Open Critique Day #16

It's time once again for another Open Critique Day! My in-laws are in town so I might be slower than usual responding today, but hopefully some of our other insightful and frequent commenters can pick up the slack and chime in if I'm absent for a bit.

If you have a HeroMachine illustration or another piece of artwork you've done that you'd like some help with, post a link to it in comments along with your thoughts on it -- what you think is working, what you're struggling with, etc. I will post my critique of the piece, hopefully giving some tips on how to improve it.

Of course everyone is welcome to post their critiques as well, keeping in mind the following rules:

  • Make sure your criticism is constructive. Just saying "This sucks" is both rude and unhelpful without giving specific reasons why you think it sucks and, ideally, some advice on how to make it better.
  • Each person should only post one illustration for critique to make sure everyone who wants feedback has a chance.
  • I will not critique characters entered in any currently running contest, as that doesn't seem fair to the other entrants. You can still post it if you like for the other visitors to critique, but I will not do so.

That's it! Hopefully we can get some good interaction going here and help everyone (me included!) learn a little bit today.

101 Responses to Open Critique Day #16

  1. Avatar Rosco says:

    Seventh in my Croquet Pin-up calendar, Miss July.
    We had fun making that hat! Maybe we should put it in the prototype items tab… Alas, there’re no stripey tights for the ladies, so we had to Photoshop (gasp) the bulgey-muscled male ones.

  2. Avatar Captain Kicktar says:
    The Bloodmaster is an alchemist that uses blood to create blood beings. He’s the villain of the story. My main concern is making him interesting enough that I don’t need to add colors that don’t fit with him.

  3. Avatar Captain Kicktar says:

    Oh, BTW, I used one of Martian Blue’s templates for the head covering.

  4. Avatar Dionne Jinn says:

    Rosco (#2)

    Did you try masking the tights? Might have saved you from the trouble of photoshopping.

  5. Avatar Panner says:

    Happy Easter, Passover or whatever you prefer to all machinists out there!

    Blue Blazer (1): Very solid picture, I like the pose and the facial expression, he looks really smug. I’m not sure about his left arm, though. I’d try flipping the upper arm over, making the biceps point towards the body. It would require constructing a new shoulder, but that’s fairly easy.

    Rosco (2): I like it a lot, but the pointing arm looks a bit unnatural. Drawing the entire arm makes for an easier perspective and a closer resemblance to ‘I want YOU’.

    Captain Kicktar (3): Very nice headgear, that’s mad creative. But as you say, the colors are a problem. My eyes are more drawn to the weapon than the character, since the former has more color variety, and the blood on his hands doesn’t really stand out. Black goes with everything though, try adding black insignias or something all over his upper body. That could give it more focus and also make the blood more distinguishable.

  6. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    Blue Blazer (1): Not bad — I like the swooshing effect of the wind streaks and the general design of the character. The main problem for me is that I think usually when you’re running, if your right leg is extended forward then your right arm is back, and vice versa. Here the matched arms and legs are both going either forward or back at the same time. And I think Panner’s right, that left biceps ought to be facing the other way.

    His facial expression is also a bit off-putting. It’s all calm and smug, even while he’s zooming around. Maybe that’s what you were going for, but his head looks like he’s kicking back watching the latest “Buffy” marathon while his body is putting out tons of effort. Again, that juxtaposition might be what you’re going for, but I though I should point out that it gave me pause.

  7. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    Captain Kicktar (3): I like the hood a lot. The weapon on his back looks great, too, something to really fear. And it’s a little hard to see, but I think there are liquid stains covering the forearms of the sleeves, is that right?

    Overall, for me, it needs a lot more contrast in the reds you’re using. It’s the same two tones throughout and as a result, you get a very flat effect that even the patterning doesn’t really help. Even something as simple as swapping color1 and color2 on the pants would help, so they’re mostly dark with lighter highlights. The fact that his exposed skin (hands and the second set of arms) are also the exact same two colors adds to the visual confusion. Why and how did he get clothing that is a duplicate of his skin?

    I don’t quite get the lightning pattern in the shirt.

    Finally, and this is a very minor thing, but I was a bit put off wondering why he has sleeves on the first set of arms but not the second. Do those arms not get cold?

    Anyway, like I said, nice overall design, that I think is let down a bit by the color selections.

  8. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    Dionne Jinn (5): Love it! The best corpse I’ve seen yet. Wait, that sounds weird …

    Anyway. I’m not as enthusiastic about the face, but everything else is spot-on. I love the way the bottom arm comes up a little with the hand hanging down, how the legs overlap each other, the draped hair, how the outside leg bends down as it comes down from the hip. All of that says this is an actual body lying (laying? I can never remember which it is) on its side, and not someone who is standing straight up only rotated around to be set horizontally. Great job on this one.

  9. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    Rosco (2): Oops, sorry about the oversight!

    This one is a lot of fun! I get a vaguely unsettling “Hot Granny” vibe from it, but there’s no shame in that. Is there? Gulp …

    I like all the patriotic flair, it works really well without being over the top. I’m not super crazy about the hat; somehow it seems a little too small. But, maybe it’s one of those party kinds of mini hats.

    The only other bit I wasn’t totally sold on was the hair. I keep looking at it and trying to figure out what bugs me about it but I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe if it were a bit longer? Or started lower on the forehead? I’m not certain.

    Not a big thing though, it’s a really good addition to the calendar, you did a great job with it. I particularly liked the small touch of the drop shadow on the arm below the hammer. I’m not sure how you did it, but it shows real attention to detail.

  10. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    Oh yeah, what Panner said about masking the tights to the female legs is a good idea, too, Rosco.

  11. Avatar Me, Myself & I says:

    This is a character I made for another player in a game. Hopefully its apparent that he’s a Mage or Wizard of some power. I have him stepping through a magical portal of his making. I was pretty happy with but I think I just realized an issue with his cloak which drives me crazy.

  12. Avatar Me, Myself & I says:

    Blue Blazer (1): Neat image. I think Jeff is right about having the arms and legs alternating. This way it makes his look like his torso is turning a lot so it would he hard to keep running straight.

    Rosco (2): I think a bigger hat would help. The rest is all spot on.

    Captain Kicktar (3): Adding more contrast to the colors would make a really dig difference and be an easy change to make. You can keep it all with a red color scheme, just more light and dark.

    Dionne Jinn (5): Definitely the best prone body I’ve seen on HM3 so far. The face needs some work though; mainly a second eye and eyebrow. Also a visible nose would help.

  13. Avatar Dionne Jinn says:

    Wow, that is really awesome MMI (#13) How many layers you needed to mask all that?

  14. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    MMI (13): Wow! That’s fantastic man, seriously. That might be the best thing I’ve seen you do to date, certainly in terms of the figure itself. I’m not as crazy about the environment he’s stepping in TO — it’s a flat, poster-like, more abstract drawing while the figure and the cell he’s coming from are much more 3D and realistic.

    But screw that, when the figure is as convincing and fully of motion as this one, who cares? He really looks like he’s stepping forward, an effect emphasized by the sway of the clothing, the cant of the hood, the beautiful font embroidery on the robe, the outward bend of his left arm, and the way the staff is outside the portal on one end and inside it on the other. All subtle stuff that totally sells the concept of stepping from one world to another. Really, really outstanding.

    I don’t know what the problem with the cloak is you referenced, it looks fine to me.

    Great job, sir, thanks for putting it together and sharing it. Your player better be happy with it!

  15. Avatar Jadebrain says:

    Here’s a better scan than last time, this time of Ferasek Koorich, who I mentioned during the HM2 to HM3 conversion contest as being the best friend of my entry to that contest, Maduhn.

    He’s obviously a mage, of course, and the reason his right leg looks weird is because he’s crippled. One thing I think I could improve on would be the elemental effects, especially the lightning. It’s kind of hard to make 3-D looking sources of light bright light on a 2-D surface.

    I also did not include nearly as many folds or wrinkles as on the last drawing I uploaded, because the material of his clothing is thicker and heavier, and so I am thinking it wouldn’t wrinkle as much.

  16. Avatar Me, Myself & I says:

    Dionne Jinn (15) This image took 150 layers so far but I just thought of a modification I need to make that will likely add 7 or 8 more.

  17. Avatar Jadebrain says:

    I just had a thought… would it be possible to increase the size limit on files uploaded to the Heromachine Forums? That way, when I scan my pictures, I wouldn’t have to modify it so much, allowing me to post something that looks more like the actual drawing in terms of shading.

  18. Avatar Tuldabar says:

    Okay, I would like some help tweaking a design I’ve been working on since I started using HM. I finally polished my “werewolf ninja,” but the face is still bugging me: Specifically the coloration; this werewolf has black fur but I want his features (especially facial) to be clear. Here’s a ref for the items I have on the face (I really didn’t like the wolf headgear, no offense): Other than that, is there anything else I should be concerned about? This probably won’t be the final version (lol). Thanks.

  19. Avatar Panner says:

    MMI (13): This is probably what you hinted at in your post, but the way the image is layered suggests that he’s keeping the staff between his body and his cloak. It’s entirely possible to do so, but I can’t imagine it being very practical. And there’s also a small bright white spot near the bottom of his robes, shouldn’t be very hard to take care of it. Overall, the image is godlike. Be proud of it.

    Jadebrain (17): The coat looks really good, the shading, linework and highlighting here are very effective. Any chance you could give the same treatment to the hat and shoe? I think that’d help them out a bit. Also, I agree about the file size. This downscaled version of your picture doesn’t do it justice.

  20. Avatar Jadebrain says:

    @ Panner: The hat does have some shading on it, but the scan messed it up. The shoe? I completely forgot to add shading to it. Thanks for reminding me!

  21. Avatar Tuldabar says:

    Something I forgot to mention; this guy isn’t evil or a monster, he’s just serious. I don’t want him to look “beastly.”

  22. Avatar logosgal says:

    I asked my Facebook friends to describe their super-powered or fantasy alter ego, and my friend Alex said, “Some kind of sexy evil sorceress/villain that would enable me to go around in long slinky black dresses made of rubber and leather and velvet.” This is the result:

    For once I’m actually pretty happy with this. I’m especially proud of the magical prison, which I added for the purpose of showing beyond a doubt that this chick is evil.

  23. Avatar Me, Myself & I says:

    OK, here are the changes I was thinking of for the staff. I figured that it was strange that it would be between the cloak and his robes. It think it makes more sense for the staff to be behind his cloak.

    Also I added some extra elements to the background that he is stepping into to try to flesh it out a little. Did this help improve the background?

  24. Avatar SeanDavidRoss says:

    This one is part of a series of posing studies I’ve been doing over at the HM forums:

    Here I’m trying to create a seated figure with the right leg extended towards the viewer, while the left leg is drawn back towards the figure. I’m fairly happy with the left leg, though the “shoe” (constructed from a head image and an insignia) isn’t fantastic; it’s the right leg I’m less satisfied with. That is constructed from 3 head images (thigh, calf, and side of shoe) plus two background shapes overlapped to form the bottom of the shoe (one to give the tread texture and one to give it some shadows). There are no front or bottom of shoe images in HM3, so I had to make them. In this case, I don’t find what I’ve done entirely convincing, but it’s an experiment: perhaps suggestions here can help it to improve….

  25. Avatar Me, Myself & I says:

    Alex (24) your Brute is really great! I especially like what you did with the claw marks where you show one as having torn all the way through his vest and the other two not cutting through all the way.

    Panner (20) you hit the nail right on the head there.

    Dionne Jinn (15) it didn’t take quite as many layers as I thought. It is now 156 layers.

    Jeff here is a thought for an additional feature to HM3. It would be REALLY handy if you could type in what layer you want the current item you are working on to go to. Really, REALLY handy.

  26. Avatar Panner says:

    logosgal (23): Is there any particular reason you didn’t want to use black line color on the dress? Right now, without a strong dress contour, I get the impression that her exposed hips are actually pieces of something skin colored, placed on top of the dress. Another thing is that the gray color on the dress blend in really bad with the cloak. Look around her waist, it’s hard to tell where the cloak ends and the dress begins, especially on the right side. Anyway, love the prison sphere, that’s funny. The gems in the belt are very well done. Any chance you could upload a headshot? I’d love to take a closer look.

    Alex (24): I’m sorry, but your picture makes no sense. There’s no way that he’d be able to button his vest with those hands.

  27. Avatar McKnight57 says:

    This is the speedster of my group, Crimson Lightning, son of Mercury. Unlike the Flash family he can only run at Mach 10 unassisted by energy drinks. It’s my own little answer to “what would happen if you gave the Flash a Red Bull?” Anyway, here he is. Crimson Lightning:

  28. Avatar Me, Myself & I says:

    Panner (28) & Alex (24) its OK, his mother dresses him funny is all.

    Actually Panner you make a point but I still think its a great image visually.

  29. Avatar Dionne Jinn says:

    Tuldabar (#22) what are you talking about? Or am I just not seeing the stuff you refer to?

  30. Avatar Panner says:

    MMI (25): Yeah, that looks great, but you’ll want to change the layers around a bit. There’s pattern spillover on the bottom of his cloak and on his shoe.

    SDR (26): The leg itself looks very convincing, but the shoes – both of them – really need work. I’ve found that certain ears can make decent foot shapes, but I’ve only used them for footprints so far.

    McKnight (31): The basics are solid, but what jumped out at me is that piece of canvas that flies out to the right, when everything else suggests it should be moving left. Also, I love the super power concept, that’d make a good advertisement comic. If there was such a thing.

  31. Avatar Panner says:

    So I was playing this MMO, right, and I noticed that a berserker in my party had a heart-shaped boob window. I thought it looked kind of funny, so I wanted to recreate it in Heromachine. This is the result:

    I opted to go with a fairly flat chest to avoid having to translate curvature to the hole edges, since I wouldn’t even know how to begin with that. I didn’t know what to do with her hands, so I gave her a rainbow. Then I made her hair violet and clothes red to match the inner and outer colors of that rainbow, I was thinking it should frame the face in some way. It works OK I guess. The background is just some random pattern I threw together.

  32. Avatar McKnight57 says:

    Panner (33): I thought of that last night, but got wrapped up in another character concept. I’ll fix it shortly and repost it though. Thanks, I was already considering using this image as an ad or even a possible alternate cover at some point.

  33. Avatar Trekkie says:

    Okay, here’s scuba diver (I can’t think of a decent name). This was the first image I posted on the forums.

    If there are any suggestions for improvements, I probably won’t be able to do them, since the computer it’s saved on has a knackered mouse (which I didn’t spill milk on. Honest). Unless there’s a way for getting a character from HeroMachine on one computer to another.

  34. Avatar Kytana says:

    I have not posted for the last critique day so i catch up and posted two picture.
    First one i have a important question. I have problem with
    the light in the background. So i see a many good works and i wonder how are you doing that look so great.
    So here one exemplar:
    Is from that contest who win the bad/vicious clown( oh look of this nice woolf, is she not cute? How can you ignore that πŸ™‚ ).
    The second is a pic from a project. I hope its all right that i can use them.
    @MMI: Very good pic, as always.
    Sorry i can not so good explain so please dont angry when i do not post for another entries.

  35. Avatar Kytana says:

    Oh the smilie are so ugly…i used it any more…brrr

  36. Avatar Dionne Jinn says:

    Here is a new close-up picture from my previous post with improved face. How do you like it now? I think it’s better.!/photo.php?fbid=222804577736979&set=a.201686679848769.61050.100000223159388&type=1&theater

  37. Avatar Me, Myself & I says:

    Good eye Panner (33) where I am working from right now I have a lot of glare from the sun so I couldn’t see it. I would have been annoyed when I looked at it later. All fixed now.

    Your heart shaped cutout worked rather well. That breast plate also works surprisingly well with the skirt.

  38. Avatar Myro says:

    This was a redesign of logosgal’s fire woman character I redid for the HM2->HM3 contest. Wondering on what else I could have tried.

  39. Avatar BloodlessRose says:

    i have a couple of pics i’d like to submit:

    The first is a blacksmith scene i created after my partner tried and got stuck. Any helpful suggestions on improving it would be great because i’d love to be able to make a table lol.

    The second is a martial artist character that i submitted for a competition ages ago and of course i didn’t win, not really bothered about that, but any comments good or bad would be very welcome.

  40. Avatar Dionne Jinn says:

    Myro (#42) take a look at MMI’s fire tutorial here:

  41. Avatar Myro says:

    Dionne Jinn: I know, but I also didn’t want to totally consume her in flames. It is kind of…I don’t know…

    Also, I can’t help but look at my picture and think, “Hey look! Starfire from the Titans.”

  42. Avatar Dionne Jinn says:

    Myro #44. I didn’t mean you to totally engulf her. But the flame aura is a bit flat. You could add some D3 effect with several more layers, I think.

  43. Avatar Myro says:

    Dionne Jinn (45): I think you have a point. I should have worked that a bit more.

  44. Avatar Dionne Jinn says:

    Myro: And I think I could have been a bit clearer on what I was thinking when I brought that tutorial up. There is another thing that started to bug me: the black outlines of her shirt and jeans stand out a bit.

  45. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    Jadebrain (17): Nice! Cool costume design with the super high collar and nifty hat.

    I think the anatomy is a bit off, particularly where the shoulders join the torso. They seem awfully high and a bit too far out. The arms also seem too long and the legs too short — in general the limb proportions seem a little off.

    I’ve uploaded a quick oversketch here to try and show what I am talking about. I also did a bit of rejiggering of the cape/coat as I wasn’t quite sure what was going on there, if the two halves were joined and part of the collar or if all three pieces were separate or what. I’m not saying it has to be engineered this way, but the relationship of exactly what’s going on there needs to be clarified a bit.

    I get that his leg is crippled, but it looks like “foot in a baggie”, and I can’t tell if it’s been amputated or if it’s just withered or what all is happening there. Some kind of definition in the baggie area would help clarify that.

    I think the flame is nice, and the lightning gets the idea across. Could it all be more elaborate? I suppose, but then you run the risk of it overwhelming the figure itself, which is the most important thing to my way of thinking.

    Anyway, another good drawing, I like when you post these, thank you!

  46. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    Holy crap, am I behind :-/

  47. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    Jadebrain (19): I’m sorry, but the upload size to the UGO forums has to stay the same.

  48. Avatar Panner says:

    Tuldabar (20): That’s dark. Like, really dark. I have a really hard time making out facial features on my semi-dark monitor.

    McKnight (37): I like it better! If you want to give him longer hair, for whatever reason, make sure to do the same thing there, to get some speed going on the upper body as well.

    Trekkie (38): Text save is a very convenient way of transferring saves to a different computer. Copying the save file directly is a little more work. Anyway, I think you have a really good picture here, with one exception. It looks like her torso is turned a lot to the viewer’s right, and that the center knob on the harness is on top of her right breast.

    Kytana (40): I have nothing to say about your pictures, they left me completely speechless. As for your question about light in the background, can you show an example picture?

    MMI (43): Stupid sun, ruining good projects.

    Myro (44): You could try skipping the fire aura, and instead make it look like the flames are ‘leaking’ out of all the openings in her clothes. I’m not sure how much work that would be, or even if it would look good, it was just a thought I had. Also I agree with Dionne Jinn that the contours on the shirt and pants are a bit too distinct.

  49. Avatar McKnight57 says:

    Here you go, hopefully, this is the right one this time. This is really as long as I feel comfortable making the hair while still showing a bit of movement. It’s worth noting that he’s not that old, but being transported to Olympus and meeting the Greek gods gave him the white hair. For reference he’s actually 28.

  50. Avatar Panner says:

    McKnight (55): That hair definitely shows more motion, but it also looks a lot more unkempt than the old one. They both look good. And for the record, I started pulling grey hairs when I was 23. DEAL WITH IT.

  51. Avatar McKnight57 says:

    Myro (44): Just to piggyback off of Panner (54) I’d suggest layering the aura over her and adjusting the opacity so that you can still see her, looking as if the flames are completely surrounding her and not just sitting behind her.

  52. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    Tuldabar (20): You’re going to have to with a variety of blacks and dark grays. You’ve got it almost all black right now, but you can’t see what all is going on. One technique is to use a dark gray for the line color if you’re going to have black as the interior color.

    I know you’re not going for bestial, but this is the happiest ninja I ever saw. I took a crack at making a werewolf head using various bits here. If you don’t care for the design of it, at least it shows what I mean by using the various shades of gray and black to preserve the art, so you can tell what is going on in the area.

    You can get the save text here.

  53. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    logosgal (24): Beautiful! You’re right to be happy with it, nice job!

  54. Avatar McKnight57 says:

    Panner (56): Dude, I AM 23 and mine started coming in when I was 19. Little late to the party there, dude. Thankfully my hair’s still pretty thick and covers up most of it. Anyway, yeah, I do kinda like this one a little better. I kinda want to get away from the dapper hair-dos that speedsters generally have (with the notable exception of the early days of Impulse.) A little more practicality is what I’m going for in most of my designs. Just not a huge fan of the spandex look.

  55. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    Alex (25): Nice, I like it! Cool use of gorilla bits, colors, and overall design. I might shrink the forearms and lower legs a little bit but that might just be me.

    I wouldn’t worry about how he buttons his vest. He probably has Grodd-like mind control and manipulates weak-willed humans into doing it for him.

  56. Avatar McKnight57 says:

    Jeff (58): I gotta say, that werewolf head looks pretty good, especially if you’re going for the bloodlust look. At least I can maintain my respect for you seeing as how you’re obviously not a Twilight fan.

  57. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    To all you people arguing about gray hair:

    Screw you!

    I started LOSING my hair completely at 19 and it was mostly gone by 24. I’d have taken thick but gray in a HEARTBEAT!

  58. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    SeanDavidRoss (27): This is a pretty amazing attempt, my hat’s off to you.

    My major problem with it is definitely the shoes, particularly the figure’s left shoe. Shoes aren’t ovals; there should be a more elongated upper section with an inside curve, and a stumpier lower section shaped like a filled-in, flat-topped U. Here’s a good reference.

    It’s hard for me to get past the current shoe bottom, it’s just so not in keeping with the rest of the art that I can’t not look obsessively at it.

  59. Avatar McKnight57 says:

    Sorry to get you worked up Jeff.

  60. Avatar Jake says:

    Here’s is something I made in photo shop. It combines Hero Machine with this cool graffiti sight I saw. I’d love to hear what you think.

  61. Avatar Jadebrain says:

    @ Jeff (51)
    I think the reason I made the arms, especially the shoulders, that way, is because I wanted to show a little elevation of the shoulders in the clothing. Though I do admit, I could have done a better job with showing that, perhaps with a little more pointyness in the shoulders and elongation in the shoulder wrinkles.
    As for your redoing of the long coat, it’s actually separate from the shirt, and the shirt is attached to the high collar. The collar itself uses a zipper, which is why I didn’t do the indentation thing at the top that you did. I can understand why you mistook the string for a part of the shirt below the collar, but that thing below the collar is just that – a string meant to keep the long coat on easier.
    I would have explained his condition a little more, and in fact I did, but I accidentally closed out of my browser before posting, and didn’t at first care to re-type it. His crippled condition causes his lower leg to be very thin (which is one reason he wears a big bracer on his leg), but his foot to be a huge lump, thus filling the bag almost completely. This is because there are arteries carrying blood down into the foot, but no veins bringing any blood back up (which is the other reason for the bracer: to keep too much blood from flowing into the foot), so the foot just sort of collects the blood, causing it to swell (he drains his foot from time to time using a knife).
    Another thing about him: his torso is thinner than that of most people due to a less rare condition in that he’s a daemon. You don’t really have to read any further if you’re not interested; this is just backstory from this point onward. Daemons, in this setting, are basically just a certain kind of mutant. The mutation causes them, cosmetically, to have a more bony look to them as their flesh is thinner. Practically, however, it has a much different effect: Daemons’ bodies have a large amplifying effect on magical energy, causing them to not only have more magical energy than non-daemons, and especially seraphs (the opposite of daemons), but also to be effected much more by things of magical origin. A long time before the present in the setting, there was an interplanar incursion from another universe, which unleashed a wave of energy that caused those it effected to become horribly disfigured, evil versions of themselves. Since Daemons are more easily effected by magic, they were more likely to be transformed. While not all daemons were transformed, most were.
    Ferasek is no ordinary daemon. In fact, his origin isn’t even natural. He was formed from a fragment of a dead god which was stolen by devils (those who were transformed by the extraplanar energy) in an attempt to create an evil version of that fallen god. Of course, the divine energies resisted the ritual that was cast on Ferasek after he was formed, enough even to compensate for his daemonic nature. This resistance caused the ritual to fail, the only effect being that his leg was crippled.

  62. Avatar McKnight57 says:

    Ok, changed the hair and eye color. Now the eyes aren’t the same color as the skin tone. The flowing hair looks better too I think. Give him a more deified appearance, sort of the way I think of Raiden from Mortal Kombat underneath the hat. This more what you had in mind, Panner?

  63. Avatar Panner says:

    McKnight (68): The grey eyebrows definitely makes him look older and more serious. I like the new moustache, the grey is much more apparent. As for the hair, well, I guess it boils down to what you want more, long or short.

    Jake (66): There’s a bit of contrast in styles between the clown and text in your picture. The text uses vivid colors and sharp contours, while the clown uses dull colors without edges. The art is fine, but if I saw it on a wall, I wouldn’t assume the two pieces were related.

  64. Avatar Vampyrist says:

    Here is one of my characters, a tech based patriot who goes by the name of Commander. I like him overall, but I can’t shake something about him other than his unintentional similarities to Cap.

  65. Avatar McKnight57 says:

    Vampyrist (70): I think you may want to make the hands the same, either full white, or red & white gauntlet. The head is kind’ve throwing me off a bit. You might want to put a helmet on him, something to cover up the hair. Aside from those two things, the character looks pretty good.

  66. Avatar Panner says:

    Vampyrist (70): Well, the entire upper body has shading, while the lower body has none, could that be it? You could try adding some shading yourself if you want it, or cover up the upper body with additional pieces. Personally I think you can never go wrong with a pair of huge shoulderpads for a brick character.

  67. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    McKnight57 (32): Pretty good overall. I like the design of his face and the vaguely middle-eastern feel I get from it in general.

    I can’t get away from focusing on the head, though, which seems oversized for the rest of the body, especially the feet. He looks really top-heavy.

    I like the general design of the costume, but I feel like it needs some more pizazz. Make if you were to make the lightning bolt insignia start just above the overcloak thingie, and then masked onto it, so it sort of merges at the top into the trim. Just something to juice it all up a little, especially since you’re using darker tones like the maroon and the gray.

    Hope that helps!

    And I was just kidding about the hair thing πŸ™‚

  68. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    Panner (35): For a random, thrown-together image, this is great! Love the heart-shaped opening. The other clothing and color options are all really good as well. Just that little bit of pure red trim over the darker red main costume colors makes a huge difference. It doesn’t take much, but the right kind of highlighting can add a ton of depth to the whole image.

    The rainbow is cool, but I get a little bothered by where it hits her hands. It seems like something out to be there to soften the transition from rainbow to hand … maybe a pot of gold and a tiny, irate Leprechaun? I jest. But something like a moderate glow, or gradient, or even a small little cloud. The edge is just kind of harsh.

    Otherwise I got nuttin’. I even like the background. Good job!

  69. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    Trekkie (39): Yes, you can now transfer characters using the “Save as Text” option, or you can track down your .sol file and move that over to a new system.

    On to the image, which is really good! I love the environment a lot, you made a multiple layer scene work perfectly. Her outfit is outstanding as well, particularly the see-through fins and the crossed chest straps.

    The two bits I think need work are the way her hand is holding the gun, and the way her right arm overlaps her breast. Moving that right upper arm behind the torso would really help clarify the relationship of what goes where, especially by eliminating that big swatch of gray uniform where you don’t have an arm edge or torso edge and are left with a confused sort of muddle.

    Along those same lines, the butt of the gun should be behind her forearm.

    If you need to break the arm down into two pieces to get all that in line, it would be worth it — those bits all need to be layered correctly to make the image convincing.

    But that aside, it’s a great scene and a very cool character, great job!

  70. Avatar Panner says:

    Thanks Jeff. You make good points about the ends of the rainbow, and I really like the idea of a cloud. I’m thinking a small grey cloud, with decreasing transparency towards the edges. Yeah, that’ll work!

    And I’ve been trying out a lot of simple pattern backgrounds lately, with pleasing results. They are much easier to make than landscapes, and they can provide basically any color balance desirable, which is huge.

  71. Avatar McKnight57 says:

    Thanks, Jeff. I’ll do that with the head. (Ok, that sounded a little wrong.) I think most of it was in the positioning of the hair on that last one. It’s cool, I had a feeling you were kidding.

  72. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    Kytana (40): I’ll just do the first one since I am pressed for time, and it’s still a one-image-for-Jeff-per-week, with no vouchers for missed weeks πŸ™‚

    I like it! Very innovative design and excellent execution. The eclipse in the sky is great, too; I love that you have used lines for the corona instead of a glow. Makes for a neat effect.

    The armor on the animal is great, too.

    The only thing I would suggest is that you make the paw areas bigger. He (or she, I suppose) seems to be balancing on tiny little feet where I’d expect gigantic wolf-like paws.

    But that aside, great job!

  73. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    Dionne Jinn (42): I like that better, though I’d personally go with just a regular open mouth without the tongue hanging out. That might just be me, though — the hanging tongue seems kind of cliched.

    Good improvement, though, this is much better!

  74. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    Myro (44): I think it’s a great update, frankly. You stayed true to the spirit of the character, while updating it quite a bit and making a really nice illustration. I like the change you made from the tie-dye to the rose, and the long pants instead of the shorts.

    For me the trouble areas are with the big aura around her. I agree with the earlier poster that it needs some more oomph to it. I also agree that you don’t want to swamp the character, so I’d definitely put any additions behind her — you don’t want to mess with the nice overlay effect you get with the flames over the hands. But just some more visual interest in the yellow areas, particularly, of that background aura would help it quite a bit. Doesn’t need to be much, just a little something.

    The other two areas that could use very minor tweaking would be line color, first in the shirt and then in the head. I get that the shirt isn’t burning like her skin is, but something not-black would help ease the transition from the line color there to the flesh line color, which is much paler. It’s just that super dark next to the quite light that’s a bit jarring.

    And I’d just make the head line color match the body line color. Oh, and maybe make the hair a very dark red instead of black, though that might not actually work out to be better. Worth a shot though.

    Pretty minor stuff, because it’s a really good update as-is.

  75. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    BloodlessRose (45): I personally only do one image per person, though everyone else is welcome to chime in on your second one. My comments are just for the first, though.

    It’s a good scene overall. I like the concept and the placement of the figure, and most of the item choices you made. The little hearth is a neat idea and done well (though maybe it could be bigger?).

    For me the main work needs to come first in coloring, and second in how the specific hammers and such are placed.

    Taking the second point first, a lot of the tools seem to be kind of hanging out in space. For instance, the pickaxe at the back looks like it might be leaning against that post, but then the post is flush against the back wall. So it creates some visual confusion about how the axe is standing there.

    Maybe using a rack or something might help, or in general making sure that all the tools are placed in the environment in a such a way that they’re clearly interacting with other setting elements.

    For color, the main thing I would want to try would be to make the black line art of the rear wall a dark gray instead. The black just kind of overpowers the rest of the stuff in the scene instead of being safely in the background.

    Nice job though, and you are clearly better and handling the noodly and boring details of the creative process better than your boyfriend, so you win!

  76. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    McKnight57 (55): That’s not bad, but frankly I think I like the short hair better. I kind of dug the fully groomed look. Not that this is bad, it’s just a personal preference thing.

  77. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    Jake (66): That’s pretty neat! I like the concept and the layout. I’d probably not have gone so pixelated on the clown head, it doesn’t quite read as part of the wall so much as a Photoshop overlay. Maybe if you duplicate the wall layer, move it to the top, and reduce the opacity to 30%, or even set it to Multiply maybe.

  78. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    Vampyrist (70): I like the design of the character quite a bit. The head in particular is cool, he looks like a no-nonsense kind of guy.

    For this illustration, I’d remove that background disc completely, I think it gets in the way of the rest of the character, particularly since there’s a fair bit of business going on inside the costume. All those lines and colors clash with the background lines and colors a fair bit.

    The other thing I’d try is to make that chest insignia piece bigger. It’s a bit swallowed up at the moment.

    Those two minor things aside, great job!

  79. Avatar McKnight57 says:

    Jeff, just got your last message, this is the best for a fairly cropped look I could find while still showing lateral motion.

  80. Avatar Myro says:

    Since I was getting a lot of advice from everyone before Jeff even commented, I got to work on revising my picture pretty early, and using everyone’s suggestions, picking out parts that I liked, or trying to incorporate the spirit of what some people were saying with other more solid ideas, I did come up with this (without the side-by-side from the HM2 picture):

    I did soften the line colors from black in her face, shirt and jeans (also a bit with the logo, which probably could have stayed pretty solid). More texturing in the aura, and some of the fire tracing across parts of her skin, without overpowering (I hope) the fireballs coming from her hands.

  81. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    McKnight57 (83): I started out just doing a sample of what I meant about the insignia and ended up with a full-blown figure. Oops. Not saying it should be just like this or anything, but it’s what I was talking about with the insignia masked onto the overcloak.

  82. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    Myro (87): I like that a lot! Very cool. I might tinker with removing the flames from the eyes or else moving the nose down some, as it gets a little muddy in that area, but this looks awesome as-is. Nice job!

  83. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    OK folks, I’m gonna have to bow out early this week, my apologies. Gots the in-laws to cook for!

    For those of you celebrating Easter Weekend, all my best. For those of you not, hit the stores for some cheap candy and have a good one!

  84. Avatar Myro says:

    Thanks Jeff, and also thanks Doonne Jinn, Panner, and McKnight (and anyone else I missed?) for your suggestions. Time to get back to pretending I’m doing work when in fact I’m just watching Brave and the Bold on DVD because there’s nothing to do here. Happy Easter or holiday of your preference.

  85. Avatar SeanDavidRoss says:

    Okay, here’s a revised version of the shoes:

    The shoe on the figure’s right foot is constructed from about 15 background shapes, primarily multiple copies of a wave shape and a surf board, but also a few crescent moons. With more work and detailing and many more tweaks and more shapes added these could be further improved. As a proof of concept, though, I think this shows it’s possible to construct the bottom of a shoe so I’m fine with stopping here and moving onto other things.


  86. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    SDR (92): I think both shoes look tons better. Nice job!

  87. Avatar logosgal says:

    Panner (29): I think didn’t use black for the line color of the dress because I didn’t want the lines to blend in with the black of the rest of it. I was trying to prevent some of the blending you’re talking about with the cloak by making it cool brown rather than gray, but I can see what you mean about the right side. The problem there was that I didn’t want her to have a really colorful outfit, it’s supposed to be all black. Maybe I’ll try making the cloak red like the staff and belt. Or I might try moving the cloak so that it’s not showing on that side. Not sure how to resolve the hips issue, though.

    I’ve got a headshot on Facebook:
    I’d put it on Photobucket like I usually do, but I don’t have my normal computer right now, so sorry to anyone who’s not on Facebook.

    Jeff (59): Thanks!

    Everybody: Happy Easter!

  88. Avatar McKnight57 says:

    Jeff: Way to over do it, but nice job. I like that insignia better too as well as the belt. In my head I kinda see his look evolving over the course of the story. Like he’ll go from sort of care-free to a slightly more rigid demeanor when in combat. I believe your look is fairly far down the line. It’ll be the difference between the early Alan Scott days as GL and the Kingdom Come version. Thanks for the idea, though I might tweak the top part of the hair so it looks a bit more pulled back.

  89. Avatar McKnight57 says:

    This is my final design. Thanks to Panner and Jeff for the help on this one, much appreciated.

  90. Avatar Kytana says:

    @78: Sorry i have forgotten but i want do know if its ok to use Heromachine picture for a project.
    And thanks but i find the glow not so good.
    @54: The first picture is that what i mean. But thanks.
    Happy eastern too!
    Frohe Ostern!

  91. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    I like that a lot, McKnight.

  92. Avatar Jester says:

    I’ll give this a shot, if it’s not too late.

    Here’s Kadabra; a character I’ve been working on for a while and have remade a few times in the HMs. This is her most recent version. She’s a teenage sorceress and reality-bender. Also featured are two of her familiars: Karma – the white wolf, and Winston – the blue beetle.

    Also… Here’s Punk Rocko, a audiokinetic anarchist. Yes, he’s supposed to be surfing on that guitar. This is an old creation, and I might be remaking him soon, so critque is profusely welcomed.

    Neither are fantastic by any stretch of the imagination – at least not judging from some of the other works I’ve seen featured here. You people do some MINDBLOWING stuff with this program. I use HM3 as more of a character showcasing utensil as opposed to a truly artistic medium. My own art skills are less than optimal, and I haven’t the patience to improve them.