Critique => 2D & 3D => Topic started by: Corinthian Baby on August 01, 2012, 08:25:12 pm

Title: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Corinthian Baby on August 01, 2012, 08:25:12 pm
I am working on this painting to serve as digital cover art for one of my games.
I wanted the style to be reminiscent of the Old Masters/Renaissance, and based it on this oil study of St. John the Baptist by Barocci:
Main things I want to focus on is anatomy + composition.

The chest/torso is hard to copy directly because of the cloth obstructing the shoulders in the painting, and because of the odd perspective choice. The face I think conveys the calm decisiveness that I want it to, similar to samurai culture. But, I don't know how I should position the sword in a way that dramatizes the otherwise static composition, and I'm also having trouble deciding what I should render for the BG. I'm thinking about cliffs drifting away as the world is getting torn apart.

For some context, here is the game in question:
Though I suggest NOT downloading it because I want to release a newer build of it, but need to finish advertisement stuff like the above painting. But you should get an idea for what it is about, and maybe how to incorporate different elements of the game into the poster.

Also, this is the original poster I painted for it in 2009:
Which uses the collage style that you see a lot in classic movie posters, but is not indicative of my current skills.

Feel free to rip this to shreds, crit the fonts, help me push this to the next level.
ps. It's cool to post paintings here, right? I know it's not technically low-poly, but the official OT creative thread seems more hit and run style.
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Grimsane on August 03, 2012, 10:20:37 am
overall a nice comp, not that compelling but it looks more sombre and layout is sufficient, skill improvement since 09 is quite profound too ;D and considering the aim of that '09 comp it looks reasonably effective won't bother critiquing it though :P

I think the overall colours are a bit cooler than that of the study, whilst that may well be intentional I did an adjustment to bring some warmth in while trying not to compromise the mood, and to reduce the washed out greyness/low contrast. hopefully it's helpful in some way:

also I'd like to urge you to keep the perspective in mind, in the background in particular at the moment with both the scrawled out parts the perspective looks very odd and out of place, even the cliffs in the foreground look strange in regards to perspective.

and are you colour picking? or have you got a swatch/palette? simulating a palette and using smudge tools to mix colours is a good way to simulate oils, colour picking is generally a rather inconsistent way to work and you usually end up with less contrast as you work than your original colours so it pushes your piece into a murky direction most often than not.
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Corinthian Baby on August 03, 2012, 07:07:33 pm
Yeah I think with a slight shift into warmer colors, he looks less dead, the greys still relay the sombre tension.

Perspective is not something I'm good at, but yes, I absolutely need to pay more attention to it. Like I said I'm not sure what I'm doing with the BG yet, that sketch is the roughest of ideas, not yet worked out.

By color-picking I'm not sure what you mean. Are you asking if I'm stealing colors from the ref and then trying to amalgamate them together? Because if so, I've made all the colors myself, using the ref as a guide. If you mean, that while painting, I pick other colors from the painting instead of having a unified pallet, then I'm guilty. I also don't like using the smudge tool because I've never been able to use it effectively. My method is thin washes of transparent bushstrokes that build the form up over the layers.

Also wondering if this composition is less dynamic than the 09 incarnation? Is that a bad thing, does it still work for what it is? hmmm...
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Grimsane on August 03, 2012, 08:19:49 pm
yeah the latter, it's not the worst thing, alot of people do it (I did mostly), but usually you can tell when it hasn't been done, it looks cleaner and more consistent, but I guess painting with either method can work both ways, but think about it, an oil painter has a palette and mixes colours on it, but you can also mix colours on your canvas with turps etc but you can't actually get a colour from the canvas and use that. So when you pick from the canvas as you build up detail, colour tones slowly change (it's effect often depends on how long you work the piece) and you can end up with an undesired quality that is usually a direct result of the colour picking from the piece as you went, for example when  slowly building up highlights you have to go back to the original colour or the highlight tone you will pick is far less bright than your initial tone, so even if it's just a tiny palette area on a separate layer it's useful, but then you have the colour history in the image program to make that easier but eventually you push that off and go back to your work and you don't have the colour that'd make it look consistent, sorry I am sleepless so rambling a bit but hopefully you follow, probably all needlessly said :P

and this is what I meant by colour mixing and the smudging involved


just created that now for illustration, it's more natural and simulates traditional methods more closely, you can just do low opacity draw/fill mixing but that's actually more difficult, with this method you can zoom in and grab the exact combination from the uneven combinations in the smudge and it's often faster, I don't use smudge on pieces UNLESS it's a smudge inherintly in the brush dynamics, then it works really well, MyPaint is a great free app with traditional medium simulation, Corel Painter is probably the best, but expensive, free trails are good and tablets come with lite versions quite often (mine did, lost track of the disc though) I've tried alot of digital apps that try to simulate brush dynamics and it's quite often hit and miss everyone has a different sense of ideal dynamics, programs like My paint are relatively rigid with the paramaters but photoshop Painter and a few others allow alot of tweaking, I'm only rambling on about traditional simulation because you have chosen a very traditional style piece, and if you wanted to capture that feel that could be a very efficient and intuitive route, and never be afraid to experiment with the curves and levels adjustment, it can be incredibly useful to shift the colours to what best captures the intended mood.

a particular method that works well with a palette and is used to great effect in alot of digital art pieces, is to have a layer that you paint up using your palette, and create seperate layers when you are blending in  lighting effects, glows etc that will distort your colours, so you can turn it off and adjust the forms without ruining your colour consistency, of course you still have lighting in your initial painting, but well for example you have a glowing blue orb, that blue glow is going to dramatically effect your colours, you can merge it down and use colour picking to continue, or keep them seperate and tweak elements independant of the lighting effect, that way you avoid too much hue, and washing out. but it's important to paint lights interaction with forms manually, not just say a circular gradient overlay on it's own. I'll shut up, dunno if any of this is helpful or just stuff you already know :P

dynamics wise well the old comp was compelling even despite it's stylistic and anatomical shortcomings, your character looks like he is deep in thought/trance so having super imposed imagery in the background would fit in my opinion, something that's indicative of the story or has major influence over the character in particular. and as for the font type it's neither here nor there, but I feel an odd jarring feeling about that italic font on "King of Games" out of place? :-\  not sure, but you've already established straight fonts and your bordering also reinforces straight/right angles so maybe that is it
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Ryumaru on August 04, 2012, 12:57:51 am
Yes, perspective issues are recurring in your pieces. The headband feels tacked on because it is out of perspective with the head.
currently the headband is as if we are looking up at it, but clearly from the brow and diminishing proportions of the face we are looking down. we would have to be extremely close to the character and using a fish eye lense for there to be that much change in angle from the brow to the band.
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Corinthian Baby on August 04, 2012, 07:26:04 pm
This is why I love this place :)

@Grimsane: Some good points in here. I hadn't really thought of digitally painting in a traditional painting style, because while there are 2 mediums, one is an imitation of the other, but also has less limitations, but it totally makes sense. Sometimes when I paint on a canvas, I think, if only I could undo! Pallet control is important not just in pixel art, and I get that, but to practice it is harder, especially like I said before, much less limitations.

The experience of losing the original color is something that I have encountered as well. The color smudging as you have in your example does seem useful, but you say you only use it if it's in the brush? I'm using photo shop, and don't know if I have any smudge brushes, the actual smudge tool is a hand cursor. Also both colors have to be on the same layer right? This painting has a lot of layers that aren't all connected, unless I, gulp, merge down.

I like the idea of having a color render with the pallet, but this is already beyond that stage, good ref for the future though. Also, I don't use a lot of the effects like lighting or gradients etc, because, being bred from pixel art I find it cheap, and like to render things myself. Of course in some instances they are useful shortcuts, but I haven't yet mastered their uses to become that.

Maybe that font is out of place, or I can experiment if it doesn't have italics. Wondering if other elements might clutter the composition, because the character is central/big, but I do like the feel of the older poster. Maybe I can put the dragon in, or that spirit looming over the character. Could even have a thinner, smaller wash of the old man with that gaze of amazement. Should the sword be held higher? More sleepless rambles required.

@Ryumaru: Perspective is a weakness of mine, but that's why I like it when you guys blow up my spot, because it forces me to tackle it head on, which is the only way I'm going to get better at it. So, I guess the headband should more bent downward, in a wide "U" like shape?

I haven't had a chance to make any edits yet, but want to, hopefully within the next few days I'll have an update based on the advice so far.
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: yaomon17 on August 04, 2012, 09:08:44 pm
From what I understand, the headband should follow the top red line which is parallel to the line intersecting both eyes.

Also, from below the eyes, the nose seems to shift to the right and then the mouth as if his head is slanted. At least that is what I am seeing :\
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Ryumaru on August 05, 2012, 03:15:15 am
Yep, like a "U" shape just as in yaomon's edit; and the slanted mouth and other points he brings up are good ones to fix as well. Don't be afraid to draw the guidelines in. Do it on another layer so you can always check that what you're doing lines up to it. Some can have the mindset that this is "cheating" or otherwise amateur, but rest assured that making good work with the means available is neither of those.
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Ai on August 05, 2012, 03:38:57 am
I've tried alot of digital apps that try to simulate brush dynamics and it's quite often hit and miss everyone has a different sense of ideal dynamics, programs like My paint are relatively rigid with the paramaters but photoshop Painter and a few others allow alot of tweaking
.. Mypaint, rigid with the parameters? It's insanely flexible. Seriously, for almost all 40 output settings you can combine 9+ inputs with a custom curve for each. That's 360 dimensions of customization. It's important to understand what the buttons to the right of each numerical slider do, otherwise you will miss out on most of this customizability.
On the subject of traditional painting, though, unlike Painter MyPaint isn't intended to simulate traditional media accurately, rather, to explore what digital painting can do.

Personally on the subject of color mixing, I find using GPick (a palette editor) to generate ramps works best for me.. there are multiple ways of mixing the colors (RGB,HSV, LAB) and I can create a number of discrete steps with an interactive preview.

 Once the 'main' colors in the ramps have been created though, smudge mixing works well. If I just start with smudge mixing, it tends to produce somewhat uninspired intermediate colors, but once I've gotten enough shades, using fancy mixing methods stops being particularly helpful.
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Grimsane on August 05, 2012, 09:19:06 am
merging down is a step you should take at some point, but to be fair it does come with confidence, you have to have the realistic mindset that anything you do to push the piece away from the final intention can be repainted or adjusted with no additional layers, I think the best way to do it is, use layers when you are adding an additional level of detail for example shadows, or highlights, or lighting, and then you can flick it on or of to see if it enhances or detracts, and then you can adjust the transparency and maybe colour curves and contrast of the additional layer until it fits the best, then merge down, and I think having 2 full composition layers isn't a bad thing, ie work your piece merge down, then duplicate, work on the duplicate and toggle the top layer on and off see if your composition has improved if not you can go back, most often you won't but it really does offer a reassurance,it also helps you notice if you modify an area that was working well with something not so, you can always re-incorporate the original portion. one massive thing is to not be possessive and 'marry' alot of what you do, if you do something and it looks great in isolation and you are proud of it, but overall it detracts from the composition redraw/re-render it! and selection areas that are off and rotating the crap out of them to fix the anatomy is one thing that is majorly efficient and a definite advantage of the digital medium, redrawing from scratch is something you do in traditional medium because you have to, just shifting rotating and breaking apart components and making them fit then re rendering once you have fixed the issue is definitely something worthwhile, something like this:


would've taken me a long while to change without using that method, it's not really concrete suggestions just illustrating the use of tools (it wasn't very well thought out :P), the perspective tool is great for bringing planes into perspective and is often used in alot of compositions I've noticed, easiest way to do ground and is used frequently in concept art, to get a top down texture of the floor and to perspective shift it as the ground plane, it's incredibly flat though so it's limiting, but as a basis for establishing your perspective it can be useful, and for warping ground level elements, also did some rough solid brush paint over on some areas also I did notice a few things particularly you've stuck too close to that reference the character looks incredibly feminine and baby faced even for a youth.

oh and I didn't specify accurately , I never use smudging as a painting tool, but when you juxtapose rotated segments smudging the resulting sharp edges together and for palettes etc it's a time saver.

and cheap? well it it can be, like anything. but when used effectively it's incredibly useful and time effective, some artists use it as a reference and then paint there own gradient over it with brush strokes to better simulate traditional medium, but using the 'perfect' gradients and shapes as guidelines, and yeah on its own it's cheap but as a really subtle overlay layer to establish the light, then using that to manually light the areas effected it's quite effective.

regarding my paint settings I said so hesitantly and will blame being sleep deprived :P I have only used the software a couple times and the interface is not the most intuitive, but just now I opened it and noticed the plethora of parameters so I stand corrected, and what I should have said is that the default brush dynamics aren't to my liking, I assumed there was a way to customized but rushed for time the few times I used it It wasn't that apparent (the brush setting icon is an asterisk :huh: but admittedly mousing over them for tool tips at the time would've been advisable..)

and while creating really comprehensive ramps is useful most traditional artists had a really basic palette, and the mixing was by eye and there was always subtle differences, there may be such a thing as too much palette control :P in an analogy like an artist buying 64 tubes of paint Vs 12 , but that's the thing smudge mixing is more suited for simulating colour mixing not colour selection, you select your tubes close to what you want the colour then adjust with another colour, you don't combine red with white to make a brighter red from a dark red base paint, you go out and buy a bright red or you'll just end up with pink, and overmixing is the same in traditional medium it =ugly browns in digital art it =poor murky colours, which is essentially what colour picking from the canvas becomes over time.

and yeah Gpick is quite useful haven't used it personally but even having equivalents of established colour hues is a great benefit for simulated painting.

and if you are looking for movie poster stylings and inspiration I'd look no further than Drew Struzan, google search garnered these: here (http://blog.signalnoise.com/2011/04/26/the-art-of-drew-struzan/) is a small selection of his work in one place, or if you have the time his official portfolio (http://www.drewstruzan.com/illustrated/portfolio/) with pages of HQ images of his posters, looks like you used starwars posters as an inspiration for your older piece anyway :P
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Corinthian Baby on August 07, 2012, 06:42:54 am
Man, some great stuff in this topic. Well, I got around to tryin to put some of it to the test in a new edit, and pixelation is successfully moved, so here it is:
Changed the arc of the headband, brightened up the whole painting on a separate levels layer, tried the smudge tool to imitate oil paint, and tried to make him more masculine, (mouth, scowl) while adjusting some of the edges (face, shoulder) with a wireframe trace overlay. Also tilted the sword to be more like Grimsane's edit, because I think it works better for composition, likewise painted some more sky to coverup the city, even though I didn't flatten it like he did. (I will though, don't worry, just didn't get to it.)

Here is the wireframe overlay for comparison, although I suppose a 50% transp transformed of orig would work as well:
Doesn't line up perfectly, but unsure if I should follow it too exactly.

GPick seems like a cool program to help with colors so might check it out, otherwise, still habitually color picking, but I think the colors here work well, especially in contrast to the darker version.

I have done that trick before, where you merge down, copy that to a new layer, and use it as a new base. It's way easy to check the progression, so I did it here, and I think it's improving. Good organized layers are evidence of good workflow, which I am trying to get better at. To not fall in love with work is something I've heard before, and experienced, especially in traditional painting. One little mistake and you have to paint over it. I've also had paintings lost in time, stolen or painted over entirely, so I've felt the struggle before, but that's part of the reason why I like digital painting. You can undo, and have infinite copies of it. Transform controls def offers a lot of freedom, hence the sword rotation. Def one of the things I don't miss about painting on canvas is making those colors, or trying to get a color back later, though appreciate the formal competency it has given me through practicing it.

Familiar with the work of Drew Struzan, and love his style. Those Star Wars posters for the prequel trilogy are great, and I have used for comp ref. Another great is John Alvin, don't think I'll ever get over his orig Bladerunner poster. I'm just wondering if the comp here is compelling enough to be comparable to that general style (not to their own work of course, they're masters.) Was experimenting with that dragon from the older version but can't seem to fit into a place that makes sense. Also thinking about using some kind of soul energy, also like the other version (the grey dude over the hero), but again hard to have a major element just to the side without detracting attention from the central focal point. Although, I could push the title up and have more vertical space, hmm.

Actually, after studying some of those posters I got some inspiration for a new more collagey comp, sketched it out on paper:
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: PixelPiledriver on August 07, 2012, 05:35:43 pm
Some rough stuff:

At first I thought the title referred to monsters.
Monstrous Wars! Rawr!
But after giving it some thought and taking in the tone of the image I came to the idea that its a representation of war as sad, gruesome, and evil.
Forgive me, I haven't played the game yet, so that may be an inaccurate interpretation.
Didn't get to the text, which is equally important of course.

Actually I wasn't as focused on the meaning of the edit as the composition while drawing it.
The study of st paul has a curve in it:

I wanted to use the curve in his body as half of an ellipse.
This is all I started with and cared about.
A simple design theory:

Here's the flow:

And the here's the overall shape:

I'm not suggesting that your image should look like this.
You are going for a more hierarchical type of composition.
But explore some drastically different composition theories quickly.
Its good to see a sketchy design in your latest post.
Try to make about 15-30 (or more) of these, all with different theories and layouts.
There's really nothing wrong with the current setup, or the sketchy design.
But don't limit yourself just because you have a lot of paint on the canvas already.

You're on a good path and you'll end up with something cool.
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Corinthian Baby on August 07, 2012, 09:11:10 pm
Very interesting investigation of composition, pixel piledriver. Although, you're first interpretation of the title was correct, dragons get unleashed on the world and start tearing it apart, rather than the main character slicing up children, but the flow of the image is more important. Good observation noting the curve of the figure, and using that as a starting point for composition. Something I need to do more of.

I feel that basic shapes are best for compositions, especially in the hierarchical style. Yours goes in a circle, my approach is more triangular. I did a rough mockup for each type: (and made them smaller so I'm not always posting full res for comp studies)

Changed the rift, which is kind of like a black hole that souls of the dead leak out of, to encircle the chara's head. The frame def adds a visual focus that sucks you in. The negative space adds to the weight of the situation, and I get some room to play with a crumbling cliff or city background.

(http://i.imgur.com/W5Ool.png) (http://i.imgur.com/mbRQT.png)
More akin to traditional movie posters, tension btwn each subject. Also by dividing the canvas diagonally, it lends itself visually to the world being pulled apart, as there is unbalance, and overall seems more dynamic.

I agree that it's necessary to exhaust comp ideas, that's why I'm playing around with it now before I continue painting.

I can see either of these working, is the new one worth pursuing?

edit: can't stop playing with this now, here's another one:
Teeters more towards diamond structure.
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Corinthian Baby on August 15, 2012, 05:22:38 am
Still working on this, developed the orig composition some more after ruling out some of the trials:
Major Changes:
-Tried to fix the perspective within the realm of creating a BG.
-Made minor facial adjustments.
-Developed the rendering of his torso. My ref is cut off around this area so there's some guesswork involved. Is the anatomy alright? Does his shoulder look off? Is his head too big? Should there be part of the other arm shown to hold the sword?
-Rendered the medallion and headband some more.
-Started sketching out the sword.
-The rift portal halo frames the main chara's face.
-Trying to shift the border so both sides are the same length.

My main concerns are anatomy and perspective at this point. Though I'm afraid the less sketchy silhouette of the katana looks less menacing than before and could effect composition. I also considered moving the BG dragon to more along the horizon to suggest that it is maybe ravaging the world. Thoughts?
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Grimsane on August 17, 2012, 06:28:46 am
is that green thing a dragon or a brain fart? :lol:

joking aside, I'm glad to see you still persevering away at this, I'll offer some more suggestions and possible things to consider, how old is he? because the baby face doesn't quite match that body in my mind, this might be too mature and masculine but i'd suggest trying not to marry the reference too much, it is really showing. and It might be just me but with the downward viewing angle of the main character I think the horizon would be much higher, probably higher than in my quick mouse edit. also the sword, I am starting to wonder if it will even work well, if you did something like in PPD's edit then it would work but just the blade it's disconnected and doesn't necessarily flow with the composition, if you put it on his back you could do some nice rendering of the handle, and also free up some canvas space for some other elements, which is desirable if you decide to go in the poster direction. well that's all I have for now


*ed, well I was going to just suggest trying to use some elements overlapping with the black borders for effect, and figured I'd try the sword but it looks ridiculous, and just randomly sketched up some other ideas  :huh:


I'm so sorry  :'(  :lol:

I'll also point out that the dark halo/void region around the head is implying the character is consumed by darkness in some way, and if that's not the case I'd move it.
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: StaticSails on August 17, 2012, 04:16:07 pm
I think having the sword tilt away is probably hurting the composition it doesn't lead your eye to the hero. Keep in mind that the huge contrast in value and color will turn it into a focal point.

Grimsane makes some good points, mostly about the face. It's too baby faced right now. I think his solution is a little too extreme, something in between should work. Don't be afraid to move away from your reference.
I liked the idea of the hilt. Behind him could work, but infront of him you can practice drawing hands! Win win.

I tossed some rim lighting in because I wanted some of the forms on the left side to pop out a little and not just blend into other colors.

The background should probably soften as things go into the distance. This is just how focus works. Arne's art tutorial taught me this. Reference it, it has a lot of important info.

Played with the hair a little, I thought it was a little too noisy and pushed some colors into it. The pure black/grey/white looked off in an image that had so much hazy color floating around. Same with the other greyscale parts.

Bright halo instead of a dark halo? Your call.
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Dr D on August 18, 2012, 02:23:22 am
My main concern with this piece is story/composition.

What I really want to know is what he is doing.

PPD touched on this somewhat on his post.

I can't really tell if he's sad, in deep thought, or just looking extremely downwards.

Due to the camera angle chosen, we can not see what is in front of the character, and are barely able to see what's behind him. He is obviously the main focal point of the image but seems very lackluster. It might be my lack of imagination, but I can't really make anything out of this piece. We need more context clues, maybe choose a different angle/perspective. Show a secondary point of interest to relate to the character.

All I see right now is a guy with crazy hair, a white headband, sword and necklace, and I can't really get more out of it than that. I think you should ask yourself where exactly you want to go with this piece, what you want to showcase, and what the point of the character in the picture is, and maybe reconstruct.
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Corinthian Baby on August 20, 2012, 02:51:51 am
Alright, some good points coming up.
It's a dragon, thought something in the bg might conjure up some interest in a subtle way, but not sure that it accomplishes that. The main chara is in his teens, probably from 15-17 somewhere. I thought the ref might be around the same age, so I followed it pretty closely. Tried to address the BG/perspective. You edits looks more flat and receding, whereas it's meant to look like he's on a cliff pretty high up with a vista behind him.

I dig the idea of breaking the border for interest, but due to the central focus of the comp, I don't have a huge opportunity to. As silly as that alt edit is, it's interesting to see it interpreted in that way and it's interesting to see how the same elements can convey something completely different given a quick posture/focal change.

Great edit! I just wish it wasn't jpeg so I could see the brushstrokes up close. As soon as I read Grimsane's post, I thought of the same comp that you suggested, sword in hand, just facing the other way. You made some valid points and I tried to incorporate them into the painting, following the edit somewhat closely. I would say dark halo because it's not actually a halo, but a portal behind him, though the light one looks cool as well. Thinking about encasing the figure in some sort of fiery glow a la Goku's kaio ken to denote some kind of soul energy. (as it is relevant to story, and might look cool). I def need to look at Arne's tutorial more in depth, I've only really skimmed it.

@Dr D :
I suppose I can see where your confusion stems from, it is somewhat ambiguous, but it's meant to generate interest in the game while showing some of its core themes. The main chara is in deep contemplation/day-dreaming but he's also battle ready and concentrated. It can be read as any of them, and dreaming is also relevant story-wise. It's a throwback to the one man army/weight of the world type of composition a la classic samurai flicks;
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513QCVKZEPL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQGtdSrgPw_1Su3V0AfRcF_ICf8yXRpK9uRgFrliy4UdOIuQDXtxJZ6nimw)(http://www.vcinemashow.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Ronin-Gai.png)
Part of the ambiguity is to create interest kind of like an advert, to drive people to look into what the product is. I'm not opposed to reconstruction but it'd be basically starting over, when the investment here is that it serves its function. I think you would be right if it were its own painting and not part of something bigger. (the game it coincides with.)
Ok, for actual update/edits:
Main version, tried to make it look like he is maybe flicking his sword out of its case. Again it can be interpreted that he is opening it (start of battle) or sheathing it (battle won).
Alt 1: No rift portal/halo:                                                                                Alt 2: Rough/fading border
(http://i.imgur.com/jC160.png)                 (http://i.imgur.com/c4SLy.png)

Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: StaticSails on August 20, 2012, 06:49:32 pm
My brushstrokes barely exist, I mostly use a soft brush or a kind of soft brush. Don't worry about your texture until you've got your form and composition figured out. Keep playing with those thumbnails. Study what is happening in the posters and work you like. Why is it good?

I think you might want to abandon this painting you're emulating. It's creating conflicts with composition. If he's looking down, he's looking at nothing.
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513QCVKZEPL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) This guy is looking to the right implying that there's something else out there. Not a great composition, but it's a little better.

If you're gonna have a portal behind him you'll need it to read as a portal. Either show where it leads or at least hint that it leads somewhere. Right now it reads as an aura or something, so you might want move it from being directly behind him. Right now it's a black halo, not a portal.
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Liksmaskaren on August 21, 2012, 02:34:04 am
I would like to see something more like this:

Yeah, the edit looks like shit but I made him look at the image and I also moved him to the power corner.
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Corinthian Baby on August 21, 2012, 05:40:50 am
Hm, alright it was meant to look like his eyes were closed, not just looking down. Here's a quick edit that shows him with eyes.
(http://i.imgur.com/0s3Ym.png) (http://i.imgur.com/EMWEz.png)
The looking off screen thing is a good tech, always brings me back to that Blade Runner poster, which is a good thing. 2nd one is me playing with placement.

Really cool edit, a lot more evocative of those samurai refs I posted. I like the suggested action, unsure about the placement despite employing rule of thirds. Will experiment further and post results.
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Liksmaskaren on August 21, 2012, 01:16:46 pm
The upper right corner is the one that has the most authority. The lower left is the one has none.
I made this edit to include a Fibonacci spiral in it.

Sloppy edit, but that spiral makes everything look more interesting. The edit doesn't follow the spiral that good but I simply didn't have the time to make a better edit.
Just throwing some ideas in there for you. Don't think that I don't like the image, because I do.
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Corinthian Baby on August 21, 2012, 10:50:02 pm
Here's another 1x version. Tried to develop the face more, played with the sky/clouds to be more dynamic. Put the portal back in only more portal/auraish/cloud-splitting. Do his eyes look alright? Is the perspective in line with the downward view?
Shifting my ref a bit to this (The kid flipped horizontally that is):
(Which is a great game btw, http://wadjeteyegames.com/gemini-rue.html and a successful poster: http://www.hardydev.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/GruePoster-small.png) Also wondering about the black bars, if I should nix them and keep the top for the title, fade them, or keep them as is.

I guess I never thought of which section commands the most power of an image, is there a specific reason the top right is most demanding? I've thought about moving him to the left or right to have more empty space on either side. Eliminating the black bars would heighten this as well. The composition in your edit seems more square based than spiral, although I appreciate the idea. I'm hesitant to change it so drastically because I want to finish this piece in the next week or so.
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: StaticSails on August 22, 2012, 03:02:21 am
I think you need a photo references. Pull up a few and work from that. I think working from that painting is hurting you.
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Corinthian Baby on August 27, 2012, 05:48:00 am
Hard finding refs but working through this:
Liking the BG developments, maybe his face is still a bit off? Better than previous iteration but still tweaking.
face ref:
pose ref:
Also, I accidentally saved and started working in the smaller res version without knowing. Trying to reconstruct the orig res, but should I continue work on that one or the smaller version? (which is the size I posted here and has the layer integrity intact.) I could also upres the smaller version and paint over it, but is this worth it if I just scale it back down at the end?
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Ai on August 28, 2012, 01:09:57 am
Also, I accidentally saved and started working in the smaller res version without knowing. Trying to reconstruct the orig res, but should I continue work on that one or the smaller version? (which is the size I posted here and has the layer integrity intact.) I could also upres the smaller version and paint over it, but is this worth it if I just scale it back down at the end?
Increasing the resolution of the smaller version could be profitable, if (a) you're willing to do some repainting to restore edge sharpness, and (b) you use a sophisticated scaling algorithm like GMIC's 'smart rescale', rather than a pedestrian one like bicubic.
Title: Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art
Post by: Corinthian Baby on May 22, 2013, 04:09:58 am
Rebooting this poster with a new sketch for composition:
Pose based on roningai ref I posted a while ago.