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Silverpath - Album Cover

TenTen Registered User regular
edited March 2007 in Artist's Corner
Hey all, this is an album cover I am working on for a music project I am doing with a friend. I was hoping I could get some comments and suggestions, mainly on the composition and colour, but any are welcome.

I don't often post in these forums but I lurk quite often, and I know I will get some honest criticism from some of the fine artists here :)

This is the front (click for larger version):
silverpath%20-%20continuum%20of%20man%20-%20draft1%20-%20front-small.jpg

And this is the back:
silverpath%20-%20continuum%20of%20man%20-%20draft1%20-%20back-small.jpg

Ten on

Posts

  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I assume you're using bryce for the effects?

    I tend to stay away from that program because 1) no real idea how to use it and 2) the effects themselves can come off as unintentionally cheesy and/or fake. If you know how to use the program, more power to ya, but it looks like you're testing the waters here, so if you're not already too far into the deadline quota you might want to try another program for arguably better results.

    Aside from that, the cover just doesn't seem interesting enough; the idea itself isn't terrible, it's just the execution that's lacking; what happened to the atmosphere of the planet and such? Factor in a believable sunrise/sunset and then we'll talk.

    0WBv0.png
  • TenTen Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Ouch, does it really look like Bryce? It's actually 3d Studio Max, using the Mental Ray Ocean lume shader, albeit the default settings.

    Thanks for your comments; you're right about the atmosphere, and at this point I have no idea how to make that better using 3ds Max, so maybe I have some more learning to do :-)

    I guess I should explain the idea a bit too (just so you know what I'm going for, not to excuse myself from your crits), I'm trying to evoke loneliness and emptiness I guess, the front cover is meant to somewhat parallel a lone road running through a desert (hence the road sign).

    The back is meant to be somewhat ominous and have a feeling of 'something coming over the horizon', it's also meant to be ambiguous about whether it's the sun, or the glow of a nuke having just gone off.

    These images all relate to the content of the songs we've written, by the way.

  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2007
    Whatever it is supposed to be, why is it not casting light?

    The stars in the background are repetitive and visible. If that is supposed to be a light source, you would barely be able to see the stars at all.

    Is that supposed to look like deep ocean? It looks like an endless plane of shallow water. Needs to be much darker if the moon and sun are your only light sources.

  • TenTen Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Doc wrote: »
    Whatever it is supposed to be, why is it not casting light?

    Are you referring to the sun/nuke? It's casting a bit of light onto the water in the distance, but I didn't want the orange to overpower everything else. Do you think I need to make it less visible over the horizon so the lack of light isn't as much of an issue?
    The stars in the background are repetitive and visible. If that is supposed to be a light source, you would barely be able to see the stars at all.
    Good point, I'll tone down the brightness of the stars and find a better texture so they're not so repetitive.
    Is that supposed to look like deep ocean? It looks like an endless plane of shallow water. Needs to be much darker if the moon and sun are your only light sources.
    Yeh, I've had some trouble getting the ocean looking the way I want it. I think it's that shallow look that is making it look like the image was made in Bryce, as Godfather pointed out.

  • MaydayMayday generation three hybrid Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Mental Ray Ocean-something shader doesn't seem to be doing you much good.
    I suggest doing a tutorial on actual ocean shader creation.

    I have one for Blender (which I use), you might find it useful, otherwise look around.
    http://www.cogfilms.com/tutorials.html

    Also, even at night the colour of the sky varies depending on the distance from the horizon. If there is also a sun/nuke there, the variation will be much larger (look for photo references).

  • MagicToasterMagicToaster Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I really don't like how you're arranging your elements on the cover. I bet you could attract more attention to the name of the CD if you placed things diffrently.

    I have to go to class, but I'll show you what I mean when I get back.

    tostadas.png
  • TenTen Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Thanks Mayday, that tutorial looks quite useful, I'll try to adapt it to 3ds Max to see if I can get the water looking better.

    Edit: MagicToaster, I'd really appreciate that, thank you. I know the composition isn't great so I was hoping for some suggestions.

  • MaydayMayday generation three hybrid Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Also, the moon is too dim, astral bodies don't cast shadows that sharp (they get the more blurred, the further the object casting them is).

  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2007
    bslinger wrote: »
    Doc wrote: »
    Whatever it is supposed to be, why is it not casting light?

    Are you referring to the sun/nuke? It's casting a bit of light onto the water in the distance, but I didn't want the orange to overpower everything else. Do you think I need to make it less visible over the horizon so the lack of light isn't as much of an issue?


    Much less visible. Like just a sliver of it could be visible. And it doesn't look like it's casting light at all. It looks like a big object thats image is being reflected onto the water.

  • TenTen Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Doc wrote: »
    bslinger wrote: »
    Doc wrote: »
    Whatever it is supposed to be, why is it not casting light?

    Are you referring to the sun/nuke? It's casting a bit of light onto the water in the distance, but I didn't want the orange to overpower everything else. Do you think I need to make it less visible over the horizon so the lack of light isn't as much of an issue?


    Much less visible. Like just a sliver of it could be visible. And it doesn't look like it's casting light at all. It looks like a big object thats image is being reflected onto the water.

    Thanks, I'll give that a try, it will probably be better if it is more subtle anyway (I actually had it even bigger in my first draft, but make it smaller and lower down, I guess I didn't go far enough :) )

  • MagicToasterMagicToaster Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Now that I have some time to write I can word my thoughts better.

    What's wrong with your composition is the huuuuuge empty areas. Having empty space is not a bad thing, but empty space has to balance the weight of the other elements in the design too! This is where you failed.

    Should you move the moon away from the sign and made it bigger (alot bigger), your CD lable would be balanced! However, it would still be a bad label because then it would just be a picture of the moon and a road sign. The bands name should be the priority on the design.

    Seriously, you want ppl to remember who sings on this disk, right? Make their name bigger! I'd pull their name out of the road sign because it's very small when confined in that space.

    I made some rough layouts of how I would work around it. Usually, I think of what needs to be communicated and give that more importance. Then I work things around the important elements.

    continuumql7.jpg

    These thumbnails were the first thing that came to my head in like 10 minutes. I'm pretty sure that if you sit down for a good while you'd get more interesting results.

    I hope this helped!

    (Ah! When you break the word "In Continuum" like you did on the road sign, you get some unapealing gaps in the sign. I'd write it all in one sentence)

    tostadas.png
  • TenTen Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Wow, thanks for the thumbnails! I see what you mean with the empty space, so I'll definitely have a rethink about the composition of the different elements.

    Thanks to everybody for your criticisms and suggestions, you can expect me back in a few days with a new draft :)

  • JeakJeak Registered User
    edited February 2007
    I don't know if this counts as helpful advice but it looks like you'd be better using photoshop to achieve what you're trying to do.

  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2007
    bslinger wrote: »
    And this is the back:
    silverpath%20-%20continuum%20of%20man%20-%20draft1%20-%20back-small.jpg

    Why is the sun sucking shadows towards it rather than casting them?

    I guess you're trying to make it look like the moon is casting the shadows from behind the viewer, but really it just looks like you got it wrong. Whether that's the sun or a nuke on the horizon, it's going to substantially overpower the moonlight, and moonlight really doesn't tend to cast such long shadows. Plus your moon looks so dull in comparison to the light it's apparently supposed to be reflecting. Besides that, you've just got crazy light sources appearing out of nowhere. It looks like there is light being cast from directly above the roadsigns but there's no lights there, for example.

    I think you'd definitely be way better off using photoshop. Find a photograph of a sun setting over an ocean and a moon rising somewhere like www.istockphoto.com (IIRC you get free credits when you first sign up so you could probably get one or two print-quality images for free). Do the road sign in a 3D app if you want but you'd probably again be better off finding a stock image of a motorway sign and then photoshoping the text onto it.

    And then sort the lighting and shadows out.

  • VirumVirum Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I love how the shadows are completely straight across the ocean.

    Like the ocean is a completely flat surface.

  • Tweaked_Bat_Tweaked_Bat_ Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    ^ That's probably what's helping to make the ocean look a bit unconvincing.

    Add some softness to those shadows in max or whatever you're using, so they're not straight-out ray-traced shadows.

    Apart from that, more or less everything has been covered... look forward to seeing some new results dude!

  • TenTen Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    I finally got the time to finish off this album cover artwork, thankyou all for all your help, I think I incorporated most of your suggestions and it looks a lot better. I know it's not perfect, but I've pretty much run out of time. I'm pretty happy with the final product, anyway.

    silverpath-incontinuum-fron.jpg

    silverpath-incontinuum-back.jpg

    I would still like to hear any comments, even though I probably won't be doing any more work on this.

  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    It still screams amateur 'lolz 3d rendererer!!!1' but if that's the look you want then it works.

    XBL: heavenkils
  • The One 52The One 52 Registered User
    edited March 2007
    It looks much better than most of the cover arts I see for beginning bands that launch their first EP.

    Even so... I'd have to agree with saltiness here. It does screams "amateur", and even though I know you're no professional, I'm sure there would have been a way to tweak it just a little so the final product would have given a different impression from what we get here in terms of 3D artistic skills.

    bigbosssig.gif
    The internet does not qualify as grounds where you can act like a bouquet of dick.
  • TenTen Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Is it still the water that makes it look amateurish? Because, I mean, the road signs are pretty basic, but what else could I do to them? I mean, I know the poles look a bit dodgy, I couldn't get the textures to look right for them.

    Anyway, this isn't actually something that we're going to be trying to sell or anything, really just something to give out to friends and family, and for a bit fun, so for what it is, I'm OK with it looking a bit amateurish. :)

  • NightDragonNightDragon Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    bslinger wrote: »
    Is it still the water that makes it look amateurish? Because, I mean, the road signs are pretty basic, but what else could I do to them? I mean, I know the poles look a bit dodgy, I couldn't get the textures to look right for them.

    Anyway, this isn't actually something that we're going to be trying to sell or anything, really just something to give out to friends and family, and for a bit fun, so for what it is, I'm OK with it looking a bit amateurish. :)

    The water***, the fact that the reflections make no sense (it looks like the lightsource is just above the viewer rather than faaaaaaar away from the viewer, the fact that your lightsources on the signs make no sense either, the fact that everything looks cut-and-pasted in...nothing looks like it "goes" with anything else.

    reflection-water.jpg
    Mopti-Sunset-water.jpg
    Full%20Moonlight%20On%20The%20Water.gif

    Compare and contrast. Despite the fact that you've mentioned you don't care whether your design looks amateurish or not, I am giving you examples to try to demonstrate where you went wrong. Mostly, I think your biggest problem is that you've got a fuckton of wave "interference" and it's making your too-many-reflections look grainy.

    rotate.php BloggerLink.gifTumblrLink.gif
  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    bslinger wrote: »
    Is it still the water that makes it look amateurish? Because, I mean, the road signs are pretty basic, but what else could I do to them? I mean, I know the poles look a bit dodgy, I couldn't get the textures to look right for them.

    Anyway, this isn't actually something that we're going to be trying to sell or anything, really just something to give out to friends and family, and for a bit fun, so for what it is, I'm OK with it looking a bit amateurish. :)

    Pretty much with Night said. It just doesn't look remotely convincing. The problem with 3D renders is that they better looking fucking good or you just look like you don't know what you're doing and shouldn't even bother. That said, if it's nothing you're trying to sell to strangers then who cares. You did your best and that's all that's going to count in this case.

    XBL: heavenkils
  • TenTen Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    I didn't say I didn't care that it looks amateurish, just that for this project it's not too big a problem, and I don't have time left to keep working on it, I'm completely open to suggestions, so thankyou.

    I see your point with the light sources, but if I didn't have a light source above the viewers head, you wouldn't be able to read the signs... I tried putting actual lights on the signs, but couldn't get it to look good. This isn't an excuse, just thinking out loud.

    As for the water, I guess I just don't understand enough about the shader to get it to look great. Oh well. Thanks for your comments, I really do appreciate the help.

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