Rat Guy (application of studies)
Hi there everyone, 

I was just wondering if I could get some critiques on this Rat guy, it was a piece to apply some studies that I had been doing, in an attempt to get things to stick in my brain. It's a tribute to Dave Rapoza's Skull and Shark but with my own take on what a character could be. I guess I am posting because I am unsure of the issues it has and how to improve it from here. Thank you very much! :) 

[Image: lS3f8gN.jpg]
Also here's another one I was working on after the Rat guy to also apply studies. This one is alot earlier on in the process but if you could say what you feel isn't working or what can be changed and improved on that would be most appreciated. Let me know what you think my weaknesses are so i can work on them. 

[Image: bwdAj2s.jpg]
Hey Sam,

I've done a quick paintover of your rat guy to help show the ideas I'll talk about below. In doing so I did paint over some of the details like the hair strands and whiskers. I didn't put them back in though but they look pretty cool so you should keep them there!

[Image: 30u9s8o.jpg]

My first impression of the piece was that the value structure needed reworking. Overall, I think you did a decent job showing the forms of most of of the rat, but  as a whole image there is a lot of unneeded contrast that's distracting. For example, you could reduce the amount of white in the image, especially in the face and the arm/chest, and only use it where you want to have the most contrast. In this case that might be near the eyes given your current lighting setup. I also think that having the arm and chest as lit as they are is a bit distracting and lessens the impact of the dramatic lighting on his face, so you could either place it entirely in shadow, or have the light source have a long falloff and still leave the shoulder/chest lit, but much less than your focal point in the face.

Related to the values, there were a lot of areas throughout the image that felt too transparent, and were reducing believability of the forms. If you started out this image as a greyscale and then coloured on top, you should then go in afterwards and paint in colour ontop of that and try to stamp out these areas to help the forms read better. It can be a stylistic choice to work transparently and slowly layer things up. But that either needs to be done as a deliberate style choice and controlled appropriately, or the end goal needs to be get the majority of your painting to an opaque feel.

Some of these transparent areas also bled into adjacent areas, and make all your edges look blurry. For example, look around the top of his hair, or the edges of his jacket, and its sometimes hard to tell what stroke of paint belongs where. This can work if its done in some places to soften an edge for example, but in this case it's throughout most of the painting, so I'd suggest going in and cleaning up your edges; try to have nice sharp edges especially around the focal point, and gradually soften the edges as you move away from there.

As far as design goes, I'm not very familiar with rat anatomy, so I won't comment on that :) However, from a design perspective, a lot of the bumps in the skin are almost exactly the same size and distance from each other. I would suggest maybe reducing the number of bumps and crevices, and varying more the size and shape of them. A good rule of thumb is that bumps and crevices generally tend to get smaller the nearer they are to a feature (like eyes or noses) and bigger in between (like on cheeks). Thats just a rule of thumb, but its a good starting point in my opinion. You can always play with it and experiment with your shapes, but having most of them be the same shape or size can get monotonous and feels less believable.
[Image: 2diiuyf.jpg]

Minor things i changed in the paintover:
- I reduce the contrast within the background. There were some strokes on the edges of the screen that were drawing too much attention
- I removed black from everywhere except the hair and a bit in eyes.
- Even when hair is not lit, its a shiny surface so it can still catch small reflections. I added some in to separate some of the strands.

Some other things to consider (i'm not saying these things below are definitely better, but they might be worth testing to see how they feel):
- Emphasing the size of the teeth/eyes more;
- Having more spikes but making them smaller; currently I feel like they compete visually for attention with the rest of the piece, and since they are metal they tend to contrast a lot in lighting.

That's about all i changed and wanted to comment on. Hope it helps, and if you have any questions about what I've done let me know!

Heres a gif for quick comparison:
[Image: 9tpuf5.jpg]

And if you still want feedback on the other piece I can do as well though for the stage its in it looks pretty solid.



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