Open critique and help day

If you have a question about HeroMachine, or art, or comics, or why we park on a driveway but drive on a parkway (apologies to Steven Wright), feel free to ask in the comments and I won't judge you.

On the other hand, if you have a piece of art, either from the HeroMachine or that you've done by hand, you can request a critique from me and the community at large in the comments, and we will judge that! Just a couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. Please limit critique requests to just one per person.
  2. If you're offering your feedback to someone, please be constructive.
  3. Never get involved in a land war in Asia.

Finally, Hammerknight has managed to shake loose some time and sent in this excellent recipe for how to handle shading with HeroMachine. Many thanks to him!

30 Responses to Open critique and help day

  1. Alex says:

    Hi everyone ,how’s it going!
    I made this acouple days ago and I liked the idea very much but when it was ready I felt like there was somethink missing.Any crutique is welcomed.

  2. Jeff Hebert says:

    Hi Alex, thanks for stopping by!

    I like the Pharaoh a lot, he really pops off the page. Usually when you see mummies they’re all gray and mossy green and depressing, but this guy looks like he’s come back from the dead with a vengeance! The brighter colors work great, setting him apart from the run of the mill monster stereotype. The details were well chosen too, with the scarab choker, the armbands (did you make those yourself with masking or is that a pre-set item I put in?), and the engraved sun and moon on the wrist bands all help support the concept.

    I also like the face, how you’ve made the eyes and the mouth really look like they’re behind wrappings. That’s a very effective approach, well done on that.

    I’m not as sure about the stripes on the kilt. On one hand they are vibrant and strong, but I worry they’re maybe TOO much so. Especially with the loin cloth also having what are basically three stripes (the two yellow ones on the side and the big one in the middle), the two pieces of clothing kind of conflict with each other and muddy the middle part of the image.

    I also don’t think the spirals on the leg bands work as well as the sun and moon on the wrist bands. The shins are pretty tight cylinders, and there’s just not a good way with the limitations of the program to show the warping circles inscribed on them would look.

    But those minor things aside, one of the best mummy type characters I’ve seen, he really stands out. Nice job!

  3. Alex says:

    Thanks for the great comment Jeff.I really appreciate opinion on my mummy.And now that you mention it the lion cloth/kilt/stripes thing ,I really could have done a better job at it ,also about the leg bands i really didn’t like them in the first place but i was looking at some pictures of ancient egyptian clothes and wanted to capture the theme of it.
    Also about the armbands they’re actually headbands from the headgear/standart section.
    Thanks again for the comment.

  4. Alex says:

    Thanks for the great comment Jeff.I really appreciate your opinion on my mummy.And now that you mention it the lion cloth/kilt/stripes thing ,I really could have done a better job at it ,also about the leg bands i really didn’t like them in the first place but i was looking at some pictures of ancient egyptian clothes and wanted to capture the theme of it.
    Also about the armbands they’re actually headbands from the headgear/standart section.
    Thanks again for the comment.

  5. Danny Beaty says:

    Hi Jeff! This is my new Nazi villain.

    Critique away!

  6. Alex says:

    Sorry about the 2posts ,I’m having a little internet trouble.
    Also thanks for puting my Samurai on Featured Character.

  7. Jeff Hebert says:

    Danny (#5): I like the black and gold color scheme, that’s a nice change from the usual black and red. The X of the tunic mixed with the crooked cross of the Nazi symbol also is neat, I like they way they sort of echo each other. And the eyes are great, I dig the goggle look. The flag effect is well done, too, they do look like they’re draped on the other side of a balcony.

    I’m sure it’s due to the dearth of rifles available, but the WW2 era gun is a little incongruous with the rest of the modern look of the guy and so leaves me a bit temporally confused.

    Other than that though, he’s a really solid villain type dude, well done!

  8. MartianBlue says:

    Uncle Sam

    I think there’s something off about the pants, possibly the stripped “pattern”. I think it would look better if I custom made the stripes, with the darker coloring.

    My inspiration

  9. PsyckoSama says:

    This is a priestess for a fantasy race I made up for a prehistoric fantasy game. Think of a humanoid that evolved from a synapsid (mammal-like reptile) rather than an ape.

  10. Jeff Hebert says:

    PsyckoSama (8): First of all, THANK YOU for putting in the proper PhotoBucket link directly to the image. A lot of times people paste in the preview link, which takes you to some weird intermediate page. I hate it. This link was perfect.

    SECOND, awesome character! From a selfish standpoint I love it because it shows off the versatility of the program in a great way. This could not have been done in 2.5, just not possible.

    I like all of your item choices, they fit an aboriginal sort of template super well. The staff, the tattered cloak, the feathered epaulets, they coordinate perfectly. I like her features, too, it’s an interesting face that’s just human enough to be empathetic, but alien enough to be … well, alien.

    The only bit I might suggest is to maybe pick a slightly different body color. That brown-green is a little too muddy to stand out from the great browns on the leather and wood. Maybe something in the same general color family, but with more green in it?

    That’s pretty minor though, I think it’s great overall.

  11. Jeff Hebert says:

    @MartianBlue (8): MB, I think you’ve done a great job on this translation. He looks cool, which is not super easy to pull off with this particular character. I like the face a lot, he definitely looks like a different sort of guy, not your run of the mill chiseled generic super-dude.

    The rolled-up sleeves are perfect, too, I always saw him as a “Get it done” kind of fellow.

    I think you’re right that the pant stripes are off. A slightly larger stripe would be better, I think, those are too close to pinstripes. That may not be possible given the limitations of the program at this time, but I figured I’d throw it out there just in case.

    Also, the stripes going up and down instead of following the contour of the pants adds to the “off”ness. Again, that’s on me, not you. Maybe you can use a striped item like the flag in Backgrounds or Insignia masked to the pants and rotated a bit? I’m not sure that would work, but it might be worth a shot.

    A great translation, though. Did you know there was an Uncle Sam super hero in the comics at one point? I seem to recall he fought alongside the Human Bomb and Doll Man.

  12. PsyckoSama says:

    Thanks, Jeff. I know its technically against the rules but I have a male hunter version of the same species. Would you mind if I posted it up for comparison?

  13. Jeff Hebert says:

    Go for it, PsyckoSama, I’d love to see it.

  14. PsyckoSama says:

    Okay, here you go. It’s not as inspired as the other due to the fact its a hunter/warrior compared to a priestess, and there is a bit of a lack of items that work well for primitives.

    I’d change the color but I’m not very good at working with customs and out of the presets its the best of them.

    The image I’ve included has a comparison to the female above (sans staff) for size comparison. I went for a more significant level of sexual dimorphism to emphasize the fact that they’re not human in another subtle way.

    Note, does showing this stuff to you now mean if you ever make an “invent an alien” contest I can’t use them? 🙁

  15. Oquies says:

    I mainly feel lost on what to do with the background kind of want to make a bone yard or graveyard but, it wasn’t working to well. Any help with the character would be nice too.

  16. Oquies says:

    @PsyckoSama I like your characters you have their alien thingys… I would like a different type of tail but, that is just me.

  17. PsyckoSama says:

    You work with what you’ve got. The snake tale had those integral scales that are hard to work with and the croc tail is simply too bulky

  18. MartianBlue says:

    As a matter of fact I did know about the comic book Uncle Sam.

    Thanks for the kind words Jeff. I think that may have done the trick. He looks 1000 times better in my opinion.

    Updated Version

  19. MartianBlue says:

    I may still rework him a bit, since I’m satisfied with his pants now. His jacket could stand to be a bit shorter. And possibly the shoes could use some work. Maybe add some bows on them, maybe not? Sometimes, I’m a perfectionist when it comes to these characters.My own worst critic. 😀

  20. PsyckoSama says:

    @MartianBlue So am I… that’s actually the 8th or so edition of the priestess and probably the 15th of the core species body.

  21. Jeff Hebert says:

    @Oquies (15): On the plus side, I like the pose a lot. Your positioning of the feet makes for a much more dynamic, “She’s coming into your room” kind of feel than you can get out of the standard ones. I also like the mini skirt, loin cloth, and top combo, those are well matched.

    I’m having a bit of a problem with the skull. I can’t tell if that’s a ring, or some kind of a magical rod, or what exactly is going on with it. Having the glowing energy effect intersect with her elbow also makes for an odd juxtaposition, I’m not sure if that’s a gesture or coincidence or what.

    In terms of color, I’m not a big fan of black and pink. But maybe that’s just me.

    For the background, if you’re going for a graveyard, bone yard kind of effect, you definitely don’t want blue skies and green hills. At least turn the blue skies gray (that should be a song!). I’d probably go for that overgrown jungle path background, or maybe the one with the curvy rocks. You could then hide the bones in various places, poking out from behind stones (use the freestanding ones in Floors, I think it is), strewn about, etc. And go for grays and gloomy colors for the setting.

    Of course that’s going to make it harder for her outfit to stand out, so you might need to rethink the black portions.

    Hope that helps!

  22. Jeff Hebert says:

    @Martian Blue (18): Yeah, I think that looks a lot better, nice job! Maybe try for a lighter shade than black on the stripes, though? That seems a little harsh. Although, it’s going to be hard to get that right since I have the lines so thick. Maybe just a really dark maroon?

    Anyway, much better, he looks great.

  23. PsyckoSama says:


    So what do you think of the male version I put up?

  24. Jeff Hebert says:

    Loved it PsyckoSama!

  25. Oquies says:

    Thanks Jeff. I like the background much better now.

    The skull thing was meant to be a fading effect trying to do movement but, it really didn’t work to well.

    I also made one with a different color scheme. I think I still like the pink one but, the other one looks really nice too.

  26. Jeff Hebert says:

    MUCH better background Oquies, I like it! And the pink is definitely better than the blue. Well done!

  27. Jeff Hebert says:

    Also, the re-placement of the skull hand is a lot better, I can tell what’s going on a lot easier. It also opens up the neat skull chest piece, which I completely missed the first time around. Big improvement there.

  28. PsyckoSama says:


    Thanks Jeff! Any suggestions? Anything that sticks out? It’s the one I’m more doubtful about.

  29. Jeff Hebert says:

    Not really, if anything I think he’s actually much better, particularly with the spots on the shoulders and legs. I like that. Same comment on the skin color, though, as with the female.

  30. PsyckoSama says:


    Ah. I’d have given her the spots too but I simply can’t get the female body parts to line up with that. Once you make a female alternative set I’ll do it until then I just have to make due.

    Though like I said, the skin color is an issue of the pallet more than anything. Manual color entry is somewhat limited and I’m not that good with the hunt and pick color finding option.

    Thank you for the C&C. I really appreciate it.