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Attos' Sketchbook and Studies NSFW Nudity

17 Sep 2015 20:46 #12351 by Atto
Thanks Thomgirl,
Yeah my interpretation of light/values (as you kindly put it) is still way off. I'll try your tip of using a restricted number of tones to start. I'm still struggling to find a way of 'painting' that seems comfortable and natural to me. I tried using a variety of opacities on the hand with a limited amount of tones but I think thats why my highlights went askew and is probably the issue with the ring finger. Just gonna have to keep plugging away at it.

No smudge tool was harmed in the making of this image.

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17 Sep 2015 22:13 #12352 by Thomgirl
I understand. Still trying to figure that out myself. That being said, try not using opacity changes much and rely more on value swapping. Opacity is handy for sketching/drawing, but I find tricky when laying out value ground work. Try and view the value areas as shape blocks to start, not as transitions. You can smooth out transitions later (not with a smudge tool! ;-) ). I'm in the Yian camp on that. I used to try and use it for blending and I think it just does a horrible job :-/ You can keep blending with brushes and value changes in digital work since you don't have to worry about paint building up or distorting the rest of your work as you build in layers :) Eventually, you'll find a method that 'clicks' for you and it might even be using a smudge brush tool (Like Valence said, there are those out there that have the gift with it!). But start basic and build from there. Test everything! You really can't go wrong!
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17 Sep 2015 23:42 #12355 by Atto
Opacity really isn't working for me apart from sketches and laying down proportions and construction lines. That being said I am using the smudge a little in the below drawing. I'm trying not to 'draw' with it but every now and then find myself correcting mistakes in the shape of those value blocks. I haven't used it at all since Yian suggested not using it but in a more complicated image I'm finding I rely on it a little more.
If anyone could compare the following to some of my previous images or the entry for the black and white challenge and let me know if it really is producing a bad result I would be more than grateful.
Cheers in advance.

With smudge:


Without smudge:


No smudge tool was harmed in the making of this image.
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18 Sep 2015 00:13 #12356 by Valence
Hmm, I can't help but wonder if you're overthinking the practicalities of drawing and painting. A bit like wondering if you should use a 2B or 3B pencil. Sometimes it can be more liberating and rewarding to pick your tool and just ... draw.

But while we're in thinking and analytical mode: what do you mean when you say Opacity? Are you changing the value manually or using it with pen pressure? Also, are you using hard or soft brushes?
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18 Sep 2015 20:52 - 18 Sep 2015 20:54 #12361 by Valence
Replying to myself here (that's always the first sign of madness :P) I meant to type this in the last message but it was late and I was tired etc..

Regarding the two pictures: the black and white one does have crisper edges giving it a comicbook quality and as such has a greater sense of solidity.
The other image doesn't look quite right just yet but this has more to do with colour and value than the blending. The skin tone could use a little more saturation in places and some darker tones in those recesses of the spine (in an AO kind of way.) In fact if you duplicate the whole image to a new layer and set it to soft light the values and colours are a little closer to what you would want.

And continuing what I said in the last tired message it's always good to try out new methods of laying down colour and blending but it's not something that you should worry and get frustrated about.
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19 Sep 2015 02:28 #12364 by crankshaft
Nice updates Atto! For the pic with the smudge tool it looks a bit unnatural to me. I don't use the smudge tool so I can't say too much but I like the second one better. As thomgirl has said I would think of flat values then add subtle transitions after. That's what I do and I find it to be very logical. Eg Paint a cube in local value then paint reflected light in.
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19 Sep 2015 22:20 #12370 by Atto
Thanks guys,
I do get a little over analytical at times Val - but I am attempting to be more spontaneous and experimental.
I use hard brushes to sketch changing the opacity of the tool to around 60% and line thickness is controlled by pen pressure. I then move to a softer large brush to lay down basic tones dropping opacity to soften the tonal transitions and working toward smaller detail.
Whats AO by the way? Not something I've come across before.
Crank - I'm trying Thomgirls suggestion on my current picture. I often try to move into softening those transitions a little to quickly before ensuring the basic areas are accurate and I think that is the problem we are all seeing in the smudge pic. I do struggle at the moment to define those areas too, the more I study a picture the more I notice subtle changes in tone and consequently am constantly refining my light/shadowed areas with little success.
Anyway all thanks again for the tips and back to the drawing.....

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19 Sep 2015 22:55 #12372 by Valence
AO, Ambient Occlusion, is actually a term from 3D and is a lighting method to approximate the way that recessed areas block out not only direct light but also ambient and reflected light too resulting in more darkness than you get from normal shaders. There are techniques in 2D painting that simulate it with multiply layers but in mentioning it I wasn't suggesting that you use those techniques but was just referring generally to the way that creases in flesh can also have those darker areas where bulging muscles meet, especially down the centre of the spine.

And I always like hearing about other people's preferred brush settings. Everyone seems to like having pen pressure set to size ... except me! :( I just can't control line width at all so I always have my pressure set to opacity or flow. I guess I like to be different and awkward. :P
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21 Sep 2015 00:13 #12375 by Atto
Thanks for the clarification Valence. I'll try to take it on board.

As is my way I've started another study before finishing the last, I'll try to revisit it at some point, in fact once I'm a little more adept I intend to revisit most of these studies so I can see a direct comparison to what I have learnt.

This next one I do intend to work up further as I need to see how far I can refine these tones and I need practice at hands and feet.

Again a really nice photo I found on DA:

Spent some time with the lower right hand and foot trying to put some of the advice to practice. Still a ways to go but I do actually feel I'm learning quite a bit here - probably as much in this single image as I have in all the previous posts over the last few weeks. Crit away you lovely people please.

No smudge tool was harmed in the making of this image.
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21 Sep 2015 11:44 #12379 by Digital Dave
Nice study. But watch the forward foot, it almost appears to have 6 toes. :)

I get sketchy around pencils! ...=D
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