AuthorTopic: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art  (Read 14822 times)

Offline Corinthian Baby

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[Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art

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:
http://rpgmaker.net/games/1465/
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.

Offline Grimsane

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Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art

Reply #1 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.

Offline Corinthian Baby

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Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art

Reply #2 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...

Offline Grimsane

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Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art

Reply #3 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

Offline Ryumaru

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Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art

Reply #4 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.

Offline Corinthian Baby

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Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art

Reply #5 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.

Offline yaomon17

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Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art

Reply #6 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 :\
« Last Edit: August 04, 2012, 09:15:04 pm by yaomon17 »

Offline Ryumaru

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Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art

Reply #7 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.

Offline Ai

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Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art

Reply #8 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.
If you insist on being pessimistic about your own abilities, consider also being pessimistic about the accuracy of that pessimistic judgement.

Offline Grimsane

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Re: [Digital Painting] - Game Poster/Cover art

Reply #9 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 is a small selection of his work in one place, or if you have the time his official portfolio with pages of HQ images of his posters, looks like you used starwars posters as an inspiration for your older piece anyway :P