AuthorTopic: [C+C][WIP] Anatomy Study + Character Design  (Read 3625 times)

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[C+C][WIP] Anatomy Study + Character Design

on: July 10, 2016, 09:28:31 am
I'm planning, emphasis on planning, haven't started yet, but have some ideas, to write a story/novel about the events of an apocalypse and post-apocalypse set in modern-day Philippines, and I'm making designs for the characters that are the main focus of the story, how does this concern you?

Because I'm looking for pointers and advice on anatomy and character design.


Here's a base for one of the characters, I feel confident I've gotten the parts mostly correct from the torso upwards, but I feel like there's something wrong with the legs/feet, I think they're too long.


Here's progress on his character design, he wears a "salakot", a respirator, body armor below an over-sized shirt with the sleeves cut-off, an equipment belt, pants with body armor below it, and sandals. I haven't gone and make the legs yet, because of doubts said before. I will also be continuing in colouring and fleshing the base out, because I need anatomy practice.

I haven't written any of the story, yet. Just want to make sure my characters are already filled with life beforehand.

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Re: [C+C][WIP] Anatomy Study + Character Design

Reply #1 on: July 10, 2016, 10:13:14 am
...advice on anatomy...

It looks like you're doing what every anatomy newbie does(myself included and I still way too often do exactly that) which is to try to copy anatomical details without first laying down gesture and without gaining a solid understanding of the construction of the basic volumes which make up the body before adding those details. That results in stiff looking figures with a lot of insecure bumps, bogus details and oddly angled features.

Absolutely not saying that your example is for the trash but I believe it could be much improved by studying gesture first (and details later).

Fortunately, Stan Prokopenko has created an excellent series of videos explaining gesture and figure drawing and how to get good at it: https://www.youtube.com/c/prokotv/playlists (note to self: resume serious studies and stop winging shit all the time!)

I suggest starting with the video on Gesture.

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Re: [C+C][WIP] Anatomy Study + Character Design

Reply #2 on: July 11, 2016, 08:37:59 am
Thanks for the critique, 0xDB. Thank you for pointing me towards Proko, I haven't heard of him before, but I plan to watch the rest of his videos.


I practiced gesture on paper before moving onto pixels, and I was quite satisfied with the results, but it doesn't really ring to me when I try to draw gesture by pixels (if I had a scanner,  I would definitely use it). I would love to hear your thoughts.


Above is the gesture I tried to draw with pixels, but for some odd reason, I feel like it doesn't do what it's supposed to, I still think the pose doesn't have that much life and is still too stiff. I still tried to add some contour and the pose definitely looks more alive and has more character than my first version, but feel like it can still be more.

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Re: [C+C][WIP] Anatomy Study + Character Design

Reply #3 on: July 11, 2016, 02:09:57 pm
Yes, it can still be more! Don't settle on the first attempt and keep all steps around as refs for later steps, so you can always read information from previous steps (e.g. cross contour lines) again when you try to determine how volumes or details should appear in the imaginary 3D space.

I recommended Proko because he is really good at this stuff and I never quite took the time to really study it excessively myself (had a brief period of beginning with gestures a couple of years ago(some of the regulars here probably remember me spamming gestures in the anatomy thread) but ran out of steam after a few weeks and never proceeded to the other topics) (for completeness sake, I need to mention I had several of these half-assed periods of studies over the years so my knowledge and skill is heavily fragmented and deteriorated(if I ever had any)).

Aaaaaaanyway, this is good practice for me too,
so, below is how I recall the basic principles to be(might no be very close to what they actually are) but I shall really go back and study Proko's videos again and practice this A LOT more (I also used my own simple volumes(more shapes than volumes actually) and invented anatomy here, which I did just so I could at least demonstrate the basic process now instead of in a few years when I know better (but really, everyone should watch Proko! :D )).

And it's true, drawing on the computer and in pixels no less is much harder than pencil on paper, even with a tablet and with a mouse I would not even try (unless of course it was my only option).

But now, see for yourself how I still suck at most of the anatomy features, still think it's worth sharing the struggle to illustrate the process from gesture to construction to final result and how that makes it more dynamic than mindlessly eyeballing a pose bump after bump like a human camera robot or trying to do a construction without (a strong) underlying gesture:

(well... my result did also not turn out to be very true to the original pose, has weight issues and the most obvious mistake I see is him leaning back, which he does not really do in the reference)

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Re: [C+C][WIP] Anatomy Study + Character Design

Reply #4 on: July 14, 2016, 12:02:02 pm
Sorry for not replying for a long time, busy with school/work.

Anyways, this is what I have currently -






This time around, I became much more satisfied with the end product, having done research and watched and rewatched more videos, practiced some concepts such as gesture, anatomy and construction drawing on paper before tackling it on pixels, and used some references (enclosed in spoiler above). But I still have some concerns, though, mainly -

- the basic concepts of anatomy present in the final version, even though I think I followed the references faithfully and closely, I'm still paranoid that there are some places that are odd/out of place.
- I couldn't draw the hand resting on the hip effectively, they all looked awkward and unnatural, so I left that out for now.
- if the proportions are correct. I compared my sketch with irl body-builders and feel like I got the sizes as accurately as I could, but I'm still open to any crits.
- the overall composition of my final sketch. Of course, it's just a sketch, saying anything about the composition won't really help right now, but I still want opinions on this.

I do think I improved on a lot, though. I feel much more confident on the gesture I did, given that it's about the 30th-ish gesture I've done in pixels, and I lost count on the ones I did on paper, last time. I'll try and tackle exaggeration soon, but I'll think with simple, realistic forms first. I've also gotten used to ignoring the contour more and more, I begin to appreciate the importance of rhythm first, then detail.

Still looking forward to more guidance.

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Re: [C+C][WIP] Anatomy Study + Character Design

Reply #5 on: July 14, 2016, 02:51:49 pm
I do think I improved on a lot, though.
[..]
Still looking forward to more guidance.
I also see some improvement there. Not sure I can give more guidance at this point as I will have to go back and study these things myself before I feel confident to critique the anatomy, so maybe others can chime in and confirm or falsify these observations:
  • it appears the sternum turned out a bit too long and by that the ratio between breast- and belly-area-heights seems off
  • upper arms appear too short and stumpy compared to the guy in the sweater (not sure if that is because of bodybuilder bulkiness or a perspective problem)
  • the bulging muscles on his upper legs seem off like it is a (his) left leg twice instead of one left and one right leg (looks most strange with the big bulge on the (our) right side below the 404 of the hand... as if that muscle should rather be on the inside, between the legs than on the outside)

edit: One other thing is that one should probably not use 3D-CGI for reference unless it is 3D scanned from life. Otherwise one would copy the mistakes of the 3D artist and rather than copying someone else's mistakes, we should make and learn from our own.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2016, 02:53:54 pm by 0xDB »

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Re: [C+C][WIP] Anatomy Study + Character Design

Reply #6 on: July 16, 2016, 02:48:11 am


I've started coloring it in and addressing all the issues aforementioned (such as the sternum, the arms and odd leg muscles). Looking for more advice.

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Re: [C+C][WIP] Anatomy Study + Character Design

Reply #7 on: July 16, 2016, 10:32:34 am
thats some pretty good progress!
there are some weird things with muscle size and placement. mainly the whole upper torso is too high, pecks, shoulders neck and the shoulders are too tiny.
the abs are comically oversized, they usually work in an oval, being smaller on the top and bottom. The last pack isnt really as defined and seperated, they extend all the way to the crotch.
the bicep/tricep and forearm muscles are not quite correct either, but i'm not too good with those, hopefully someone else can tell something about these.

anyways here's the edit, trying to get proportions and placement right

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Re: [C+C][WIP] Anatomy Study + Character Design

Reply #8 on: July 17, 2016, 06:03:30 am
Thanks, wzl!



I tried to fix all of the issues you've mentioned. Made the shoulder bigger and lower, made the pecs bigger and more accurate. As for the arms, I was also not sure if it was correct, I tried studying some references and matched them the best I could. I also added another shade to smooth things out a bit more.

I was aware of the issue with the neck even before you pointed it out, as I was already studying the neck.

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Re: [C+C][WIP] Anatomy Study + Character Design

Reply #9 on: July 18, 2016, 11:31:44 am


More progress.

I've added another shade because I'm getting bothered by the crispness of the pixels, and that's not what I'm going for. I've also added outer-AA and started linework on the legs. No progress on the neck one just yet.