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Critique: How can I improve this?

dahbastard

Well-Known Member
NOTE: Before critiquing, please read my whole post. Thank you.

I recently released this semi-ambitious work:


Can anyone please tell me what I can do to improve this? I am sorry that is so vague, but I just wanted to get others' impressions on what would give this more umph.

That being said, please be aware that I am already aware of the following defects:
-She has 4 fingers on her right hand, but 5 fingers on her left.
-I forgot to draw toes on her left foot
-Her torso should probably be casting more of a shadow on her tail
-The tufts of fur on the upper part of her tail should probably be casting some shadows on the fur beneath them.

Finally, the intent of this was to make a semi-cartoonish, but slightly off-putting character, because she's chiding you. I tried to accomplish this by not imbuing her with too many features for conveying human expression, such as eyebrows, and giving her large, simplified, eyes with slit pupils. I had considered adding some shine to her fur, but it just didn't look right when I added it.

Anyway, please let me know what you think. I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.
 

MissNook

Well-Known Member
I like the character and the way you did the fur.

The first thing that catches my eye in term of improvement is that she seems to look at the viewer but is scolding someone that should be in front of her. If you wanted us (the viewer) to feel that she was scolding us, you should have make her whole body turned so that she is looking at us and really scolding us. If not, then just frame the picture and make the eyes look forward (like bellow).
That being said, I really like the colors and the render of this picture :)
Hope it helps!
 

mrmokhnach

Member
Hi! I really enjoy the way you approached rendering and shape design in this piece, I think you did a great job here!

However, I feel that the piece could be improved by tweaking the shading colour slightly. In nature, shadows are rarely black. If I'm not mistaken, by default the shading colour is simply a darker version of the base colour, but shading colour is often affected by the colour of the background, for the reason that the surrounding surface is lit too, not only the object. Thus, the surface creates an additional light source. As a result, light bounces off that surface and gives the shading the tint of the colour of the surface. As the background colour on the picture is blue, I think it would be reasonable to give the shadows a bluish tint, to make the colours feel more connected. I hope it makes sense.

This is just a little thing, but I felt this could be of some use. Hope this helps, keep up the great work!
 

Saokymo

Art Cookie
Backing @mrmokhnach on the shading colors - I think it would be a bit more dynamic with tinted shading. Depending on how your artwork layers are set up, this is a very simple fix!

Since the character has an overall warm color scheme, purple & blue-tinted shadows will help naturally balance out the tones. Assuming the shading was done on it’s own layer set to “multiply” blending mode, all you have to do is recolor that layer to get a tinted shadow effect. You can also try messing around with other blending modes to get different effects; “overlay” is a good one for tinted shading & highlights, depending on the colors being used.
 

Ziggy Schlacht

Hasn't figured out this "straight" business
So, anatomy-wise and all that, it's stylized, but good. You don't have issues there. Color (minus the shadows) is good, the dress and fur work well.

Shading wise - tinted shadows do help, as others have said. Shadows are opposite the color of the light - warm light, cold shadows. However, even just black set on a high transparency and multiply get you there without too much thinking - effectively having the character in "white" light. How much you have to color them is dependent on how strong they are - here the shadows are very strong, so color would be warranted. Soft shadows much less so.

Two other things with the shadows - you have them roughly along the line of her spine for the head. However, the bottom of the dress is straight on, and the tail morphs to into the page. To fix this - the shadow on the left side of the tail is too high, I would end it right about where the angle changes. I would then reduce the shadow on the left side of her dress - her butt should catch light. Then I would look at a cast shadow of her head - in the shape of the head.

Last thing is rim lighting - cylindrical objects (her tail, her dress) tend to have a slight bit of light on the dark side, like below.

1612627330663.png


I would highlight the dark edges ever so slightly on her tail and her dress.
 

dahbastard

Well-Known Member
I like the character and the way you did the fur.

The first thing that catches my eye in term of improvement is that she seems to look at the viewer but is scolding someone that should be in front of her. If you wanted us (the viewer) to feel that she was scolding us, you should have make her whole body turned so that she is looking at us and really scolding us. If not, then just frame the picture and make the eyes look forward (like bellow).
That being said, I really like the colors and the render of this picture :)
Hope it helps!
Hi, and thank you very much for your feedback. I have had other people suggest that she should be turned towards the viewer, too. With her eyes facing forward, that would be good if there were a child in the picture, or something. Later, I should experiment with this, and release a new iteration.

I am glad the colors look good to you. Color theory is one of my weakest points as an artist. Thanks again!
 

dahbastard

Well-Known Member
Hi! I really enjoy the way you approached rendering and shape design in this piece, I think you did a great job here!

However, I feel that the piece could be improved by tweaking the shading colour slightly. In nature, shadows are rarely black. If I'm not mistaken, by default the shading colour is simply a darker version of the base colour, but shading colour is often affected by the colour of the background, for the reason that the surrounding surface is lit too, not only the object. Thus, the surface creates an additional light source. As a result, light bounces off that surface and gives the shading the tint of the colour of the surface. As the background colour on the picture is blue, I think it would be reasonable to give the shadows a bluish tint, to make the colours feel more connected. I hope it makes sense.

This is just a little thing, but I felt this could be of some use. Hope this helps, keep up the great work!
Thank you for the complements on the rendering and shape design. You, and several other people have suggested using tinted shadows. I will try it out.
 

dahbastard

Well-Known Member
Backing @mrmokhnach on the shading colors - I think it would be a bit more dynamic with tinted shading. Depending on how your artwork layers are set up, this is a very simple fix!

Since the character has an overall warm color scheme, purple & blue-tinted shadows will help naturally balance out the tones. Assuming the shading was done on it’s own layer set to “multiply” blending mode, all you have to do is recolor that layer to get a tinted shadow effect. You can also try messing around with other blending modes to get different effects; “overlay” is a good one for tinted shading & highlights, depending on the colors being used.
Thank you for those great suggestions. I never use overlay mode, but I will try it out.
 

dahbastard

Well-Known Member
So, anatomy-wise and all that, it's stylized, but good. You don't have issues there. Color (minus the shadows) is good, the dress and fur work well.

Shading wise - tinted shadows do help, as others have said. Shadows are opposite the color of the light - warm light, cold shadows. However, even just black set on a high transparency and multiply get you there without too much thinking - effectively having the character in "white" light. How much you have to color them is dependent on how strong they are - here the shadows are very strong, so color would be warranted. Soft shadows much less so.

Two other things with the shadows - you have them roughly along the line of her spine for the head. However, the bottom of the dress is straight on, and the tail morphs to into the page. To fix this - the shadow on the left side of the tail is too high, I would end it right about where the angle changes. I would then reduce the shadow on the left side of her dress - her butt should catch light. Then I would look at a cast shadow of her head - in the shape of the head.

Last thing is rim lighting - cylindrical objects (her tail, her dress) tend to have a slight bit of light on the dark side, like below.

View attachment 101195

I would highlight the dark edges ever so slightly on her tail and her dress.
Thank you for your complements, and for your feedback. I really appreciate it. I didn't realize that shadows should be the opposite temperature, but it makes sense.

I don't really see how the tail morphs into the page. Could you explain more about that.

But yeah, I definitely agree about the shadow on the dress, and will try lowering the shadow on the tail.

And that rim lighting suggestion is great, too.

Thank you for the excellent feedback!
 

Ziggy Schlacht

Hasn't figured out this "straight" business
Thank you for your complements, and for your feedback. I really appreciate it. I didn't realize that shadows should be the opposite temperature, but it makes sense.

I don't really see how the tail morphs into the page. Could you explain more about that.

But yeah, I definitely agree about the shadow on the dress, and will try lowering the shadow on the tail.

And that rim lighting suggestion is great, too.

Thank you for the excellent feedback!
Very quick paintover.

1612797123394.png
 

GlitterFog

Active Member
Hey I really love this, especially that it really feels like it makes sense in 3D space, and that is a huge accomplishment! I love everyone's responses too.
Just a very very small detail I wanted to point out - on the orange part of the tail, you have three rows of fur tufts that look very uniform and also all go in a straight line, kind of canceling out the cylindrical shape of the tail. So I was thinking, maybe it would be a more appealing design if you broke it up into just a few tuft formations that form a roughly rounded shape? :D
 
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