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Samurais - Trying to use characters in my environments

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Omar_Souissi polycounter lvl 2
[Made in UE4 - real time 3D environment] Hey there, I've been working on this scene for a little while and I'd like to have your opinion on lighting and composition, basically the big picture. I'm however happy to get any feedback on details and the little things (specific props etc.). I reached the point where I can't really tell what to do next and might have looked at it for too long. The characters and the dead tree are straight out of the asset store and megascans. Just tweaked their poses and material parameters. The rest is a mix of reworked megascan assets and home made stuff. It's the first time I take a shot at doing something with characters, so don't hesitate if anything is bothering regarding this specific aspect of the scene. I also wanted to try working in black and white versions for each shot as well. Lately, the design aspect of things an the idea of justifying every choice is something I've been having a bit of confusion with, so if there is anything specific to tell about this, I'd be happy to read it! Thank you! 








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  • Lewis_kennedy
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    Lewis_kennedy polygon

    the 3rd image would probably work better if it was a bit more forward facing honestly, I feel like the characters are getting a bit lost in the scenery especially in the black and white one from that angle the grass at the top left looks a bit odd with how flat it is from a top angle. you should probably change the levels for that image to improve the black and white version

    I really like the grit on the first and last images though, the monochrome versions are really striking in those 2.
  • Omar_Souissi
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    Omar_Souissi polycounter lvl 2
    Thanks Lewis! Yeah the 3rd image is definitely the one I have the most doubts on and feels like a failed experiment. I wasn't planning on including it in the batch but I had some doubts so I posted it here to test the waters and get some fresh eyes on it to see if anything could be pulled out of it. Now I really don't think this shot is worth it after all, I might just put it away haha. Thanks again for your feedback :) 
  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero quad damage
    First 2 images have straight vertical line border to border in a organic environments which pretty much kill all believability and to make it worse on  second image armored skirt coincide with that line
    I think you should as yourself better questions . Most pictures are made to tell a story so whats the story when you know what the story is you can arrange your object in way to better suite the story
    For example why there are only 2 left in first image and why if they are on the same team one of them is killing himself ?
    Second image this 2 look lost to me
    Last image is not clear what happen did someone got killed or quit been samurai or got drunk and lost his stuff
    My suggestion watch last samurai for inspiration save images of interesting composition and try again

  • holdmynormals
    For me, the first one looks a bit flat, maybe you could add something to the very front plan, or add more trees in the background so there is more dimension. I would also try to play with the camera more, lower it or bring it closer to characters, it may help to make the composition more interesting, now it feels static. I like the lighting on the second one, especially on the b&w version.
  • Omar_Souissi
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    Omar_Souissi polycounter lvl 2
    First 2 images have straight vertical line border to border in a organic environments which pretty much kill all believability and to make it worse on  second image armored skirt coincide with that line
    I think you should as yourself better questions . Most pictures are made to tell a story so whats the story when you know what the story is you can arrange your object in way to better suite the story
    For example why there are only 2 left in first image and why if they are on the same team one of them is killing himself ?
    Second image this 2 look lost to me
    Last image is not clear what happen did someone got killed or quit been samurai or got drunk and lost his stuff
    My suggestion watch last samurai for inspiration save images of interesting composition and try again


    @carvuliero thanks. Just to clarify, the vertical lines you are talking about are the left and right trees in the first image and the two men on the second image? And in the last case, the fact that the armored skirt has a different angle than the torso armor is what bothers you? 
    I forgot to precise in the description that the first shot pictures a triumphant daimyo allowing the defeated one to commit seppuku after his army lost the battle, hence the dead men on the floor (the color of the skirt of the one about to commit seppuku should probably be more close to the one of the dead men to make it more clear that they are enemies maybe?)
    with the second image, I acted a bit more free with the whole storytelling part, trying to make it more like a movie/advertisement poster, if that makes any sense. 
    I understand for the last one as well. The placement is a bit random and I experimented with lighting and composition, approaching it a bit like a still life without symbolism, if that's a valid perspective. Thanks for the movie tip as well, I'll watch it. 
    Also, out of curiosity and just for the sake of understanding what you mean in order to improve, would you consider a painting like this one to kill all believability as well because there are vertical lines -which would be the trees if I understood you correctly- on both sides of the frame?  Thanks again :)
  • Omar_Souissi
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    Omar_Souissi polycounter lvl 2
    For me, the first one looks a bit flat, maybe you could add something to the very front plan, or add more trees in the background so there is more dimension. I would also try to play with the camera more, lower it or bring it closer to characters, it may help to make the composition more interesting, now it feels static. I like the lighting on the second one, especially on the b&w version.
    @holdmynormals Thank you :) Nice ideas, I'll definitely try all those things on my next iteration! 
  • sacboi
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    sacboi insane polycounter
    I was somewhat versed in Iaido, the art of rapid unsheathing (quick-draw) a Katana, when much younger so your top down shots of both combatants?! adopting a 'passive' posture plus awkward grip when viewed from my perspective as a two handed exponent, seems curious.

    I'm interested if there's reasoning to portray them accordingly or thus mainly artistically derived?
  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero quad damage
    I did i said vertical lol it was late I meant horizontal ,green line below that bisect your images , if it was golden section division and it wasnt straight there wont be anything wrong with it on the contrary will be beneficial
    This painting is very good example of how to use trees as your advantage , non of them are straight  , they are position to keep you inside the image , if you look close branches are curved in a way to bring you back to center where important stuff is also strong horizontal line is on golden section division or very close  and its not straight line, vertical division is giant bolder



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