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Birds On a Wire


alright, i'm going out on a limb here, but i really need some critique. i am not all that impressed with this piece, but i am not entirely sure how to make it better. suggestions? please?

~EDIT~ made small fixes

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Hey man

Clark pretty much gave you his advice on the texturing and such, but I think tweaking the lighting will actually bring the piece much further. The gradient you have set for the backdrop makes me think that you were going for the sun down look maybe the "golden hour" but your choice on lighting then confuses the eye. The human eye is used to looking at this part of the day and seeing a large amount of blues and oranges in the lighting and shadows. I say you should tone down the lights a bit, make the shadows ,much more noticeable, and give them a very long look. Make your lighting match your gradient a bit more. If you dont agree with my advice, then carry on my friend.

gr33bl3r responds:

thanks for the critique.

lighting was never my strong point... I really see what you mean about the lights, its really hard to strike a balance between too dark and too bright. too dark and you cant see anything, too bright and it looks fake. The colors also are tricky because they mess with your textures. Ill have to do some lighting practice sometime.

thanks for your review!

Critical comments

I hate to be the only detractor. All my criticism is honestly intended to be constructive.
Your tag says "Blender", which I use. Four simple things that would help immensely: (1) add a second texture to the poles and transformers to make them look "dirty", like a Clouds texture using the Colorbar to adjust how big the dirty patches are; (2) do a "Fractal Subdivide" on each telephone pole (no more than 5%-10%) to make them look less like perfect cylinders; (3) since you have a sunset in the background, your lighting should be only from the sun and orange-tinted, with less ambient white lighting; (4) and finally (and I say this to almost every 3D post on NG), please BEVEL. No object in real life has infinitely-sharp edges, so make all your hard edges softer (for example, the transformers and cross-bars on the poles).
Really, though, the biggest flaw in the image is the birds. (Sorry.) First, the bird model is underdeveloped. The wings are clearly single flat polygons; they should have some depth, made in 3D instead of 2D, and maybe give them layers (either in the model or in the texture) to represent the different layers of feathers in a real bird's wing. Also, just about everything about the bird needs more polygons, as it looks like a 3D model at the moment. You might want to play with "Add Modifier" -> "Subsurf" to make a more detailed, less angular bird model.
The second problem with the birds is actually the hardest problem to tackle: they all look exactly the same. It's an excellent use of "DupliVerts", I must say, but there needs to be *some* kind of variation between the birds. I know this is bloody hard to accomplish with "DupliVerts" in Blender with just one model. BUT, you can make 3 or 4 resting-bird models, and try to mix and match them so the birds don't look quite so uniform. Or, after using "DupliVerts", use Ctrl-Shift-A to "Make Dupli Objects Real", after which you can modify each bird individually. An easy thing to do is to mess with scales in X, Y, and Z independently and do some slight (1-5 degree) rotations on each bird in all directions. These tricks will help mask the fact that all the birds are from an identical model.

THAT SAID: Your use of textures is excellent, and the geometry of the landscape is perfect. The overall vision for the image is high quality; in fact, if you don't Full View it, the picture looks wonderful as it stands. Most of the critiques above were because I stared at the thing in Full View for a while. You, like many 3D artists on NG, don't have the technical knowledge that I have, but are a FAR better artist than me because you have the *vision* and imagination to generate a captivating image.
Don't let the details get you down, and I hope I've offered helpful advice.

gr33bl3r responds:

thank you!

Thank you for all of the honest criticism! it is actually surprisingly hard to come by at this point.

you're pretty much spot on on the poles, looking at them now they do look a little fake. ill have to play with the textures, possibly a displacement modifier. good point on the lighting as well, my fill light is way too strong.
you really are also quite right about the birds, i really didnt put as much effort into the bird model as i probably should have. and as for the subdivision surfaces, you are probably right, i just have to be careful not to overdo it. im already pushing half a million polygons ;P

thanks again for the great review! and by the way I think that you are a very good artist.


I really love it. It may be my favorite work ever on Newgrounds. As I said, it's worthy to be put in public! The little hills slumping over one another under the cover of the detailed grass... It almost looks like a photograph...

Almost... The ONLY thing I should tell you so you can fix it is that the shading on the little metal cylinders upon the poles looks like it was made with a 3D program - and not done very well in that area. The birds look perfect, but the poles and etc look a bit unrealistic. Hope it helps.

gr33bl3r responds:

Thanks so much! im really glad you like it!
hmmm the poles and the transformers... i guess i see where you are coming from. thanks for the critique!
just for clarification this was actually made in blender, a free 3d program.

oh wow

i love the detail in the grass......

gr33bl3r responds:


Credits & Info

3.50 / 5.00

Apr 21, 2011
2:33 PM EDT
3D Art
File Info
1920 x 1080 px
964.5 KB

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