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The Art Of The Critic,


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#1 Zipperhead

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Posted 01 February 2004 - 03:06 PM

I've really havn't been around enough for me to make this post but oh well...

I've done a few concepts for the reaper and floater, and have be rewarded with good but confusing comments on them. So I'm going to attempt to write some rules of common sense (feel free to ignore them and me)

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1) Read the post beforehand, all of it, and in detail, and think about what has been written previously. I get a lot of comments that contradict or repeat something said two posts ago.

2)Explain which post you're talking about. We have a lot of images posted that are made by different people. It can get very confusing when people post things like "make it longer" with a post of thirty images.

3)Explain who you are talking to. Same as rule 2, most people do this anyway.

4)Explain why you said something. "Make it longer" does not help in anyway. "Make the neck longer, so it would be able to look up at things" does help.

5)Explain how. Again using the "make the neck longer" - "if you make the neck longer you would have to add some muscle to the top of the head, plus you would need to make the tail longer to balance it out. Of couse with more musle on top of the neck you would need more under to counter-pull so it would be able to move its head down."

6)Do research. Even if you are not drawing, but only posting a comment on a picture, not knowing what you're talking about does not help the person drawing the picture. I know we're drawing aliens and weapons etc, but every concept is based in reality. Learn about muscles, and how guns work. It is all there on the internet. And if you're even thinking about drawing pictures without doing research first... I'll kill you :sly:

7)Concepts should not be considered ugly or pretty, but more to discuss the design versus the artist's drawing ability.

8)If you don't have time (can't be bothered) to make proper comments about a concept, don't bother. Thinking takes time and effort, the same as drawing. So if you're not willing to put in the effort you're not being very helpful.

9)Keep your criticism constructive. Although I've never seen someone say "you're crap" outright, criticism can be very non-constructive and quite hurtful. and may cause some of the younger and newer artist here to leave. (not me I'm as hard as nails :D )

10)You're not going to like everything. There are many of you, and doing drawings for 50 points of view is a pain in the backside. Making a Reaper a mammal with a spiders body is clearly impossible.


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That's all I think. feel free to ban me or something. If anyone else has any ideas that would help post it here.

Im not trying to start a fight here, by the way.

Edited by Zipperhead, 04 February 2004 - 03:07 AM.


#2 Guest_drewid_*

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Posted 01 February 2004 - 03:43 PM

That's all pretty sane.

There are two extremes of artists.

one extreme has egos, think they are right about everything, and other peoples opinions are less important than their own, and take every criticism personally. They are bad at seeing faults in their own work and because of that they develop slowly as artists.

The other extreme think that the audiences opinion is right and theirs is less important. They tend to more professional about their approach to criticism as a tool and don't take it personally. Because of this they are better at seeing the faults in their own work, and therefore their work improves more quickly and reaches a higher standard.

Most artists are in between these two extremes, but obviously the best tend towards the second.

This is the dilemma on a public board like this. The better artists get pulled round by the wide range of opinions of the audience. At the end of the day this is where the artist has to draw a line (no pun intended) and steer the design along the lines they think is best. try ideas they think are valuable, and say a polite "don't think that would work" to the others.

Any contributers who think they have a better idea can always submit drawings themselves.

#3 Zipperhead

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Posted 01 February 2004 - 03:49 PM

oh thank god, I was sure I was going to insult someone with this, and that not what I wanted to do at all *phew*

I range from the two extremes at different points of time, but I like to think that my attude has improved...

#4 Aosar

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Posted 01 February 2004 - 03:59 PM

Does doodling count as drawing, since I don't want to get killed just cause I was bored...

And if you're even thinking about drawing pictures without doing research first... I'll kill you


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Heh, anyhuu. Fipperhead, you are quite right lad(or are you a lass, can't remember)...
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#5 j'ordos

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Posted 01 February 2004 - 04:00 PM

Who's Fipperhead? :P
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#6 Aosar

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Posted 01 February 2004 - 04:07 PM

Who's Fipperhead?


It's typoed Zipperhead, I'm getting a tad bit tired...
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#7 Zipperhead

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Posted 01 February 2004 - 04:19 PM

Im a boy
Fipperhead is my pet Dolphin

and no doodles do count but thier just doodles.
just concept you do need reseach for.

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Edited by Zipperhead, 01 February 2004 - 04:35 PM.


#8 Guest_drewid_*

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Posted 01 February 2004 - 04:36 PM

oh thank god, I was sure I was going to insult someone with this, and that not what I wanted to do at all *phew*

I range from the two extremes at different points of time, but I like to think that my attude has improved...

I've worked with both types, and it was definitely the second type that ended improving the most, working best in a team and gaining the respect of their colleagues. It is a really hard balance to get right. it very tied up with how you percieve you own competance.

People who are less competant at tasks tend to over rate themselves, because they lack the self critical cognitive framework to recognise competance.

Likewise people who are more competant underrate themselves because they recoginse the skills that competance requires. the other side of the same coin.

#9 red knight

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Posted 01 February 2004 - 05:31 PM

I think I had read a phsycology paper about that some time ago... Drew dont you remember who posted it :P

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Edited by red knight, 01 February 2004 - 05:32 PM.

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#10 Deimos

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Posted 01 February 2004 - 10:44 PM

I guess one of the bigger problems of having everyone's opinon count is that the confusion that goes along with it. Zipperhead has made some great points here (go straight to the head of the class ;)) and they're well worth bearing in mind when posting.

One thing to remember also when posting critique of the artists work is how it fits in with the overall style of the game. With xenocide we already have our base framework of the original game so we have how it looked ingrained into our minds (if not get out there and play the game till it does ;)). Then on top of that we have our style guide and now with the models being built, concepts are starting to fall into place in the guide remember that even though the aliens are of different races they still have to look like they belong in the game together.

So bear that in mind as well. Its not just a case of "ooh I like the look of that" but also how well it works with everything else in the game. It might sound like I'm stating the obvious here but the obvious does get overlooked easily.

Zipperhead is spot on when he explains how much work goes into concepts. It is worth the extra time to research up on your requests/comments as it makes us all pull together and work to get the best out of all of this, which is why we're all here.

#11 Puasonen

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 01:41 AM

7)Comments like "I really like that" and "ooh that's pretty" do not help. Although every artist out there likes having his ego stroked. These are design threads, and not about the quality of the art in them, but rather about the design aspect of them.

hmph.. I think these comments are needed. That way the artist knows he's on the right track.
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#12 fux0r666

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 02:03 AM

Agreed. Knowing where to go is just as important as knowing where not to go. In my experience in these forums there are not many ego strokers out there and most comments pertain to adjustments. However, there are always many varying opinions on where something ought to go. In order to take all criticisms with equal seriousness, you need to test exactly how 'wrong' or 'right' your design is, or how conceptually pleasing it is. I gauge this by the number of yeses and nos. If I get a lot of yes but little no, I do not bother with further 'adjustments' on concept and leave further decision making to the modeller.

I find that that the closer I can stay to the original work, the clearer the idea is for me, which brings me to my next point:

I have recently discovered that there is such a thing as too much research. I tend to research my concepts quite heavily in form and function. The problem with this is that not everything fabricated by man is a brilliantly aesthetic work of art. I like to make it an academic excercise to make make the designs working as well as falling well within all the style rules and sometimes work from precedence(sic) set on other working design concepts. The difficulty here is that it makes the list of design decisions too long. If you have to make over a hundred meaningful decisions on a design based on a culmination of a month of research and preliminary work, people tend not to understand where you are coming from. Moreover, the more carefully thought out and idiosyncratic designs become, the less flexible most artists would become in making changes. This makes negotiating the design aggrivating.

I have another issue I would like to address: If you are commenting on a design work and make a suggestion and the artist decides that the suggestion is not in line with the conceptual continuity of the design or not to impliment it for whatever reason, there is no need to rerequest your ammendment. There is a certain permanence to the comments in this forum and so your request has been recorded and most likely be read by all who participate in the forum for the next little while. I, myself, take all requests seriously and entertain most- but I go by the number of people who make the request and my subject appraisal of the request, not the number of times it is issued. With this said I look forward to future constructive collabouration with all who participate in the forum.

editted for spelling (although I'm sure that many slipped by).

Edited by fux0r666, 02 February 2004 - 03:55 AM.


Here I go an angry brother gonna make his move
But can I buck him in the city so I never lose?
See I'm a get him in the crowd with a couple heavies
And lay the barrel to the ground, hold the gat steady
And now I'm ready for my adversary, talk is cheap
I'm looking for a way to make a plan gonna keep it neat
So don't be telling me to get the non-violent spirit
'cause when I'm violent is the only time the devils hear it
'cause all I want to see is m****f***ing brains hanging


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#13 Zipperhead

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 08:48 AM

wow many big words....scary

the reason I wrote all the guidelines is purly to stop me getting confused but the wealth of ideas that come back at you, I'm not really the quickest knife in the shelf.

And as fuxxor said there is such a thing as to much research, though I have never spent over a few hour researching a image, and most of the time its simple things about know want muscles do.

If im doing a design on a spiders eye, I'll go google image search for some close up spider pictures, if nothing else than to refresh my memory.

And there problaby is a thing as to much research, but I've never done it couse Im lazy :D

oh and the "ohh thats pretty" thing, I was talking about people talking about the image itself, rather than the design and how it would fit into the world.
I havn't really had any "ohh thats pretty" here but, if your writing guide lines might as well do it proply

#14 Breunor

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 12:04 PM

Something that might help us from this point forward is to have more verbal discussion about a concept rather than pure responses to visual concepts too. I'm sometimes concerned to see some nice concepts posted which are then pulled in 20 directions by members who don't really know what they want, instead there's a mass of 'change XYZ' comments. Every concept artist knows whay I mean by this, and it's really hard on the artist to do it this way. We continue to learn as we work on this project, and I think this is an area where we can improve. It's much easier to toss words around regarding the look of an alien, and get agreement on the general design, than to have an artist put in serious time for a concept and then try to rework it over and over. Hindsight is 20/20, right?

#15 Zipperhead

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 12:34 PM

Ok after thinking about it 7 is wrong... or worded wrong..

maybe 7)If you're going to say "ohhh its nice" explain what you mean but this, like why you think its nice, and what you think works about the picture.

It was just a idea to keep the threads more focus on the concept rather than a image made by a single artist.

When a image is done well, everyone knows its done well, including the artist him/herself (though most would never say this) maybe if, some one (one of the seniors) made a sticky thread and took all the really good doodles and finshed pieces and put them into that thread, so people could just say " ohh thats nice"

though thats a blessing and a curse, becouse people would spend more time on images trying to get them into this thread (good thing) but may spend to much time making the image look finshed and not enough time on making the concept work....

Its just a idea, I'm not sure if I totally agree with it, but its a idea none the less

Edited by Zipperhead, 02 February 2004 - 12:35 PM.


#16 Breunor

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 01:01 PM

Actually Deimos, Drewid and I watch the threads, and if a concept is posted that everybody's saying, Wow!Perfect! to it and it's in line with the style guides in place, then we put it on the short list of concepts, and the design process goes to the next step of modeling the concept to look at it in 3D for any other tweaks. Your suggestions here are very good points for detailing the submission guideline step of 2d concept artwork, which is step 2. The problem we have is that in most cases people have forgotten step 1, which is getting verbal input and discussion going prior to artists putting in time on concepts. The submission guidelines are here.

#17 mikker

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 02:36 PM

lets have a test.

what do you think of this?

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#18 Cpl. Facehugger

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 02:48 PM

Alright Mikker...
This is in reply to the new 'concept' that he posted.

1. The eyes are ugly.
2. I don't like the ring around his arm, it seems out of place
3. Where are his hands?
4. He looks too much like a cyborg.
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#19 Guest_drewid_*

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 02:51 PM

That's nice :D

#20 Zipperhead

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 03:15 PM

without getting to indepth:

Mikker: The design is nice, though the ataomy is a little off.
and although Im not quite sure which alien the design is for asuming its a alien) the machine add parts fit well with the alein in most places, although the right arm (our right) would have a lack of bending ablite to it, also I would like to know why the wired at back are there and why?

that should do without getting to indepth, I think the concept is rather cool (see you can say "ohh thats pretty" about the concept) need a lot of work before it work well in the game though

#21 Breunor

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 06:17 PM

My first question to Mikker would be what this concept is for. Second thing would be that concepts should not be considered ugly or pretty, but more to discuss the design versus the artist's drawing ability. I have a personal interest in that point, since my drawing skills suck. ;)

So Mikker, I suggest you follow up with what the concept is for, and what each aspect of the design involves-why did you put each thing where you did, etc.

(the Mgmt would like to apologize for the sloppy use of prepositions and sentence fragments at this time, Breunor is close to feeding time and a bit antsy...)

#22 Puasonen

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Posted 03 February 2004 - 01:13 AM

That's nice :D

:LOL:

I think the hands and torso are great, head needs a bit more life in it to make it something else than a robot and the legs look to weak to carry that mass.
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#23 mikker

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Posted 03 February 2004 - 08:47 AM

ok.

this was supposed to be a cyborg, complete with incorparated plasma cannons and backpack.

I think its ugly :D. But mind this was done first time in 5 years since i drew something in hand.

yeah, the atonamy is very off, but taken that we have never had any biology at all so far in school...

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#24 RustedSoul

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Posted 03 February 2004 - 09:10 AM

mikker
I think you should take a look at robocop for some alternate material :P

#25 kliffoth

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Posted 03 February 2004 - 12:30 PM

Breunor

Second thing would be that concepts should not be considered ugly or pretty, but more to discuss the design versus the artist's drawing ability.


I agree with what you say, because (in my case) I value far more originality than the craft.

#26 mikker

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Posted 03 February 2004 - 12:59 PM

I agree with what you say, because (in my case) I value far more originality than the craft.

Thats good news :D! now i don't need to lern to draw!

"This little dot in the middle represents the evil of the Kul'Tarall from the north egyptian empire. They which is opposed to THIS little dot, which are the Gorutta Empire that have been able to conquer the land of Opidat which is a land now gone from the surface just south of afrika. and this little dot..."

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#27 Breunor

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Posted 03 February 2004 - 01:24 PM

:spank: Of course, nicely drawn pics are by human nature going to get more attention for the most part, at least those that make people ooh, ahh, tend to get more response from what I've seen. So doing your best with the design certainly doesn't hurt... ^_^

I tend to not submit drawings because of limited scanner access. Drawing in the PC with the mouse pretty much eliminates what tiny scrap of skill I might posess, so I try to only submit scanned stuff where I can tweak a while with the pencil.

#28 Zipperhead

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Posted 03 February 2004 - 01:37 PM

Mikker stop picking holes in my guide lines.
they based on commen sence, thus requie some. No one can write a fool prove guide lines on criticing drawings all Im asking people is to think before they post, and these are maybe some thing to think about. You don't have to follow them but at leat think about them.

(I've been up near 32 hours. Spelling = bad)

#29 Puasonen

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 01:41 AM

Some of those makes sense. I still think we shouldn't denie people from posting "That's great" posts though. I really think it gives you the idea that people agree with you what the item/alien should look like.
I agree though that it should in most cases have some info about why they like it.
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#30 Zipperhead

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 03:08 AM

I changed that one already!