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Creature Concept - Conivolatilis by Vickrey Creature Concept - Conivolatilis by Vickrey
I have been on hiatus for several months getting my life in order while trying to spare time to brave the digital media; this being my first digital painting. However, I've learned a lot and intend on being more frequent.

Growing up to nine feet from head to tail, Conivolatilis are primarily solitary, carnivorous, denizens who spend most of their life within a single canyon or mountain side. However, these creatures are not territorial to their kin as they have a predatory codependence on the protection one another may provide. Due to their muscle mass they require the assistance of a nauseous gas stored in a sac within the chest cavity to create buoyancy and deter threats. They fly ungracefully at high altitudes along cliffs and other steep slopes to catch the up draft until they spot unsuspecting prey. They then begin a steep decent as they release the gas from their chest which causes them to drop faster and creates a loud screeching howl. This noise alerts other Conivolatilis of a kill in progress. They play the role of scavenger as part of an unwritten, natural contract where helping to defend the otherwise helpless hunter yields a free meal (the deafening howl of several of these birds incoming is enough to frighten off most threats). As the hunter drops in on its prey it opens its arms as a brace to break the fall and hold the prey in place just as the tail punctures their flesh with all the weight of Conivolatilis behind it. The tail contains another sac of the toxin condensed into a liquid, used to subdue the prey as if the wound was not fatal, Conivolatilis would not be able to escape until it produced enough of the gas to again achieve flight.
GallantArt Featured By Owner May 9, 2014
I like looking through concept art and I happened to stumble upon yours.  I don't know if you're looking for a critique or not on this, but while I really have to applaud your creativity for this design, I find some technical execution problems to that really could have made this shine. 

First of all, I'm glad to see that you seem to have at least some grasp of the color theory as shown by the purple toned rock structures against the yellowish-brown sand.  Your pink and purple sky is also very mesmerizing in a rather dark way, but it is also becomes the downfall in terms of your intended focal point.  Obviously, you want your creature to be the focal point and the first thing your viewers should see when they first look at this image.  Having your creature take up a good portion of the picture in terms of composition is correct, but colors and contrasts to your overall piece were not taken enough into account.  Even then you still have a composition issue here, because seeing that empty space in the sky with your sky painted with heavy contrast makes it hard for the eye not to be lead towards that gap between the wings. 

Because your sky is so vibrant and has a lot of contrast compared to everything else, that is why your viewers, me in this case, actually looked to the sky first and then had to look elsewhere to find your creature.  Looking at full view certainly helps, but you should still have your creature look like the focal point even from a thumbnail. 

Again, your creature should be the focal point.  There are many different ways that you could have fixed this, but what I would have suggested is to dull down your sky and really have pushed the lighting for your creature.  You don't have enough contrasts between your lights (more visible highlights are definitely needed here) and shadows to really make your creature stand out in the picture nor to make it easy for your viewers to differentiate details. 

Your purple cliff at the right could have also been adjusted to portray more depth.  I don't recommend blurring it, but certainly having to have dulled down the color and/or lower the opacity would have certainly helped.  Adjusting the height could have also potentially helped but not entirely necessary. 

Overall I would say lighting was your biggest issue here.  You can see my quickly edited version of this same deviation when I simply fixed the lighting of the creature, sky, and sand, even without taking colored lighting into account.   I hope you can see why the creature is much easier to focus on in this edit.

This is a very lengthy critique, but if you have any more questions, please feel free to ask.
Vickrey Featured By Owner May 10, 2014
  Hey, it's much appreciated; people like you are great. I had originally shared this with reddit since I figured it would increase traffic and more likely produce a critique or two -which it did. The constructive feedback has been remarkable. The issues have become unanimous from each of every one's inputs: proper execution of contrast to direct the focal point. Conivolatilis had been my first for both colour and digital work. I found myself getting lost between a multitude of tasks, building each component of the image separately until I was satisfied with each. I enjoyed them all, yet none of them were cohesive as I might as well have pasted one atop another like magazine clippings. I think my biggest mistake was not planning ahead with how the concept was to intermingle with the background -to say nothing of my lack of experience with depth.
  Gravo -which I had seen your comment for- on the other hand was my second piece. It came together much faster and had a greater focus on challenging myself on creating depth of field and tonal variation. Towards the end of its production I flirted with more extreme contrasts. However, I had been working with the tones of the finished project for so long that they had began to feel organic to the image. Any deviation of it felt deceptive and unnatural. This was remedied however, when a fellow redditor did a rework of Gravo in the same way you did for Conivolatilis. I immediately saw what I was trying to achieve before, but this time it felt natural and didn't look out of place. What I had realized was that the viewer will immediately accept what they see before them and that I can't allow for my own preconceptions of what it should look like cloud my judgement of how it needs to be.
  I have just started working on my next piece which will be less of a concept and more casual. I have a busy week, but when it's been completed I would love some input. I'll be trying to focus this time on greater contrast and intensifying the colours. One last note: I dissect my own perception of things in hopes that yourself or some one else can spot something I'm overlooking in my own diagnosis using every one's input. Thanks a lot. I'll be keeping up and let you know when that piece is done.
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Submitted on
April 11, 2014
Image Size
13.1 MB