After our chat yesterday, I thought I'd drop by and leave you a bit of gallery crit on your more recent stuff.
First of all, let me just say that you've been improving at such a fantastic rate. Every time I turn around, you're making something new and each piece just gets better and better. Really good job!
I'm going to break this down section by section cause I always find it easier to organize my thoughts that way and then at the end all give you some overall crit.
So I think you already know this, but your Muggle Studies banner is absolutely gorgeous. The comp on it is lovely, the coloring is beautiful, and the text suits it nicely too. It's easily one of the best pieces in your gallery and definitely your best banner. Your Who Am I banner is also really nice. I do think the text doesn't quite work on that banner, but I do think it's some of your better blending in terms of stock on banners.
Your Roses and Rue banner and Crash Into Me banner are IMO not quite as good. The comp is decent on both of them and your text is fine too, but what's lacking is image quality. On the Roses and Rue banner, it's because you're working with darker screencap images, but they don't look nearly as crisp or clean as a lot of your other graphics. On the Crash Into Me banner, I think it's more an issue of blending textures and/or stock over the characters faces. That can work occasionally, but you have to be really careful with it because it can definitely affect the image quality.
Cleanout Recommendation - I think your Dominique Banner is maybe dragging this section down a bit. It isn't necessarily bad, but in comparison to your other work, it definitely isn't on the same level. The images of the two people are overly bright while the background is dark. The image quality is an issue and the stock blending in the background isn't as cohesive as some of your other pieces.
I think your chapter images are pretty good, but I'd encourage you to explore different composition moving forward. I see that you've changed up the order of the models in the two different CIs, which is great, but they still end up looking a bit similar. Maybe try a CI with just one person or with two people on opposite sides of the CI. You could try finding an image of someone sitting and make it look like they're sitting on the title. Your image quality on both is pretty decent. I can tell you used better quality images. Just be careful with the white lighting textures over it. Maybe try them out in different layer modes to get them to blend in better. Screen, Lighten Only, Vivid Light, and Soft Light are some of my favorites for lighting.
Your Love signature is another of my favorites. I really love how you put the stock together and I think the way you blended the woman's hair into the background is really neat. I also love that it has a really cohesive color palette. Everything looks like it's lit with a soft golden light which is nice. It makes the person on the banner look more cohesive with the rest of the graphic.
Your Alone signature is pretty too, but your brightness & contrast look a bit high on it to me. The contrast is what's making it so bright that the features on her face fade away. Also, the background is significantly brighter/more saturated than the two women on it. If you ever run into this issue, you can always create a new layer, set it on soft light, and paint white over the area that isn't as bright.
I'm so sad that the Rihanna Blend is gone.
Your current blend has good comp. I think the way you moved the images around makes it flow a lot better. The text is a big improvement too. It really flows nicely with the rest of the graphic. I will say that there are some image quality issues on the people on it, particularly so on the largest girl. You can see how her skin looks sort of grainy instead of smooth. Really watch out for that on big graphics. It's sometimes possible to hide it a little bit on smaller graphics, but when you have such a large canvas it really shows if the quality isn't there.
Text: I'm going to split this between large text and small.
Large text - I love how much you've been experimenting with your title text. You've used several different fonts, which is great and you're playing with placement on it which is good too. That being said, I've noticed that you are really only using cursive or script fonts for your graphics. I'd encourage you to push yourself a bit further and try some big bold fonts. Keep experimenting with your placement as well. Keep moving it around and playing with where you place it. Also, don't be afraid to move your title text closer to your main model image (usually the largest person on the graphic). Sometimes your text is a bit too far away from your main focal point. Don't be afraid to have your title overlapping or slightly behind a character.
Small text - I think one of your weakest overall areas is your small text. Right now, it seems like most of your small text is in the same font. (correct me if I'm wrong. sometimes it's hard to tell since small font is all so similar.) I'd recommend going through the Serif and Sans Serif sections on dafont.com and downloading some new fonts for small text. I personally like Cinzel, Optimus Princeps, Morva, Yu Gothic, Constantine, Bebas, and basic title, but there are tons of others there too. Work on switching up your small text as much as you switch up your big text. In terms of small text placement, sometimes you have it a bit too spread out, so you can work on bringing the lines a bit closer together. You can also be more creative with your placement of the small text. For example, if you have an image of someone with their arm stuck out, you can run the text along the arm. Or if you have a building in the stock that you're using, you can place the small text along one of the lines in the building. Using the natural lines in your graphic for text can really help the flow.
Composition: I see a lot of improvement in your composition. You're experimenting with where you place your people and text. Your stock use is improving as well. Overall, the flow is getting better and better. Just keep pushing further with it and experimenting. Try using people who are lying down or sitting. Try making a banner with only one person on it or a CI with 4 people on it. Try stacking your text over part of your character.
Coloring: I do think your coloring is getting better, but there are still occasions where your coloring is too heavy. The best advice I've been given is that you want colors to look natural (which is a huge struggle for me since I love bright), but it's true to a certain extent, especially when using stock. You want your colors to be vivid and crisp, but not overly bright or high on saturation. I think this will continue to improve naturally as you continue to grow as an artist, but some things that help are playing with some of the color tools like levels, color balance, selective coloring, etc.
Hard Cuts: Your hard cuts are looking pretty good. I'm not seeing any halos or background pieces on them, so that's good. The only little bit of advice that I wanted to give you about that was to take the blur tool, set it on low opacity (like 20-30%) and just run it around the edges of an image after your finished cutting it. It'll make the edges look smoother.
I know this is a huge wall of crit and I hope it isn't too much. You really are doing incredibly well and I'm only telling you all of this because I think you have a lot of promise. It took me like 6 months just to make junior and here you are just a few months in and already promoted! I know it doesn't feel like it sometimes, but you're well ahead of the curve. Keep experimenting and trying new things and I know you'll be racing through the ranks really soon.
If you have any questions about any of this or you want some help, you can always feel free to PM me or reach out to me on twitter.
Keep up the great work Lia!
Edited by TreacleTart, 11 February 2017 - 10:37 PM.