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Thread: Deep Sea Diving

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    Default Deep Sea Diving

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    Re-posting for capture of this cute little lapras

    Was last posted in Bulbagarden on 25th Oct 2017
    Last edited by GhostlyGlaceon; 03-04-18 at 10:22 AM.

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    Super Moderator URPG StaffAce Member ModeratorSuper Moderator Elrond's Avatar
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    Hi Ghost,

    I apologize for the wait, but I'm going to have to un-claim this picture. It's clear that I don't have the time to complete this curation, and it's not fair to you for me to keep it claimed. Luckily, other curators have been quite active, so you should be in good hands!
    Last edited by Elrond; 05-01-18 at 06:51 AM.

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    Steel Soul Design TeamURPG Staff K'sariya's Avatar
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    I'll go ahead and claim this, hopefully can get it knocked out soon.

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    Steel Soul Design TeamURPG Staff K'sariya's Avatar
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    Hey, Ghost! Sorry for the wait—curation muse has been a little low while I’ve been juggling staff/invitational things.

    So I want to start off with the fact that it’s been great to watch your art grow over time. You’ve developed a lot more of a sophisticated sense of color and shading. I think now it’s time for you to develop the next step in your art that will really make an awesome difference:

    Finding your own sense of form!

    You’ve got a great start on the beginnings of form—you’ve learned how to try to define shapes with shadow, to make them look like they’re 3D objects in space rather than flat cut-outs. But one thing I’ve noticed that you struggle with is being familiar enough with form of your subjects to create your own poses with them.

    It’s been mentioned before, and I can’t put it any better than our lovely own VeloJello already explained to you on your Starmie work. You can revisit that critique here, because she explained perfectly, in my opinion. The resource she gave you for referencing is great, too. I’d give it a shot.

    After a very brief Google Images search, I found the pose that you used for this here.

    As Velo said in her critique on your other work that had a similar issue, while you transcribed it pretty well and it looks nice, the fact that it’s copied from another artist without changing anything sours it a bit. However, since you’ve already done this, I’ll brush on how well you pulled this off. The parts that you didn’t hit the mark quite as well on are around the head. Yours’ head is tilted more to its right side more than the original. This effect is caused mostly by two things: the width of the top of the skull and the width of our right side of the jaw’s beige coloring.

    You got the width behind/to the left of the horn pretty well (though, look at the two lines that disappear behind the horn—they don’t line up how they should arc with the skull), but notice how much space is between the right side of the horn and the eyes in the original. That space is what helped the skull seem round and full in the original. On yours, the eye is up by the top center of the skull. Giving the eye a bit more room by widening the skull would help define the curve of the skull more!

    One of the ways you probably lost room on that skull is due to the width of the beige jaw coloring, though. Notice how narrow of a slice of the beige you see on the original—that’s because the jaw coloring is only on the lower jaw and Lapras’ undersides, so with the head tilted mostly upward and forward, you would only see a small bit. Yours is much wider. Thinning that up and overlapping more of the Lapras’ blue onto that would have helped free up a lot more room for the features.

    Other small things on the head are the shapes of Lapras’ little flourishing curls that are nested on its head. Our back left one’s shape is dented in considerably at the top left, which interrupts the realism of the rounded shape. On our right one, the inner curl is fully vertical, unlike the original’s, which has that inner curl tilted out to the right a little. This is because the curls protrude upward from that point on Lapras’ skull in its anatomy, so when it’s tilted at an angle, you’ll see it skewed a bit more to the right since the inner curl is a little further than usual.

    The curve of the neck also seems your Lapras seem a little more dainty and a little less strong. The original has a more shallow curve, to show a sturdier neck, but yours arcs more sharply at the left side, where it joins the top of the skull. Watch these angles—sometimes even the most subtle of shifts can give a completely different perception.

    Overall, though, you got the other areas nicely. You re-imagined the tail and back legs into a believable shape where they were hidden on the original, and the same goes for the top of the shell.

    Let’s move onto your shading. Underwater scenes can be difficult—the way light refracts in water creates strange shadows and light patterns. Let’s start at the water’s surface. This is something that I think you did really well for your medium! The dark blue and lighter blue striping is just regular enough to create a pattern, but also just irregular and random enough to seem fittingly amalgamous. I appreciate that you also made this happen with two shades of blue that aren’t that far from each other; that was a great feat!

    Your small smattering of white might need a little bit of clarification. The brightness of the Lapras and the landscape objects made me think that this was a daylight underwater scene. In that case, that one blotchy spot of white wouldn’t be fitting—the brightness would be dispersed among the stripes also, with a brighter point like you have where the sun/brightest refraction might be. After thinking about and looking at it for a while, I realized that with the rest of the water being deep blue and dark, it could be a night underwater scene, but the rest of the lighting doesn’t match it. Your diagonal sun rays also don’t only emanate from the white spot—there are some on the left that radiate from the darkness beside it.

    Moving down, you have some nice shading on the background objects. The lumpy rocks (I believe) on the left have great shadows that define the different horizontal ridges in a way that’s great in its subtlety! The yellow, large sponge/coral-y figure on the right has some beautiful gradation in shading. It looks like you just used yellow, and you pulled off that bright color really well—yellow is naturally really bright, but you’ve managed to create good contrast between the light and shadows on that rock.

    The fern-like corals and the thin ones beneath also seem to have some nice shading. For how thin the fern is, you still managed to give it a bit of depth through some lighter and darker parts—I think. The tops of the wavy thin ones at the bottom have a weird white, weird in the way that it reminds me of the way wax/graphite/etc. glares under the right light. I’ll admit that I don’t know which one it is—a nice touch of shading or a glare—but either way, it works in your favor!

    The most lacking part of your background is the rounded green form at the bottom right. Some more detail on this would have really helped define it—it it thin-cropped sea grass? Moss? The direction of its coloring and some very slight jagged edges make it look like some sort of grassy patch. Taking a bit more time to spread some darker greens into those details would help define what it is, and also make it stand out less, as it’s one of the only things without shading.

    One of the ways that copying another artist’s pose for the Lapras really hurt you is on the shading. You’ve copied the lighting on the original almost exactly, without taking into account the new environment you placed it in. With the way you’ve set up your light sources, your Lapras should be lit quite drastically from behind and above, or at the very least from above, but you only have the same sparse shadows of the original.

    Notice the beautifully dark shadow that you have on and beneath the yellow rock, and on the purple and blue forms on the left. That dark contrast in light and shadow should be mirrored on your Lapras, also. It would also really help define the scene, where I mentioned earlier that I had trouble discerning if it was day or night—the surface said night, but the unshaded Lapras was far too bright to be anything but vaguely day.

    Moving forward, I would definitely try to go back over with some darker shading on the Lapras’ undersides. If your scene is nighttime underwater, darkening even the lighter portions a little would also help give the feel, but preserve them if it’s daytime underwater.

    Another small detail is the kind of pattern that the light casts on something underwater. Here is a good reference for both that, and the degree of contrast in shading I was referencing earlier. You’ve already got a great sense of it on your water’s surface. Subtly doing that same impression on the top of the Lapras with some highlights, even slightly, would really help submerge this water leviathan in reality!

    Something you’re also missing for the Complex rank is the requirement to portray the emotion of a scene. The original has great emotion thanks to the narrowed, forward-turned eyes and the stockiness of the neck; the Lapras looks fierce, determined, while the emotion with yours is a little less clear. The original’s irises are turned forward, as if it’s looking toward whatever it’s fiercely charging to, while yours is in the center, taking away that focused look. I think you can find a nice medium by trying the best that you can to color over a bit of the top side of the eye. This will narrow it a little more to give that same determined look without having to find some way to change the eye.

    I saw that you tried your hand with GIMP on another work recently. Remember that you could also try altering this digitally, if you can’t do it physically. You can use the clone tool to preserve the colored look while still using a strip of that to narrow the eyes a little. The same goes for some of the shading—even if you don’t have the work anymore, the image you have here is still a good one. For lighting, you could:
    • Open the photo in GIMP (or any similar program)
    • Create a new layer
    • Make your brush fuzzy (0% hardness) and approximately the size you want the shading to be
    • Select white or black for either highlighting or shading. For even a nicer effect, you could do the colors of your work—do a very light blue instead of white or very dark blue instead of black.
    • Brush on the blank layer where you’d like your shading.
    • Change the blending mode of the layer to soft light or overlay.
    • If the shading isn’t fuzzy enough, you can do Filter < Blur < Gaussian Blur to soften it up even more.


    You could also use this technique to create darker shadows to define the green object in the background, to create the texture of the water’s lighting on the lapras, etc. It’s a great tactic to use on almost anything! I think that this would be a great chance to both work on your GIMP skills, and also get this up to Complex.

    The guidebook guidelines for rank say that copied poses will begin to fail at Hard and above, but in general, the guidelines say that exceptional other qualities can create passing exceptions. Unfortunately, the other qualities of the work aren’t enough to bring it up to Complex. I know that the pose is something that you cannot change, and that’s okay, but I think you have great room for improvement in other areas that could bring it up to what you need:
    • Clarify the water’s surface. Is this underwater scene during the daytime or the nighttime? If it’s during the daytime, try to digitally scatter some more light portions into the water’s surface.
    • Give the Lapras more shading beyond the original artwork’s. This can be done on the work itself (if you still have it).
    • Mirror your great water’s surface patterning on the Lapras in some way to insinuate the light refracting onto it from above.
    • Define the green object at the bottom right some more. Is it moss, or is it grass?
    • Try to narrow the Lapras’ eyes to give it the determined emotion it needs to pass at this rank—or you can try some other way to give it some other sort of emotion that matches the scene.


    These are all great starting places in which we can try to re-evaluate the artwork from. Right now, however, this barely slides up to Hard rank only, and that’s mostly because of how nice your background techniques were. Copying the pose without changing nearly anything from the original hurt you a lot here, but you can try to recover from it by altering it from the original with light and shadow that places it properly in this scene.

    Out of curiosity, do you still have the original work? I ask because I know that it has been a while. I still think that you can accomplish some great changes digitally, but I just want to ask either way, just so I know how exactly far you can go in improving this.

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