Input is appreciated - What do I need to do to get better ranking?
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  1. #1

    Default Input is appreciated - What do I need to do to get better ranking?

    Serious question guys. What do I need to do to get better ranking? (please don't just say 'paint better') I want specifics. My painting always looks better in person than in photos and if you check out my gallery you'll be able to tell that I've been struggling to find the right camera settings, background, etc. Anyway, everytime I post something new I think, "This is it, this is the one that's going to get me at least a 7.5," but I still haven't ranked over a 7. Constructive comments would be appreciated. I'm about to lose heart with the CMON ranking system.

    http://coolminiornot.com/artist/LadyArgent

  2. #2

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    Manipulating your pictures in photoshop will boost their ratings. That seems to be very popular nowadays.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aliengod3 View Post
    Manipulating your pictures in photoshop will boost their ratings. That seems to be very popular nowadays.
    So you are suggesting in order to improve just manipulate the pictures - smooth blends, correct mistakes, etc. - and pretend to be better than you are Has it really come down to this?
    Or are you suggesting to use color correction etc. to make the pictures more closely resemble the work in real life? Then you should rephrase your statement ...

    @LadyArgent: I have taken a look at your 5 most recent submissions and the thing that stands out the most (to me at least) is the basing. Your bases are nicely done but very simple. Worst of all, the Ettin and the Gnome only stand on their 'broccoli-bases'. Invest a little more time and effort into the basing and your scores should improve.
    Another suggestion I have is to push the contrast just a little bit more - be more daring with your highlights (something I often suggest, but struggle mightily with myself ...). Your shadows are rich and dark, but try to add some stronger highlights to selected spots to push the contrast and to create focus hotspots for the eye of the viewer (e.g. faces, head and shoulder area, ...).
    Some of your submissions might benefit from bigger pictures too. I am looking at Ettin and Rex in particular.
    And finally - this is a minor detail though - your last submission has the default title 'Another Miniature'. This might irritate some voters enough to make them vote a point or two lower.
    But, I also want to say that in my opinion some of your submissions are underrated. To me the Pulp City miniature for example is easily a 7-7.5

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by GunjiNoKanrei View Post
    @LadyArgent: I have taken a look at your 5 most recent submissions and the thing that stands out the most (to me at least) is the basing. Your bases are nicely done but very simple. Worst of all, the Ettin and the Gnome only stand on their 'broccoli-bases'. Invest a little more time and effort into the basing and your scores should improve.
    Another suggestion I have is to push the contrast just a little bit more - be more daring with your highlights (something I often suggest, but struggle mightily with myself ...).
    I agree with you on both. Most of what I've posted so far have been painted for gaming - hence the minimal basing. Highlight is definately something I've been trying to work on. I'm having a hard time finding a happy medium between what looks good in person and what looks good in photos. In photos my highlights look good (I think) but in photos they area always subdued. Definately something I'll keep working on.

  5. #5

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    Thanks to everyone for your comments. I was beginnning to think I was going crazy.
    ~Stephanie Sasaki

    My CMON Gallery
    Visit me at the Miniature Realm my blog/website.

    "Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself." ~Harvey Fierstein

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by LadyArgent View Post
    Thanks to everyone for your comments. I was beginnning to think I was going crazy.
    Whoa whoa!!! No one claimed you were not going crazy. One step at a time here!


    Regarding your painting.... The photos are letting them down, but you have a very subtle touch, and probably one that doesn't photo very well. Really forcing contrast seems to help scores here on CMoN...but in all honesty, do you want to change your very cool style so you can rate an 8 to a bunch of anonymous voters?

    Nothing wrong with improving your skills, but when you shoot for improving your rating, I think you begin to paint for the wrong reasons. At least that's my humble opinion.

    I say work on your skills (including photography) and your scores will follow.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by supervike View Post
    Nothing wrong with improving your skills, but when you shoot for improving your rating, I think you begin to paint for the wrong reasons. At least that's my humble opinion. I say work on your skills (including photography) and your scores will follow.
    So that everyone doesn't think I'm a ranking whore, I just want to clear up why I started this post. I asked about improving my ranking because I know that with an improved ranking, it means my quality/skill has improved and that's what I'm really looking for. Well, I hope that's what it means anyway. Now if I eventually win a Golden Demon and still rank in the 6's...I'm going to have to start questioning people's judging skills. LOL I KNOW I'm not the best artist on CMON but I do want to improve and who better to help you improve than other artists. I think no matter how talented someone is, they can always learn from others. Ok, now I'm going on a tangent and should probably end this reply.

    Oh, and thanks again to everyone who's replied. Alot of really good constructive feedback. I'll definately start posting in the WIP area now that I'm getting time to paint something that's not for gaming.
    Last edited by LadyArgent; 10-21-2010 at 09:20 PM.
    ~Stephanie Sasaki

    My CMON Gallery
    Visit me at the Miniature Realm my blog/website.

    "Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself." ~Harvey Fierstein

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by LadyArgent View Post
    So that everyone doesn't think I'm a ranking whore, I just want to clear up why I started this post. I asked about improving my ranking because I know that with an improved ranking, it means my quality/skill has improved and that's what I'm really looking for.
    you know... i bet you're the only one who even came up with that... seriously!

    I mostly use the ratings as a guide to good painting.
    I don't care what a mini scores as long as the mini looks cool... though most cool minis IMO tend score 8+

    that said, i pretty much only look at mini's rated 8+ (or looking interesting on the main page), try it, and try and find out what makes these minis great and learn from that.
    find out what you like on those minis and apply that to your own painting.

    You'll see that those minis rated 8+ usually tell a story all by themselves, have at least one element to draw in your eye, a base that adds atmosphere and location to a mini.

    that said, your painting skills look really good, i'd say you just need to improve on your storytelling and attention drawing skills.

    one last personal opinion: somehow, i just down like the minis themselves, somehow there not clean and detailed enough. you might try painting something else (you might try GW, like everybody else does and see how that works out for you)
    Last edited by Mourner; 10-22-2010 at 06:15 AM.

  9. #9
    Superfreak!!! Torn blue sky's Avatar
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    Aye, unfortunately, pictures are the things that'll make or break the piece. It's hard to get the right depth of field/ exposure/setting but you'll get it eventually by fathing about. I'd recommend PMing Dragonsreach; he's an accomplished photographer, always has good points to hand out.
    As for the rest, it would appear to me CMoN has become somewhat of a "friends will vote/snipe" community on a lot of peices i've seen. much more so, i've noticed on anything that goes up on Ebay. I've seen some top notch work get sniped to hell by other commission/Ebay sellers (i'd assume, since logic defies any reason to call it a bad job by any standards). Kina sad really, rating don't mean a whole lot these days.
    Maybe if there was a "reason for rating" system you had to leave a message, it would change. Then those that had a reason would be validated, whereas those that did it to snipe would be found out.
    I have a cunning plan...So cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a Weasel...

  10. #10

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    you can also buy a couple of death korps of krieg, even painted with poo people still think they are cool

  11. #11

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    I score lower than you, but I would suggest
    1) Have a great idea, trick poses (Flying, dynamic action)
    2) Paint really well, (lots of blending and nice freehand)
    3) Get other people to look at it and action their critique (don't ask your mum she will say its fabulous)
    4) Get a decent camera & lens and take lots of pictures and submit only the best. (good lighting, even and not too bright, smallest aperture for DOF)
    5) Add special effects, snow, water, OSL etc
    6) Take a good look at the top artists work and try to emulate them (Giganticdark, nano Yellow one etc)

    I am guilty of not doing any of these other than 6, I paint because I enjoy it and it relaxes me, the gallery is handy to show friends what I do without carting Minis around everywhere with me, I am pretty sure I will never win anything though.

  12. #12

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    Gun.
    Aye it has been known. Blatantly sometimes. CMon seems to be a catwalk / shooting gallery/ clusterfuck to me since I came back. Like i've said, i've seen great painters voted down to immeasurably stupid levels, and bad painters voted up to 7-9's.

  13. #13

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    photoshoppin the hell out of stuff seems to be the rage, my advice is dont worry too much about the rankings just do your thing there are far too many buttheads out there to worry about it will drive you nuts.
    i looked at your gallery theres certainley nothing wrong with your painting ability i believe its just that some types of mini are more popular than others as skel said. also give it time it takes a while to get established with the in crowd, put me a good word in when you get there lol
    Last edited by cassar; 10-21-2010 at 08:20 AM.
    LAAARRFF, I SPLIT MY SIDES!!

    cassar [demigod] |ˈdemēˌgäd|
    noun ( fem. demigoddess |ˈdemēˌgädis| )
    a being with partial or lesser divine status, such as a minor deity, the offspring of a god and a mortal, or a mortal raised to divine rank.
    • a person who is greatly admired or feared.
    ORIGIN mid 16th cent.: translating Latin semideus .

    on a serious note, i do commissions, no really i do, ask and ye shall receive


  14. #14

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    While i do use photoshop to correct the colour and contrast of my photos i think anyone who uses it to touch up mistakes should seriously ask themselves if there is any point to painting as you are not going to improve.

    Your painting is Great "Certainly better than mine http://coolminiornot.com/259079 & http://www.coolminiornot.com/forums/...First-Pic-Post " Even though i am not a fan of those particular minis you used.

    Personaly i would forge ahead dont be disheartened by your votes, after all you are the final judge of your minis if you like them then who cares what anyone else says, For example my Tau XV9 Battlesuit http://www.coolminiornot.com/forums/...-a-new-project I Think its Awesome "some would dissagree" although its certainly not Perfect.

    Keep Painting

  15. #15

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    Hello.

    Well I am not a guru in painting, but I think I can explain, what is important for myself to score minis high.


    • Most of all your photos are far too small for my taste. I cannot see how good they are painted. For example I cannot judge, how good your bleedings are.
    • Most of you minis are missing a focus. This is important for caching the viewer’s look in a special area.
    • Most of you minis are missing contrast in your colour of choice. So the seems to be one single “block” of colour. Here is an article about this. (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sieben_Farbkontraste) with the right contrast you can mark the focus of one mini.
    • In these minis, that are big enough I thing I have seen inking and drybrushing. These are not techniques that I would rate high.
    • Furthermore I like “zenital light source”. That means that you have a gradient in the mini itself. The feet are fare darker, that the head.
    • There is missing the “story” behind the mini. I am not capable of doing this in my minis, but look at (http://coolminiornot.com/254279) Skull Bus.
    • There are missing special ideas. For example dots on the fur of the stag or an owl which sits on the horns. These ideas are not easy to find, but made the charm of an mini.
    • Sure you can correct colour and contrast with photoshop. But everything else is cheating in my eyes.


    Another tip, I can give you, is to submit your WIPs here in the forum. Here are a lot of painters, that will help you, to improve yourself. Try this out.

    Greetings, Taggi

    P.S.: Oh.. sorry did not saw your last post. I am too slow in writing in english. Though I hope I am not pushing.
    Last edited by Tagamoga; 10-21-2010 at 09:56 AM.
    How do you know, that Taggi has been assimilated to borg: "Rezitanz fiutail ist."

    Sorry for violating the english language.


    Please rate my comments, even if there is critism in it, as a personal point of view. I do not have the absolute truth in minature painting and every word said by me is only a suggestion, that may be thought over or simple ignored. So, happy painting!


    And my own Dragons:


  16. #16

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    [QUOTE=Torn blue sky;558878]Aye, unfortunately, pictures are the things that'll make or break the piece. It's hard to get the right depth of field/ exposure/setting but you'll get it eventually by fathing about. I'd recommend PMing Dragonsreach; he's an accomplished photographer, always has good points to hand out.
    Who Me? Gee thanks for the flattery.
    Trouble is I'm anally retentive when it come to my own miniatures pictures and if they aren't perfect well...I kinda lose interest in them.

    Having read all the comments about your work I've captured your Gnome (Lets keep it clean you lot) and done a quick tweek to have a look.
    I'll give you a couple of observations about the figure and your painting there as well.
    [QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by Tagamoga View Post
    Hello.




    Well I am not a guru in painting, but I think I can explain, what is important for myself to score minis high.
    • Most of all your photos are far too small for my taste. I cannot see how good they are painted. For example I cannot judge, how good your bleedings are.
    • Most of you minis are missing a focus. This is important for caching the viewer’s look in a special area.
    • Most of you minis are missing contrast in your colour of choice. So the seems to be one single “block” of colour. Here is an article about this. (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sieben_Farbkontraste) with the right contrast you can mark the focus of one mini.
    • In these minis, that are big enough I thing I have seen inking and drybrushing. These are not techniques that I would rate high.
    • Furthermore I like “zenital light source”. That means that you have a gradient in the mini itself. The feet are fare darker, that the head.
    • There is missing the “story” behind the mini. I am not capable of doing this in my minis, but look at (http://coolminiornot.com/254279) Skull Bus.
    • There are missing special ideas. For example dots on the fur of the stag or an owl which sits on the horns. These ideas are not easy to find, but made the charm of an mini.
    • Sure you can correct colour and contrast with photoshop. But everything else is cheating in my eyes.
    Taggi
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    Stephanie, On the left is your original picture and on the right my slight "adaption".
    I've amended the levels in Photoshop to give a better view of the shadows in order that we can see the whole of the work you've done.
    One thing that strikes me is you've painted the Gnome in (for want of a better description) accurate colours for a "medievil balanced" fantasy setting. Meaning that they look like natural dyed materials, kudos for that as it's something I prefer to see and tend to do myself.
    BUT (and I'm gonna stick my neck out here) a lot of the voters on here tend to be GW fanboys/teenagers who vote quick and move on, so they will not get the subtlety of a 'realistic' colour scheme. It's the forum regulars who have developed the discernment (in most cases) to look at a mini and see quality of the crafting.

    As to the painting itself Taggi (underating herself as always) has made valuable points.
    Zenithal lighting is something that needs consideration in use. Of course TRUE Zenithal lighting would come from directly overhead, so the real term should be something like 'Directional highlighting' as the majority of people are right handed this is usually regarded as though hitting the models surfaces at roughly 45 degrees from the right hand side.
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    This means that surfaces closer to the light source are expected to be brighter highlighting and of course the shadows will be effected by this lighting.
    (Left handed people often find it easier to light from the opposite side.)

    Next point to consider is colour If you can spend a hour or two (or even 10) getting used to understanding colour theory then do so.
    You could also try this:-
    Take an A4 piece of plasticard/styrene sheet and prime it white.
    Draw a strong line top to bottom with a ruler approx 1 inch from left side, make the rest of the sheet into a grid.
    Whatever paints you use write the colour name on the left of the line and paint the first square on the right hand side of the line with that PURE colour. For each subsequent square add black, white, the complementary colour and or the colour that you would use to glase in for shadows.
    It sounds like wasting time and paint BUT it's a training tool used by watercolour painters/tutors to get sudents to understand how paints and colours work. (Done a couple of watercolour courses recently, so translating the idea for use in model painting makes sense to me.)

    There are lots and I mean lots of articles on here about differing techniques in painting and photographing models (and post photography) try lookig through a couple; One by Honza on photographing miniatures with a single light, then look at Ethnical skin tones by Chrispy and the perhaps Anything by Automaton.

    BUT however you decide to go post WIP threads as people on here will give you advice, some of it may even be useful.
    ~Stephanie Sasaki

    My CMON Gallery
    Visit me at the Miniature Realm my blog/website.

    "Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself." ~Harvey Fierstein

  17. #17

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    I've had a good look at your most recent entries and part of the problem is that the minis you have painted IMHO are not that interesting. This is cool MINI or not and unfortunately even a good paint job on a figure that is not "cool" will generally score less. As has been pointed out by others the painting seems a bit dull ( not to say its not well painted) but the colours don't jump out and grab me. Pushing the contrast between the light and dark of any particualr colour will help you.

    The bases do need some more work to get higher marks. Having a simple painted textured base just doesn't cut it these days. People have got used to the highly detailed bases that the top flight push out and so the basic plain bases are viewed with lower marks.

    Your pics could be larger. The quality of the images looks fine but remember you can go up to 600 pixels wide when viewed on the main screen ( 1200 when you use the magnifier). For waht you are posting 600 will probably be sufficient. I do use Photoshop to correct the brightness and sometimes the colour balance of the image, but I don't use it to correct "defects" that are a result of a painting error. I want to improve my painting skill not my photoshop skill, so if I'm not doing something right I want people to tell me that.. not hide my failings behind photoshopping.

    If you haven't already done so, post some WIP's on the forums or ask for some crits on the stuff you have done. The advice you get from the forums will help you far more than looking at your scores or the comments you are likely to get from the images that you have painted.

    The work you are doing is good and with some helpful advice on here I am certain that you will see that it gets better.

  18. #18
    Superfreak!!! Dragonsreach's Avatar
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    Thank you for the input Dragon. I've just recently begun to play around with the levels in Photoshop I'm always afraid that I'm washing everything out so I've been too chicken to go very high with it, but what you've done looks much better. The zenithal (directional) highlighting is something that I'm going to start working on today. I recently saw the work of someone who uses zenithal lighting and I can definately see the difference it makes. Thanks again for the input...much appreciated.
    I believe in Karma, what you give, is what you get returned. Affirmation; Savage Garden
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  19. #19

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    OK, I know this should probably be under a new post, but it does fit in with what people have been posting here. Are there really 7565 members in this community? I've been wanting to post this for sometime now but never have.

    What got me started on this was I was going through some of my earlier pics and looking over my lower scores I had one that I thought should have been rated higher. (Not saying that I am great, but that it looks better in person and my picture taking sucks) After reading the comments there was one that I thought was rather uncalled for. When I looked up the person that posted the comment I found that they have never posted a single painted mini. Is it possible that this was a dummy account that someone was using to make disparaging comments without hurting their own rating? Do people do that? I'll be honest I don't think there are that many members in the community. I always see the same people posting and painting, and that surely isn't 7500+ members.

    P.S. I'm not trying to take anything away from you LadyArgent. I like your work. I just had to get this off my chest after reading everyone's comments about peoples scoring hangups.
    Last edited by Ickthorne; 10-25-2010 at 04:34 PM.

  20. #20

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    Stephanie,
    As for a better ranking, a lot comes with observing the images that score 1 point above you and see what they're doing, and emulating that. It also helps to look at what other people scoring about the same are doing. It is very hard to be objective about your own work, especially since it's a hobby which by definition you should feel good about doing. When the bake sale gets to the level of obsessing who's baked the moistest cheesecake, things may have gone a little out of hand, but that's part of the fun.

    Ickthorne,
    There are, in fact, 27000 registered members (45000 all time), of which about 10 to 20% are active, another 30% lurking and the rest are inactive accounts. The 7k figure you see are just for people who have posted in the forums. Not many people are moved to post messages or images, but there is a considerable amount of private message activity. This is one of the largest miniature painting communities on the Internet, and since our forum archives go all the way back to 2001 you can easily see the various faces that have come and gone (and in one case, gone to jail). Take yourself for example, you registered September 2005 and have a grand total of 28 posts. That's slightly over 5 posts a year, or less than half a post a month. Would you consider yourself an active member since 2005?

    And this isn't even counting the anonymous lurkers who were never moved to register, at all, but vote regularly. The strength of the site is that each person determines their level of participation (or lack thereof). You don't need to be an artist, curator, security, patron or jester to enjoy the museum, guests are welcome to; and based on logs we have some very long term guests indeed.
    I like it firm and fruity!

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