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|Illusion of Space and Atmosphere||1||Do Assignment|
|Personal Art||1.1||Do Assignment|
I've been studying composition for a few weeks and decided to make my first piece with a thought out composition and colors. I lost the concept during the coloring process of the pic and was very very lazy on rendering, so I'd like to hear your opinions on composition and colors, specifically, though it would also be nice if you have something to say about the anatomy or whatever you think looks off. Btw, I first started with rule of thirds but later I thought the golden spiral would be better.
I'd like to have an uninterrupted swoopy line of fish leading to the girl, but I feel like the area on the left is too cut off (you cut off its fin!). Also the highest fish breaks the flow a bit. If I cover that fish with my thumb, composition reads better IMO (though the fish would need to be staggered more because they're going two-by-two at the moment).
You've also cut off her feet, which is usually a no-no in composition. (Unless you want a swarm of angry photographers with hacksaws to show you why they don't like that kind of crop. )
Currently the figure in the midground is blending in with the background, particularly around the dress, and this is flattening things out.
Hair is also a little flat -- you needn't be so tentative with pushing the hair back with that blue/purple you have in there. Exaggerate it; do more form shading on the hair.
The values on the figure are all a bit mid-tone-y. Push them more (especially the shadows) -- will make her pop. (Right now I actually like looking at the fish more than her because they pop.)
I don't actually know what the figure is doing. Running to hug the fish? Dancing? The top part of her body looks fairly stationary, but the bottom part is in some kind of mid-movement like hopping around, and I can't read it. All her limbs seem to be going in different directions and not following a line of action. Did you use reference for the pose?
Anyway, compositionally, maybe her right hand (our left) could be tilted towards the body/head, to lead our eyes to her face more. If you can put her in a different pose where all her body parts are also curving towards your focal point(s), that would make it more effective.
Did you do thumbnails for this composition? (Thumbnails are super important for getting good compositions.) Also are you familiar with the idea of having limited values in composition? See this, this and this. IMO value is one of the if not the most important things in composition.
I didn't do thumbnails or used limited values, this is something I only found out after I finished and I still haven't understand it quite well yet.
She was supposed to be kinda dancing, leading the fish. The top of the body also bugged me, I couldn't figure out how to fix it though. I didn't use any reference, only for the hands. Bad habit, i know :/
Thank you so much for the links!
I think the biggest problem with the image overall is values. There could be more contrast in general, but more importantly the lighting is weak and vague, and you're not using it to push your focal points enough. You're mostly relying on color to make the fish pop when you should be using values as well for a more pronounced effect. When planning the piece, make sure it's working on a tonal level and keep a color layer filled with grey on top that you can turn on and off to check your values as you're working.
First of all, what are your primary and secondary light sources? The girl seems mostly lit from below, possibly from the water, but the lake is behind her and below her there is grass and some rocks. Even if the water were the light source and it were directly below her in the shot, the core shadows on her arms and upper body aren't dark enough. Pick a light source and unify the image with it.
Also, what is that stuff behind her on the water? Mist? I know you were going for a loose kind of rendering in this image, but I find the background confusing - I just don't know what I'm looking at. And it's distracting from the figure because it's the same value, color, and general shape as the girl's skirt. In the black and white version, she literally blends into the background.
In general I feel that your placement of the elements in your image is good - the figure is off-center, the fish create a nice circular movement that leads us to her, her face stands out very well, the rock bits on the bottom right frame the image nicely - you just need to focus on how you're setting up your values to make sure they're reinforcing your composition rather than working against it.
Do you have any questions about thumbnailing or limited values? The links I posted on values should explain things pretty well. The basic point of them is to simplify a scene, make it more instantly readable, and create depth.
As for thumbnails: thumbnails are where you actually work out the composition, so you don't have to spend ages rendering a piece only to find the composition doesn't work. It's a way of quickly getting out the bad ideas so you only spend time on the good ones. Do half a dozen tiny value sketches, focusing on whatever compositional elements you want (like the spiral, or thirds, or interplay of negative and positive space, or whatever), trying out different perspectives or character positions or whatever, all loose and fast. (You can do colour composition thumbnails too, if it helps.) It's basically a way of brainstorming composition.
Try getting reference for a more unified looking pose. Or even try some in the mirror, you might find something you like better that way. (Also you get a sense of what sort of poses are comfortable/possible.)
I made some thumbnails focusing on the values, I guess the ones with the grey background didn't work out well at all, and I'm not sure which one on the right looks better, but after putting the hair on them i guess it's the bottom one?
I don't know, I feel so lost doing this haha
I also found the black and white sketch, you can see I didn't care about values at all, I think I was more concerned on the color scheme rather than values.
[EDIT] i cant upload the files so here's the link to the image http://img842.imageshack.us/img842/707/72861989.png
I think basically any of those thumbnails would work (though the first one with the white fish is a bit low-contrast). They have a lot stronger composition than this midtoney stuff you've got going on. You could even brighten up the fish (and/or darken their background) and redraw the girl if you're not keen on starting from scratch. (Could even thumbnail sketch some poses for the girl to see which best conveys 'dancing leading the fish'.)
Nice to see these thumbs. Keep at it!