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The main observation looking between the ref and the painted versions is that you're not slowing down and observing the real color that's there- instead relying on general ideas of this ball being 'blue'.
Moving from the highlight outward, I observe:
-Highlight: pure white
-The area immediately surrounding the highlight: Cyan. Not a blue, but a specific, very saturated blue that is moved up the color wheel, almost into green territory.
-The midtone area: A light/mid value blue, a bit less saturated than the cyan.
-The core shadow: A purplish, saturated dark blue. If I were mixing this with real paint, there'd be a good amount of ultramarine in that mixture.
-In the shadows: A desaturated, greenish-blue. This is the result of the light bouncing off the yellowish gray of the ground, into the shadow area, as well as the ball directly reflecting that area. That reflection creates a warm-looking shape on the right side; if you observe it, it actually may appear a warm, reddish color- but this is an optical illusion brought on by the areas surrounding it being so blue. I haven't color picked it to check, but I suspect if I did I'd find it to in fact be pretty desaturated, with little actual 'color' to it. A gray surrounded by a cool color will appear warm, a gray surrounded by a warm color will appear cool. (additional reading, demonstrating how much you can get out of a single color if you know how to control your saturation: http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2012/08/duotone-illustrations.html)
Now, in the paintings, I feel like you spent a lot of time trying to get "the color of the ball" right- what's referred to as 'local color'. A blue ball is blue, right? So finding the 'right' blue will get the 'right' result?
Then having chosen a color, you make some parts lighter, and some parts darker.
Now, if the objective was to say, match a color so you can go to a Sherwin-Williams so you could paint your room the color of that ball, focusing on the local color makes sense.
However, the thing to keep in mind is that when painting- trying to create a 2-dimensional representation of a 3-dimensional reality on a surface- there is no one single 'color of the ball'. In my rough breakdown, I've listed at least 5 specific, discrete colors that all equally can claim to be 'the color of the ball'. The 'actual' color of the 'actual' ball does not matter, because you may or may not actually be able to observe that color in the reality of the situation.
Only the specific colors you can observe matter. That same blue ball could appear pretty much any color depending on the circumstances of light, of its surroundings, of the atmosphere, of the exposure settings on your camera- and trying to focus on the local color will give you wildly incorrect results much of the time.
Probably the most common example would be how beginners tend to paint bodies of water- they think, 'water is blue!' and leave it at that. So you wind up with a lot of paintings of this super-blue water on overcast days, or during brilliant red sunsets, or in the pitch black of night; whereas in observable reality, water only appears blue as a result of the colors it reflects. If it's not a blue sky, it's not a blue ocean. This is a very broad example, of course- but it serves to illustrate that to get anywhere, you have to make sure your observations trump any assumptions.
In your paintings, you have tripped upon some of the observable colors- your first painting is closer to capturing the more ultramarine color of the core shadow. The other paintings get closer to the midtone color. But in trying to generalize that single color observation across the whole object, you wind up missing a lot of essential information- and as a result, the viewer won't buy it as a real object.
Now, I know you are looking for things to do in 10-20 min bursts and well- tough. 20 minutes is short for a drawing, let alone a painting. It's going to take time to observe well, it's going to take time to get a handle on turning those observations into accurate color notes, it's going to take time to apply those observations and still get the shapes, edges, and values right at the same time. But spending that time, taking the time to be accurate and observe well is going to get you a lot further a lot faster than doing a bunch of quick, rushed paintings. Don't do 7 'ok' paintings, moving on when you get frustrated. Stick on one until you get it right.
Because being seen to have spent time and energy in trying to draw something that may be seen as an attempt to make myself look 'cool', is somehow vastly more embarrassing than spending time and energy making myself look like a goofy idiot.
Sorry, I was agreeing with you that the trope makes no sense and is destructive to suspension of disbelief, and was trying to say that I can only assume it's because the guys who wrote the character have their head up their ass about what's actually attractive (as opposed to 'badass').
I think that is in a way giving too much credit, because it implies that any thought-even completely wrong-headed thought- was put into the idea of 'what would a woman find attractive'.
A statement that I've heard a couple times when talking about scenes in bad movies (not even sex scenes, just scenes in general) is, "it's like aliens came down and saw a bunch of action movies and decided to make one of their own- they didn't understand any of it, any of the motivations or reasons behind it, but they put this scene in here because that sort of scene occurs in that sort of movie." I think that's more the level that it operates on- it's a trope that has gained a life of its own, and escaped into other works of fiction where they make no sense.
I mean, I'll buy into a lot of dumb shit in movies- I can buy into a universe where giant robots have to fight giant monsters in Pacific Rim. I can buy into an alternate reality where bouncers are world famous in Road House. I shouldn't be that hard to throw in a sentence or two establishing that there's some reason for 2 people to be attracted to each other- or failing that, that said 2 people are the sort of people who are clearly into no-strings-attached compulsive banging (which is what this sort of thing always boils down to, even though it's always sold retroactively as if there's some kind of romantic connection there. They never go, "Well hey, that was fun! Gotta go!" and part ways amicably.)
I guess this is just another one of those things that are supposed to be something that 'straight guys' are all about- sports, heavy drinking, anything having to do with Adam Carolla, etc. that I just will never get. I thought I was a straight guy, but the wisdom of the Hollywood and marketing machines have informed me I must not be. Maybe I've been a Beauty and the Beast style sentient piece of furniture this whole time and I just never knew.
Now you guys have me thinking over my frustration over how a love interest in a Bond movie will just up and die.
"Bond, I love you!"
"I love you so dearly as well!"
"Let us run away from this life of violen--oh, no, I am dead!"
"I must stare moodily for a moment now to show my true grief."
You'd think after the sixth or seventh time, maybe Bond would wonder "Is it me? I wonder if its me?"
My favorite example of this is in Rambo: First Blood Part 2, where the entirety of the romance/sex/death subplot is contained in a single sequence that is maybe like, 90 seconds long start to finish. It happens so fast that it reads as a non-sequitur Naked Gun gag rather than a genuine plot point.
Awhile back I asked for light-reading suggestions since I'd run out of Dresden Files books to read.
I don't think I read all the suggestions I got, but I think I tried one from everyone that suggested one? My thoughts on what I read:
Legion by Brandon Sanderson- probably the favorite out of the ones that were suggested. Also just finished another of his books (Steelheart) on the suggestion of a friend, which I also dug. Picked up the second Legion novella and the second in the Steelheart series, so I'll probably move onto whatever else he's got after I get through those. (Although the same friend had also recommended one of his books on the strength of 'It's got a really intricately plotted magic system with a lot of complex rules!', which to me sounds like the dullest fucking thing, so maybe I'll try to hold off on that particular book.)
Neutron Star by Larry Niven- Liked it, didn't love it.
Jonathon Strange and Mr.Norell- I don't remember if this was recommended on here or someone was just talking about it on Facebook, but I liked this a lot as well, even if it takes probably a little too much time to get the ball rolling on the plot.
Gridlinked by Neal Asher- It had some neat ideas, but I had a hard time connecting with a main character who is basically a sociopath. I know there are plot reasons for this, but still.
Jack Reacher #1- Similar to my reaction to the movie- it was alright and all, but again, I have a hard time connecting with a main character is just a hyper-competent badass who is just simply better at everything than everyone else. It'd probably make for a better story if told from the point of view of the not-so-clever villains, as they get picked off one by one by this mysterious Mr.SuperBadass like he's a horror movie monster.
Also a side note on the last two, I always find myself baffled by the trope that the ladies are just jonesing to immediately hop into bed with the sorts of dudes that emotionlessly kill people on the regular. I would think these vaguely mysterious, slab-chested, charmless masters of marksmanship, hand to hand combat, infiltration, etc. would regularly strike out at bars when faced with the competition of say, an assistant manager of a local credit union whose major talent is being able to belt out surprisingly good karaoke renditions of Adele songs while drunk.
Yeah- I don't like it, and I think the business in question is dodgy and I don't like the idea of it, and it probably should be sued, especially if they are advertising their services with unlicensed work instead of just saying "send us a .jpg, we'll print it out"- but I'm not sure how much good prosecuting it would ultimately do, as long as there are no lack of personal printers and print shops that anyone can go and use to do the same thing, as ND said.
Luckily for myself, I get paid for my work as part of my job, so I don't really worry about this stuff. I've already been paid as much as I ever expect to get paid by the time anyone in the public sees it.
Dealing with making money from the internet directly seems like a total pain, because of issues like this.
I would assume that being successful in an internet art business is going to be more about doing one or more of the following
A) Getting your primary revenue from a companies/clients commissioning you for work directly.
B) Using easily pirateable works (ie: .jpgs on the internet) more as advertising for things that are harder to copy/aren't freely available otherwise (books, toys, shirts, plushies, signed merch, personal massages by the artist, etc.).
C) Getting advertising revenue on your site.
D) Using the free work as advertising for your Patreon fund/Kickstarter campaign. (I can't believe that the Questionable Content guy makes almost $10000 a month on Patreon alone- but I don't know how many years of doing free work it took before he'd worked off the sunk costs/actually generated positive revenue.)
It's similar to a free-to-play games model- you're going to have to give away a lot for free, to reach the handful of people that are going to lay down serious cash- rather than everyone on the internet laying out just a little bit of money a piece. Offering prints of things that are freely available and making money from that is a nice bonus, but I can't imagine that relying on that alone for revenue is going to be all that financially viable, if you're hoping to make a livable wage.
I'm not saying it's fair- I too would like to see more people doing work get paid for that work directly- but that's just seems to be how it is.