Hi Taylor, Charlotte here to give you some critique! I’m truly sorry for the delay, but I hope this will be helpful to you. Your requested a general crit, so I’ll just be going over the weak points that you indicated plus some other weak areas.
Some issues I’m seeing with text are font choices, colors, and placements. The best way to choose a color is to use the eyedrop tool and to pick a coloring that is already on the canvas. In +this banner, the white text just looks out of place. Instead, you could choose a pink or yellow from one of the roses, or even the greenish-white from the flowers on the left. The same goes for +this banner, +this blend, and the icons on +this set. Some times, you have text that falls a bit flat, like +this for example. As you can see, the color looks out of place and it’s a pretty dull color too. What you could do is pick a yellow from the building or the pink from the flowers, and maybe even add a black-white, 90˚ gradient overlay (the fx button on the bottom right corner). As for font choices, there aren’t really any specific rules, but I find that script fonts (and I don’t mean just handwritten) work better on stock-based graphics. A good way to choose fonts is to pick something that fits the mood of your graphic. In +this CI and +this sig, the mood seems a bit sad and dark, but the font doesn’t reflect that. Now, for text placements, I always think that it correlates with the composition of your graphic. Try to make your text interact with the background of your graphic or the people. For me, I usually try to place the text at certain angles so it would flow with my graphic, like in +here and +here. As you can see, in my second banner, I cut part of the text so it looks like the girl is leaning on the text.
Focal Points (and Composition)
For focal point, the easiest thing to keep in mind is where you want people to look at first when they see your graphic. Usually, this is the text or the biggest person. However, if you have two big people on opposite sides or a graphic OR the main person and the text on opposite sides OR the main people on opposite sides with the text right in the middle, then your focal point is going to be split. Some graphics that have vague focal points or lack focus are +this, +this, +this. In some of the graphics that I’ve linked (like the floralprint and standing still banners), you’ll notice that even when people aren’t the same size, there is still no focal point. This is because another thing that hinders focal points is when you have people placed at the same height, so it’s hard for people to know where to look first. +Here and +here are examples of what I mean. As you can see, drastic differences (in size and height) would make for better focal points, flow, and also create more depth.
I don’t really see an issue with simple coloring because there aren’t many specific rules about that, so all I can give you are some points. What you could do if you’re looking for more complex coloring is play with the different adjustment layers. My go-to coloring layers are selective color, channel mixer, curves, color balance, and color lookup. I’ll just link you to some of my favorite tutorials here (1, 2, 3). The only issues with coloring I’m seeing in your graphic are some murky coloring, over-brightness, and different skin tones. Some pieces that you can improve with coloring are +this, +this, +this, +this, and +this. Of the graphics that I’ve linked, on some of the pieces, people look too washed out or too bright, while on other pieces, the graphics look dark and lack contrast, making them look murky. To avoid murky graphics, add contrast using curves, brightness/contrast, or levels. (With curves, just drag the line upwards. For levels, drag the middle or the farthest-right triangles towards the left) Use a black-white 90˚ gradient on soft light or overlay to make your graphic pop (play with the opacity). Selective color is useful when you want to target specific colors such as reds and yellows of people’s skins, while color balance is more for adjusting the colors on the whole graphic. You can always use gradient maps to color as well. There are many gradient maps to download on Deviantart (there are a bunch by Evey-V) and you can just mess around with the gradient maps on different layer modes such as screen, soft light, overlay, luminosity, etc.
When making graphics, make sure that the skin tones of the people on your graphic always match. The best way to match skin tones is to just look at your images to see what the differences are. Play around with curves (RGB, Red, Green, and Blue) to adjust the overall tone of the image or to add/decrease contrast. Use selective color to target specific colors, which is useful for skin tones because of the Red and Yellow channels. Color lookup makes the whites brighter, if that’s what your image needs.
You’ve definitely got the basics down, but I’m seeing some graphics with jagged hard-cuts or too-soft blending, so just watch out for that. If you want to clean out some graphics, here are my suggestions.
Banners: 1, 2, 3
Chapter Images: 1, 2, 3
Signatures: 1, 2
In my opinion, your other pieces are better than the ones I've linked. ^___^ I’d love to see more blends and icons from you though. I really like this +new banner! The composition works well and the coloring is pretty and simple. I like the composition on +this CI is too.
I hope this was helpful to you in any way! You can always PM me if you’d like me to go over coloring with your and explain more on the coloring methods. My last tip for you is to keep experimenting, try new things, really look at your graphic and see if there’s something off, and if there is, what is it? In my opinion, a big part of improving is to just put yourself out there! Don’t hesitate to PM me if you have any questions or if you'd like me to clarify anything.
Edited by a little life., 04 August 2017 - 10:41 PM.