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Thread: K'sariya's Art Hoard

  1. #11
    Steel Soul Design TeamURPG StaffAdministratorSuper Moderator K'sariya's Avatar
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    torterra!

    intent: cash
    medium: photomanipulation, some drawn accents. sources for images here!

    Spoiler:

  2. #12
    URPG Staff VeloJello's Avatar
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    I'm in a mood to get stuff done! I claim curation of that Clauncher!

  3. #13
    URPG Staff VeloJello's Avatar
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    First Impression.
    Sometimes it seems like black-and-white art is boring; that it can’t be eye-catching or interesting or exciting. Artwork like this shatters that expectation. This is a well-composed piece with value contrast that immediately pulls at the viewer and makes for an intense scene. Let’s dive (hee hee) into this high-contrast Clauncher!

    Form.
    One thing I notice right away is that Clauncher’s body has a really strong curve to it. Between the curve of Clauncher’s body and the swirl of the water surrounding it, there is a great spiral composition. The splash of water on the left-hand side and the bubbles there lead the eye to Clauncher’s tail; Clauncher’s body curls around, leading the eye up to Clauncher’s bright, narrowed eye and massive claw. The claw points back at the water, repeating the whole cycle. This circular composition keeps the viewer interested, continuously guiding the eye throughout the piece. There’s also something I noticed about Clauncher’s claw - it continues the same curve as Clauncher’s body does, but it does so without creating a tangent - if you don’t know what tangents in art are, or even if you do, I highly recommend reading this post. Number 5 is a trap you could have easily fallen into, but tilting Clauncher’s claw up slightly makes it obvious that the claw is separate from Clauncher’s torso without breaking the curve that the body creates. The only thing I can think of to improve the composition is extending the water out slightly to our left, so that it establishes a clear “beginning” to the spiral and has a bit more motion to pull the viewer in. But that’s a bit of a nitpick; what you have here works out really well.

    Unfortunately, the curve you’ve created comes with a small but extant cost in terms of Clauncher’s anatomy. Clauncher’s head is turned down, which doesn’t really make sense. Clauncher’s head is connected to its first big back plate, so the head and the back plate should turn along roughly the same arc. Crustaceans are stiff, inflexible; the plating on the bottom of Clauncher’s head should butt up against the plate on Clauncher’s lower half, and even if it wouldn’t, Clauncher doesn’t exactly have the musculature to move its head up and down without moving its whole body. While you’ve otherwise shown that Clauncher has a strongly-segmented body composed of tough chitin, it feels a little weird to have Clauncher’s head break from that pattern rather than remaining rigid. This is my only real gripe about the anatomy, and as much as I went on about it, it’s fairly minor. The main reason I really noticed is because I see lobsters often (I work at a seafood counter where we sell the little beasts). Fun fact, I was actually gonna complain about how bare and soft Clauncher’s bare white belly looks, but that’s something I’ll have to take up with GameFreak, because all art of Clauncher shows it with a plain belly rather than a mass of messy chitin like I would have guessed or tough plates like I would have wanted. You’re a bunch of cowards, GameFreak, make the lobsters weird and terrifying.

    There are some anatomical tweaks that you’ve made that absolutely work in your favor. Clauncher is a pretty short, nubby little monster - not great for an intense drawing of a being showing off a display of primal power. Your Clauncher’s proportions are slightly altered, with shortened antennae, an elongated body, and small eyes. These work really well. The small eye makes Clauncher look bigger - weird but true character design fact, most people tend to read “small eyes” as “bigger and/or more mature creature”. Something bigger is less cute and more menacing - so that small eye makes Clauncher come across as a more powerful creature. The shortened antennae serve a similar purpose. Long antennae, though I don’t know the actual character design reason for this, make it look a lot more harmless in all the art I’ve seen of it. The elongated body is a bit odd in terms of proportions - the curvature of Clauncher’s first back plate makes it seem like its body should be locked permanently into a shallow arc - but combined with Clauncher’s small eye, it just makes this seem like a particularly big Clauncher. Overall, there’s a bit of wonkiness with Clauncher’s head and armor, but the rest of it is spot on for both anatomy and pose. Nice work!

    Value.
    I could get most of what I want to say here across by a simple statement of “Oh Heck Yes”. The contrast is extremely good to look at, with eye-popping highlights fading naturally into midtones or shining out against shadowed areas. Nothing gets lost - Clauncher’s smaller legs are rendered noticeable by their highlights; the black bands on Clauncher’s plates are darker than the shadows where the plates would be blue break its body up naturally; the bounce lighting that highlights the bottom of Clauncher’s big pincer makes it stand out from the dark water surrounding it. This effect is strongest in Clauncher’s eye. The eye is incredibly pale, where the chitin surrounding it is very dark, making it pop so that the viewer’s eye is naturally drawn to it. The light source in the upper left, pulled slightly toward the viewer on a “Z-axis” we might imagine here, is consistent throughout. The only complaint I have is that it’s hard to tell which parts of Clauncher’s body are actually darker or lighter than other parts. Clauncher’s belly is white, but its legs are blue; the belly and the legs have the same intensity of shadow, making it hard to tell that they’re different tones naturally. Lighten up juuust a bit on paler areas, maybe introducing a few lighter midtones in areas besides places where highlights graduate to shadows. Other than being able to stand a few more midtones, the value on Clauncher is really well done. Great job.

    My only complaint on tone is that the water behind Clauncher doesn’t have much of it. The contrast on the bubbles is good, but it’s very low compared to the contrast on Clauncher, making it hard to notice them. Using wavy patterns to denote the ripples in the water, twisting currents of dark and light, would really show the water that Clauncher’s swimming in.

    Technique.
    The pencilling you’ve used here is absolutely bangin’. The pencil strokes on Clauncher are very clean, blending together into a seamless mat of tone that shows a three-dimensional being incredibly well. There are lots of good blending effects - the whole piece is well-defined, but there are still graduated areas like Clauncher’s head or its first plate that show a smooth transition from dark to light. Clauncher is incredibly clean, with wonderful, smooth blending that still has room for sharp transitions from dark to light. You are powerful with the pencil.

    However, there’s something lacking - the pencils you’ve lovingly lavished upon Clauncher are withheld from the water around it! Like I mentioned in the Value section, there’s so much potential for cool water here. Showing rippling water coming from the left-hand side, curling and roiling around Clauncher’s back, then culminating in a wave around Clauncher’s pincer would be epic, befitting the epic look of Clauncher. As it is, the water is very lacking; the few bubbles following Clauncher’s tail are the only things that tell me that Clauncher is in water.

    Theme.
    You’re swimming in dangerous waters here. Testing the boundaries of what can be considered a fish like this takes courage that’s off the scale. But you’ve come so far without floundering, so I won’t get crabby. I wouldn’t try to drown your creativity even if I cod.

    … It’s a bit of a stretch, but yeah, you get $5,000 for the May monthly theme of Fish Pokemon. And also aquatic puns.

    Conclusion.
    I’m torn here. On the one hand, there's really good technical skill and tone present through this piece. The anatomy only has a few flaws, and the composition is great. As artwork, it’s simple, but striking and strong. On the other, I keep getting caught up on one requirement of the Hard rank: the background. You have something of a background, with the water of Clauncher’s Aqua Jet attack swirling behind it. However, as I mentioned, the water is not very well-defined; except for the bubbles trailing from Clauncher’s tail, it looks like Clauncher is pirouetting in a nebulous gradient rather than a torrent of water. Fortunately this is definitely a case of the strengths outshining the flaws. Clauncher is captured, and you may claim $5,000 for meeting the monthly theme. Overall, this is excellent; the main drawbacks are slight anatomical foibles and lack of background. Keep drawing cool Pokemon with eye-popping contrast, work on incorporating definition into backgrounds as well as figures, and enjoy your Clauncher!
    Last edited by VeloJello; 08-30-18 at 12:33 PM.

  4. #14
    URPG Staff VeloJello's Avatar
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    T-t-triple post! Claiming Torterra!

  5. #15
    Steel Soul Design TeamURPG StaffAdministratorSuper Moderator K'sariya's Avatar
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    moonlit dance!
    shamelessly going for:
    september theme: leaves!


    target: solosis
    intent: capture!
    rank: medium
    description: a jelly boi dancing with a jelly apple in the forest!

    Spoiler:

  6. #16
    Steel Soul Design TeamURPG StaffAdministratorSuper Moderator K'sariya's Avatar
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    tail surf!

    target: poliwag
    intent: capture!
    rank: simple
    description: life's good when you can surf on your tail!

    Spoiler:

  7. #17
    Steel Soul Design TeamURPG StaffAdministratorSuper Moderator K'sariya's Avatar
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    avignon.

    intent: cash
    description: this is art of my human After Hours character, Avignon. Below is information about her. First is her character bio, and the second is context on her transformation. The drawing is of that transformation--her transformation into a Kyurem-White PokeSoul, a human inhabited (in this case, unwillingly) by the soul of a Pokemon. If you aren't interested in reading all of it, the best part to read is the "Post-Transformation Powers" section, under "The Transformation." This at least tells you what the PokeSoul form she became is capable of, and what influenced her design.

    The Art for Cash:
    Spoiler:


    Avignon's Bio (long):
    Spoiler:

    Character Name: Avignon Dieudonn�
    Character Type: n/a
    Character Title: n/a
    Theme Song: _n C_rcl_s from the Transistor Soundtrack
    Discord: K'sariya / Starsight#7172
    Faceclaim: Red and the Transistor from Transistor

    Age: 23 years

    History:
    She wanted to be a kindergarten teacher.

    Avignon was in her senior year of her education when the meteor struck. She was a teacher’s assistant at a local elementary school, an internship role she took up on Tuesdays and Thursdays for credit hours and the experience, and also just because she loved kids. She wanted kids, lots of them, but school came first for her. Seeing them at their unruly worst in the classroom didn’t make her hate them, but it did help her hold out.

    They lived in Norfolk, near Richmond. It was the beginning of lunch. She graded spelling tests while the children ate in the cafeteria. The shockwaves destroyed the city. The shockwaves destroyed the school. The shockwaves destroyed the high roof that rose above the cafeteria. And the roof destroyed the children when it fell.

    Her husband worked for the government, an up-and-coming head in their new studies in modifying genetics beyond even current abilities. Avignon and her husband were both airlifted out of the city and moved to a secure, remote location somewhere in central North America.

    In the beginning, the government struggled to find weapons that would work against the alien creatures that had spread across the globe. When their first tactic of carpet bombing the more heavily-infested cities failed, they turned to bioweapons.

    Avignon was their first.

    Her trauma drove her to seek purpose. She thought of her students that had died that day, and thought of the ones that would continue to fall beneath the new power that had overtaken the world. And so she submitted herself to their whims, threw herself into the work of helping them develop something that could save the world.

    They created a weapon. Squads dispatched to hunt particular creatures whose flesh would build it. They chose Bronzong and Metagross for what they’d observed to be impressive psychic capabilities, hoping to instill some sort of AI superpower into the weapon that would aid her. Audible qualities of the Chingling were chosen as well to match with that of the Bronzongs, as the researchers experimented with the weapon’s sounds as an offensive capability. Avignon picked up the craft like a natural and became adept at modifying human weapons for practice when they began working on Pokemon hide.

    But as all things do when humans touch them, it went wrong.

    The weapon, the Transistor, seemed to have a mind of its own. The disembodied sword would lash out on its creation, still under control of the psychic entities that it had been stolen from. And so they killed the presences within, harnessed the energy of Ghost types to sentence their souls. And while it worked, it didn’t not work for long. The entities built a supernatural immunity to the weakened forces of Pokemon that were cast at them.

    And so they turned to torture.

    Pokemon minds imbued in the Transistor were intelligent but they found that they could also feel, almost human in their capacity for emotion. They warped the consciences with psychological abuse until they fell silent enough to let Avignon wield them. For a bit, it was manageable, but then they began to whisper and resist again.

    She’ll never remember who it was that suggested the blood. Her husband rejected the idea, nearly was thrown out for the aggressive nature in which he refused it. But the psychologists reasoned that if the entities felt like they had some sort of control, they may cooperate.

    Avignon fainted the first time they hooked the tubes to her neck. The Transistor had to be forcibly shut down when it took, and took, and took until it nearly almost killed her. Her husband raised hell, tried to stop her from trying again even after they modified the needles with pieces that stemmed the flow from becoming too intense. But Avignon rose, again and again.

    He realized that he could not stop her, so he began to try to help her.

    When the Transistor would finally bend to her will, he started to research Pokemon--more specifically, Ghost, Psychic, and Steel types. When her combat trials in the facility had finished and she was sent out into the cities to retrieve supplies the government had not been able to recover with their forces, her husband accompanied her with his knowledge and his notes. They became a pivotal duo, a grueling but successful story of progress.

    It only took a mission in the city gone awry to take him from her. A raid of a government vault that had been destroyed after the impact awakened a familiar Pokemon they’d been testing on there. After a nine-year-slumber, the massive Bronzong awoke. Before she could stop it, it turned the Transistor against them, used her own blood to slay her husband with her own hands.


    She escaped with only her life, his ring, and his jacket, despite her attempts to retrieve his body.

    Grief overwhelmed her. It devoured every bit of her conscience. She refused to touch the Transistor. She tried to rip the bars from her flesh to rid herself of the reminder but they’d been fused to the bone of her wrist, melded to the top of her spine. They would not let her harm herself as long as the Transistor went without someone to wield it. So when they could not get her to touch the weapon again, they disposed of her, finding no use for her with her husband now dead and his newest research lost with him. They blindfolded her, bound her arms, and dropped her off in the same city that had taken her husband. They came back from her when they realized that the Transistor would not react to anyone else’s call. It sat heavy, refusing every blood offering that was given to it. Knowing eye remained empty and hollow, dead and cold.

    They held her captive until she submitted, until she numbly slid the needle back into place in her veins and the Transistor whirred to life.

    The Transistor’s presence came back to her like a cowering dog, with soft whimpers instead of haunting whispers, tentative to drink too deeply of her blood. It seemed as if it had been lonely and afraid to invoke her anger. It coaxed her back from the brink with a painstaking lure.

    When they returned to full strength, Avignon and the Transistor went out on a mission. They never came back. Organization could not stand to have their pioneer project stolen away beneath their nose, but the people they sent after her never came back, either.

    Appearance:
    She is very human.

    Curling, wavy locks of crimson fire twist about pale features, framing wide, brilliant blue eyes and full lips. She is a tall, lanky creature, with deceptively narrow arms corded with thin, wiry muscle. Signature outfit is crafted from natural pieces--organic parts of furs and leathers, stolen from living flesh at some point or another. White feathers of a Fearow’s down thickly frame the collar of Avignon’s garb. Loose reams of yellow-dyed Zebstrika fur arc outward from the front and back of her clothes. Black, corset-like band loops tight around her waist. It has a slight textured sheen, crafted from the black scales of a Seviper. An almost luminescent yellow plate created from the scales of that same creature form a downward-pointed equilateral triangle on the black scales.

    Over this, she wears a large jacket crafted from human materials. The water-repellant coat is black, with a large notched collar that folds back against itself. Three golden buttons, etched with an equilateral triangle, adorn each side of the bottom of the coat’s opening. The topside of each sleeve, which fall about her elbows, is adorned with two buttons that match the others.

    Tattered swaths of Raticate skin drape about her waist. The fur is cured thinly so that it hangs lightly and ripples in the wind. Dark, plum-hued stockings rise high up her legs, past the knees, emerging from tall black boots of dyed Tauros leather. Triangular golden ring, notably of human material, is nestled on her left ring finger, jeweled with a singular circular ruby that seems almost eerily like an eye.

    With her, she carries a massive sword--the Transistor, forged from the steel plates of countless Bronzong and Metagross. It is wide, and fairly thick, with the blade being predominantly a crystalline aqua that shines with the reflective depth of an ocean. Lodged in the center of the blade is a blood-red eye with a wide, dark pupil, edged by a less translucent ring of gem-like metal. Lighter veins of circuitry drop from the bottom of the eye. The blade’s end is notched with three slats of gold, but unlike the buttons on her coat, these are not human mineral. Bells of Chingling forged together make up the bars. Long, narrow slices of the lightweight steel cling to both sides of the sword. Each has another, even smaller bar floating magnetically outside of it, honed down to razor-sharp points at their edge. The deadly levitating pieces cling to the sword when it is moved, functioning on magnetic technology similar to the magnetic levitation used on monorails. The hilt crosses over onto the blade as a large triangle at the top, leading out to a lengthy, double-banded hilt with another, smaller eye at the butt of the hilt. In the eye are two impacted spots, each one with a needle-sized opening dead in the center.

    On her wrists are the tubes.

    Chimecho gold forms a small bar at the bottom of each wrist that trails its long side a couple of inches up her arm. They are guards for the needle that is embedded within them, the needle that plunges into her veins beneath the protection of the gold. Syringe feeds inch-thick tubes that drape from each wrist, sweeping behind her back at her waist and then arcing up to both connect, side-by-side, into her neck. Blood glistens dimly as it pulses through the tubes, each quivering ever-so-slightly with every pump of her heart. The stream is constant, never stagnating, always prepared to feed. Tubes are protected by a thin chainmail sleeve that covers their surface to temporarily deflect lighter blades.

    The tubes are locked in place by a small piece of circular Chimecho gold that fits with a twist into the bar on her wrist to secure it. This same piece twists securely into the bottom of the Transistor. When it is starved of blood, the great eye is an empty gray of a hollow socket--only when it is fed does it come to life with red, pulsing with a soft crimson light in time with her heartbeat. Her lifeblood is the tribute demanded by the soul of the tortured Bronzong that is trapped within the Transistor. There are times when it speaks. There are times when it does not. It is a ghoul, caged within, twisted by Stockholm’s to aid when presented offering. Without blood, it grows leaden in combat and nigh-impossible to use.

    Abilities:
    TRANSISTOR:
    • LVL1: Avignon’s main weapon, the Transistor, is created to have shape-shifting capabilities. At level one, the forme of the sword is its only state, meaning that level one of this ability has no effect on her or her weapon at the moment, only opens up the capability later on. Higher levels will unlock two other forms. Her weapon, created from Pokemon and PokeSouls whose spirits still linger within, feeds off of the blood connected to it by the tubes--it does not do her bidding otherwise. In combat, it becomes heavy and unusable when denied nourishment.
    • CAMPAIGN UPGRADE: LV2: Avignon has obtained enough parts to modify the Transistor and create a new forme. The Transistor can now split into a pair of long, much more agile dual blades. They look fairly similar to the original sword and its shape, and deal less damage individually, but allow her to maneuver with them a bit better. The shift takes a minute or so, as she hasn't quite worked out the efficiency of the mechanisms that shift its inner parts.
    • CAMPAIGN UPGRADE: LV3: With the help of Cam, Avignon has perfected the technology of the Transistor. It shifts in a matter of seconds across all formes, including its new one--a bow. As tall as Avignon, it is a beautiful, glimmering metal construction of seafoam accented with gold. Its bulk is far less than its first form; it reconstitutes the shed mass into a quiver with arrows that she's built a leather strap for across her chest. This bow forme has impressive range and power, but if she isn't able to recollect the arrows before shifting back to another forme, the missing mass may cause the Transistor to hit with less power or to malfunction completely, depending on the amount of arrows lost.


    WEAPONSMITH LV1: With enough time, Avignon can adapt a weapon out of/improve a weapon out of most things. At level one, her options are limited to smaller weapons, and she can only make small modifications to pre-existing weapons.
    TELEPORTATION LV2: To match with the beasts she hunts in combat, Avignon’s body has adapted the skill of teleportation to match the maneuverability of her targets. She's grown skilled enough at it that she can now teleport herself across a much more vast distance, hopping cities at the cost of energy.
    TELEPATHY LV 1: Time spent listening to the Transistor's warbles, and exposure to the Bronzong's tortured soul in general, has led her to develop some skill with Telepathy. She's begun to speak to the Transistor telepathically when she's alone. She grows anxious if she's out of telepathy range with it now.
    TRANSISTOR - O2:
    • LVL1: With the help of Cam, Avignon has modified the Transistor and its tubes to help reduce the need of space gear while fighting in the void. The Transistor is now stocked with oxygen and another set of tubes bound to the first--it now becomes a part of her circulatory system instead of constantly draining from it, but also portions oxygen directly into the blood it processes, reducing the need for respiratory gear. She still needs some form of it, however, if only as a psychological quirk--her brain still tries to make her breathe to gain oxygen, and quite frankly, choking on a vacuum is physiologically upsetting. Its capacity is limited, however, and can only support her for about thirty minutes to an hour before she has to replenish the supply of oxygen.
    • LVL2: Avignon has managed to train her brain so that she no longer needs additional gear, and the Transistor's capacity for oxygen has expanded. The Transistor can now support her for about two hours before needing to be replenished. The Transistor also releases stored CO2 from this process every few minutes--its soft hissing as it does so causes her to reveal herself in stealthy situations while having to rely on it for oxygen. Avignon and Cam are looking into ways to make it a permanent source of oxygen, perhaps by using some sort of process similar to photosynthesis to convert the CO2 back into O2, but have not yet had the breakthrough they need to do it. Avignon pleads that she also find a way to make it not blow her cover.



    The Transformation:
    Spoiler:
    The AH campaign was set 10 years into the future, where the EarthWorld had finally succumbed almost fully to the disaster that was the meteor that brought Pokemon. Three factions formed on bases in outer space. When faced with a battle against an incredibly powerful Mewtwo, she takes a fatal blow. Cam, the PokeSoul child she had grudgingly adopted and grown to devote her life to, bends steel around her to protect her. An NPC tries to heal her while she is within it. She takes her final breath. Below are the series of posts, from her injury to her transformation.

    Transformation:
    Spoiler:

    There's a moment of clarity in the second that the coffee shop crashes, so sharp and so crisp that it's as if the world around her slows to a crawl, as if she could stop in the air and look around while everything descended slowly around her. Brilliant blue eyes fix on her target, on the point she pushes her body to appear on, but she wishes that, if only for a brief second, she could look around, enjoy everything around her. Avignon has been feeling sluggish--tired. She knows why, but opts to play dumb about the fact that the very possession she cradles in her back's holster is the thing that is killing her. It's funny, how clear everything is in that second before she teleports. She doesn't remember ever feeling this perceptive even before her world was ripped away from her.

    Nose begins to bleed in the pressure of the whipping air, sending small droplets of blood in wild dashes across her cheeks, inking pale parchment of papery skin with calligraphy of red. It'll be there for a while; Avignon avoids mirrors nowadays as the black veins creep up her neck and throat and inch dark tendrils at her jawline. She can't hide from the ones that already spiderweb up her wrists and caress the crook of her elbow, but the weathered woman can at least entertain that she still looks the way she did on her wedding day, and that if he saw her now, he'd recognize her.

    (He wouldn't.)

    Her boots slam into the concrete. Even with the teleport to pad the jarring shock, she feels it ripple up her form and rattle her teeth in her gums. She has to watch her hands when she lands--the Transistor is holstered, but both wrists still feed it, and being tangled isn't what she wants right now. It takes only the time to draw it and right herself for her to look up and see him the moment he appears, not even given the time to register the air around her has opened up.

    For a moment, she assumes it's him and she's ready, ready to rip into him, but as the man begins to gesture, she hears the voice trickle upward. Eyes flash down to catch the glimpse of him through the chunks missing from the ceiling.

    "Fuck," she hisses beneath her breath. She's moving, then, boots clanging on metal as she flings herself off the coffee shop in almost the same way she'd flung herself after it, teleporting herself down to absorb some of the shock of landing as she sprints toward the complex before Slayer is out the door. Already the Transistor is shifting, folding, parting, compacting itself into a mechanical bow and quiver of shimmering teal and brilliant gold. She slings the quiver into the Transistor's holster and draws an arrow, nocks it, draws back the glimmering string--

    Avignon stops, turns, launches the arrow straight toward Slayer as he leaves the building, and that's when the ball hits her.

    Skull fractures when her head slams back against the wall of the complex, but the pain of that doesn't compare to the way her body feels as if it's on fire, and even that isn't nearly as rending as when dizzy gaze whirls to the mangled, half-melted remains of the Transistor. She screams, not because of the way her the back of her skull is raw and bleeding, not because of the way the ball of energy has burned away the clothing and the flesh of her stomach and her arms, not because of the way the heat has melted the metallic connectors on her wrist into her skin--but because she sees the cracked, deep red eye of the Transistor lying beside the destroyed metal, broken away from it all.

    Despite everything, Avignon scrambles toward it, the entirety of her body numb. His voice warbles telepathically out from it, to her, as it always has. She wishes she'd learned to listen earlier as she takes the broken crystalline vessel into her hands. Grief washes over her in a magnitude that her brain cannot handle beneath the force of the trauma. It's like she was losing him again. She doesn't process that she's still in a fight for her life.

    ***

    When the shield forms around her, it does so with the Transistor cradled in her arms. It grows dark, and they are alone.

    In the dark, she looks very human.

    She cradles him in her arms, tears streaking rivulets of flesh color through the smears of blood on her cheek. Cold. It is so cold, and it's strange, comparing that cold to the way her torso burns. In the dark of the shield, she can just barely make out the glint of blue and gold, twisted and wrought at angles she's not sure she could ever repair. And red. Red, beautiful red. Fingers trace the crack that splits through crimson and black eye. Digits quiver as they whisper over its surface. Every tear that splashes upon its face does so with a small, melodic ping. No, no, no, no, she whispers, over and over, so many times in her head that she doesn't realize she's not saying it aloud.

    Cold. Cold. Cold. It's cold. He is cold, she is cold, it's all so... cold.

    Idly, she's aware of a warmth outside, of a light, cherubic voice. It's cold, but she feels the warmth of anger in her gut. She didn't need pity. She needed him. She cradles him now like she'd never gotten to when he'd died, when he'd been ripped away from her. Funny how she'd come to worship the very hunk of metal that had been lodged in his gut, that had drank of his blood for the few seconds it'd lingered. Avignon likes to think that that's when it happened--that's when his voice joined the many tortured others that lingered within. Crafted from corpses, the Transistor had only ever been a vessel for the dead.

    In the quiet, she gazes down at him, and wonders aloud, in a whisper: "What did you do with the others?" She'd kill many since then, but the voices had stopped joining after him.

    He doesn't answer, but she feels a weight in her eyelids. Maybe this is what she wanted. It made sense, after all--maybe he'd left space for her, space for her to join him. Maybe this was where they belonged. She thinks of the dance at the night of their wedding and the dark, round mosaic on the floor that they'd danced around. Maybe this is what they were meant to do--dance around the eye forever.

    Avignon is tired. It's almost as if she can feel the dark veins creeping up tighter and tighter about her throat. It makes her more sleepy.

    She has time. She has time to rest, for now.

    ***

    Avignon has only ever been human.

    No matter how strong she grew, how hard she tried, there had to come a point where it was not enough. She’d honed her body and her mind. She’d learned how to manipulate space to warp her where her human body could not move fast enough to reach, to keep up with the creatures who had ruined the world. She’d bonded with the Transistor, a powerful weapon forged of her enemy’s parts and souls. She’d harnessed their power without becoming one. Perhaps her first mistake was thinking, naively, that she’d somehow transcended humanity and mortality in this way.

    But she has only ever been human, and nothing human could ever take the strain of something so close to inhuman power.

    There is a warmth, a healing one, one that would cleanse lesser wounds, but there’s too much blood already welling within. In the time it’s taken to drift back to the surface, it’s too late.

    In those last moments, she is acutely aware of the cold. Narrow shafts of light slip through the most minuscule of gaps in her metal encasement. She furrows her brows as she stares at the fog of her breath gently swirling within the steel prison and wonders, with dark amusement, if her heart has truly frozen over. She remembers vividly the warmth of him pressed against her in the cold, during a blizzard that had cut off their power and their heat. A soft smile tugs at her lips at how warm the memory is. Drowsily, she lets it take her.

    Her last breath is taken thinking of him--

    --and when they wake, they are one.

    All of this time she’s thought that he would not recognize her after all that she’s been through, but all along, is was she who would never recognize him.

    A brilliant light erupts suddenly from the steel, bursting through the cracks with blinding intensity into the forest and at everyone around them. From it drifts a cold, a cold so violent and so sudden that the immediate clearing freezes instantly over with a thin sheet of ice. Frost crackles as it races rapidly over her steel enclosure, shooting across its surface. From within, there are sounds. Sickening sounds, the sounds of cold-impervious metal twisting and bending and snapping against flesh. The light begins to recede. When it does, pieces begin to fall away, practically shattering as the brittle, frozen metal hits the icy earth. It drops them like a rock, but they are ready. They land with a thud, a heavy one.

    Breathing cycles steady and slow, posture slumped and mismatched eyes vacant as they gaze forward, that the scene laid out before them, at the people and the Trevenant and the forest. Eyes take in very little. Skin bears a dull, gray pallor. A war has been raged upon her flesh, leaving every inch streaked with visible black veins. The Transistor has melded with her, become her, its bulk burying herself into the skin of her jawline, into her shoulders, into hefty bulks at the front of her knees and up her upper legs. It completely coats her right arm, creating the arm of a beast. Three-clawed hand of metal flows up lower arm like a brace, before bursting upward and away from her arm in a widening guard. It fans out at the top, spiking out in two directions, separated only by a small notch at its top. Left bears the blue metal only at the tops of her fingers, metal that arcs down into claws.

    It has fused every bit of her and them into one, the feathers of her collar bursting from the flesh of her upper stomach and racing up her chest, blossoming in a mane about her shoulders. The tubes that have fed from her for so long have both melded to her and multiplied. From her neck, two go to her arms, and the last strike back into the small of her back. They burn with blood, but also with fire.

    They are human no longer. From human lips comes a growl, low and animalistic and rumbling. For a long moment, hungry eyes trawl over those present, a deadly glimmer locked within. But then, the PokeSoul freezes. Their eyes grow wide, and then they grow dim. Feet crunch heavily on the frozen earth, their body weighted beneath metal that is no longer light. The agile fighter they once were is gone. They trudge away, into the forest, toward a chasm with seemingly no bottom.

    They must go. Slayer calls.


    Post-Transformation Powers:
    Spoiler:
    TRANSISTOR:
    • LVL1: Avignon has been fused with Transistor and the Kyurem White that has taken over her husband’s soul within it. When it was whole, it served the purpose of protecting her. Now it does so in a different way. The blade’s matter has been infused into her very flesh, dispersed across her body to create a sparse armor. Though sparse, it is resilient. The armor can only be penetrated or damaged by other types of steel, but is weak to magical or elemental damage, the latter dependent on her temperature. At level one, it is only on her jaws and her shoulders.
    • CAMPAIGN UPGRADE: LV2: The armor has spread to form new pieces on the upper front of her legs, and has begun to sharpen her fingers into bulky, metallic claws. The right hand seems to be developing far more quickly than the left, as the hand is covered in metal, while the left only sports it on the upper side of her fingers. She has completely lost the human dexterity of her right hand, and struggles to use human objects with her left. If she focuses and expends the energy to do so, she can grow the armor in whatever way she wishes, but only for a few minutes, and only on one piece at a time and by a few inches per piece. This process is relatively slow, taking about fifteen seconds to complete, and is weak while she is growing it.
    • CAMPAIGN UPGRADE: LV3: Armor of her right hand has snaked up her arm. Her right wrist no longer has any mobility, and locks her her palm in a downward position. Only her elbow and shoulder can be used to maneuver the arm, but it has grown much stronger beneath the weight of its burden. A rising shield has burst from the top of the metallic bracer at a slanted angle, leaning toward her arm but still hovering above it. She can now grow up to three pieces at once, but still only by a couple of inches, meaning she cannot completely cover weak points such as her midriff and the lower part of her throat with the armor. It is also still weak while growing, and takes about ten seconds to grow.


    WEAPON ARMORSMITH LV1: With enough time, Avignon can regenerate damaged parts of her armor and tubes. This happens naturally while she sleeps. It takes several hours to repair minor damage, which means it takes many days to repair anything else.
    TELEPORTATION LV2: Honing of her strengths in human form has carried over into this one. However, it takes considerably longer to focus to teleport, and this focus scales with the distance. Teleporting a few yards takes only a thought, but teleporting a football field takes a few vulnerable seconds, etc. For distances larger than two football field lengths, she cannot begin the focus and end it in one singular post, meaning she requires two posts to teleport great lengths.
    TELEPATHY LV 1: She has retained her telepathy, but not yet her ability for spoken or telepathic language. Her telepathy is warbled, guttural, and animalistic, unable to be understood by any part but tone. Nice for roaring in people's heads when she's pissed off at them, though.
    TRANSISTOR - O2 (FUSION FLARE):
    • LVL1: The human process of breathing gathers oxygen, but she uses less in exchange for using it to create flame. Upgrading this ability enhances the power and duration of her flames based on how little oxygen she can develop her body to use. At this level, she can sustain a small flame for a small amount of time. She can release it only from metallic right palm. She's resistant to her own flame, but is vulnerable to it if it spreads to her environment.
    • LVL2: Avignon's body has evolved to process the air she breathes more efficiently, reserving more of it for use as fuel flame. She can now sustain a large blaze of flame for a short amount of time, but she's beginning to lose control of it as it grows stronger. Her body temperature fluctuates, shifting her body sporadically and inconveniently from cold to hot and back. She's now only resistant to other sources of heat when her body heat is high, but is vulnerable to them when it is cold.


    ICE BURN:
    • LVL1: A cold has overtaken Avignon's body. Her body heat fluctuates from hot (due to Fusion Flare) to cold (due to Ice Burn). However, her extremities are almost always freezing cold, and she has to make a conscious effort if she wants to warm them to a touch that feels human again. When she channels the cold, she can make her body parts cold enough to freeze small items that she touches, or to lower the temperature around her.
    • LVL2: Avignon has grown more in touch with her control of the cold. She can now freeze larger objects on touch, and can launch small ice shards short distances. When her body is cold, she is resilient to the cold but is vulnerable to sources of heat other than her own.
    • LVL3: She can now freeze over parts of her own body, and completely freeze areas (up to ten feet) around her on touch at will. She has to be careful, though--if she loses control of her body temperature, things around her will freeze unbidden. Because of this, Avignon battles a constant war to maintain her body temperature. She can generate and launch larger shards and chunks of ice. While this ability is stronger than Fusion Flare, her body temperature tends to lean on the cold side.



    The Kyurem-White:
    Spoiler:
    Below is the journal post that explains the origins of the Kyurem-White:

    Impassively, she gazed down upon him with half-shuttered gaze. Wind ripped at fiery locks, soaked tendrils of hair whipping aggressively across pale skin. Rain beat down with insatiable fury, in needles of biting chill that pierced her to the bone, like the tips of swords threatening her to bow. But Avignon was never the type for that. With iron grip, she hauled the Transistor from where it'd been lodged beside her in the mud, and she advanced.

    "Back away," the man snarled, his pale claws furling deep into the mud. It gave her pause, but only enough to tilt her head slightly at him, as if she was considering it. Cerulean gaze ticked contemplatively down his form. The feathering of her collar was becoming tired and worn; though matted across his bare chest now, the plumage that blossomed from his breast would be a fine replacement for her own when dried. Lightning flickered above, reflecting brilliantly in the gold crest upon his forehead. Almost greedily, she felt her fingers ripple their grip across the Transistor at imagining getting her hands on it. It'd be a perfect replacement for the Transistors should its magnetic blades grow word. She wondered how easily it would sharpen, if it was of a harder or softer metal than the Transistor itself.

    In one fluent motion, Avignon swung glimmering blue blade forward. A metallic screech suddenly mimicked the peal of rolling thunder, a shower of sparks flickering briefly at the collision of the Transistor and his right arm's shielding brace. Her teeth gritted as she pressed onward against him. Her eyes bored into his as he struggled, his raised right arm quivering with effort as he pushed back against her. Avignon's gaze flashed to the spot where his left arm clutched his gored left side. His exertion made even the rain lose the race to wash pouring blood away. In an instant, the swordsman broke their metallic embrace to swing her weight into a punishing round kick. The top of her boot smashed brutally against his side-clutching hand, drawing a cry from him.

    She did not delay. Calloused fingers viced around the Transistor's hilt before she brought it fatefully back around into his neck. Like razors, slices of magnetic gold swing their momentum through the flesh of the front of his throat, the rest of the blade halted by bone. The man crumpled in an instant, his twisted gurgles barely audible above the rain as he thudded to the earth. Clouded eyes rolled up to meet her own.

    "You'll regret this," came the telepathic promise, and Avignon couldn't help the smug smirk that tugged at her lips. He'd already been so weak when she'd found him--almost so much that she might have been able to feel bad about finishing him off. But Avignon was never one for an honor code, and it was the strong who survived by the weak. For a while, though, she stared down at his body, considering. Weathered and bloodied, he'd looked older, but she saw then that he was barely a man. He was more of a boy.

    Soft snort burst from her nostrils. She shook herself from her thoughts. Fingers reached for his collar, gripping tightly as she dragged him back toward her temporary shelter.

    Last edited by K'sariya; 09-30-18 at 07:05 PM.

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  9. #18
    URPG Staff VeloJello's Avatar
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    YA GIRL FINALLY GOT OFF HER BUTT. Tysm for patience. <3

    First Impression.
    I had a whole joke thing about how I didn’t read your PXFire grade for this piece… until I realized it wasn’t made for PXFire at all. Oh well, live and learn?

    I’m gonna sound clinical when I say this, but this is a very, for lack of a better word, convincing photomanipulation. It doesn’t look like a single photograph, but it’s still a coherent whole. My eyes won’t let me believe this is a picture someone took, but it’s an extremely successful collage of photos. So let’s talk about why this unbelievable picture of many pictures works so well!

    Technical Quality.
    There’s several reasons why everything here works together. First off, all of the elements are integrated, with attention given to how all of the elements interact in a hypothetical space. This is most evident with our friend “Torterra”. You’ve altered the color balance of your tortoise model, covering it with a base green hue and bringing forth all the greens that were already present in its picture. Because Torterra is in an environment that’s dominated by greenery, this makes it seem like part of that world. The light that falls on the clusters of white flowers comes from a bright light source to the viewer’s right, and Torterra has been shaded to match. There’s even bounce lighting on the viewer left side of Torterra’s shell, which shows that the green light that the leaves reflect is hitting Torterra’s shell where it’s in shadow. That’s some great attention to detail! Bounce lighting is often forgotten, but it really helps subjects pop into focus, in addition to helping them fit better into their environment by showing how the light around them affects them.

    Torterra is also surrounded by flora, which makes sense for the Continent Pokemon. The little tufts of grass and leaves that overlap its body show that it is capital-”I” In this lush forest. While I like the overlap of the leaves, I’m not sure that the grass tuft on our left is completely necessary. It isn’t inherently a bad thing to add, but nearly all of the blades of grass in this tuft are of the same length. This would be good for a scene involving a well-manicured lawn, but it’s much less suitable for a scene of an untamed forest. The grass also stands on plain brown ground, which makes it seem even more out of place. It’s a small detail, but photomanipulation is one of the less forgiving media in terms of tricking the eye into believing what it’s seeing. Stuff that sticks out like this is jarring to the viewer and makes it harder to focus on the glorious beauty of the rest of the art.

    The blurs you’ve added in various parts of this piece are a double-edged sword, in terms of both visual quality and verisimilitude. On the one hand, blurring everything that’s not on the same depth plane as Torterra makes this look like a photo with a real depth-of-field that Torterra (plus a few of the flowers) is sitting on. It also makes Torterra stand out in an otherwise-busy image, since its body and tree are sharply detailed to contrast the gently blurred flora on the forest floor. However, there are some cases where the blur backfires. There’s a big leaf on our right that’s fairly blurry, but the outer contour is still sharp, which is jarring just because it’s difficult for the eye to understand. This is a case of fine detail - taking a small-brush blur tool to the outer contour would be necessary to correct this. It’s the sort of polish that helps the viewer not to see the “seams” in your work, so to speak. The brighter white flowers are also sharpened a bit more than necessary, which makes them look jagged and less organic. You’ve used blurring and sharpening as a tool pretty well for the most part, but there are still a few problem areas that could use revision.

    Colors and Values.
    This piece is one big grand-slam of green. While most of the greens are of roughly similar hue, there’s a huge range of values that breaks up the green and makes it so that the emerald flood doesn’t drown out the viewer. Torterra takes advantage of this majority-green background to stand way out, with its yellow-gray-green body standing in contrast to the bright leaves beside it. The high variation of values, including the big expanse of black that you added to the Torterra’s belly, prevents it from being drowned out by the raucous flurry of foliage. And I love the pick you made for Torterra’s tree. It doesn’t look like a Torterra’s normal tree, to be sure, but the flowers are very effective and I’m always up for remixes on Pokemon designs so long as they don’t actively detract from a work and the Pokemon stays recognizable. And to be clear here, these flowers definitely aren’t a demerit. The bonsai is filled with pink flowers, and because these are the only points of pink in the whole work, it really makes Torterra’s tree - and the Torterra attached to it - pop out. There’s also just enough pink in there so that the tree seems unified in and of itself. It would be a very different matter if there were just one or two bright pink flowers peeking out. But instead, there’s a great balance of pink and green. I also notice that you put some green moss on the bonsai tree, which helps the brown bark of the tree to blend in with Torterra’s greener scheme as well as making it look like an ancient creature of the forest.

    There are places where your very dark values are successful. Torterra’s darkened belly helps Torterra to stand out, and the darkness of the background helps the middle-and-foreground elements to really shine. However, there’s a major area where the shadows don’t work out as well. The background on our left is very dark. There’s also a very dark section of Torterra’s underbelly that bleeds into this dark patch of background, and the bonsai is very dark on that side. This lack of contrast bogs down the eye, getting the viewer lost before their eye gets to the rest of the piece. Providing a thin line of shell, especially with that nice bounce lighting you have, would free the turtle shell; simply lightening that side of the tree while still keeping it darker than the right side of the tree would be good way to keep contrast up while still showing some darker values.

    Otherwise, you’ve done a great job with your value range. The brightest white flowers could stand to be toned down just a little bit, but otherwise the background has plenty of different values in it to keep the eye entertained, and the Torterra and its tree have a broad range of tones that decisively distinguish it as the focal point of this piece.

    I have one major problem with your Torterra’s color scheme: it just doesn’t really say “Torterra”. Torterra has a color scheme with strong browns and bright greens, as well as areas of gray. Your Torterra looks like a gray-green animal existing in a green environment. This doesn’t make for a bad image, but it doesn’t match with Torterra. The middle plate of your Torterra’s shell is pretty grayed-out, which matches canon Torterra’s gray hexagonal shell pattern, but the rest of the colors don’t match. The color divergence works on Torterra’s tree where it acts to catch the eye, but it would have been possible to add Torterra’s colors to its body while still maintaining the color scheme of your whole piece. Your Torterra’s legs and face could be tinted to a brown of a similar reddish hue and saturation as the dirt that surrounds it; even a small tint among all of the green surrounding it would really make the brown areas stand out. The Torterra’s shell could be a bit brighter green to really accentuate the fact that this isn’t just a turtle with a tree on its back, it’s the Continent Pokemon we know and love.

    Composition and Flow.
    There’s good and bad focus-related stuff here, some of which I’ve already touched on. On the one hand, Torterra is an animal with a face that the eye will focus on naturally; it sits at the depth of field, making it less blurry than the leaves and flowers that surround it; the tree on its back is covered in bright pink flowers where it’s surrounded by a green, black, and white world. These all naturally guide the eye toward Torterra. However, the point where the dark shading on Torterra and the shadows of the background muddies the eye a bit. Furthermore, the background on our right is very busy. Sharp spikes in contrast and a tremendous number of leaves and flowers fill the space, making it so that there’s something eyecatching throughout the whole image. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with a busy image so long as it flows well as a whole, as this one does. However, for a left-to-right-viewing viewer, the riot of leaves on our right can get distracting.

    Part of the issue is that Torterra is pushed a little bit far to the viewer’s left. We’re greeted by Torterra right away. After the viewer is done looking at Torterra, they’ll move on to the background, where there’s pretty flowers but not much substance to fix on. On a hunch, I copied this image and flipped it horizontally. It’s still somewhat difficult to get to Torterra because of the busy background, but with Torterra on the viewer’s right it’s the last thing the viewer sees, so there’s less of that “anticlimactic” feeling. This is a very beautiful image, and Torterra is clearly the focal point, but because Torterra is both pushed far to the side and on the viewer's left, the viewer doesn’t really have “time” to soak up all of Torterra and ends up adrift in the flowers when we’re done looking at it. Simply pushing Torterra a bit closer to the center would help fix this issue. With Torterra closer to the middle, there will be a bit of build-up for the viewer to look at before they get to the work’s main point. Of course, if you also wanted to try coming at this with Torterra on the right, that might also help the issue of lingering eye. The image as a whole is quite beautiful to look at, but the flow could stand to be improved so that the viewer is focused on the focal point.

    Conclusion.
    Something something I did a lot of deliberation because, as we all know, I am a creature of indecision. As this is a photomanipulation, I have to push back a little harder than normal. That said, the rank is helped by the nearly-seamless assimilation of the photos and the effort you’ve put in to make that happen. In the end, I settle on a Medium rank, earning you $10,000. This is an incredibly good photomanipulation despite its (relatively few) weak points, but there’s a major issue: this Torterra just doesn’t resemble a Torterra. While I recognize the inherent difficulty of grafting spikes onto a turtle’s face and carefully coloring small areas of limbs and shells, a Pokemon’s gotta look like what it’s meant to be for the best possible grade. Keep on using amazing color palettes, clever photo tricks, and great shading! Watch out for those killer details, keep your Pokemon on brand, and make sure your subjects stay in focus. And enjoy your money!
    Last edited by VeloJello; 09-29-18 at 05:26 PM.

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