Spring's Fury

I’ve been wanting to do a storm scene for quite some time but just recently got the guts to try it. I really want to do this well so I can look back on it and still be proud. So any and all suggestions are much appreciated.

It looks like a badly photo shopped image. Nothing really fits together.

The lightning looks very unnatural how it bends. The tornado is too uniformly cylindrical, and should probably be bigger. The dust cloud you have coming up out of the ground because of the tornado looks very unnatural. It looks more like someone drew over it in MS Paint trying to get an asteriod falling from the sky than a tornado touching down. The tornado should probably match the ground color a bit more. The lightning should have a bluish hue to it. Also never have completely white lighting.

The composition and coloring is also really bad. What am I supposed to be looking at? The tornado, the lighting, the house? The white area in the back is also very distracting. You need more focus. The coloring is also very distracting, while it’s better than the composition, it’s still not incredibly eye pleasing. Check out Andrew Prices videos on composition and color. Those will help a lot.

I hope this helps. Please don’t take it too harshly, I’m just trying to be honest about the image to help you improve.

Thanks for the brutal honesty, TM. I do see your points. I need to step back and rethink some things. I appreciate you taking the time to help.

1st off nice to see that there is someone else from Chicago here!

2nd TARDIS Maker - harsh man.

Agreeing that honesty is the best policy giving some helpful critique and advice may be a better method than tearing the art and artist to shreds. :wink:

This being said, he does have valid points throughout his comment. The main focus of the image is lost throughout. You can change the focus by moving some parts of the scene to the background,
putting extra lighting emphasis on the main point. Link1
and using some sort of perspective. An example of this (though the video is for drawing) is single/one point perspective.* link2 *
You need to find your favorite angles to draw the eye toward your focus.

Personally I think that the lightning is mostly fine, maybe the light is a bit too intense and it might be nice to have a little mix of blue/yellow in the streaks, but I also think it should be moving toward the back along with the tree it is striking. It is very distracting and takes away from the image while it is upfront.
there also seems to be a random light in the background. I assume it is to help create ambiance in the scene, but the intensity is too high and the color might suit a little better if it were darker.
The particles that are thrown across the image also maybe should be located more towards the dust cloud. It is a good idea to have them but maybe not so sporadically, instead more concentrated.

I do like what you have going on with the barn mostly though, as far as the wood planks being torn from the barn, and that you can start to see the foundation with a little lean towards the tornado.
I also like the your dirt with shrubbery, it kind of reminds me of flying over Nevada.

Which renderer are you using? And how are you making the tornado + dust clouds? I ask because this can give a little bit of a better idea of how to help improve the look of the tornado and cloud.

Here are some images of torandos that may help you out, you’ll notice that they are more or less cone shaped than cylinder.
This one in particular looks similar to the scene that you are trying to create.

One last thing before I am done posting this very long post, Something similar to this might help the mood of the scene.

I hope this helps! And remember we live in the Midwest, we’re used to tornados :wink:

I wasn’t in any way trying to tear the artists to shreds, I was trying to address the problems with the image in a way to avoid tearing the artist to shreads. I guess I didn’t make that clear enough in my original post. I may be attacking the art, but I never want to attack the artist.

Hey, Neighbor! I’m actually in the northern burbs right by Great America. We definitely get our share of these nasty funnels but I’m fascinated by them which is why I just HAD to make this kind of scene.

LOVE the suggestions and the rest of the feedback! I can’t believe you went so far as to include all the links too. Excellent references! The truth is I knew I was violating composition principles and thought I could make up for it if I had enough cool stuff like a tornado, a lightning strike, and a barn getting torn apart. But I’m learning the hard way I need to stick with the principles.

I’m focusing on 3 things around the power of the tornado:

  1. the tornado itself
  2. illustrating the force of the tornado using the barn getting shredded (thanks for noticing the foundation lean which was done with a lattice)
  3. using lightning as the primary lighting source

Sticking to those 3 things and using your suggestions, I’m going to take another stab. I’ve already incorporated some of this feedback but need to rearrange the primary objects to help fix the composition before I post the next version. (perhaps moving the lightning, tree, and barn toward the back like you suggested).

btw, I’m using cycles and used smoke sim for both the tornado and the dust cloud with a particle system for each as the smoke flow. There is another particle system (randomly painted planes) that is filling the air with dust but I agree it needs to be more isolated toward the tornado.

Thank you again. I would certainly welcome your thoughts on the next version which I hope to have out soon.


Couple of minor points, since TARDISmaker seems to have covered the major ones. Midwestern lightning, when it finally goes to ground, does not have those minor branches. Those only occur while the lighting is still searching for a path between ground and cloud, and disappear once the main stroke takes place.

Also, during the stroke, the light from the lightning bolt is so intense that people’s eyes do not have a chance to adjust, so, unless the strike is very far away, you get an effect of walking into a dark room and having someone shine a flashlight into your eyes: the light is blinding, and the background is lost in darkness. This might give you the opportunity to make that tornado loom a bit more menacingly, coming out of the darkness and only partially illuminated by the lightning.

Finally, you might want to experiment with putting some blue or yellow (or maybe even green or violet) into the lighting to give it an otherworldly effect common in these situations.

Great suggestions, Orinoco! I have taken out the lower minor branches and will explore how to incorporate your other suggestions around light effect and color. Thanks very much!

Tried to incorporate much of the feedback received. Thank you all for weighing in. Would very much appreciate feedback for this version.

I know it’s a bit cliche, but tornadoes are usually drawn with horizontal bands to indicate the swirling wind. In terms of composition, try to move the lightning bolt to the 1/3 position. It’s a bit too close to the edge of the frame right now. The minor branches in the cloud are still distracting. They wouldn’t be there either.

Finally, have you tried some post pro in either Gimp or Photoshop? Put a screen on top of the image, solid color, purple or blue, with low opacity, just to give an overall hue to everything.

Thank you for the suggestions, Orinoco. Very much appreciated. I will work on those.

Hey man, I did a little bit of post-pro to you’re image. Not sure if this is the direction you want to take it in, but i think it brings the tornado into view a little better, and the colours seem to flow a little better with each other.

It’s only a quick touch up on photshop, colour correct, contrast, motion blur on the planks, Pinch, and a slight orange tint… (Another tint colour might work better, as mentioned before either purple or blue) :slight_smile:

I like the changes, Jamie! You definitely confirmed I need more brightness. I was a little afraid of too much brightness and losing the texture in the barn but this looks better overall and more realistic. And the hue adds a nice pop. This will be my guide for the next version. God, I hope I’m close on this damn thing. Dude, thanks for going through the effort. :):slight_smile:

Most likely my last wip before making final changes. Any last suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks to everyone for all your help. This version in so much better than my first version [imp].

Looks a lot better, but I’m still seeing a fight for focus. A huge tornado against an extremely bright flash of lightning and a house. I also don’t really like the color grading here. I feel like it would work better if everything had a blue tint, and then there was a orange light maybe in the house, to compliment the blue. The tornado still feels too cylindrical. I’m also still seeing that weird lighting in the background which distracts a bit from the foreground.

I’m going to try and draw a concept of what I think this should look like tonight. I don’t know if I’m going to show it though, I’m still learning, but if I think I come up with something better than what you have, or at least with better color and composotion, I’ll be sure to post it here. Otherwise, congratulations, your work inspired me to draw something! I’m going to start on it now, I’ll get back to you once it’s done.