Mixing potions
Hey, guys. I'm starting a painting of a magician mixing potions and id like to get some help before I start rendering too much. The idea was to make a painting with a character interacting with their environment, and this is the thumbnail I chose. 

[Image: akjfd_zpsxzqr2yqm.png]

I'm struggling with my program somewhat with this but I would mainly like a second person to check the proportions and values and all that. Help would be very appreciated. Thanks guys!

The first thing immediately gets to me is how flat everything is. Both the table and the wall behind him have no sense of depth at all. I think the lighting itself is sort of close..although I think the glow from the potion should hitting more directly from the front rather than from the side. My general advice is to go back and work on the fundamentals some more.
Thank you so much for the crit, yang! I agree everything looks flat, I tried to change the lighting somewhat so that it hits his face and body differently, but I'm a little stumped about doing the background...I don't want it to be too elaborate, and I added some darker values. Perhaps I'll paint in a bookshelf or something hanging on the wall?

Anyway, here's another shot, with the values and everything adjusted somewhat.

[Image: potions5_zpsq1mmusui.png]

Work work work.

[Image: 52_zpsbkkgbdwz.png]

Starting to feel good, fell free to tear it apart!

[Image: 54%20copy_zpshegsdse7.png]

Finished!! ...I think.

[Image: potionsfinal%20copy_zpstpbvx9wn.png]

Hey there,

Nice theme!
Here is what I think on improving depth of the image as well as lighting harmony.

01: you can stretch out the texture on the table in perspective more till it almost seems ridiculous, then pull it back to a reasonable amount. It should be good enough to make the viewer feel that one edge of the table is closer to us than the other. 

02: use difference in scale of objects to create depth. since we already know things in the foreground are larger than things in the mid ground or background.

Also, once we’ve scaled stuff up we realize somethings.

1. some perspective looks odd with the newly sized texture.

2. the lighting needs to be adjusted to harmonize.

03. Correcting the drawing of the ellipse on the top of the pot to harmonize with the big going to small idea of depth. also some guides on the other objects.

04. to harmonize the lighting , i remove the false highlights on the objects on the table. for instance the highlights on the potion bottles point to another light source from behind and to the right of the viewpoint. 

that is possible of course but to relate the bottles to the scene its best to use rim highlights from the fire.

also i darken all surface above the height of the flame, so areas like the top of the bottles, the top of the skull should be fairly dark. these can later be shaded with the cool light from the potion int he alchemist’s hand. but should remain in the shade still.

to harmonize the colours/lighting in the image i shade the image using darker values and conserve my darkest and lightest colours for last. with the exception of the light sources. 

note that all the shading is still being done with consideration for which surfaces the light can get to and in what intensity. 

Suggest using a table lamp and some props and placing them in space to see how light gets to the objects.

05: With the previous image, everything is slightly darkened and lighter areas indicated using mid values. You can now selectively brighten up the areas of focus and refine the rendering on those areas. Lastly, you can blur the edges of the shapes in the foreground, or leave them roughly rendered to suggest that they're out of focus.  

Hope it gives you ideas to better control your image. Keep truckin'!
OH MAAAAAN DODEQAA I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU POSTED THIS OVER A MONTH AGO AND I NEVER RESPONDED???? This is such a good, thoughtful response and I thank you so, so much for taking the time to do a paintover for me, sorry I never responded ahh I suck. OTL

I did do some small edits to this painting a while ago where I darkened and lightened some areas and then changed the scale of some of the objects in the foreground.

[Image: potionsfinal2%20copy_zps4ggpfcfp.png]

Things I learned:

- I've gotta learn perspective in application to illustrations. I really don't know a lot and it really baffles me.
- I've got to keep in mind how light applies to different materials. Cloth isn't as reflective as skin so it won't be as bright.
- Don't be afraid to take my own photo refs rather than just relying on google images.

Thanks again so much, dude, I really appreciate the crit. <3

Heyo, ahh it happens, too many posts to keep up with ya?

Good you learned stuff, on to the next piece :) keep on truckin'!
Another thing to think about it is to really get into the scene of what you're painting. What makes sense for embellishing the ideas behind that you're conveying in your piece? A magician enveloped in curiosity? Make a background of bookshelves and curious elements that add to the situational story of the piece. Also how would the table's doodads realistically be put in when someone's working on a potion? Books closer to the character? Maybe the book is propped up to give the magician a better look at the content? Maybe there are diagrams around? Maybe there is a prep area for making the content of the cauldron, like cutting board and random ingredients around? This is part of what makes Bethesda role playing games so intriguing, they absolutely FILL the environment with relevent "lived in" qualities. Baskets of ingredients, cauldrons, knives, mortar and pestle, smears and papers strewn about. All about that realistic look of the situation.

Also, take a look at other artists that you think do really awesome work with storytelling and lighting and composition. Break down what they do and ask questions about why their content looks so damn good. Backlighting? Dramatic lighting? Cool facial expressions? Awesome compositioning with environment elements framing the character and their personality? All sorts of things to consider for your arsenal of making a badass piece of art that conveys a story for people to get absolutely lost in :)

David Szilagyi, 
Professional Badass, phD.


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