Category Archives: Cool Characters

Neat characters submitted by HeroMachine fans.

Character Of The Week: Delirious Al- Hummingbird

You know, sometimes my own rules do kinda get in the way in terms of this post. The rule about not including entries for current CDC’s was included because I didn’t want to sway the votes at all, but this week the one image I wanted to feature was an entry for the current contest. But, I don’t want to remove it from the contest (despite the creator giving me their permission to do so) because it will probably win. So instead let’s have a look at another piece which, while I don’t have as much to say about it, is just as good.

Last week, I mentioned about how certain ‘machiners have their own styles that make them stand out. Well this is another case in point. All of Al’s signatures are present and correct, dynamic pose, moody background with gradient effect sky and awesome energy effect. I will say, the bottom of the character is rather hard to make out against the background, but it doesn’t make the pose any less striking.

The colour coordination really works as well and is a good example of defining layers in a picture. You have the dark colours of the character, which comprise the first layer, which merge with the colours of the third layer, being the background. Now if it were just those two layers, the picture would be very dark, dreary and dull, despite the posing prowess. But then you have the vibrant greens and blues of the energy effect, the second layer, that sits in-between these two layers and spaces them out, adding depth to the image and breaking up the dark hues. And then it’s tops off with the back-most layer, the sky, which has a light colour at its lowest point, the point where it meets the layer in front and then becomes darker at its highest point, the point where it diverges from the forward layer. I must also say, I love the neon lines that Al has included in the background layer to break up the black. I love how on the floor they change from purple to green at random points and are then blue for the background . Apart from breaking up the black, they also provide a really interesting eye-catch, and complement the energy effects quite nicely as well.

 

 

Mod Note: Quick question you guys. When it comes to this post, are you actually interested in what I have to say about the art? Because sometimes it’s quite hard to write these posts because I feel like I’m just repeating myself. I always talk about the same things. And the intros are horrible to write. So do you guys want me to keep the text part of the post, or would you mind if I just showcased the pictures instead?

Characters Of The Week: Anarchangel- Various Characters

Well, this week I’m reeeeeeeally gonna stretch my own rules. Whilst, there have been numerous artworks this week that I could have talked about (COTW regular RobM coming closest, go check out the latest work on his thread, it’s pretty damn sweet), one person has been being consistently amazing with practically everything he’s submitted this week that I felt I had to cover him. But when it came down to it, I’m an indecisive bugger, so guess what I’m gonna do.


 

Now, why am I covering multiple characters in a post that usually only covers one picture. Well, I have some very important points to make and Anarchangel is the best ‘machiner to use when demonstrating all of those points at once.

First off we have a definite sense of style. If you look at all of these pictures together, it is immediately recognisable who did them, by certain defining factors. The shading style is very distinctive, very subtle, not overused or overshadowing the design, more of an enhancement of what is already there than a stand-out eye-catch. Which really works for Anarchangels style. He has a definite knowledge of light sources. If you look at his work you can see exactly where the light is coming from, because he’s made it blatantly obvious.

Then we have inventive and well worked costumes. Two words I can use to describe these are cohesive and stylish. They look like they could actually be from comics or cartoons, even from a live-action movie. Anarchangel has a way of coming up with these really cool looking patterns with masking and insignias that other people wouldn’t think of (best example here is Tokyo Rose). And then we have the colour schemes. Simple, clean and effective. You don’t need to use more than 3 colours, maybe a 4th for detailing, but that’s the limit. The only one of the above characters that uses that 4th colour is Aeon, and that is for two small aspects of the costume, and they all look fabulous.

Lastly, we have an attitude to the characters. You don’t have to be the worlds greatest poser or face-maker to get across a character’s personality, you just need to have an idea of it and see where it takes you. All of these characters has a definite character despite being in pretty much the standard face-forward pose and most of their faces covered, just by moving the hands a bit here, changing the position of the leg there and a bit of shading on an eye to finish it off. By just tweaking certain things you can change a characters personality from serious to silly, suspicious to incensed. You can imply action, movement or power through a simple hand gesture. All you need to do is look and think, “how can I say this with what I have”.

Character Of The Week: Linea24- Twilight Sky

COTW is back for the new year and we’re going to kick it off in style with this wonderful piece of landscape work by Linea.

I’m a sucker for a good picture that dispenses with a character and instead just focuses solely on the background, and that is just what this is. Of course, the sunset dominates the picture, the almost golden, orange glow being the central focus here, giving the picture a gorgeous warm feel. This warmth is amplified by the rest of the colours in the far back areas of the image, deep blues, greens, oranges and purples making for a rich and inviting background scenery, without a cold colour in sight.

Then we come to the foreground. With its dull greys and muted browns, it is a perfect contrast to the warm and vibrant background, but even here Linea has managed to add a bit of warmth, with the reflection of the sunset on the rocks and trees. Of course, I’ve mentioned before in COTW’s past how I love Linea’s shading style. In some cases, such as this one, it almost looks like the shadows were done using charcoals (best example would be the two dark branches on the right hand side of the picture). This gives the shading such brilliant depth, and really sets off the rest of the picture.

Character Of The Week: Vampyrist- Effigy

I originally wasn’t planning to do a COTW this week, I figured most people would be too busy with festive pursuits to have time to spare, especially considering its Friday. However, it would seem Vampyrist has other ideas. I nip on to the forums for a quick look, to see if anything has been posted whilst I was having my dinner and this is what I was greeted with.

Vampyrist is one of those classic ‘machiners (not a term I tend to throw around lightly) who have a style that is truly their own, much like AMS or dblade, you can try and copy it as much as you like, but you’ll never get it exactly right, it will never look as good as what he does. And this is as fine an example of the breed as I have ever seen.

If we just set the obvious aside for the moment, we’ll kick off with something that has always impressed me about Vampyrist’s work. He always seems to do very minimal shading at first glance, you notice a few sports of highlighting on the pants, the glow from the flames that is reflected off the leg, and you don’t really think too much more of it. Then you look again and you notice the very subtle shadowing on the left foot, then the chin and the stomach and then the arm and chest. His subtlety with shading on his characters always gets me. It shows you don’t have to use masses upon masses of light and shadow to get the result.

And now that that’s out of the way, we can move on to the obvious. Masking the skeleton onto the flame effect (*wheels out COTW slogan board*)- simple but so effective. Now this is where you use masses and masses of light and shadow to get the result. I’m not even going to bother trying to count the layers of colour here, it would be pointless, but you have to give Vamp massive props for how good this looks. The fire looks so real and alive, you can feel the heat, and the black, almost charcoal look, of the bones in the flames contrasts so wonderfully against the vivid colour engulfing them. Best examples, just look at the right hand. And that right eye looks positively evil (as I’m sure was the intent). If people are still umping and erring over what to nominate for the Hall Of Fame (nominations are still open btw), you could do a lot worse than to nominate this.

Note: Obviously there won’t be a COTW next week, I doubt much will be popping up on the forums next week and anyway, I’ll be too busy to write it. Though you can of course expect a review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special on Thursday.

Character Of The Week: RobM- Sublimation Silver

This weeks COTW was a hard one to decide. There were a few that at different points of the week I was planning to write this post about. In the end I had to go back and go through them all and basically see which one I would have the most to say about. And this wonderful piece of surrealism came out on top.

Now, obviously the most striking thing about this piece, is the fact that his head and shoulders have been reduced to bubbles. If you just look at the lowest bubbles, you can see where Rob has masked the hands and arms to the energy. Plus the fact that some of the bubbles are skin coloured, you really do get the impression that this person is actually dissolving.

And then, once again, Rob is being sneaky and testing me on my skills in try to explain how he does these effects. I am of course talking about the white shine he has created on the chest and legs. And I’m kinda at a loss. I at least figured out that the abs come from the really muscular Male-Alternate body and the glow effect on them is the shading circle set to colour 1 as the skin colour and colour 2 as white, but I actually have no idea how he did the chest. Rob, once again I must ask you to explain your methods.

Now, I have literally now just spotted one thing that needs to be changed on this piece before I could truly say its perfect. The feet. They aren’t the same colour as the rest of the skin. It’s not that noticeable when you first look, what with everything else going on in this picture, but now that I’ve noticed it, it’s really nagging me. But otherwise, I would have to say that this picture is sublime (if you’ll excuse the pun).

Character Of The Week: Candruth- Alien Woman Portrait

It’s funny, I always try to feature different people for CotW, just so I’m not repeating myself. However, I’m spectacularly bad at it, as I’m sure those of you who remember the original run will know. But it seems there is one person who I just can’t stop featuring, as this will be their 3rd or 4th time getting CotW.

Ok, I will say straight off, this isn’t as good as the last of Candruths works we featured on CotW, but that one was a masterpiece. But I have to feature it, simply for the same exact reason I always feature Candruths art, the flipping’ attention to detail on the shading and highlighting. If I could just draw your attention to the wrinkles around the nose and the mouth. Look at that lighting, really properly look. You have the base purple skin colour, then you have a slightly lighter violet colour, then that cream colour for highlights. Add the black shadow shading and then you have another purple to accentuate the contrast in colour (though this could be a mixture of the lighter purple and the black, but it looks to me like another colour). Most people just have base colour, highlight colour, shade colour, done. But obviously not Candruth. And then you have those eyes. Not only are they superbly creepy, but they also seem to have at least 5 different colours in there for shading and highlighting (green, cream, pink, very light purple, white and a darker purple) added onto the base colours. Honestly, Candruth does more shading on her characters eyes than I do on my whole characters. And that’s saying something. And just when I think I can stop going on about the shading, I see the neck. And the shadows on the hood, making it melt seamlessly into the background. God, so good.

Oh, and does anyone else think Star Wars when they see this picture, or is it just me?

Character Of The Week: AMS- The Ankh

Ok, I’ll admit I was a tad mean with this weeks CDC curveball, but it’s not fun to be predictable. But the fact that he couldn’t enter it into the contest didn’t stop AMS from carrying on his redesigns of his character The Ankh, whom he entered into the HM1 contest and then recreated for the HM2.5 Contest.

So, it’s an AMS picture, y’all know what to expect. Fantastically simple costumes that still manage to knock your socks off (see the top, which is a nice combination of two tops and some shoulder items, masked so they all fit together like they were a single item), peerless shading (do I need to give examples here?), posing and expression (look how fierce the expression is) and that finishing touch that just takes his work that extra little way (in this case the background, which appears to be a combination of three different background techniques. The first being the stars, which are masked to a background square. Then you have a gradient circle, which is also masked to a background square, to give the black corners. Then finally, over the top of the previous two elements, there is the gradient square, which is set to Colour 2 as White and Colour 1 is set to 0% alpha, then flipped upside down, so it looks like the background is fading into the white base. Well, that’s how I’d do it anyway). So yeah, your standard AMS work. That is to say, it’s freakin’ sublime.

Character Of The Week: DiCicatriz- Crag

Now there’s a very particular reason I chose this weeks COTW and I want to see if anyone realises before they get to the end of the post. So, everyone, please take a look at this.

Ok, well for a start it’s DiCicatriz, so that means the shading is awesome. You can just feel the cold emanating from him, with those icy blues and the stark white highlights. But that’s not the reason.

Then we have the contrast of the picture. The cold blues and whites of the foreground character stand out brilliantly against the warm reds oranges and browns of the background. Still not the reason though.

Then we have the costume. Admittedly I would have preferred it if the pure black didn’t make up most of the colour for the costume, it does mean much of the detail is lost, but it works against the very light body colours. I do like the fact that DiCi has used some of the lesser seen items, the disk shoulder pads (not sure what they’re called) and the giant clawed gauntlets. It makes the piece stand out more. But again, that’s not the reason.

The reason I chose to feature this picture, is because of his face. He’s Regice ;) . Ok not really, but he looks quite like him. Seems like someone else is as hyped as I am for the new Pokemon games ;)  .

Character Of The Week: Nug- Cyber Mask

Difficult decision this week. There’s been at least 3, maybe 4 pictures that could have been featured this week, but I’m going to go with this one by Nug because it gives me a bit more to talk about.

Lets kick off with the best bit shall we. As I’m sure everyone has noticed, the colour on the visor here is truly stunning. The warmth and the depth is gorgeous, it really adds to the sunrise reflection effect that is being portrayed here. It also doesn’t drown out the rest of the reflection, nor the face beneath the visor, which is good, making the image seem more realistic. I also like the fact that Nug put small highlighting shines in some of the hexagons on the visor. It’s a little detail that just adds that little bit of polish to the image and just takes it that little bit further.

Nug said on his thread that he wasn’t to happy with the hair on this picture. I personally can’t see the problem. The slight glow that he has added makes the hair seem more natural than it would if it were just left unshaded. That combined with the fact that you can actually see the individual hairs for the most part gives a natural looking hair style with an un-natural edge, a very pleasant and eye-pleasing juxtaposition.

However, we now come to something I haven’t done in a while, what’s wrong with the picture. Nug is right, this picture isn’t perfect, it could be improved. And for me, it’s the jaw line. The metal part of the helmet is made from a cyber-torso, which is fine and the item works well for its purpose, but I don’t like how Nug just left the bottom edge as it was. It gives the character an oddly shaped square jaw and it looks odd when you look at the characters chin. If he had masked the torso item to the same female head he had used for the chin, Nug may have been on to a real winner here. But just that one bit makes it fall short of perfection. But only just.

Character Of The Week: RobM- Monument Builders Of Sirius

Ok, I’ve gone and broken my own rules again, because this picture was actually posted last week. But I already had written last weeks COTW post when this was uploaded and when I went back and looked at it again I thought to myself “I should probably feature this one next week”. So I’m going to.

It’s not  often that we get a picture where I actually have to go into Heromachine to try and figure out how it was made and then, an hour later, I come out none the wiser. Rob if you could enlighten us as to how you managed to blend the grey portion of the face so seamlessly with the rock face, as well as how you managed to get the grey sections patterned without the white bits being patterned also, because I couldn’t get it to work when I tried to do the same, I’d be very grateful. It’s such a great effect  and it really annoys me that I can’t explain it….

Hang on. I just zoomed in on Preview and had a look at the face more closely. Are those background-floors? You sneaky bugger. Those are the wood/ stone texture uneven floors turned sideways! *facepalms* How did I miss that? Time to whip out the COTW slogan of “simple but effective” once again.

Anyway, my favourite part of this image  isn’t actually the planetoid face, it’s the character carving it. Rob was the person who, if not created, at least made known the technique of backlighting with his CDC33 winning entry Moonsrise. And he’s used the effect to great… effect (?) again here. The effect is, once again, stupidly simple, you create and pose a character and then make the colour full black, so the character is a silhouette. Then you make duplicates of the items/ body parts that you want to be backlit, and make the copies slightly bigger than the originals, place them behind the original body parts so that they are slightly showing, and change the colour so it is the colour you want (in this case yellow, but white is more striking). The effect can be quite stunning when done well, as Rob shows us here.