My full-time (non-HeroMachine) job might keep me from actually getting to these before this evening, but it's time 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 guidelines:
- 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.
(Cartoon ©2007 John Crowther.
Any ideas on how I can improve this design?
She’s really cool as-is. I definitely see some AMS inspiration in the pose and highlighting!
The design is great, the only two bits I might tweak are the result more of the program’s item limitations. The v-neck top doesn’t contour to the way her body is turned (nor with the natural curves therein) but I don’t know how you’d fix that. Ditto with the belt, it goes so straight but it’s hanging off of one hip so it would drape more. Again, not sure how you’d fix that.
I like it!
This is my take on Jormungandr, the world serpent in norse mythology. I’m wondering if there is anything I can do which can make him better.
I made this in anticipation of the 4th, and then you cut me off at the knees with the NOT Captain America contest! So it goes…
Is this a finished piece? Specifically, is the lack of eyes and ears intentional? It’s jarring — I can understand not having ears since it’s a serpent, but no eyes?
I also think there’s a disconnect between the human half and the snake half, with the latter having a much flatter look while the human half looks a lot more rounded and three dimensional.
It’s a neat base, but I think it needs a lot more development to flesh it out.
I do that because I am evil. Evil incarnate.
I like the character, especially the way you’ve done the body outlines. It’s an awesome android type of effect.
The background is completely overwhelming, though. It kind of hurts to look at, and the because its colors are the same as what’s in the costume, you lose the character in it. I’d ditch it altogether.
I like him! He has a fun, classic super-hero comics kind of feel to him. I like the two shades of purple you chose, they complement each other nicely.
My only suggested tweak would be in the wrist area. I can’t tell if those are flames or costume parts. If the former, I’d probably play around with the line color and alpha values of the interiors to make it more obvious that’s what they are.
It is finished and he does have no eyes or ears. I made him along the veins of something Guillermo Del Toro would come up with. I know that certain snakes can detect heat and I thought if something could do that, why would it need eyes.
I do see your point with the flat base and I will work on that, thanks for the critique.
What y’all think?
I don’t normally make Superheros, and I discovered that it is a lot harder than my usual fantasy type. I wanted a more realistic/modern look, I.E no spandex and no capes, and it was inspired a little by the avengers. I have been wrestling with it for a while and I just can’t settle on a design, this is the current one.
@Aaron, I like the character, but I don’t think he can hear much without his ears.
@Monalux, I like the costume. Its colors complement each other and it seems like a good nonspandex costume. It is something I imagine someone could easily make/buy, in other words totally realistic.
@Jeff, I tried to make the tail more 3 dimensional with some masking and some more gradients.
This is what I came up with. Is it any better? Worse? Somewhere in between?
Freak. Just freak.
Personally, I can see where you’re going with the eyeless approach, and I can dig it, but having the upper body be completely smooth is something of a waste.
There’s still stuff that can be done there: Shading, wrinkles, scales, off-putting skin patterns or symbols. Test all kinds of things! How about a slightly more gradual change from snake to human, e.g. masking some kind of scaling to the stomach area, or an unscaled reptilian stomach.
Also, the arm-hand connection is a bit awkward, but I’m not sure how to fix that. If it was me, I’d probably cheat and add some kind of jewellery around that area… or manacles. Maybe with broken chains. Oooh.
Now, I don’t currently have a design in process, but here’s an earlier pose experiment I did.
Any notable issues with proportions or the like? The right arm and hand in the first one bother me a bit, but I couldn’t find an easy answer.
I like the character design, and the environment suits him well. I’m definitely curious about what the chest apparatus does, which is nice.
My two quibbles would both be color related. The first is the highlight color on the coat part that shows between his legs. I don’t understand why that would be almost white. And the second is that the jacket and the night sky blend together, making it hard to separate out the figure.
Good job though!
Comodo, a backup plan in case of emergency, but heit went rogue.
I like the upper body a lot. The colors work, the sleeves are nifty, and I get a definite “agent” sort of modern movie vibe from it.
I’m not as sold on the legs. The slacks are almost too “office” for me, like this isn’t an active on-the-streets character but someone who spends a lot of time behind a desk. That makes the knee pads confusing. I’d be inclined to go with more of a skin-tight sort of look, not spandex but leather or somesuch. Maybe more body armor there on the legs in addition to the knee pads would help, with bulkier boots and leggings underneath?
My charaster from “DC Universe Online”, Boyscout.
That “heat vision” that snakes possess is an augment to their natural vision. They see the world as you and me do, but also the infrared spectrum. So a snake still needs eyes 😛
My image for critiquing: this is Pan, a character of mine from a superhero RP that me and a few friends are currently doing. He’s the field medic of the team, but also your typical wise sagely figure, with a bunch of nature-related powers. His outfit is made of leather, and those bandoliers contain various medicines and plant seeds and fungal spores (for his powers).
A cosmic-powered space traveler with lots of high-tech stuff that can be easily mistaken for magic.
A Jaghut Warrior, as I understand it:
The more you know
Well it still looks creepy, so I still consider its job accomplished.
@Albannach, I like Pan, he does appear sagely and all the colors and shades work really well together.
@Rozenstal I really like his posing, it tells me a lot about him.
@Malfar I really like that starry shirt/leggings combo and the coloring on that is spot on.
@Arioch, I like the warrior’s basic design, but his posing seems a bit awkward. The way he’s holding his arms so close to his chest seems slightly uncomfortable and if they were angled a bit farther out, it may look more natural.
Wow. You guys never cease to amaze me. If I may ask a dumb question, how is the glowing effect achieved? I’ve seen it in numerous pictures, but haven’t been able to puzzle it out. Circle insignia with a spherical gradient pattern and faded mostly out?
In the Background-Shapes set, there are two circles towards the end, with Colour 1 and 2 fading into each other. That “glowing” effect is created by putting that shape onto a surface (doesn’t necessarily need to be masked), making the outside colour the same as that surface, and the inside colour a light shade. The line is usually made invisible, or the same as the outside colour. The same effect can also be used to make shadows, in the same fashion, except the inner colour is darkened.
my Wolverine Looks like poo… i need help on how to fix it
[This is Jeff. I do not allow copyrighted character images on any site for which I am responsible nor links to the same.]
I haven’t used them, but I believe that is mostly correct, although they probably use the circle gradient in backgrounds>shapes and not the circle insignia with gradient pattern.
EDIT: And of course someone ninjas me.
I’ll try that, thank you. I wan’t really sold on the legs either.
@ Cpt Kicktar ur comodo look epic
Thank you, vampyrist 🙂
Do you mean like this?
@Patrick: IIRC, Jeff prefers Hero Machine not to be used to duplicate existing characters, so as to avoid frivolous lawsuits. You should avoid doing that. That being said, well done.
@ Arioch- I understand that and me and jeff had a convo per that direction… said just like crayola cant be to blame for what is dun with their crayons jeff cant be to blame for what is created on hm. but my entire deviant page is chock loaded w/ comic book heros
[This is Jeff. I do not allow copyrighted character images on any site for which I am responsible nor links to the same.]
Good Evening everyone.
I want to ask critique for this pieces.
I usually don’t do superheroes, not my type, but this idea is long ago in my mind. I find the name in seventh sanctum.
“If I Remember Correctly”
How in the world do you get your hm3 art to be like that…? everything i see from u is differernt ur angles ur poses ur faces everything how do u do it… bc it is amazing
a spartanesque warrior
Magic. 😀 – Practice and lot of time. Thank you.
A while back, I posted this:
for critique, and I have since improved it, following the advice given to me. I’d like to know if it has, in fact, improved:
This is why you guys are my Heroes. Thanks, Albannach and Cap.
In anticipation of new species coming to SWTOR, I decided to redisign my “Tuldabar” character in his various stages of adventure.
(Now before you say anything, I know there’s a backround circle I haven’t made transparent yet; it’s easier for me to keep them organized if the outline is present with new items)
Anyway: I wanted to get the sense that here, he’s in the middling-unsure-stage of his Jedi training (hence the basic grey starter robe). And as he is Cathar I added facial and body stripes to his design. The reverse Niman pose is nice, but I would like some feedback.
Also, I have a hard time deciding whether I like THIS: http://i295.photobucket.com/albums/mm156/Tuldabar/Heros/PadawanMKI.png facial detail, with black egdes on the stripes, or THIS: http://i295.photobucket.com/albums/mm156/Tuldabar/Heros/PadawanMKII.png without.
This is a rough draft for my elven fencer
This is the concept art for a D&D character in the Eberron Campaign setting
This is a character I call Star-Lancer. He’s part of a series of heroes that all belong to one team. Since he is the leader I decided to give him a Classic hero look. Any ideas?
From the Alchemist contest
So here’s the danger of being older geeks… We went to see Rock of Ages and decided that would be a good inspiration for a super-hero game. I’m putting together my character in “normal” and super-heroic guises as well as some ideas for the band logo. Any feedback on any of these images would be great.
The face here just looks wrong but I can’t puzzle out the cause. It may be something entirely elsewhere in the picture just putting the flow off or something.
I didn’t do a background as this was just a costume concept but the head looks awfully boring to me.
Potential Band Logos: http://i1155.photobucket.com/albums/p557/Syzyx/BandIcon.png
We’re trying for a hair metal theme with our band (in case that wasn’t painfully obvious) and not sure which logo works better or if there might be suggestions there from the crowd.
About the same, honestly. The problem is that the human portion has the two color areas inside that are built to add dimensionality whereas the snake part doesn’t. I think unless you use the same color for both areas in the flesh parts it’s not going to look right. Or if you were to add a belt or something at the intersection, but the crotch area hanging down onto the snake part makes that complicated as well.
So I’m currently working on a future story arc for my main creative outlet these days (Kid Chaos!) Some of you may have seen some of the other characters here and there on the blog. Anyway this is just a comparison post between a group shot of the Chaos Kids as they are:
(L-R: Wraith, Howl, Kid Chaos, Sad Bastard, Máximo, Rift, Foundry)
and as they will be: (In the story arc set fifteen years in the future, as more established superheroes rather than a rag tag band of misfits and outcasts.)
(L-R: Foundry, Howl, Wraith, Reverb, Quatra, Máximo)
I just wanted to know how the transition went, if the characters still look like themselves, are they sufficiently aged, if they have a consistent team look in the future, etc…. Oh and FYI Kid Chaos, Sad Bastard, and Rift have retired from active duty or are off doing their own adventures, but I can put together a composite shot if anybody’s curious.
It’s an interesting character, but the whole thing is so dark I have trouble making out much of it. I think you could lose the hand & torch completely, lighten up the whole thing, and drop in a spotlight or something for dramatic lighting.
The first one yeah, the right forearm gets a little Popeye. And I can tell that the left upper arm, though hidden by the hand, is too spindly.
The other figure looks good, except for the upper left arm, which drops off the black line between where it ends and the torso begins.
One last try. Instead of trying and failing to make the snakey bits more 3d, I’ve decided to make his humanoid half more flat with the same color solution.
Cool! This is one of my favorite Kicktar productions. Love the smoke in front, the pose, the design of the character and the color palette.
Looks good! The combination of the robot grin and the handguns is definitely creepy, I like it.
Really nice! I like it very much, he looks awesome.
My only minor tweak might be to try slightly different browns in the cross-chest bandolier, just to add some variety between the shoulder pad and the belt stuff.
Fun! I love the glowing yellow boot bits against the space interior, that rocks. I think you’ve achieved a very funky, cool, different looking character here, well done.
I don’t know what a Jaghut is, but this guy looks pretty cool. I am put off a bit by the arm positions, he looks a little awkward that way. But it’s a nice design.
Very nice! LOVE the quiver on her back, that looks fantastic. The setting is great and the anatomy is solid. It has a playful, fun vibe to it.
I’m never really sold on the faces on characters in these poses. The lower jaw on the outside doesn’t ever seem right, there ought to be more mass there instead of a smooth oval. That moves the mouth too far over — we wouldn’t be seeing all of the mouth, just three quarters or so of it as the half curving around to the outside of the face would be mostly hidden.
But it’s a beautiful illustration!
Nice black and white treatment! I like the items and the pose, well done. My only tweak might be to add something for him to be standing on — if you have the clouds but no ground, it looks like he’s flying. Speaking of which, some sandal bottoms would probably be good too.
But nice illustration, well done!
I think the scale of the dragon beast is much clearer, so well done on that. I don’t care for the fire glow, I think it ends up making things muddier rather than clearer. I think you’d get a better effect if you took the gradient that’s clear in the middle going to a color on the outside, make the outer color black, and set the whole thing to 30% transparency or so. Then mask it to the floor piece so you get the effect of the room darkening the further from the fire you get, but since it’s below the fire pit you don’t muddy up the stuff on top of it.
I also like that the walls and ceiling are a bit darker, but the key there is that the front wall needs to be lighter than the other three surfaces. You want to make it look three dimensional, so we need to separate that vertical surface from the angled ones around it. The light stones in the walls are the same color as the dark stones in the front wall, which defeats the purpose a bit.
Hope that helps.
I like the general design, and I prefer the no-outline facial stripes. The pose is fine.
My main confusion comes from the coloring, particularly on the robe. You use black as the trim color of the chest piece, but then it’s the non-highlighted part of the forearms. That makes me confused as to whether I am supposed to read the black parts as cloth or as shadows.
He looks cool, though!
Little late, but here’s my latest character, Chiller. She’s got a somewhat storage power for where she’s from. Able to control the temperature around her and create constructs from ice and snow, she is an odd sight in her native South Africa.
Hmmm…yeah, I think you’re right. I’ll try it.
Wouldn’t the front wall be darker if the light is coming in from the front? 😕
I’m both glad and un-glad that Comodo is your favorite, on the one hand, I do like him, so it’s good that you do as well, but on the other, he ranks far below most of my fantasy characters. Still, I think this makes the fourth or fifth praising critique in a row, aside from Hugh.
It should be noted that I do my best to make decent costumes for their simplicity and functionality. I try to make very few complicated costumes. It should be iconic without being too Liefeldian or Kirby-esque.
I think it’d be lighter because the light from the fire would get reflected directly back into “our” eyes (given the point of view from which we’re seeing the scene). The side walls and ceiling would be reflecting the light off at an angle so would seem darker.
But even if you want to reverse it, that’s fine. We just need differentiation between the planes. When the angles are different, so we “know” that one is vertical and the others not, but the color values are all the same, we get confused. Same color values flatten the objects out, but the angles say no, so … blam.
Very nice! Effective, if a bit plain, I definitely get the character concept from looking at it.
I like the character design. You know me, I always advice making the back side of the coat darker than the front, so consider that said.
I don’t quite get the blocky stuff on top of the sword, but that might just be me. It looks like it’s floating on top rather than being part of the blade.
Wow, that’s really small — hard to see much of what’s going on. I think you’ve gotten the “Golden Age” sort of classic look you were going for. I can definitely tell he’s a super-hero sort of fellow, so good job.
I have to admit when I first looked at the tab where I had opened the illustration and saw “Dr.QuinnStarLancer”, I thought the Dr. Quinn was part of his name and I was nonplussed. Though “Dr. Quinn, Star Lancer” would definitely be a worth follow-up series to “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.”
And so I learn from your wisdom… 😀
That makes sense now. I’ll try it. 🙂
Cool! LOVE LOVE LOVE the white facial pattern, that looks great. Solid concept, good execution, and a satisfying illustration. Well done!
I like this one, Myro. Good colors, good scene, convincing pose. It’s really solid. I can’t remember if I chose it as a Finalist, but if I didn’t it was because it doesn’t really say “alchemist” to me so much as “Woman cooking”. I mean, yes, the bowl and the smoke, but it just seems like a bowl of something, not a magical brew, you know?
Putting the contest theme aside, it’s a really good illustration.
Tuldabar, how did you do the dark orange fur pattern bit?
OK, I admit I LOLed opening this one. Love the speaker with the metal top, that’s very clever! I like the singer and the pose, and all of the items on him are great. I think my main problem is with the surrounding environment — the black in the floor meshes with the black in the speaker and clouds that up a bit, and in general I feel like the wall, floor, and ceiling detract from the main attraction without supporting it. I’d be tempted to lose those altogether, focusing just on the character and the speaker. Maybe put in a spotlight or something behind him, but I think this is a case in general where less would be more.
Hope that helps. Very fun and cool illustration!
Dude, you’re awesome. All of these characters rock, in both versions.
But, since you were asking specifically about the transition, I’ll limit myself to that. I don’t think I’d know that these were shots of the same group separated by fifteen years if you didn’t tell me. I think you’d have to have the same basic environment (or none), aged appropriately, with all of them in the same spots, to get that effect. Now that I know what’s going on, however, I do think you did a great job with the individual characters. Those transitions are fantastic. It’s just as a group that the effect gets lost, I think.
I do think that’s better, but the crotch being in front is still killing it for me. My brain just sort of breaks trying to figure out how that would actually work. But I do think this is better.
Ooo, pretty! Yeah, man, I like this one a lot. Great colors, solid character design, spot-on setting and an overall very effective illustration. I love the face. And the power effects. Just really good all the way around. I can’t think of anything I’d change.
Good. It means a little extra since it’s one that my little sister specifically requested, powers, location and all.
I’m now going to go beat my head against the wall for a while.
Thank you Jeff
Holy crap, I caught up!
Isn’t that what you do after every one of my responses to your critique? Still, it’s not your fault, you just have different *cough*worse*cough* tastes.
Here’s the finished drawing of Gauley, one of the Player Characters in the campaign I’m using to playtest my game. Not much has changed since the outline from four weeks ago… basically, I just added shading and fur patterns and such.
Pretty much, yep. The phrase that comes to mind every time I have to do a write-up for you is “This is going to be a colossal waste of time.”
Sorry! I did say I would try what you said, but you haven’t said anything!
The textures look good, Jadebrain, the fur reads as fur and the such. Good job!
Thanks Jeff. Very hard to made better this custom faces, not only the manga feeling, i want to made perfect this faces.
OK, it’s Friday and I am done! Have a good weekend folks, this edition of OCD is over.
No, it didn’t make it into the finalists list, and I totally see where you’re coming from. Good to know my technique is there, it’s the execution that I failed to pull off. Or something. Thanks for the critique, Jeff.
You’re right. Making the back side of the coat would make it look better. Also, the runes are floating above the blade. Thank you for the suggestions!
Sorry I’m so late–critique a bit shortly.
powered by indecision of the ‘hosts.’
MrDino:blkbanshee could use a thicker right leg? & Jeff’s suggestion usually requires skillful applications of insignia basic shapes to ‘alter’ or conceal / add color and shape to what you have.
Vampirist? Snakeman could use the ‘crescent moon shape from insignia flattened’ in the transition area several times to look like a gradient–would take a lot of work.
Monalux: Those knees. Move the lower legs toward each other? Oh–and from a prior comment, do you know you can submit fiction in hm forums?
thanks jeff. my question is how long does it usually take for a contest prize to be drawn. just wondering.
It varies wildly depending on my work schedule at the full time job, travel, etc. I’ll try to get to yours this weekend.
I agree, Except SWAP out the Vases with something like a rotated helmet or mirrored pair of shoulder pads would give you a more sconce-y look.
i wasnt intending to come across as impatient. just curious. im super-excited about it!
Yeah, those are some good ideas for the next time I try something like this. Thanks.