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Cyradis

Demigoddesses Don't Wear Panties - Pic Heavy

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I think she looks lovely and you should be proud of the work that you put into her.

 

The pictures are very washed out and believe me, I know that struggle. The finger in the picture trick is something that I use myself for colour balance. Unfortunately the pants didn't work particularly well as a backdrop - both because they're too dark, which is what blew out the contrast, and also because they're too textured, so they caught the focus of the camera, which made the figure itself out of focus. I totally get it, taking pictures of miniatures is very difficult when you don't have the space to just leave up a full-on photo area. It has been one of my biggest struggles. My highest recommendation to you would be to get an app that allows you to select your own focus and exposure. There's a lot of jargon out there that I'm just never going to understand. But the Camera+ app (I think that's IOS only) lets me tap the screen to create a little box that I can drag around to choose where the camera will focus. If I tap the plus sign on that box, it also gives me a circle I can drag around to choose what the camera will base its exposure on, so I can select anything in the picture to balance it against, whether that is my finger, or something else neutral coloured. It also gives me a little bar that I can drag to increase or decrease the contrast. There are also a lot of functions in the app that I don't understand. But download all of the free camera apps you can and play around with them until you find one that you're comfortable using. Having a little more control and being able to drag things around to see what effect they'll have on the final picture in real time before you take the picture is invaluable. One other thing - make sure that the camera lens itself on your phone isn't smudged, I think that may have been part of your problem here as you tend to have a bit of a halo effect going on with your pictures and I've noticed that happens to me when I've forgotten to check the lens before I start taking pictures. On a camera we do a much better job of guarding the lens, but on a phone we tend to touch all over it without even realizing it.

 

I know it's a huge bother when photography just isn't your thing, but we have to remember that it's only through our pictures that most people will ever see our work, so it's worth it to do the best that you can. Anyway, I don't want to dwell too much on the photos, I know it's frustrating. I went back to look at some of your WIP pictures to give me a better idea of how the colours worked for you and to gather some more complete thoughts.

 

I agree with the WIP comment that the skin is too flat and your response to that was regarding the shading, but it's not just the shading that needs adjusting. When you paint a very light skintone, you need to be more aware of making sure there's a differentiation between the midtone and the highlight. IMO you started out too light and left yourself with nowhere to go with your highlight. When this happens it doesn't necessarily mean you have to start again, you can bring more colour in with targeted glazes. Out of context, the skin is too cold and on any other mini I would suggest bringing in more red or peachy tones to breathe more life into it, as it doesn't quite read as living skin IMO. However, in context with this particular miniature, I don't dislike the cold tone especially paired with the marble, however, IMO you would sell an "otherworldly" skintone more by being more aggressive with the colour of the skin. A nice light purple skin, for instance, would've been a nice purposeful nod toward otherworldly skin and would've made painting the sheer cloth easier.

 

Speaking of the sheer cloth, I applaud you for going all in on it. It's not an easy technique to pull off and too often people are too afraid to just dive right in to something new, so well done. I don't know that she was the right figure for a first attempt but I do think it was a pretty good first attempt. I think it's nearly there, but you're right, the wrinkles on the back worked against you because they made it very difficult to establish any other part of the dress to really shine as being sheer and I think having one more spot of strong sheerness would've sold it a lot better. Part of what made it not work as well as it could have was the skin colour combined with the blue cloth. Because you had this very white skintone and blue is generally highlighted up through light blue to white, there's not enough to differentiate between what was meant to be highlighted cloth and what was meant to be skin showing through the cloth. If you had a darker skintone that was more peachy or something like a purple skintone, that change would make it very obvious that you're seeing the colour of the skin through the cloth rather than just an aggressively highlighted rear end.

 

So for that rear end, because it comes across more as aggressive highlighting and because of the way the figure's face is tilted downward, her bum reads as the focal point of the piece. Maybe that's intentional and that's fine but, and I say this as someone who ADORES pinups, she's more than just her behind, she's the whole package. So it's great to highlight her, uh, assets, and that's certainly something desirable to do with a pinup style figure, but you also always want to lead the viewer's eye around the model, not just draw it to one spot, as nice as the sculpting of that one spot may be. Your thought process was right when it came to desaturating the book pile but you need to take that one step further and not just think about drawing the eye away from things, but also think about drawing the eye to the piece as a whole. An easy way to do that would have been to throw in a pop of colour like a magenta, orange or green in key spots around the figure. Typically you want to go for a triangle or a Z so your eye notices that colour in one spot and then realizes it's over in this other spot and then notices again that it's somewhere else and that forces it to move around the model and notice all of the other little details. The easiest way to implement that would've been to use the same colour for a book on either side of her and then use the same colour on the goggles or as the coloured feathers you did on the head wings instead of doing them in blue. Of course she's likely to be viewed from the side as well because of the design of the figure, so I would also probably have gone with that pop of colour either on the lacing of the sandals or another one of the books in the back to keep the eye moving. 

 

I've noticed both in the past and on this figure that you get a lot of texture built up on your figures and I'm not sure what's causing that but it's not normal. I know you've talked about past troubles with paint drying due to the dry climate. I'm noticing it especially in the chest and right arm area. I don't know what paint you used there, if it could be older paint, if it happens to be dryer paint or if it's a primer underneath the paint issue or if because you had so much skin to paint that particular paint sat for a long time on your palette and dried out some so it was thicker... I'm not sure so I'm not sure what suggestions to give, but if you ever have texture on a smoothly sculpted area, something has gone wrong. Just something to think about and figure out. But there's something about the way that your blends look that makes me think that maybe your paint is drying on your brush while you're applying it to the figure and so it catches instead of applying smoothly and if you do that enough times, it will start to build up texture. I can't say for sure, it's especially difficult to tell just from a picture, but maybe try rinsing your brush a little bit more often.

 

For the marble, I think you did a nice job with that. It's more successful on the floor than on the pedestal but the pedestal is a bit of an odd shape and contraption that confuses the eye - it's hard to sell a certain look when the viewer isn't really sure of what they're looking at. Maybe a slightly more aggressive marble pattern on the pedestal would help to sell it better, but the floor would've read to me as marble without you stating that was what it was meant to be, so well done there. 

 

There's not a lot of contrast on the feathers from what I can tell, but eh, I hate painting feathers. I think that the tan/cream/blonde colour you chose for them was a nice choice but would've been better with more oomph that higher contrast would've given you. Same thing with the claws, they're just kind of indistinct. 

 

Overall, I think it's a very aesthetically pleasing paintjob, I think you gave yourself a lot of tough challenges and overall I think you came away from it with a nice figure.

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Thanks, Guindy.

 

The photos have been a struggle even more since moving up north for some reason. This is first batch using a new photo-booth. The backdrop it came with was believe it or not, much more textured than the pants. Those were the smoothest and least reflective thing that I could find to get photos in the first place. I'd really like a super non-reflective no-texture backdrop, and should just take a trip to a camera shop to find something. My other option is construction paper, which is entirely too reflective. The lighting is brighter than I'd have liked and it definitely does wash it out; there are a variety of yellows to slight purples in there (low on mid-tones, but they are more present there than the lighting indicates). Might try taping some paper towels over the LEDs to dim them slightly. I'll give some photo apps a shot next time around. I hadn't thought of those previously.

 

Oddly, the sheer color choice was on advice of a Vince Venturella video. He recommended doing sheer with highly contrasting colors such as these. May have needed a warmer hue in there instead of cool, but general practice was to get the "different" part. The fine wrinkles on her back were definitely working against me for the method, which I didn't realize when I chose her for the method. Oh well, overall pretty happy. The skin is the Vampiric Skin triad, the Dusky Skin Triad, some Golden Skin, and Bruised Purple. I see the golden and the purples a lot more in person than on the washed out photos.

 

I disagree about an intense magenta. I think it would have thrown off the overall effect. I do a lot of bright colors usually, and didn't want to zonk this out with them. I did put the red books and bookmarks in there as a minor "lure", but they are mellow reds instead of intense. And there is the free-handing on the open ones, which helps. The brighter blues were left to the character (the goggles are a very intense blue that I had to pull down because they were distracting).

 

Feathers were deliberately a bit subdued, but they too got washed out. I went back and forth on shading them a bit. The angle of them is such that I found it tough to play with sharper contrast. I think they're a darker ivory color, shaded with a mix of khaki and dusky skin shadow, then highlighted up to linen white. Hit the shadow on the lower angled part a few times, highlighted it, went back.... etc. Subtle angle on them, so it shouldn't be crazy intense. I didn't want them to be screaming "look at me", just "she has pretty feathers". I tried putting patterns on individual feathers in blue, but that just looked cluttered. Put a few thin stripes in of an ivory color to texture them a bit but could have gone stronger on that perhaps. The blue central feathers worked better than blue patterns, but ivory patterns may have been okay. The cloth, blue feathers, blue goggles, and blue console painting are the parts meant to tie things together in general, although they are slightly different blues. There are some blue books, but they're blue-gray.

 

The marble was a first, and it was more intense initially. Perhaps it is the geologist side of me that cringed at it before I took the Nuln Oil to it. I had a more aggressive pattern on it, but it just seemed.... wrong. Marble shouldn't have a chunky brushed feel to it. The Nuln Oil smoothed out the geo-cringing.  My initial plan was to make the console thing a metal, but then I looked at her as a whole and it didn't seem right to make it metal. She didn't have any other metal around her, and the general feeling of the figure was "soft". Marble is a soft stone, both in hand and visually.

 

Paint texture: hit or miss. The back of the cloth is pretty smooth overall. The chest and right arm... not so much. A few spots on her right thigh got roughed during the second round of shading. This one the roughest part is her right arm. I struggled with that HARD. That part is not an easy joint to connect. It barely fit, and was super fragile. I ended up smoothing it with gloss varnish, and it was awkward. I don't think I did the best job of covering that, and then shading wasn't working right. Not sure why that arm got the brunt of the grit, but it did. The chest was simply hard to reach and manage a brush around due to posture, which threw me off. Her ankles also were nasty - those feet were separate!! Glued at the ankles, ACK! At this point, probably my bad on the not-smooth finish for the arm, not the climate. I'm not fighting the climate here like I was in CO. The Vampiric Skin was the more chunky of the paints; it is the paler one, and white pigments are tougher to glaze imo. The Dusky Skin Shadow and Bruised Purple thinned out and glazed amazingly smooth.

 

I'm not struggling with dry air nearly as much now that I'm on a coast, but I do have to work on not over-working a surface, either with paint semi-drying on the brush, or continuing to tweak a surface while it isn't fully dried. I end up with a little bit of peeling when I do that. Getting better, but not perfect yet. Somehow the Morihalda bust didn't get that on well, her bust. Smoothest thing I've painted. This one? Partial. The palette is fine. Not drying there anymore.

 

The last problem is one that I don't really know how to fix, at least where I'm living. I have a horrible lint problem. I work an area, and then a fleck of lint falls on my still wet surface. Or gets stuck in my brush. IT IS MISERABLE. I end up either not seeing it until it is stuck, or I drag it through what would have been a smooth blend. Bah! That one got the legs and the bum a few times. I have no ventilation in the apartment which is problematic. Lint accumulates a lot instead of being drawn through a vent. If I open a window, we don't have screens, and I've had leafs fall into my painting area.

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Photo for reference of the backdrop the little booth came with, for how awful it is and how improved the pants are. Still need better than pants as a backdrop but hey, improvement is improvement! That dotted pattern, gah!

20190919_185509.jpg

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I have no critique for such a wonderfully executed piece! I followed this one in progress and the final work is amazing. Cheers to you!

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16 hours ago, Cyradis said:

I'd really like a super non-reflective no-texture backdrop, and should just take a trip to a camera shop to find something. My other option is construction paper, which is entirely too reflective.

 

I have really good luck with craft foam. It is meant for kids to make stuff with. If you can’t find it locally I could send one rolled up in a tube. 

 

It is super smooth, I think it is less reflective than paper. 

 

Edit:

Here is a link to a post Doug made about using craft foam as a backdrop.

 

He recommends gray. It is inexpensive.  I think it was $1.50usd per 11x17 sheet the last time I bought any. Black, Tan, and Light Blue are other options. You can clean the lint away with rubbing alcohol. 

Edited by TGP

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4 hours ago, TGP said:

 

I have really good luck with craft foam. It is meant for kids to make stuff with. If you can’t find it locally I could send one rolled up in a tube. 

 

It is super smooth, I think it is less reflective than paper. 

 

Edit:

Here is a link to a post Doug made about using craft foam as a backdrop.

 

He recommends gray. It is inexpensive.  I think it was $1.50usd per 11x17 sheet the last time I bought any. Black, Tan, and Light Blue are other options. You can clean the lint away with rubbing alcohol. 

 

Thanks! There are some craft shops around here, including basic Michael's, so I may be able to find a foam without too much trouble. Gray would definitely help with the color balance woes. Alas, rubbing alcohol won't work to get rid of lint on backdrops like pants, and it can't purge my apartment of the stuff. But for the backdrop, yep!

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I have some experience with living in the north west climate, and dust tends to be really bad in the fall.  I'll change my furnace filter and then dust/Roomba repeatedly for a while.  I also noticed that I was getting fibers from the paper towel I was wiping my brush on, so I'm switching to a cloth for that.  

 

You might want to look into alternative glue options as well, since it sounds like assembly got you started on the wrong footing.  Not an expert on that, but I have some Darksword minis where assembly terrifies me.

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3 hours ago, LittleBluberry said:

I have some experience with living in the north west climate, and dust tends to be really bad in the fall.  I'll change my furnace filter and then dust/Roomba repeatedly for a while.  I also noticed that I was getting fibers from the paper towel I was wiping my brush on, so I'm switching to a cloth for that.  

 

You might want to look into alternative glue options as well, since it sounds like assembly got you started on the wrong footing.  Not an expert on that, but I have some Darksword minis where assembly terrifies me.

 

We don't have a furnace or filter at all. Old building heated by radiators. Our only ventilation is if we open the windows, and we're on ground level with no screens - junk blows right in. I may give sponges a try for dabbing my brush. Not sure if that will help. Paper towels can leave some flecks of stuff. 

 

The glue wasn't an issue; it bonded well enough. But holding the arm in position was really challenging, and the connections are super fine. I'd need some absurdly small pins to make it work with that. And since the connection is narrow and fragile, I worried about applying pressure and filing stuff nicely at the shoulder. Dark sword's assembly worries me less than these. 

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