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Nature Landscape

Printed From: Pixel Joint
Category: Pixel Art
Forum Name: WIP (Work In Progress)
Forum Discription: Get crits and comments on your pixel WIPs and other art too!
URL: http://www.pixeljoint.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=9738
Printed Date: 25 June 2019 at 12:37am


Topic: Nature Landscape
Posted By: kenpokis
Subject: Nature Landscape
Date Posted: 22 January 2010 at 7:01pm
Ok guys, i've been working on a landscape portrait. I'm pretty satisfied with the lineart, but if you see something I should change please say so. What i'm having problems with is the shading. Such as the water. I'm not sure how to texture the water or grass, but i'm looking up references right now. I would appreciate the help and C&C. Thanks.






Replies:
Posted By: inphy
Date Posted: 23 January 2010 at 5:05am


That river/stream seems to climb a huge incline in the lower left, I think it would be more natural if you kept the it more level.

If you want to have a visible level difference, then the natural profile would be a descending slope (1). If the stream is visible in a higher place, then it would mean that the source of the stream is there (2). If you block a stream with a rock/high incline/etc (3), it'll carve a new path through whatever gives way (= usually where the terrain descends).

--


Maybe these fine pieces (including but not limited to - just do a search or two in the gallery) will give you some ideas regarding the grass and water:

http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/23709.htm - http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/23709.htm
http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/4855.htm - http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/4855.htm
http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/34610.htm - http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/34610.htm
http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/49116.htm - http://www.pixeljoint.com/pixelart/49116.htm


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 23 January 2010 at 4:16pm
Hey thanks for the help, I appreciate you taking the time. I'm working on the river right now and i'll try to post an update soon. 


Posted By: jalonso
Date Posted: 23 January 2010 at 4:28pm
The clouds are far too big and imposing. Break them up :)
It might be more appealing if the 3 trees are, big, med and small with the background trees less pixelled so you get a better sense of depth.


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Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 23 January 2010 at 5:00pm
Thanks. I'll try that. I'm not sure what you mean about the far tree though. Here is the river update. Thanks for the C&C.




Posted By: jalonso
Date Posted: 23 January 2010 at 6:55pm
Like if the row of trees were BEHIND the hill and all one color (med. green).


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Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 24 January 2010 at 11:30am
ok I gotcha. I just edited the trees a bit. Tell me if you mean something different on the background trees. I'm still a little iffy with the front and mid tree. I don't know if it's the shading or just the general shape. Tell me what ya think.

 
EDIT:I need to work on grammar. I think I understand what you mean about the background trees. I'm going to try and layer them, but i'm not sure how I should approach it. I was thinking maybe make more trees in a darker color to give a sense of depth. Still trying to figure out how to texture and break up the clouds. I've tried several way to texture the grass, and just can't seem to get the look i'm going for. My computer is down right now so I haven't been able to work on it. Hopefully I will edit some more soon. Thanks for all the help.


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 26 January 2010 at 3:13pm
Alright another update, got some mountains now. I'm going to scrap the cloud and start over, but i'm still working on textures. Tell me if you don't like the trees. I'm not so sure about them.
 


Posted By: RollerKingdom
Date Posted: 26 January 2010 at 3:16pm
Trees looking better now and nice adding of the mountains, jst dont keep the black lines on it, the clouds needs some work but as you mentioned you will redo it..
the middle tree is missing shading under it just like the one in the front..
and the piece if lacking a bit of shading on the field to take out the flatness of it, are you keeping the border? If so would be nice some wood texture for it

Keep going!


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 26 January 2010 at 3:37pm
Thanks. I haven't got around to much of the detail yet, but I added some shading to the hill to give it some roundness. Not sure if it looks like it should though. Going to wait to reshadow trees until I have a grass texture. Thanks.
http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s300/kenpokis/pixelart-2.png -


Posted By: dpixel
Date Posted: 26 January 2010 at 5:33pm
The river still looks like a path.  

And to really create a sense of depth:
1. make the closest items a lot bigger
2. make the closer items with more contrast(darker darks and lighter lights)


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hehe (ಠ_ಠ ) o_- :p


Posted By: Manupix
Date Posted: 27 January 2010 at 12:40pm
Rivers flow at valley bottoms, not on hillsides. They actually dig valleys. ;)

Shading: doesn't really look like one, because you probably didn't think (hard enough) of a light source. Decide for a Sun position, then imagine which parts would get more light and which less, also add cast shadows.

I strongly suggest working from reference pictures for this kind of image. Unless you have an actual landscape next to home to look at!

You might remove outlines, too.


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 27 January 2010 at 2:31pm
Yea i'm still in the process of getting all the linework done before I get the detailed shading in. I'm going to try and edit the river though. I'll get it up soon.
 
EDIT: Ok I redid the river and a few other things. Working on making the foreground trees bigger. Not sure if the river should line up like that, but tell me if it looks odd. Thanks


Posted By: Chief
Date Posted: 27 January 2010 at 4:41pm
physics*
yours are wrong. i think.


Posted By: dpixel
Date Posted: 27 January 2010 at 5:21pm
Rivers can't go up hills.  They go down hills or around hills.  I made a quick edit of the river going around the hill.  It still needs a lot of shading to define the hills more, but that's up to you.


Also in landscapes really don't require "line art".  More like basic shapes and colors to get the "feel".   Other may want to chime in on that statement though.


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hehe (ಠ_ಠ ) o_- :p


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 27 January 2010 at 7:15pm
Ok I think this is right. Thank you all for the help on the river. Now it's time to mess with the other trees, add shading and get this thing looking half-way decent. I still may need to mess around with the river.
 
 
http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s300/kenpokis/pixelart-4.png -  


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 28 January 2010 at 10:51pm
I'm really stuck right now. I can't seem to get anything to look right. I put some snow on the mountains and going to add some shading. really having trouble with the frame, water, trees, and grass. Not sure what to do. Anways here's an update.


Posted By: iggybork
Date Posted: 29 January 2010 at 1:32am
So I'm going to say something that might annoy you, because people just keep saying it in this post. Either way, I hope it helps.
 
In Drawing On the Right Side of the Brain, the author devotes an entire chapter to how a person's drawing skill develops over time. Age 10 is usually called as the turning point where children decide to either keep drawing, or get turned off from art (teacher says I can't draw, other kids say I can't draw, I don't think I can draw, etc). But as the book explains, before that point, though, the majority of what we draw is symbolic.
 
"Symbolic drawing" means we draw based on an image we have in our heads, rather than what really exists. When you drew that pine tree, you didn't consciously think it, but something in your brain went, "pine trees are pointy, tall, and green. But they're not as tall as mountains!" So that's what you drew. And when I look at it, I understand what you were trying to show me, because when I think about pine trees, I think pointy, tall, and green. But it doesn't look like a pine tree; it looks like a representation of a pine tree. So, like half the posts in this topic say, let's look as some real pine trees for reference:
 
 
First thing to note, the trees appear taller than the mountain from the perspective we're at, and this is pretty much the same perspective as your piece. So how do you get from where you are right now, which is mostly symbolic representation done from memory, to here?
 
Look at references and try to draw from them. Even if you don't take everything from every picture, every reference image will teach you something. Along with the perspective, this piece tells a lot about color - just look at all those different greens! As this picture was apparently taken after some fires at Yosemite, you can see how some of them are blackened, and some of the leaves are dead. The branches are also separated, not one big arrow like yours. When you look at a reference image, don't think about nouns. When you draw your hand, don't get caught up in calling them fingers, or knuckles, or veins, or you'll try to draw symbols again. Just look - really look - at angles and color changes. Try to draw one of the trees - how tall is the shape? How far out do the branches go? How much space is there between branches? Is one side wider than the other? Are these colors getting reflected on something else? What/where is the light source in this piece? What angle do these branches make with that mountain, and am I replicating them right? And, perhaps most importantly, how do all these factors come together to make me believe that this thing is a tree, and it's in front of that mountain?
 
The point is: draw what you see, not what you remember. Until you learn how to draw certain shapes, your mind will do a very bad job of conjuring up a mental image. And this isn't you - this is everybody. Everybody who really learns how to represent forms - 2d or 3d - has to get the symbolic part of the brain to shut off by really observing everything (angles, colours, light sources, positioning) about what they're looking at.
 
And here are some fantastic colors, partially to point out that not all grass is green, not all mountains are grey. Lighting changes everything! Also note that when we talk about snow-capped mountains, we mean that only the caps are snowy, because of how crazy far up they are - you've got snow all over your mountains, and if that were the case, there would be snow on the ground, too.
 
 
 
Flickr is a great place to go for landscape references. You have to be careful about colors sometimes, because some of these photographers really mess with their hue sliders...
 
[Edit] Probably going to edit this like a bajillion times before I'm done with it


Posted By: Manupix
Date Posted: 29 January 2010 at 2:52am
@ iggybork: this post should be featured, displayed on PJ home page, made compulsory reading upon registering, pasted on city walls and broadcast on tv. Thanks! =)


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 29 January 2010 at 9:57am
Thank you thank you thank you! I finnally understand why I couldn't get my shapes and textures to look right. I think you should be president or something. lol. Going to work on a lot of things, and I hope it will be better. Thanks again for the wonderful post.


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 29 January 2010 at 8:36pm
Re-edited the mountain. These trees are giving me fits. I think it's because I don't have many pixels to work with. Do you guys think I should make the foreground trees a tad bigger? Anyways here basically just a bump.



Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 1:21am
Ok, I think i've made a bit of a breakthrough. Nothing major, but it's better than the other attempts. I'm going for a less solid look with the tree. More of random pixels splashed together to create a more scattered feel. Also messed with the river color. Not sure if i'm heading the right way with the waves though.



Posted By: iggybork
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 1:29am
[Edit] The tree looks much better! But this post still applies. xD As before, I'll probably edit this a bunch.
 
The trees are giving you fits because, while I like that the branches are a little bit more individualized, you still haven't changed the underlying problems of this piece. Everything (everything!) here is symbolic representation, done from a wacky/imaginary perspective. And because the perspective in this is wonky, no matter how hard you try to incorporate a reference image, it will still look weird. My recommendation: just flat out re-draw a photograph. I wanted to try and explain how artistic observation is a completely different process from the way we normally see the world, and so we're off on another long post, my friends.
 
This is an over-simplified explanation, but the process itself is all about simplifying complex information, so I guess it suits the point. Your eyes take in an overwhelming amount of things per second, and your brain only processes a tiny fraction of all that information, because you can only pay attention to so many things. So when you walk down the street, what you see is the crowd around you, because your immediate need is to avoid pushing someone or getting pushed. You look down at the ground in front of you because you want to avoid tripping in a pothole or stepping in gum. You watch for cars when you cross the street because you don't want to die. What you don't see is the way the sidewalk is textured, pocked, and stained by a constant beating of feet, rain and rained-on garbage, or the way the colors of the sunset streak across the street signs and turn everything orange (even when you know they're green), or how that dent in the guardrail is shaped. You tune it out, because you have to - if you paid attention to all these things while you walked, you'd bump into someone, or step in gum, or get hit by a car and die (!).
 
But when you draw, you have to open yourself to all the information you usually don't have the brainspace to think about - and that's why drawing is so hard to learn for some people, because this isn't something we usually teach in school. How am I supposed to open myself up to things that already exist in this new way that nobody talks about? It is both analytical and intuitive, and when you really get to that point where all you see is what's really there, rather than what you think should be there, it's like meditating. Time passes around you, but all of your attention is on this combination of lines, colors, shapes, textures, and angles, and that's all you see. Things will become beautiful to you the more you look at them this way, because this is the only way to really look at anything. (The best way to understand how this feels is to draw from a reference, but to flip the reference upside down, without ever rotating it rightside up, because when something is upside down, your brain isn't able to give names to individual pieces, and the only thing you can focus on is how lines and shapes collide. You don't want to depend on flipping all your reference images, but once you know how artistic observation is supposed to feel, it's easier to turn your brain off in the future.)
 
So I figure the best way to show you how to get the most out of a reference picture is by showing you how I'd use one myself. The one on the right is this:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigi62/1365218963/ - http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigi62/1365218963/
 
The first thing to do when you go to draw a reference image is to pick out key elements. Makes sense, right? Draw these key shapes out as giant blobs, which is really apparent in the first ref. Something a lot of art classes promote is "measuring" angles with a pencil - for example, it would be all too easy (in fact, I did it myself before I fixed the mistake) to mess up the angles of the hills in the second ref. If you hold a pencil up to any of the "lines" the hills form, and then compare it to the lines you drew, you can see how the two are different, and fix yours.
 
 
The red lines denote what I usually look at first. Most of them are self-explanatory, but not all. One of the most annoying feelings in drawing is when you've drawn two perfect objects - a tree and a mountain - but then you realize that you drew them separately and they look terrible next to each other. So I usually find points where different objects meet at the same height or width - for example, the lower right corner of the Yosemite mountain is at about the same height as the tree its closest to. So, once I've drawn both, I know I'm mostly accurate if those two points come to the same height. Same deal with the three trees in the foreground - even thought they're in three very different places, the tops of the trees are on the same horizontal level. On ref two, you can see that on the mountain, I found where the high points and low points were on the peaks, but the vertical line on one of the peaks intersects the hill below it. This is to show that the top of the peak and the top of that hill are not vertically aligned - the peak of the mountain is slightly to the left of the peak of the hill.
 
And here's the initial drawing based on both refs. Note the near-absence of lines - it's almost all color blobs.
 
 
As an addendum, I cannot stress how important it is to take breaks from your work. When you leave for a while and come back, you'll have a slightly more objective perspective on your work, which makes it easier to see problems.


Posted By: Manupix
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 5:22am
Wow, again... 

I'd like to add that drawing from life as practice is necessary, because drawing from a ref is actually skipping half the work. Of course I don't mean you have to go to a wilderness place to draw it - well you do if you live nearby! but practising drawing your everyday landscape or cityscape or actually anything, will help you understand stuff such as perspective, angle of view and composition.

Be aware that the photographs shown by IB are the result of lots of work and experience by skilled photographers, choosing the right point and angle of view, waiting for the right light, and generally composing outstanding images which don't really exist out there as such. Drawing from those pics doesn't make you aware of it unless you draw from life too (or practice photography!).

This said, here's an edit covering a few problems (not all) with your image:



River perspective: your new version still has the river on the hillside at the back; and it doesn't get enough faraway shortening.
General perspective: should be enhanced by a lessening of detail with distance (forest).
Got rid of outlines. Begun shifting colors, still a way to go (far too many greens now). There aren't neutral greys in nature: given the mountains some hue. Snow isn't pure white either. Distance means misty: farthest mountains are lightest.
Just started some light work, decided for a rather backlit scene, with a high sun. Water reflections and distant shine, tree shadows and highlights accordingly (but crudely).

This is just one possible direction this work might take!





Posted By: mambazo
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 6:47am
Loving this thread :)


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 10:17am

Again wonder post iggy, something that I will always think about in future works. 

@manupix I really love that edit, I wouldn't have thought it possible for it to look like that. Now i'm starting to picture the outcome. Hopefully I can make some good trees refrencing your excellent ones. Thanks to all for the help and support from this wonderful community.



Posted By: iggybork
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 10:31am
Thank you Manupix! I was going to mention that, but writing long posts drains me. xD Not only the lighting, but also the shapes - you can't see three dimensions on a two-dimensional photograph. When you draw from life, you can shift to and fro to get a better sense for why this part of something is in shadow (etc), and it really shows in your work.
 
I might get some hate for this, but watching Bob Ross is good for making up landscapes like this. Even though the technique he teaches is simplified, he was a traditional artist at one point, and had a solid understanding of composition and perspective. Here's one of his mountain/forest paintings:
 
http://www.megavideo.com/?v=F6Z25YS6 - http://www.megavideo.com/?v=F6Z25YS6
http://www.megavideo.com/?v=0LRXR5HO - http://www.megavideo.com/?v=0LRXR5HO
http://www.megavideo.com/?v=ES2FNO01 - http://www.megavideo.com/?v=ES2FNO01
 
I wouldn't rely on his method too much, because it's not always realistic, but he says that a lot of his episodes - this is your world, and you can make it however you want, etc. You still can, but what his shows don't explain is how satisfying drawing from observation is, both the process of observing and the end result in the piece.


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 10:39am
Ahaha. No hate here. If i'm thinking of the right person (afro?) I used to sit and watch him paint as a kid. I always loved his style. Going to start working on this, but there's snow and it's calling. See you all in a bit!


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 11:25am
Edited the river, bg trees and front tree a bit. Still in progress. Do you guys think I should texture the grass, or leave it more of a mosaic look? I also morphed the mountains a tad, still working on it. Will update more later.



Posted By: Ninja Crow
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 1:46pm
I can't be totally sure without trying it, but gut instinct makes me think that composition for this piece would be much improved if the tree were moved left a bit to be in between the first and second mountain as far as you can stand to move it (also raise it to keep the trunk out of the shadow)and push the bird V to the right.

Also, excellent patience!  It takes a lot to be able to rework a piece again and again without discouragement - bravo!


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 3:16pm
Which tree are you referring to? The very front tree? Thanks for the compliment, i'm happy that people are helping progress, and i'm learning a lot from this.
EDIT: i'm assuming you meant the front tree, so I moved it. Tell me which way you guys like it.



Posted By: Ninja Crow
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 5:01pm
That's it exactly!

It looks great to me, what do you think?


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 5:20pm
I think it does look good. Creates a sense of depth. I think i'll leave it that way.


Posted By: Ninja Crow
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 5:48pm
Okay, thanks!


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 6:19pm
Alright I think I have the general shape of the front tree down. Correct me if you think otherwise. Also reshaped mountains a tad and changed color.
(Also moved birds over *wink*)



Posted By: Ninja Crow
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 6:48pm
It's good to change the mountain colour according to distance, as objects become bluer the more atmosphere there is between them and the observer.

There are two other lone trees in the scene, but the bases of their 'triangles' are too wide for their height - making them look like nearby miniatures rather than distant adults.

Also, how about trying the birds more to the right - almost but not quite to the peak of the right mountain - as they stand (eh, fly?) it's hard to tell if they've moved or judge if the move was helpful.

I like the mountains.


Posted By: iggybork
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 6:59pm

More things. About half of the piece is blank spacefrom the sky - I'd recommend either trimming the top of the canvas down a bit, or pushing the whole piece up and adding more grassiness at the bottom.

That tree is leagues better than it was before. Those other two solitary trees probably need some similar love, and you might want to think about whether that forest in the background is also on the other side of the river (if not, why?), and perhaps if it extends up the front mountain just a bit.
 
Next is the riverbank - right now it looks like the area had some heavy rain a couple days ago and now the rain is draining downhill. When a river is around for a long time, it eats away at the dirt and grass around and either digs a huge ditch for itself, or turns nearby dirt into sand, or some combination of the two. Some riverbanks:
 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/barneyfinlayson/2056958159/ - http://www.flickr.com/photos/barneyfinlayson/2056958159/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/danaroundtown/3987943853/ - http://www.flickr.com/photos/danaroundtown/3987943853/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/surlygrrrl/62344638/ - http://www.flickr.com/photos/surlygrrrl/62344638/
 
And then you've got banks like this one. The only reason why there's no cliff effect or beachyness here is because tree roots and other vegetation hold dirt in place. But you can see how the river is eating away at the dirt beneath the trees right on the bank, which is why they're oh-so-slowly falling over.
 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/35436622@N06/4056746020/ - http://www.flickr.com/photos/35436622@N06/4056746020/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mark_twells/342661743/ - http://www.flickr.com/photos/mark_twells/342661743/


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 8:04pm
Man you guys are so helpful. Going to work on the things. I haven't edited the other two tree, been kinda avoiding them. Anyways i'll update soon as I get a chance.
EDIT: ok quick update. Edited mountain, tell me if it needs to be even taller. Moved birds over, and now am working on the riverbank. I really liked the idea of a bank, it seems to make the portrait pop. Thank you iggy and your artistic genius. Do you take private lessons? XD I'm a little confused on how to make the river bank fade away. I tried applying the bank to the very back river, but it overpowered it. Maybe get a very green hue of the bank color? That way it blends with the landscape? Anyways.




Posted By: iggybork
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 9:28pm
Oops, guess I wasn't clear. It's not that the mountain needs to be taller - it's that all the extra sky was making the mountain look small. So I made you two edits, both of which show two things. Ready set messy!
 
First is canvas size. In the first image, I cut out a ton of sky, which turns the image into a landscape format instead of a portrait format (hey, isn't that convenient?). But, if you really liked the portrait-style, you could do what I did to the second one, which was to add more grass at the bottom of the image to account for all the pixels I pulled out of the sky. Also, you may want to return the mountain to the way it was before, because now it's looking a little nippleish. (Anyone seen Big Man Japan? *shudder*)
 
 
Second is riverbank type. The first one is beachy, the second is cliffy. I have a feeling you'll need to go with cliffs, because I have never ever seen a pine tree at a beach. If others want to weigh in on this part, that would be awesome.
 
Thank you iggy and your artistic genius. Do you take private lessons? XD
 
Careful now, you're going to make my ego explode.  I'm no artistic genius, I decided I wanted to draw and stuck with it, and it took many different occasions of "augh this looks like crap" and a high school art class or two to get here*. And I teach music, so I'm used to speaking to be understood. Either way, read Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, it's a fantastic teacher no matter how good you are.
 
*Edit: Not that you ever completely escape from "augh this looks like crap" ... xD


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 10:04pm
Ok, yea you're right it looks a bit strange. I kinda found a median between the two wonderful examples you provided me. I'm not sure if it's right, but it looks better.



Posted By: jeremy
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 10:29pm
Your last post does what I was about to suggest; not relying so much on lines.

The back mountains should be bluer, in fact all of the mountains and the rearward scenery could. Check out iggy's second picture posted, aside from showing that vegetation doesn't need to be boring greens; the changes in saturation and hue the further back the scene goes are really great.

Your colours are all really similar; not in hue but value and saturation. The contrast between, say, the tree trunk and foliage is too big, same as the river & bank and grass & bank. The top of that closer tree on the other hand blends into the mountain.

Your composition is pretty, I don't think that the bird silhouettes are adding anything.

What direction are you trying to take the piece in? An ultra-realistic photograph? An animesque, cel-shaded style? Really saturated cartoon landscape? It's important to decide at some point, or you can get confused and have a hodgepodge ;P


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 30 January 2010 at 10:35pm
Hey thanks for the post. I'm not that good with colors at the moment (as you can tell) but how would I go about creating the depth. Just select certain areas and mess with hue and saturation, or is there a specific method? Thanks for all the help you guys have provided me. I couldn't have got this far without you.

P.S. I think i'm wanting to go for a realistic but simplistic style. Shading and textures, but not to the point of every pixel is a different color.


Posted By: jeremy
Date Posted: 31 January 2010 at 12:15am
Colours are one of the most difficult parts of any type of art, unfortunately ;)

One problem I can see that I briefly mentioned was the similarity in saturation of all of the colours.

All of the colours are nicely compartmentalised, something that just doesn't happen irl. Water is really reflective, same with the snow on the mountains. The lighting you have going on is pretty ordinary; there doesn't always need to be something special but it can help a piece that might otherwise be a little generic.

Here's a really scribbly edit, might give you some ideas. Contrast (Light and shadow in this case) are really important, part of why I asked what sort of style you were going for. I've reduced some of the tones' values and saturation, my palette is generally cool with that splash of orange to represent sunset/rise. Nature is actually rather tasteless, you'll find ridiculous colours in the sky ;P


EDIT: I managed to avoid answering your question :D
I personally just mess round with colours 'til they look nice, they can act a little different on a screen to pigments. You certainly don't need to meticulously render every little leaf, use pixel clusters to imply texture (like my rather haphazard grass )


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 31 January 2010 at 10:29am
Thanks for the help. I like the idea of a sunset scene. I really like what you did with the mountains, they look very nice. I was trying to do something like that but it was coming out flat. Maybe I just wasn't using enough colors.


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 31 January 2010 at 11:12am
Ok, i've been trying to texture the mountains, and I don't know what i'm doing. I need more shading I know but I mean the general lines don't look like they should. Any help is appreciated.



Posted By: RollerKingdom
Date Posted: 31 January 2010 at 11:19am
Its coming out nice :D the snow texture on the mountain is very good but idk about the texture no the mountain,

maybe try to follows jeremy example and give a darker side on the right side


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 31 January 2010 at 11:58am
I think i'm updating too much. Tell me if I am, I have a bad habit of doing that. Here I messed with the colors a bit. I like the shading on the mountain now. Still needs work though.



Posted By: RollerKingdom
Date Posted: 31 January 2010 at 12:08pm
oo thats looks better.. i like the mountain shading now :)
and theres is nothing bad with updating
thats i kept doing with mine..


Posted By: Ninja Crow
Date Posted: 31 January 2010 at 3:52pm
Jeremy's textures are wonderful, as always  O.O  but I've been seeing it flat shaded for so long that I really like it this way (not sure if your intent is to eventually try to make it more photorealistic, though).
Originally posted by kenpokis


Your latest is very strong, just don't let your forward tree get lost against the darker mountain colour.


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 31 January 2010 at 3:57pm
Alright I lightened up the tree a tad. Still need to work on the inner texture and other textures. I think i'm going to leave it with a mosaic feel. 

EDIT: Might help if I include the picture.



Posted By: iggybork
Date Posted: 31 January 2010 at 5:11pm
The forward tree issue will be solved once you shade the tree. Also, you may want to lighten the snow a tad - it's starting to blend with the sky.
 
I like the latest color edit, especially on the left-hand grass. You're getting there!


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 31 January 2010 at 5:35pm
Working on the shading of the tree. How is the shadow coming? I'm not sure how it should look, but I gave it a shot anyways.



Posted By: CDpixel
Date Posted: 31 January 2010 at 5:37pm

So I read through this whole thread, and you've improved a tremendous amount.

Unfortunately, I haven't pixeled anything in a while, so I can't give much critique. Kepp working on it.


Posted By: iggybork
Date Posted: 01 February 2010 at 12:13am
Good start! But remember that pine trees are made up of branches, some of which face forward and slightly to the left, which will catch the sun. Also note the reflected light on the edge of the shadow side of the tree.
 
http://craighanna.com/blog/pinetree.jpg - http://craighanna.com/blog/pinetree.jpg
 
You should realize by this point that every time you have a question about shading, all I'm doing is flickr searching or google image-hunting for something relevant. xD


Posted By: jeremy
Date Posted: 01 February 2010 at 12:34am
Looks good. Like iggy said stock photography (Or a plain GIS) is a great place for reference. Your darker green on the yellow side is a bit too dark, and I'd recommend increasing the contrast and saturation in places.


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 01 February 2010 at 11:30am
lol Yea you would think after the 5th flickr picture I would realize just to go there, but you know you have to be smart to figure that one out. lol

@Jeremy Which dark green are you talking about? The back of the hill closest to us? In what places do you think I should saturate?


Posted By: jeremy
Date Posted: 01 February 2010 at 1:38pm
Yeah that green. Doesn't look like there's too much of a dip there.

The mountains should probably be bluer and desaturated, and foreground elements have more saturation :)


Posted By: Manupix
Date Posted: 01 February 2010 at 4:05pm
Radical improves!

3 things:

Sharp cast shadow = clear sky = strong sunlight = dark shadow. (usually)
Not so dark shadow = something to diffuse sunlight = (usually) blurry shadow.
So you've got 2 options!

Colors: much better, but I have a feeling all are mid-saturated (except mountains). Nothing keeps you from saturated foreground colors, as long as it's not all-100% sat, nor those greens-out-of-your-brain.

(speaking of colors: Jeremy, that edit! <3)

And it's time someone asked: what about that frame? :S


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 01 February 2010 at 4:33pm
Haha I think I understand what you're saying. I'll will update here in a minute. Aaah the frame. Well i've been putting that off, as I have no clue how to approach it. It's inevitable though, but I figured I would get the picture down, before I worked on it.

Edit: messed with the colors a little bit, not sure if it's even that noticeable. Guess i'm going to start shading next, if nothing further needs to be changed.



Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 02 February 2010 at 11:59am
Ok, update. I attempted to texture the river. Key word "Attempted". Anyways, going to work on the picture frame some if I can. Also need to add the tree shadows. I can't believe I have accomplished what I have. Thanks to all that have helped me.
Edit: what is with me and forgetting the picture?!?!



Posted By: Ninja Crow
Date Posted: 03 February 2010 at 1:40pm
Great great work here, kenpokis - more than I'm brave enough yet to attempt.  Though now I'm rather inspired now to try a landscape of my own.


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 03 February 2010 at 1:44pm
Haha, thank you. I never would have imagined I could accomplish this. Luckily I have great peers pushing me to my full potential. Thanks to all that are helping me. A little update. I scrapped the water, and am doing it over. I also saturated some of the foreground a tad. Gotta get the shadows down, and I think i'll be close to finished. You know actually think i'm going to play around with the colors a bit more before I update. Gimme a few.
Edit: I tried to give the colors more of a sunset feel. Slightly adjusted the hue to a reddish color. Anyways here it is.



Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 04 February 2010 at 1:32am
Alright guys, I know I haven't really been updating much, but I need some help. I really just can't get this river to look right. I've been using a reference picture, but idk what it is. I'm also working on the shading of the trees. What should I do for the mid tree since it is shadowed by the hill.



Posted By: iggybork
Date Posted: 04 February 2010 at 7:55am
Link your reference?
 
The mid tree needs to be a little bigger first, but the shading won't be hard. Your lightsource is above and off to the right - the light will hit the top of the mid tree, and the shadow will run down the hill toward the river.


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 04 February 2010 at 12:56pm
Reference:

I had to download it, so I just uploaded it.
I'm working on the mid tree right now. I think this piece is taking longer than it should, but hopefully I get it done within a couple of days.


Posted By: RollerKingdom
Date Posted: 04 February 2010 at 2:55pm

I think this one looks better than the latest update


Posted By: Manupix
Date Posted: 04 February 2010 at 4:42pm
Let's tweak that ref: resize to about your piece pixel size, and color-reduce 0.0:



Rather noisy, isn't it? Meaning it's not a very good ref. There is however one interesting thing: the water is darker in the fg and gets progressively lighter as it gets further.

The white surf is important too, even if it's not very nice here. I agree with RK in respect to this: the version he prefers had those white horizontal lines which could pass for surf and / or reflections. Check my former edit too, I had them about right  ahem, I had them. ;)

Your latest water colors look good, except a lack of white (or almost white).

The time you spend on this piece is well spent even if you were at it another month. You're learning the basics, you've got to learn them on something. That will still be there by the time you'll have buried the piece under piles of awesome new work.








Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 04 February 2010 at 5:16pm
Alright I recolored the river to the newest edit, but kept the white from the older version. I believe it still needs some more but tell me what you think.
 


Posted By: Manupix
Date Posted: 04 February 2010 at 5:36pm
There is however one interesting thing: the water is darker in the fg and gets progressively lighter as it gets further.


=)


Posted By: RollerKingdom
Date Posted: 04 February 2010 at 5:41pm
>

Improved much huh xD just like when i spent time working on my mock up
Keep going,


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 04 February 2010 at 7:14pm
Haha. Ok I tried to give the fg a darker color. Tell me if it looks any better.



Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 05 February 2010 at 11:33pm
Update:
Added a shadow to the mid tree, and also added grass on the bank. Not sure if they look right or not though. Tried to add a shadow to fg tree, but it looked terrible. Having trouble on it, hope to update again soon. Any tips on the shadow are appreciated.



Posted By: jalonso
Date Posted: 05 February 2010 at 11:41pm
I can't believe how much you have tried, and tried to work on this. Its a rare thing and you are awesome in your efforts...


...will you finally make those three birds not be so perfectly aligned...

...I keep waiting for them to be fixed. Are they even needed?

One thing I would add is that you not fear bringing colors from one area into another. Bg mountain #2's color can be used in the snowcap of BG mountain #1. Dk. grey of mountain #1 can be use on big tree. All grey may be in water, etc.




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Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 06 February 2010 at 12:05am
Thank you jalonso for that kind compliment. I think i'm working on this so hard, is because I never imagined I could accomplish something like this, even if it isn't that great. Ah the birds. I'm not sure what it is, but I have an attachment to them. I think it balances out the fg tree nicely and adds a bit of wildlife. I did make them a bit unaligned now, but tell me if you think even more. I'm not sure what you mean about the mountains. Are you wanting me to take the back color and put it on the front snowcap? I will try this and see. Thanks again to all helping me with this.



Posted By: Manupix
Date Posted: 06 February 2010 at 6:17am
Ok I tried to give the fg a darker color. Tell me if it looks any better.


That's the idea, but you can go much, much wilder. It's barely visible now. Mostly add white specks in the distance. Rivers shine a lot in a landscape.

While you're at it, why not break those linear banks: add rocks, outcrops, shadows, foam, pools, stuff...
Brown means earth: rivers don't flow in freshly dug trenches. Either rock, sand or vegetation.
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_TahXQ2WiF0s/ScemO02i7AI/AAAAAAAAN9k/MamQS95mnlg/s1600-h/Car+Warner++14.jpg - Look at this (by photographer http://www.carlwarner.com/ - Carl Warner . Check this awesome portfolio!).
Yes, that river is made of ham! =<8)
You can't replicate it directly because  your river flows away, into that faraway plain. Still, there should be some inspiration there, as well as about color use!

And I totally agree with jal about color mixing too.


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 06 February 2010 at 10:57am
Ok a little bit of an update. Still working on some of the things manupix pointed out. Edited birds, and worked on river color. Added a little grass on the bank if you can even tell.

Edit: omg jalanso just now saw your post. *runs to read*


Posted By: jalonso
Date Posted: 06 February 2010 at 10:58am
So I downloaded your latest piece to inspect closely and found 56 colors 

General coloring guide; When coloring always try to use colors already being used. If a new color is needed and before you add a new one try to see if adjusting an already used color works. If you can't, only then add a color.



First image is your 56 color original.

Second image is a 19 color version using your own colors. Notice here that there is almost no visual change.

Third image uses a unified and adjusted palette (22 colors).
This I drew quickly and my intention is only to show you how colors can be used anywhere to enhance and develop forms and add depth and detail. I am not saying you need to go ALL detail realism or anything like that. Just showing color interaction. Use this as a learning tool and reference and try not to be influenced by it*

Take note of the birds using 3 colors and variations



*This can be hard and is the downside of editing any piece.

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Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 06 February 2010 at 11:42am
Thank you so much jalonso. I re-edited a lot of my colors to at least be used in 2 spots. I like the river a lot more now, and I believe the birds look better too.



Posted By: Ninja Crow
Date Posted: 06 February 2010 at 12:52pm
@ Jalonso:

@ kenpokis:  I really like this new version.
  • definitely prefer the yellow green shade over the brighter yellow
  • like how the water sparkles aren't just random white dots
  • dig the suggestion of distant peaks
  • like the looser arrangement of birds - tho the Monk in me wants em all with wings up ;)

Mind if I ask about a few points?
  1. can the right bank have a brown strip whose thickness varies (as the strip of the left bank seems to)
  2. can the base of the dark central mountain not be so flat
  3. can the front tree be lit more on the right like earlier versions
Let me know if you don't like any of these three points.


Posted By: RollerKingdom
Date Posted: 06 February 2010 at 1:03pm
Jalonso when you die may i hve some of your organs?
God that edit is so perfect LOL
keep going Kenkopis, i think you could work more on the sky as well


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 06 February 2010 at 2:12pm
Ok a little update. Worked on a few things you guys pointed out. Still going to work on the tree shading and the sky. I'm going to look up some sky references to see what I can do.



Posted By: Ninja Crow
Date Posted: 06 February 2010 at 6:09pm
I actually prefer the edges of the grass to be rounder (like a scallop shape, just not regular or repeating of course!) rather than jagged.  But if you keep the jagged, you need to tilt the 'spikes' of brown on the right bank toward the right - not up or to the left.

I also noticed that the mountain base isn't flat anymore, but the ground appears to dip a bit, which makes it weird that the water right next to it hasn't flowed into the depression.  Want to try making the ground climb up (like foothills) rather than dip down?


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 06 February 2010 at 9:32pm
A little update. Edited the bank a tad, and i'm not sure what you mean exactly ninja.



Posted By: Ninja Crow
Date Posted: 07 February 2010 at 2:52pm
All the grass spikes on the right bank appear to be perfectly vertical, rather than a diagonal on the same 'plane' as the green (which the little tree with the shadow is sitting on).

Eh, assuming that's the part I didn't make clear....


Posted By: Manupix
Date Posted: 08 February 2010 at 6:44am
Please break that linear trench, or else insert the excavator that made it! ;D

On the color side, you're somewhat back to 'grass is green and green is grass'. Ok for skipping the yellow grass, but see jal's edit again: that undefinable yelloreen is so vibrant. Not only by itself, but from interaction with other colors near and far. Also mix, mix, mix and reuse all over!

Birds: I see one flying on his back, one square root and one sensible fella.
Check some refs... Also they're too big I think.


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 08 February 2010 at 3:02pm
New update. Ninja I was going for a overhanging grass apparence with that. I'm not sure if you knew that already, but probably did.
It seems like i'm having trouble with color. Fixed the birds some. Thanks guys.

EDIT: I messed with the grass color a little more. I think it looks better.



Posted By: Ninja Crow
Date Posted: 09 February 2010 at 12:00pm
Overhang perpendicular to the path of the river (as on the left bank).  All the grass tufts on the right bank point directly toward the viewer in an unnatural way.




Posted By: Shrub
Date Posted: 09 February 2010 at 2:26pm
Such a wonderful thread - it's great to see the progression of this piece.
We can all learn something or other from this thread.


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 09 February 2010 at 10:57pm
Tried to edit the bank grass, but can't seem to get it to look decent. I'm trying to give it a curve look with the vertical overhanging, to kinda show that you are looking at the side of the bank somewhat. Tried to add a front tree shadow, and it didn't work out. Need to look at your guys edits. There's not much left to do besides the frame, which is going to be a pain. Anyways, basically just a bump.



Posted By: jeremy
Date Posted: 09 February 2010 at 11:09pm
What you have on the far bank's overhang is banding, where the 2 tones of grass are hugging each other like a staircase. I think now you can start to AA the trees and everything.


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 10 February 2010 at 12:13am
Alright so banding=bad? I'm assuming. Now I need to figure out how to AA, lol. How do you AA?


Posted By: Manupix
Date Posted: 10 February 2010 at 10:07am
http://www.wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?topic=8110.msg92434#msg92434 - Yes, banding = bad .



Sorry, I just had to change that straight river! Introduced rocks, a sandy beach, kept a little brown earth between rock and grass.
Changed shadow directions, they do a lot to convey the angle of the slope.
Broke the borders between different grass colors.
Gave a little detail to that faraway plain, and just began joining it to the mountain.
Distant river: short white dots do better to make it look shiny, than a continuous line. I didn't make a very good job of it though, I probably surrounded it in too light tones.
Shifted mountain hues: > pinks for the lightest, > purple for the medium. You had 3 similar hues, made it look just grey.
Shifted darkest green > blues, added another bluish green. The other greens still have similar hues, difficult to change at this point without affecting the whole color balance.

AA: check the differences between the 2 versions.
Most important: AA (like dithering, and more generally refining) must be checked every few pixels at 100 or 200%. There's no way you can do it quickly and mechanically. One single pixel can very much ruin a whole part of the piece! It's a long and tedious job, but it's so cool to actually watch progress going on.
For this reason, it must also be done last on a piece, when you are firmly sure about your coloring and shading. However, it is also the occasion to refine line details. You might see local defects unseen before, or some line might look wrong when AAed or dithered around: don't hesitate making local changes as necessary.
Also ask yourself before starting a new zone: what do I want to aa this border for? just smoothing a jaggy line, or super-smoothing a transition (forest edge)?
Always try picking existing colors first, create a new one if really necessary. Most important is a good choice of value (light/dark); a dissimilar hue is usually not that bad unless too saturated. Generally greys, browns and the most desat colors can be used almost everywhere.



Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 10 February 2010 at 11:54am
Again I love that edit manupix. Ah, the river, I wish I could do something like that, but i'm afraid that would take me at least a week to look half as good as that. Been working on some texture a bit, and also added a far off set of trees, to break up the ground at the mountain's base. Not sure if it looks right, but ya know progress.



Posted By: wenruto
Date Posted: 10 February 2010 at 2:23pm

Hey that Looks Good..... It Looks Like You Have Improved Alot in Here Congratzz  =) I think if you add some kind of deer herd on that far right side or near the river it would kinda look more environmental kind..... but  that was just my Opinion.... keep up the great work



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Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 11 February 2010 at 12:08pm
Hey, thanks for the compliment. I thought about something like that, but I can't draw deer O__O. I was hoping to achieve the wildlife with the birds. 


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 11 February 2010 at 7:53pm
Ok, new color edit on the frame. I've been trying to give the frame a wood texture and am getting no where. Tried to give it a grainy appearance but just doesn't seem to work. Maybe I just need to work with it some more. Anyways, just a color change. Oh yea removed banding too.




Posted By: RollerKingdom
Date Posted: 11 February 2010 at 7:59pm
The landscape is so gorgeous, It was great watching it.. Good effort buddy! for the frame, if you want a wood texture just search wood on PJ gallery and study some of them and try to make your own or at least a diff palette


Posted By: Ninja Crow
Date Posted: 12 February 2010 at 1:56pm
Looking great (removing the banding really helps).
Can we see a yellow-green highlight on the rightside tree next?


Posted By: kenpokis
Date Posted: 12 February 2010 at 2:11pm
lol it has some but I think it blends in with the grass to much to see. Will try a different hue.
Edit: ok real quick edit, don't know if it even does anything.




Posted By: Ninja Crow
Date Posted: 12 February 2010 at 2:30pm
You don't have to show the highlight on the point of the tree, since it would blend with the grass (this can be a cool effect) just on the lower part - therefore not needing a new shade, and also making the forms fuse together so they look like they belong together.

Also, can you roughen up where the trunk of the big tree on the left enters the ground?

Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that I like the textured shadow edges you have all over the hills!



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