Need serious critiques


I’m a relatively new 3D Modeller/Animator, I’ve been only doing it for about a year and a half now. I decided that I’m going to try to get into an animation school in Cape Town next year, but in order to do so I need to provide at least 6 art pieces for a portfolio, and most of what I have isn’t suitable for a portfolio. I’ve started working on my portfolio, but I’m feeling very insecure about it (you NEED to have an art background to get into the animation school, but I don’t know how good you have to be, so I’m trying to make it as good as I possibly can), and I decided that instead of feeling sorry for myself I’ll post it somewhere where professionals can give me feedback, tell me what I did wrong, and tell me what I can do to improve it.

I’m not a very creative person, I work better with the technical aspects of modelling and animation, and whenever I model I do so off of reference or concept pieces. This has been the first things I had nothing to hold my hand in, and it shows.

I only have 2 pieces so far, but here they are:

This one I made intentionally to look like toys, with the textures supposed to be stickers. Because of this, though, I’m afraid it just looks bad and as though I couldn’t do a better job.

This one was originally fairly lighter, and had nobody in the window, but I made the edits because if felt far too boring. It still just feels too boring and uninteresting.

Hey Chalk. Here’s some starters critiques but I’m no professional so you can take it or leave it. :slight_smile:
Sample 1: Try adding some bump mapping to your wall textures…right now it looks way too flat. The yellow caution tape could be more “droopy” between posts. Right now, it looks too straight. Finally, try adding a different texture to your floor. Something that doesn’t contrast with your focal objects but adds some interest.

Sample 2: Add more color and perhaps a closer object of interest…right now it looks like an empty alley which isn’t too interesting. The shadow in the window looks a little menacing and adds some atmosphere but I bet you can do more.

Hope that helps!


  1. Thanks for your feedback. The first picture is meant to look like stickers, and I made the textures myself to emphasise the fact that they’re supposed to be fake. But I think I’ll try to make the door, walls, and floor realistic while leaving the rest of the scene toy-ish. Thanks!

  2. The shadow originally had glowing red eyes, do you think I should make them glow again? Also, what would you recommend I add closer? The trash bag in the lower right corner was added there specifically because it felt far too empty without it, and because I couldn’t think of what else I should add.

Thanks for your feedback!


I’m assuming that this is in BI, though I could be wrong. Anyway, if it is not already I would suggest switching it to cycles and adding in some more light. Even at night, cities are still light up by the stars, moon, street light, etc. Also add in some bump mapping like the jdover said. But on top of that maybe add in some graffiti or grunge to the walls as well, that would seam to work a little better with the scene if it is supposed to be an alley.
This tutorial might help you with applying grunge/graffiti and bump map: (Blender Guru’s How to Create a Post Apocalyptic Environment)
This is an example of what he does in it:

Hope this helps,

Its dark…

Thanks for your feedback. And I’m using Cycles, I only use Blender Internal for game assets, and for anything that’s too many frames to render efficiently in Cycles (long animations).

Also, I’m aware how to apply maps and alpha layers, but thank you for the link nonetheless.

Is that Bender in the back of the first render? :smiley:

It’s hard to see what’s going on in those pictures posted by you.

  1. picture:
    I think the first one with the robots tells an interesting story, but the composition isn’t directing the view of the viewer to the events and is therefore leaving him a little bit puzzled at first.

Also the plain wall with the entrance is occupying nearly half of the picture, although it’s not really adding much to the story. In short: the wall takes too much space.

As said above: it’s too dark. Yes, it’s in the middle of the night and in the night it’s dark, but… no. Maybe you could give one or two of the cop-robots a pocket lamp, or flash-light eyes or other robot stuff to lighten the victim and/or crime-scene (and/or Bender).
Or you could put one or two streetlights outside or inside the borders of the picture to bring more light into the scene an navigate the eyes of the viewer to the main parts of the picture.

About the composition and the wall:
Maybe moving the camera a little bit to the left would help. It would catch more of the scene and less of the wall.

  1. picture:
    This picture is missing a story or a purpose.
    The man in the window is close to that, but there is just too less to see of him or the stuff happening inside the room. Maybe you could turn him into the story.
    Alternatively you could change the focus of the scene to something else, an object on the ground, a poster/gravity on the wall, a shadow coming out of one of the windows on the side, where the shadow shows someone murdering someone else etc. etc.

My second main criticism would be the light again. Its too dark.
I would recommend to make the light source stronger and turn the color into a dark blue. It’s a trick usually used to make moviescenes which where shot by daylight look as if they where shot by night. The technique is called “day for night”.

~ theAlmightyF

Way too dark and flat, for both of them.

If those’re stickers on those toys, peel one or two of 'em, add some grit, and jack up the specularity, then light the thing better. I don’t even want to look at that picture it’s too dark - just like doing dishes with the lights off, it’s kind of frustrating.

Bender having murdered Brownie is kind of funny, but it’s hard to spot.

Second one, same thing. It’s dark, and there’s no real story to it. It’s a badly-lit alley without a lot of detail and a weird shadow on the building across the road. It could be dark and gritty, but there isn’t any real grit. So it’s dark. My eye wanders over that red thing, which may be a pack of cigarettes or a clown nose, but I can’t figure it out so I get bored and my eye wanders again, finding, to its dismay, the maybe-clown-nose to have the most potential for interest in the shot. The window on the left there looks pretty interesting, and then I see that the indoor texture is the same as the outdoor brick, and I immediately know on the other side of that window is an empty room, like on a movie set.

For number 2 I would add stars and normal maps. The I would make the buildings have more detail, especially around the windows.

I’d suggest start with creating a 2d concept image, find some reference images and make sure you have a good impression of what you want to do. A boring image will be a boring image, even if it’s creator is technically skilled.

Don’t mean to be “too” bluntly-critical of both of the images in #1 but:

Too …


I know this post is a little old, but I though I could offer a critique for you.

What I like about 1 is there is a focal point created by the use of heavy diagonals. My eye is directed to specific areas of the image. You may have also unconsciously use the rule of thirds in this composition which makes it more visually appealing.

As many have stated number two is dark, but the real problem is the lack of visual information we get from the scene being dark. The garbage bags in the scene have the potential to offer some great specular highlights but there is no light in the foreground. Additionally the colour temperature of the lights is off. There are only 2 cities that use light in the 5000-6000 k range (daylight - blue white), most are around 3000k somewhere in the orange / orange / yellow end of the spectrum. A combination of interior tungsten light yellow’s, exterior sodium lights 3000k (orange) and ambient star light would offer more visual impact to the scene. Additionally, the bump (normals) and spec maps eagleflyer used would give more visual detail and make for a stronger scene.

As for the question of making the eyes glow, personally I think it is a little cliche but do what you think is best for your work. It is after all your creation.