Medusa portrait
Hi there! I would like any advice anyone has but I'm really looking for critique on lighting and value. I'm really trying to learn 3D form and it seems the more I render something the more it looks flat or unnatural. Suggestions?


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Nice portrait Shmoltz, lighting and form are pretty tough and It can take a while to be able to see things in 3D forms while working in 2D. But that's ultimately the key, in my opinion at least. I try to imagine that ive set a lamp or something in a spot, then try to work the light around that. Note that that's what I did with your portrait here to show you.

I'm thinking that you've got so focused on rendering this out too that you've lost sight on forms. Try not to spend too much time zoomed in to your piece and keep those forms simple with simple big brush strokes and shapes. Try to imagine things like eyes in simple spheres and the tentacle hair as cylinders and you wont go far wrong.

Also on a final note, to make your forms look more 3D be very aware of your shadows and use them deliberately, note the shadow I put by the nose and the one under the tentacle hair based on where to light is shining.

Oh, and give this a read, all you need to know is in here -

Best of luck buddy, hope this of some help to you!

WarBurton pretty much covered it. You just need to do more head studies of either actual people head (portraits) in black and white, or do studies of a plane head sculpture:

Hey thanks Warburton and Meat, can't tell you how much this helps, just looking at that paintover makes me realize so much more about value. I've known in the back of my mind that I should do more studies I just haven't because I've been dreading the work. But I know this thinking is foolish and its the only way to get better. Time to study up!
To expand a bit on the studying aspect, If you're interested in planar heads but cant buy or make one, google asaro heads and you'll find a bunch of nice reference from a bunch of angles to study from. Pair that up with some portrait studies and still lives to learn about form and you'll be able to render in no time.

and a tip, it can also be helpful to start your own work as if it was a planar head, to help you visualize all the forms so that you can light them really easily. Its easy to think that a "rendering" of something is to get in and work out all the little details and make it all smooth and shiny, but really the crux of it is form and lighting which should be established fairly early on. Trying to make too many perfect little gradients everywhere can ruin your painting and the feeling of form and structure that you're looking for


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