AuthorTopic: GR#162 - Lithone 2005  (Read 8747 times)

Offline cels

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GR#162 - Lithone 2005

on: January 12, 2014, 05:46:52 am
A very early WIP, but I'd just like to know if I've committed any obvious cardinal sins in terms of composition before I go along with this.

EDIT

Latest version here:
« Last Edit: January 18, 2014, 06:05:58 pm by cels »

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #1 on: January 12, 2014, 11:46:02 am
visual weight:
too much visual weight on the right side.
mirroring the heavy part of the background ("cube" with door) that it appears on the left side should make it more balanced

focus:
it's also not a really good idea to place the characters directly in the foreground if you use a 1 point perspective, since this perspective pulls you really towards the center.
It's good usable if you have 1 main char which is exactly in the vanishing point and you will get the attention there, but currently the lines lead you to an uninteresting gray backwall panel.
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Offline cels

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #2 on: January 12, 2014, 03:56:50 pm
Much appreciated, Cyangmou! Cheers. To be continued.



Take two!



Now, I'm not really sure about the rule of odds here. The orange character is closer than the others. There's a total of six characters here, but I wonder if I should apply the rule of odds to the whole group or to the five characters in the middle.

I did intend the blue ball to be the focus here. It's an artifact of sorts.



« Last Edit: January 17, 2014, 09:41:41 am by cels »

Offline sevinkydink

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #3 on: January 17, 2014, 04:47:55 pm
Cels,

This is coming along really well.  Is the mesh within the back piece supposed to curve? Right now it looks kinda flat.  Keep going!

Offline cels

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #4 on: January 18, 2014, 02:38:07 pm
Cheers, sevinkydink. For some reason, I thought a flat texture would make sense for a force field, even when it's curved. A bit of a brainfart there, so thanks for pointing it out.



I'm currently experimenting a lot with the reflections, because I haven't really been able to find any good tutorials. When I search for tutorials on chrome effects, I either get photoshop tutorials or someone drawing a metal ball with charcoal. When I search for window reflections, I get silly tutorials about how to draw mirror images in windows or how to draw a glass vase.

At this point:
- I understand that the glass reflection is probably not correct, but I don't understand the different ways of drawing glass reflections and how these depend on the light sources.
- The metal reflections are probably not correct anywhere, but I'm going for a 1980's cartoon style and it's proving impossible to find a tutorial, so I'm just watching old cartoons.
- I'm having a lot of trouble understanding the relationship between reflections on metal objects and their light source. How do you decide the reflections of light on a given flat metal surface in relation to the light source? How do you decide the gradient on a single metal surface compared to many smaller metal surfaces forming a bigger surface?


Offline API-Beast

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #5 on: January 18, 2014, 04:39:26 pm
Angles my friend.

Lighting mostly depends on angle and not much on distance at all. As such you won't really have gradients unless you have curved surfaces. For spot lights/directional you shouldn't have any gradients. Point lights are a bit trickier since even on a flat surface light is hitting it from different angles at different points, but that is only really noticeable if a object is very near to the point light itself.

However, metal is reflective, as such even on a flat surface you will see some strong highlights, but these highlights don't come from the diffuse lighting at all, they are just a reflection of the light source, as such it is not as uniform. Metal tends to be quite dark with some very bright spots on it from reflections.

Offline cels

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #6 on: January 18, 2014, 05:50:57 pm
Thanks! I understand that angles are more important than distance. That's what I was trying to convey in that little illustration - the problem is I have no idea how angles impact the reflection.

If you have the time at some point, I'd love to see an edit where you explain what you mean. Words can only transmit so much information to my dull mind.

And I would like to stress that I'm not going for photorealism here, I'm trying to imitate the style used in 1980's cartoons. Here's an example from a Silverhawks episode, but you can find virtually the same style in 9/10 popular cartoons from the 1980s.

Offline Probo

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #7 on: January 18, 2014, 05:58:33 pm
ive always thought those diagonal band reflections in old cartoons were just stylistic most of the time, and not realistic? id like to hear more on that

edit: I should add, when i have used them ive always drawn them with the highest point of the diagonal being nearer the lightsource and the lowest point being further away, but apart from that i always thought it was kind of winging it, a quick way to make things look like reflective without having to draw the world reflected in the material. particularly in low budget animation
« Last Edit: January 18, 2014, 06:36:29 pm by Probo »

Offline Mr. Fahrenheit

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #8 on: January 18, 2014, 09:11:48 pm
Yeah, the diagnols are basically just the animators trying to simulate the different bands of light that would appear on the metal but without actually trying to render out the enviroment onto their reflective metal, which would be more "correct".

Offline Probo

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #9 on: January 18, 2014, 09:26:54 pm
just occured to me that its easiest to do on flat surfaces with no curvature too, which with that in mind may actually have had in impact on some of the designs.

Offline cels

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #10 on: January 19, 2014, 05:55:08 am
Yes, it's definitely a stylistic choice, and not a realistic one. And I really want to stay true to that style of art in this piece, also by keeping those dark lines. Some of the 1980's cartoons have some really high contrast with a lot of black and near-black fields, which is something it would be cool to achieve here, perhaps.
And indeed, the reflection technique I mentioned above is usually applied to flat surfaces. On curved surfaces, it's easier to apply more normal and realistic techniques, even in cartoons. I had already picked up on that, but thanks anyway :)

A minor edit with the classic, mandatory "diagonal bands of light" over the window. It's the same principle, perhaps, which I don't understand in either windows, metals or other reflective surfaces.

Offline Probo

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #11 on: January 19, 2014, 01:49:19 pm


quick edit i did. I changed the direction of the lines, and to my eyes your reflection was too dark, it looked almost like a tint.

i did away with the sun/moon, i couldnt quite square the fact the glass was reflecting a lot of the light from the inside with such a bright light coming in from the outside. but perhaps it could look fine if my reflection banding wasnt so OTT and centralised

i also added a top to the window frame, which let me add shadows into the reflection lines

just some ideas!

Offline HarveyDentMustDie

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #12 on: January 19, 2014, 05:31:08 pm
Probo created a good edit. I agree that sun(or moon whatever) should be removed, cause image was to busy. Also maybe you should play around more with those diagonal lines on glass that Probo created, they are good but maybe it's to may of them.

I have problem with reflection on top part of that dome. Light is one direction only. With this many flat metal surfaces definitely will be some reflections from walls, so left and right part wouldn't be so dark.

Dark and light blue on those metal pillars(in walls), should be distorted reflection of environment. They should have some orange tone too, if you aiming for semi-realistic render.
This room is very well lit and have many reflective surfaces, but definitely there will be some shadows.

I really like the the "tunnel" in bottom right, and small heart under the dome, nice details. :)

Overall this is nice image and very good challenge for your skills.  :y:

Offline Mathias

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #13 on: January 19, 2014, 06:30:57 pm
Lighting too monotonous. Eye confused. Draw it to the important stuff.

Sloppy light edit:


Floating stasis crystal, why not.

I like the aforementioned idea to use only one light source, maybe ditching the blue sun.

Offline HezaKey

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #14 on: January 19, 2014, 11:39:04 pm
This might be an idea to keep in mind, but the reason reflections band on glass (and metal) is that it's surface is never perfectly flat.  Glass warps and it also get's worse as it ages.  If the glass is fairly warped there can also be rather organic shapes, but there's also loads of other stuff that can affect the shape of the reflection (light source: round or square, objects block lightsource, amount of warping in glass)

Also metal reflects it's environment.  Using your example, even stylized, the reflections are mostly white or a darker color... because it's space!  Something like Chrome would give you a near perfect reflection.  I think you can still be stylized with them, but also hint at the surrounding environment through the reflections.  (Doesn't have to be 100% correct, since are brains aren't geared towards spotting inconsistencies with reflections.)

If I look a little harder I can actually see what kind of environment those screenshots are in.

1. sun
2. strong light source: possibly nearby star
3. Actually not too sure, seems to have some soft light from below
4. Seems to be flying over a nebula, actually probably a reflection of the purple/black portions of the sky/space
5. lit from above, clouds or warping causing bands
6. at least one or two overhead lights
7. sun again.  Darker bands are actually just a lack of reflection on the windows.
8. Nearby light source reflected on the vehicle. (white)

I mean these are all super stylized, and not 100% correct, but they still correlate to their surroundings.

Anyway, I hope that was some helpful insight.  Let me know if I should clarify anything.

Offline cels

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #15 on: January 21, 2014, 02:03:36 am
Here is the reference I'm primarily using for this piece. It's a collection of screenshots from the 1985 Transformers movie, featuring the planet Lithone which is destroyed in the year 2005.


@ Probo: I quite liked the sun, but I understand what you and Harvey are saying, so I removed it.
I will play around with the glass reflection, but I don't really like changing the direction of the lines without understanding why. I really wanted to use this piece to learn more about reflections, so it feels like admitting defeat if I just do stuff because "it feels right". Especially when it comes to something where a correct answer does exist and it's not just a matter of taste.  Your version is probably correct, but I'd like to understand why!
I will say that yours look more easily recognisable as glass reflections, due to the light colours with low saturation, but I rather liked the tinted glass effect I had going, so I'll need to look at a compromise that makes sense.
In regards to the window frame, this is the one thing I am certain I will not include, because I feel it makes the scene a bit cramped and takes away focus from the horizon.

Thank you a lot for your edit, it did indeed give me a lot to think about!

@ HarveyDentMustDie: Thank you, I fixed the top of the dome! In regards to the pillars, I will try to see if there's a good way to add a little bit of orange reflection to them, without losing the current style. Thanks for the suggestion, I was reluctant to try it at first, but it may work. Which heart do you mean, by the way?  :)

@ Mathias: This is one of those times when someone takes a piece I'm working with and then transform it into something entirely different, but better looking. Your edit has much more atmosphere, it's more interesting to look at, it leads the eyes much better to the focal piece... but the only problem is that it fundamentally conflicts with what I intended this piece to be, namely an experiment with the bright, shiny, naive, dazzling, plastic-fantastic style of the 1980's. Not to mention working with shiny metal in a bright setting.
I will try to do a compromise between our two different versions, and in particular you've shown me that my last version sorely lacked contrast and realistic lighting on a larger scale.

Thanks for taking the time to do that edit!

@milokey: I understand perfectly what you mean.  Thank you. You seem to have a fairly technical understanding of these reflections, but I'm still hoping that someone will explain to me the angles involved. I have a lot of gradients and bands of light to represent reflections of various light sources, but all the angles I have chosen are almost completely random. I don't understand what I'm doing here, so I'm hoping someone is able to give me a more technical explanation. See my third post in this thread. If you can help, I would be very grateful indeed.

My latest WIP. I have not finished incorporating all the ideas and advice you guys have given me, so this will change rapidly.

Offline Cyangmou

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #16 on: January 21, 2014, 09:33:48 am
How the angles are drawn is just hightly stylized to show that it's metal or glass.

The direction of them in your screenshots depends on the overall composition and how they emphasized the action line with those reflection lines.
glass and metal always have different reflection angles
The most complex scenario is screen 7, there it seems that all of the reflection lines show to the engine.
In all other screens the lines are mostly parallel

In the other references you posted, you can see that the background metal-lighting has a much softer contrast, is in general softer, but the general direction leads you always to the focal points (I suppose it's made like that because it's an animation and they show the pictures just for a really short period of time)

If you go with the same technique as for the sprites, you could get an attention problem with the fighting contrasts of bg and fg.

TO prevent this you should emphasize the light (as Mathias showed in his edit) even more.
And adding more softer washes/gradients to the bands later on.

parts which would need more darkening:
back area and
beneath the left window.
Front left column could be darker to act as visual counterweight to the cabin/cylinder/teleporter (whatever?)
« Last Edit: January 21, 2014, 09:49:11 am by Cyangmou »
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Offline r1k

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #17 on: January 21, 2014, 09:38:09 am
I think you should start blocking the figures in.  The image reads well enough now, but how will you need to adjust contrast and focus once the figures are there?  Only way to know is to put them in.

Offline HarveyDentMustDie

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #18 on: January 22, 2014, 01:27:37 am
In version from January 19, red thing under the dome, looked like a floating heart to me.  :D

Offline Mathias

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #19 on: January 22, 2014, 01:38:56 am
. . .
@ Mathias: This is one of those times when someone takes a piece I'm working with and then transform it into something entirely different, but better looking. Your edit has much more atmosphere, it's more interesting to look at, it leads the eyes much better to the focal piece... but the only problem is that it fundamentally conflicts with what I intended this piece to be, namely an experiment with the bright, shiny, naive, dazzling, plastic-fantastic style of the 1980's. Not to mention working with shiny metal in a bright setting.
I will try to do a compromise between our two different versions, and in particular you've shown me that my last version sorely lacked contrast and realistic lighting on a larger scale.

Thanks for taking the time to do that edit!
. . .

No problem!
But yeah, sorry about that. I saw your project here and immediately thought of a few ways to bolster it's presentation simply with light, so that was the goal of the edit.

But, in chasing that vintage look you're after, do you think it's possible that you're trying to imitate inferior art, and therefore hurting your own potential improvement? I guess as long as you're not trying to specifically imitate the "bad" traits of 80's stuff, you'll be ok. Do you have reference examples to share?

Offline HezaKey

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #20 on: January 22, 2014, 03:07:41 am
I did an edit.





Mostly tried to imagine what would be reflected in the large gray pillars in the back. Also adjusted the lighting a bit.  The large dome suggested one large light, but it also looked like it might be placed offcenter in the room, so I did four smaller lights instead. (I know, more light sources.  Just what you always wanted)

The other thing was just... following the light around and putting shadows in there place (the dome was mysteriously not casting much of a shadow on the walls, despite having a light source in it) and finding a few places where light would be bouncing up off the shiny surfaces and lighting up the bottom of things.
Found a tiny perspective mistake, and then lit up the sides of the gold with purple in some places to reflect what's outside the window.

You can probably reflect the outdoor scenery on the floor as well, but I didn't do that here because I forget.

Offline cels

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #21 on: January 22, 2014, 04:03:47 am
Thanks for your continued help, guys. It's all very encouraging!

I'm sorry to post yet another version with few changes to the background, but even this silly mockup took me about 3 hours of fiddling. And even so, it's just a crude mockup of what I want to accomplish. So bear with me, because I work at a very slow pace. I'm not forgetting about what's been suggested earlier in the thread.

@r1k: Cheers! What do you think?



EDIT: Now that I look at this in the light of day, I'm not happy with the scene at all. But at least it gives some indication in regards to the colours, the composition, etc. And I'll change actions and positions of the characters later.

The extremely heavy black shadows will be slimmed down, but I am rather keen to keep very dark lines and high contrast on the characters.

@Cyangmou: You may be right that there's no particular pattern in regards to the angle of the reflection lines, except the artists' desire to guide the eyes of the viewer. I hadn't considered that. It would be very disappointing.
I will try to follow your advice about reducing the contrast in the banding on background metal textures, and darken some of the above-mentioned areas of the background. I'm not sure why glass and metal always have different reflection lines. Could you explain that?

@Mathias: Are you asking for reference examples of 1980's cartoons with the style that I'm trying to imitate? Or are you asking for more screenshots? If it's the former, then I would mention Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, Galaxy Rangers, the Centurions... that whole genre of action cartoons.

You raise an interesting point about trying to imitate inferior art. I think that most of what I'm trying to accomplish is perfectly useful, such as going for a clean and shiny style, exaggerating the amount of reflections, or experimenting with very high saturation and high contrast. The only stylistic choice that may be a bit dubious is the addition of those reflection "bands", but I think that I'm so aware of it that there's no way I'm going to end up applying that technique to anything else.  And it's a very specific technique.

@milokey: Some of what you did, I really like. The spotlights on the floor, the changes to the steel columns, the little bit of shadow on the cable. But there's one thing I somewhat disagree with / don't understand. In my mind, there are three significant light sources at play - the energy ball inside the force field, the multiple lamps somewhere above in the ceiling, and the "sun" somewhere outside to the left, illuminating the landscape and the window frames.  With that in mind, I don't see how there would be any light from the dome on the walls, because the sunlight wouldn't be able to hit the dome due to the surrounding walls.

But I will try to implement the other changes you've suggested. Perhaps one of the spotlights from above could conveniently land on the kneeling character.  :D
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 02:16:06 pm by cels »

Offline cels

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #22 on: January 31, 2014, 11:09:03 am


Started from scratch with the characters. I think this is slightly better, although it still has a few issues. Right now, it kind of reads like an episode from some high school romance, which isn't really what I was going for.

Offline HarveyDentMustDie

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Re: [WIP] Lithone 2005

Reply #23 on: February 02, 2014, 09:43:59 pm
This is to casual for this kind of scene. Try to create some event, something that will catch the viewer eyes. Maybe some man giving speech to the crowd, or fight of two characters which are surrounded with other characters. You can also make it horror, like very beginning of devastation, aliens are walking out of the dome, and the rest of the character are running or shooting etc. Find something that have impact. :D