AuthorTopic: Ancient rock  (Read 877 times)

Offline Chonky Pixel

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Ancient rock

on: May 15, 2020, 02:23:07 pm
I'm working on my rock techniques for a background piece. This one here should be an ancient piece of a henge, that's broken off over the millennia.



I'm quite happy with it so far, but the long vertical-ish crack on the right-and-down-facing side isn't really working. Any ideas to stop it looking flat and make it look more craggy?

Other tips and ideas also welcome of course!

Offline SirAndres

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Re: Ancient rock

Reply #1 on: May 19, 2020, 07:36:16 pm
Hi Chonky! When you say "craggy", did you mean something like the Rock of Gibraltar or a quarry? (I use the Google translator, and part of the context sometimes gets lost in the translation)

Offline Chonky Pixel

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Re: Ancient rock

Reply #2 on: May 19, 2020, 08:38:17 pm
There's no need to get hung up on the definition of the word. I just think it looks flat compared to the other cracks. I'm trying to make cracks look like they are gaps in the rock.

With the horizontal cracks I can add highlights, which help sell the illusion. With the vertical crack a long highlight looks obvious and doesn't really fit.

Offline SirAndres

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Re: Ancient rock

Reply #3 on: May 20, 2020, 02:37:49 pm
Perfesto! It was not to hang on to a strict definition, but to know what was the "style" of rock you were looking for. Anyway, I'm not going to say that I "like" the result of what I did, but maybe the idea can help you.



Using Aseprite, the first thing I did was grab the top and turn it a couple of degrees to the left, and try to redraw the original details, but it was still a bit jaggy.
The second was to tone down the bottom and mark that crack to make it stand out.
Finally, I tried to give a shading between both sides of the rock, to try to achieve a more natural curved union, and not a hard straight line.
I hope some of those ideas can help you! I tried to use all the advice you gave me and what I learned in my attempts.

Offline Chonky Pixel

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Re: Ancient rock

Reply #4 on: May 20, 2020, 11:29:58 pm
Thanks for taking the time to look at this. :)

"Using Aseprite, the first thing I did was grab the top and turn it a couple of degrees to the left"

Can you tell me the reason why you did this? You've done a good job of repairing the area after the operation, but I can still see some damage in there. I wonder if there's a way to get a similar effect without having to do something quite as drastic? (I suspect the best way is to 'get it right before putting in details' but that's crazy talk.) I need to know what you were aiming for.

I like the palette work. Having another mid-shade could be just what I need to work with that problematic crack.

Softening that corner is also a really good idea. You're right, it looks too hard compared to the weathered effect of the rest of the rock. The extra line of pixel makes the steps in the vertical line very obvious though, which I'm trying to avoid. I'll see what I can do with it.

It's a style thing, but I'm going to reject the idea of reducing the base shadow to a line, and marking the inside corner of the bit sticking out of the base with another line. I seems that I prefer a style that doesn't use outlines, inner outlines, or long lines of a single colour to mark boundaries. However, that gives me a hint about what to do next, so thanks! It also explains why I don't like the long vertical crack.

Here's my next go.



Offline Kowee

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Re: Ancient rock

Reply #5 on: May 21, 2020, 06:59:02 pm
Hi !

Well done for the rock, I like how you add personality to it without getting away from the henge shape. The fact you are looking to do more than just a rock is great and a key to an interesting environment. I really like your colors also, I would be curious to see the whole background piece once it's done  :)

I don't know if I am able to give you helpful feedback but I will try:
-The top right corner should not be that dark, it's on the top and therefore it should get more light. On the other hand the little edge in the shadow is the same color as the top. It's getting less light and should be darken a little.

-I don't know if you are still looking to do that crack in the middle but if so you should go for a bigger cluster of pixels. I think some of your cracks are too subtle and don't help with the readability of the shape.


Then it probably comes to personal taste for those but:
-Since it's a rock marked by the passing time I would see this part next to the big crack a bit off at the top face to push even more on the degradation aspect.

-The bright dots on the top look odd to me. Stone is rather a mat material and since you used the same color on the edges for the contrast, it's as bright as a specular light. If you want to keep those they should be darker.

-I am not a huge fan of the brown bottom part, especially the fact they share the same color as the core of your cracks where there is no light. I think a more interesting way would be to have the ground (the grass, the mud, the sand whatever it is) going over the stone. Again to reinforce this idea of the rock being there for a very long time.

I did a quick overpainting to show you how I would see it. You may think it's a bit flat in the shadow but I feel like there should be less details in the dark areas and except if this rock is the main element of your piece it should not be too much detailed.

I can't find a way to attach the picture to the post so here is a link instead... Sorry !

https://imgur.com/Gul7tqC

Offline SirAndres

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Re: Ancient rock

Reply #6 on: May 21, 2020, 07:33:47 pm
I can't find a way to attach the picture to the post so here is a link instead... Sorry !
Personally, I found that the best way to do it is to upload the image to https://postimages.org/ and then use the Direct link that it provides, within the "Insert Image" option.

Can you tell me the reason why you did this? You've done a good job of repairing the area after the operation, but I can still see some damage in there. I wonder if there's a way to get a similar effect without having to do something quite as drastic? (I suspect the best way is to 'get it right before putting in details' but that's crazy talk.) I need to know what you were aiming for.
Well, it is a matter of taste jajaja I found it very spiky so I wanted to lower it a little, but not so much that it loses your style and details.
Your next sample looks so much better! Using several minor cracks instead of a long one gives it the same personality but much better visually.

Offline Chonky Pixel

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Re: Ancient rock

Reply #7 on: May 21, 2020, 07:48:05 pm
Kowee, thank you! That's some really good advice!

I'm posting your version here, because I like it:



 - The top right corner had been bugging me for a while. I was excusing that and the "specular" patch because of a very close light source. That you can't see, obviously. Still, the more I looked at it the more I knew in my heart it was wrong. I fixed the corner in a recent edit, and you're right about the dots. They can be less in-your-face. I will experiment.

 - Those specular highlights on the front top corner really add some life. I thought that the other times I added similar highlights as well. I need to use them more.

 - The lowered section on the top looks great! Definitely adds more rockiness to the piece.

 - The dark brown part... A lot of what I've done here has been trying to imply shading without banding, or texture without complete coverage, or lines without continuation. The dark lower sections are an attempt to darken the base into shadow with something that has a reason for creating an outline. In this case, some kind of mould or moss.

It's also a complete rip-off of the styles of some artists I admire. I guess whether it makes it into the final piece depends on whether I put it among grass or among other rocks and shadows. I like yours, it looks cleaner without, but when I see other works using similar details I appreciate them. Maybe I don't have the flair of my idols! Maybe it needs context. Maybe I'm applying it inappropriately.

There's a lot of lovely little details you added, as well. I'll be spending some time analysing those!

To attach an image, right-click on it in Imgur, "Copy image address", then paste it into the Zooming Mona Lisa control (underneath the Bold B).

Thanks again!

Offline Chonky Pixel

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Re: Ancient rock

Reply #8 on: May 21, 2020, 07:58:01 pm
Well, it is a matter of taste jajaja I found it very spiky so I wanted to lower it a little, but not so much that it loses your style and details.

Thanks. There was something a little off about the angle. You helped me spot it.

Quote
Your next sample looks so much better! Using several minor cracks instead of a long one gives it the same personality but much better visually.

Thank you, but it's also true that they disappear when seen from a distance. I need to find a middle-ground I think!

Offline Chonky Pixel

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Re: Ancient rock

Reply #9 on: May 21, 2020, 09:02:42 pm


So adding extra shades for the spots really boosted the colour count. Darkening the bright spots was worth it. Making the dark area brighter wasn't.

To me this feels like a much better piece now. Big thanks to both of you!

Offline Gunpog!

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Re: Ancient rock

Reply #10 on: May 21, 2020, 09:12:03 pm
Quote
Any ideas to stop it looking flat and make it look more craggy?

If I understand what is bothering you, you are already in a good direction with your edits.

You have the overall geometrical shape but apparently, it is too simple for your own taste.

So, when it is like this, begin to separate the piece within itself in smaller pieces. One could call those secondary forms (tertiary would be even smaller ones or "the details").

To say it in an other way, think "fractal". More protruding stuff, more overshooting rock blocks, more interesting forms and areas to look at... Anything to break the monotony of an overall primary form that is too simple and boring.

Made an edit, of course it is simple and kinda sucks but hopefully it will help you get what I mean:

You are already doing it but maybe not enough? I think your edit is already nice but eh. Try to push tridimensionality and fractalazing more to see what happens?

(If you do it too much, of course, things can get too gritty and become boring again. It is a balance to find and it depends a lot on the size of your piece.)

Offline Chonky Pixel

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Re: Ancient rock

Reply #11 on: May 22, 2020, 06:14:23 am
I love this, but not for this rock. This one needs to be something that was once sculpted (or extruded?) but has fallen on hard times.

Before working on that one I was playing with this:



Which was an experiment in drawing a silhouette using a large brush, then carving it into a rock. I like it but this one IS too regular. Instead of a silhouette, your idea as a starting point could really help give it some width and interest.

And it could definitely help provide some extra scenery.

Thanks!

Offline Kowee

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Re: Ancient rock

Reply #12 on: May 22, 2020, 10:32:06 am
Great work ! I liked the first version but seeing your edits I think you are on the right way.

Don't be too hard on yourself. I wouldn't call it a rip-off even if you are heavily inspired by someone else art. Gathering multiple references would, of course, be better and give you more ideas but aiming for an art style is nothing wrong. You are going to make it your own in the process anyway.
I am probably saying the obvious here but references are very important and help you overcome those moments where you get stuck. It doesn't have to be pixel art only, sometimes a photo or a painting can help you understand the shape and the texture better. Taking few minutes looking for those references can sometimes save you a lot of time afterward during the drawing process.

I don't know if there is much to analyze on my edit but my way of thinking was trying to see the big shapes at first. I think all artists are guilty of this, myself included, to zoom in early and get to work a small area for way too long when you should focus on the whole artwork instead. For your background I will recommend you to focus on the big picture at first. If it's an illustration, the composition, the values, the storytelling come first before worrying about details. If it's for a game, does your character stands out, the colors match, etc.
To sum up I think your rock is good and if it's part of a bigger drawing don't stress out too much on details.

Keep on the good work, I hope to see this background !

PS : Thank for the advice about attaching picture, I am fresh new on the forum and I didn't understand how those img brackets work  :-[

Offline Chonky Pixel

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Re: Ancient rock

Reply #13 on: May 22, 2020, 11:19:37 am
Thanks!

Some great stuff there. I am using multiple references, I tend to go on a Google Images spree before starting anything!

When I looked at your edit, I noticed a few little embellishments and tweaks that helped tell the "story of the rock" I guess. I tend to think in narrative terms when drawing, like "This beam of light is travelling from the sun but gets blocked by this leaf" or "at some point in the past some water froze in a crack, expanded and widened it until this piece fell off." I guess my hope is that it adds a bit of realism and cohesion to an image... And if the narrative is off it can really bug me.

A good example of this is the horizontal crack about halfway down on the front-facing vertical corner. I didn't like the way the rock seemed to twist in mine. The narrative was off: I couldn't conceive of any way it got from the original rock to there. One of your edits fixed that...

Anyway you're right. I'm definitely zooming in too early! I'm justifying it by saying I'm practising technique before embarking on a full piece, but it's definitely time to pull back and get the overall composition down.

Still, I do believe I've learned a lot from this exercise! Thanks for your time, and I look forward to seeing you around more.