AuthorTopic: Help with portrait  (Read 769 times)

Offline LeriSuccubus

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Help with portrait

on: July 07, 2018, 04:24:54 pm
My Portrait:

I know it's a large picture for pixel art, but I am making a game that's 1280x720 and this size is the best fit for that visual novel style I've been trying for. My main problem is with the face, but if you notice anything else that may look off or need adjusting it would be appreciated.

I've tried making the face multiple times but it always looks too feminine or weird. He looks like he has jaundice and I hate his face :(

I love the eyes of Tetsuya Nomura and have been sort of trying to convey that (mostly from a picture of Sora from Kingdom Hearts 2, i.e. the circle in the eye thing going on) and I didn't really want to go with the simple triangle nose of most anime guys.

I've almost given up multiple times and have deleted different versions (hours of work) because it just wasn't working. I need help from people who have more experience and know what they're doing. I tried looking at my favorite artists and even pc-98 games because they are so pretty some times, but I just don't get it?

Edit: Since we're not supposed to double-post and no one wants to reply, I have an update to make it looks somewhat better. Still wish for some help here.

« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 09:12:10 am by LeriSuccubus »

Offline Singularity

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Re: Help with portrait

Reply #1 on: July 12, 2018, 02:56:40 am
I don't consider myself an expert on this particular thing, and I am unfamiliar with your source material, but I might as well attempt feedback if no one else is.

First off, excellent work. You are dedicated to the craft and it shows. From here on out, I'm nitpicking.

You seem worried that he may appear too feminine. Conventionally, rounder head shapes and softer features are used to depict cuteness, femininity, and/or youth... whereas slimmer and sharper angles in the face help denote masculinity, maturity and feels more imposing. Similar rules apply to eyes where big and round a glistening is hard to reconcile as masculine.

Designing a young male character yields additional challenges in the various anime styles. Countless other features that signal male gender like strong jaw lines, muscles, Adam's apples, thicker eyebrows, facial hair, etc. don't make as much sense for young adults, and many of the remaining features of young guys similar are often handled similarly to girls.

In fact, I'd consider Sora from Kingdom Hearts to actually have a very feminine face. If his hair was different, he could cosplay as Princess Zelda. He may come off as a young male because there is a good deal of external context. The game designers do have a few tools you don't which help them override that perception. For example, working with still frames precludes clues coming from things like voice acting or animation.

There are a lots of other little clues that you can adjust, but the general impression of femininity can come from a sum of the parts, and no lone piece of advice I can give would necessarily make or break the difference.

I hesitate to give any absolute advice not only because anime is not my field of expertise and because all the touches I would make are revising subtle gender clues, where keeping any individual change could be a valid stylistic choice making the character unique from common tropes.

Perhaps I can list the collection of subtle clues I'm noticing that may contribute to the feminine impressions, and you can consider experimenting with ones you choose at your leisure:

1. The bulge of more distant left cheek could be less rounded and slightly narrower below the cheekbone.
2. The body language. He looks like he is posing for a fashion shoot. If he was scratching his head or put his hand up there while contemplating something, instead of taking a modeling gig, he might have a more serious expression. (Changing the pose this late may be painful, since the existing work shows a diligent investment.)
3. The soft features / soft facial lighting. Calling attention to cheek bones is contrary to some anime and not others, but generally helps masculinity.
4. The hair style seems more gender-ambiguous than Sora. It may be more prevalent on guys in anime then I realize, but also I know women with this haircut in real life. However the darker color choice works well for the hair (as opposed to some feminine pastel color.)
5. The thickness of the eyelashes, especially on the outer edges could be reminiscent of mascara.
6. The tilt of the eyes. I see males more often to depicted with eyes rotated in and down along the nose, and women with eyes tilted up along the nose and down on the outside edges.

I scribbled shadows over your picture with a quick mock-up of some of the changes similar to how I imagined them just for a quick visual reference. Feature defining shadow, serious expression, etc. I didn't do much cleanup or preserve transparency. Again, all the changes are stylistic (but conventionally masculine) and not necessarily an improvement. Depends what you are striving for. :P

PS: If you want to reduce the size of source images to declutter your post, modify the first tag before the image the URL to be of the format "img width=200". People will still be able to click to expand them.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 11:37:04 pm by Singularity »