Rotohail's "Reclusive" SketchBook
(06-03-2020, 06:29 AM)Danny Wrote: In my opinion you should just start posting on some social media like instagram instead.
People here are giving you advice and critiques on everything, which isn't productive at this point. Not to mention your skill level is way way higher than most people active on this site already.
I know this sounds rude but most people here are stagnating and not reaching a pro level because of the mindset everybody here has adapted.
Obviously if you're already a pro (earning money from your art), none of this matters.

Im wondering how instagram fits in the qeuation. Like as in.. get critiques there instead or, just  like.. forget about crits altogether and just try to boost social media presence?  

Also whats the mentality everybody here has adapted?  o:   I just came back to the site recently, so wondering whats up with that lol.

The people who can teach him something at this point are professionals like coldburger/christian fell who have communities on discord for instance. You cant possibly think 99.99% of the people can give advice as good as an artist from riot. Also instead of writing lоng comments everywhere, you should focus on improving Darkiste. Again it sounds harsh, but what's the point of critiquing everybody if you cant improve your own art? And in my personal experience my most rapid improvements were during client work, not on forums.
Sorry for spamming your sketchbook Roto, ofc you should do whatever you want, but also consider other places if you want solid feedback.

yall quit hatin on darktiste, hes just misunderstood ;)

In 20 years im sure he'll be doing laps around all of us!

70+Page Koala Sketchbook: SB

Paintover thread, submit for crits!
[color=rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.882)]e owl sat on an oak. The more he saw, the less he spoke.[/color]
heres a little paintover for fun lol

For your batman, his hands look really stiff, maybe loosen them a bit, take your own arms in that position and see how goofy it feels!

I dropped the brightness, made some more shadow shapes and used the computer monitors for light sources. I like how you have cut in shadow shapes, its good, do that shit alot it'll pay off quick

Also consider a secondary light source like that purple computer to compliment the green. Also consider the floating books and things whether they are serving the composition or not... Do they point back to the rythm of the image? do they solve some compositional question? Theyre overlapping well but some are tangenting (can to book, foot to book) and their silhouettes arent distinct and i dont think they add much the way they are now

Edit: theres actually a lot of tangents in this image which makes it feel uncomfortable, like the chips tangenting with the bed, the can's bottom is tangenting, the various ledges are just barely touching, definitely something to watch out for!

I circled all the tangents, and i could have circled more "iffy" tangents. These subconciously affect peoples read of the image, if theres too many it makes the viewer feel frustrated and stop looking but they wont know why

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70+Page Koala Sketchbook: SB

Paintover thread, submit for crits!
[color=rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.882)]e owl sat on an oak. The more he saw, the less he spoke.[/color]
Danny - Darktiste - Jeso
I replied back to Danny through PM since he contacted me there with roughly the same, anyways, thank you all for the thought. I have been told about the same to make social media stuff, start posting, but I'm not looking to promote myself yet, I haven't made any money, but I would like to eventually, I just want to focus on practicing ajd iron out my issues for the time being although I keep pushing the goalpost lol. I do have a checklist (in my head) about the things I want to improve at, about my workflow and results, and what I've been looking for is places to just discuss stuff, ideas, or talk about what works what doesn't on things I do, like if it's understood or if it would be more interesting this way or another. Mainly the stuff that used to be done in ConcepArt back many years ago? To a point I guess since I used it very briefly at the time. But yeah, that stuff. To my understanding there's not many places like that anymore? Unless you pay someone for tutorship or mentorship or enroll in courses, so maybe I should consider that.
Contest have been on my head recently but I'm not sure where to look for them I guess they all get posted on social media sites nowadays. I guess that would be a good way to force someone to break down a piece but contest are more about the judge, a judge can hate or love what you did but that does not make it "succesful" to others, necessarily, getting a prize tho that is fun ha ha.
Anyways, this is turning into a blogpost, I'm open to try anything honestly since until you try you don't really know if it will make a difference in what you do or not. So I'll keep checking on next steps to take while I keep drawing I guess.
I also think because up to 3 people now have told me things along this lines with issues with the forum and their users you may want to open an inquiry or post or something and talk this out openly because it feels like it's festering and it's a bit saddening to see people steer away or siphon out users, or warn newcomers to steer away from here, when this is one of the last places that use the old format of posting sketchbooks and discussing art and shit ha ha, but I guess dinosaurs they all died our or evolved so maybe is the way of things. Out with the old, in with the new.

Many thanks man! Yup bat pose is stiff although the hands I'm cool, I would like to change the torso. Mostly the bat one my biggest concern and I've been joking about it is that is "Dwarfman!" ha ha. I wanted to make him stocky but turned out wonky. But yeah, change the pose would work fine.

Girl in space nap, nice catch with the tangents on some, I never pay attention to those and the can-book and book-knee I should fix asap. I like the change in the lighting but is now a different light set up more in the dark like suggested by Mochiman I believe, it would work but I wanted a "sun rising" in space sort of feel, although the sun does not rise in space ha ha, it's always there. Fun thoughts. Anyways secondary purple light is a really good thought, I'm weary it might be too much colors now tho, like some of you have been hammering me to not overdo colors ha ha, keep palettes constrained, and that is what I'm doing lol, but I could really push the bounces of the green screens in many places and I should do just that.

I came mostly to reply to the issues and thank for feedback so I don't have anything yet, I'll leave a preview of the guns I'm working at, showing a bit the construction on the bottom one. Mostly I need to figure out how to make them quicker, I take too long.

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(06-04-2020, 06:46 PM)Rotohail Wrote: I also think because up to 3 people now have told me things along this lines with issues with the forum and their users you may want to open an inquiry or post or something and talk this out openly because it feels like it's festering and it's a bit saddening to see people steer away or siphon out users, or warn newcomers to steer away from here, when this is one of the last places that use the old format of posting sketchbooks and discussing art and shit ha ha, but I guess dinosaurs they all died our or evolved so maybe is the way of things. Out with the old, in with the new.

Apologies for contributing to the thread derail, but I want to second this. I've seen examples of older posters coming back and complaining about the current state of the forum, and I often think "maybe this guy has a point", but no one will ever know because they do nothing but complain bitterly and then scram with minimal (if any) elaboration on any of their points.

It's not as if the forum has a solid direction at the moment; since there's a deadbeat dad situation with the admins (except Dennis, PBUH), it's really just a loose collection of people shooting the shit in each other's threads. So, if Danny or anyone else would like to have a discussion about what the problems with the forums are, I'm sure many of us would be happy to listen.

To get back on track, guns are looking good. I almost wonder if it would be faster to make them as isometric drawings, but probably not, haha. This is one area where 3D probably wouldn't help since you'd have to make a different model for each design. I take it the main problem is in drawing all of the details.
And I am still enjoying your sketchbook!, I like the energy you have in some pieces. Those weapons are really solid! Any update on "warmthseeker" piece? Not sure about the ration of the image itself, I am not fan of a square like ratio, but other than that, hope to see it finished one day :) keep it up!
(06-04-2020, 06:46 PM)Rotohail Wrote: I wanted a "sun rising" in space sort of feel, although the sun does not rise in space ha ha, it's always there.

If it's a rotating station or ship, the sun is going to "rise" at some high frequency :)

The foot-and-book tangent is the only one that really bothers me because it somewhat hinders spatial perception.

Well, if you move to no-dialog platforms, please leave us the addresses, I enjoy looking at your art, finished, sketchy, any. But not being on Facebook I won't be able to click Like :/

It's pretty simple guys, you either want to be here or you don't, no one's forcing you to stay. I don't see how steering people away from this forum is helpful at all (danny), if you want to see change here, whatever that may be, do something about it. This forum is malleable to be whatever the community wants, and I'm willing to help out with any events or whatever.

We have more than a few professionals posting here, and if you want feedback from them reach out to those people. This forum is supposed to be a community effort, and I see there are people trying to engage with eachothers sketchbooks, that's good. You don't have to take every critique seriously, but if you think it helps then that can't be a bad thing.

Anyway, solid work in here, Roto. I try to pop in and check out your work from time to time.

Pubic Enemy
That would be the best honestly, at the end of the day no matter where you are there's always gonna be disagreements or people who wont get along, that's the way of life ha ha.

Guns I'm mostly taking too long trying to figure out their look, details and second-guessing a lot of what I'm doing, like I start with some widths and then feel they are too wide or too little so I end up massaging a lot?  It's me not knowing enough, so I'm being really slow, I just need to think more. Workflow wise using CLIP perspective rulers just makes it a breeze, there's a shortcut to even turn on/off the snapping, so I can switch between drawing free and getting back into the grid plane. Good stuff. So yeah, the details, you nailed it ha ha.

Well damn! I'm glad ha ha! I want to pick that one back up again but until I figure out the guns stuff my war efforts are now directed there lol. *Troops shuffling* ha ha. I don't like the square format either, I just seem to be using it out of spite ha ha ha.

Leo Ki
Ha ha, yup! Yeah those are the tangents that I need to fix, the ones that cause things not to be clear where they are in depth. Don't worry when I do so, I'll update signatures or what not, I just don't have the need for them for the time being. What have you been up to!? Update your SB soon!

Dennis Kutsenko
Nice to know and glad to see you around. Sadly haven't been making many action/manga girls lately ugh, I'm failing you... rofl.

So I've been stuck with guns, did another two but turned out very iffy, I have sketch 6 more but now I need to draw them in perspective. Meanwhile I've been doing comfort zone sketching to get some confidence back. Leaving some stuff from these last days.

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I feel that comment about the confidence boosters.
Firstly, I checked the previous page and saw your update on that space-nap picture. Looks very nice!

You followed up on that female beast gladiator concept real good. She looks convincingly wild, especially with all the hair flying around. I noticed that you pushed the realism in her face more than usual; I think it looks quite good.

You've done a few variations on the concept with a red figure in a cold forest (all of which look good to my eyeballs). I'm wondering where you got that idea from. It has an interesting mood.
As in "I feel you" or some other feel? Ha ha.

(06-09-2020, 11:58 AM)Pubic Enemy Wrote: Firstly, I checked the previous page and saw your update on that space-nap picture. Looks very nice!

You followed up on that female beast gladiator concept real good. She looks convincingly wild, especially with all the hair flying around. I noticed that you pushed the realism in her face more than usual; I think it looks quite good.

You've done a few variations on the concept with a red figure in a cold forest (all of which look good to my eyeballs). I'm wondering where you got that idea from. It has an interesting mood.

Yes! I really wanted the hair to symbolize a mane. I wanted always to get better at realism and/ western styles but I just always struggled, lately I'm trying to work through that.

I'm honestly not sure, I started looking forest for inspiration for eerie stalker vibes, then moved onto snow, that made me think of red riding hood, so now it seems it's all a mash-up of those things and I'm stuck, need to change the tune. *Disk scratching*

Small update, a quick sketch idea I would like to develope in the future, and the robot feline sketch update. Still dragging my feet with the guns, I want to rework them all entirely. Sigh.

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That robo cat looks dope as hell. Will you continue working on the space girl?

Before anything,  if my eyes are messing with me and my version is just shit and I don't realise until a few days later, ignore the actual paintover and simply focus on the fundamentals that I think you should practice. Also I may be off about everything I say so, yeah, you decide what sticks and what doesn't. 

First of all, sorry for fucking up her hair/mane, it looked dope, but the pose and angle weren't working for me, it merged super hard with the rest of the silhouette and the rendition wasn't as iconic as it could be given the design (which conceptually is fucking dope, love that mane), second of all, I went in a roman soldier/gladiator direction just to have something to go off from, and some elements to use and reference, I'm not AT ALL saying that it's a better concept or that you should go in that direction; saw her design, thought of gladiators, lions and sphinxes, so yeah, thought of romans.

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EDIT: Fixed up the cape overlap value a little bit

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lighter cape

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I don't know if there's final work that you aren't posting here, but going off of what I see in your sketchbook you have 2 big "problems", and those are how you show form and structure, and how you make elements "sit" within your design, you have plenty skill, but it feels like you draw expressively and eyeball most things without having picked up a list of best practices when it comes to showing structure and solidity/unity.

I used to kind of draw like that (don't get me wrong, you are waaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than I was by a long shot, and your painting studies from reference are fantastic, I can't paint for shit).
BUT, a problem that comes with eyeballing these things without a solid mental checklist is that you fail more often and harder than necessary, and you contantly have to backtrack, paint over, move things around, until they feel in perspective; and even when you do it correctly you may not know exactly which elements made the image succesful, at least not in a way you could easily reverse-engineer and repeat without much trial and error.

I mentioned the hypothetical final work you aren't posting because I often see people succesfully get past these problems 1 of 2 ways, 1 is just spending a ridiculous amount of time on each image and picking good reference.
The other is just sticking to a specific tradition and just doing it the way those people do it from the start, I made my choice based on the type of work I have to do and the things I have to achieve with it in terms of design and general perspective, I look a lot at french, american and argentinian inkers and Madhouse/gainax animators,
plus other people who were trained or influenced by them, stuff where you really have to be conscious of what performance you need to get out of your model in terms of action, shadows, sectional perspective(basically overlaps that show space) and whatever else.

If you haven't picked a specific style or tradition that solves the problems you need to solve, do it asap, and rip them off, copy their problem solving, their visual logic, their staging and posing, their lenswork, their surface treatment, don't worry if people think your work is derivative, if you think other people's isn't, you just aren't familiar with the traditions they follow.

Part of the symptoms of these problems are:

1. Your costumes always feeling like wrinkly cotton or smooth plasticky leather with decals on, and even when I look at your weapons, either blades or guns (those look very nice btw), I just keep thinking "you could've made that part look more solid", "you could've reinforced that transition" through either a value overlap (from a cast shadow for example, or just a change in local value), a gradient, subordination or some careful placement of texture.

2. Large areas of jumbled nothingness without much direction, they lack form, they don't imply any physical forces like squash and stretch or pulling and falling of the clothing.

First of all, always transition between different elements, ALWAYS, AND I FUCKING SAID, FUCKING ALWAYS, if it's an unimportant background element, transition with a texture gradient or with a soft value gradient, if you leave it flat it'll be too graphic, it'll jump at you, it will float in 2 places at once. If you have a shape that touches another shape, think of that transition, if the things they represent are really far away from eachother, imply the air in between them, throw some white airbrush in between, imply that aerial/atmospheric perspective, draw the air, draw a line of dudes going behind the first shape, half a tree, a car being cut by that overlapping shape, if they are immediately behind eachother add stronger ambient occlusion where back shape is overlapped, a cast shadow that is cut by the overlapping object..., IF THEY ACTUALL ARE TOUCHING EACHOTHER IN REAL SPACE TRANSITION BETWEEN THEM, blood, scratches, buttons, a guy, fallen off paint, the cast shadow of a bird, put a window in the middle, a decal, a hole, a graffiti tag, sewing, something that really makes you feel like they exist in the same plane.

If there's a sleeve on top of a wrist, IMPLY THAT SPACE BETWEEN THEM, a cast shadow, a value overlap (light on dark or otherwise), reflected light, ambient occlusion, a crosscontour, if you need to be very minimal and conservative then simply use opposition and proportion, different things have a different general gesture, so show that.

If something is directly on top of another thing, throw a cast shadow in there, one that reinforces the form of the overlapping object, but still fits with the shape language of it, if you have trouble finding the right angle for small cast shadows in the form, pick diagonals, don't make any angle parallel within each shadow, and repeat the angles of different cast shadows, i.e. make them all gesturally feel like they are more or less at 53º but don't repeat angles within the same cast shadow, tapering creates direction in a shape/composition, if your shape has 4 lines, you gotta taper it twice, that's not the end of it, then you gotta figure out in WHICH DIRECTION they need to go, but by that point you've done most of the work.
Frazetta was great at this, burne hogarth was great at this.
They also were really good at showing a leg or an arm was behind the body by drawing them in shadow.

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Subordination and framing not only reinforce a design's main shapes (its roundyness, squaryness etc.), they (especially when the element is repeated) also help show form and perspective, because it's an extra reference point from which
your brain can relate angles, materials, highlights, overlaps, AND if they have form THEY GIVE YOU FREE CAST SHADOWS, your brain doesn't interpret form just because you got it in perspective right, or because you got the lighting right, plotting physically correct lighting and reflections and getting things in correct linear perspective is great practice, but it's not what makes things feel real and solid, posing, placing the lights in the general right place, and accentuating the formal (as in form) elements of your design is what is going to give you that spatial or 3dmensional feel, people in makeup know this shit either monster makeup or just everyday stuff, it's not about the actual 3d form , it's about what 2d shapes you can get out of it, and pushing and pulling them where you need to.

I didn't just render things more, I added elements that helped show the perspective, that casted shadows, that helped strengthen those transitions and overlaps.

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Buy the Alex Senechal design tutorial on gumroad if you want more design theory stuff and more in depth.

I should go into color and value, how you can simplify yours a lot. As well as accents, and how yours don't subordinate right, and they just kinda feel disordered and disoriented,  but this tutorial ^ does a much better job of explaining that stuff than I ever could, I'm not particularly good at any of it. If you got no money just DM me.

When it comes to representing that structure, you gotta pose right, gotta light right, and you gotta break your design right, look at bridgman, look at harry carmean, top plane, bottom plane, top plane, bottom plane, left plane, right plane, left plane, right plane, find those, look at andrea blasich or try sculpting a little bit with a top light tilted a little bit forward, you can do it with an eevee preview in blender, or with clay irl, look at how you show the model through those bottom facing planes, I think of it the way I think of normal editing in 3d, I don't worry much about where the light is hitting or where it stops, I don't visualize the light rays,  I just decide "these planes have to be in shadow, these in the light", and I break things a little bit if I need to, try to get shadows that make the form read. People in anime are nuts at this, they have to be, they often only get 1 shadow value to show the whole form with.

Wish I could find the video, but Myron Barnstone had this rule that if you wanna show form, you gotta show the main (somewhat) opposing planes and the THICKENSS between them, most people fuck that last part up, they say " I can draw a cube" and then they do a nice sharp cube with a good 1-2-3 value read, but they never bevel it, they maybe quickly draw a highlight in that edge because they know enough to know there are planes there, but they never really try to show exactly HOW sharp or dull it is, and in failing to do that, the miss out on the chance to reinforce the form and perspective with that beveled element, not always necessary, but a useful tool to keep at hand.

Also, to show something is behind something else, remember, different elements have a different direction, show opposition in the gesture, you can break this if you wanna make things very graphic and patterny, but generally if you wanna show an arm in shadow behind the body, draw the body and arm along a different direction line, that extra opposition aids clarity, since it's just another form of contrast.

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Also, I know you were going for like a cat/panther thing and that's why you did the paw pads, but look at how (I think Sadamoto) did the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, another way of showind those top vs bottom plane divisions is with changes in local value, it's not a coincidence in lots of animation art, the inside an lower parts of a costume are darker and less saturated (often grey), it almost like getting a free shadow, kind of like countershading in animals, except instead of for camouflage, is so you actually feel the form better. You did paw pad designs, they look cool, but especially since the grey blends with the bakground, and because of the way you posed the hand, I don't get a clear read of the form. I know it's not a design for 2d animation, so it's got different goals and limitations, but I think you could've posed or lit it so that those features sat a bit most powerfully.

Look at the EVA Rebuilds model sheets, or tetsuya nishio's for naruto, look at toshiyuki inoue's stuff on sakugabooru, his magnetic rose and paprika shots, gits as well.

I made a (pretty mediocre) post on neopatogen's sketchbook going a bit over value overlaps, you can check that one out, it was a while back and I'd change a bunch of it now but eh. Also that discord thing I posted on my sketchbook from peleng's server on what I look for in figures.

Just to reiterate, you already do most of these things here and there, but not consistently, so most of your pieces have this feeling of "wooah hold on, what's up with *THAT* part", like you couldn't resolve it, or at least get it correct right away.

Nah, I'm shelving that one for the future. I'll reattempt when I know more to check progress.

Whoot! You made my day man. Many many thanks!
The armor is great, yes you nailed the issues! I've been trying to say the lighting stuff from the beginning, I dunno how to light things up or why and is one of the core things I'm working at (I mentioned to someone who asked me that my main goals are to improve at lighting, value, color and design/shape language) and yup! The issue I'm having right now with the guns I'm working on is exactly that, bevel, break the edges, push in and out the forms, don't think enough about the volumes.
I have noticed on me the issue and has been nagging for a while, that I tend to draw something and then is hard for me to discard it? I wrap things around too much to the initial sketch instead of throwing it out the window and draw something new, show bulk, change the volume. The only thing that has been helping me out lately is to sketch blindly first the silhouette read without thinking of form or volume but is quite hard for me to do well, I get my wires crossed (like trying to draw something from the get go, no construction, just bam, put everything down).
The guns exercises are helping me somewhat deal with this because they fall apart if I do that, so I fail quickly and I have to rework things out until I find my way out of the mess ha ha, maybe that's why I'm obsessed with them. Is destroying my confidence tho ha ha.

Sorry for the tangent, back on track, I don't post finished stuff, not really finishing much, all I do is like exercises to challenge or try to learn, keep improving, so I abandon a lot of stuff, I keep coming back to them eventually, when I know more. I think that's what SB are for ha ha, suits me perfect.

I would like to pick your brains about what you mean with the second way of fixing it. The workflow or habit thing? I mean, sounds more like a way of thinking but not really grasping what I would be supposed to do. Like everytime do the same? Light everything the same way? Or use the same kind of lighting that I know works? I do want to study Gainax/Trigger hard.

Transitions of shapes and values is like what you did on the legs? Like fog? Okay that is easy enough to introduce, I do try to not use that unless there's like a big enough space to justify it but I do have been thinking I need to push light decay, like have a gradation of light from the nearest point to the farthest one, that is something I keep forgetting.

Hmm, my way of thinking about shadows is trying to think of the volumes? Where the light is coming from and where the shadow will go, that said since I don't really know how to light something and I'm not a 3D rendering engine ha ha, I miss a ton of shadows or make the lighting boring to being with or not good to show the form well but are you saying I should just mix lighting schemes up to always cast a shadow somewhere to show where it's in space? Even if it's not correct? That's kind of what they do in anime, I've been thinking that could be a way to go, faking shadows just because they work for the shot or because if it's abstracted you have some leeway on what you depict, you can merge multiple lights into simple shadow shapes or trim what you don't like. Pixar did that with their movies I believe, just to enhance the message. Like hiding the arm in a shadow on the robo/armor cat would be like using a cookie in a movie light or something like a barn door right? Just cast a shadow there because it clarifies the message, that stuff I'm missing on, I'm not sure how to wrap my head around. I really do need like a book or studying movies.

I tried to do a few of the changes you suggested, like the inner lining of the glove being gray, ha ha, yup I thought keeping it orange would be a wink to paws, but wasn't working all that well I feel. Since I was going to fix an issue with the elbow today it was worth a shot. I tried to push the shadows some like you pointed, but still keep the arm showing since I don't understand yet why hiding it in shadow works or not, like to me both work I still don't grasp why to do one over the other.
About the Alex Seneschal tutorial does it go on sale? I don't mind getting it now, what does it touch upon?
About the rest I do agree that everything feels about the same for now, materials and texture I'm avoiding a tad, even when I practiced some, until I work out my consistency! Ha ha, yes, I've just told a few days ago about the same thing to someone that I want to work out my consistency, like I came across this but you are supposed to not want to be the person who does 1 great piece 99 trash ones, but someone who does like overall good ones. Consistently good. That's what I'm trying yup. I'm not sure if I'm doing the right things for that tho. Maybe I'm not pushing enough I do see I'm improving, just not sure if it's at the right rate.

Anyways, so many thanks again. This was really plenty helpful and useful. I owe you!

Small update on the cat.

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I see what Gliger is saying about the paw-pads, but I kinda liked the orange paw-pads, haha. High-contrast elements in places like the palms and soles are good for character designs in things like action/fighting games, since it makes it easy to tell where the character's limbs are. The EVA design has a similar thing going on with the bright green accents in the dark areas. You still have orange accents on the top of the hands though, which is certainly sufficient. It all depends on what you're going for.
Yeah I didn't dislike the paws per se, they were kind of iconic although kind of repetitive since the other side of the hand also has a lot of orange.

The grey here, while I do kind of like the planar clarity it adds, it's not different enough from the surrounding blacks of the design to make a real difference.

About the "second way of fixing things", while it may sometimes mean "light everything the same way", it's more about looking to get specific effects from the lighting, the posing, the values, and repeating them through different scenarios.
Each painting is going to have different compositional elements, LINE, PERSPECTIVE(divided into a bunch of other elements), COLOR, VALUE, TEXTURE etc. and then there'll be the physical/practical elements, the actual forms of the subject, the lenses, the camera, the air, the actual physical laws that light follows etc. If you imagine yourself as a photographer, think of it as the effects you design versus the sources(the practical lights etc) that you can only manipulate a bit, move them around and not much more.
Specific styles or traditions will focus on some of those compositional elements over others and how to consistently subordinate them. It will also teach you best practices on how to manipulate the practical elements
Think of it as looking at your base design, you know your model sheet or whatever, and setting out to do an action illustration from it, do you want to "light" for the texture? "light" for the overlaps?, "light" for the big values, "light" for the receding lines, "light" for the color.

Same thing  for the posing, do you pose for silhouette? pose for overlaps? pose for the big values?, pose for dynamism? pose for the gesture? the lines?
When you pick your lenses and your camera position, do you position your camera for overlaps, for the big values, for exposure? for a big contrast in proportion? or a small one? Do you wanna get a horizontal graphic line out of the soles of the shoes or you would rather move the camera up and point down to instead make use of that curver silhouette of the shoe.
When you add smoke or humidity in the air, do you do it for mood? to hide something in the fog? to really imply the space between 2 props?

When it comes to your practical elements (even if they are kind of imaginary like in illustration), before you think about whether you are emulating them accurately (the lenses, the light falloff etc.), think, "what am I trying to get out of them".

All of this is ridiculously complicated so most artists just kind of stick to a tradition until they've developed their intuition, you wanna show something is behind something else? make it darker or make it lighter, either go abstract to achieve that or move those imaginary practical lights until you get the shadows that achieve that effect.
You wanna make a round form pop? put a specular highlight on it, either do it just because *style*, or find practical reasons for it, in live action movies people seem kind of scared of just going full abstract, so they find practical plot-driven excuses to show these things.
If you wanna make a buff dude look really buff, start the scene at the end of their workout so the sweat gives them good specular highlights, you want a nice crosscontour that really shows the bulk of their chest? gotta give them some old shitty wiry tanktop like those 80s bodybuilders.

Wanna make a guy look dizzy and disoriented, tilt the camera, or put some "accidentally" tilted props behind them. 

If you start researching the most iconic movie characters and scenes, they tended to focus on one or 2 big elements, form, value, color, gesture, space, whatever. You can't go all out with all of them, they eat eachother up. Dunno if it was Ingres or Gammel who talked about how you can't have beautiful stained glass with perfect lines, the lines will eat up the color, or viceversa.
Really start thinking of the most iconic scenes you can think of, think of how vitto corleone is introduced, what is the lighting and the color doing, is there CRAZY perspective? CRAZY texture? is it worse because it doesn't have those things?

Browse this channel and look at the best movie shots ever

They let the secondary elements subordinate to the main ones, if the focus is graphic impact, forms become silhouettes, if the focus is values, color takes a step back, perhaps perspective too, they compliment the major elements, they "fill the gaps" but don't overtake them.

For the transition questions, yeah, the Alex Senechal Visual Design basics tut will answer all of those. When I said to always transition between different elements I should've worded it "ALWAYS BE CONSCIOUS OF THE TRANSITION", there's always going to be a transition, being careful of what that transition says about the relationship between those 2 objects is what matters; and what it has to achieve, do you wanna exaggerate the space between them or understate it for example.

About the fog to show space, there you go again trying to be correct roto.

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What your brain interprets and what light effects happen physically are 2 different things, you can trick somebody into incorrectly interpreting a real world situation, there's plenty trompe l'oeil examples in art, shit, faking real world situations through a smart use of shape and color is kind what representational art does, it's still just a rectangle.
Your brain doesn't sit down to do calculations about the humidity of the air before guessing that a mountain is behind another, our brains just see a soft white gradient between 2 objects and instantly go "HAH, I KNOW WHICH ONE IS IN FRONT".
the cubists milked the shit out of that transition between objects, wether doing it with black or with white, they really made you feel some bullshit was in front of the other bullshit.

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I see a lot of realists who think "but realistic art doesn't do that"
Here's where they are wrong kiddo

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^komarck I think
"b-but you can't do that always, here it works because there's dust and fog and humid something something and blablabla"

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Hey, you wanna get a similar effect with a practical object? throw a big white water shape between the characters.

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put the big white element behind the darker character

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GIVE THEM A WHITE CAPE or light it so it's a noticeably lighter or darker tone than the character.

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wes burt

A "lucky" tongue of smoke or humidity that just accidentally happened to make the spacial quality of your composition work, how fortunate.

In animation they do this shit all the time, they dress their characters for perspective, they design the wardrobe to show space

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how lucky that the inside of the collar is darker than the guy's skin therefore in almost any lighting condition you'll get a good, clear overlap.

I think harry carmean is amazing at showing the spatial qualities of his drawings, developing a taste for this stuff will do anybody good. They really do this type of thing a lot in modern fantasy illustration, they do it A TON in splashart, although more subtly.

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Granted, most of these examples have been about showing space, and that's kind of because getting that sense of space seems to be the name of the game for a lot of modern illustration and promotional concept art, not every image has to do it, you can perfectly make a wonderful graphic image, or one were the colors just fly free, unbounded by structure or space, but space seems to be the hot thing for a ton of artists, maybe because painters don't get this stuff for free, so we obsess over the tricks we can use to fake it.

For sure you should start trying to bullshit your shadows, 100%, don't get me wrong, as we get better we start to be able to think both graphically and practically,  but without being familiar with the shadows you want to get, HOW ARE YOU GONNA KNOW WHERE TO PLACE THE LIGHTS!!!.
Gotta practice both, hey, filmmakers work with practical elements and they get great shadows, at some point you just get good enough that you work those lights like you were born to, but first you gotta familiarize yourself with the shapes you want to get, and for that, there's nothing wrong with bullshitting the lighting sometimes, hey, nobody knows if that big ass shadow somes from a cloud, a platform, a lightray being blocked by a leave, who knows, as you do it you get better at gauging those elements that have to be accurate, versus the ones you can bullshit a little.

Photographers and filmmakers lie a lot though, they never tell you what is happening outside the camera, could be ANYTHING

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About the shadow on the arm, it's what I said earlier in this post, there's no "BETTER", there's only which qualities you want to accentuate, if you make it dark, the distance between them is reinforced, if you don't, then it's more graphic, it's your choice, but remember that the other elements are there to strengthen and solidify that main one, if you want it to be graphic, is the silhouette graphic enough too?, are the shadows even necessary or should you push for harsher colors. Your choice, I really like looking at hokusai's stuff when I wanna do graphic things.

Get the hans bacher and mateu mestre books if you wanna get good at film stuff, The illusion of Life has a lot of good lessons on how drawing is super limited, so you gotta set dress, wardrobe, and set the scene to get certain effects, you aren't free to just get things accurate, you gotta find the effects that will make it believable and solid. Their principles of solid drawing are GOLD.

@rotohail yeah that's what I meant. I feel your pain needing to do the confidence boosters,
@Gliger - That second post of yours has to be the most fun-and-lucid-at-once lesson I ever read.

@Rotohail - Here's one humble suggestion: Not using a white background on character designs, unless it's a requirement of the industry. I feel it tarnishes the colors.


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