AuthorTopic: Some characters  (Read 4760 times)

Offline fskn

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 195
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

Re: Some characters

Reply #30 on: May 07, 2021, 06:39:25 am
Gotcha.
You're doing a great job with the references. Nice, varied poses that have been translating very well into that style.

For your knight, I thought you were initially going for a "come at me, bro" type pose. Were you?

Not that I tried to do that with my drawing, of course. I was thinking about how to represent a big burly guy, and one way of doing that is finding a pose that shows more of his traps. :P
And chest muscles, broad heavy shoulders...

---

Here's something interesting to pay attention to:



In your reference, the mother is compensating for the weight of her child by leaning back.

Same as this other picture.

---

EDIT: Now that I see that a fifth time (:P), yours has a very short left arm.
Remember this for a shorthand (erhm... no pun intended), the upper arm goes from the shoulder to the bottom of the ribcage. Double that measure down for the wrist.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2021, 08:00:17 am by fskn »

Offline cels

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 365
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/32715.htm
    • View Profile

Re: Some characters

Reply #31 on: May 07, 2021, 05:43:34 pm
Thanks! I'm happy you brought that up. I've been staring at that woman for a while and convincing myself that it was ok because her thick hanging sheepskin-jacket would hide her posture underneath. But I guess the head wasn't aligned and the details on the chest weren't aligned. I've tried to make it more clear. Also, thanks for the punny tip about arm length!



And yes, the knight was supposed to have a 'come at me bro', 'are you not entertained', kind of barbarian taunt (for Diablo 2 fans out there) pose. Or at least mildly evocative of that by exposing his chest and holding his shield behind him. But I was working with different references and different ideas so it all got diluted.

Interesting point about the traps by the way. It's something I hadn't considered. The idea was definitely to turn him into something like the Mountain from GoT and I hadn't considered finding a way to illustrate that beyond simply making him... bigger. I guess showing him slightly from the side tends to hide the width of his shoulders too. This operational way of thinking in art is so new to me.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2021, 05:45:12 pm by cels »

Offline fskn

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 195
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

Re: Some characters

Reply #32 on: May 07, 2021, 09:55:59 pm
So I tried something and... It ended up virtually identical! :lol:



And mind you, I started from scratch.

---

Alright, maybe something like this might look just a tiny little bit better:



Or not, I don't know.
I tried to emphasize her bust and hips.
And in this last one I added a shadow of her kid's head onto her chest.

---



Maybe giving the kid more of a cheek?
And mouths for everybody?

---



More wind!
EDIT: Oof, just realized the light brown on her chest was meant to be a highlight. I'm such a dummy. :facepalm:
« Last Edit: May 07, 2021, 11:12:26 pm by fskn »

Offline SeinRuhe

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 68
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • @SeinRuhe
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/127850.htm
    • View Profile

Re: Some characters

Reply #33 on: May 08, 2021, 12:27:52 am
Hi Guys, It's finally friday praise the lord!

Fskn have a really good point when telling you to sketch first on pen and paper, it's really a great exercise.

If you can, always use a tablet, it's better than a mouse in a couple aspects: It does feel a little more natural and it helps to avoid tendinitis and carpian. Save the mouse for pixel level cleanup, nothing can beat the mouse in that step! (You don't need to freehand characters without reference, even better, never work without references)

We do have preconceived ideas about poses and anatomy that often play against us. If your poses often end up a bit stiff, you can exaggerate said poses a lot to avoid this, your brain will compensate and end up with something in the middle. (This works for me, in my case my bane are torsos, the 1st draw I do on a day ends up having a torso that's half the length of what it should be so I try to draw what my brain interprets as really long torsos that just end up looking normal)

Other technique that can be useful is to measure angles, this is really personal, I measure with my fingers on the screen lol. Better techniques are to measure with 2 pencils or two crochet needles or even drawing some angles in the reference.

Here's a little edit on the character drinking from the canteen (Not sure if this is the correct word), the trick to exaggerate this pose was to imagine something delicious on the canteen, please be aware that on this edit I drifted a bit from your style and in doing so I'm certain I massacred any historical accuracy of the outfit:



Seems like your workflow is to do a silhouette and then fill it in, in my opinion this is the best method to pixel something. Pay a bit more attention to said silhouette, If you can feel personality on it, the final render will be loose and dynamic!

I do dig something in the original a lot, it looks a lot like a hieroglyphic!

BTW gratz on that Comments & Fav award on PJ!
« Last Edit: May 08, 2021, 01:51:48 am by SeinRuhe »

Offline cels

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 365
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/32715.htm
    • View Profile

Re: Some characters

Reply #34 on: May 08, 2021, 08:52:07 am
Ok, I think I have to get to the roots of the problem, which again seem to be anatomy and gesture.

I really appreciate the edits, they are really helpful for me to rewire my brain. And I think before I spend any time thinking about how to improve the clothing, the belt or the hair on these two examples (and those were some really nice details), I have to get a better understanding of the skeleton and how to read these references.



Example 1: The mother and baby.
Leaving aside the fact that your version is superior in a number of ways on account of fabric shading, hair, baby head, arm volume, etc, there is definitely a discrepancy of how we're reading the reference. Or perhaps we're deviating from the reference in different ways on account of preference, I don't know. But I read the reference as having hips faced squarely towards the camera. Her feet may be slightly to the left or the right, but she's essentially facing towards us and turning her head and torso. I'm not reading fskn's version the same way. I admit my version isn't doing that either, my version seems to be turning away from the baby. To be honest, that's only because I couldn't figure out how to make the feet look good while pointing directly towards us.  :-[

But am I reading the reference wrong or is something else going on? I realize that one shouldn't necessarily imitate the reference 100%, it's more about making the viewer feel the movements as we perceive them (senpai, I'm quoting Glenn Vilppu) but I actually like the static pose of the reference picture. She looks like a statue, she's not going anywhere.

Example 2:
I had two references for this, just to be on the safe side. The lady with the sunglasses looks more feminine to me in the way her hips are pivoted and putting weight on one leg. Is that what one would call a contrapposto? However, I'm not seeing much contrapposto in the lady in white. As I read that picture, she's standing in a more masculine way. One leg is vertical, so she probably has more weight there but she still reads as very stable and grounded, not twisting her shoulders or hips to compensate. I don't see much contrapposto when I'm looking at her hips or stomach. She's solid, she's in balance. I don't mean to be vulgar, but she stands almost the way I stand when I'm taking a leak in the woods.



I see that my own version has some flaws in the angle of the feet (and knees), the size and position of the arms and shoulders, but I can't figure out how to fix the shoulders and hips without exaggerating or changing the original gesture in the reference. In this case, I want her to be more of a scary Amazon (and I don't mean Gal Gadot) rather than a pin-up girl. I do take your point about exaggerating poses, and I think it compensates for preconceived ideas in addition to improving readability and making the characters more interesting. So I'm not opposed to exaggerating poses, despite my umbrella fetish. And I do see that the silhouette of my hieroglyph is kind of uninspiring.

I hope I don't come across as too obstinate or obtuse, I'm just trying to maintain my artistic integrity and get my idea across.

By the way, how's life treating you as a professional, SeinRuhe? Is it how you thought it would be? Clients with no artistic appreciation telling you to make lo-res Clint Eastwood games? Do you have some assignments that you love with your heart and soul as well?

PS: Will definitely move on to using pen and paper and/or tablet. Thanks to you guys, I'm more motivated to take these tiny pixel people seriously.
PPS: It seems to be called a waterskin, wineskin or bota bag. The outfit is from Rey in Star Wars episode 7, so I think we can take some liberties without ruining historical accuracy.  ;D

« Last Edit: May 08, 2021, 08:55:40 am by cels »

Offline SeDiceBisonte

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 56
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • https://pixeljoint.com/p/209146.htm
    • View Profile

Re: Some characters

Reply #35 on: May 08, 2021, 10:53:41 am
Thought I'd throw my hat into the ring.



I think the two main things I noticed were that some areas were very low contrast compared to the jacket, which goes all the way to pure black. I darkened the back of her neck to separate it more from the hair, and I used the dark brown of the jacket on the gold strip of the skirt to emphasize the flow of it.

The other main change (that's different from what anyone else has done) is the angle of the sword. I thought hard about that because there are plenty of reasons it could either hang down or go at an angle, but I ultimately like that it follows the angle of her leg and looks dynamic.

Aside from that, I also added more of a backwards lean (as is de rigueur in edits of this character) and altered the arm holding the baby so that it's further from her body, as in the reference. The baby looks a bit less constricted that way.

I read the angle of the reference the same way you do, by the way. I suspect the fact we can't see her feet is what's leading to the ambiguity. Her right leg (our left) appears to be going vertically straight down (with a slight bend forwards), angled towards us.

Edit: I also narrowed her shoulders slightly. I can see why they ended up the width they did based on the reference and the costume, but I thought it looked more feminine to narrow them at this scale.

I've also just realized that wasn't the latest version of the character. D'oh!
« Last Edit: May 08, 2021, 01:51:51 pm by SeDiceBisonte »

Offline SeinRuhe

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 68
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • @SeinRuhe
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/127850.htm
    • View Profile

Re: Some characters

Reply #36 on: May 08, 2021, 03:54:32 pm
Cels, first of all, I get it why you stand your ground and it's not stubborn, obstinate, obtuse or nothing like that, all brains work different and the best way to internalize information is to question it! Pretty much like in Plato's allegory of the cave, we make our reality based on in our senses and understanding.

Let's revisit the reference a bit, this time a little more in depth, without even touching the pixel side.

If you want to measure the shoulder angle, measure the following, from top to top of each shoulder, and from the top of the sternum manubrium to top of each shoulder, the angle matches your measurements but it's a little more of a reliable method in complex poses.

Try to avoid measuring the torso with a line, this flattens the figure a lot, torsos have quite a curvature. I haven't found yet a method that works for me so please, if you develop your own let me know so I can steal it. For now I will leave you with the indicators I often put in but that doesn't quite capture what I want. (One indicator is the sternum and the other is the spine)

Pelvis is a nightmare to measure, I did my best. Basically, the pelvis is tilted forward and it's angle shifts a lot more than I thought when initially started to study it. There's a tell (Poker tell) to measure it, remember when I told you to re enact whatever pose you choose? If you leave one of your legs perfectly perpendicular while stretching the other back (Ground all of your foot btw) and put your hands on your pelvis, you will feel the tilt I'm talking about.

Legs, well, the femur is a bit counter intuitive (At least to me) since it leans towards the middle of the body a lot more than I thought it would.

Here are the two references you attached with this process in mind. Of course I'm far from perfect in my analisis and in my way to teach, so if you find flaws please let me know where so I can improve!



Life as a freelance is what I thought, some kind of living the dream (Except the dream you are having is a nightmare lol). Some requests you recieve makes no sense, some other clients have zero artistic appreciation. But some others are great and understand art is a process and are really great to work with (Curious enough, big studios and programmers treat artists way better than regular people that have a game idea in mind). But well, besides that, I live in Colombia where I was earning 500 bucks (about two minimum salaries) on a good month working on a really good restaurant... Now I do earn a lot more, so my situation has improved substantially! (Not enough to live elsewhere though :( )

I do have to say, the only work you really love is the one you do for yourself, others are either a toxic relationship or a summer vacation love.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2021, 06:43:30 pm by SeinRuhe »

Offline fskn

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 195
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

Re: Some characters

Reply #37 on: May 08, 2021, 11:34:44 pm
Oh, I was going for the "mother" as a very loose reference. I was following much more your pixel drawing, @cels.

But this is how I see the her body structure:
(Note: take it a big grain of salt... I may have exaggerated her hips. :P)

https://i.imgur.com/KtOxWjy.png

https://i.imgur.com/maGBi1V.png

https://i.imgur.com/E3EnMkY.png


And what would be her musculature (maybe?)

https://i.imgur.com/8CS0PSK.png


https://i.imgur.com/d1fFKFN.gif


Her right foot seems to be pointing to her right based on the position of her leg and what could be an indication of her shin bone. But I'm not sure.

If you want to try and learn more about anatomy, I'd recommend, well, first Proko videos on how to draw the human figure, but also searching for 3D models that you can spin around and see from every angle. Proko has an app for that, but I have never used it. Instead, I've used on iPad the L'ecorché app, and stuff on Sketchfab, like this skeleton and... Well, there's a bunch of stuff there. I usually prefer both body scans and simplified views like this planar model or something simpler if you can find it.

Here's a bunch of anatomy refs from Sketchfab.

@Sein Great technique to find the angle of the shoulders!

---

May 9th edit:
Wow, looking at that with fresh eyes, I did screw up.
I'll fix that in a moment. :P

---

There. Does it look like I know what I'm talking about now?
I don't, but does it look like I know? :P

« Last Edit: May 09, 2021, 02:56:21 pm by fskn »

Offline cels

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 365
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/32715.htm
    • View Profile

Re: Some characters

Reply #38 on: May 10, 2021, 10:17:09 am
Phew! Ok, here we go! First of all, thanks to all three of you for continuing to educate me. Frankly, I feel more and more like I just need to go do my homework. In short, I'm very humbled, motivated, encouraged and happy with your replies. As always, I hope I can return the favour in the near future, somehow.

@fskn: How do you recommend I go on learning more about anatomy after watching some videos? Should I just devote x hours every week to drawing skeletons and muscles from those 3D models and trying to copy? Thanks for the links, btw, those are extremely valuable to me.

@SeinRuhe: I'm not surprised to hear that big studios and programmers treat artists better than regular people as customers. It's the same thing with construction workers, carpenters, etc, I believe. Professionals know what to expect, regular people have unrealistic expectations. Great to hear that you've improved your life with pixel art, that sounds amazing! Although to be fair, it's thanks to people like you that I'll never be able to be a pixel artist.  >:( I live in Norway, there's no way I can compete with your prices or skills. I do have some family in Venezuela though, so I could move there and become a professional pixel artist. And emigrate to Colombia if things don't work out.  :-\ So what is your long term goal of doing what you love for yourself? Patreon? Making your own games? Muumuu on Onlyfans? Kickstarter?

@SeDiceBisonte: Thanks for the feedback and suggestions! I won't go into detail about every decision but I do like the look of her knife as a diagonal. If I put on my pretentious artsy thinking cap, I would say that her left side (seen from our view) demonstrates stability, being rooted and building a home, while her right side now looks more dynamic, with a diagonal dagger at the ready, a flowing skirt and flowing hair. A turbulent, violent past. Definitely some interesting symbolism going on, I think. :lol:



Note that nothing is final and please explain if something is wrong due to me missing an important point (as opposed to choosing a deliberate direction)

Let me see if I can comment on all the changes:
- Tried to fix the hand of the sledgehammer lady now that I finally understood your point, fskn. I can be a bit slow sometimes.
- Tried to make my own version of the stonemason with a bucket, although I'm not sure I succeeded. I didn't want to simply copy-paste so I tried to do it a different way and I may have introduced some new problems in the process.
- Tried to improve the drinking redhead a bit. Which is to say, I tried to improve her a lot but I didn't know where to go. I do want to keep her heroic proportions (keeping the head small) and keep her fairly straight rather than leaning back and taking huge chugs. Maybe I'm just rationalising my umbrella-tendencies, I don't know. I'll make up for that by trying some more dynamic poses in the future. I understand that the reference's hips may be positioned slightly different to how I pictured them but I'm not sure if that has a big impact that I'm missing, unless I choose to exaggerate that.
- Tried to make the mother a super saiyan with shiny blonde hair although I'm not sure the color or reflections really accomplished that.
- Changed the baby's shape.
- Kept the plain face on the baby and the mother because I'm still trying to be minimalistic and avoid my personal uncanny valley of pixel art. I do admit that your details on nose and mouth look good tho.
- Made changes to the brown coat and dress. Tried to find a good compromise for the legs based on fskn's visual explanations (thank you x 1000!!) and Bisonte's version.

In regards to the mother and baby and our different interpretations, I definitely see where you're coming from and at this point it's kind of like the visual illusions where I can see different things. I wonder if practicing more anatomy, gesture and fabrics will make this easier for me in the future. When I copied the silhouette of your sketches, fksn, and shrunk them down, it also gave me a better understanding of what I'm doing with all these characters. I seem to be making all my people wider and chunkier than intended. Their limbs are too thick, their shoulders too wide, their hips too wide, heads too big, etc. Not sure if this is a personal misperception or just a common consequence of working at a really small scale. After all, a lot of miniatures and pixel art sprites tend to have the same problem. It's just annoying that I started out wanting to emulate Flashback and I'm moving more towards Super Mario.

Again, thanks a million and a special thanks to you for the really comprehensive visual explanations, fskn! Very motivating and insightful, even if my amended versions rarely seem to reflect that.

Also, next project. This archer dude who is inexplicably wearing a helmet that obscures vision simply because it looks cool. I may change the helmet, reluctantly.


Trying to use more dynamic poses. You may recognize the statue by Zsigmond Kisfaludi Strobl
« Last Edit: May 10, 2021, 02:27:30 pm by cels »

Offline fskn

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 195
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

Re: Some characters

Reply #39 on: May 10, 2021, 05:00:12 pm
Thanks, man. While I was writing (and drawing) that I had the passing thought that I was sounding too pedantic and, I mean, I want to help and learn a bit too as I try to do that.

As for learning anatomy... For me yours seem pretty good already (and I don't claim to be a know-it-all, it's just what I know best), but if you want to dive deeper, I'd say to follow Proko's figure drawing course. The free version has a lot already, but the paid version has some extra stuff which seems useful.
A couple books that have helped me in different ways are Michael Hampton's "Figure Drawing: Design and Invention" and Frederic Delavier's "Strength Training Anatomy." The first one helps you in simplifying the human form to understand the dimensionality of ...everything and how to draw it without a model. The second one is aimed at bodybuilders, but it's a good reference for the anatomy of the muscles and bones. Especially if you like to draw buff dudes. :P
The 3D models will help you where the 2D drawings inside of those books won't.

I would recommend dedicating some time every day or every week to study anatomy, yes. The more you do, the more you'll improve, but it does take time. It *may* be tough in the beginning too, but if you have a good foundation in drawing simple shapes (boxes, balls, cylinders, pyramids, cones), once you learn about landmarks, the overall shapes of the muscles and their origins and insertions it gets much easier. Less guesswork, and things starts making sense. I don't know how much of it is applicable to pixel art, but it does help guide my drawings...

Alright, so, let's see what you brought today, shall we?

First off, you seem to put a lot of time and dedication on it, which is great!

Not sure if I said this before, but just in case I didn't: I like that you're getting references for the poses of your characters, which give them a certain diversity of stances and attitudes. They all seem very distinct from one another.

As for the more specific stuff...
- Girl with the hammer: Nice. Nothing to add.
- On the stonemason guy, the arm that's holding the bucket seems a little bit too thick at the bottom, near the middle. I guess the highlight should be closer to the top of the lower arm, kind of like what you did with the biceps.
- The girl drinking from the leather bag looks great. She's got a bit more in terms of hips now, which isn't neither good nor bad, but she looks more feminine. Which isn't also neither good nor bad. But it looks cool.
I love the way you did her face, by the way. The highlights give her a good amount of volume there, and the straight line from her nose to her chin work incredibly well IMHO. I just think her ankles look too thin, especially in comparison to her wrists. That part between the wrappings on her shin and her foot/shoes... I don't know, it may look different if you paint in some shoes. Still, I changed it a little bit.
Also, I tried simplifying her hair, unifying some patches of color. See if you like it:

or

Oh, and I made some changes to her right arm too, making it a bit thinner, but still trying to keep it toned.
(edit: quick under arm/armpit/chest muscle pixel massage.)

- The thing with the mother is that she looks a bit stockier in comparison with the reference. And her clothes conceal some of her femininity. If you want her to be taller and more feminine (doesn't seem to be the case, but...) you could give her a different set of clothes.
The highlights on her hair are a bit strong and tough to work with... I struggled with them for a bit and don't know if I got something better than what it was before. I brought some of the darker shades of her hair to the front to compensate and try to give it some more form.
The medallion kind of gets lost in her under..shirt? (same dark blue), so I added some black to give it a bit of a separation.



EDIT: Or...



In regards to making people chunkier than what you wanted, it may be part because of the resolution, the medium itself (?) or just style/taste. It's okay, though.

Yeah, the archer with such a helmet is weird. haha!
I'm not telling you to give him a Robin Hood kind of hat, though, buuut... It's something to consider (not that hat specifically, just some other type of head gear). Still, it's cool that you wanted to try a different angle for the helmet.

I like the quiver, but initially (zoomed out) I read that as if it were a sash blowing in the wind. Tilting that and making it look convincing may be tough, but you can try either that or lower it a tad more, so it's over his butt/leg more, and maybe tie it to the bigger belt with a smaller, thinner one. I don't know, just a thought.
I think his hand that holds the longbow looks a little weird. He should (?) be gripping it in a slighly different way, the thumb going in front of the bow. The arrow, IIRC stays rested on top of the back of the thumb before it gets shot. (in modern archery it stays on top of the bow itself, but the bow itself is shaped differently.)
Some people make the bow string with interrupted lines, which I find cool. Not just a straight "<" shape, but broken in some spots, which change as it gets animated. I don't have any references at hand, though, unfortunately.
His posture looks cool, maybe I'd change his right hand too, the one that just released the arrow, making it a bit longer. It looks short in comparison to his other one.
The foot that's resting on top of that block of masonry (or whatever it's called) looks reeeally cool. Don't get too attached to it because you may need to change it, but right now that shape looks super nice. *chef's kiss*

EDIT: Oh, you changed the color of the quiver and added a strap. That definitely helps!
Nice work with the arm reflecting on the shoulder pad.

EDIT 2: The thing with the thumb on the longbow is that you don't try to hold the bow with it, as it's veeeeery heavy.

EDIT 3: Tried to do the thing with the bowstring that I was talking about:

« Last Edit: May 10, 2021, 07:01:31 pm by fskn »