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Magmatic Skins and their... style

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Hey, I know this will get drowned by the Warly hype, but it'd be lovely if I could share my nitpick or confusion here... so I will.
Magmatic portraits look odd.
They have amazing concepts, and some of my favorites are from the Magmatic Collection (Wigfrid and WX, mainly, but I also like the cracks in Maxwell's), but
they look really awkward.

By that, I mean the general posing looks stiff/lacks expression. I'll include some examples, comparisons and descriptions of what I find odd about them, but it can mostly be summed up with these points:
-The portrait does not blend in with the rest of the skins
-The poses lack the feeling of movement, 
-The character looks uncanny, like an in-between
-Colors are too vibrant, and the shading looks rushed

Again, the skins themselves are lovely, and are on par with the rest of the game, but it is weird that their portraits are so... out of place, and that this behaviour only happens with the Magmatic set, as all subsequent skins look fine and dandy (special mentions: Forlorn Doll Willow and Next Of Kin Winona, they both look amazing)

Comparisons, Details and Examples in the spoilers below:




Magmatic Wilson is... plain. His linework is too tidy, and even when it's messy, it doesn't look very deliberate. I chose his Victorian skin for comparison because it has large light areas (Magmatic's hair and Victorian's topcoat), but you can also compare it to the Snowfallen set.

-Shading feels rushed
-White outline looks too jagged, mainly on the hair
-Pose looks stiff




Willow's portrait doesn't complement itself in many aspects: the face is meant to be a >:D, but feels divided, like the eyebrows and smile are fighting for dominance, the shot tries to convey power, but doesn't play with perspective enough to feel powerful, or interesting, and once again the shading feels rushed and the colors are too saturated, even for the Firestarter. I chose the Woeful set for this one because it has an amazing shading, especially on the dress and Bernie, but you can also look at the Roseate portrait for an idea of how vibrant colors are usually portrayed (the fire is quite big, and still pale)

-Shading feels rushed
-Colors are too vibrant
-Lacks perspective



image.thumb.png.04c74e6c99942b2b0db289c118fe9ef5.png image.thumb.png.b97f357bb568dcfc9147a17490d857b7.png

Magmatic WX is one of my all-time favorite skins. I love the Vents, the concept, the pun, it's extremely creative in its execution... but its portrait is one of the worst offenders in this post.
The linework in it is actually really well done, and the scribbled black parts are great, but what hurts this one is just how flat it looks. The shading once again is lacking, there are some really big empty areas that would have benefited from highlights and lighter shadows (namely the face and forehead), the pose might as well have been a T-pose, and the oversaturation in this one is crazy, and yes, WX's portraits are almost monochrome, even in comparison to the rest of the cast, but they look good that way, they feel colourful. I chose the Survivor portrait for comparison because it is the most saturated WX has ever been in a portrait, but you can also check the Unfinished and Rookiebot skins for how dynamic his poses can get.

-Uninteresting pose
-Way too saturated, doesn't blend with the rest of the portraits
-Shading falls short in crucial areas




Once again, an incredible skin, with a portrait that just... doesn't do it justice. I also feel like this one has the best comparison, so I'll just use it to illustrate my points:
Look at how expressive Ultimate Performer is, not just her face, but the entire composition screams powerful. The perspective really helps, and Magmatic Wigfrid has neither expression nor perspective. The color choice is pretty much the same, but the first one lacks the subtlety, and so it doesn't fit with the rest. Don't Starve is really pale, so having these vibrant shades is weird. I am aware that Ultimate Performer is fairly tidy with its linework, and the scribbling is a lot more present in the Magmatic skin, but here's the thing: Ult-Performer looks deliberate. the scribbles in the Magmatic portrait feel more like "small dots the artist forgot to erase".

-Lacks perspective
-Expression feels flat, like Wig held that pose for the drawing, and not "caught in action" like it seems to suggest
-Too bright

Most of these criticisms apply to all portraits, but I will not nitpick on each and every one because "I ain't got time and you ain't got time"
I still adore these skins, and how neat they look in-game, my nitpicking is solely with the Portraits. If there's a good reason for this stylistic choice, someone please enlighten me, as I may be just dumb, but I couldn't find it. 

(I'd like to reiterate that yes, I still wholeheartedly love Klei and all of their amazing artists, even if I do find these odd :wilson_love: )

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I'm glad someone eventually said it. I thought this ever since the skins came out, but idk, I always thought it'd be rude to comment on it, since I'm sure the artist tried their damndest.

Infact, Wigfrids and Webbers splash are the sole reason why I held off from byuing the Magmatic pack for so long. It wasn't untill I saw WX's and Willows ingame, and read that Wilsons is based of of Zuko (or whatever his name was)

UNPOPULAR OPINION INCOMING: If a skin looks great ingame, but has a lackluster/bad splash, I see no reason to use that skin. It's like eating chips without salt. Yeah, it's still chips, but it feels empty.

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I liked the drawings of the portraits. They are a little different than usual, true. But Wes is simply perfect.
Some skins are a bit weird anyway: Maxwell has a chin that is a bit too much like a "banana" and even Willow seems a bit static (I think she should dance in the middle of flames ...?)
Overall, I like them anyway.

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Wigfrid's magmatic was disappointing for me, honestly. Everyone got cool firey and lava based aspects, meanwhile, Wigfrid, the person with red hair already, didn't get the same treatment. You can hardly tell the skin is from the same set.

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Yep, definitely noticed it, and discussed a bit on some discord channels.
They look fine in-game so wasn't a problem for me.

What does bug me is the theme difference. Some got tunics, Woodie got a hot-rod jacket, Wes/Maxwell/Wigfrid got what really seems like superhero/villain attire, different magma hair (Woodie's is subtle, Wendy's bacon hair), etc.

Apart from the shared colors, the designs are oddly different imo. 

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Still though, ive seen a drop of quality on the skins, you can clearly see this by comparing wilsons original design with any newer skins.

as you can see wilsons hair looks all good and "HD" 

imo the mad scientist skin looks like a sketch, and the victorian one looks unfinished because of all the white spots outside of the hair that were left there.




There, i spent like 5 minutes removing the white spots on the hair that i was talking about, i did this with a mouse on paint, so if i can do this in 5 mins with a mouse, so can klei.

Capture2.PNG.468291259dc18a168049f8786831420a.pngCapture2.PNG<- My edit


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I wrote it off as "not my taste" and "Well, there's already a better looking fire pack with Forge, sooooo..." because it's a little too similar. Just look at the Wendy heads, but yeah. Nothing has topped the Victorian skin sets for me yet. Well, I do love Willow's forlorn doll. 

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2 hours ago, FireKestrel said:

isn't that what the Don't Starve style is supposed to be?

Yes and no, its meant to look sketchy but not as much as that skin so that you can say it looks like a real sketch, hell i even remember seeing an actual sketch of the scientist skin way back, and it looks similar to the real one, my problem is that the hair at least looks unfinished and that the lines it has dont look "HD" enough like in the default skin

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16 hours ago, ZolaRay said:


Even though this post is not precisely about the skins themselves, I must agree this looks really low-res and frustrating. Thanks for pointing it out though, comparing quality to the base skins is a nice way to see how things changed over the years.

On 18/07/2019 at 5:29 AM, __IvoCZE__ said:

It's because the Magmatic skins were created by a different artist, but I can see the oddities...

That does explain the differences, thanks, mate!


On 18/07/2019 at 5:05 PM, Zeklo said:

What does bug me is the theme difference [...]

I knew there was something weird about them besides the portraits! They are, indeed, wildly varied in concept, and although beautiful nonetheless, they barely have anything to do with the Forge besides the whole "fire" aspect.


18 hours ago, Russian Philin said:

These skins are good. It's just a variety and a little different from the others, but there's nothing wrong with that.

I mean, yes, but at the same time... It's hard to improve as an artist if you can't pinpoint your own """weaknesses""", and while I may have been a bit harsh, I don't think there's anything wrong with constructive critiscism either. 
(For further clarification, I'm referring specifically to the Portraits, not the skins themselves.)

Thank you all for the feedback, and while I know the topic is somewhat intrisically negative, I'd like to remember that Klei's artists are doing their best everyday, and even if I dislike the portraits, that in itself is enough for me to appreciate the work they've put into them. Cheers!

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