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Double Barrel Critiques

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Well, someone's got to take the plunge! Here's what I've got: https://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/86375-rigel-sculpts-a-plug-ugly-pulp-crook/

The proportions are purposefully cartoonish. The crowbar hand was taken from EL DIABLOOOOOOOOOO the Luchador and needs some bulking up.
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More views if you want 'em: 

Spoiler

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Here's the big fella after a lick of liquid green stuff and a bit of paint:
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 I'm just getting started, primarily sculpting to turn hard-to-find ideas into reality. No delusions of being a professional, but do want to improve my skills. @Rainbow Sculptor has already offered some excellent advice on the hands and the sack of loot. 

Other things I feel vaguely dissatisfied by but either can't pinpoint the problem or don't readily see the solution:

-hands
-face needs something, but what? Smoother mask? Smoother features? More jaw? Less?
(The cauliflower ears are a feature of this guy's life, not a bug though.)
- level of detail on the shoes is incongruous with detail on other features
-fingerprints and extraneous crannies?

 

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10 hours ago, Rigel said:

Well, someone's got to take the plunge! Here's what I've got: https://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/86375-rigel-sculpts-a-plug-ugly-pulp-crook/

The proportions are purposefully cartoonish. The crowbar hand was taken from EL DIABLOOOOOOOOOO the Luchador and needs some bulking up.
 

More views if you want 'em: 

  Reveal hidden contents

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DSCN6528.thumb.JPG.8f736df66953a768c9d632e632a5bb0d.JPG

 

Here's the big fella after a lick of liquid green stuff and a bit of paint:
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 I'm just getting started, primarily sculpting to turn hard-to-find ideas into reality. No delusions of being a professional, but do want to improve my skills. @Rainbow Sculptor has already offered some excellent advice on the hands and the sack of loot. 

Other things I feel vaguely dissatisfied by but either can't pinpoint the problem or don't readily see the solution:

-hands
-face needs something, but what? Smoother mask? Smoother features? More jaw? Less?
(The cauliflower ears are a feature of this guy's life, not a bug though.)
- level of detail on the shoes is incongruous with detail on other features
-fingerprints and extraneous crannies?

 

 

Alright, let's do this!  

 

First Barrel

  1. Overall, your anatomy is good.  The muscles are in the right places and appropriately exaggerated for the subject matter
  2. Pose is good, meets the subject matter and expectations for the character
  3. Level of detail is good
  4. You made the head separate, that is smart, especially when starting out.
  5. You are sculpting your face in one go, that is important

 

 

Second Barrel

  1. Too many finger prints and rough/uneven putty spots
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  2. Details, while there, are not sharp and clean.
    image.png.b2959384d111478eb0584c417a3686f6.png 
    Notice how the belt bulges out where you pressed the tool in to make the belt loops, and also how rounded the edges of it are.  You see the same bulging on the pocket stitching and, pretty much anywhere you cut in details.  This is a property of GS that takes some time to learn to deal with, but crisp edges and details are essential.
     
  3. Uneven details, bilateral symmetry  is very important when called for.  In this case your back pockets are a good example, being different sizes.  Makes the OCD itch. ;)
  4. His leg is broken. The red line shows where your bones are going.  The blue shows  where it should go.
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  5. Face is not great, but not horrible.  It is a good start that we can work from

 

 

Things to Work On/Keep in Mind

So, what can you do about it.  First, I wouldn't try to fix everything at once.  Let's pick a few things you can tackle/practice that will make a big impact as you move forward from here.

 

1. Get a cork or screw block to hold you minis.  In reading your WIP post, the number one thing you need to do is stop trying to sculpt a mini that you are holding with your fingers.  This way lies madness.  Sink the armature wires into a cork or secure them in a screw block and only touch the mini itself with tools you are sculpting with.

 

2. Get it smooth, and keep it smooth.  Do not focus on what the final details will look like, but focus on the form and function of the sculpt at all levels.  Build your structures smooth and even all the way from the ground up. Also, use clay shapers to smooth things and a burnisher to blend new putty onto hardened putty
 

For example:  This for me would not be a stop spot, but the start of an 30 minute session of shaping and smoothing:

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Into something like this:

 

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Note that this is not finished, the skin of the creature went over the top of that yet as a 1 mm thick layer.  Now, did I really need to add the striations in the pecs and deltoids, no, I was playing with anatomy at that point.  But the completeness of the the underlying structures allow your detail layers to be clean, sharp, smooth, and precise.

 

(I would recommend going back to the Chaos Toad write-up and pay attention to the underlying structure details in those sculpts.)

 

3. Slow down and build your underpinning.  I would never have gone from this:

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to this:

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That much wet putty makes everything squishy and hard to control.  Build your anatomy first, let it harden, then add the boots and jeans over the top of that as a 1 mm layer of putty, you will solve 75% of your issues with the soft details right there. (Though I am impressed with how good the anatomy of that thigh is, especially with the wrinkles.)

 

4. Break things like belts into parts.  You got the buckle done well, just need to sharpen the details by going over them several times.  The belt loops I would have added after the belt hardened as little strips of putty.  Then you could make them look more natural.

 

5. Make your armatures from 2 wires twisted together with the twist on the spine, leaving the arms and legs single wires.  That would have solved your "broken" leg issue as it was the twist in the leg wire that got you there.

 

6. Faces.  You are going about it the right way.  What you need is simple practice.  Taking a face class by Derek Schubert at ReaperCon would also be VERY helpful if you can.  That said, the biggest issue I see with your face is that you got too flat too fast.  Start out with the face as more of a vertical wedge.  As you sculpt, it naturally gets pushed in, so you need to start with it pulled out a bit.  Also, once you get a good face, let it harden before you try to add ears, hair, and other head details.

 

That's all for now.  I hope it doesn't sound too harsh.  If it helps, know that I wouldn't have spent my whole lunch hour on this if I didn't think you had the chops to be great at this.  

 

Andy

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Thanks so much! Great advice, much wanted. Definitely not too harsh, wouldn't have posted if I didn't think I could take it.

I'll see what I can do about the belt and pockets first. Whittling should help, and I'll try the add-flat-straps way next time I need to do a belt. 

 

No lie on the handling leading to madness and on thick putty wads being difficult to control! I'll have to get denser cork or clamp the next armature. (Which *will* be twisted just at the spine!)

 

Thanks again for the encouragement and advice, and I appreciate the time you took!

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Hey! I'm glad to see your post in here, I think you are on a good track and I'm excited to see you apply the things you learn here and grow as an artist! I left what I call a "soft critique" on your other thread because (as Andy stated in the start of this thread) I wasn't sure how much you wanted or could handle. I'm going to offer some more in depth critique here and I'll try to not repeat much but offer a different perspective. So much of learning to sculpt is trial and error, time, patience, and experience and everyone starts somewhere. That said, as a beginner you are doing great! Okay, onto the main event...

 

First Barrel

1. You had a clear character concept, found appropriate reference to draw from, and were able to pin point specific elements to include in order to effectively communicate the character. (things like the shirt that was too short, the mask, the cauliflower ear)

2. Your armature was able to support the bulk of the character you had in mind and your anatomy measurements were solid. (Things like: Where do elbows, hands, etc. fall on the body? Are your knees symmetrical?) 

3. You have a good balance between larger and smaller shapes throughout the figure. (Things like: Bigger round belly but smaller pectoral muscles. Big thighs adjacent to smaller belt/buckle details)

 

Second Barrel

1. Anatomy needs some cleaning up. I won't harp on this one because I think this was sufficiently addressed already. You clearly have an understanding of placement and muscle groups already and obviously you wanted exaggeration so I think you did well. Working in more layers and being more meticulous about symmetry will help you master this. I have a physical therapy textbook I often reference for tricky anatomy but even just finding some good color coded breakdowns will help you place shapes correctly. 

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2. Shape Language.  I go over this much more extensively in my Character Design course at ReaperCon and I'm happy to help/answer any questions if you want to start tackling this more in depth but for now here's a simple infographic I created for general associations of shapes/colors. Reference this when your character designing and try to repeat the shape/s throughout your design that best communicate the character. 

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3. Compositional Flow. I'm getting into some pretty advanced topics here for approaching character design and sculpting as an art form. Talespinner covered technical skills and practical implementation really well so I'm addressing issues you can begin to apply to your sculpts going forward. You want to think about what the important elements of your figure are, where they fall on the figure, and what the visual flow is to those spots. Taking this guy as an example: You have his masked face, the money bag, the crowbar, and his gut. These are the primary communicators of the character. Let's look at the visual flow you currently have....

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 We enter the figure visually at the head ( a natural place to begin and your main communicator so well done here) then, due to the direct vertical structured line so close to that point (the crowbar) we follow that to the hand. Ok, still doing good, it's maybe not the second most important thing about him but it's still a major element. Then we follow the flow of the arms up and around to the money bag, (would've been better to hit second but that's okay). Then we are immediately drawn to the detail and structured horizontal of the belt back to the hand and back up and around again. This means that there is nothing leading our eye down to the bottom half of the figure. You can improve on compositional flow by narrowing down what your main components are going to be (Odd numbers are better, just how our brains work) and placing them around the figure being careful to not cluster them. 

 

I know I got a little in depth there and might have been more than what you were looking for but hopefully it helps. I can't wait to see your next sculpt!

 

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Thank you @Rainbow Sculptor! I appreciate it. The compositional flow advice is something I had not even thought about. What I'm picking up is that a really well-planned sculpt will draw the eye in a smooth series to at least something on each major area of the sculpt...is that correct?  If I redid him with the crowbar angled down,  that might draw the eye better to the lower half. 

The Shape Language pointers I'm finding a little more difficult to parse. Is the idea that the overall silhouette should be echoed in the components of the figure, i.e., round characters have round accessories and faces, etc.? Or to convey the themes of the character through geometry--or both? 

I want the guy to communicate primarily power and menace, but as a very close second the sort of tuba-soundtracked buffoonery that makes him easily outwitted/tricked/circumvented; a punch-clock sort of villain, kind to children and animals on his day off. Hoping the square shoulders communicate the first and the round belly and underdeveloped bow-legs do the second...so maybe a broader, more squared-off jawline and a rounder nose would reinforce those elements in the face? (Or a more blocky nose and a double chin, perhaps?) Or would different shapes do that better?
The infographic you posted is excellent for heroes; are there similar negative connotations for the shapes and colors? He's mostly character flaws.

I've fixed the loot sack and the calf side of the crooked leg so far, and evened out the back pockets and parts of the belt. Yay progress! And thanks so much.

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@Rigel first question, are you coming to ReaperCon? If so I teach a character design class which goes over all of these things and much more and that's a great setting for communication all of this. If not, no worries, I will continue to do by best to share what I can on this platform. 

 

There is a lot to the topic of composition and creating good flow but you seem to be understanding the basics and creatively problem solving and that's super awesome! I think lowering the crowbar to draw the eye through the figure is a great solution for this figure!

 

As far as the shape language goes, both. You want to repeat your chosen shapes both in overall silhouette and to enhance the themes. You've really helped me here. The infographic I put in my original critique was not written specifically with characters in mind and altering it to include character archetypes/traits for a good reference will be useful I think. Generally speaking angles (triangles/V's/pointy components) read as villanous. Squares would imply strength, stability, and more of an immovable force than I think you're trying to portray. So I would combine downward Vs and round shapes for this particular character. The big bulbous nose and rotund belly are a great starter.

 

If I were designing this guy I would shorten the legs to indicate the lack of dexterity and liken him more to a primal ape animal to downplay his intelligence. I would round the jaw, have the arms more soft than muscley but not lose size. Keep the roundness in mind when sculpting the things like the money bag and even pockets. You could emphasize the downward Vs in places like the brow ridge, the sling on the belt (dip it down in the center to create a V), either make the t shirt a V neck or round it out. I'm sure there are more places but just looking for opportunities to work those shapes into the different elements and into the overall design will help create cohesion and communicate personality traits in a subtle way. Here's a similar character I designed where I was using a lot of round shapes but wanted him to feel strong and intimidating. It might help to analyze this one to see where I'm using repetitive shapes and how I've constructed the Composition to draw the eye where I want you to look, what the key components of the figure are, and where I'm repeating shapes throughout the figure to create cohesion. 

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I'm really happy y'all decided to go through with this!! I will always request critiques from you two because I know y'all give me real responses, so the other critics can consider that a continued open invitation on my threads. :) 

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It's great stuff, and wonderful to get the advice of Those Who Know! Sorry I haven't been posting much recently. Made a good bit of progress, reworked the face, worked on symmetry and smoothing, trimmed lots of edges.  Scalpel is getting a workout. I'll post progress in the original Sculpting thread until I think I'm at a place where I've implemented all the changes needed, so as not to clog this thread. 

For anyone else sculpting, this Double Barrel is WELL worth your time!
 

On 6/8/2019 at 9:43 PM, Rainbow Sculptor said:

@Rigel first question, are you coming to ReaperCon? If so I teach a character design class which goes over all of these things and much more and that's a great setting for communication all of this. If not, no worries, I will continue to do by best to share what I can on this platform. 

Sadly, I don't think ReaperCon is in the cards for me this year, though the class lineup makes me drool. You're doing fantastic with communicating (and I absolutely love that SailOrc!)

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So, question. I love this thread, like I think it's the best thing since Perry The Platypus. Would it be ok for me to post armatures here for help with those?

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37 minutes ago, Loim said:

So, question. I love this thread, like I think it's the best thing since Perry The Platypus. Would it be ok for me to post armatures here for help with those?

 

Sure!

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I'd love to get in on this, if I may? I dig it if I'm too new around here.

I've got two in this post, only because I'd posted them both together. Totally cool if you'd like to focus on one - it's great that y'all are willing to spend time on such critiques at all and I don't want to abuse your good nature.

With the battlerager dwarf, Aldin, I tried to capture his expression and full-body tension as he goes into a rage.

Albrecht, the human, is a haughty divination wizard who masquerades as a fortune teller and uses that role to his own ends. I aimed for aloofness in his pose and bearing, and hinted at his chicanery with crossed fingers behind his back.

I've got other angles I can post if you'd find it helpful, or progress pics.

Thanks!

Original Post: https://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/87100-my-first-two-finished-minis/
 

On 7/4/2019 at 7:58 AM, CivilDungeoneer said:

They're mottled because I was trying out different mixtures of putties, trying to figure out what suits my purposes best. I have a good bit of sculpting experience from a former job (not at this small scale) and am more used to an add-then-refine method, rather than having to get it just-so because the materials don't like being sanded or carved. Once I got some Aves Apoxie Sculpt, I became much more hopeful.

Here's Aldin Peaksplitter, a Dwarven battlerager who doesn't wear armor and likes to fight hand-to-hand, and Albrecht Glasser, a human divination wizard who masquerades as a fortune teller.

The funny bit between Aldin's left thigh and elbow is just a vent for casting purposes. I did make a mold of him because I wanted to submit photos of nice primed castings, but it hit a snag and I didn't have time to redo it before the deadline. With Albrecht you can see some copper armature in places - I thought I'd found a good way to negate some of my Procreate frustrations in the armature phase, but it went awry. Once I learned of the program I wanted to apply for, he was too far along to start over, so I made do.

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Hi all.

 

This is an amazing idea, it is always hard to find good criticism and good criticism is how we get better.

 

So a little bit about this sculpt, I had been doing almost all 28mm and decided that I would like to do something a bit bigger, this guy 54mm to the eyes. In my wanderings around the internet, I collect artwork that I think looks cool and would like to sculpt. I found this picture by ZsoltKosa and as Sculptember was coming up I thought I would try and do it in 30 days. 

 

It's done in polymer clay, I can't remember if it was Beesputty, Supersulpty, Fimo or a mix of some of them. I was going for more of an art piece, as opposed to a wargaming one, that would be fun to paint.

 

I'm looking forward to hearing what you guys think.

 

Ketil

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