Can you help me fix this painting?

I have been working in this image for a while. The idea is a chase with witches and magic, but there is something I don’t like and I don’t know what is it!
I don’t know if it is the lighting, the values, the colours, but I feel it’s kind of static when it should be dynamic, and kind of dull when it should be colorfull and brilliant. And I have no idea how to fix it to get to the point I want.
I try to blur the background but don’t know how to make a radial blur to make it dynamic, and try to adjust with some filters and levels but I always make it worse.
Can you help me please? Thanks!

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Firstly, this image is lovely as it is!

Secondly, I think you want motion blur on the close background. Which is a shame when you have put so much work on it!

I don’t think a filter would do, you should have painted motion blur

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Wow, that’s impressive!

I think this is how you want the eye to flow:

See how it all leads to the exclamation point of the horse’s agony?

Right now, your painting has so much beautiful detail in it, my eye can’t follow this [dramatic!] motion. If you push back the stuff that’s secondary to the story, and emphasize only things that tell the story, you’ll suddenly find the action you want. The clenched reins. The tip of a pistol. The eyes of fear. Etc.

Basically it’s airbrushing values and tweaking detail to guide the eye. You’d probably notice it anyway, but you’ve been working on it so long it’s hard to see.

Anyhoo, that’s my uninformed opinion on how to make it more dynamic.

Fantastic work! :heart:

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maybe what’s bothering you is that the light/magic arc goes out of frame?

I think it’s a wonderful painting!

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I agree that it’s a beautiful piece of art!

But I sure know the feeling when the result doesn’t quite meet your own expectations, and you’re having a hard time figuring out why…unfortunately, we can’t look inside your head.

I can only tell what I would probably do differently, but note that I am not a professional artist. And sorry if my explanation is a bit long…

For me, the sky seems a little too bright and glowing, it pulls your attention to the background, and also leaves no room for anything to stand out against it, which is a problem with the lightning attack, it just cannot look like a glaring streak of energy in front of it.

I also feel like the trees in the background look a little too evenly lit, especially on the left, it doesn’t quite give me the feeling of dark woods where the light from the sky above barely reaches the ground. It could do with some dark shadow spots as we see foliage from below. That might also be part of why you feel it’s too dull, this whole background glow vs. the rest of the image is the main contrast here.

The background itself also has this tunneling vanishing point that just has you look at it, although there’s nothing of interest.
So if the sky was toned down a bit, you could have some dust hanging in the air that kind of obscures where exactly they come from, or just make the path bend. That bright glow on the back of the carriage somehow also made me think at first that the threat comes from something in the background, so I’d try to limit the glow to the roof.

The other thing that irritates me a bit is that there seems to be some warm “phantom” light source somewhere near the witches hand reaching for the book (I assume?). The horse’s back, the legs and arms of the people etc. catch warm light but you can’t find any source of it, that made me wonder if there’s something happening I don’t see. The viewing direction of the red haired witch and the man with gun also somehow suggest there is something in front of the reaching hand, but the perspective doesn’t really make think the book is the actual object of interest.

As for motion blur, that sure can help with a dynamic look, but it’s also easy to overdo which I’m not a fan of, and I think this scene works as “high-speed camera” shot just fine, especially if you think of the lightning attack acting as photoflash here.

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Okay I couldn’t resists and messsed with your artwork, sorry :stuck_out_tongue:

I think the shadow depth on the left trees makes a big difference, and needs to be worked on more.
I also added a little hint of skylight on the horse back, some clothes and hair.

And to make sense of this strange light source, I gave that reaching hand some magic aura too, but there’s clearly room for improvement :sweat_smile:

I think the sky could still be a tad darker towards the top so the magic attack stands out a little more, but since I don’t have your layers, the branches behind are washed out now and have some dark halos, which hurts contrast too.

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Wow, thank you a lot! Yes, this changes make it more like I intended. I agree with everything you say, and I love the glowing hand. I’m definitely going to implement those changes. Thanks a lot again, this kind of feedback is really valuable to me, I appreciated.

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Yes, exactly, the points of interest are on that path, but I have to many thing behind and everywhere. I’m going to try and implement more soft edges around. Thank you!

One suggestion I have is to actually remove a lot of the detail from the tree leaves, especially as it gets further away. The extreme detail is kind of distracting from the action. Since they’re supposed to be moving, the near trees could have motion blur, but the blur would reduce as it goes back because the relative motion is far less, and that would get replaced with either bokeh blurring, or just less detail so the subjects stand out. Here’s a video from @Deevad that I watched recently that I found very useful for thinking about backgrounds:

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I don’t really have any suggestions (I’m new to Krita/Digital painting)…
But hey this whole thread was quite informative so, thanks for the all the tips. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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