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Thread: Help I'm Stuck!

  1. #1
    Mighty Power Nikki's Avatar
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    Default Help I'm Stuck!

    Thanks to Nina for the great suggestion

    This thread is for when you are making a piece and maybe need a helping hand with suggestions for how to finish it or improve it in any way.

    Please don't post more than 1 piece at a time, and allow for a few other members to take a turn before posting another piece.

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    and her haircut. Nina's Avatar
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    Well it's only fitting that I'm the first who is stuck since I wanted this thread.

    Okay here is the deal, it's a recurring problem for me that I can't make a wallpaper interesting, nothing jumps out and makes it special. I've this urge to give everything the same color to make it one nice coherent whole.
    I'm busy with this one right now for the "Working Girl" challenge:


    And as you can all see it's boring, with some coloring, text and small effects it can become slightly better but it will continue to be rather bland.
    Ideas how to give it more oomph? Or perhaps just sharing what you do with your wallpapers to give it that little bit extra?


    Thanks for any help in advance.

    edit:
    Tips are always welcome, but I did finish this wallpaper. For the result, see the 'Working Girl' thread.
    I want to thank everybody who helped me, all comments helped me.
    Last edited by Nina; 17-05-13 at 11:01 PM.

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    Hmmm I really love what you've got going here. My only suggestion would be to try to add a layer of a reddish/orange gradient & set the layer on Saturate, then erase away everything but her hair. You can play with the opacity as you need, to make her hair color be the bright pop of color against the grayish blues.

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    Library Researcher Destiny's Avatar
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    Hmm I have to say that I have the same problem a lot more often than I'd like So I can totally understand I like the simple composition with the nice edge-y stripes of blue and black lines at the bottom, it feels like it "breaks" the composition - in a very interesting way. To me it could use a little pop of light - there must be gazillion light textures out there, have you tried any of those? Or I have to say that Zugma's (I hope you don't mind me mentioning!) textures and stocks usually do the trick for me - with the inspiration and very often they are just what I'm looking for, that little piece of "ooomph" (the newest texture pack is posted on her tumblr here, I'm sure the older ones will be available on her LJ as well).
    Also what I really find helpful very often is using the caps of the movie the character is from as textures/stocks (I suppose it doesn't really have the be the same movie I just realised, somehow I just like to do it that way ) - if you choose the ones without people, very often there are interesting bits of light and shapes and buildings and places that make very interesting effects, and you've got quite a lot of space around Natasha to play with - I imagine a few thematic pictures might go down quite nicely (there are gorgeous Avengers screencaps and the bit where they go over the destroyed city, with the ruins and smoke at the end would fit very nicely in there around her. It wouldn't even have to be set on full opacity, some of the effects (darken? soft light/hard light?) might give you interesting angles - and it would relate to your theme, working girl, it is her work after all Also - a little splash of a reddish texture/brush over the finished composition behind her might go down nicely - you do wonders with Blackravell's and Krakograff's brushes and I think that the contextual meaning again ("red in my ledger") might work quite well.
    Either way - it looks lovely so far, don't give up!
    In the end, we all are who we are, no matter how much we may appear to have changed.


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    bewitching the mind Mara's Avatar
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    Hey guys! I am in need of help I've been working on this vector for a while now and now I am truly stuck and I don't want to throw it away cause it's like fifty layers already

    So does anyone have experience in making vectors? I have two problems going on right now I've been staring at this thing for sooo long and to me it is starting to look like Adele but I need fresh eyes to tell me whether it actually looks like Adele second problem is that I don't know how to make this vector 'come to life' so make it look less flat? is this achieved by adding more layers? I should add a LOT more layers but I don't know where and how at this point

    and last random question I am looking for a male victim to vector suggestions would also be greatly appreciated I am especially looking for a guy with curly hair and with an interesting face so like lots of shades and mabey not grey eyes (desperately trying not to sound like a dating add here...)

    Thanks in advance

    Original image



    Vector (far from finished I know)

    Last edited by Mara; 18-05-13 at 03:06 PM.
    Awesome Icon/Banner made by Bre

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    Library Researcher Destiny's Avatar
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    Alrighty, seeing as I am ears-deep in my pathology textbook and can't do any art at the moment I will at least take a stab at some help

    To your first question - I have to admit that to me it does not look a lot like Adele. I'm not sure why, I can't really put a finger on it, but I didn't see it first when I saw the picture and after finding out that it is meant to be her, I still don't see it However I'm not sure if that's wrong - it's incredibly hard to get faces right on vectors and this face looks very beautiful and well done. I think if you can move from the Adele idea (and trying to make it resemble her) it's a great job - the eyes particularly have lovely sharp lines and texture to them, you must've put a lot of work into that.
    Now for something to improve it - you need shades! Lots and lots of them Signe has an amazing tutorial on her website exactly on this, but if you don't have the time to have a look the basics are very simple - you just need to imagine where the natural shadows would be (I find that looking at the original picture is the easiest way to do it, simply because my brain is useless when it comes to imagining any kind of perspective anywhere ) and then you take a soft round brush and recreate these shades. I usually use the drop tool to select the colour of the vector and then just go to my colour palette and select a colour that is only a few shades darker (for body and clothes), or few shades lighter (lovely for hair, eyes and face).

    For example if you have a look at this one (first vector I've ever tried - it's miles away from perfect, but it's enough to demonstrate) - notice Angel's purple shirt, which was originally the plain purple you see around the buttons. Then I went and added darker shade of the colour around the creases and a lighter, almost pink shade in between. The same with his face - there's a basic nude colour, and then darker shade just below the hairline on his forehead and then lighter shades on the cheeks, nose and chin. It's difficult to do this from your head so I would suggest having a good look at your original image and then basically trying to follow the same pattern.

    Oh and as for the male victim () - just because I'm hopeless and any pictures of this guy are considered porn in my head no matter just how much clothes he has on I give you - Tom Hideously-Beautiful-Gorgeous-God Hiddleston! Have a look around in the photoshoots - he has a few of them with curly hair and smoldering eyes and even if you don't go for the curly hair, he is gorgeous in every single one of them

    Edit: After you posted the original picture I have to go back and say that if you play around with the shades on her face (especially the nose on the left side!) I think you're actually going to end up with a pretty true image of her! Somehow seeing it with the original image really does bring out the similarity and when you're done, I think it's gonna look really badass-ly cool
    In the end, we all are who we are, no matter how much we may appear to have changed.


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  12. #7
    and her haircut. Nina's Avatar
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    I know that I should wait until others posted something, but clearly I'm much more often stuck than others. And I know nothing of vectors, so I can't really help Mara. So I hope it's okay that I post a new wallpaper.



    or (if I remove one leayer)



    It obviously needs something, and I can't really figure out what. So what would you do with this? (It's just a Ben Barnes wallpaper, there is no big concept or story -anymore, it was supposed to be Sirius but don't feel like forcing a dog in there-.)


    Edit: Thanks I finished it.
    Last edited by Nina; 13-06-13 at 03:52 PM.

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    bewitching the mind Mara's Avatar
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    I like the second one better then the first the background on the first is too distracting for my liking but that's just me I think you could still make Sirius out of the second one if you want I wouldn't add a dog either but maybe a sort of fading black and white image of Azkaban? or some other reference to a prison?

    If I was making this I would definitely go the prisoner (of Azkaban) route for this one because with that light it looks to me like he is in some sort of confinement.

    Coloring wise maybe some more red to make him pop a bit? or you could show why Sirius would be in prison I am a big fan of the why of the wallpaper maybe add a green light in there to represent the killing curse? or some words like the conversation that Harry overhears in the third movie/book (Black was vicious he didn't just murder he destroyed) that quote

    I am just throwing idea's at you as they come while looking at that second wall One thing I would not change is the wonderful light you have on his face keep it the focus add some Azkaban background something and I think you have a really cool wall
    Last edited by Mara; 08-06-13 at 10:47 AM.

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    Hi Nina!

    Like Mara I like the second one better. My advice is to use some images in the background. Maybe a few of prisons, dark woods and full moon, so it would look like POA. It would really add a dark tone to the wallpaper, especially if you want to do a Sirius one.

    I hope you don't mind, but I tried something with your second wallpaper. Maybe you can make it look like this, or something close to it. Again in the end it's up to you. I like dark wallpapers


    All rights to this wallpaper I changed
    go to you of course, and shall not be used by me.


    Hopefully I helped you. And sorry for using your wallpaper without your permission (after you see it, if you request I would of course remove it from internet.).

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    Hello Nina, First I want to say that your wallpaper is gorgeous, if it was me I would just keep it where it is but, I have some couple of idea's to show you. Because the composition of the wallpaper is fantastic I love how your vocal image is looking up but what is he looking up at? and that's when my idea hit me!

    The top left corner when the radial light seems to start I would break it up in to lower case fonts "Times New Roman" with 9pt falling down from the top. I am really crap of explaining things so I draw it for you.
    Spoiler:
    So, I hope that helps you in some ways!

    And Also I love MARA AND SKY IDEA'S.
    Last edited by buffylover; 11-06-13 at 11:05 AM.

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    Hey all. I have just done this piece for one of the challenges and have had a specific problem with it that may be because of my newbie inexperience and lack of program knowledge so I thought I would canvass opinion/feedback. I've spoilered it for reference rather than put a thumbnail so it and the notes/pic are on the same page.
    Spoiler:
    Basically it is about the background. The contrast between the bright outside light/clouds/sky and the darker indoors screencap was really hard to try and get to balance overall. Placing it down into the corner just made it look too heavy and so I took an age playing about with gradients before I felt it was passable and the contrast was greatly reduced. But when I then tried to add texture to fade out the edges into the background (I wanted to keep the orange/blue as a technical option) it just hugely off balanced the whole thing. The issue became that the light/cloud/tree were easy to blend textures to, but not the bottom right picture as well. I'd done so much manip work on it that I didn't want to lose the details by creating a dramatic gradient effect, which would have made it easier to vary the shades and then, consequently, the edging. I'd already made myself accept the washed out gradient which matched it all a bit better at the cost of the colour depth/sharpness so I didn't want to do that instead and lose those finer details. It also started to look craaaazy busy with textures on top and extras right up to the edging because there was already soooo much going on in it anyway. So I ended up giving in. Or a more positive way of phrasing it would be to say I found peace with it, opting to keep it simpler/cleaner. That might be fine, but it felt like it might view as a more 'immature' piece because of that choice.

    So I wondered if anyone had any clever tips/thoughts about what could have been done, if anything? I'm not intending to change it, I've drawn a line on it, so I hope it is alright to post it here, it still seemed the best place to ask. I'd be interested if anyone else sees some clever solution.

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    Scooby Gang cil_domney's Avatar
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    I don't think it looks "immature" - I like the color qualities and I think it works with the interior scenes- it's hard to do hi-key images. Can't offer much on the tips since I don't work with this style of multiple images and blending but one thing that I do is copy section from the background or frame that I want to bring up or dim and layer them on top of each other and use the opacity levels to help with the final blend. If you have not tried this method play around with it and you can see how it works.

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  22. #13
    Where was I? ciderdrinker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    Basically it is about the background. The contrast between the bright outside light/clouds/sky and the darker indoors screencap was really hard to try and get to balance overall. Placing it down into the corner just made it look too heavy and so I took an age playing about with gradients before I felt it was passable and the contrast was greatly reduced. But when I then tried to add texture to fade out the edges into the background (I wanted to keep the orange/blue as a technical option) it just hugely off balanced the whole thing. The issue became that the light/cloud/tree were easy to blend textures to, but not the bottom right picture as well. I'd done so much manip work on it that I didn't want to lose the details by creating a dramatic gradient effect, which would have made it easier to vary the shades and then, consequently, the edging. I'd already made myself accept the washed out gradient which matched it all a bit better at the cost of the colour depth/sharpness so I didn't want to do that instead and lose those finer details. It also started to look craaaazy busy with textures on top and extras right up to the edging because there was already soooo much going on in it anyway. So I ended up giving in. Or a more positive way of phrasing it would be to say I found peace with it, opting to keep it simpler/cleaner.
    IMO there's 3 options to help with light and dark images.

    The first is the hardest to achieve and is not always possible depending on your theme of the piece but that's to choose images that are similar in brightness/tone etc. I know from what you said in the challenge that this piece needed inside and outside images so that's always going to be hard to find well balanced images. For future pieces, remember that image selection is really important, probably the most important decision to make on the piece in the first place. When I look back on the pieces I've made nearly all the ones that didn't work were down to poor image choice.

    However, if you are stuck with bright and dark images then my next option would be to use the "Levels" tool. I don't really have time to explain it here (I'm about to leave for work in 5 mins) but I'll try and put a mini tut together over the weekend to show how it works. Basically though, Levels can dial up or down the highlights, shadows and mid-tones of an image. It's much more of a precise tool than the Brightness/Contrast tool and allows you make better corrections. If you have 2 images 1 very bright and 1 very dark, you'd need to work on both - dial down the brightness on the bright one and dial up the brightness on the dark one. If you try to correct just 1 image to match the other it's going to look very weird.

    Thirdly, if that still doesn't give you the balance you're looking for then blend modes is an option. Layering light and dark images over each other using Lighten, Darken, Multiply and Screen can work wonders on mis-matched images. The down side with this is that it will certainly affect your composition as some light areas won't show and vice-versa with dark, so you'll have to move the images around to get the best effect. I use blend modes to guide my composition all the time, so it has it's benefits too.

    Hope that helps a bit

    Loraine

    - - - Updated - - -

    It's very naughty to be making fanart tutorials when you've come home from work sick Oops!

    I have put together this tutorial about Levels, which explains how it works with examples:-
    http://www.buffyforums.net/forums/sh...l=1#post700865

    Peter Capaldi is the 12th Doctor

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    and her haircut. Nina's Avatar
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    Just an extra tip in addition to the great tips by ciderdrinker and cil_domeney: when you work with dark and light pictures or when you want to make a picture made during the day look like it's made at night... Exposure! (Image >>> Adjustments >>> Exposure or Layer >>> New Adjustment Layer >>> Exposure) In the example below I lowered the Exposure to -3.51. After that I went to Color Balance to add some blue color to the piece for a better night-y feeling.



    Or the other way around when you increase the exposure (+ playing around with selective color to decrease the amount of cyan a bit).




    If you use the adjustment layer instead of changing the exposure of the image directly; you can mask parts of the layer with a big soft black brush for a more gradual change from light to dark (or the other way around).


    (pictures: Free Images)

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    Great examples on the day for night - this is really useful method especially with the Buffyverse as so much of it takes place at night.

    It never hurts to start with the shadows-highlight tool either as first step especially for close-up of faces.

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