*sorry for the double post*
I’m here with your requested gallery critique, so let’s get started!
I was here just a few weeks ago to leave a Christmas comment and I can already see that you’ve added several new things. That’s great! I’m particularly impressed to see a vertical banner in here because they are notoriously difficult to work with. As you continue to work on graphics, keep experimenting with the different sizes because that really is the best way to grow as an artist.
Now, let’s talk about some of the things you’ve listed in terms of concerns in your request…
I can see some improvement in terms of image quality. Your vertical banner, playlist header, and your purple banner show definite improvement in that area. You can see how the images are a bit more clear and almost shiny instead of fuzzy or matte looking. Continue working with HQ images and your graphics will continue to improve.
One other thing I want to discuss in terms of image quality is the program you’re working with. I wasn’t particularly familiar with Pixlr, so I looked it up and found the online editing program. I opened a couple of different images and messed around with editing them a little bit so I could give you some proper feedback. I did immediately notice that every image I uploaded into Pixlr seemed to decrease in quality, particularly lighter/brighter images.
Here’s an example of the same image opened in Pixlr and then opened in GIMP.
This is the image in GIMP:
This is the same image in Pixlr:
You can see how drastic the difference is. It looks pretty HQ in GIMP, but very LQ in Pixlr. So…I’m honestly wondering if a lot of your image quality issues are coming from your program. I don’t usually make recommendations on programs, but if you’re looking for a free graphics program GIMP is completely free and might work a bit better for you. If it’s something you do decide to try out, feel free to shoot me a PM and I can try to help you get acquainted with the program. J
In terms of blending, it doesn’t appear to me that you’ve really started exploring that area much yet. One thing I did in the very beginning to help me get acquainted with blending in the beginning was to take two stock photos like a mountain and a lake...and then erase different parts of the two images until they looked like it was just one whole image. Once you get that down, start working on blending multiple images together or blending different textures together.
Another thing you can try is blending with layer modes. I see that Pixlr has layer mode settings, however I’m not sure if they’re the same as other programs. My suggestion would be to take two separate images and try putting the top layer on different layer modes just to see what they do. You can use things like Lighten Only, Screen, or Soft light to blend things together subtly.
I actually thing coloring is one of your strongest areas so far. You’ve done quite a good job at keeping skin tones very natural looking and enhancing shadows and light. You’re doing a good job of making your colors bright, but not overly staturated or verging into neon.
The only real issue that I can pinpoint in your coloring is the occasional whitish, sort of haziness over the entire graphic, but I again think this is more related to the program you’re using than your actual ability. I think with crisper image quality, you’ll also get cleaner, crisper coloring.
Depth Of Graphics:
One of the things you mentioned in your request is that you feel like your graphics are coming out flat. I think that that’s a big struggle for almost everyone in the beginning. Learning how to create depth with stock pieces, model placement, coloring, lighting, and textures takes time and lots of practice. It’s something I still struggle with.
Here are a few suggestions to work on that might help.
- Using Stock to create depth: A simple way to create some depth is to layer pieces of stock between your models. Let’s say you have two models layered one over the other. To add a bit of depth, you could place flowers or leaves in between them so that one model appears farther back than the other.
- Model Placement: I see you experimenting with the size of your models. You’re doing good with making sure that you have one larger person and one smaller person, but something else that helps is making sure that their eyes are on different levels. Your Give Me Therapy signature is a great example of that. The eyes of the characters are at two different heights and it gives the impression that one person is behind the other.
- Adding shadows and lighting: Something else that can help give depth to an image is creating the illusion of shadows and light on your images. There are multiple ways to do this, but some of the simplest are a black to white gradient (I usually set it on overlay or soft light and put it somewhere between 50%-80% opacity). You can also create your own layer and use your paint brush to paint white or black spots onto the layer and then set it to soft light, lighten only, or overlay. If it’s too dark or bright, lower the opacity until it looks the way you want it.
- Textures: Texture can also help to create depth. You’re doing a good job of experimenting with geometric textures so far. Keep messing with that. That being said, there are lots of premade lighting textures. In fact, there are some great lighting packs by Enigma and by Arrietty. in the resource area. Anyway, once you’ve found the texture you like, you make it the very top layer of your graphic and then set it to screen, soft light, or lighten only and then play with the opacity until it looks the way you want it to.
One other area I wanted to mention in this critique is your text. Text is one of the most difficult areas of graphics. You’ll find that even Staff artists will struggle with it occasionally. My suggestions for that is to download as many fonts as you can. Dafont.com is a great resource for free fonts. Play with different fonts and colors, but also really play with text placement. Your title text should be next to your main focal point. Think of your largest model as your focal point and then generally you want your title text to be close by. That makes it easy for the eye to figure out where to focus on your graphic. You can also do things like rotate the angle, add gradients, or dropshadows to your text to give it a bit more dimension.
I know that this is a huge block of text and sometimes getting all of this information at once can be overwhelming or hard to take in, so if you have any questions about any of it, please feel free to PM me and I can explain more or send you examples of what I mean. J
Other than that, keep experimenting! You’ve been making so many graphics lately and I see so much improvement already!