I'm no expert on this at all, so someone with more experience could back this up, but I'd say push the contrast a little bit more with the values to make it pop. Make the shadows darker etc. you know.
Also, another thing that I'm confused about is the story you're trying to tell, he's some sort of knight/marine looking upwards at some sort of portal? Or is he being taken over by the venom-like black stuff? , anyway, good luck and I hope this helps!
/ Sketchbook /
With the exception of the shadows on the main character there's very little variation here. The sky should be significantly lighter or darker than the midground, and you could add a little something in the foreground to imply depth.
Or you could go another way. The pose is virtually begging for him to be trapped in a spotlight, in which case I'd darken most of it but put lots of light and high contrast around him.
Regardless, you need a good deal more variation in tone throughout the whole picture.
I think maybe you need more highlights. How come his legs are so black?
Also, different parts of the armour are lit from different directions, and he casts no shadow on the ground. Also, he's missing his loincloth.
A good way to figure out if your values work is look at your piece from a distance, or on a computer zoom out and make it really small. Even when the image is tiny, it should be clear what's going on and it should look interesting. If not, your values are probably not as effective as they could be.
your predominant value is there, but you need to pick your two secondary values, either lighter or darker depending of lighting and make them take about 1/3 of the image (together, not 1/3 each).
here's a googled value map http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/IMG/valmap.gif there's so much to say about values! Here's my two cent about the major things you should probably be aware of:
-Avoid picking the values right next to your main value
-You don't have to space your values equally, your dark could be near your main value but your lights dramatically far. Highlighted areas and areas of the lightest value would be instantly eye-catching, it can be very useful in directing the viewer's eye.
-Your secondary values are basically your lightest lights and darkest darks, you want a good range while not going into extreme (such as black, white and middle grey) or you'll likely end up with a muddy mess.
What Jeff said, but also, take a look at the thumbnail for your thread. Does it look interesting at all, does it stand out from the other thumbnails? I'd say not really.
The reason for that is that our eyes are drawn to pictures that have high contrast in them, trying to recognize patterns. Yours has barely any contrast; my eyes are constantly drawn to the character's boots because they are by far the darkest parts of the entire painting and they stand out the most because of it. Balance out your values; the dark of the boots needs light to compensate or they will be all we'll look at. Decide where your point of focus is and make sure the contrast in values is the highest there.
Your composition is really boring. Did you try and play around with angles? I would think it'd be more interesting from a worm's-eye, figure staring up at portal. It could say the same thing much more dramatically, and it could really help to take up some of that negative space you've got on your hands.
Or, if you don't want to re-work it, you could at least crop it some.
Well, he's supposed to be looking up to an enemy who has suddenly broken out of the wall of the building to his right, hence his stance. I'm also planning on putting bits and pieces of junk in the floor so it won't look as drab. I'm hoping that the enemy + exploding wall will add dynamism to the work.
Thanks for the input regarding value variation, scottmcd. I think the suggestion about making the sky darker is a good idea. I will play around with the levels once I'm done.
Whyatt, yeah, I still have to put his loincloth there. Actually, I've been doing what you said (zooming away for an overall look) and that's the reason why I'm asking suggestions from everyone. I'm not really satisfied with how it's looking from afar, although that could be because I haven't put more variation in the values yet. I was hoping someone could give areas in the WIP where I can darken or lighten values.
Also, regarding his feet area, it's still not done. The reason why they're black is because I'm still blocking them. Currently working on them now.
Lastly, what's bothering me is his right arm. I know the lighting's real off there. Lighting source is supposed to be from directly above, although it's not going to be a strong light, more of moonlight or so. Can anyone tell me, given that info, where lighting would be placed, and if the values okay for it?
What is the story in this piece? Is he supposed to be looking at something?
i agree that removing the darks from his legs was an improvement, but i think the piece needs more extreme values light or dark to make it more interesting and have wider range of values. Try to look for big shapes of light or dark and then go into more details. i think the light source is a bit confusing, on his torso the light seems to be coming from left while on his legs the light is coming from the right.
The light source is supposed to come from the top (i.e., full moon). Do I put a general light value on just the top parts, then? As for the extreme values, yeah, I was being cautious. More afraid than anything, really. If someone can give a quick paintover so I'll have a general idea, that would be very useful. XD
@Slade, yeah, he's supposed to be looking at an enemy who has just broken through a wall on the right. Still have to add that.
this is pretty rough but should give you an idea. you could push this contrast much further, like others have said, you need to work on both ends, light and dark.
i felt like the lighting on the figure wasnt correct, and atempted to fix that as well
i liked the spot light idea, so added that too.
Just to throw in my two cents - try getting a night time high-realism master painting and throw it into grayscale to see how that artist dealt with values. Part of your problem, I think, is that you don't know how to juggle the values on your background with the values on your character.
I'd suggest before you do any more rendering, figure out your whole composition. If there is something that he is looking at, that needs to be in there.
Also, I'd put him on a 3rd, and the thing he is looking at on a 3rd, instead of just having him slam in the middle. Divide the piece into 3rds, put points of interest on the intersections. Probably should make it wider too.
Even if you put an enemy bursting through the wall you'll still end up with a static feel to this.
You need to work out the story and feel as well as the composition before you put pen to paper (do it really loose and small - basic thumbnails)
Even if you are playing this on the fly - to render it so tightly before you've even added in the other figure will make it tough for you.
You're going to make really hard to work up any dynamic feel with such a straight flat on shot - there's no flow to this picture and the wall cuts the comp in 2 - try to visualise this as a movie playing in your head - think of dramatic camera angles or as if you were there watching this happen.
Would you be standing there looking straight on or would you take cover as this battle unfolded before you...have a think?
Very bland composition, flat and too made-up looking, no real knowledge behind it. I suggest using reference material. Here's a rough as guts paintover for ya with a few suggestions on salvaging what you have already done. You detail way too early, if this is meant to be a value study then stay on track and get those looking right first. Everything as a whole, don't just focus on the main character.
Keep goin man,