It's time once again for another Open Critique Day!
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.
2nd of the croquet pin-up calendar
Suit of armor that belonged to a noble warrior, brought back to life by magics.
This is the avatar for the HeroMachine community on Vkontakte (russian social network).
What do you make of this? I have a federal agent type character who has a hobby (a little OCD really) of collecting ties. How would you present these?
I got my computer fixed! So here is my revised Vezare: http://imgur.com/DdQC2.png
I see you got som einspiration from the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, neet idea. I like how you changed it to a more science fiction type of image.
I like the effect of the “E” being on fire and raised. It is a good way to enmphasize a syllable in a word. I’m not entirely sure why you are emphasizing that particular letter alone but the effect is cool anyways. I would suggest making the transparant sections in the center of the body a little more opaque, they almost dissapear as they are and there seems to be little support for the rest of the figure.
MM&I, I like 4th and 6th!! Greeeat!!!
I would suggest adding transparant hands to the image as well. Other than that I like it.
She looks like she could fit right in in Wonderland with Alice (in a good way). I think the lines of her “croquet” mallet shoul be darker so it blends in a little less.
What do guys think of this running pose?
Here is a gnome druid in my DnD campaign. Unlike the common conception of gnomes, the ones in my campaign have a rough, rocky exterior. The green stuff on Ell is moss, which is magically enchanted to always be facing north.
Thanks for the critique.
I had a bit of trouble with the feet and hands because the wrists are too large for the skinny body.
Ahh Good, I was hoping you’d do an Open Critique this week. http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=75509&d=1297818492
This was my first attempt at this pose, and it just looks off to me, especially the arm placment specifically around the shoulder area. Also The Right Leg ( Her Right our left ) is off as well. SO I am basically looking for imput on how to improve this pose.
Rosco (1): Love it! As MMI said, she looks like a real fit for Wonderland. Great choices all the way around, excellent color, and a good decision to not do a background, letting the figure take center stage.
I also agree that maybe the lines on the mallet could be darker, but otherwise spot-on!
Malfar (2): I like the idea and the direction you’re going with it. A suit of armor inhabited by its ghostly knight is pretty nifty.
I like the idea of the spectral blue glow and I think it works well around the body. Around the head/eyes, though, I think it’s a little too overpowering, and the edge of the circle shape is too clear against the dark background at the upper left side of the image.
I agree with MMI that adding hands would help define the ghost more. I also think it would be worth setting color2 on the visible flesh parts to some variant of the transparent blue, while leaving color1 at alpha 0 like you have it now. That would help give the figure some more presence in the scene, whereas currently I feel like it’s getting overwhelmed by everything else going on around it.
Good job though, and a neat idea!
Here’s a member of a race from the game I sometimes mention. The race is called “Grendemoth,” a portmanteau of “Grendel” and “Behemoth.” This individual currently has no name. The average height for a grendemoth is about 9 and a half feet, just to give you an idea of how big they are. I didn’t use the suggested technique for the chainmail, if only because the picture was done before the technique was suggested.
A friend of mine commented about how the legs probably wouldn’t be able to support the weight of the upper body. I’m thinking, then, that I should either make the legs bigger, or make the torso thinner. Which would be a better idea?
Also, I’m wondering a better way of drawing the fur would be, since the way it’s drawn, contrasted with the way the fur decoration on the spear is drawn, doesn’t look right. I mean, it’s like I drew them in two separate art styles.
Also, if the abdominals look slightly “off,” they’re supposed to, due to their anatomy.
Rozenstal (3): Very cool, I love it! The flaming bit on the E is particularly nifty too.
Basically I agree with everything MMI said. Vitruvian Man is a great inspiration, it’s awesome that it’s a hi-tech robot sci-fi kind of guy, and the whole layout is very nice.
And, as he said, I’d probably try making the completely transparent body parts be a little less transparent, as right now they get swallowed up by the background color.
Great job on it though, I’m proud to be associated with it!
MMI (4): First of all, thanks so much for the great commentary you’re giving folks so far, it’s awesome and much appreciated.
Second, I love love love the ties! What a great concept, I never thought of using HM for something like this. And the actual tie designs themselves are totally cool. I’m not sure what you mean by how you’d present them … I think the image as it is works perfectly. If you start getting into something like a rack or whatever, it would detract from the designs of the ties themselves. A plain white background is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Thanks so much for sharing that, it’s a real treat!
Captain Kicktar (5): Welcome back!
Love the changes to Vezare, it’s a much clearer, crisper, and more compelling image than the one I remember. Covering up the neck/lower face thingie with her hair to blend it in more was a great idea. The colors are much tighter and the overall impact much more forceful. Nice job!
In terms of tweaks, I only have a few very minor suggestions. The main one would be to move the scythe over about 5-10 pixels to the right, as the lines of the handle currently run right into the curve of her outer right thigh, and the blade touches the outer line of her left puffy pant leg. Giving a few pixels of space between those would help the visual logjam in those spots.
The only other minor thing might be to try a darker shade of orange for the main boot color. Having it the same as the pants flattens things out and makes it look like both are made of the same material.
But those are pretty minor, you really did a great job on the rework, congratulations!
i tried to do an artistic sunset and when i end it i forgot to do some shadows and as usual i forgot to save it, but anyway here it is.
I really like that pose…I would like to figure out how you did it so I could use it on one of my characters.
ams (10): Awesome! I love the pose, you did a fantastic job on that. Very convincing and (dare I say it) electric. Speaking of which, the coloring and patterning on the costume are great. I like his face a lot, the glasses, the hair, the puff of smoke coming off the shoe, it’s all just a lot of fun.
I think the supporting elements — the speed lines and the background oval — are not as strong as the figure, though. I actually built those lines for this kind of character, but they just don’t seem effective for some reason (my fault not yours, I’m sure). But I think maybe having them multi-colored isn’t helping, particularly the fat light blue ones. It makes the squared-off ends much more prominent than is visually pleasing.
I’d either take the transparency down on them quite a ways, or do away with that aura completely and instead maybe use one of the swooshing wind effects.
For the oval, I’d definitely choose different colors there, the brownish green mix kind of brings mud to mind, which isn’t something we want associated with speed. I think you could probably keep the green, but change the outer color to a darker green instead of the black. I think what you’re using here is the gradient Pattern from the tab, right? Try using the two-color gradient from … I think it’s Background-Shapes, maybe? It’s the one where color1 is one end of the gradient and color2 is the other end of the gradient, so they blend in, versus the Pattern one that’s color1 in the middle fading to black.
Oh, I’d also try making it a true circle instead of an oval. And, I’d also try making the speed lines horizontal instead of slanted. I get the idea that the angle is more dynamic and “speedy” but the end result is he looks almost like he’s getting jammed into the ground instead of zipping along it.
Phew! Don’t let all that verbiage get in the way of the fact that the most important stuff — the figure, pose, and costume — absolutely rock.
I did a revision of one of my older characters: http://i295.photobucket.com/albums/mm156/Tuldabar/Heros/DimensionCrossroads.png. The theme I used for most of my heros is alternate and parallel dimensions coming into contact, and I call this reality Dimension Crossroads. Any thoughts?
Jake (11): How cute! I hope he doesn’t get offended by that — druids can be touchy.
I like the bandana on the head and the big ol’ eyebrows, that helps give him a definite non-human look. Cool wrapped loincloth thingie there too, that’s clever. I like that you have the dog in the picture to give a sense of scale as well.
I think my main critique of this would be that nothing about it particularly says “druid”, particularly given that he’s surrounded by rock. Now, I realize if he’s dungeoneering, that’s where he’d be, but except for the leaves on shoulder and shoe, he mostly comes off as some sort of rock gnome or earth elemental or something. He could really use a staff, or more gear of a druidic nature, if he’s going to stay in that setting.
However, my personal preference would be to see him in a druidic setting, surrounded by natural elements. Unless it’s supposed to be a scene from an actual adventure, I think it’s more important to have a setting that says something about the core of the character.
Hope that helps …
In one of the previous Open Critique Days I submitted a drawing I did based on a character I’m designing. This week I created that same character in HM3…please to critique lol
Here’s the original drawing just for reference not to be critiqued
I finally, finally got my main character’s costume translated from HM2:
And here is what I ended up doing: http://i1204.photobucket.com/albums/bb416/omnomnom20/hm3-beta6.png
As you can see, I melded the bottom of the casual legged body, which is why she couldn’t have a proper background. Cause of all the billion insignias surrounding her in delicate layers. And I had to drop the stockings because they just never looked right. The eyes I finally decided to put over the mask, after fifteen minutes of resizing and moving back and forth.
But, I am very happy with how I was able to capture a more youthful, juvenile hero look with her costume this time around. It looks exactly like what it is: A teenage metahuman’s first personalized ensemble.
Kaldath (12): Nifty! Man, you really think outside the box, pushing this program to its limits.
The pose actually works pretty well, which surprises me, as there’s very little support built-in for it. I actually think her right leg looks pretty darn good, particularly the foot. It should probably move maybe 5-10 pixels to the right, but otherwise I like it.
I think it’s the other leg and foot that are the main problem, actually, particularly the foot. First, it’s backwards — the big toe would be on the bottom, not the top as it is here. Second, it would almost have to be broken to sit at that angle relative to the leg. It seems like it should be rotated to be more under the calf/shin. No heel on that foot also causes some concern.
The other thing I think could help a lot would be to make her butt bigger. Right now they’re much narrower than the shoulders, which would work for a male but not a female so much. That goes along with the very muscular limbs to create a bit of gender confusion — she’s either a guy dressed up in lipstick, or a female body builder on heavy steroids. All the bits are proportioned and drawn for a male figure, but then there’s a female face. A bigger butt would help with that, and I think would also give some cover for what’s going on with the legs.
But dang, that’s a super impressive attempt at a very unusual pose, well done sir!
Jadebrain (15): Thanks so much for sharing your original pencils! I think it’s a great design and a really good illustration. I can see why your friend might comment that the legs seem too small for the upper body, but I think it works fine as it is. Animal legs like that can support a lot more weight than the human design would, although even in primates you’ve got gorillas, with enormous torsos and relatively tiny legs. Maybe these guys drop to use one or two hands when really loping along like a gorilla, but that would actually be kind of cool. So I think you’re fine on that score.
I also think the different rendering techniques on the spear and body are fine. Body fur of that length is a lot different than the longer kinds of stuff they’d use on a spear like that. All fur or hair shouldn’t be drawn the same, because they’re not all the same. Even with people, you don’t draw long blond hair the same way you’d draw shorter, kinky hair. Or the hair on a guy’s arms.
I uploaded some suggestions for areas I think you could improve on — the composite sketch is here, and then this is just the greenline.
The biggest thing is the hands — I think they’re way too small for the rest of the figure. My old art teacher in college used to say “Draw the hands and feet how you think they should be, then add 50%.”
I also think the figure’s right shoulder is too far out from the torso, so I moved that in a bit, and tightened up the anatomy of the arms. It’s hard when drawing someone covered in fur to keep the underlying anatomy straight, but it’s important. For instance, here I think the right arm sort of gets puffed up and balloonish looking rather than the fur being formed by the shape of the bones and muscles.
I did a couple of rendering things on the chest piece (instead of all shaded I made it shinier with highlights), but if you want a dull metal instead of polished, it’s fine the way it is. I also did the chainmail just to show how it might look with the alternate technique, but again, I think the way you did it is just fine.
I added some detailing to the horns more along the lines of a bighorn sheep just to add some visual interest there, but if you want more of a smooth bull-horn look, you could leave it as-is. But maybe in that case you could add something to it, even as simple as a cap at the end or some banding.
I love the lower body and the head in general, though, I think you nailed those.
Great work on this, thanks again for being willing to share it! Keep up the good work, you’ve got talent.
Hey Jeff! Thanks for the suggestions. How’s this?
Still had trouble deciding on the colors for the speed lines.
Asder (19): Gorgeous! Seriously, a beautiful piece. The cloud layering and coloring is just awesome. I can’t think of a single thing I’d do to change it, you made a wonderful piece of art here.
Tuldabar (19): Nicely done! I like the dynamism of the layout and the surrounding environment as well. The figure’s nifty looking and stylish.
My main area of concern is with the forearms and hands, which seem a bit off. His right elbow is interior, which fits with the outward-turned biceps and forearms. But the hand is upside down — there’s no way for the upper arms/elbow to be in that configuration while the hand is palm-down like that. It’d have to be snapped off and sewed back on. Definitely the palm-up hand would work better there. The opposite hand (his left) is a little too big for me, I think that could be scaled down some to make it look more like a part of the figure.
Hope that helps!
MSCat (24): I like it! Orange and blue are great colors to go together and you’ve mixed them together here nicely. The suit design is simple and effective. I love the orange-lensed glasses with the blue rims.
I think you pretty much nailed it, nice job!
Violet (25): I love seeing HM2 characters translated into HM3! I think the new version has a LOT more personality than the old one, definitely. I totally get the juvenile vibe a lot more. I like the lower body better without the stockings, too.
I can’t think of anything to suggest changing, she looks great as-is. Nice job!
ams (28): AWESOME! Those changes are fantastic, the background and special effects now help accentuate the concept of the character rather than battle with it. I love the rectangular city, that was a great idea, and the swoosh looks MUCH more like a speed effect. A much, much stronger and impactful image than before, great job!
Oh, and I think the colors on the swoosh (especially duplicating the electrical arcs) work great, I wouldn’t change a thing.
sombody (36): Awesome! What a cool scene. The water effects in that tank are simply stellar. The whole thing is put together very well, I applaud you.
My only suggestion would be to zoom in and crop it closer to the action. There seems to be too much drapery and stage and wall when what we really want to focus on is the tank and the figures.
That’s really cool though, you did a bang-up job on it.
Thanks Jeff. The background is the one I’ve been using for most all of my characters recently because the party is located in a city and I thought using the same background (with changes to the colors so as to avoid color clashing) would be a good way of unifying all of the very different people.
I think at one point I tried giving him a held item, but it looked weird because it have to be shrunk so much. What would you suggest as far as druidic gear?
Thank you, Jeff!
@somebody: That tank is just phenomenal, dude. I especially like how you added the disturbed water at the top.
I’ve been playing a lot of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood lately, and I had become fascinated with the plague doctors they had included in this and the last game in this series. Weird thing to fixate on, but I did do a little bit of research online to gain some historic perspective of them:
So, finally, I decided to try to recreate one in Hero Machine
Having problems with the lower end of the cloak, and wondering if maybe I should use something other than the lab coat for the upper half, or if this works, or what.
Myro (41): He looks cool! I’m unclear on the coat construction, is it supposed to be all one long coat, or the top lab coat and underneath it a robe?
Looking at the reference photo, it appears that it’s supposed to be one long coat, in which case yeah, the effect isn’t quite coming off like you’re wanting. The main problem is the horizontal bottom hem of the top coat, it makes it definitely look like two separate pieces. I suppose you could make a light gray rectangle, positioned over that hem to hide it. Then you could use a copy of that bottom coat with line color and color1 both set to 0% alpha, so just the gray interior shadows show, layered on top of the top coat and the hiding rectangle. That way the shadows and folds of the bottom item would blend into the top part.
It would take some finicky maneuvering, but is probably worth a shot. Otherwise you’ll have to ditch the lab coat for something longer.
Cool looking dude though.
Yeah, that might work, thanks Jeff. I’ll give it a try later tonight. I just liked the new lab coat and wanted to give it a try, but then when I tried using a second copy of it to mask over the first one in order to extend the coat downwards, no amount of resizing would get it to fit correctly, and I just made a second under-layer using a different item.
alphaalpharomeo (44): Without any kind of back story or explanation to go from, I’ll just talk about the image itself.
I think it’s basically nice, but kind of on the plain side. I have a hard time getting much of a sense of his personality or motives or setting. I think he’s wearing black tights, right? With the gray of the chest armor “teeth”, it’s a little hard to differentiate exactly what’s going on there at the transition — I’m not used to seeing tights with one piece of upper body armor. I tend to wonder why if he’s vulnerable enough there, and in the presence of weaponry often enough to need armor, he just leaves the rest of his body exposed.
Regardless, some kind of belt or something to help demarcate the transition there would help.
I also don’t understand why his throat and upper chest under the armor are red, while his fur and skin are blue. Was that just a coloring error, or is something else happening?
sigh, I thought I posted mine, but dont see it.
I did this for a game we played. The Hoppers are the henchmen of El Sap (the Frog) a hispaic drug lord, the drug has a side effect of building the leg muscles and giving the ability to hop and leap with super human ability. THe Hoppers are also good at kick boxing and savate. I had done this for the Henchman contest and never posted it, I guess I was going through some depression.
Cliff (46): Ha, that’s fun! Neat looking guys and a nice setup. I like the googly frog eyes in particular, those are really well done.
I think the squatting guy works better than the one behind him — the legs on that one don’t quite look right at those angles. I think having the knee hidden by the head and the foot off-panel adds to the visual confusion there, as that leg ends up looking almost like a tube with no joints or folds to “sell” it as a limb.
But like I say, a very neat design and a fun image.
The red on the neck is part of hist sleeveless shirt. As for the whole body armor is kind of just a fashion statement….sort of how 50 cent wore a bullet proof vest to protect himself, but it later became a fashion statement
thanks yall…((and just for info, i might be more…dudette *winks* ))
im new and im also Aarons little brother i put this together a while ago
Aaron (50): I like the main figure, he’s got a nice tight design. I’m not as sold on the setting. Is that a dismembered corpse? Setting aside the whole “gross” question, it’s really hard to tell that’s what’s going on. The head is what, stuck on the end of the lightsaber? Why is he so cheery looking? The legs don’t quite scan as legs, and the torso doesn’t look flat. Maybe it’s still floating.
Billy (51): Welcome, thanks for stopping by!
I like your dude. The colors are good, with just enough red to give him some dimensionality and interest. The red highlights in the hair are a nice touch too.
My suggestion would be to choose the finger-out Hand, and then mask the gun onto it so it looks more like he’s holding it. To do that, you:
1. Place the hand and the gun on the canvas.
2. Click on the gun so it’s your current item.
3. Click the “Mask” tool.
4. The cursor should look like the Mask icon. Click on the hand and presto, the gun should look like it’s being held.
Thanks for posting your creation!
Thank ya ill work on it
Ok Jeff I took your suggestions and went to work and came up with this.
thank you for the comment and i’ll fix the gun right a way
I think that looks a lot better, Kaldath, what do you think?
Now I’m wondering if maybe it would look more convincing if the curve of the breast was below the shoulder/collarbones. The only way the breasts would show above them, like now, would be if she somehow bent her upper torso so that it was parallel to the plane of the image, so the viewer is looking at it head-on. In reality I think we’d be seeing her shoulders more or less from the top down, meaning she’d be craning her head upwards, putting the rib cage and chest more perpendicular to the viewer. In other words, her boobs would be pointing down rather than at us.
Might not work or look as good, but thought I’d throw it out there. The legs look a 1000% better in my opinion, though, I hope you like them.
I placed the breasts the way I did to cover over the lines from the arms that didn’t look right when they were layered on top of the breasts, I think what I need to do it takes something else and layer it on top of those lines. I’ll think about what I want to try to do there. Also I think her back is a little to long in that picture and I might want to shorten the torso more, what do you think ?
I wondered about that, but I dunno, I think the back is ok … For me I think maybe the problem there is that the claw insignia ends up positioned like a tramp-stamp. I’m assuming it would ordinarily be like Spider-Man’s, positioned in the middle of his upper back? Or is just above the cheeks where you wanted it?
That might work, I used that emblem for basically two reasons. 1) To help hide the stomach muscles that certainly wouldn’t be seen on her back, and 2) to give a little more pop to the black tights. Maybe making it smaller and a little higher up will get the same effect.
Here is a character I’d like your opinions on. His name is Ral Amaz and he is a time traveler.
1st mask http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=1474987&l=25a375741c&id=1589732210
2nd mask http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=1474988&l=e0970117ec&id=1589732210
i’ll try again as you accidentally said i got critiqued last time
metropolis 30’s streamline hero
if i were a better artist he’d have a cooler design
vampyrist i love your guy he is so cool he just flows, i mean some color schemes run together but his works, good job!
Vampyrist (61) Very nice character The only thing I’d change would be to add a little transparency to the dark purple of the background circle. That deep character color is very harsh against the background White especially given the dark colors of the characters costume.
Vampyrist (61): Love it! I think the simple two-tone color scheme works great here, particularly since you use a darker green as the highlight on the shoulders and neck piece. Speaking of which, the neck and the masks work great together, that’s a super nice effect.
I also like the use of purple as the highlight circle color, that contrasts nicely with the green.
I can’t think of anything you should change, I think it looks pretty great as it is. Nice job!
ajw (63): So sorry about that last week! I got confused at the end of the day between ajw and ams, my bad.
It’s clever how you’ve got the two heads on separate pieces of paper so you can layer them and see how they look. Well done.
I like the second, more intricate helmet better. I think it complements the chest insignia. The first one is too light, I think, to compete with the chest portion, and he ends up looking a little off-balance.
Good job, keep up on the drawing! I love seeing these hand-done ones.
thanks jeff i definetley like the helmet better and I thought it was just confusion between me and ams anyway so its no problem.
The Character’s name is Daniel Ben-Zion. He is suppoed to be a former Mossad operative, and a “superhero” in a comic I’m currently writing. Let me know what I could do to give him more of a crime-fighter look. I’d like to keep with the mask so that anybody he knew in Mossad would be unable to recognize him.
So now I’m currious as to which tie design people likes the best?
As my mother would say, thanks for the sugar talk Jeff.
OK folks, hate to cut this off a little early, but it’s Quittin’ Time here in the mountains and I’m taking my lady out for a fancy Date Night Dinner.
Thanks to everyone who posted characters (especially the hand-drawn guys, you’re awesome!), and to all those who offered insights to the other posters.
Have a good weekend!
MMI (68): I kind of like the Meso-American inspired one (top row, 3rd from the right), but I have to warn you, my fiancee refuses to let me pick out my own ties anymore. Apparently, I have a knack for choosing ugly ones, in her opinion.
McKnight (68): Sorry about that, didn’t see your message early enough. Here goes.
I think for me the main thing is that I’d expect a Mossad character to be more in the “realistic” or gritty sort of mode. But all of your color areas are flat, completely filled with usually primary colors. That gives more of a four-color, Golden Age Superman kind of feel to the image. I think if you were to, for example, use color2 as a lighter highlight on the skin, it would add some more real-world depth to him. Or on the belt, have darker gold rivets instead of the red, which is more of a caped crusader kind of a thing. And adding a few small details, like rolled tops on the gloves
Although if the sort of animated, four-color look is what you WANTED, then that’s cool, ignore that suggestion.
For some reason it bugs me that the Kevlar vest is gray instead of black, with the blue buckles. I don’t know, I keep wanting that to be black.
I guess what I am saying is, I think he’s a fine looking character, but the back story made me want something grittier and more realistic, whereas what I get is a Superman style guy.
Hope that made sense. I had martinis with dinner so I’m not sure.
MMI, I like the first two the best, the one with the lions and the jazz one. Mucho cool.