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Hey guys, idea is some nymph/ elf pools, girly havin a bath, maybe with some other nymphs in the background which will have mushrooms and ferns glowing with a blueish flourescence. The water may also have some areas of glowing algae. Wanted to try to branch out from my usual environment stuff to include some figures, so will need a lot of help on this one as figures arent my forte.
These are just some rough thumbs of some compositions, i know the top two are similar, but i wanted to play with the size perspective a bit. I quite like having a figure leading into the shot like on the top right, i may have that figure closer to the viewer and then pull that figure in the distance closer as well, but it would mean having one big set of butt cheeks dominating the top left... which isnt the worse thing but may be a bit clumsy.
The white down strokes by the rocks are waterfalls btw just in case i didnt make that clear.
Would love to hear what you guys think, thanks!
Bottom left one is the one to develop imo out of these as it has more interest going from fore to back, though positions of the figure could be tweaked so it is not so centered. The pose is also a tiny bit better than the standing dead upright assassins creed looking figures in the others.. The top two are pretty much identical in terms of value and comp. and it looks like a showdown not a playful bath scene. The bottom right one is fine, but again a bit flat and lifeless as a comp.

All of these could provide an ok painting but I can kind of see where they are heading and I'm a little bit bored by them from a compositional and general image impact aspect. I'm going to challenge you this time to branch out further and really explore your idea more. What can you do to make this piece unique, that has something of you in it, that has a unique point of interest within the idea of nymphs bathing. The idea of large mushies and some bioluminescence combined with bathing nymphs conjures up a potential for so much cool stuff, but I can't see this in your thumbs at all because the comps are all so flat on, like a tourist brochure landscape photograph. If you get excited by your image, this will flow on to the excitement of the viewer. You mentioned you want to branch out more from enviros so perhaps you want to showcase the figures more and make them integral to the comp rather than an addon "manwithstick" (or nymph with buttocks) in the foreground type deal. Also why only the standard film format widescreen aspect? Maybe other canvas sizes and orientations would yield more interesting results?

I googled "nymph bathing" in images and came up with all sorts of interesting ref, that engaged me in the scenes, so maybe there could be some inspiration there. Sorry I know it's not your usual advice on thumbs, and it's but early in the process but I'm trying to call out from now on anything that looks like it is going through the motions without having something interesting to say within it. Its a bit of a crusade on my part in a sense, but I want you to really think of each piece as worthy of your full creativity and be less constrained to your idea of what a piece is be it enviro or figure, concept or illustration. I think this is when the great works come out.
Then again, ultimately you should do what you want each time regardless of what people say. :)
yeah i was leaning towards that too, it shows the figure far more too which I wanted. I may push her further left so shes slightly hidden by the foliage, suggesting a onlooker/its a secretive thing.
hahahaha yes ezio creeped in there! they are more just placeholders if you see what i mean, to show where she'd be, im gonna do much more dynamic poses for the actual shebang. and yet again you are completely right, the top right looks like something kinda lesbian is about to happen, or they gonna have a fight so yeh maybe not.

yeh i know, they arent great at the thumb stages so i actually looked at them this morning and went 'meh not sure how well this would turn out', which really means i need to kick my arse into doing some comps i havent done a thousand times before. you got any ideas for different comps?

i searched that too actually, comes up with some amazing paintings and also some grannies with boobs out, so mixed results. I may see if i can do some studies from how they framed some of them, because you get a real sense of shyness and secretiveness in some, while others they are swimming out to the person at the shore. very good advice, i am kinda looking at this like 'ok so enviro with generic figure to lead the eye in as a foreground element... guy with stick?', im gonna do a whole load of new comps i think, i want to try to mix it up from what this other guy did with a girl with red hair taking a bath at night with some floaty things, hence having more than one or having someone leading into the frame. I want to make it so that you have maybe three of them there, but two of them either background, or leading into the shot, and cinematic was the best i could think of for doing that. Will play with some others though, good idea. Actually getting excited about a piece which is a all too rare thing sometimes!

thanks :D
I think the strongest is the lower left one too. The background has a more interest overall, and I definitely agree with monkeybread that the pose is stronger. I also really like how you are using the waterfall to push her out, if you tweak the foam shape and the rocks, you could get a really strong silhouette. However it could use tweaking - an immediate read for me was how the mushroom to her top right looks a bit off balance and kind of sticks out in a distracting way.

Elements from the other thumbs could be incorporated though. The mushrooms on the bottom right of the bottom right thumb frame that image well and lead the eye in - the bottom left thumb doesn't really have much to balance the right side of it. Regarding the bioluminescence and mushrooms, you have given yourself a huge amount of freedom to tweak the composition though, so you might want to try evolving your thumbs. Make the mushrooms serve you.

Multiple figures could work depending on where you want to branch out, though perhaps present them in a less dramatic way - some kind of interaction with each other or the environment might stem that tense face-off feel. You have tonnes of flexibility with this idea, and I second monkeybread's suggestions as well. Have fun experimenting!
ok cool thanks, ah about the foam- im kinda half way hovering between having it all foamy and just having her with white hair with the water down her back- i kinda wanted to suggest both in the thumb to see what i thought, but im not sure what im gonna do with that honestly. what do you think?

yep that mushroom needs trimming you're right, it has a lot of contrast and is pretty leaning. Ah bio luminescence, that was the work i was looking for instead of fluorescence! yep gonna do a new batch of them next, i want to be happy with the thumb im working with so it becomes a piece im enjoying working with too. yess.... the mushroom will serve their master.... *evil cackle*

ooh talking to each other would be good, and maybe one climbing out of a pool. Will experiment, thanks, great ideas!
Look up Anders Zorn and maybe Bougeureau as well for inspiration. Different styles of naked figurative work. Howard Pyle makes striking use of composition for integrating landscape and figures...may not be the style you are thinking of, but will give you composition ideas for paintings, to break you out of that widescreen movie thing.

[Image: 1-hylas-and-the-nymphs-john-william-waterhouse.jpg]
[Image: zbrook.jpg]
[Image: Reproduction_Painting%5CSweden%5CZorn,%2...flexer.jpg]
[Image: Anders%20Zorn-364674.jpg]
[Image: tumblr_mwmo3n92021rom810o1_1280.jpg]
[Image: picPyleWe_started_to_runw.jpg]
anders zorn has some useful stuff for composition, especially with the water. unfortunately my school internet blocking is literally screening off every picture from bougeureau, despite there being a life drawing class every wednesday at the art department- the logic in that is impressive.
will use my phone internet in a bit :)

edit: thanks for attaching images, great selection!
Heyy Buddy. What cought my eye was the upper right one for some reason. My eye moved to the closest fighure then to the farther figure and then back to the closer one.
Also I think Miles analysed some master paintings in his sketchbook in permanoobs, might be worth checking out.
(He also analysed that Nymph painting Monkeybread posted)
great link, and yeh i kinda like having a foreground human element as well as a focal one, i think i may have it so that the main figure under focus is larger so i can detail it a lot, and then have a loosely painted back of one in the very close foreground, but make sure it doesnt look confrontational by having people swimming around. one of those moments i wish i could paint faces better :'( thats my next venture!
thanks man :)

general update: found a perfect reference for the torso, the middle picture of the small series of three on the bottom right, with her hands pulling her hair back. literally the pose i was imagining so very lucky i found it :)
(06-05-2014, 07:34 PM)Wardy Wrote: [ -> ]ok cool thanks, ah about the foam- im kinda half way hovering between having it all foamy and just having her with white hair with the water down her back- i kinda wanted to suggest both in the thumb to see what i thought, but im not sure what im gonna do with that honestly. what do you think?

Is this the surrounding foam where the waterfalls are hitting the water, or is it in her hair, where she is reaching for it?

Sorry if I misunderstood, but here are my (hopefully relevant) suggestions:

Looking at pictures of "small waterfalls" on google, I think you could get away with doing things like positioning rocks at angles to get odd turbulent shapes of foam around her, whilst also including some calmer water that runs down her back. Generally water grows more turbulent (foamy) when it is shallow, and running over uneven rock. Being pinched into a narrow corner increases it too. Speed of flow also plays a part. Waterfalls can vary hugely, even the little ones like these.

If the white hair vs. white foam contrast is giving you trouble, I suggest experimenting with counterchange - here's a great article by James Gurney on it: Basically, you could try manipulating rocks and foam to reverse the light on dark/dark on light relationships.
Apologies in advance if my assumptions are wrong, but I think the main thing that's missing, composition notwithstanding, is the feeling you're trying to communicate. For me personally, at least in more recent times, some sort of emotion is really what drives my pieces in every aspect, and i think you should consider that at least in the early stages to guide you some way. it might not work out in the end but its a good starting point.

Judging from your first post and the pose reference you found, I think you're shooting for a sensual almost romantic kind of painting and frankly the cinematic aspect ratio totally tanks that. I think It might be beneficial for you to try to suggest that sensuality in a portrait orientation rather than landscape. Having it vertical pretty much automatically gives it a more focused and private sensation, as well as the aforementioned sensuality, and I think that would work really well with the single figure bathing. Since you talked about getting out of your comfort zone, i tend to agree with monkeybread: break out of that cinematic ratio while your at it and really make something that speaks more about the subject matter, rather than just another "entertainment design" piece.

Of course if you're going for something more entertainment designy then by all means go for it.. but I think theres a great opportunity here to explore other options
great idea actually, my painting often come out quite 'flat' because i dont think enough about what im trying to convey, whether thats a feeling or a idea, so i need to think about that for sure. i was going for a kinda shy, but sensual kinda private atmosphere/ innocent and fragile (im sounding really creepy here but i hope you kinda get what i mean).

I completely agree about the frame, i was sketching some thumbs yesterday and i think i have a really cool idea using the glowing mushrooms! The idea is to have her perching on the top one , which is one of those kinda inverted bowl kinda mushrooms, which is full of glowing algae water, with this pinky blue bioluminescence with spore particles glowing like fireflies on the underside of the shroom, and her legs draping down the side where there is someone on the bottom right climbing onto one, with her legs and head drawing the eye to the focal point and maybe someone washing their hair on another mushroom bath on the distant bottom left. hard to explain, will do a whole new set of thumbs asap. i sound like ive been doing acid i know but i have it in my head so clear!

will update as soon as i can, thanks guys!
latest batch of thumbs, playing with partial moonlighting and bioluminescence. tell me your fave/any crit!
cheers :)

edit: also did a study of one of Jean Léon Gérôme's bath scenes, also had a look at his other work and learned quite a bit I think.
what may be my final thumbnail- would love any comments.
the girl on top right is bugging me a bit as its not obvious how far back she is- any thoughts on how to fix that? put a bit of atmospheric perspective on it but hasnt helped too much.

edit: latest coloured version, was told that was the best and i think i agree, though tried to get some of the partial lighting such as in the bottom right in it too. please do tell me how its going! obviously very loose at this point, will tighten it up soon.
the top left figure has deteriorated, will find a good pose reference for that, and i know that the woman on the top right (focal point) is looking kinda barbie-doll ish so will need to fix that. the one on the bottom right is just very loose, will fix soon. may have enjoyed doing the redhead on the bottom left a bit too much... shes more rendered than the focal point... god i hate face on-figures!
Hey man. I want to bring attention to something I myself used to have a lot of trouble with (so much so it was like the only thing people would crit me on). This is edge control and muddy values. Now even in sketches and thumbs, it is important to get good strong chunks of value with the right edges. It saves time from having to work on it later and good, early edge control will show through in your final image. Trust me.

A good way to get better at this. Use high opacities. If you're working with pressure sensitivity set to pen pressure, press harder and/or edit the sensitivity of your tablet. It really pays off to work in higher opacities. Everything comes out as more solid forms and it's way easier to work with (after you've gotten used to it). It's an enormous time saver because you don't need to go back and edit edges or make sure all the values are smooth. Getting that stuff right in the beginning will let you focus on more important issues.

Anyway. Keep on working! <3
Also, push your values a little further!
Ok, i usually start pretty loose and do the 'chaos to control' technique but I suppose i can refine at this stage a bit more. Will take your advice and tighten up the edges at this point then, thanks.
I've never liked heavy opacity settings, but i know some people use no opacity settings at all, or just use 1-10 like feng zhu and get great results, will have to try that too if you think it'll help.
great point with the values, I'm gonna have that bioluminescence pushing the background back a bit more i think, because its hard to show atmospheric perspective at night. That is partly what is making this piece so stagnant in terms of levels, its all too bunched up and you dont get a sense of a backdrop, so great point thanks!
Really like where you went with having her using the giant mushroom as a bath, it is a creative way to connect them with the environment and make it look like they live there. The variety of poses adds a lot of visual interest too.

One thing that stands out to me, that might be a bit related to Tristian's comments about muddiness, is the skin colours on your focal girl. They sort of look a bit out of place because they're so desaturated, yet still possess the local yellow-orange colours of pale skin. The less prominent girls don't really have this because they're still mostly part of the blue-green colour palette - just relative to the more saturated blue shadow they look flesh coloured. The two obvious directions to me are either to make the light hitting her warmer so she stands out as a more saturated warm/complimentary accent, or make it cool (and perhaps a little bit more saturated) to unify her with the rest of the image. I'm sure there are other solutions too though - her flesh is pale so it will take on pretty much any lighting you throw at it. (Possibly worth looking into film stills? It is quite hard to find this sort of lighting in real life.)

I can see how you are using values to create hierarchy and lead the eye through the figures too - it is really effective. The girl on the top left might be a little competitive with the main one, but I think Tristian's advice of pushing the values more will naturally resolve that.
thanks :D yeh anything to add some glowing shrooms!

yes i was so confused on what kinda skin tones i should paint, because its strong moonlight but at the same time its still moonlight- having her really saturated blues obviously looked weird, and i couldnt find any decent reference that wasnt painted as well? I dont think making the light warmer would work well because then it would look like mid day which is what i want to avoid, i'll have another look for some ref. with moonlight on skin.

Cool, glad thats working, and yeh i know her butt is pretty bright right now, i think i may tone it down a little, but will push her back with some atmos. perspective soon.
thanks for the comment!

oh and @Tristan, I actually avoid layers like the plague most of the time apart from to add quick passes like adding a vignette or pushing some stuff back, soft light can be hugely useful in small doses but yes of course I wouldnt use them all the time. Still, they are tools at our disposal so we just have to figure out how to use them responsibly!
Ok so this is what I did:

Boosted the values in the backgrounds so they are lighter and you get more sense of depth, though at the cost of the night time intimacy and mystery i think which is a shame.
Worked at the main girl for a bit. apparently the boobs got bigger. whoops. still not really happy with them honestly, i think they are the main thing that are bugging me at the moment, using ref obviously but not in the exact same pose. anyone got any crit? bewbs.
Detailed and put in some harder edges as suggested, also detailed a little bit more in general, though still need to tighten up a lot.
Fixed the lighting on the main character a bit more, as it was too warm as i was told, so its more moonlight-ish now. still slightly warmer than everything else, but thats nice to pull focus i think and I'm allowing myself a bit of artistic licence.
Also added the effect of the glowing water to the body and surrounding shroom, suggested a bit of translucency too (i may take that further so you can almost see the glowing water in the shroom like a pool). Also noticed the bit just to the right of the main waterfal bit is too dark in value, will tone that down a bit.

please to tell me what you think!
Ok man. I tweaked the comp a bit because I thought it wasn't very balanced. Created more clear value separation and counterchange in areas like the foreground figure to emphasize depth, even though overall the value range is quite low. I'm not satisfied with the comp, but I think it's a bit better.
I thought the mushroom the main bather was in was way too small to bathe in comfortably. Added some lighting effects.

Since your focus is on figures this time, really try and nail your anatomy, and find the perfect ref. One thing for female figures is to be very aware of gravity defying ginormous boobs which tend to make a piece look immature. I also recommend, like Beardsly said, trying high opacity makes you learn quicker about getting the value and hue right for each stroke. It also keeps the rhythm and action of your strokes more dynamic and vibrant by nailing the one stroke, rather than tentatively building up with a billion low opacity ones.

Couldn't do a proper job as you know why. F it is hard to do shit with a mouse.

Hope it helps?

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