AuthorTopic: How can I improve this piece?  (Read 523 times)

Offline Alícia F. R.

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How can I improve this piece?

on: May 23, 2020, 04:51:47 pm
Hello, Pixelation! I'm happy to see this awesome forum is still around. I really need your wisdom. What do you think is wrong (and right, but I'm mostly looking for stuff to improve here) about this character portrait?

I'm going for a cartoony style, so realism and proportions aren't really that important as long as it looks good. I haven't done any serious pixels in too long and I need to get better. Any tips, suggestions, criticisms, etc. are welcome. :) Thank you!

Offline Chonky Pixel

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Re: How can I improve this piece?

Reply #1 on: May 23, 2020, 07:11:59 pm
This looks pretty awesome! Excellent work. Linework and shading are on point, and I love the cartoony style.

The only potential issue I see is around the face. The dark red/brown against the black/grey outline doesn't allow me to see any detail. I'm assuming the single dot of white is supposed to be a tooth, but I had to zoom in to figure out what was going on. Also it's a single pixel, so I can only assume what it is because of its location.

I tend to try to avoid single pixels myself, but tbh I can't make characters look this good! But fwiw I'd try some face colours that stood out against the black or try using a light colour for detail. Also I'd choose a tooth colour with a bit of yellow or brown in it so it doesn't ping so much, and try to make the tooth at the very least 2px long. (Preferably wider as well, but I know you have the tiniest amount of space!)

But you know, feel free to ignore. It's a great piece imo.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2020, 07:14:31 pm by Chonky Pixel »

Offline Xer0bot

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Re: How can I improve this piece?

Reply #2 on: May 23, 2020, 07:26:47 pm
You ever watched Treasure Planet ?

Amateur here, perhaps the direction of the cape ? It feels a little like an illusion, is it facing inward or outwards..

Offline Alícia F. R.

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Re: How can I improve this piece?

Reply #3 on: May 25, 2020, 10:39:21 am
Thank you both for your suggestions, they were really helpful.

Chonky Pixel, you're absolutely right, face readability was the biggest issue. I've added a third lighter skin color for better contrast and improved the eye, the tooth and other details. Thanks :y:

Also, Xer0bot, I toned down the cape dramatics and I think it looks better now, not so "weightless". Thanks for your suggestion.

This is the result (I will probably still keep working on it):

Comparison gif:

If anyone has any more suggestions or critiques, I'm open to them!

Offline SeDiceBisonte

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Re: How can I improve this piece?

Reply #4 on: May 25, 2020, 02:00:15 pm
I love the clean, cartoony style too, and the piece has lots of character! The mutton chops are a nice touch.

To my eyes, the right leg looks a little bandy since the thigh appears to be the same distance from us as the left one, but then it curves round to the foot. If this look was intentional then that's all good, but I've done a small edit where I've changed the angle of the thigh and the top of the shin a bit to straighten out the bones. It's not polished, but hopefully it's illustrative.



I wonder if the torso could take a bit more shading too. At the moment there are creases on the T-shirt, but not much of a sense of the shape of the body underneath. The left shoulder and arm are in shadow, but the torso looks more like it's facing us.

Overall, it's a really nice piece though! :)

Offline Alícia F. R.

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Re: How can I improve this piece?

Reply #5 on: May 25, 2020, 04:35:39 pm
Thank you, SeDiceBisonte! The unrealistic "stick-like" legs were definitely intentional, but seeing your edit, a more natural position looks honestly better, so I'll do that. Thank you.

Also, your comment on mutton chops made me realise that I had overdone that too: it was meant to be a sideburn, not a beard! So I made it smaller. The flat shapeless torso and fake double perspective are also intentional, for color balancing and readability. But if they look too weird, I'll need to rethink my strategy.

This is what I have now:

Offline SeDiceBisonte

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Re: How can I improve this piece?

Reply #6 on: May 25, 2020, 07:21:41 pm
I suppose it depends on where you consider sideburns to end and a beard to begin. I definitely understood that they only went along the side of the face, but I think it looks clearer and the effect I liked is preserved in the new version. I'm glad the comment about the leg was useful!

I personally don't think the torso looks weird as is; the shading was just something I considered. Looking at it again, I don't think I realized that the shadow on the shoulder is at least partly from the hair, which changes things. The extra shading you've done on the torso makes it look rounder, too.

It's looking really good!

Offline Alícia F. R.

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Re: How can I improve this piece?

Reply #7 on: May 25, 2020, 08:31:24 pm
A couple more fixes... I think I'm almost there.

I'm a bit worried about the banding in the tail, but I'm not sure how to avoid it while staying true to the "cartoonish lineart" style of the piece. Besides that, it's looking even better than I hoped. Thanks so much for the input, guys.

Offline eishiya

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Re: How can I improve this piece?

Reply #8 on: May 25, 2020, 09:24:36 pm
You're already dropping outlines in some parts of the image including the tail, why not drop the outlines entirely on the thinner parts of the tail? The contrast there is so low that the outlines aren't really doing any work other than creating banding.

Offline Alícia F. R.

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Re: How can I improve this piece?

Reply #9 on: May 26, 2020, 01:24:13 pm
You're right, eishiya. The tail is dark enough that it still looks good. Thanks! I fixed that and did some more outline work. Unless someone finds any more problems with it, I'll consider it finished (for now).