December 3rd Thursday - Rein Drones are falling on my head



  • Ugh. I am struggling with concept and composition for this months exercise. I've been using a 3D program to get some initial renders - and of course spending way too much time, tweaking ad nauseum.

    My intent is to settle on a composition, and then de-CG-ify the render (ie probably paint over it, smush it up), to get something more fluid, and to hopefully look more hand drawn, painted. We'll see how much time I have left.

    So far, it looks stiff to me, and too busy perhaps?

    I am wanting to communicate that Santa's helpers have made crude wooden Rein drones to fill in for delivery of goodies. Santa's not so sure this will work, and doesn't know yet how to work the control box

    Is the concept clear, readable? Composition, view angle boring? Too complicated? Any comments, suggestions appreciated. Thanks in advance!23Environment14WEB.jpg



  • Love it, this is an awesome concept!
    I'm not positive but I think the wood on the left-hand side might be too distracting combined with the hill they are leaning against. Maybe if you flattened that area it might look less cluttered? Also, maybe making the list a bit lighter. To me it's translating as cloth.
    Nice job so far, I'm diggin' Santas shoes. ;]



  • I agree with everything that Julie said! Very nice work!!



  • I don't know if you need the bears or 3 of them. Their black shirts take me to right to them, eye wise. Also the one in the lower foreground blocks Santa's full shape, I would take him out if I was removing any of the 3. Julie's right about the wood, maybe lose the 2 closest planks by Santa's foot that right now seem to imply he will trip and impale himself if he's not careful.

    Otherwise this is so much fun... why is the sky purple is my only other question, maybe fade the purple into a middle blue behind the tree line? Also careful about Santa's eyes, they look a little washed out...



  • I like the concept but my eye is getting lost. There's no clear focal point that makes me understand what's happening and the clues are buried because they're too small/ the same value as the surroundings. The most prominent thing that I see is Santa's belly. Maybe if you pull Santa forward and show him looking up as he controls this flying contraption. Helpers with clearly silhouetted tools could be cheering in the background.



  • GREAT feedback - sooooo helpful! Helps me to see what's not working and why. Good suggestions for fixing.

    3 bears? - who needs 'em? Yeah! that's the ticket!
    Light up the list, add scribbling to look like writing.
    Wood planks were a recent last minute afterthought...seems my afterthoughting needs rework.
    No clear focal point - my thoughts exactly - but I do want it to be Santa, then the reindrone (so I suspect I might do some cropping, rearranging).
    Santas eyes - yes - they do get lost - my 3D model does have small eyes, I might have to either change model eye size (harder), or make bigger pupils, move hat to not obscure eyes so much, or take care of it in painting over the image (to come later)
    Not sure what I will be doing about coloring yet, for me that's a continous ongoing, effort, ever changing. But I do go for bright, saturated, fantasy color schemes rather than realistic.

    Thanks so much @JajaJulie, @Thrace-Shirley-Mears, @Bobby-Aquitania, @gimmehummus



  • Ha Ha! Great idea.



  • Oh, one more thing. I had a hard time telling that Santa had a controller, it kind of looked like a gingerbread house or something that he was carrying carefully.



  • @Marsha-Kay-Ottum-Owen

    Thanks Marsha...yes - the controller is hard to make out. probably because I don't have a good idea what a controller should look like (this is a design stolen from xbox? contoller)! I will try to do something about that (next round)
    24EnvironmentWEB.jpg

    Soooo....Moved the wood scraps, moved the camera back, took out 1 bear, moved other bear close to Santa, moved the handsaw to bear by top secret box, lightened the wish list, added writing to list, moved list to come out of box, changed sky to have a lighter horizon tending towards turquoise, changed the sweaters on bears to be a pattern, moved Santas hat back to not obscure his eyes, eyebrow, made pupils/iris bigger, added house in back.

    Does this composition work better?

    I think the colors, rendering is currently too CGish. Once I settle on composition, I will be experimenting with different rendering styles. I might try painting over image in a style reminiscent of oil pastels or liquid ink or watercolor or collage...who knows. I 'll see how much time allows.



  • Hi Nancy. I'm still having trouble with it. There are a lot of distractions going on like lens flares, very detailed textures, and snowflakes. I think what might help is to knock out all the extra stuff and render out your main focal points. Just do a render of Santa and the reindeer. Get a better view of that controller in his hand. I can only see that it's there because it's glowing for an unknown reason.



  • I really like the "look" you have achieved with this illustration. I agree with the others that it is "busy". I'm not sure where to look yet there are a lot of cool things to look at. Also, there are a few lens flares which seem a little distracting. The cool thing about 3d is that you can move things around on the stage and re-render. Keep working at it!



  • Thanks @gimmehummus and @Rob-Smith

    yes - too busy - definitely. I was thinking about this (last night). Yes ditch the lens flare, ditch the snowflakes, render just Santa & Reindrone, make controller more obvious. Get a clearer focal point. (tone down detail textures)

    Will be going out today - so tonight !



  • Just a quick idea...

    He could be ducking like "oh no it's coming right for me!"

    drone.jpg



  • @ Nancy Gormezano I think the controller was hard for me to decipher, not so much for the design of the controller but because it looked like snow on gingerbread (the skin colors or something kind of look like gingerbread, and then their were some little details that looked like gingerbread house decorations to me. On closer look, the controller actually looks pretty good I think. My eyes are getting older so I might not see things as clearly but there are plenty of other Grandmas reading to their little cuties that will need to have clarity too :-)



  • The changes you made are definitely looking good. I see the "decorations" I saw were his mittens ;-)



  • @gimmehummus

    I like it ! Drat it all ! (heh heh) thanks!

    I was thinking of something very similar - but I got too attached to all the other critters, elements, details, ideas in my comp. I am so envious of those who put a lot of detail into their images, with lots of things to look at and explore. But as we all know, simplicity can be very effective. (you know: less is more, cull/edit your ideas, blah, blah, blah...)

    I am beginning to hate 3D. I should have just drawn something to begin with. But I have this insane idea that 3D can save me time in exploring compositions, lighting.

    Back to the wacom tablet with me. Sigh.

    Thanks for all the great comments.



  • @Nancy-Gormezano said:

    @gimmehummus

    I like it ! Drat it all ! (heh heh) thanks!

    I was thinking of something very similar - but I got too attached to all the other critters, elements, details, ideas in my comp. I am so envious of those who put a lot of detail into their images, with lots of things to look at and explore. But as we all know, simplicity can be very effective. (you know: less is more, cull/edit your ideas, blah, blah, blah...)

    I am beginning to hate 3D. I should have just drawn something to begin with. But I have this insane idea that 3D can save me time in exploring compositions, lighting.

    Back to the wacom tablet with me. Sigh.

    Thanks for all the great comments.

    If you still want to use this last image as a means to help you, I have a suggestion. You could desaturate the whole image to greyscale. Then draw a heavy black line over the areas you want to interpret... you don't have to include everything, you can add or take away, and then either print just the black line to a decently thin mixed media paper, and color as normal. That is if you don't want to color this digitally... I could show you an example in the morning, I'm relaxing on the couch right now, it's 10:12pm here in Ontario...



  • @Bobby-Aquitania

    Thanks for the kind offer Bobby - but it's not necessary.

    I am probably going to do a very different composition (not using the last one)

    My intention, after I got a composition I liked, was that I was going to repaint it in Corel Painter (digital) - to look hand drawn, hand painted. perhaps in a watercolor style, perhaps in liquid ink style, perhaps oil pastel, or cut out collage style with ragged edges etc etc (too many ideas).

    I have desaturated some of my zillions of 3D renders to see tonally what is happening (not a pretty sight), but not concerned with that, yet. I have experimented with flattening the 2D imagery by filtering out the textures, posterizing to 4 values as well. And I have the capability in my 3D software to get outlines, toon type outlines for eventual coloring, in various thickness. Here's some examples

    I am going to zero in soon. But I've been saying that for weeks now.
    24EnvironmentTopazfiltersBW.jpg

    24EnvironmentDCInativetoonlinesWEB.jpg



  • That's handy, but hand drawing over the desaturated version I think would show more of " your " style, then what an algorithm might try to convey... the outline version above has the same composition problems as the original, too many elements, a busy quality, no direct focus.

    I don't mean to impose though, I wish you luck in your next version.



  • @Bobby-Aquitania said:

    That's handy, but hand drawing over the desaturated version I think would show more of " your " style, then what an algorithm might try to convey... the outline version above has the same composition problems as the original, too many elements, a busy quality, no direct focus.

    I don't mean to impose though, I wish you luck in your next version.

    Not imposing at all - I appreciate your offer.

    I think you misunderstood what I was going to do with any of the digital renders.

    I was not intending to stay within the lines EVER, my hand drawn style (done in real life or digitally) is very very mushy, free. There isn't a line I haven't strayed from. Nor was I intending to use the automatically generated outlines, and especially not use THIS composition. This was just to show what tools I have available, and how they might help. I would use the lines as only a reference (not to trace over) for perhaps masking, for diagnosing problems etc.

    here's example of a fast recent watercolor that I did digitally in Painter. It is my goal to perfect my digital painting skills so that it looks totally hand done.myapple.png
    Here's some characters I was developing (to be modeled in 3D eventually) - again painted in Corel PainterBothwitchsSmaller.jpg


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