I fear I would be neglecting my duty if I didn’t showcase this picture for this weeks COTW, even though it was originally posted last friday, just before the last COTW went up. But, technically, I pre-schedule these posts the day before, so I couldn’t have featured it last week, so I can feature it this week. So for those of you who missed it, here’s Candruth’s latest piece of Art.
Anyone remember that amazing portrait SeanDavidRoss did for the faces contest a couple of years back? It’s in the Hall of Fame, so if you don’t, go find it. This piece reminds me of that, and that is very high praise indeed. There’s not very much to the picture apart from the shading/ lighting, so that’s what draws your eyes. And it just looks gorgeous. Ok there are some messy bits, some of the shading does spill over into the eyes, but the lighting looks so natural and realistic that it doesn’t seem to matter so much. The attention to detail is stunning. It took me a few minutes to realise “hey hang on, there’s something going on with those eyes, I don’t remember seeing eyes with pupils like that in heromachine before”. And I was right. Canruth has actually done minute dots of colour and shade in the pupils, which just adds that much more depth to the look of the piece. Even those little fleshy bits in the corner of the eye that no-one knows what they’re called (in before someone says it in the comments) look like they’ve been shaded. And there’s the extra bottom lashes. And the shading around the cheek bones. I’d hate to think how long this whole thing took, or how many layers the final piece came to. Well done Candruth.
If you really need me to explain why I’ve chosen this weeks featuree (is that a word? It is now) as Character Of The week, I’d suggest you get your eyes checked, and possibly return them to the manufacturer, because they’re obviously faulty.
See what I mean? Linea says it’s all just insignias, but I think it’s more likely witchcraft. If I didn’t know she’d used heromachine I wouldn’t believe it was heromachine. Linea has a talent for making cats and this is a fine example. The pose might look simple, but I can’t even imagine the patience required to get it to work and look so seamless. Of course, there are still some bits that could do with some attention; the paws in this case, they could do with some features, such as definition between the toes so they don’t just look like blobs, but overall it’s incredible. Then we have the background. The glow effect works really well as a contrast against the black, grey and dull browns of the rest of the background. I also like the fact that the glow is reflected, not only off of the rest of the background, but off of the character its self. It shows that the character is actually interacting with the surroundings, which shows real thought on the part of Linea.
I’m kinda bending my own rules here this week, because I said that I wouldn’t be featuring any entries for the Character Design Contests. However, considering that this one was entered for a contest during the Forum down time and Stulte has only just got round to posting it, plus it’s only one of six parts that made up his entry, I think I can get away with it. Anyway.
Ok so, I can’t really talk about much here, because this is so simple, but it looks so good. This is a perfect example of what you can do with just two items and some colour blending, because all it is is some wings and a tail. I love the warm vibrancy that the golds and oranges bring to the piece and the fact that the line colour is lighter than any of the filler colours exaggerates that, making them look deeper and even more inviting. And the fact that the centre is covers by a glow masking where all the items meet adds a sheen to it, makes it look neat and professional, as if all the parts where made to make up the whole rather than the whole made to fit the parts. So yeah, good job on this one dude.
This weeks COTW I had to feature not only because of the fact it’s a great image, but for all of the symbolism included and the thought that went into it.
Ok, we’ll kick off with the usual stuff. The shading is excellent. There is a chance that when you do shading with near full alpha settings, you can end up with shading that looks messy and horrible, which is why I tend to prefer using at most 75% alpha on the shading circle, but Therianthrope has a knack of actually making it work. The shading on the face is a very good example of this, as well as a good example of adding depth without using the standard black. The face looks incredibly realistic and the expression just draws you in. However, while we’re on the shading, I do think he missed a trick by not putting a shadow underfoot of the character and the skull beneath the left foot, it makes the character look slightly divorced from the background at the point they meet.
My favourite part of the image is not the shading though, it’s actually the left hand. It’s so stupidly simple, but I haven’t actually seen those two hands used together in that way before. It’s impossible to mask to the palm up hand that is used as the back part of the hand here, or at least impossible to mask in a way that looks good, so using the grasping fingers makes sense. But I haven’t seen it before. Maybe it’s just no-one has had need to use those items in that way, but I had to make mention of it because it just works so well and I will be borrowing that idea at some point in the future.
Finally we get on to all of the symbolism and for that I’m going to let Therianthrope speak for himself. As he posted on his forum thread:
“The rapier standing for his clans strength – wielded with finesse, the scroll standing for his learned status, the mirror in the back indicating his wealth, the statue of the wolf indicating he is Cainite, and the skull under his left foot is for his clans mastery over death (they’re necromancers).”
I love all of the thought that was put into all of the little details and inclusions in here. Everything has a place and a meaning, nothing is out of place or needlessly included. It just works.
Character of the Week is back weekly again. And what better way to kick it off than with a creation so brilliantly bonkers it makes DeliriousAl’s comments look normal
Where exactly do I start. Well, it’s a sandwich with a cape. What’s not to love. I could try and be all sensible and professional about this, talk about the colour contrast between the character and the background and how it makes the character stand out even more and look more striking, but honestly…. It’s a sandwich with a cape. How exactly am I meant to be sensible about this? Though I must say, those eyes are easily my favourite part about this picture. I would really love to know what Subway you’re getting this sort of food from VM. I need to go there sometime.
Ah, the lesser spotted COTW post, some what of an endangered species, mostly due to the fact I want it to be special when I do post it, so it’s not weekly anymore. But anyway, just because the forums are down doesn’t mean we’re not getting awesome artwork to feature. For example, Anarchangel posted this to his deviantart page earlier.
Ok it hasn’t got as much of a “Wow!” factor as the last few COTW’s but I felt this deserved to be featured because its very inventive. You don’t see many mud/ slime creatures in Heromachine form, mostly because they’re very difficult to do, but AA managed to pull it off in a very impressive way, just by using the elasticated arm as a base and working from that. And I think we can agree that the final product works very well.
One final thing, would you guys like me to make this post weekly again once the forums are back up and running (whenever that may be). I have said why I’d like to keep it a occasional post, but if you guys want it weekly again I will oblige. There’s plenty of great heromachine work out there deserving to be featured for me to make it weekly again.
So, two days ago, this new guy starts a thread on the forums, begins filling it up with work that literally causes peoples minds to be blown. I mean, some of the effects he’s doing with heromachine I’ve only ever seen done in photoshop and the like. Then, today he posts this;
Do I really need to give any further explanation as to why I’m doing a Character Of The Week post for this? Just go and check out the rest of his work here: http://www.heromachine.com/forum/the-heromachine-art-gallery/valyndrils-heroes/#p42381. He hasn’t uploaded much yet, but what he has uploaded is spectacular.
I know I don’t do Character Of The Week as a regular blog post anymore but I thought I might as well bring it back as a one off because I feel that this picture is in need of being singled out for sheer awesomeness.
Now, Cadruth has been doing a lot of truly amazing stuff recently (if you haven’t checked out the forum thread Candruth’s Characters :3 you’ve really been missing out), but I think this one takes the biscuit, if not the entire cookie jar. And if I had to single out one reason and one reason alone (which is quite hard actually), it would be the shading. The use of colour here to accentuate and add depth is truly superb, especially on the wings and on the neck. And whilst we’re on the neck, I have to applaud Candruth’s posing here. It is fairly difficult to do a raised head in Heromachine, mostly because the join between the chin and the neck is quite hard to get right, but it is pulled of brilliantly here and the use of shading just add to this. I also have to make mention of the colour usage here. We’ll start of with the colour usage in the shading, because I haven’t gone on about the shading enough yet, but it’s nice to see shadowing without using black (especially as someone who uses that technique exclusively) it adds much more vibrancy to the picture and allows the highlighting to make the subject shine. Then we have the contrast between foreground and background. Whilst I do think there could have been more done to the background (maybe loosing the outlines around and adding some shading to the clouds, as they look quite flat currently, also maybe a few more stars would make it more visually pleasing) but the overall sunrise/ sunset (I think it’s more likely meant to be sunrise going by the colours) effect is very nice and it contrasts well against the main foreground colours, the light creamy gold of the wings against the slate grey is especially effective. Overall a very impressive composition.
I’ve done a couple of covers for Friend of HeroMachine and author Ian Thomas Healy. The next book up in his “Just Cause” series is a more humorous super-hero story titled “Jackrabbit”. We thought it might be fun to include you all in the cover design process, so over the next couple of weeks I’ll be making posts here about how it’s going.