What I lack in everything, I make up for with enthusiasm :) (aka My Attempts)

mori_mannmori_mann Posts: 826
edited July 2013 in Art Studio

Alright, I've been playing around with DAZ for a few months now and I'm enjoying it entirely too much. I'm still in the stages of testing and playing around, discovering something new every time. (Not to mention reading lots and lots!!) I'm getting very useful feedback from friends, some of them artsy-types themselves, but I think I'm ready to throw myself before the proverbial wolves. Wolves are nice an fluffy, aren't they? ;)

I'm happily polluting my dA page with borderline idiotic pics of what I call my Test Subjects, but I suppose I might as well try to let some practised eyes look at my more.. serious.. attempts. The ones that include actual characters that mean something to a weird mind like my own :) (Don't worry, once I'm done making myself look liek an idiot and everyone looks the other way, I'll be ready to post actual stuff I put effort in on there, too)

Disclaimer: I have no shred of talent and am severely lacking in the skill department, but that never stopped me. It won't now. I'd love some constructive criticisms, tips and general pointers. I can be very stubborn and explain way too much, but looking back, even I can see tons of stuff wrong with every single image I did so far, so, yeah. Here goes nothing. Be gentle, I bruise easily.

One of the first full images including a background that I did. It doesn't have a title.

Meet Liondre, a half-elven druid, finding something very glowy and about to scoop (some of) it up with her cup.

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Comments

  • JaderailJaderail Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    First the good, and gentile I shall be.

    The posing was done very well. It shows you took some time to get what you wonted.
    You did a very good overall job of the lighting and have learned to highlight the focus of the render.
    The use of a background/Set/SkyDome/backdrop and matching it to the lighting is well done.

    Now for things I would work on. Gent I'll be.

    The Eye posing is still a little bit off, but that is a issue we all face. I plan a Future Free item that will help us all I hope.
    When using a Light to Highlight parts of a scene try to remember it will washout parts of the other lights shadowing.
    You can sometimes just adjust the shadowing of the lights effected. In this one it would be the rear lighting. Thus strengthening the shadows under the figure.

  • SloshSlosh Posts: 2,271
    edited December 1969

    I think you are way too hard on yourself. There is nothing "talentless" about your picture. Green, maybe, but not talentless. Trust me (and I'm sure many will agree), I have seen far, far worse from people who have been using the program for years. I'm going to have to agree with most points Jaderail has given you. The pose is quite nice. I get her feeling of wonder, her need to collect this fascinating thing she has found.

    I would really like to see what that wonderful thing is... maybe try to get it into the pic next time. The lighting is quite nice, just try to get some shadows in, like Jaderail said. If you want nit-picking, I would say that her left foot isn't quite making contact with the ground, and if she is on a ledge (which it seems to be), maybe scoot her back just a little. That looks like it would hurt her knees. Again, that is just very nit-picked and really does not hold any bearing on the image.

    I disagree, however, about her eye placement. I don't think she is meant to be looking at the cup, but rather into the pit which contains the sparkly stuff. Am I right?

    If this is an example of your "serious attempts," then I say you are off to a very good start. Seriously.

    I look forward to seeing more work from you.

  • JaderailJaderail Posts: 0
    edited May 2013

    AH Ha, click. She IS looking at what she intends to dip the cup into. Good Catch Slosh. A spring or some such.

    Now that I SEE the image I do have another tip: Giving that the light cast on the figure is from SomeThing changing that light to just a little bit different color would enhance the effect IMHO.

    Post edited by Jaderail on
  • mori_mannmori_mann Posts: 826
    edited May 2013

    Thank you both for your kind words and good points :)

    You're absolutely right about the bright big light eating all the other shadows. Certainly a point to work on! There should be some shadows under her. The slightly floating foot is something that bugs me a little too, but when I went back to fix it - several times - it did look like it was making contact in DAZ itself. Lowering it just a tiny bit, made it look as if it was sinking into the floor, which bugged me more. I'll have to find a different solution for that. Fixing the shadows/lighting might actually take care of that.. With a little luck.

    Of course, my computer hates this scene, because I had to turn up collission passes on the tunic a bit to prevent her skin showing through in various, not quite decent, places. I think I exaggerated it, but now the silly thing crashes whenever I try to turn it back down. Ah well. Keeping some early stuff as is can't hurt :)

    EDIT: And yes, she is looking at the shiny/glowy thing/stuff. She's too captured by it to notice any discomfort to her knees, too ;)

    Post edited by mori_mann on
  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,164
    edited May 2013

    I like the fact we can't see what she is looking at. It adds a sense of wonder and mystery to me. It just goes to show, in something like art there are many different equally valid ways to look at a picture, so take this into account when people are offering suggestions. I agree that it shows a good start. For me, it is because of previously mentioned sense of wonder and mystery as it engages the viewer, leaving it to them to fill in the blanks. As was mentioned, the part that is missing are technical issues, which time and learning the tools and techniques will round out. Good luck and may your journey through your artistic side be fruitful :)

    [Edit] Just caught the part about her knees, yes that would hurt ;)

    [Second Edit] If we answer all questions in our piece, it leaves the viewer no reason to ruminate further on what we presented, thus they can forget about it right after seeing it. If on the other hand, we leave a question, one specifically that would perhaps intrigue the viewer, they will continue to think about it after they have viewed the piece, and thus our image will have entered their consciousness. Once there, we have no control.. it is to the viewer to decide what shape it will ultimately take. But we as artists have done our job in giving them something to think about. What was Mona Lisa thinking about that produced that smile after all? (Just one person's opinion ofc)

    Post edited by Joe Cotter on
  • mori_mannmori_mann Posts: 826
    edited December 1969

    Thank you, Gedd :) I know I have much to learn, especially in the technical department, but that's (part of) why I'm here. Where's the fun if you start without making mistakes?

    It will always be a matter of taste, but I agreee there are always many ways to look at art (and anything else, but that's a different story). I personally like it when something is not just pleasant to the eye, but makes you think. Or smile. Or feel. In general, for I don't think my humble beginnings are worthy of the name 'art'. Not yet, but who knows.

  • SloshSlosh Posts: 2,271
    edited December 1969

    Gedd said:
    What was Mona Lisa thinking about that produced that smile after all? (Just one person's opinion ofc)

    Leonardo wasn't wearing pants.

  • MavroshMavrosh Posts: 111
    edited December 1969

    You are not talentless at all!

    I think everything has been said already, so here is a small thing that has not been mentioned, that I would actually not change but add to the scene: A light in front of her, where the glowy thing would be. Linear point lights do a great job with tgose effect, you can play with the start and end of the falloff of the light and see what it does.

    Okay, but maybe the mentioned glowy stuff does not glow thaaaaat much, then just forget what I said. I just figured - if it is glowy, you can abuse it for nice light and shadow plays on her face. :)

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,164
    edited December 1969

    I like it :)

  • mori_mannmori_mann Posts: 826
    edited December 1969

    Mavrosh said:
    You are not talentless at all!

    I think everything has been said already, so here is a small thing that has not been mentioned, that I would actually not change but add to the scene: A light in front of her, where the glowy thing would be. Linear point lights do a great job with tgose effect, you can play with the start and end of the falloff of the light and see what it does.

    Okay, but maybe the mentioned glowy stuff does not glow thaaaaat much, then just forget what I said. I just figured - if it is glowy, you can abuse it for nice light and shadow plays on her face. :)


    Thank you! The glowy stuff is indeed meant to be rather glowy, yet mysterious. If I get my computer to actually cooperate on this again without crashing, I'm going to try both adding a linear point light and some colour to it to make it pop even more (and do something with the other pointers, of course).

  • mori_mannmori_mann Posts: 826
    edited December 1969

    Just as a little something in between, the large version of my avatar :)

    Points I'd like to improve (and will work on) are:
    - finding better lighting (not necessarily positioning, although I'm not sure how happy I am about the shadow on her nose but the quality itself - I should really read more on light sets and that shiny uber-everything stuff)
    - Making her skin appear less shiny (which might be solved with the lights)
    - Blend her hair more with the background, probably with postwork - Background was slapped on quickly in photoshop, because I liked the colour with the rest of the image and the character's general feel and personality.

    Meet Amber. Yes, her eyes are supposed to be like that :) I sem to have given it the title "A Kiss on the Wind"

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  • Carola OCarola O Posts: 2,348
    edited May 2013

    I liked her eyes, she certainly earned her name Amber :)

    As for the skin, this is what I do and I am sure there is a lot of other better ways to do it. But I still have a lot to learn too, but I mark the figure and go into surface tab, than I find the Lighting Model and most of he times that one is set on plastic, so I usually change that to either Skin, Matte or metallic in some cases.

    It's probably not the right way, but might be worht a try unless you already do that of course :) Putting up a screenshot to show what I mean :)

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    Post edited by Carola O on
  • mori_mannmori_mann Posts: 826
    edited December 1969

    Thank you for your comment and suggestion.

    I prefer using the Elite Human Surface Shaders (https://helpdaz.zendesk.com/entries/20658113-how-to-use-the-elite-human-surface-shaders) over the skin shader. I personally think it looks nicer. The skin I used for thsi character has that already applies, too, so perfect for lazy people like me :)

    I spent a lot of time playing with the UE lighting today. Good times! I can see how that is going to help with various.. issues. :D

  • NovicaNovica Posts: 18,507
    edited December 1969

    Wonderful render IMO. I did notice immediately the back foot wasn't making contact- ask me WHY I noticed that, lol. I'm working on a person whose elbow is bent and when I turned the scene around, it was floating in air. So the only tip I can really give is ROTATE YOUR SCENE every time, many times, to check for floaters. Also, sit down and see how your ankle would flex and what the tip of the foot would do. I think the ankles could be bent more, with the shoe laying flatter. BUT... I always consider how stiff the shoe is- if you are kneeling and that shoe has very little give, it won't make sense to try and flatten it. Perhaps do a "save as" and test that- push the foot down, flex the ankle.

    I don't baby people who have talent :) If I didn't think you were serious about getting suggestions (notice I didn't say "help" because these are my SUGGESTIONS, not "help") then I wouldn't post. I was a national magazine artist and drawing/posing is my thing, but there are millions of ways to do the exact same pose, and they would all be different but many of them right. And I'm often in the "wrong" and it doesn't bother me a bit, lol! (case in point, those floating elbows. Learned something.)

    I love the lighting on the face, the emphasis is "spot on." I too would like to see stronger shadows, but that's been my style so far. I like your choice of background and the setting. You give a very nice feel to the entire setting!

    A suggestion: When we all give input, stay true to your style, unless someone shows you something is really wrong. As everyone has posted, it's just what they would recommend. And you've had input from people I hero worship :) (yeah guys, deal with it. You're on a pedestal.)

    Keep up the good work! :)
    Cathie

  • mori_mannmori_mann Posts: 826
    edited December 1969

    Thank you, Novica, glad you liek it :)

    I agree that the ankle could bend a little more. Or the knee, to have the foot lie flatter (at the risk of damaging the boot, but that's not currently her main concern ;) ) I wish the scene would cooperate properly. I overdid a setting and if it loads at all, turning around is nearly impossible and causes the whole thing to crash. I'm very much a rotater, because I insist on a scene looking good (or at least passable) from any side, because I often change my mind about the camera angle I want to use.

    And yes, I am serious about receiving input and suggestions. I wouldn't post here and ask for hints if I didn't. I'm stubborn enough to stick to my own style if suggestions are merely a matter of taste. Can't please everyone, although if no one likes it, you're doing something wrong, I suppose. But technical issues or mistakes.. yes PLEASE point them out. I want to learn and improve, so I am really happy with these useful comments. I can work with that!

  • NovicaNovica Posts: 18,507
    edited December 1969

    :)
    To possibly avoid a crash and still rotate, try zooming in. You can make miniscule changes that way which will make a big difference. And just prioritize the final render view if you have to.

    And maybe we should just oil those shoes to soften them up, lol

  • mori_mannmori_mann Posts: 826
    edited December 1969

    Alright, I played with it and for once, it didn't crash. I finally got to correct those overdone settings, so I can actually load the thing again without biting my nails.

    Added a little shadow under her and some colour to the glowy stuff.. thing.. well, that (and to some of the other lights, too). I tried with a golden yellow first, but that didn't show enough, so I went with red. For now. It contrasts nicely with all the foresty greens. I might keep it this way.

    Also, the foot is touching the floor, I made a screen to prove it ;) Moving it makes it poke through the ground plane. It doesn't seem to float as much now there are shadows added, so that is better. Fun fact: the hand she's 'leaning' on does not connect to the floor, but that doesn't show (much, I'm sure you'll see it now you know), thanks to the camera angle. Might fix that later, but I'm not sure I want to rework the pose that much. After all, it is an early attempt. There should be flaws ;)

    So.. what do you say?

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  • NovicaNovica Posts: 18,507
    edited December 1969

    Really like the shadows, really like the foot being "in touch." Made a big difference :)
    My personal preference would be a color between the green and the red for the face- to me it's a bit too much red. Depends on what you're trying for of course- I am working on something right now with purple and blue in the face, lol! I do like the addition of red though, just might tweak it down slightly IF it were me. Your style, your way- you know what you want. Nice job!
    Cathie

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,164
    edited May 2013

    mori_mann said:
    Alright, I played with it and for once, it didn't crash. I finally got to correct those overdone settings, so I can actually load the thing again without biting my nails.

    Added a little shadow under her and some colour to the glowy stuff.. thing.. well, that (and to some of the other lights, too). I tried with a golden yellow first, but that didn't show enough, so I went with red. For now. It contrasts nicely with all the foresty greens. I might keep it this way.

    Also, the foot is touching the floor, I made a screen to prove it ;) Moving it makes it poke through the ground plane. It doesn't seem to float as much now there are shadows added, so that is better. Fun fact: the hand she's 'leaning' on does not connect to the floor, but that doesn't show (much, I'm sure you'll see it now you know), thanks to the camera angle. Might fix that later, but I'm not sure I want to rework the pose that much. After all, it is an early attempt. There should be flaws ;)

    So.. what do you say?

    Here's something to consider. When something is causing a light such as the 'glow' in this picture, but isn't visible itself, we sometimes need to give the viewer extra hints that it is in fact a 'glow' and not some aberration. A good way to do that is with either a pattern of shadows (as if the glowing item isn't uniform across the surface) or some specular, or even better a subtle combination of both. The background is competing with the foreground for attention. a little post work could fix that though. Also, the lighting on the ground is a bit strong for the surrounding light, a little out of balance.. that could be tweaked in the image or in post. These are all subtle tweaks, but they are some of what separates beginner images from intermediate ones (I'm only doing intermediate ones myself atm.)

    I am mention these at this point because you are doing well and seem interested in working more or at least considering what else could be done with the image. It might be more then you want to invest in this image at the moment, as we don't want to kill ourselves on a single image (we'll burn out) but it is something to keep in mind. :)

    [Edit] I purposely don't include methods as to 'how' to do some of the things I mention because how varies depending on skill level and resources. A simple blur/shading/highlighting in early stages transforms into more sophisticated techniques later. The thing to get down at this point is that no matter the technique used to accomplish it, the general concepts of balance, center of focus, etc.. all are the same. How one accomplishes these are some of the differences between intermediate and advanced (and beyond...) intermediates such as myself often rely on quick fixes to these issues (dodge and burn, etc...) whereas the more advanced artists get much more creative and use much more forethought in these subtle areas of their images.

    A good example of what I am talking about is this image of The Armoury, by Merlin and this image of a night scene of Stonemasons Streets of Asia 2. The first image looks more sophisticated, but it actually uses more basic concepts. The second uses more advanced concepts, but I am struggling with some of them, so it doesn't look as polished.

    Post edited by Joe Cotter on
  • mori_mannmori_mann Posts: 826
    edited December 1969

    Thank you again! There's no harm in looking at something again and again. At least, for a while. So I went back again and added a linear point light (as was suggested earlier :) ), made if bright and a warm yellow (causing me to turn up the red to avoid losing it completely). Also pressed that shiny and very tempting depth of field button to shut the background/environment up a bit and changed the backdrop to make it less.. loud.

    I think that with that, I'm done with this one. For now. I might make it my progress check scene now that I got it to cooperate again. As in, drag it out every few months to see what I can improve ;)

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  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,164
    edited December 1969

    Backdrop and lp light look great, it has much better focus. The final question now is, how do you feel about it? Do you feel it is a better piece?

  • mori_mannmori_mann Posts: 826
    edited December 1969

    Thanks, Gedd :)

    Yes, I do feel it's better than the original. It's of course, far from perfect, but that's okay, I'm new to this whole thing. Part of the fun is learning and practising. Creating the perfect piece on your early tries would be rather disappointing, wou;dn't it?

  • Joe CotterJoe Cotter Posts: 3,164
    edited December 1969

    Yes, and that's probably the best lesson one could learn early on :)

  • bighbigh Posts: 7,439
    edited December 1969

    mori_mann said:
    Thank you again! There's no harm in looking at something again and again. At least, for a while. So I went back again and added a linear point light (as was suggested earlier :) ), made if bright and a warm yellow (causing me to turn up the red to avoid losing it completely). Also pressed that shiny and very tempting depth of field button to shut the background/environment up a bit and changed the backdrop to make it less.. loud.

    I think that with that, I'm done with this one. For now. I might make it my progress check scene now that I got it to cooperate again. As in, drag it out every few months to see what I can improve ;)

    much better - keep at it

  • mori_mannmori_mann Posts: 826
    edited June 2013

    Yes, I've been at it again. Some half-elves look very happy and cheery when they're drunk..

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    Post edited by mori_mann on
  • mori_mannmori_mann Posts: 826
    edited December 1969

    But they regret it in the morning..

    Both are still in need of fiddling. Lots of it, but I wanted to show them. For no other reason than that they amuse me more than they should.

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  • bighbigh Posts: 7,439
    edited December 1969

    mori_mann said:
    But they regret it in the morning..

    Both are still in need of fiddling. Lots of it, but I wanted to show them. For no other reason than that they amuse me more than they should.

    been there :-)

  • NovicaNovica Posts: 18,507
    edited December 1969

    Love the pose on the second one. Aspirin, anyone?

  • mori_mannmori_mann Posts: 826
    edited June 2013

    Thank you :) I'm rather happy with the poses, especially the second. I like how he really does look like his head hurts. I'm cruel, I know ;)

    Both were made from scratch after seceral fail attempts with pre-set poses. No luck there this time!

    Post edited by mori_mann on
  • Herald of FireHerald of Fire Posts: 3,475
    edited December 1969

    mori_mann said:
    Thank you :) I'm rather happy with the poses, especially the second. I like how he really does look like his head hurts. I'm cruel, I know ;)

    Both were made from scratch after seceral fail attempts with pre-set poses. No luck there this time!


    You might have a hidden talent for posing, those are genuinely pretty good. They don't look forced, and the bends are done very naturally, which lends to its believability. I still find myself using a lot of pose presets and building off of them as shortcuts to get what I want. You've also done a nice job on the lighting as well, with lovely shadows and contrast. You've got good instincts when it comes to rendering, so I think you'll progress very quickly in skill.
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