AuthorTopic: GR#082 - Rat Warrior  (Read 20848 times)

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GR#082 - Rat Warrior

on: August 13, 2008, 09:39:22 am
This was originally done for the weekly challenge at The Pixeljoint... however since I got some very detailed feedback from Arachne(thanks again) and as I also was not that satisfied with the original myself, I decided to work on it some more and turn in into a version 2.

original challenge entry


feedback from Arachne:
I like the concept, and the execution isn't bad, but there are a bunch of mostly minor things that bother me. I think some color changes would help a lot.

I think the purples and the sand are much too saturated. Palette variation is not a bad thing, but right now it looks a bit too garish. I would replace the yellow on the tail with light gray and white so that it's easier to tell it apart from the sand. You can also use the lightest fur color instead of the purple dithering on the tail if you desaturate the purples. The brightest yellow could also be darker. I would use a darker gray on the fur and maybe give the darkest red on the fur a more yellow tint because of the yellow sand surrounding him.

I don't think the dithering on the metal works. It makes it look too grainy. The dithering on the sand dunes doesn't do much other than make them look hairy in a sense.

The green on the middle gun should be shaded with a solid color since they're flat surfaces.

Why is the shadow cast by the rat a checkerboard pattern while the shadows cast by the sand dunes are solid? The sand dunes and shading on the minigun suggest that the light is coming from the top left side, while the rat casts a shadow as if the light is coming from above.

The top of the image is a bit cramped while the bottom is just sand, so you can move everything down a bit.

I edited the colors to find something a bit more realistic. Even though it's not as interesting as your colors, you can see if you think some of this works better:

Arachnes edit:


my changes so far, based on that feedback and edit:


Haven't had time to tackle the shadow on the ground yet, will get back to working on this tonight...

Offline Feron

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #1 on: August 13, 2008, 01:46:37 pm
i would probably lose the dither on the gun, on try and go for a smoother more metallic style shading.

nice job!

Offline amerup

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #2 on: August 13, 2008, 02:56:29 pm
Maybe you could darken his fur like Arachne's edit?

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #3 on: August 13, 2008, 09:16:19 pm
Made the fur darker and changed some pallette entries some more. Also tried to get rid of the dithering on the gun, but...



...the strange thing is that my eyes are refusing to accept the un-dithered gun as metal. It seems blurry, less sharp and not as much as metal to them as the dithered one. What's wrong here? Are my eyes too used to the dithered version? Did I do something wrong when I removed the dithering? It's not obvious to me, so any further help with that or some explanation is appreciated.

direct comparison between dithered and un-dithered gun:

Offline AdamAtomic

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #4 on: August 13, 2008, 10:41:26 pm
undithered is way way way way way

way better.  keep at it!

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #5 on: August 14, 2008, 12:15:50 pm
Ok, changed the palette again, pulled some of the colors more close to yellow, most importantly one of the greens to have a color that works well on aa-ing the dunes, added the ground shadow, not sure if the projection is 100% accurate but it seems ok and added reflections of sky and sand to the gun, which is probably unrealistic but I think it looks more cool/dramatic that way:

gun progress:


current version (which I consider finished now but if there's still something that really needs improvement, please say so):

Offline TrevoriuS

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #6 on: August 14, 2008, 01:17:55 pm
I'd articulate the fur much less and simplify it more. This way you can make it seem much more like hairs and not plush. How do you perceive the structure of fur? Definately not in strokes like this, and not hair by hair either. When it's too small to articulate, draw it's perception.
If we'd look up a photograph of a rat you can recognize fur, even though it clearly isn't articulated hair by hair. Rather, the structure is interpolated and embedded into a smaller surface.

Allow this to clarify:
« Last Edit: August 14, 2008, 01:23:46 pm by TrevoriuS »

Offline tocky

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #7 on: August 14, 2008, 03:28:04 pm
I think what looks wrong to me is that the rat has all right angles and straight lines... it's the belt, more than anything. Edit is me trying to do a wierd sort of contraposto thing with the hips and shoulders, so disregard that if you want. Gots to fix the belt, though.



(also, it looks like I copied two different versions as the unaltered base/the one I edited, somehow - so ignore the dithering changes, etc.)
« Last Edit: August 14, 2008, 03:39:30 pm by tocky »

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #8 on: August 14, 2008, 05:10:53 pm
Ok, I did soften up the fur by making the bright parts even brighter, by applying one of the tails shades as the color underneath the highlighted bunches of hair and I merged some of those individual(actually they were not intended as individual hairs already and rather as grouped up bunches of hairs but maybe that was not done radical enough) hairs some more.

To address the right-angled-ness, I tilted the belt a bit. I did not think I was allowed to bend it like you did in your edit tocky, because it is practically directly located at the eye-level and thus not allowed to form a curve like that there but I can justify the tilt by the fact that the mini-gun is resting on it a bit, pulling it down a little.
I also moved the right (rats left) foot to the left a bit to provide more support for the heavy gun and when it came to the shoulders, I did pull down the opposite shoulder that you had in your edit and justified it to myself as being pulled down by the heavy minigun.

Frankly, I think the belt in your edit makes it look too much like the rat is bowing forward (it collides with the horizon) which she is not supposed to be doing. If anything, she's leaning backward a bit to provide some counterweight to hold up the heavy gun.

I hope this does not sound like your edit is completely useless to me, in fact it is not, it's helpful, as it helped me see that the right-angled-ness was indeed looking a bit too boring and that some variation of those angles makes the image more dynamic... still not as dynamic as your edit, but I did not find anything that justified such drastic changes in the pose.

updated version:

Offline tocky

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #9 on: August 14, 2008, 05:40:02 pm
That's cool, the right angleness was all I really wanted to point out  :y: ::)

Offline Winston

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #10 on: August 14, 2008, 07:58:44 pm
one thing that sort of bugs me is you can't hold a gun completly verticle, if you took that gun and made it slightly angled it would look really great
It's time for racing car video games

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #11 on: August 15, 2008, 08:15:19 am
Into which direction would you suggest to rotate it? Turning it either way seems to hurt the composition imo, as counterclockwise, it would come too close to the perceived orientation of the tank-killer, whereas clockwise it would come to align too much to the minigun.

I'll try nonetheless, but suggestions are welcome. I think it will be hard to tilt it just very little and at the same time not making it look jaggy.

Offline CaKsTeR

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #12 on: August 15, 2008, 06:15:38 pm
I'd say rotate it left a bit. Not as much as the rocket launcher, though.

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #13 on: August 16, 2008, 09:40:55 am
Ok, I did tilt it to the left now by manually cutting out pieces and moving them around and then aa-ing the jaggyness. However, that approach does not seem to work, as the result looks crooked and blurry:



I'm currently leaning towards just keeping the gun at the original straight up angle, despite it being possible unrealistic, maybe I'll try redrawing the gun completely though but then I would also change her right arm, so that she'd hold the gun in that classic (often seen in movies) way where it would rest upon her shoulder and go behind her head.

Offline Jakman4242

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #14 on: August 16, 2008, 05:14:41 pm
The belt definitely needs work. Everything else looks very good though.

Oh, and with animation the gun. Try separating the gun from the rat, rotating the entire gun, AA it, then place it back into the rat's hand.

Offline Turbo

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #15 on: August 16, 2008, 06:10:38 pm
Great, great stuff. But here goes some critique on stuff that popped:

The volumes on the torso, given the lightsource, aren't very consistent. The shadow on the ground indicates the sun is at an angle, but the shading on the torso seems to indicate a lightsource directly from the top. It'd be more interesting to follow that angled lightsource.
Also, i'd remove the waist tapering, and reduce the chest and shoulders width, to show a more rat-like anatomy and less human like, i don't think it's working very well as it is (what with that pouched belly going on, right under a very thin waist).

Other than that,s that's some bad ass rat yo, fo sho'.

Now with rough edit. Added some reflected lighting from the sand.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2008, 12:39:18 am by Turbo »

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #16 on: August 17, 2008, 03:17:16 pm
update, addressing what Turbo said and showed:


The reflection of the sand on the bottom of the rat did not seem to be right when I applied it, so I removed it again. I don't think that a rough surface like fur does reflect as mirrorlike and shiny like that.
I did shift the main fur color some more towards yellow though.

Also while reworking the lighting on the body parts, I found that one of the tails shades was a nice additional color to make the fur even more soft.

[offtopic rant]
Today was the last day of my vacation and tomorrow I'll be back at work, coding boring business software all day, so I don't know if I'll have much time and energy left in the evenings to continue working on this, meaning there probably won't be any updates till next weekend.

Thanks everyone for your critiques and edits so far. Later... :)
[/rant]

Offline Helm

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #17 on: August 17, 2008, 03:21:58 pm
But the most important part of turbo's edit for me was that you shouldn't render every strand of hair on the rat individually, that you should go a bit more abstract.

Offline Conzeit

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #18 on: August 17, 2008, 09:55:39 pm
umm, the clarity and the amount of care in this piece so far gives it value.

However...as the reference shows the face isnt quite rodent enough yet, the neck isnt supposed to be so distinguishable and it's snout should stick out further.

More imprtantly (IMO) the rat seems kind of...blank? I think it lacks a clear expression on it's face. Are you trying to make it look ridiculous? or are you seriously trying to make the rat threatening?

I think you should make up your mind about that and change the rat's expression and the atmosphere of the background accordingly

Say, if you want the rat to look badass make it's expression clearly threatening and the dessert background misty and far more detailed.

You want to make it ridiculous; then give it one of those scared expressions rodents usually have (check the ref there), and maybe put him in a sandbox inside a park or something.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2008, 09:58:44 pm by Conceit »

Offline Destiny

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #19 on: August 18, 2008, 04:12:35 am
The rats head looks sort of like you wanted a view that makes the head look like its slightly tilted backwards, but the body looks out of view in comparison. Still looks nice though.

Offline Dan

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #20 on: August 18, 2008, 11:50:57 am
The strap going around his body and over his shoulder should have an effect on the fur like have fur over lapping the strap or displaced fur as a result of the strap. Apart from that it looks great but im not to sure about the perfectly verticle assult rifle i think it was said before that maybe give it a bit of an angle.
That's the way the cookie crumbles. - Do the bug bob.     - Woot!

Offline 0xDB

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #21 on: August 18, 2008, 07:01:49 pm
But the most important part of turbo's edit for me was that you shouldn't render every strand of hair on the rat individually, that you should go a bit more abstract.
I think that if there's enough space to render all that detail, there's no need for abstraction. I also like how the fur turned out so far and I think it is already a lot more abstract than it was in version 1. However, even with that being said I will try to make it more abstract (thinking of cleaning out the whole fur texture and redoing it from scratch) to see whether I'm not missing an opportunity to make it so that I like it even more.

Thinking about it though, I am now aware of the fact that the background is hopelessly under-detailed in comparison to the rat, maybe that's even the whole issue: too much abstraction in one place and not enough of it in another, thus creating an inconsistency that is displeasing to view?

More imprtantly (IMO) the rat seems kind of...blank? I think it lacks a clear expression on it's face. Are you trying to make it look ridiculous? or are you seriously trying to make the rat threatening?

Neither of those. Unlike in the original drawing that this is based on (the rules of the challenge that the first version of this piece was made for required to rework an old drawing as pixel art/16 colors/canvas size unspecified), the rat is not supposed to be aware of the camera or the viewer.

She is supposed to be looking straight above the camera into the far and wide emptyness that surrounds her in an emotionally detached way, as if she's uninvolved in the world, just standing there, pausing, blankly (as in without really thinking consciously but rather instinctively) trying(subconsciously) to make up her mind into which direction she should be traveling next.

As she's not aware of the viewer or anything (she's completely alone there) there's no reason to why she should be posing in a threatening way.

The more I think about this though, the more I wonder about why I have given her all those weapons. I can imagine though that my original intention(back in 2002 when I drew the pencil version) was probably not to express anything specific but rather to just try and make a pretty picture (for that friend of mine who had rats as pets(it was a birthday present for him)). This does seem a bit stupid to me now, but I'll keep working on this nonetheless, even if just for technical practice.

The rats head looks sort of like you wanted a view that makes the head look like its slightly tilted backwards, but the body looks out of view in comparison. Still looks nice though.
The head is not supposed to be tilted into any direction. It is seen a bit from below only because of the camera being located so far below it. Maybe the perspective is a little too strong for such small scale object like that? Please mark the exact place(s) in which you think it is off and explain this some more, because frankly I can not see where it is wrong or out of view.

The strap going around his body and over his shoulder should have an effect on the fur like have fur over lapping the strap or displaced fur as a result of the strap.
I'll keep that in mind when I redo the fur.

Thanks again everyone for the critique, even if it seems like I'm getting very defensive about my work in this post, please don't think I don't appreciate the feedback, I do because it makes me think more about my work and it allows me to explore things that I would never have taken into consideration if I would work in isolation.

summary of the issues raised by you(mainly for myself, so I don't forget):
*straight gun
*insufficient fur abstraction? (that and/or: background too simple and boring?)
*lack of expression (well... not sure if that is really a flaw, see explanation above)
*neck/shoulders too humanlike
*belt does not affect fur distortion

[off topic]
Sorry, no update in this post, as mentioned earlier my vacation is over so I will work on it again this weekend. I don't want to ruin it by working on it in the evenings while being all stressed out from my programming job.
[/off topic]

Offline Helm

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #22 on: August 22, 2008, 05:33:56 am
Quote
Thinking about it though, I am now aware of the fact that the background is hopelessly under-detailed in comparison to the rat, maybe that's even the whole issue: too much abstraction in one place and not enough of it in another, thus creating an inconsistency that is displeasing to view?

This isn't a problem in the least and I would personally advise against ALL DETAIL EVERYWHERE. You can do it, and pixel art is certainly the mode in which this sort of thing is usually done, but I see no harm in keeping the subject matter well-detailed and the background simpler.

Offline zeid

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #23 on: August 22, 2008, 09:24:29 am
A partial edit showing how I would go about expressing the fur texture (main area being dealt with is the torso)...

It really is just re-iterating the point that areas with extreme light or extreme shadow show less details then the mid tone areas.
Also I second the point about background being fine, the point about detail I just mentioned plus it isn't the main focus of the piece are my main reasons for this. Also the last thing you might want is for it to look too cluttered, detail is one way of creating contrast in a piece so keep in mind that contrast distinguishes background from foreground.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2008, 09:29:09 am by zeid »
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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #24 on: August 24, 2008, 05:15:21 pm
Didn't have much time this weekend to work on it, so it's just a small update.
I've removed the fur texture and reworked the gun. While I was at it, I also made the gun smaller, because it seemed to be huge in comparison to the mini-gun:


Thanks for your view on detail/abstraction Helm.
Thanks for the edit zeid.

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #25 on: December 07, 2011, 12:43:37 pm
...three years later... made many changes, some radical, some less radical but all for the better I think.

20082011

Offline Corinthian Baby

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #26 on: December 07, 2011, 09:45:43 pm
I almost like the old one better. The new one's pallet shift to purple and abbreviated shading made him lose some volume. The reason why, I think is because you interpreted the shading too literally, instead of observing how light might move across the figure's body. It's too uniform bright-medium-dark. I think Turbo's edit still has merit. Keep the abbreviated style to the fur, but try to take a volumed approach to the rendering.

The pose of the AK looks much more natural, but by dropping his neck, and decreasing his chest size, his body looks more peanut shaped and weaker. Unsure of the rat head to body proportion, my intuition tells me his head should be bigger but don't take my word for it.

Love the character of this. Keep going!

Offline fortunato

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #27 on: December 08, 2011, 05:40:06 am
...three years later... made many changes, some radical, some less radical but all for the better I think.

20082011

i don't know much about composition, but i like where the AK was before more than the new edit. with where the AK is now, there is a lot of empty space right above his right shoulder. empty space isn't bad, its just that in this case i feel like filling up that empty space would give the piece more of a sense of "completeness" or "wholeness".

maybe the AK in the 2008 edit is a little straight; maybe have it tilt to the left (our left) a tiny bit. but i don't know if that is even too necessary. the first piece just looks more complete with the AK in that upwards position than the 2011 one.

Offline Elk

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #28 on: December 08, 2011, 07:18:37 am
Hi, I think in terms of composition, your image is verrrrry static! The application of pixeltechniques is fine though!
I doodled around with the impressions, dont mind the colorful areas, they are not supposed to be green/blue, its just a little game for imagination!

At the bullets, I could have done a little more so the perspective shows... but meh :D i think youd get a hang for it! Also changed the Lightsource a little and added a lenseflare (cooooool lol) aswell as the placement of the animal itself was changed, so it's not totally centered, you also had the horizon set at 50/50 vertically! Usually one would say that is not so appealing... so, heres a little concept edit!



Open for business
elkdarkshire@gmail.com
Elk#2299

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #29 on: December 08, 2011, 11:50:40 am
Thanks for all the new feedback. Made more changes based on that (also reconsidered the reflected light from the sand suggested by Turbo in 2008).
changes: reflected light, light/shadow updates, composition, palette, many minor pixel tweaks here and there

2011 b2011 a

Offline VisMaior

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #30 on: December 08, 2011, 12:29:56 pm
Elks edit seems incredibly more organic. I wish you would consider it some more...

Offline Facet

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #31 on: December 08, 2011, 05:14:28 pm
Love purple war-mouse ;D

Elk makes a lot of good points, but it would require a re-do if you're up for that.

Shadows can appear very strong, almost black in bright, arid environments but reflected light is also very prominent. I would try moving your light source higher for more atmosphere and greater potential for interesting cast shadows and I agree with Corinthian Baby regarding rethinking your fur rendering to be less tube-like.

The metal and new composition look much better but could perhaps do with some additional simplified geography; canyons etc.

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #32 on: December 08, 2011, 06:06:00 pm
Yes, changing the light source would mean to redo the whole thing which I don't feel like doing. I already changed the fur rendering in the bottom in the previous version (b), will have to see what I can do about the upper torso un-tubification and background stuff later.

In this latest version (c) I've reworked a few parts to get a few more of Elks suggestions in to make it more dynamic:

2011 c2011 b

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #33 on: December 09, 2011, 09:15:59 am
update d: redid (her) right leg (anatomy fix), bottom body area shadow changed

edit/update e: reworked upper body area

2011 e2011 d


edit/update f: background/shadows, pixel tweaks on the mini-gun ammo-belt

I am strongly leaning towards keeping the background as simple as it is now and calling it finished but maybe I'll change my mind again.

2011 f
« Last Edit: December 09, 2011, 05:06:15 pm by Dennis »

Offline 0xDB

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #34 on: December 10, 2011, 04:06:10 pm
Now I'm done.

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Offline VisMaior

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #35 on: December 15, 2011, 11:28:50 am
The end of the bazooka looks like it was cut off at a weird angle.
The newest shadow with the sandwawes is awesome.

Offline xanthier

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #36 on: December 23, 2011, 04:15:11 pm
Hi, I think in terms of composition, your image is verrrrry static! The application of pixeltechniques is fine though!
I doodled around with the impressions, dont mind the colorful areas, they are not supposed to be green/blue, its just a little game for imagination!

At the bullets, I could have done a little more so the perspective shows... but meh :D i think youd get a hang for it! Also changed the Lightsource a little and added a lenseflare (cooooool lol) aswell as the placement of the animal itself was changed, so it's not totally centered, you also had the horizon set at 50/50 vertically! Usually one would say that is not so appealing... so, heres a little concept edit!





Wow, there is something really dynamic and exciting about that edit in contrast with the original. The torso and core is not so rigid straight up and down in addition to the legs being bent and poised. I'm going to study closely for my own future benefit.
For this, a long time have I waited.

Offline Lizzrd

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Re: [wip] Rat Warrior v2

Reply #37 on: December 27, 2011, 04:35:33 pm
Gatling gun warps in a strange way at the second disk.
Might want to take either the front or the back part and expand on them.
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