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July 20, 2012
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Pinkie stole mah hat! by Stinkehund Pinkie stole mah hat! by Stinkehund
I'm not that happy with this one, but then again, i'm not that big a fan of brightly lit pictures.

As always, if someone points out glaring errors, i'll do my best to correct them.

[edit] Swapped some colors on the barn as per the suggestions in the critique below.

Step-by-step:

Night:
Dawn:
Dusk:

Print's over at redbubble: [link]
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:iconwaffle911:
Oh dear…something bothered me straight away about this one. And then I realized there were a few more things troubling me.

The sunlight is coming from the wrong side; it should be on the right side of the picture, slightly behind the viewer. Looking both at screenshots of the show and the vector base you made, the darker-colored side of the cupola atop the barn is darker because it's not directly in the sun (it's the same base shade as the shady under-side of the overhangs of the roof). Because the right side is not actually darkened in color the way it should from shadow, it just looks washed out and inconsistent rather than being just another side of the same roof. The slightly darker base-shade of red on the left side of the barn further supports this, as do the sheds off to the right in the background. The right face of the barn looks too bright by comparison, especially on the cupola; the roof of the cupola and the sides of the huts look completely under-saturated because of this lighting discrepancy.

Golden Harvest's steps shouldn't be shaded as if they were round; they look more like a length of improbably large-diameter rope than flat steps. The base vector for that house also supports the light coming from the right side.

Another thing about Golden Harvest's house: the carrot on top is shaded on the opposite side as everything else in the scene in the base vector.

Seeing this made me realize something else. The midnight picture suffers from all of the exact same problems for all of the same reasons; some of the problems are less noticeable, but the under-saturation becomes much more prevalent in the night scene.

I've noticed that since the base vector you made a while back, you've since turned many of the patches of open dirt into grass, especially the dirt pathway to Golden Harvest's house, which is now paved with shockingly lush grass for a pathway. It seems odd that the carrot patch would be planted in green grass (which would fight the carrots for nutrients and make the ground much harder and resistant to farming and gardening) as opposed to plowed earth, and that well-trodden pathways all over the farm would be covered in luscious grass greener than untrodden ground. As a working farm, the original vector better represents what should be uncovered ground on the farm. I can understand that you may have wanted more green to make it look more lush and fertile rather than barren and dry, but it doesn't line up with the way it's presented in the show, and so that aspect isn't really faithfully building off of and improving what the show has to offer.

I think the reason you're consistently unhappy with these intensely-lit pics is because you keep fighting the existing, simplistic cues of light and shadow that are inherently part of the vector design from the show; they're used to give otherwise flat objects some depth and dimension to make them look more like boxy buildings. You're ignoring the implied lighting when you're adding your own light and shadow, rather than using it as a base for more dramatic effects, or changing the base vector when absolutely necessary to make it work. I'm sorry for being the one to bring this problem to light only after you've already done three such pictures; but I couldn't quite place it until it was so prevalent in this picture that I realized it was in the others as well.

A substantial amount of rework may be required on these depending on how you go about it, or if you feel it would even worth it to change it all now. Knowing what the final product is going to be used for, however, it just might be; at the very least, it should help you improve even more before you go working on other scenes for different locales.

I'm not sure just how baked-in everything is now in the .psd (or whatever GIMP uses if that's what you're using), but if everything else is just made up of shading effects piled on top of the base vector (rather than being completely repainted), then you might be able to fix this by swapping the colors in the base vector (everything on the left side swapped to the right side, etc.) rather than having to redo the entire picture for all three of the existing pictures, so that the lighter and darker colors are on the correct sides for the lighting situation you've already applied. The sunrise picture doesn't suffer as much from this because the sun is on the right side of the picture, but the saturation on the right side of the huts in that image is still affected because they are heavily in shadow when the base vector suggests otherwise. While doing all this would take away from being completely show-accurate, it would look much more correct, and I think you may end up liking the results better.

Basically, work out how the lighting affects just the flat colors and inherent shadows and highlights in the base vector itself before shading everything to give more form and depth. I have a feeling it would have helped more with the characters' eyes in the sunrise image as well. That one dramatic panning shot across Fluttershy's face in Putting Your Hoof Down is one good example of how more dynamic environmental lighting and cast shadow would work for the flat-colored vectors if the animators had the time, incentive, and reason to do it more often, and can serve as a guide for approaching basic color and lighting cues in the base vector before painting on more detailed shadows and highlights that can't hope to correct for inherent lighting conflicts.

These have a lot of potential, but in their current state, the base images without lighting or shadow look better because they don't suffer from the conflicting lighting and color cues of the "finished" products.

Vision: 5 because of the way you're taking a background and painting a story just with the actions and expressions of the static characters you've placed in the scene, and doing one for each of four different times of day.

Originality: 4 because the background looks like it is based almost entirely off of a landscape shot from the show. It's hard to blame you for doing it, though, because you still want the scene to be instantly recognizable, and this is how it almost always is seen in the show as well.

Technique: 3.5 While the original base vector is very highly detailed and well executed, the over-painting conflicts with (and loses against) the flat areas of light and shadow baked into the vector as it appears in the show.

Impact: 4.5 It looks stunning and has much more pop than flat vectors like in the show ever could; but all the discrepancies stated above still leave that nagging feeling that things look a bit "off," even if the viewer can't quite figure out what they are.
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
13 out of 16 deviants thought this was fair.

:iconheartinathepony:
This is incredibly beautiful, due to realistic shadings.

Pinkie Pie has balloons tied around her torso she flies with (despite being an earth pony) as Rainbow Dash watches her while chilling in a cloud. Spike and Rarity are a sweet couple, tied with Princess Cadence and Shining Armour. Fluttershy and Big Mac are a cute couple according to the fanbase. And Twilight 's practicing her new spell!

Poor Applejack, without her hat, feels like a timid mare anypony sees when they're around. The hills and trees have amazing shadows, a barn is quite stunning and a well reminds me of a real one :D
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
23 out of 26 deviants thought this was fair.

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:icontrunksxv:
OUTSTANDING!!! I LOVE IT!
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:iconkittensky9:
Oh my gosh this is awesome! :3
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:icontalon274:
You should totally do one of the schoolhouse with the kids going in the morning and another of them leaving in the evening and some crazy crusader stuff at night. just sayin'
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:iconressetkk:
Ressetkk Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Used: [link] Thanks ^^
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:iconplaidsandstripes:
Can anyone tell me what Twilight is using her magic on? I cannot figure it out! Thanks!
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:iconstinkehund:
Stinkehund Jan 5, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
She's trying to get the hat back.
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:iconsolidsnake1710:
I love these, so full of atmosphere and attention to detail.
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:iconel-jorro:
Wonder what that orange building in the background is?
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:icongt4tube:
GT4tube Sep 12, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Amazing!
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