AuthorTopic: [C+C] Female 64 x 64 Portraits  (Read 3411 times)

Offline RujiK

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[C+C] Female 64 x 64 Portraits

on: March 02, 2016, 05:33:08 pm
I have about 20 (and growing) portraits that desperately need some ruthless criticism. To start, here are 4 females.



I am concerned about them looking anatomically incorrect, boring, flat, or worst of all, amateur-ish.

Please hold no punches and I thank you for your time.
(Edit: Replaced dead photobucket image with imgur image)
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 07:40:04 pm by RujiK »

Offline Friend

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Re: [C+C] Female 64 x 64 Portraits

Reply #1 on: March 02, 2016, 08:15:03 pm
the bottom 2 are drawn better, but also the bottom 2 are framed in the canvas much much better.
I might scrap the top 2 not only because the drawing errors are much more noticeable, but also because they are pretty weakly framed. The top left seems too far away and a weak pose.  The top right has a nicer pose and angle and immediately looks stronger, but the composition is still much weaker than the bottom too how the top is cut off and the chin is too close to the edge. 

That out of the way, I think the bottom two are actually done pretty well!! Stylish, sexy.  The biggest problem I have is with the colors.  This is where the bottom two look most amateurish.  The actual potential behind the nice drawing/cool hair and so forth are masked behind poor colors that fail to really show off how well you did.  It is like if a master artist draws a masterpiece that looks basically photorealistic and then takes all the colors and makes them nearly the same.  It'll look very washed out, flat and maybe even amateurish, even if you could see the immediate genius behind the lines and detail etc.




Changing your colors was really only a 3 step process.



1.) I upped contrast so it looked less washed out.  I usually do this automatically with contrast slider.  Upping contrast just made the colors pop out more from the canvas. 

2.) Then once the colors were less ghostly, I had to gamma correct.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma_correction  Basically I manually adjusted how dark shadow colors were, how mid mid tones were, and how bright highlights were individually through out the whole palette, as well as thinking about how these changes should mirror the surfaces the colors apply to most.  EG, gamma adjusting the skintones is different than for the hair.  The skin colors should be flatter and more claylike- colors smoothly fade from light to shadow.  I imagined the hair of the women as pretty glossy, so this is where really bright highlights poking through the strands works.  Note, if the skin was supposed to look more wet or oily, or if the hair was less shiny, adjusting gamma for those areas would be different. 

3.) Once gamma was adjusted, I focused on changes to mostly hue, but also value here and there.  This last portion is to go for a better unified and harmonious palette and to make sure all of the hue play within the image looks as tight as can be.  For example, I made the mid hair color on the right more purple, so the highlight colors didn't clash.  But then I lightened the skin tone up in value some just because I thought it made more sense for her, and a brighter more whiter skin also seemed better to mesh with the interesting hues going on in the image, such as the orangy skin shadows and so forth.  for the woman on the right, I decided to make the skin warmer and darker because I felt it looked better with the high contrast green hair.  I also then made the hair warmer as well because my intuition said that it just fit the character more.  I find this step just takes your intuition.  There are obviously no rules saying I had to make the skin on the right whiter etc., but I just felt out this step of the process with intuition
-----------


The actual pixeling technique COULD be tighter, less noise, better clusters and so forth.  IE, better control and attention, but it is entirely feasible in my opinion, and some things are pixeled quite well, such as the eyes in the bottom right. 
« Last Edit: March 02, 2016, 08:18:40 pm by Friend »

Offline RujiK

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Re: [C+C] Female 64 x 64 Portraits

Reply #2 on: March 03, 2016, 02:15:53 pm
Nooooo! Not the scrap it!! I would really prefer to fix the drawing errors if at all possible instead of trashing it.
But then I admit I may be suffering from Artist's bias and not seeing the obvious mistakes. ...Kinda like if I was asking how to fix this awful drawing from that singer guy:

(Mistakes are super obvious to everyone but the artist. Obviously needs to be scrapped.)

Stronger? You mean the character looks stronger? If the character looks physically weak I am not really concerned since these are mostly just random NPC's. They are not all tough heroes. As to the framing, I didn't really think about it that much to be honest but I was aiming for some variety. Probably a mistake.
 
Also, I think you are right about the contrast needing a change, but in your mock-up they kinda look like vampires, especially the last one. Maybe it's how you gave her pale skin but here eyes and lips are very dark... I will try to find a happy medium.

I really appreciate you taking the time to write all of that out and I will try to give the bottom two an update and maybe the top two a miracle and post back some time tomorrow. Would still appreciate any suggestions to save the top two if possible.

Offline Friend

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Re: [C+C] Female 64 x 64 Portraits

Reply #3 on: March 03, 2016, 10:41:29 pm
Nooooo! Not the scrap it!! I would really prefer to fix the drawing errors if at all possible instead of trashing it.

I'm not saying you have to scrap the top 2!! It is just a suggestion.  In fact you should take all criticisms as such.  It is your art.  You are in control and it is up to you to decide which criticisms you take to heart and which you disagree with.  About fixing the drawing errors, I only suggested scrapping the top 2 because it seemed like you improved in your ability to draw in the bottom two, as if the top two were done much earlier in time.  And because it might be quicker to try to start over with them than try to fix the issues, but then again it might not be.  If you don't want to scrap them then don't!  Someone else can offer more objective anatomical critique, because that is not exactly what I intended to do with my criticism in the first place.  I could try to give anatomy feedback but I need more practice in this area.

Stronger? You mean the character looks stronger? If the character looks physically weak I am not really concerned since these are mostly just random NPC's. They are not all tough heroes. As to the framing, I didn't really think about it that much to be honest but I was aiming for some variety. Probably a mistake.

I don't mean physically, I mean artistically weaker.  About the framing, in other words composition, I just felt like you had a better grasp of it in the bottom two, which is another reason why i suggested to redo the top two instead of try to fix them.

 
Also, I think you are right about the contrast needing a change, but in your mock-up they kinda look like vampires, especially the last one. Maybe it's how you gave her pale skin but here eyes and lips are very dark... I will try to find a happy medium.

How you are responding to my suggestions I think is a common problem on this forum-  Often one someone gives an edit, the original artist chooses to look at the edit as if the person who made the edit is saying "make your piece look like this."  This is never what I nor anyone else is saying with an edit. 

The thing is, I saw you had fundamental problems with your colors.  They looked washed out and the gamma needed to be fixed so that your drawing and rendering could actually come to life.  This is more of an objective criticism, if such a thing exists.  I believe I achieved this in my edit, however you say it looks not how you would like.  well, of course!  I changed your art to my tastes.  But you should not take away that your tastes should be like mine, but instead what fundamental problems I sought to correct in your art, which in this case is mainly contrast/gamma/palette issues. 

Besides, you never told us what you are trying to achieve in your work.  We don't know what style you're shooting for, what they are for etc.  etc.

I really appreciate you taking the time to write all of that out

my pleasure.  It was way too wordy and I'm sorry!

Offline RujiK

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Re: [C+C] Female 64 x 64 Portraits

Reply #4 on: March 04, 2016, 02:01:19 pm
...I saw you had fundamental problems with your colors.  They looked washed out and the gamma needed to be fixed so that your drawing and rendering could actually come to life.  This is more of an objective criticism, if such a thing exists.
Ahhh, that makes good sense then. Also I am aiming for a somewhat realistic style and trying to avoid the usual anime style pixel portraits.

So I tried fixing the redhead portrait and came up with this:

I mostly tried implementing some of your suggestions: reducing noise, improving readability, and clustering the pixels. Would this be a step in the right direction, or is it just different?

Thanks again for your input.
(Edit: Replaced dead photo link)
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 07:39:49 pm by RujiK »

Offline trough

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Re: [C+C] Female 64 x 64 Portraits

Reply #5 on: March 05, 2016, 11:51:48 pm
Quote
So I tried fixing the redhead portrait and came up with this:

I mostly tried implementing some of your suggestions: reducing noise, improving readability, and clustering the pixels. Would this be a step in the right direction, or is it just different?

Thanks again for your input.

I think the hair is a step in the right direction, and it is good that you removed lines in favor of shaded areas, but I think you have lost the resemblance of the first image in the process.  It looks like a different person, and I actually like your original more!  I hope that is not disappointing.

I like the eyes of the left image better. When zoomed out, it looks like she is looking forward and slightly up, but zooming in I can see that what I thought was the white of her eye is supposed to be a highlight, which means she is looking to her left with irises of about 4x4, where 2x2 would be a more natural size.

Her left cheek is now dark, but light seems to be coming from that side, and the opposite side of the forehead is dark.

Offline Reo

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Re: [C+C] Female 64 x 64 Portraits

Reply #6 on: March 06, 2016, 04:10:37 pm

Here are two edits I did. By no means perfect, but rather a result of me messing around.
I think there is great potential in these portraits.
What they're lacking most of all is visual interest.

There is no sense of drama. Very vanilla. A memorable portrait exudes something more, a mood, an atmosphere.
This can be achieved through the colors, facial expressions, ambiance.
Whatever mood you want to achieve can be amplified by the colors. Just working on a white background and picking a very straightforward palette doesn't set much of a mood. It's hard to get a read on what emotions these girls are feeling, because the faces don't tell us much, and neither does the colors. Contrast also make the piece pop!

As talked about before your colors make very illogical jumps. Incorporating saturated and un-natural colors can make for an interesting effect, but if they aren't tied together at all with the palette of the rest of the picture we are left with something that looks pasted on and foreign. If you are shifting hues you need intermediate shades so that effect doesn't arise. To Make the piece seem more whole.

The hair is already an improvement! One of the weakest aspects in all of the portraits was the noisy hair.
However you must be careful not to let the hair become to ''clumpy'' or it will start to read as dreadlocks, my edit of the red haired girl also suffers a bit from this. A way to avoid this would be to work the hair in mostly flat colors ( see the turquoise girl).

You could also afford to be a bit more painterly! Think less in lineart, use blocks of colors to define and separate different areas.

The basic anatomy seems pretty solid across the board. There's just need for more flair and pixel tech!
Catch our eye! Make us feel! :D
 :-*

Offline RujiK

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Re: [C+C] Female 64 x 64 Portraits

Reply #7 on: March 07, 2016, 02:21:13 pm
@trough You're right about the eyes. I think I was just trying to change stuff for the sake of changing it. Shading is a little whack too now that you mention it.

@Reo Holy cow, man! That hair is like years better than mine. Mine does look dreadlocky. I will try to plagiarize apply your style of hair.
And the skin shading... How do you do that with no reference? Most of the photos I draw from don't really have noticeable shading on the skin. Do you have like a big pack of skin shading references or do you draw all that from memory? I really am rubbish at drawing from memory. Even with pencil and paper I was never any good at it.

So how the flaming platypus do you draw skin like that? I mean sure, now that I see your image I could copy it and get pretty good results, but without that for a reference... How you do this??

Offline Gil

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Re: [C+C] Female 64 x 64 Portraits

Reply #8 on: March 07, 2016, 02:41:47 pm
So how the flaming platypus do you draw skin like that? I mean sure, now that I see your image I could copy it and get pretty good results, but without that for a reference... How you do this??
You study photographs (or live models) of skin under different lighting conditions and reproduce them through drawing. There's tons of experiments you can do, where you study just the value, try to reproduce something using limited tools (for example, I'll use a very limited amount of non-skin-colored crayons, but you could do it in pixel art with limited palettes), etc. After a while, you can reproduce skin without needing a reference, as you've got a generalized understanding in your brain.

TL;DR: you practice.

You can also approach it from a more technical direction. Once you learn how light works, which different effects it can have on a material and how a few mostly skin-specific things work (like subsurface scattering), you can also start drawing more realistic skin. Reo's edit abuses specular and reflected light to make a good skin-like material.

Offline RujiK

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Re: [C+C] Female 64 x 64 Portraits

Reply #9 on: January 13, 2021, 07:45:27 pm
I realize that this post is 4 years old, but I would just like to say that I have continued to practice and post an update: