Frank's Concept Colosseum



  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    Your characters are kinda close together, creating tangents in their arms and ankles. You tend to draw feet a little small - definitely beef up the guy's feet, shoulder-area, and his legs/ankles (I think you're so used to drawing tiny women that you're putting some feminine physical traits into your male characters...which can be fine if that's what you're going for, but I'm assuming you're going for super-masculine beefcake for this guy. :P ).

    I know you said you're not interested in changing the ship design, but the tiny little leg it's balancing on in the front doesn't make any sense. The terrain would have to be extremely flat for this ship to land and not tip over. Just something to think about.

    Also, I'm not entirely sure what the arm-silhouette is doing in the foreground - I barely even noticed it, and it's the only one in the scene.

    Your lighting is also a little confusing - I'm not sure if you have a strong idea of exactly where the lightsources are. Speaking of lighting - everything is very midtone, and there's no material definition! Try to get some punch in there. Show me metal is metallic, those lights are bright, etc.

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    @NightDragon - YES! In depth-feedback!

    I moved the characters further apart, but I'm worried about tangents with the ship now. The guys proportions where all messed up! I beefed him up like you suggested and I think he looks better. Now, I'm not completely against changing ship design and you where right about it tipping over. I added more of a tripod type design and some supports in the back. I also added another dead body to try and sell the bit of story more. More work on the lighting, trying to define it and be consistent.

    Now what I'm focusing on is the material definition and finishing up (while keeping ND's feedback in mind)! What do you guys think?


  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    I feel like the narrative element with the bodies, and your intention of this being a landing in a dangerous area, are really at odds with the compositional choices you've made.

    The palette and general treatment of the mid and background suggests to me a verdant and peaceful environment, and the characters themselves are just completely detached from any kind of horror or apparent concern. The male figure has a slight look of consternation, but in general they both seem very posed and composed. To a degree, choosing a wide shot with a neatly balanced central composition further works against any notion that this is supposed to be a visceral or tense moment. The corpses seem as if they were shoehorned into what feels like a totally different illustration.

    Scosglen on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    I think my main goal with this was the crew posing in front of their awesome ship. A simple poster, I guess. The "rough landing" story element was tacked on at the end because I felt like it needed something more. In the actual story, the crew will visit a variety of planets searching for archaeological artifacts to sell.

    Maybe I can exchange the bodies for some old "remnants" of a lost world. Stuff mostly buried in earth and grown over. Getting closer to finish!


    F87 on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    New one started:
    Desert Temple. Still tweaking the composition and trying to work out the main focus.

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    Now that I've had some time away from it, I don't think I will be finishing the desert temple. I need to do a better with the composition.

    I'm a bit rusty now though, so I thought working up a new avatar would be a good way to warm up.


    Does the kitten look weird?

    F87 on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    OK guys! New character I'm starting: A young yakuza Zday survivor!


    What do you guys think?

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    He still looks pretty...white? Not Japanese...can I recommend gathering a few photos of Japanese men, and/or just one photo, and using that as reference? There is a lot more to it than just a change of the eyes. There's different bone structure, different noses, facial shapes, etc.

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    Well, I tried to change the nose shape some and I used a bit of reference from different angles. But yeah, you are right. I think he looks too white as well. I will work on that and post a good update tomorrow. Thanks, ND.


    Here are some more survivor ideas!


    F87 on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    OK, take 2 on the Yakuza survivor:


    And for the same project, the source of the "zombies": an Infector:


    Pretty early on in both, still, but what do you guys think? Does the survivor look more Japanese?

    F87 on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    OK! So today when I picked the "Infector" concept back up, something about it just didn't sit well with me. So I'm scrapping the humanoid alien design and going for an insect type creature!

    Early WIP:


    Any ideas how I could make the design better? The basic idea is that these alien insects are used as biological weapons by an unknown sentient race. One day, a few are released into a town and within a week the entire continent is infected.

    F87 on
  • SeveredHeadSeveredHead Registered User regular
    you continue to be an inspiration to the nation, and by nation i mean me.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I think you are going in the right direction. The people look less like "Generic frank scifi lady" and more like people who you are actually considering as characters, and that's a major leap forward.

    For your infector bugs though, you want to think about size and stealth. If a kick-able sized bug with a tiny mandible comes at me carrying some virus, I'm going to kick the shit out of it before it can get at me with its little bug mouth. Unless those things explode, then, thats more viable. In that case all of your survivors would be probably trying to wear hazmat-like gear to protect themselves, not have their eyes/mouth/nose/skin exposed.

  • HalenHalen Registered User regular
    Unless they swarm...

    Draw an egg.
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    @SeveredHead - I will continue to do what I can for the people. Of the Nation.

    @Iruka , @Halen - OOOOH! I really need to think about the Infectors more! I don't want them to seem like banelings from Starcraft, so I think exploding is out. Plus, design wise, I don't want my characters in hazmat-suits all the time. Swarming is a good idea, but that doesn't fit the story I want very well....

    You see, my initial idea is that these Infectors are the catalyst for ZDay in my project. They aren't out in mass, killing people. They infect a host and feed on them. The infection itself reverts humans to their most primitive instincts and instills them with an insatiable hunger for flesh, i.e. ZOMBOS! Since I'm trying to take a few steps away from your typical Zombie genre, I want the infected to change in an unexpected way. This could be as simple as green welts and sores all over the body that mimic the Infectors, or maybe something more involved, like the humans change physically from the infection. Either way, the zombies then infect others and that's how it spreads.

    Also, I think it helps me to have project oriented concepts now and again. I go into a character without a solid idea way too often! But setting up this zombie project has really forced me to try and see these characters as actual people! @Iruka - I think that's my small step forward and if so, hopefully I can retain that idea.


    Speaking of "Generic frank scifi lady"... I'm working on this concept because I wanted to do something a little crazier, design wise. She is the Leader of the Technomancers.



    OK, back to my Death Falls project. Some quick sketches, one for what your usual infected might look like and a couple thumbs for some environments. I want to do one that really feels like a small town "gone to hell". I used google maps street view to look around different places, then used screenshots to plot out a basic perspective grid. I tried to keep it close to the screenshot, but with things here and there to show damage and decay.



    F87 on
  • lyriumlyrium Registered User regular
    It seems like your thumbnails of values are missing the mark a little, because the values are kind of broken apart. Bottom left is a little better, but the other three (top left in particular), might benefit from keeping your values in larger groups. You can have a busy, detailed image with lots of broken up space, but it can help it read better if you clump lights, middles, and darks into bigger masses. Check out Lundy's thumbnails in his thread because those all look awesome.

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    Thanks, lyrium! I checked out his thread and I definitely see what you mean. I will retry at some point.

    Here are some new thumbnails for a character concept I'm starting. He is the Chief of a strange tribe. The setting is a mixture of fantasy/sci-fi.


    Can you guys help me pick the best 2? Then I will do variation thumbnails for those!

    Here is the first set, if anyone is interested:

    F87 on
  • MuddyParasolMuddyParasol Registered User regular
    I like 3 the most. The pear shape gives him a distintive body shape that makes him stand out and is instantly readable.

    I also like 8, but I think it's mainly cause I like his headgear.

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Thanks, MuddyParasol. I think 3 was a bit too exaggerated, but I will work on making the final one instantly readable. I like the headgear of 8 too, but he seems too much like a spiritual leader.

    More thumbs of a couple I liked:


    A lot of the proportions are really jacked up. I should clean them all up a bit more too.

    F87 on
  • wahaywahay Your Handicapped Hero Cincinnati, USARegistered User regular
    Love the most recent thumbnails! I was going to whine at you about how your Z-day survivors are too similar in height and build, but you clearly have great exaggeration present in your Clan Chief thumbnails. Don't clean up the proportions too much—I'd rather they were too exaggerated than simply boring!

    For the record, I'd pick # 3 or #4 from your second batch of thumbs, but across the board they're strong concepts!

    "Sorry ladies, I give my everything to Sallie Mae."
    My Artist Corner Thread • Everywhere I Post
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Thank you, Sir! I will really try to vary the builds of my characters more.


    I went ahead and did a few variations of #4, but I still like the regular #4 the most. He seems the most like a Maybe I shouldn't have done different designs, but variations on the design. Should I do more thumbs like that or just proceed with #4 as the character?

    EDIT: I'm going to consider all of the previous thumbs a good way to get back in the swing of doing those. Now I'm going to do some for the technomancer and restart her.


    F87 on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    OK, one of these will be the Technomancer character. Which one guys, which one??


  • SeveredHeadSeveredHead Registered User regular
    they are all good obviously, it think it would help if we knew what this character was for? a game? is it a npc? stuff like that.

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    Yeah, you are right. I should have given more info, but after a day of looking at them I just picked one. :P

    When I finish this concept, I'm going to do a turnaround sheet for my portfolio. Then I'm going to have a go with it in Zbrush!

    She is some sort of Technomancer combat priestess. And I am allowed to create a character with a bit of cleavage every now and then, right?


  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Unlike the tube tops in your sketches, that techno wonder bra is a bit to low and loose to seem at all supportive.

    Her right foot seems higher than the left, I'm not sure if you were trying to push it back in perspective, but its a little off for the position shes standing in.

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    Thanks, broseph! Any feedback design-wise?

    I added more support to the techno wonder bra. Should I go with the short hair? It breaks up the silhouette more around her head.


  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited December 2012
    To be honest, I think you chose the most boring, and safest of your silhouettes, and then rounded off all the spikes and edges, and then refocused on the cleavage. I mean, all the large points of focus are now her skin. Her pose is pretty bland and doesn't tell me much about her.

    Try taking any of the bottom one of these ones you posted earlier:

    Just blow up the thumbnail and paint directly on top of it, trying not to lose any of the silhouette breaking details.

    I mean, if this one is fun for you and you want to finish it up, that's cool, but it seems like your back sliding. The Zombie survivors were pushing you forward, and this seems pretty easy and safe.

    Iruka on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Damnit! I was feeling pretty good about this one too. I do agree that I ended up killing most of the silhouette though.

    OK, I'll start over with that bottom left one. I think it has some cool shapes.

    Getting pretty frustrated lately though, I think I'm at some terrible art-plateau or something. Again.

    F87 on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I think you need to stay loose.
    When you are are building on your sketches, stay loose. You'll have plenty of time to refine as you draw, place your initial ideas with a little stream of consciousness.
    For a while, keep your focus on the outline, keep your shapes bigger. I realized as I was going that I took of that light gray shape off the hip, and put it back in. You want to go back and forth, and pay attention to the negative spaces too.

    Personally, I'd recommend following some character writing/story writing blogs to help you think about the different layers of questions you could be asking yourself as you design a character

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Really awesome, thanks! I tried to keep my shapes bigger and work out the silhouette. Do you like the basic design?


    F87 on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Try building up your shapes on top of the black and just keep painting, rather than inking. Your end result is a lineless painting anyway, and you seem to loose a lot of energy in the inking process. I cant do a paint over right now, but, kinda like this:

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    I will do just that! Should be interesting to change up my process some.

    Lately in my free time, I've been learning more about 2d game programming. I started working on a flash as3 game but now I've moved on to learning some java for fun. I thought I could toss that flash game I made up here, it's built with the Flixel engine.

    You play a man with a glorious mustache who must escape a terrible laboratory. (will probably take a min to load)

    It was a lot of fun figuring out Flixel, it really is an awesome 2d game engine. The pixel art and animations could use some work, it really was my first go at that kind of stuff. Oh and I found the music online! And the green enemies are really dumb. The best AI I could get working just had them slamming their head against the wall.

    Also, I'm doing a small commission. It's a crest and I've never done one before, but he likes it so now I just need to clean it up and figure out something for the flags.



    Also, here is an art test I'm doing for a commission. It's supposed to be done on one of their models and this test is for a "Cyborg Girl costume". Does the design look alright? I'm still working on cleaning it up and getting the materials to be more defined.


    Edit2: Ok, this design is shaping up! It's a bit more relaxing going from silhouette to painting rather than line art.

    Edit3: Which color scheme should I go with guys?




    F87 on
  • I guess nobody look at this because you edited these in rather than make a new post- if I had to say one thing it's that I find the 8.75 heads tall proportions to be pretty weird looking, personally. What looks alright in a loose, stylized exercise starts looking a little off when you carry it through with not particularly stylized rendering.
    F87 wrote: »
    Getting pretty frustrated lately though, I think I'm at some terrible art-plateau or something. Again.

    If I had to make a suggestion of what would be a quick win in terms of your overall skillset, I'd suggest taking a step back from all the concept art exercises for a week, and go do a long master copy of a Caravaggio.

    The reason being that- though I think you were making progress with the purple guy that ND was helping out out with- you tend to default to a very similar looking flattish or plasticy rendering quality regardless of material or lighting setup, and have fallen back on that in an effort to get things done quickly.

    What I think is going on is you're thinking of color in a more cartoony kind of sense- putting down flat local colors, and then adding on light and shade as kind of a layer added on top, to try to make it more realistic (I don't mean this literally as part of your process, but mentally.) This tends to leave the lighting/form a bit vague rather than feeling like a tangible object, and robs the picture of a lot of the drama/impact it could otherwise have.

    Being able to grapple with the light and the local colors at the same time a little more effectively is something that could be a huge boon to your work. I know people tend to go on and on and on about character design story/costume aspects in your threads, but honestly- a lot of what actually goes into games probably isn't really significantly better on those fronts anyway. By all means continue to try to improve things on that front, but it being a lot more subjective, it's harder to achieve or recognize when you've made a breakthough. (Personally I tend to avoid weighing in on such discussions because I realize I am not your art director, so who am I to say what is and isn't appropriate in terms of costume design?)

    I did a quick paintover of one of your abandoned designs up there to try to get the point across- it's the exact same design it always was, I've just spent a little bit of time rounding out the forms, making sure the light direction is always consistent, making sure that different materials read as different materials, and using the background to punch the character to life by adding a bit of context. Just how the same idea is presented can make a huge difference- even if everyone continues to think having a character walk around with metal football shoulder pads but has her tits shoved out for the world to see is ridiculous as hell, at least you get points for it being a well-executed ridiculous idea.


    So I mentioned Caravaggio, and there's a reason for that- mainly it's because he does a lot of things that you tend to shy away from, but could really really use in your work to bring it to the next level (which also means going through with it is probably going to be painful to do since it goes against all your ingrained instincts, but I think you'll learn a lot in the process.):

    1) Dramatic lighting that is well integrated between the figures and the background. You tend to go for flattish lighting on grey background, neither of which tend to be the most interesting way to present a subject. That can be useful in a production scenario, sure- but you don't want to present that as the apex of your abilities.
    2) Subtlety of light and form. Lots of soft edges vs hard edges, lots of well regulated turning of form. Getting away from flatness, cartoonness. It makes for a good study because there's no easy way around it, no shortcuts- you just have to keep at it until you understand the form and why what he does works. In order to do that quickly on command, you first have to learn how to do it slow.
    3) For all the subtlety and intricate drawing in his work, most of what he does in terms of costume and color are actually quite simple. Very limited palette, and there's not a bunch of embroidery or pouches or Assassin's Creed throwing knives or glowing techno baubles strapped on to anybody. And because there's not much to get distracted by, the task becomes how to make something that's very simple in design satisfying to look at. And making simple interesting is something that's valuable to learn, because it doesn't make sense to strap a whole Applebee's wall worth of stuff onto every character to show off their whole life's story. And if you can make someone in a plain t-shirt capture someone's imagination, the more elaborate stuff will be all that more effective.

  • MangoesMangoes Registered User regular
    Another fantastic critique/paintover by the Bacon Angel! I found it really helpful.

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Caravaggio, here I come!

    Bacon, I want to whisper sweet nothings into your beard. Thank you so much! You have given me an excellent assignment for this week!! Never heard of the artist before, probably a bad thing. But I'm on it, I haven't done a study in a long time and I've never done a master copy.

    Also, I need to buy you a beer, Bacon.
    I wonder how awesome BACON-BEER would be?

    Edit: I had to work on some commission stuff and before I got started on some studies, I had to knock up a new version of the technomancer. After Bacon pointed out the proportions I realized how jacked up she was.


    F87 on
  • ElbasunuElbasunu Registered User regular
    Looks like your work has garnered you some unwanted attention.

    Steam ID: Obos Vent: Obos
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    It was rough, but I managed to escape! Even earned a shiny badge :)

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    You know, everyone usually hates art history and art history books, but a course on just art history is good for any artist. I cant remember names or dates to save my life, but if you throw Rossetti or Kilmt or Caravaggio at me, I can recall their paintings from sleepy days in Primitive to Renaissance and Modernism and After. You don't need a 4 year artschool to learn art history, you just need to walk through some museums, supplement it with reading, and do some master copies so you aren't bored to tears by it.

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    F87, I think you also need to just do a number of facial studies. None of them from your head. Men and women, especially of different ethnicities, and perhaps even more especially, of differing ages.

    You've drawn so many teenage/20-somethings that all of your character designs seem to blend in with that category in one way or another, even if you're drawing somebody who is supposed to be different. You've also drawn virtually the same girl, with the same thin curvy eyebrows, with the same nose, with the same straight [usually medium-length] hair, with the same build, with the same height, with the same stick-thin arms, almost exclusively.

    It also seems you're having a little trouble with proportions in that last girl. I'd suggest you take that into Photoshop and do a line drawing over it to double-check where exactly her body is supposed to be under all her clothing + armor. The arm/wrist holding the staff is getting really wonky, along with a few other places.


    I'd also suggest you even consider doing these studies in pencil, by hand. No coloring, no Photoshop...I'm thinking you might be tempted into doing line-drawings of the faces without developing an understanding of the three-dimensional forms you're trying to represent.

    Go out for a coffee or something and look around you. Think about how you would re-create these peoples' faces in clay, not on paper. Think about the bone structure, think about the muscle and fat masses on different parts of the face for different ages and ethnicities. Think about facial proportions within each of these individual faces.

    [edit] sorry if this sounded harsh, I just think it's important for you! :<

    NightDragon on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    Yeah, I haven't been out of the house in soooo long, except to take out the trash. Seems like I've been staring at my computer screen for the last year straight. Haha...I can't remember the last time I went out for coffee.

    That wasn't harsh, I know it's important. I really appreciate you guys helping me out, PA is the pretty much my only source for getting better.

    So I need to:
    1. Bone up on my art history some and get in the habit of studying the old masters. Especially regarding the weak areas of my work.
    2. Study a lot of Caravaggio and form in general.
    3. Traditional facial studies (mainly different ethnicity and ages).

    Lots of homework now! :)

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