve.png) (http://i.imgur.com/Bx15v.png)
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Puppet on May 03, 2011, 08:42:33 pm
Okay so this is my first constructive post, let's hope I don't sound like an ass nor offend you.

I'm 17 years of age and hang round with quite a few girls aged 16-21. So I should technically know.. Well kind of.
Where to start, with the underneath of her lips it seems to be as if it's being dented inwards, most girls I've hung round with and or have seen don't really have a big indent as that. I'm not sure of the perspective view either, not sure if she's tilting her head down or not. Do you have any picture refferences?
I think they could be of good use to you.

Her eyebrows go to far down, most girls I've seen around my age have small and not so bushy nor dark eyebrows, so try to lighten it up a little maybe? And make it shorter instead of so long. Not sure if you understand what I mean.

Her hair is no how a 17ish year old would really have it, although it really does depend on the teenagers style, Scene, gothic, Chav, Skater ect. Once you figure out what kind of style you want to persue research it througholy.
Scene teenagers would have big and poofy hair with bright and attractive hair, well most of them do anyway.
Gothic, well usually it's straight and black or really dark brown.
Chav, usually short bob, Erm. Like what I mean by bob is like long fringe kind of like Rhiana. Not sure how to spell her name but she has a bob a few times where it's really short but same length from her neck to her fringe? Not sure if I described that well enough or not. Possibilty of just a ponytail or even curly fringe layers and rest of the hair is straight but goes over the shoulders.
Skater chicks from what I've seen in my town wear hat suchs as "beanies" and "flatpeaks" as well do the chavs but the skater chicks usually have straight and quite long hair.
Maybe me telling you what I see as a 17 year old may of be some use.

Your image of the girl also has quite large cheek bones, I'd cut them down a bit to maybe something more softer? Like roundish dependant of the weight of that teenager.
Look for popular female singers like Rhiana, Jessie J, Taylor Swift. Those are artists but try to portray the age of teenager. If you're going for the Scene, Emo look then try looking for The Pretty Wreckless, I'm not suere of the lead singers name but she has a youngface.

The nose seems a bit to wide but that's just my speculation.
Sorry for the wall of text, I just hope this helps you somehow.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Batzy on May 03, 2011, 10:26:49 pm
Well puppet said it i think. She reminds me hellama lot of that actor who was playing "lila" at dexter http://i2.cdnds.net/08/29/160x120_jaime_murray_1.jpg (http://i2.cdnds.net/08/29/160x120_jaime_murray_1.jpg)
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 04, 2011, 03:21:19 am


She looks younger but I still hate 'er.

Wwwhhhaaarrrrrrr Taylor Swift is a perfect reference match, dude! Thanks so much (not at all too much text). Perfect age, face, and even hair in many images.

Going for a Victorian era 17 yr old girl. Yes, supposed to have head tilted downward. Vertical light source. This is my first true attempt at a realistic human face close-up; way outside my comfort zone.

(chav, that a UK thing? Tried to figure out what it was but all I can conclude is chav = white trash?)

Thanks too, Batlorder.

Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 04, 2011, 04:50:46 am

kill yer darlings; old face scraped off, new face sketched on, directly based on Taylor Swift:


Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 04, 2011, 05:09:07 am

New sketch taken from Swift and then widened about 10%. Almost looks too young now.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 04, 2011, 05:22:46 am
Mandatory workspace criteria

Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Puppet on May 04, 2011, 06:18:25 am
Hmm I guess the Chav thing is a UK thing haha.
Basically a chav wears mostly football related brands such as adias, umbro and such, use slang like "init", "bruv", "blud" so terrible use of language really.
From your workspace I can see a picture of Salema Gomez. I believe she's actually 17.

Your newest face looks much better in my opinion, but I think the hair could be defined in it's curls and locks a bit more maybe so we can see where the hairs direction is instead of it being a pure blob? If you catch my drift.
I think you're focusing to much opun the left eye shadow / lins be the left of her nose that's next to her eye, in the picture of Taylor Swift she has shadow on her right part of her nose and not her left.
The cheekbone has been much improved as have the lips.
She looks much younger now then once you started.
And the bacon... Mmmm. Yummy!
As you can see in the picture also in Taylor swift she is using blusher (I think that's what it's called to make the cheeks rosey) Maybe you should adding a bit of pinkish red towards her cheeks.
That's a nice edit though Mathias.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: blumunkee on May 04, 2011, 07:11:57 am
Avoid shading with pure black like the plague! It makes things looks amateur airbrushy. Shades always have color from light and objects around them bleeding into them.

Just in case you haven't read these yet:

From the other thread I assume you are going for a painterly rather than airbrush look. Here's how I work in Photoshop:

Set your background color now. Put it on a different layer so you can tweak it later, but you need to set the mood.

Turn the hardness up high on the brush. Set size (and optionally flow) to pen pressure, disable opacity on pressure. Block in colors at around 80% opacity with a large brush, lower the opacity around 50-70% with a medium sized brush.

For gradients, pick your new color, lay it down gradually, then color sample with alt and paint back over the gradient to smooth things out. Keep picking new colors, sampling inside the gradient and smoothing things out. Keeping sampling and painting, sampling and painting. Like, you should be hitting alt once every 1 or 2 seconds.

But... don't gradient too much. You do want some texture in there. Flesh generally should be smoother, clothing you can get away with rougher shading.

As you move into the final detailing, you'll be using smaller and smaller brushes for eyelashes, strands of hair, lacing, etc. Try not to quibble too much on details other than the face. People just really look at the face, the other stuff is a given.

And for fucks sake, whatever you do, don't outline anything! You're painting, not drawing.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: yrizoud on May 04, 2011, 01:09:37 pm
I remember reading on Wikipedia, long time ago, that the lines that start at the nose and end at corner of mouth generally appear around age 25. But I can't find the reference now, it's not on the article "nasolabial fold".
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 04, 2011, 07:49:19 pm
@Puppet - Thanks again, bromey. Things like fine-tuned make-up will come last. I'll treat make-up like a retoucher does when editing model photos. Does the updated face do better for you? And the hair, oy, the hair I expect to be a challenge. One curl test-shaded next to her hair. She has raven black hair so giving it some definitive shading to avoid it all looking like a lumpy ball of blackness hugging her skull will be the priority.


@ blumunkee - All excellent points, man!
The one about not doing paint-over lines in black really makes sense. I'm always fighting against my black and white sketch layer when starting to paint because those high-contrast colorless lines gotta be covered up if you're not doing an "outlined" style. From now what I'll do is probably still draw in B&W but then prep the sketch layer by lowering contrast and colorizing it according to the main color clusters/areas so I get a huge jump on blending everything together. Can't wait to try it. (I don't like painting under the sketch layer on a new layer because when you hide it you get unexpected results, better to paint right on top of a copy of it . . . I think)

Oh yes I've see those threads, better re-read them, though. Thanks.

Yes, set the bg luminosity/general mood early, that's a good one. So, I did.

By far, the most problematic issue you touched on, for me, is the style balancing one - trying to go painterly but ending up all airbrushy. I have a compulsive gradient smoothing problem. My strokes are very unconfident, I tend to light stroke a million times in the same spot until any painterly quality is converted to trashy airburshiness. This I expect toi rectify itself with both gradual painting maturity and attention to the issue as I work.

I'm trying to keep this project 2 main layers, bg and fg, and not use too many PS cheats, but in the name of speed I'm giving in here and there.

scaled 30%
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Puppet on May 04, 2011, 08:55:13 pm
Such a huge improvement upon her head! It looks much better then when you had started.
I can't actually give you any more constructive points upon the head anymore haha.

Is the body going to be on the book cover as well?
Because I think you're trying to go for the hourglass body shape, of which her hips need to be a bit wider, where her breasts are they look too.. Big for her, I think it could be because of how broad her shoulders are making the image look like she's far to top heavy in my opinion, I'm not very good at anatomy so I can't really say a lot but when I looked over that topic early it really opened my eyes to a womens body curves and what not, maybe going over there to find a typical body shape and try drawing that could be benificial. Her chest goes a bit to far down, making it seem like she has aged breasts ( Putting it politely hehe), most 18ish year olds have perky breasts (not trying to sound like a perv) so maybe highering them can help as well as sorting out a few anatomy aspects upon her.
I don't mean to be so critical I just know you've only got a few days left to perfect it really befor you can hand it in and I want to be useful.  :)
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 05, 2011, 12:42:51 am
Body will be visible on cover, cropped a bit below belly button . . . I think. That's the layout/composition plan so far.

You highlight a general problem plaguing her from day 1 - she's a girl with a woman's body.

Don't ever worry about giving polite crit, like you do. If the recipient doesn't appreciate it, they're not worth the time helping. I readily admit I'm over my head with this project. Fresh eyes are highly valuable! Thanks, Puppetmaster!

I think I better pause the general polish phase and see if I can rectify the anat wonks, I've been ignoring them 'till now. Smart huh!?

Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Puppet on May 05, 2011, 12:53:38 am
Yikes! I nearly forgot something!
The hands, I feel they're far to big for her as well. Most girls I hang round with are roughly my height so like 5"7 and have small and skinny hands. Take Taylor swift for example if you've seen her hands they're quite skinny as are her arms. I think Taylor Swift is the kind of body and anatomy you should try to follow as the face has been focused upon her refference.
Also her wrists and forehands are suffering from the hands behind so large due to her head being smaller in comparision to her body.

Hehe PuppetMaster, I'm far from Master. You're much closer to it then I am. I've just been hovering around the Oblivion nexus for around 5 years so you can really pick up views and points due to the meshes and the problems people have with them.

Pausing the general polish is a brilliant idea for now till you get the anatomy better sorted to suit her. Because you may scratch several areas of her body to redefine her. You've got face dead on target now though! So keep it up man, I know you can do this in time.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mush on May 05, 2011, 05:23:53 am
Very cool thread. I especially like the workspace pic.

As mentioned before, her face has really improved since the first pic  :y:

Anatomy looks good.

The major thing I feel is lacking in this piece is atmosphere, tone, emotion, setting. Where is she? What time of the day is it? The background suggests she's standing in a foggy marsh, but the girl's colors says she's standing under one of those photography umbrellas in a bright studio.

You need to think about how the light source and reflected light play on the skin's natural tone. Basically you should consider how the environment affects the figure's colors. 

Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 05, 2011, 05:39:55 am
Nice crit, Mush. That's something I wasn't really thinking too much about right now. And though the bg is placeholder, the real deal will be about the same exact thing just a little more refined I guess. So, your crit certainly stands. The bust area does have some over-zealous highlights. Highlighting the crap out of everything is a habit of mine. The material in question is satin. I'll study on how to represent satain accurately, it's a tough one. I'll probably be resorting to PS curves adjustments; take the expedient road! Thanks, dude.

(and what the heck, these pics have a different gamma than does PS . . . darker shadows and details are all blacked out . . . crappington)


this is what I see in PS

Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: ErekT on May 05, 2011, 08:21:58 am

I think it's getting really good and I agree with all the feedback above. Ribcage and shoulders still look pretty broad for someone who likely sits holed up in a room knitting most of the time, so I tried to pinch the area from shoulders to stomach a little bit:

Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 05, 2011, 05:20:17 pm
Did ErekT just use PS!?

Arrggh; agreed, erect. Still with the anat plaguery. I'm in the wrong business. I should just lay flooring for a living. Oh wait, I already do. Next Update, less ribs.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: ErekT on May 05, 2011, 06:42:03 pm
Did ErekT just use PS!?

Hoho, hell no! :lol: GIMP all the way girl :y:
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 05, 2011, 06:53:52 pm
Did ErekT just use PS!?

Hoho, hell no! :lol: GIMP all the way girl :y:

haha, punk!
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 05, 2011, 07:12:57 pm
She looks human, right?

Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Puppet on May 05, 2011, 08:44:16 pm
She's look human till you hit the hands.
In my opinion I feel her hands look like a wooden puppets (Ironic I say that due to my username) I think if you stroke the brush gently and not such a bold colour outline in her hands it wouldn't look so wooden like maybe.
Take a picture of your hands and compair it to hers, you'll see that there is no sharp line sighting when holding a flower like that. If that makes any sense.
She's getting there man!
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 05, 2011, 09:41:56 pm
Haha puppet, that's just WIP-ish contour lines I drew to giude me while shading them and also to remind me of each finger segment's perspective while I "wrap" each finger with a lacy glove material.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Puppet on May 06, 2011, 12:03:59 am
Haha My bad.
Wasn't sure if you were keeping them in or not. So I thought why not it could be useful.
I look forward to seeing the lace gloves.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Joe on May 06, 2011, 04:14:03 am
You should consider making the face less wide.  I know she's looking down, but I'm talking like 95% of the width it is now.  Also, the area underneath her chin needs some attention.  But this is looking really good, man.  I've always liked your style.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Ryumaru on May 07, 2011, 12:35:36 am
Since you name dropped me in the creativity thread, I felt obliged to give a crit


Mostly alright. The face is too wide, too symmetrical. The features are more symbolic than they are actual 3-D forms. Abuse the reference. It's done in the professional world and you can do it too. Shoulders a little too wide, even with clothing. I did no better on the hands in my edit but you're thinking too much about line. Think planes of light and how the fingers are more cylindrical, and how each one actually has a slightly different axis upon which it curves. Breasts are a bit too low and flat. With the face, unless it's imperative to keep both eyes I would seriously recommend the hair swoop. It's what 17 year old gothic girls do and it creates a very elegant and interesting silhouette shape to the face. More asymmetrical

Color: Where has your knowledge of pixel art gone? We don't use straight ramps in pixels and we shouldn't in paintings either. Reflected light is all around us. We are governed by one primary light source*usually*. Even beyond realism a palette should be harmonized.

Values and Edges: The value structure of your piece works well enough. You contrast the dark hair with the light background and the same with the clothing next to the neck and the arms in front. The cloth may be flat, but it's being twisted and turned in a 3- D world. Make it look that way. Most edges are uniformly hard. Edges must be controlled to amplify a focal point, and to turn forms and give the eye rest. Currently the rose and patterns are not in the same world as her- but I assume you'll fix this when the time comes.

Composition: I believe you said it's for a book? It's simple, stuck in the center, but it's fine for what it does. Looks " monumental" and everything looks to or points to the center of interest ( rose)
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 07, 2011, 03:30:41 am
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Ryumaru on May 07, 2011, 03:37:42 am
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: pistachio on May 07, 2011, 04:04:59 am
Quote from: Ryumaru

My best guess is it was a burst of uncontrollable rage or confusion at not getting the picture down perfectly, or your edit scared him. Probably the former. How should I know?

Anyway, please note I'm nowhere near an expert at faces, let alone anatomy. (In fact I generally consider myself an amateur at this stage.) But I think Ryu hit the nail on the head regarding the face (note: asymmetry! Makes things interesting in a picture like this, just not too much). Most of my problems regard the lighting and rendering. Ryu did make some improvements there, but overall:

Cloak casts some shadow on the wrists and shrouds parts of the body in overall shadow.

Shoulders seem broad; perhaps pinch them in a bit, the way ErekT did it?

Highlight on breasts is too bright. Overall I think they're oddly shaped, but Ryu took care of that too.

For some reason most of the shading is flat, actually, giving me the impression you worked with it at a rather zoomed-in level. My best advice would be to zoom out a bit, focus on the general shading before you move onto the details. For the face, it's alright to zoom in a bit, considering it's smaller than the rest of the picture. Also consider messing with the overall color values or something? Just for the eye-candy factor. But that would come last anyway.

... :yell:
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 09, 2011, 06:18:12 am
Chris, cannot thank you enough for doing that edit for me!!

Quite a present! And tremendously effective in illustrating your points. I'm just thrilled to see what you did with it!

I have A LOT of "itemized" feedback/comments on your wonderful edit, but I think I'll just let this image mainly speak for itself, for now. I need to get an update in here; been too long.

Deadline has passed, but I can't stop working on this thing 'till I'm at least 90% happy with it.



(hair and dress still super-WIP)

Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Helm on May 09, 2011, 04:46:18 pm
The problem I see is that the rendering is very procedural for every different surface and accessory or body part. It's not a cohesive look, it looks kinda plastic and disjointed. This is I fear an issue with the brushing: there's no unifying technique, everything (finished) is rendered as finely as possible but without heed to the overal composition. Do you really need visible lace for example? Do you need cleanly reflective embroidery on the corset?
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: JJ Naas on May 09, 2011, 07:04:54 pm
Don't forget to work on the bg as well. Backgrounds that have that "oh crap, I guess need to draw a background as well.." -feel to them annoy me big time. That doesn't mean it needs to be sharp and in focus, full of tiny detail, but just.. try to avoid it looking sloppy compared to the foreground.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 09, 2011, 09:25:16 pm
Helm, yeah that's definitely a flaw Ryu helped to expose. I do prefer his more stylish intuitively painted image over my calculated realistic wanna-be one.

Seems logical to have an actual size (not scaled, just cropped) chunk to look at, if this topic is coming up:


So there's that. Not too bad up close I hope. Apparently, realism is what I've been targeting, but without the effort really required to create a realistic image. Rather, this is polished digi paint with a grandiose desire to be realistic, as opposed to impressionistic or clearly painterly.

But where do you draw the line? When do you know to stop refining? This is a question I'm trying to answer. I just do what comes naturally . . . and whatever happens, happens, hehe.

I do anything when doing this stuff - paint with traditional media simulating brushes, use vector shapes, create flat patterns and apply a series or warps to bend them on flat planes into what is supposed to look 3D (her lace gloves - each finger is done separately, shiny cloak border is painstakingly warped to flow with contour of cloak, etc). I put it all together as I work.

Started with 2 layers, but things quickly got out of hand. Yes, very compartmentalized, which is a pain. See my layers stack if you dare.

But someone tell me this, how do these 1 layer guys deal with things like completely different materials juxtaposed together and not ruin everything as they paint? Look above at the shiny embroidery on her vest area, or the shiny border on the cloak. You can't paint them simultaneously - the cloak fabric is mat, while the border is way more reflective because it's satin or something, and it has fine exact edges you can't accidentally paint over while stroking down light and dark grey on the cloak when defining the folds.

Must I paint everything first that's on the bottom, polish it up, and then start stacking on things as they appear closer to the viewer? My solution for this is a maddening amount of layers. Highly flexible, but also highly irritating because it almost becomes scientific.
The old classic painters didn't have layer stacks and they managed! I guess I just have a lot to learn.

What I wish I could get myself to do is create a palette of main colors, have a predefined set of brushes which I don't modify while painting and just make do with that. Here's a thought - we try to simulate traditional painting when we create these images, right? Why then, do we assume we can violate the rules/limitations of traditional painting and still reap the rewards of a genuinely painterly end-result? Either I need to constrain my digi painting practices to bring them more in line with real actual traditional paint or I need to drop the pretense and just go on to something entirely and honestly digital in nature and appearance.

@ JJ - I hear that! The bg is a stand-in. Final bg will be similar, supporting the fg mostly and hopefully not drawing too much attention)
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: pistachio on May 10, 2011, 04:33:49 am


If you wanted to take that path, maybe, oh I don't know, copy the image--separate file in case you want to go back to your layers and layers of technical layers--and flatten it out, then block out the lighting at about the image size you posted on the forums, maybe a little larger (not the actual size). It's probably not very good advice, considering my current aforementioned stage in the world of art, but it might be worth a try. I suppose it's your skill that matters more than mine in this instance anyway.

Close up, the lighting actually looks deceivingly good, as it's harder to focus on everything unless you stand a distance from the monitor. I can see technical details I normally can't see when the image's scaled down, like super tiny reflections and shadows, even color ramps in a few places. But I think you need to look at the big (little) picture. Like Ryu seemed to have did.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: blumunkee on May 10, 2011, 06:34:08 am
This is a successful illustration, even if it's not going in the direction you originally intended.

If you want to paint like Ryumaru, you have to work at it. Lots of studies and practice. You can't fake a loose painting style, you have to paint loose.

For now, I say keep going with what you've got.  :y:
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 10, 2011, 07:55:12 am
hehe pistachio, I'm definitely not changing my process with this one. Just for the future, I'd love to move to more of a natural way of actually painting, not faking my way through a project like this.

yeah munkee, about the painting style thing, I'm in agreement there for sure. Ryu's put the time in, it's obvious. I have not. I'll keep going with what I've got and seek to evolve my methods as much as possible with each new project. We'll see.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Jeremy on May 10, 2011, 09:48:08 am
As Helm said, every section is very compartmentalised - colour ramps are near-straight. You have all these reflective fabrics and jewellery and other shiny things, and skin has endless variation in hue, so spread the colour around. Unified palettes <3

quickie paintover, the rose was annoying me with how perfect-looking it was  :-[
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: st0ven on May 11, 2011, 12:12:20 am
I think there isnt really much more to say about how to CONSTRUCT your painting any better than Chris did (after all he is the painting master. BTW Chris, its been a while but it looks like youre getting pretty comfy with digital painting at this point?). Theres definitely this feeling that youre focusing very carefully on each particular section or detail of the image without consideration for the whole. The best way to keep that unified is to go broad and blocky/messy and tighten as your forms start to evolve.

If you continue down the path youre going though, i dont think theres much more you really have to worry about doing to 'finish'.


Its a little hard to start mixing in those much needed hues into the painting when its this far along, but as for adding some form and shape into what you have currently, thankfully that shouldnt be too hard.

form wise, since you have such sharp shadows happening with the face and neck, it seems weird how that wouldnt carry over to the shadow being cast by the flower and the arms. Your rose is rendered really nicely, all you really need here is the burn tool to hit some shadows around the edges and underside and accentuate the highlight on the petal tips a bit near the front. the cast shadow should help distinguish the 'underside' of it, as this 'outline' should be one of those 'invisible' kind.

I changed her face a bit, its not perfect, but thought that with a head tiled down position youll need more under brow shadowing, and just some general softening. the shadows near the chin i think should come in to the lip and the chin should catch some light there.

I tried to accentuate your cloth folds a bit, i have this weird feeling about how the actual folds are draping, lots of arrows needed possibly, i think Chris' edit gets that dynamic flow going pretty well though.

the hair i did is pretty messy as you can spend a LONG time on hair to make it look right and i didnt feel like dedicating that much time. Also i dont know exactly whats going on with the hair piece, i sorta fudged it and it looks decidedly terrible (blurry/muddy)

you can probably do this yourself just fine, i just wanted to have some fun with some painting practice as well.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 11, 2011, 03:50:05 am
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: pistachio on May 11, 2011, 04:28:48 am
Funny how he does that after every better good edit.

Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 12, 2011, 04:36:35 pm
WHAWT, 'stachio!? Whar's my nutcracker . . .

Helllooooooooooooooooooo0, st0ven!

Another unexpected edit bombshell! A hundred gratitudes, friend!

You guys don't know how helpful and enlightening these superior edits are. Or . . . maybe you do, hehe. Both you guys created such a nice female face, so thankful for that. I needed her to have exceptional beauty; a trait of the actual char depicted.

I try hard to soak in and discern the reasoning behind each creative decision reflected in the edits, in this thread. And I think I understand them very well. It's just that that doesn't do a whole lot to bridge the gap in skills  -    mine  <  YOURS
But learning is occurring. That's all I can ask for. A lot of learning during this project actually.

Love those cloth folds, st0venius. And yeah, I do love how Chris created nice flowing implied lines with his drapery, that aid in keeping the focus. I have a great fondness for design principles, and they're importance, but often, out of being overwhelmed I'll either forget or disregard them. Goal of course is to make them second nature; you don't even think you just do them.

Nice right arm (our left) edit. My hands look a little awkward and you fixed them without even editing the hands themselves! Checked my ref for the hands, turns out I deviated from how the wrist is positioned, your edit is way more like the ref, and you haven't even seen it . . . yeesh.
Love how your edit takes a different stylistic path than Chris's. Yours gives off more of a playful clay-modeled illustrationy vibe with it's chisely facial features and cloth folds, which is actually more the route I originally wanted to go, since the book is to be a detective story, aimed at teens. Like Nancy Drew type stuff. Yes, I'm drawing the story's detective heroine.

Well, anyway   GO UPDATE:   (+ official st0ven-mandated luminosity map)

(http://i.imgur.com/rksIJ.png)    (http://i.imgur.com/nEYfg.png)

-Hair still ultra WIP (can't hold off any longer on it! dreading . . .)

-BG modified searching for a good bg color scheme, etc. Will be totally replaced.

-Outer glowy edge halo makes it look too moon-lit, wanted more of a dawn look.

-Too voluptuous? Trying to be modest here . . .

-Everything a bit dark.

-Too blue and midnighty. Luckily it's a series of layers creating the coloring/lighting in this version . . . surprise.


(time to put a bullet in this thing . . . today, hopefully . . .)
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: st0ven on May 12, 2011, 05:42:39 pm
Mathias: I think this is looking much more cohesive, and your forms and volumes have much more weight to them now. Your purple/blue treatment seems to work pretty well i think, perhaps a little chiche'ish for a novel cover but i think that will appeal to a lot of people who see it (lots of eyes will respond to the nice vibrant cool hues there).

Wow whatever you did with your fur rendering it looks spot on fantastic! The shading underneath the flower actually winds up making the breast shape look more round, some cast shadows on the outer sides of the breast should help make them even rounder if you choose to want that look. I can actually make out exactly whats going on with the head piece now (it makes perfect sense to me now as opposed to before). Your lace work is also fantastic, adds a lot of elegance to her that shed otherwise be lacking. Lots of great additions in the latest piece for sure. very appealing to the eye i think.

Some things that would immediately jump out at me looking at it from a critique perspective, first and foremost has to be the neck. Its looking very flat, as theres no rounding happening near the right side of the neck. it just goes from dark to light very linearly, ignoring the cylindrical nature of the neck's shape. Where you are going light near that edge i actually think you should be going back to dark.

Also her arm volume is looking a little anemic near her wrists, it appears that her arms could stand for a little thickening on the underside (the top sides of the arms are just fine). This should help you with that wrist 'issue' on her right hand that it sounds like you were speaking of. A little bit more volume under her right pinky would also help to complete that fix. without that it looks just a tad like her arms were cut out from another source but you werent able to select all of it (perhaps cropped off the very bottom portion of her arms)

Im not a huge fan of the outer glow effect you have on her. it appears to just be flattening her out, making her look like a cutout ontop of a background (except how the edges of the fur are illuminated, thats spot on!). the whites around the feathers are making it look like it was a photoshop crop job or something.

The lower skirt is looking a tad 'pillowy' in your current rendering. what brush settings are you using for this?

As for the hair - yeah hair isnt easy and certainly not fun if youre stuck. I just try to use larger brush strokes to get the overall highlights and shadows in, then use continuously smaller brushes to illustrate more individual bands of hair, then smaller still to imply some individual strands where there are highlights. If you go too small too fast with your brush selection usually it can help kill the illusion in a hurry from my experience.

looking good my man.

Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 12, 2011, 08:38:38 pm
Yeah, I'm going for the typical eye-candy, dangerously close to the edge of over-developed, impact effect here for sure.

Found some cool fur coats on google and mimicked the texture. New fur is more dainty, less like coarse bear fur now, more like mink. Fitting I thought.

Good eye on the neck, thanks!

I'll try and work on the arms.

The glow is due for an overhaul.

Skirt sucks, but most will be cropped out for book cover I think. I used normal brushes but spent a lot of time smoothing. Used levels and curves adjustments and other stuff, too.

The hair should come out ok, due to my unscrupulous photoshop practices. I smell a direct paint-over coming on haha

Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 13, 2011, 02:00:50 am
I do a ton of extreme sort of photomanipulation, I guess you'd say it's my strong suit in the digital realm.

But, here's what you can do with a decent photo ref - chop it apart into the right pieces and reassemble it in layers.

The scalped composite photograph hair, with all my colors and effects applied to the scene. Already looks like it belongs doesn't it? :


Now to simply paint over the top of it.
Not exactly purist, haha. But I'm in a hurry and I like how well structured Swift's curls are in the photograph.
I tried for a minute to draw some curls from scratch. . . and yeah. No.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: st0ven on May 13, 2011, 03:11:14 am
IMO you should at least be using some brushwork to burn in some proper volumetric shading so that the hair doesnt look like a collage of photomanipulated hair. While i agree the color treatment you put on it is very convincing, the lighting on the hair strands as a whole do not feel consistent with the rest of the image. Out of curiosity is this also something youve done with the peacock feathers they have that same stand-out visual effect, as if its granularity doesnt quite belong with the rest of the painting's detail.

 Your method can be a huge time saver and im sure there are plenty of industry concept artists that make heavy use of this very technique, but without giving it some of your own brush gestures it doesnt quite integrate well with the rest of the image.

it does appear very well composed though :)
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Helm on May 13, 2011, 03:22:35 am
st0ven captures exactly what I was trying to say with 'granularity of x element doesn't belong with the rest of the painting's detail'. But we've gone over this already. More and more what you're painting looks like what I'd use as the final composite base and completely repaint over it in a more painterly style. However the progress from the first images to what you've got going now is amazing. Will this be our first non-pixel treasure chest feature?
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 13, 2011, 07:03:37 am
I couldn't agree more, fellas. The new photo hair is just for a paint-over. When done, it'll match the rest of the brushing . . . I hope. Yep ste0v, the hat is also a horribly twisted/modified photographic element. Will get refined big-time, along with the hair.

Actually still tweaking the hair volumes. It's all too bulbous and weird looking. It's all pretty improvised.

But yeah, granularity is a good term for it I suppose. I've been using 'detail resolution' - the density of detail. Above, the hair is high detail, since it's photo, while the adjacent face and cloak is rather low. That's bad. In the end it all has to come together. Which it will.
Helm, a composite base to just paint over?! hehe  oy. We'll see what we end up with here . . . hopefully, tomorrow.

I don't like having to use too many paint-over elements, but the hair is certainly one now. Adding to my crimes, before I paint over it I'm going to filter it, in order to knock down detail and get a jump-start on a painterly look.

Like dis:


The filter alone rectifies much of the granularity issue. But is just a start.

Yeah, feature chest may be nice if this thread's useful for others.
Had I known it beforehand, I would've tried to make this more educational and explanatory, as far as processes, techniques, etc.
Hah, this thread's kind of embarrassing though - look at the face in the OP, before Puppet and Ryu straightened me out hehe.
It is pretty lengthy, full of pics, and contains a nice community effort, so it's pretty entertaining at least.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Helm on May 13, 2011, 07:37:40 am
Never too late to make it more educational on your end if you want. And yes, this thread is a pure highlight for Pixelation, imo. Surprising that it's not about a pixel art piece, heh!
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Ryumaru on May 14, 2011, 02:37:19 am
Mathias: Your image has come such a long way, I'm glad I could have been of any help- and as you develop it we easily see how different we are. See, I paint traditionally all day, and when I go digital, I just do the same things. If you asked me to render the way you have in digital ( or in traditional, really) I'd say… fuck that. Many audiences love that fidelity of detail and it's something I struggle with. When you're loose like me you ( most of the times) have a better understanding of a whole so the image is more successful, but if you have control over both the whole and the details that will put you in a league far higher than me currently.
As far as the hair goes, the filter is nice, but you could bring some points sharper when you go in and render it. Also it needs to cast shadows on the cloth below of course.

St0ven: I'm getting… better at digital. Still no where near a professional level like you are at. :] Honestly the edit was quite easy with the reference and the base that mathias had.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: pistachio on May 14, 2011, 08:07:23 am
I'm going to agree with everyone else, 'tis come a long way since you started. Unfortunately I don't have much critique, the image is already looking great--the level of detail is amazing--and I'd have to be some sort of art demigod better than I am now to spot any errors that haven't been spotted by someone else already. Well, maybe the neck. It's kinda flat. The area below the lips looks cut off too but I guess it's her chin.

But I do have this to make up for it:


Which I'm not sure is allowed here. But I hope you like it anyway. I guess it's an apology for the apparently not subtle statement I made last time. :-X
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 15, 2011, 08:19:42 am
@Ryu, yep we're very different. But we could learn a lot from each other.

@'stachio, thanks, now my victorian girl is a victorian lady-of-the-night, eagerly waiting on the street corner. Is thart it?!


Hair almost done. Feather thingy still untouched.

This hair got away from me. Got all pragmatic with it's rendering. Too contrasty and defined. Looking for a way to fix it . . .
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: pistachio on May 15, 2011, 08:37:53 am
yoip :crazy:

I was never really good at capturing likenesses anyway. Wish I was though.

Now your girl's hair is starting to look like plastic (or at least with a ton of hairspray on it), a bit like what you'd see on some manga-character with really huge hair. Perhaps make the shading a little less contrasty? Less opaque, maybe, letting more of the original 'shopped hair shine through?

It also has a bit of the zoomed-in lighting problem. I wouldn't be sure how to fix that though.

@blu: Let me be a little more defined... I mean, the hair is defined by just locks, and I'm starting to miss the granularity that immediately suggested individual strands. Now those strands look a bit unnaturally thick, almost as thick as yarn. Of course, it doesn't look like yarn. It's just thick. In the filtered version, though, that was still there. I guess it's the shading. Gah, I'm confused...
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: blumunkee on May 15, 2011, 09:36:53 am
Hmm, actually, most women would want their hair to stand out like that.

You might lighten up the black levels of the hair a bit, or turn up the blacks elsewhere. The blacks don't get that dark anywhere else.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Atnas on May 15, 2011, 09:10:56 pm
This has come a LONG way.  ;D But something still bugs me about the face. I think it has something to do with the lips, but right now the most immediate critique I have for it is that the eyes are too far apart. Usually the corners of the mouth should come to the middle of the eye, in the painting the corners of the mouth come to the corners of the eye.


I believe they just extend to the sides of the head a bit too much, though the eyeshadow makes things a bit indeterminate.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 16, 2011, 03:04:19 am
Yeah, the hair really bugs me, but I'm afraid I'm committed now. Simply spent too much time on it. Next time I do hair, I'll take a different approach.

Random tweaks. New Bob Ross bg.


Her face has gotten uglier. Atnas, you make me want to re-visit her facial features. Oy . . .
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: st0ven on May 16, 2011, 03:25:11 am

I like the new sense of lighting as well as the adjustment down in saturation and some additional warmth into the lighting. I think theres one last thing thats really bugging me about this piece now.

You have this very elegant, elaborate rendering of a female holding a flower. She is sharp and crisp in her detail. Then you have her pinned up ontop of a very loosely painted background with not very much going on in terms of subject matter. The fact that the girl is rendered so well and so complete makes the piece now look unfinished.

Also, as your background advances further into the foreground, you have a complete absence of lighting, but then the female figure in the foreground implies she is rather well lit. It almost looks as if there is some professional lighting crew on stage in the foreground there haha. So again that further separates the woman from the environment that you're portraying her in.

lastly i think some of the darker edges near the top of your implied mountains are way too dark, and perhaps a little too loosely formed. Loose is good but theyre looking almost as if they were painted at a lower resolution than the rest of the image, even when compared to your trees.

I actually think your hair treatment looks rather nice in this latest revision. Still looks slightly overdone but the really fine detail in the rest of her features makes it feel like it fits better

Colors feel very solid to me now, i prefer this version the most so far out of all your iterations. now just get some of that foreground area blocked in and perhaps make some of that detail sharper as it approaches the foreground.

thats all i have to comment about it at this point.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 16, 2011, 07:31:07 am
Thanks for the continuing guidance, matey!

I know just what you mean about the separation of foreground and background, due to the apparently different lighting set-ups. Starting out with this image I knew I wanted something a little different than just a typical painted portrait. Something realistic but that "winks" at fantasy. By fantasy, I mean a fantasy type of presentation or aesthetic. Somethin' a little ethereal maybe. But if the attempt only ends up with the viewer perceiving the scene not as fantasy-ish but just having bad lighting instead, well I guess I wasn't exactly successful hehe.

Aw crap, the bg's roughness bugs you that much? Darn. Well you're right, I would like for it to be more refined, too.


-Left side has been worked on. If I brought the right side up to par with the left would you think it sufficient, then?

-Darkened hair. So much contrasy highlights. Almost didn't look like black hair. I still wish it was simpler, but it's high-time to put a bullet in this.

-Not sure what to do with the closest bit of the bg. I like the effect of her being isolated in the foreground all alone but it kinda looks like she's standing in a huge body of murky water. The ambiguity is nice in that it allows her to have focus, but is it too ambiguous/abstracty?
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: blumunkee on May 16, 2011, 07:47:19 am
Whuh... Obviously you can do a painterly style.

I like the fog, but it needs to be toned down. It looks like there are headlights behind her right now.

In the mountain detail, the rightmost mountain feels off balance. Like it's leaning to the side.

I agree about the face. It needs more referenced aspects. Too many shapes and forms are made up. Also, the neck still looks flat. Chins don't cast so dark a shadow.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: juuska on May 17, 2011, 08:27:54 pm
Thing that pops out most is IMO the positioning of her hands. They ain't looking very natural right now...
E: I know we are wrestling in very different class, but I like if I could be any help :P
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 17, 2011, 11:58:43 pm
Yer right, blu. It does look like a car is about to nail her.

Oy, the hands, really? I want to try to implement st0ven's edit for the arms at least.

Facial fix? full res

At least she's prettier than the last female close-up I did.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: juuska on May 18, 2011, 10:46:50 am
I maybe spelled my thoughts little incorrectly. What I meant was that when holding a rose atleast I find her upper palm (I'm not sure if it's left or right :P) bended oddly. In that situation her palm should be kinda relaxed and almost straight, not tensed in almost 90 degrees angle.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Phlakes on May 18, 2011, 01:15:35 pm
I maybe spelled my thoughts little incorrectly. What I meant was that when holding a rose atleast I find her upper palm (I'm not sure if it's left or right :P) bended oddly. In that situation her palm should be kinda relaxed and almost straight, not tensed in almost 90 degrees angle.

I actually see that now. Her wrists are bent back making her knuckles almost facing the camera. This would make sense, but her elbows are bent out too far for that to be comfortable. Try it, try making your arms point at each other and then bend your wrists back. It's almost painful (unless somehow my wrists are really un-flexible).
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 18, 2011, 02:04:29 pm
Hmm, I actually had my wife strike the pose initially, which I then used for my primary hands/arms ref. Had her hold a long wooden spoon hehe. No roses nearby!
But, I dunno. Better knock out the biggest flaws first. Steam and time are running out.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: blumunkee on May 18, 2011, 05:57:27 pm
New face is much more realistic.  :y:

I don't think her teeth should be visible any more. You might want to try closing her mouth again.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 20, 2011, 06:57:46 am
Interesting observation. Tried closing it. But eh, I dunno. It being slightly ajar, to me, indicates she's thinking, maybe talking to herself, maybe wrapped up in the moment unaware her mouth isn't closed like you might expect.

I haven't attempted to edit a few things I thought I might, but I'm pretty much happy enough to release this project. For having never done a digi paint like this before I'm satisfied enough to call it complete at this point.
Next time though, I'll certainly tighten the reigns on a few issues, and do more fundamental planning, considering the whole picture before I get too deep into it.

Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mush on May 20, 2011, 07:12:47 am
Incredible! It has come a very long way.

If you want to share the piece, I suggest posting it here: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=5
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 20, 2011, 04:34:32 pm
Thanks, Mush.

WHOA, did you see this one (http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=220465)? The completed scene is so hi-res my computer wouldn't even be able to handle it. And like my simple victorian girl here, he used multiple files and exported finalized pieces (the individual chars) into the final scene. LOVE the detail sections. What nice painting technique.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: st0ven on May 20, 2011, 04:59:28 pm
congratulations Mathias!

I would have bled to have had a first attempt at a digital painting to have been this good. The progress was very fun to see and yes it has definitely come a long way.

Im only sad that Photoshop doesnt have some interconnective capability to allow multiple people to paint on the same canvas, id absolutely love to do daily practice sessions in an environment like that, so that we could in the end, paint like Joel does in that conceptart link you provided. (OC isnt a comfortable enoguh environment to do my best work)

Excellent thread here mate.

edit: oops - yeah i know its not your FIRST digital painting EVER, but i was responding to your quote - "For having never done a digi paint like this before" - so yeah amend that to say that its still impressive for your first attempt at something "like this" :)
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Mathias on May 23, 2011, 09:39:35 pm
Thank you much, st0ven! I don't know that I would call this my first attempt at a digi paint - though, it's certainly my first at this size/detail/realisticness.

Just FYI, there will be a little change to her dress I have to make, then I suppose I should also post here the final version, cropped to the book cover dims, complete with stylized book title above her, so stay tuned for that. Might even do a creative wrap-around back-cover, too. Anyway, will post relatively soon, then we can put this thread to much-deserved rest.

Can't thank everyone enough, that lent suggestions and observations, and especially edits. You guys rock.
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: |||| on July 01, 2012, 04:52:37 am
Oh no! Not a necrobump.
I just wanted to say I enjoyed looking at the progress on this.
 I like certain aspects of it very much (the fine details on the lace and patterns mainly) The face came out nice and the hair is very nice (I couldn't get it so realistic). But the overall pic, with that airbrushed looking background doesn't look too professional; and  the way the dress and corset meet seems unfinished still. Although it appears there may be something under the dress right were they meet, making it look that way. Even if so, it still seems less refined in that area.
 I just wanted to post my thoughts on it because I've looked through this a few times now.
(edit actually the hair's amazing and must've taken some time)
Title: Re: Victorian girl
Post by: Seiseki on July 02, 2012, 12:39:37 am
Thanks for this necro, incredibly progress on this piece!
I think it looks incredible! You gotta stop somewhere, sure the background could be a bit more defined, but as a book cover, the sky works really well if you slap some text on there.