"Alfhelm" campaign story image in need of C&C

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turin
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"Alfhelm" campaign story image in need of C&C

Post by turin »

This is a sketch I made last night, which I have begun coloring... but, before I continue, I'd like some advice on how I should color the landscape. It should probably not be done using cell-shading, but that's really all I know how to do on a computer. ;)
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Post by Jetrel »

I'll preface this by saying that I suck at landscapes. Gimme half a year, and I won't, but I do now.



To put things succinctly - even in most animated features, landscapes are generally painted. This painting can follow many different styles; from the soft, bright paintings used for disney or most anime backgrounds, to the hard-edged and striking type of matte painting that Mullins does.


The best suggestion I'd give, is, when choosing colors, you need to chose a "light environment," and a key part of this is the time of day. Rather than trying to pretend you're a cowboy, and just guessing which colors are right (a task at which I would fail, to say nothing of what you would do), I would suggest grabbing a photo, or a good DVD screengrab.

Now, gosh-darnit, one great source of green valleys with medieval buildings in them would be that LotR DVD set you've got. Take a good screengrab, and sample that for the colors (take the average of larger areas - there will be a lot of pixel-to-pixel variance. Blurring can help with taking averages). Make sure, that if you take different screengrabs to get the colors right, that you get screengrabs of the same lighting conditions.

Also, note how the colors of other things in the image change in response to the light - most of the surface of water, especially, is often the exact same color as the sky (!). You'll notice that things like the color of the elves' blonde hair changes radically in response to different light conditions - fortunately many of our friends in Rohan happen to have pale skin and blonde hair, and they can cue you in on the correct coloration. Blonde is only a fiery yellow in direct sunlight, vis-a-vis with red hair. Blonde turns almost a green or bronze when it gets rather dark, but our minds register it as the same color. These are some things to think about.

If you're shooting for a more cartoon-like product, you can study something like http://www.alpha-shade.com/ to get some inspiration on brushstroke technique.
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Post by Flametrooper »

That image makes me feel like I'm gonna fall way, way down. Land on someone's spear, probably. There's just a large "forward-down" feel in the view, like the guy's leaning way forward...it's kinda hard to explain.
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Post by Lathai »

I'm not much of an artist, but it also seems to be slanting to the right -- maybe make sure the towers on the wall are exactly vertical (unless the wall is slanting or something)

Of course, this doesn't have anything to do with landscape coloration -- I'm afraid I don't have much advice there.
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Post by turin »

Thanks. ;) I'll keep working on it...
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Re: "Alfhelm" campaign story image in need of C&am

Post by Oreb »

Some of the buildings are all at different angles, but since the main focuses are:

> The Marauders in the foreground
> The Fort
> The approaching Armies
> The River

I don't think that they would matter in the short term. It's really good, and makes we want to get a scanner so I can start implementing my sketches for C & C.
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Post by Sgt. Groovy »

Regarding the river: You would probably do best if you would consider it a smooth surface mirroring the sky. In that case, it would be handy to make a selection of the river, make it transparent, and put another layer beneath where the sky is. Basicly it should be a picture of a sky, looked at about 45 degree angle, flipped upside down. That way, you can easily try out different skies to find out what looks best.

Here is an example with a pretty simplistic sky (you have put more work to it, though, actual cloudless sky has a more complex gradient structure than this) seen on the river. (I also tried few photographs of different skies, and it turned out that since so little of the reflected sky is visible, and none of the actual sky is, it's going to look weird unless it's pretty bland and uniform).

The lighting of the picture has obviously to be the kind that would fall from the kind of sky seen in the reflection. In my example, it would be direct (or slightly fuzzied) sunlight coming from a relatively high angle from the direction of the upper right corner, shadows having a blueish tint (as most light illuminating the shadows comes from the blue sky).

If you want the river to be a rapids, with directionally rippled surface, you should find some photographs for reference, because the way you're doing it now isn't gonna cut it.
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Post by turin »

Thanks. The pic is supposed to be between late morning (~10AM) and early afternoon (~3PM), so that sort of a sky makes sense.
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Post by turin »

How's this (mainly referring to the water)?
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Post by Ryorin »

The hand in the center, at the bottom, is shaped like a young childs hand. Also where is the rest of the thumb?
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Post by turin »

Ryorin wrote:The hand in the center, at the bottom, is shaped like a young childs hand. Also where is the rest of the thumb?
Howso?

(I've never been good at drawing hands, but I don't see how the hand looks like a child's hand...)
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Post by Boucman »

I think the horses ans soldier in the background are way too big...
compare them to the siege engine and castle... they should be really tiny, and the head shouldn't be distinguished at all. Your first sketch was better from that point of view
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Post by Ranger M »

turin wrote:How's this (mainly referring to the water)?
Hey, Turin is getting quite good at drawing these pictures.

Anyway, the water is good, and reflects pretty much how I would imagine it would do so, infact its probably the best thing in the picture (although some of the other bits would have probably been harder)

On the hand, the reason it could look childsh is because the fingers are very fat compared to the length of the hand, mostly because the bit of the hand which is obviously suposed to be slanting away from us isn't any darker than the bit pointing towards us, so it appears flat as if it isn't slanting away. The fist itself is fine, this detail just makes it look wrong.
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Post by Oreb »

This is looking alot better apart from the comments mentioned by everyone else, one question I have, is who is the army that you can see (the ant looking army)
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Post by Sgt. Groovy »

Yes, the water looks quite nice.

As for other things:

The forest: You have used only one tree image to construct the forest, and it seem that you have flipped some of the horizontally to make variation. This won't do, because it puts the lit and dark sides on wrong sides. Rather, make three or four tree images of different shapes and sizes, and make the forest out of them. I will look lot better, I promise. If you insist on using only one, scale it to different sizes for variation, rather than mirroring. Also, you could scale the trees farther away a bit down, to improve perspective. For individual trees, make the bottom fade into the background to make them look more like they grow out of it. Now they look like they float few feets over the ground.

The ground: The rather fresh green colour suggests it's spring. If this is not the case, you need to tone down the saturation. The ground inside and around the camp would be expected to be trampled and
disturbed, so the colour there should be closer to ground shade (= less vegetation). I'm not sure the stroking technique is the best for making ground texture. You should at least not use the pencil brush (sharp edges). Try to blur the green layer (or just squint your eyes) to see what it would look like painted with fuzzy brush.

Another technique would be to use painted areas with fuzzy edges to make the shadows and highlights of the hills, and apply some premade texture, transformed into right perspective, to the whole surface. It's important that the ground texture has perspective, that is the details of the texture should get smaller the farther you go. Now it's rather vice versa, you have used larger brush in the background. If you are using a stroke technique on a landscape, you should first paint the big features, going from background to foreground, with a brush whose size increases as you go. Then add small features to the big ones, going from foreground to background, decresing the size of the brush and contrast of the details as you go. This way, you'll end up with small features dominating the foreground and big ones the backrgound, as it should be.

The troops in the landscape: As mentioned, they suffer a poor perspective. The figures close to river are too big, and the colums in the background don't decrease enough in size toward the horizon. It would help if you would make a guiding grid, in perspective with what is the the average ground level beyond the river.

ETA: when drawing a landscape, it helps a lot to get the perspective right if you draw it big enough to include the horizon. If you want a picture without a horizon, still include it in your scetch, and crop it out once you've got the perspective right.
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