Sometimes I get the spontaneous urge to do in-depth critiques.
I like Nelvakre's painting a lot, but to try and type out my critique... ugh... Too many words. Painting is visual. So I did this quick edit. Entire correction took maybe an hour.
List of edits: -Changing the temperature of the scene from yellow to blue. -Raised the sky to expand the scene and add scale (and add balance to the composition) -More atmosphere to create scale -Unified values -Unified color -Touched up Rarity a little to match her to the scene
EDIT: lightened the foreground a little extra.
And looking at it, I may have accidentally connected the ledge in the foreground to the mountain behind it... though perhaps it wasn't intended to be part of the same rock structure... Ohhhhhh the perils of painting over someone else's painting... it's hard to notice everything. I suppose I wanted it connected so that it looks more like she just found the valley after walking through the mountains or whatever... Oops.
Light is always the most important thing in a painting. Always pay attention to the light.
OK i will be using this as a reference from now on and i agree with everything except how dark you wanted rarity. I'd like to think that ponies should be a little brighter then their environment (think everfree, their bodies have a heavy contrast to the scene even though they feel at place due to their slight desaturation/shading)
My question is wouldn't it be possible to lighten rarity's colors then shade her more roughly to match the rest of the shading? im thinkin a good tier'd shading on rarity with definite edges would help anchor her and then the color contrast would separate her from the stone.
The lighting in the piece is still inconsistent. Perhaps she could be lighter, but she still has to match the lighting that surrounds her. You don't want your subject to be separated from the scene... it doesn't matter how they appear in the show, because the illustrative style of this scene is different from the show... painting vs. vectors. Also, her corner need to be darker in order to balance out the composition of the rest of the piece by keeping the bottom half of the canvas darker. If the right corner was left lighter, the entire left side of painting would make it appear lopsided and uneven. The light and dark masses in a painting need to balance each other.
And composition trumps creative lighting decisions because it's more important.
Wow... this is the best thing anyone has done for me since... since... well, ever. I don't know how to express my gratitude in words, so just bear with me and watch me stumble for a while.
I was quite aware of the problems in the original version, but I just couldn't pin down what they were, and how to fix them. I will admit, throughout the process of this I had no concrete idea in my head of what to do next, or the general idea of the completed piece. So values and colours ended up everywhere.
Anyway, I made some changes as you suggested to the composition and the overall values and colours, and adding a little of my own touches as I saw fit. I have to say, I am getting that sense of scale I was going for but not getting. However, a little qualm I have is that instead of the warmer, brighter feel I was going for when approaching the painting, it looks a little too cold for the promised land It could be just me though. Thoughts?
Regardless, I still find the newer version more pleasing to the eye, and that itch to correct everything is more or less gone. I'll be doing a lot more practice pieces from now on, though. Thanks so much for taking the time to make this critique, I can't express how much I appreciate it. Helped me much more than hours of watching Youtube videos.
I get what you mean by the colder look and wanting a warmer "narrative". I upped the blues a lot because mountain ranges/valleys often have lot's of blues... due the sky and the grass and the atmospheric haze. Especially during the day. Equestrian landscapes also have a lot of Canadian influence... evergreens, mountain ranges, forests... etc. Makes sense, since the show is developed in BC. In any case, lot's of blues. And maybe that's why it doesn't feel so "cold" to me, because that's how I'm used to seeing landscapes (with bluer hues), since I also live in the NW.
And I only emphasize the realism aspects because understanding how things actually look, allows you to make informed artistic choices (and achieve what you want). It's technical stuff. So it's a scene from MLP... and yes the show does have a certain look to it. But in this picture, you've gone beyond what they are capable of doing in the show. You've added a larger sense of adventure, a grander scale, and a more detailed beauty --and you should remember to work that. Make it [the show] something more than what it already is.
But back to the "cold" colors... I went with the blues because I was unsure as to what time of day it was supposed to be, so I went with a generic afternoon sky.
But if you want warmer tones, you'll need to change the time of day as well as the weather.
Honestly, the best way to learn color and light, is to look at the masters. So if you want to learn more about painting, I highly recommend that you start a folder to collect paintings by the old masters. Studying the old masters is one of the fastest way to improve (seriously). One technique specifically when painting something (and which I like to use) is to look for a painting by an old master that has a color/light palette similar to what you want. Then open that image file in photoshop, and periodically pick colors from it. I usually put it on a layer at the top, and I'll turn it on and off (mostly off) as I work on the rest of the image. The old masters really understood light and color... and by using one of their paintings, you start to pick up on those little details that matter. This technique is extremely useful because it's really hard to invent a color palette out of thin air when you don't have a good grasp on how color/light... but by color-picking off a painting by a guy who did have a good grasp on it, your painting will look better and you will absorb some knowledge.
Refrain from adjusting the opacity on your brush... stick with only adjusting flow. Changing opacity messes with your colors because it changes the way they interact, and makes the lighting harder to do. Flow "layers" your strokes, like real paint. Also, set your eyedrop tool to a hotkey to reduce traveling time to the toolbar so you can maintain a nice, easy, workflot.
For landscapes like this, I suggest you look up Albert Bierstadt. He really understands that "warm", "bright", "magical" feeling when it comes to landscapes: [link][link][link]
I just realized I gave you the wrong link. Derp >.<
Anyway, I guess that explains a lot! I actually live smack on the equator, so all I see here is the sun and more sun. In fact, I've never seen a single flake of snow in my life. Explains why I tend to skew towards warmer tones while you stick to cooler ones.
Taking MLP and adding my own touches to it was what I've been wanting to do all along, and I understand what you're getting at. Its basically showing your own interpretation of a scene you enjoyed. And improving it in the process. Anyway, I think I'll have to get myself some practice with cooler "narratives" once I'm done with some other stuff.
I'll start my folders now, but I'm kinda confused what 'old masters' may refer to, with there being so many ages of paintings and such. I'm just going to look up artists related to Albert Bierstadt, if that's what you mean. I still can't get my mind over the fact that it was all done traditionally. The colours, the atmosphere, the details... arugh... Colour picking off another developed palette makes things so much easier.
I'm experimenting with the flow settings now, 'cept I don't really understand what it does or how to use it best. I just leave it at 50% and somehow everything looks better. Heh. Its hard to flow layers, since everything is at the same value. Do you leave your opacity at 100%? My eyedropper is at the default 'alt' button, my left hand barely travels on my keyboard.
One of my first thoughts on this piece was that mountain ridge on the left doesnt become visually smaller as distance increases, unlike the river which practically disappears in the horizon. Once I looked closer I saw that bottoms of the mountains raise up while tops stay at pretty much the same height, which would imply the PoV is very high up, but theres no sense of such height here. I think i'd be better if ridge on the left would gradually become shorter and disappear towards the horizon. That would let more light in, make the plain visually bigger and longer and there could be fancy colorful lighting in the grass and the river. Also, why is Rarity looking at the wall? The pretty things are clearly to her right, not in front. Plus, I understand why you dulled down most of the colors in the distance, but Equestria is pretty and fairy and magical. Like this, it looks too bleak, sharper colors of the original could use some restraint but they did serve a point.
Oooh, good eye, I didn't even notice the non-receding mountains. I was more focused on tweaking the values I suppose.
But yes, you are right. Their tops should be receding a bit more to further enhance the illusion that they are far away. Rarity could be moved back (further towards the right of the canvas) and then it wouldn't look like she's staring at the wall.
Bleak? Hmmm... some warm yellows to emphasize sunlight could help with that.
I think everyone should do a critique like this one. You can really see the difference between them and wow! I be it really helps the artist in the future and other artists just to really see what you mean!!