Thread: SOTM #257 | Judging

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  1. #1 SOTM #257 | Judging 
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    Thee Wolf's Avatar
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    Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter last month's competition. Sorry for the tardiness, it will not happen again. Next month's competition details will be posted in a week or so. The winners of last month's competition will be contacted in due time to get their details so that prizes may be distributed. Congratulations to the selected winners, and we hope to see everyone compete again soon.


    Placements:
    Each placement has been rounded out as the average of all judges' scores.

    1st) Tousuki - 55/80
    2nd) Guardian - 53/80
    3rd) Swaghetti - 44/80


    Entries:

    Swaghetti - [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
    Tousuki - [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
    Guardian - [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]


    Judges' Reviews:

    Spoiler for Thee Wolf's Reviews:
    Spoiler for Swaghetti Review - 53/80:
    Username: Swaghetti
    Submission Image Link: [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    Point Allocation

    Major - Competition Focus
    Depth (/20): 14
    Contrast (/20): 15

    Minor - Static Subpoints
    Lighting (/10): 6
    Flow (/10): 5
    Composition (/10): 7
    Colors (/10): 6

    Point Total (/80): 53


    General Critique

    Nowadays it's typically breaking like an unspoken rule that the focal of a tag should not be centered. In the future definitely try and avoid centering your focal (in this case the render) as it restricts how much space you have around the rest of the canvas and really just how creative you can get with everything. The effects are relatively minimal and the motion blur is a bit harsh, so I'd definitely lighten up a touch on that. I can definitely see how you tried to implement depth, but the background stock seems like it's super low quality so it detracts. Don't be afraid to explore a bit more with the different fields of depth you can add to really bring a piece to life (think foreground vs background in terms of where things are and how close they are to the viewer). The contrast is relatively well done, though a bit dark. The text in the background right is rather distracting and seems to be suffering from a noise filter overlay, so I would suggest almost just outright removing it as it's rather out-of-place feeling among everything else. Not bad though, Swaghetti, and I do hope you enter in again.


    Spoiler for Tousuki Review - 59/80:
    Username: tousuki
    Submission Image Link: [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    Point Allocation

    Major - Competition Focus
    Depth (/20): 17
    Contrast (/20): 18

    Minor - Static Subpoints
    Lighting (/10): 7
    Flow (/10): 5
    Composition (/10): 6
    Colors (/10): 6

    Point Total (/80): 59


    General Critique

    I really like the light sources and contrast lines here, Tousuki, so super nice work there. The centered focal again is a bit taboo, so do try and avoid that in the future and play around a bit more with some interesting focal positioning if not just to experiment with what you can do. The depth is relatively well implemented, but it would have been super nice to see some of those orbs brought into the foreground, perhaps up near the blue light sources that would act to add 3 plains of depth into your tag. The color scheme is a bit basic, being with just the red and blue, although I'm quite fond of the contrast of some areas: along the shoulders specifically for the red, plus in the eyes. The dark border on the top definitely needs to be removed as it feels out of place. The angled motion blur could definitely add some interest sense of atmosphere, although it would need to be blurred just slightly so it's not so sharp. Nice job, and I really look forward to seeing your next design.


    Spoiler for Guardian Review - 57/80:
    Username: Guardian
    Submission Image Link: [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    Point Allocation

    Major - Competition Focus
    Depth (/20): 16
    Contrast (/20): 18

    Minor - Static Subpoints
    Lighting (/10): 5
    Flow (/10): 6
    Composition (/10): 7
    Colors (/10): 5

    Point Total (/80): 57


    General Critique

    I've always been a pretty big fan of tags of this design, in the sense that there's a centralized area of effect that can bleed out cleanly onto a blurred stock. It's a bit more of a concept piece over an actual forum tag in that regard, but it's still super cool. Your depth here is relatively well done, though a few of those flame sparks on the left side would benefit from being sharpened rather then blurred to kind of keep that sense of consistency. I'm quite fond of the contrast, although the colors themselves are rather monochromatic in that everything is mostly orange or black. The lighting is a bit chaotic in that same regard, but it can be pretty tough implementing a correct light source when primarily using flames as your effects. The flow is quite well done, but that one flame portion on the right giving it more of a check mark feel is bringing it down a bit. I really like how cleanly you have the effects going both behind and on top of the render, so serious kudos there. The motion blur on the guns is a nice tough, but upping the brightness just a touch would've been nice, or even if you were up to the challenge of bringing in a bit more color, doing so in that way.


    Spoiler for Omni's Reviews:
    Spoiler for Swaghetti - 35/80:


    Submission Image Link:



    Point Allocation

    Major - Competition Focus
    Depth (6/20):
    Contrast (14/20):

    Minor - Static Subpoints
    Lighting (5/10):
    Flow (3/10):
    Composition (4/10):
    Colors (3/10):

    Point Total (35/80):


    General Critique

    This piece seems like it started off strong but lacked a lot of fundamental aspects that could've really made this piece pop

    The colors with the explosion were nice in my opinion, not too overwhelming though giving a nice action-based atmosphere though the top right corner completely ruins that vibe as your eyes start to wander
    The drop shadow is making Captain America look like a cardboard cutout and no effects (not even some debris or smoke) on the front-side of him really kills any illusion of depth for me

    The angle of his arm as well as shield + body pose could've been played off of to create a really nice sense of flow, instead there's a horizontal wind blur that makes it seem like he's jumping backwards and really doesn't emphasize any natural flow your render gives it

    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]



    Spoiler for Tousuki - 55/80:


    Submission Image Link:




    Point Allocation

    Major - Competition Focus
    Depth (16/20):
    Contrast (14/20):

    Minor - Static Subpoints
    Lighting (5/10):
    Flow (5/10):
    Composition (7/10):
    Colors (7/10):

    Point Total (55/80):


    General Critique
    The colors in this are great in my opinion, making the contrast and depth the strongest aspect of this piece
    For the flow, i think you pulled off something i don't think i would have saw if i were using the same render, the head tilt giving the 45 degree angle of flow and emphasizing it with the lighting was a cool idea, however it looks too flat - the rest of your piece is very curvy render and all, and having straight lines be the focus of your flow really seemed like a bit of a cop out (in my opinion)

    composition is good, everything looks well blended and the depth only emphasizes that. Perhaps the top blue area is a bit too bright and overwhelming for the rest of the piece




    Spoiler for Guardian - 47/80:


    Submission Image Link:



    Point Allocation

    Major - Competition Focus
    Depth (15/20):
    Contrast (12/20):

    Minor - Static Subpoints
    Lighting (5/10):
    Flow (3/10):
    Composition (6/10):
    Colors (6/10):

    Point Total (47/80):


    General Critique
    The color here is certainly it's best quality, lighting is very well complimenting of the colors as well but there are quite a few issues I personally have with this piece

    firstly i'll hit it right away; there is WAY too much negative space here. cropping it would not have done it justice either, this would have been a nice way to use contrast however there's simply nothing going on there and it didn't emphasize depth for me at all, it broke immersion and kept me from wanting to look at anything else but the bright lights
    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    you had something going with flow in a lot of this piece, but there is one thing that absolutely butchered the flow - which is that one piece of flame that seemingly comes out of nowhere
    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    Your depth and composition isn't bad at all, however I feel like more could've been done with the atmosphere to help compliment the composition, as all of this was focused primarily on the focal itself which seemed to lack in the surrounding area to really make the focal more symbiotic


    Spoiler for Kadachi's Reviews:
    Spoiler for Swaghetti - 44/80:

    Username: Swaghetti
    Submission Image Link: [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    Point Allocation

    Major - Competition Focus
    Depth (/20): 12/20
    Contrast (/20): 11/20

    Minor - Static Subpoints
    Lighting (/10): 5/10
    Flow (/10): 4/10
    Composition (/10): 6/10
    Colors (/10): 6/10

    Point Total (/80): 44/80


    General Critique

    There are quite a few different areas in which I would say this piece needs improvement. To break it down, the centered focal, harsh contrast, lack of flow and eye-catching effects are the central issues. A centered focal is quite self-explanatory - when creating a piece by using a stock or render, I would recommend you not use a predetermined canvas size and then place your render/stock, but rather base your canvas size on the render/stock you are working with. I can't say for sure which way you decided to go with in this piece, as the size is quite arbitrary, but finding the right canvas size and placement of your focal is essential to creating the base for an excellent tag. You can read more about render/stock placement by trying to understand how the rules of third work. A Google search should suffice; it's a simple but valuable concept. Moving on, the contrast in this just seems harsh throughout the piece, especially around Captain America. Make sure you keep a keen eye on your adjustments and ensure that you're not abusing them to the point where you're losing important details. This also applies for blending effects, which I can see have been used on the Captain American render. I simply wouldn't recommend doing this, mainly because there are not many situations (especially when you're newer) that using those blending effects would be to your advantage. As for the flow, I think this is an area that really works against you in this piece. The motion blur effect you've added behind the render completely clashes with the flow of the background. The blur effect is moving horizontally at a 180 degree angle whereas the flow of the background is chaotic, like an explosion. I can see that you used the smudging tool to create that effect behind the shield and other areas of the background but you did not change any settings on the smudge brush, which is why the smudge looks flat and low quality. Adjust the settings to get a brush you like and raise the strength to at least 90%. Alternatively, you can download smudge brushes from Google that have already been adjusted. As for eye-catching effects, you just need to incorporate more into your foreground and blend your render in so that you foreground, mid-ground and background are more intertwined. As of now, the foreground and background are easily discernible, which gives off a flat appearance (lack of depth).

    Overall, I can tell you're still starting to get the hang of things so although this feedback may seem overly critical, this piece is perfectly acceptable for someone who is unexperienced. Don't be afraid to try new things - experiment, experiment, experiment. That is how you'll find your own style and learn things within your work environment.


    Spoiler for Tousuki - 52/80:

    Username: Tousuki
    Submission Image Link: [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    Point Allocation

    Major - Competition Focus
    Depth (/20): 14/20
    Contrast (/20): 14/20

    Minor - Static Subpoints
    Lighting (/10): 6/10
    Flow (/10): 6/10
    Composition (/10): 5/10
    Colors (/10): 7/10

    Point Total (/80): 52/80

    General Critique

    Great colours in this piece and I am definitely one for simplicity, but I must say that this piece seems too simple to me. I looked over it at first glance for about 10 seconds but found myself quite bored, simply because it lacks any substantial composition. The background is completely blurred so no details can be seen from that, and the foreground is just a render that takes up way too much of the canvas. The solution to this would just be to add more and resize your render so you have the canvas space available to do so. As for other areas that require improvement, I mentioned in Swaghetti's critique that the motion blur effect he used really works against his piece, and the same thing applies here. I apologize if it's not a motion blur effect, that is just what it seems like to me, but those faint, diagonal lines you have going across the canvas do more damage than anything. From a viewer's perspective, the lines add a forced momentum of flow, and it is not one that aligns with anything else in the piece. The red and blue tones compliment your tag nicely; I would only recommend incorporating other colours so that the blue and red don't seem so separated. The alienation of the two is what jeopardizes your depth and makes the piece boring to look at after some time.

    Great stuff overall!


    Spoiler for Guardian - 55/80:

    Username: Guardian
    Submission Image Link: [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    Point Allocation

    Major - Competition Focus
    Depth (/20): 13/20
    Contrast (/20): 16/20

    Minor - Static Subpoints
    Lighting (/10): 6/10
    Flow (/10): 7/10
    Composition (/10): 7/10
    Colors (/10): 6/10

    Point Total (/80): 55/80

    General Critique

    Great flow and blending, those fire effects fit quite well with the render and background. The areas of improvement I would recommend are your colours and depth. Monotone pieces can work in certain circumstances, generally when a single tone of colour is contributory to the concept of the piece, but in this case I think you simply relied on the single tone of yellow too much. I'm not saying you need to throw in bright tones of neon green or anything, but with the entire background being a flat and dull yellow tone, it dilutes those nice effects you've placed in the foreground. Even adding harsher red tones in there would make this tag more eye-catching. In terms of depth, you did a decent job with the blurring and I am actually quite happy to see someone make an attempt to create depth within a tag by using the blurring tool, but because the bottom of your canvas has so much negative space, my eyes were automatically dragged to the bottom right leg of the render instead of any upper mid-points at first glance.

    Nice work - keep it up!
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  3. #2  
    Winner of SOTM!

    tousuki's Avatar
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    thank you for hosting this, I definitely see my flaws and will try to improve on them. Thank Omni and Kadachi as well for taking the time to provide the CnC. I'm seriously looking forward to the next one.
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  5. #3  
    BDP#Guardian

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    Thanks to Judges for hosting this, and for critique. I really like this kind of SOTM's. Great Job Wolfie. I will work on my arts in future.

    Thankss to swaghetti & tousuki for great rivals. Kudos

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  7. #4  
    Respected Member


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    I enjoyed reading the critique since it showed things i wouldnt usually look for .

    Good work guys

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