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rhlstudios
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Quote rhlstudios Replybullet Topic: HALP-- First attempt at landscape
    Posted: 17 July 2014 at 6:41pm




I am not a landscaper lol but I never will be if i don't try, right? And by new to landscapes, i don't just mean in terms of pixel art, i mean in art in general lol i know, shame on me for waiting so long to try DX Anyway, I just spent a few hours composing this rough base and would really like some feedback before I go in and refine/detail it since that takes the longest and I don't want to waste time refining something that will have to be overhauled hours later lol. Color, shadows/shading, composition, volume, angles, anything and everything, feedback of even the most brutal nature would be infinitely appreciated X3 I could also use help specifically on the water, i kinda sorta know what I'm doing with the rocks, not ssssooo much with the tree's, but I am at a complete total loss with water coloring :(P.S. Oh yeah XD Don't mind my wacky balls of colors to the right, they'll disappear when the pic is done :P








Edited by rhlstudios - 17 July 2014 at 8:19pm
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Ego
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Quote Ego Replybullet Posted: 18 July 2014 at 3:51am
Hey, looks good! I like the rocks a lot - I wish I could do that sort of stuff, I've tried but haven't gotten the hang of it yet. The only bit with the rocks that makes me pause is the bright section on the lower left that has the spot of stuff on it. I think it's because of the shadow that wraps around to the left, but I can't really get a good handle on what the angel of that surface is.

The colors are pretty great. It doesn't immediately read to me what the orange is supposed to be; my guess is like dried grass and stuff, but regardless it's a weird color to see along with the green of the tree leaves. What really seems strange to me is how there's a few surfaces that the orange completely dominates, but the rest is almost entirely sparse.
Even disregarding my weirdness about having both the orange grass and green leaves, their relative brightnesses seems odd. The orange is really really bold, instantly drawing the eye. Becuase the green is only near the orange, when I go to look at the trees I find my eyes being dominated by the orange. My suspicion is that it's a comparative brightness and saturation issue - toning down the grass a bit might make the piece overall less boldly colorful, but would draw more attention to the striking green leaves against the rocks.
The water colors are really pretty.
If you don't mind me asking, I AM curious about the wacky balls. It seems like a way you're setting up color ramps, but the ramps aren't followed straight in the piece (for example, the blue in the tree leaves isn't in the top ball with the rest of the tree colors). It's a palette-ing technique I've never seen before and I'm curious about how your process works.

Given all the interesting rock shapes, the trees feel, I dunno, standard. They feel generic. Especially the second-highest one standing up on the platform feels completely normal. Given the twisty and interesting shapes of the rock faces and the water, it might be worth putting some variety or interest into the trees as well. Even if it's as little as taking the big bulbs of leaves and shaping them into interesting branching ways, or twisting up the trunk or something, it might change things. If you're interested in being creative with your trees, X0-000 made an image called A Hundred Trees that is a fantastic showcase of a ton of various shapes that different species of trees can take. It's a great reference for getting away from the basic tree.
http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/87096.htm

There's two distict forms of transition you use in the water in this preliminary.  One can be seen very clearly on the far right and the bottom, where use staggered sine wave-like curves to transition. The other can be seen on the left, within a ring of lighter lines, where you shift out with bulging out regions of light. The bright in the bottom right is like that as well, while the lightest water hitting the rocks clearly shows the lines transition in between crashes against the rocks.
Of the two, both can work fine if applied carefully, but I find that the lines style can appear sketchy and unfinished even after refining. The other feels much more clustered and precise and pixelly.
Other things in the water strike me. The rock is being struck on a bunch of surfaces by the water - I like the idea of the shallower brighter water up close but I feel lik eyou may be diminishing the impact of the crashing waves by putting it everywhere. Think about potentially concentrating the crahsing more locally, or from a given direction that the water surged in at. As it stands it's a relatively peaceful landscape despite the waves; if you wanted something more energetic or immediately striking a single large crash of water spraying up and partially obscuring the rock. While bright water/foam would be lingering all around the edges of the rocks, I just don't feel like it would actually be crashing and climbing up all over the outcropping.
As another little addition that could tie the piece together a bit more, maybe still water is pooling in divets in the cliffs, or have water running back down after a wave's retreated. Essentially, what I'm saying is that just because the water is at the base of the piece doesn't mean you can't integrate it in little ways throughout the island.

Two last things about the water: while you're most likely going to be making the currently-white region transparent, consider what you want the edges to actually look like. They'll guide the silhouette of the piece, along with the trees, so consider how those edges of the piece can bring interest and clarity with their shape. The other thing is that you've kept the lightsource mostly consistent through the piece, but with one exception: the island currently casts no shadow. Having its shadow looming over the water could do a lot to link it together with the water.

Hopefully this is the sort of stuff you wanted. Looking forward to seeing how you forge ahead!
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Quote PixelSnader Replybullet Posted: 18 July 2014 at 4:26am
Not really seeing any big issues here. You seem to have a decent understanding of general art basics. The blue sphere at the right has a bit of a weird gradient though; black, blue, green, blue, green, yellow. Is it sharing some palette slots?

Perhaps the rocks and grass could use a bit more hue shifting in the shade. And I think the transfer from grass to rock is too sharp, but that's due to sketching I assume? Oh and it might be nice to have underwater rock silhouettes.

One thing I'd try is swapping the grass and tree colors around. It should feel more natural than the 'dry grass, healthy tree' Ego points out, and it should create a bit of an overall gradient from dark/blue to mid/green to light/yellow.

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rhlstudios
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Quote rhlstudios Replybullet Posted: 18 July 2014 at 2:52pm
Ahhhh, thank you so very muuuuuccchhh! Both of you! Tremendous help :D Especially the tree's, they helped get some creative juices flowing wonderfully.

Now! First thing LOL the bubbles XD I like to use them to make palettes cause I find it helps me see how the colors mix and blend, and I usually make a ramp out of the colors I pick from them but for some reason with this piece I just grabbed the bubbles I wanted to use colors from and put them on the page. The one that doesn't gradient well is my "tropical" bubble that's mostly used for shadows and highlights, but I'm using it for the water in this one. Anywho, I had made a page full of pre-made palettes originally for a collab pic but then I added more bubbles so I'll have a variety of palettes to grab from when I don't feel like making one up on the spot LOL



Now, on the pic itself!! The top parts were intended to be sand, but I don't know how much I like it lol I was going to heavily dither it all to blend and add texture, buuuutttt I don't know DX I did a little bit in the corner of the tree's on and it doesn't impress me in the least :/ Should I work on the shading/dithering or just pick a different surface alltogether? And if the sand would be worth working on, should the colors be toned down? The original idea was for it to be a once-was beachy island now practically eroded away. Speaking of the tree though! I toned it down, used the main color as the highlight instead. I tried fixing up the bottom left corner too.

I haven't touched the water yet, I got rid of the waves and just left it as is right now lol I'm thinking I might have one massive wave striking from the right crashing towards the left. If that made sense lol. And I like the idea of seeing some rocks under the water! Definitely! I'm going to spend a couple hours today browsing through pics with water just to see how they shade/highlight it. I'm so clueless and at a complete loss with it DX

Anyway, here's what I just whipped up:


Again, thank you guys SOOOOO MUCH. As I'm sure you could guess Ego, your input is much respected and valued by me so it's also so very much appreciated! :D


Edited by rhlstudios - 18 July 2014 at 2:56pm
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Quote jalonso Replybullet Posted: 18 July 2014 at 3:01pm
OT:
I know you are busy with your pixel but if you have time.
How do you make the initial bubbles?
Do you go thru a reduction process?
Any and all details would be awesome.
Is it cool to back up that portion of your comment to the 'colors and palettes' thread we keep?
One never knows what will work for people making their palettes and this seems as good as any other.
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Quote rhlstudios Replybullet Posted: 18 July 2014 at 3:22pm
You most certainly can! I just copy and paste this gray scale one whenever I want to create a new palette and then replace the colors starting with the "base color", I numbered the order I fill in the layers :D



Here's a template of gray scales too if it would make anything easier.




Edited by rhlstudios - 18 July 2014 at 4:41pm
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Quote jalonso Replybullet Posted: 18 July 2014 at 3:29pm
Last OT question.
You add the base then manually choose the other shades or go thru some CGd process to get the next 4 colors?
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Quote rhlstudios Replybullet Posted: 18 July 2014 at 3:46pm
I do select the colors manually, I use nothing but the XP version of MS Paint for the most part so I go to define custom colors section and make my colors there. I usually start with my base color and then decide what hue I want my shade to lean toward and then slowly work my in-between shades across the colors in between the main color to the base shade. I'm horrible with words, sorry if that's confusing lol. Also, I don't make a new color in Paint for every shade. I double click a random default color in MSP's palette, make my base color, put it in its place in the bubble. Then I double click the same color i just made and keep using that same palette slot, i find it's easier to slide it across the color table that way as opposed to finding where I left off every time. I usually try to work from like mid-high saturation and slowly decrease the saturation level as i get to the darker shades. Usually anyway, not always.

I don't much too much about color theory yet, I just started reading about it so right now I still just mess around with the colors until they please my eyes, I don't know exactly why i do everything i do lol I'm working on understanding colors with the goal of making smaller, like 16 color, palettes.

Again, sorry, I'm horrible with words lol sorry for such sloppy rambling XD


Edited by rhlstudios - 18 July 2014 at 4:45pm
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Quote Ego Replybullet Posted: 18 July 2014 at 4:44pm
Hey, that's a pretty cool system. Nearly all of those spheres have pretty nice-looking ramps on 'em. Even the tropical orb, while indeed a bit curious as Snader pointed out, seems very appropriate to me for the a situation like the water. And hey, if you're just doing it til it looks good to your eyes then you've got a good sense for it, because those are some pretty good ramps.
Maybe it'd be interesting to try and make an interconnected palette map out of them... Hmm, projects.

Sand! Okay, that makes sense now that you say it. I think that sand is a worthwhile idea to explore visually, though if we were being 100% realistic I think it would be unlikely for sand to collect up top like that - however we don't need to care about that!
I think getting it to read more like sand is a two-part job, half-achieved with color and half with form.
For form, I mean how it collects and where the shadows would fall. The way it looks at the moment it makes me think of the rolling ridges of sand collecting in dunes, whereas I think the way you've set it up on the platforms would be more conducive to a MUCH flatter approach. On a scale like this it'll be hard to try and show the ridges without making it really exaggerated. I think it's the difference between the way sand collects in deserts and on beaches. I would pull out a bit and focus on large regions of similar color. I don't think I've explained myself perfectly here, so ask for clarity if necessary.
Color-wise, three moves: Tone it down a bit, dropping saturation pretty much across the board. Drop the contrast too - it'll make the shadow regions seem shallower to prevent that high-ridges look. Both of these will seem like they make the sand less prominent, but it'll be hard to really draw attention away from it thanks to the sand easily being the brightest object type in the piece. Next to the brown of the rocks and the trunk, it'll draw attention on its own.
The third thing I'd recommend doing with the sand color-wise, on top of dropping the saturation and contrast, would be to shift it a bit more towards the yellow side. It's not a precisely true phenomenon, but you usually see that redder tone of sand come out in desert imagery, while beach sand is often a lot whiter/beiger. It's where we get that "white sandy beaches" idea.
Regarding dithering on the sand, that's a mixed bag. I know what you're going for by giving it that grainy texture, but with sand the grains would be so fine that it would almost appear a solid blanket-y sheet at the distance we're seeing it at. I'll admit that I've stepped away from dithering a lot lately personally, so it's possible my personal style is invading on that advice. But I would rely on large clusters to maybe have a few gentle rolls of the sand, but largely keep it flat and just shade the light source into things. Plus you'll get some mileage on casting the shadow of the tree and the rock face onto the sand.
To give you a sense of where I went with a quick modification of the colors, here: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bs3TtZvCEAABHih.png:large
That's just the direction I mean. Mess around a bit more and I'm sure it'll start working in your eyes.

Tree looks cool, and I'm glad the link helped, I love that piece so much.
I'm intrigued and eager to see how you handle the wave.
A good step up, excited for the next one :)
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Quote rhlstudios Replybullet Posted: 18 July 2014 at 6:09pm
 *Deep breath* I've spent way more time wrapping my head around the sand than I should have! Everything you said made a big ol' lightbulb go off, I couldn't put my finger on what was bugging me and you grabbed the hammer from my hand and hit the nail on the head lol. I organized the colors i used minus the sand and then when i went to add the orangy colors realized they didn't fit in anywhere. This new color recommendation of yours, however, fits right in with the rest of the palette :D

It's just getting the actual color placement down now. Is this the right track or is it looking flat? (Don't mind the floating tree LOL like I mentioned I work in XP's MS Paint so i don't have layers, gotta get creative with editing sometimes XD)




Edited by rhlstudios - 18 July 2014 at 6:48pm
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Quote Ego Replybullet Posted: 18 July 2014 at 6:39pm
Sand is hard! But that's definitely feeling right. Forge on ahead!
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Quote boogieman Replybullet Posted: 20 July 2014 at 12:41am
It's looking great! Thanks for posting your color spheres. I really like this idea for palette work.
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Quote rhlstudios Replybullet Posted: 21 July 2014 at 5:31am
Thank you and thank you! n_n not a prob with the spheres, just as a note, I don't always take a sphere and use the whole gradient on the same object, like the gray and brown ones I'll sometimes use the colors as shading on different objects. I shouldn't have been lazy and should have made a color ramp like usual right from the getgo with my island, as we can all tell I would have avoided the biggest part of the sand issues if I had lol

Edited by rhlstudios - 21 July 2014 at 7:55am
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Quote jalonso Replybullet Posted: 21 July 2014 at 7:39am
Added your unconventional and somewhat crazy method to the coloring thread now. Someone is sure to be crazier than you and find it very useful

Edited by jalonso - 21 July 2014 at 7:40am
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