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Old September 8th, 2011 (6:33 PM).
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moments. moments. is offline
Crystal Tier
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: keyholes
Nature: Calm
Posts: 3,406

As you're new to posting in graphics and photography, just a heads up that I may come off as harsh or blunt or rude, whatever you want to call it, I have no intentions of that, just like to give you guys honest comments on where you can improve! So hope this is ok!

First of all, the tag as a whole feels rather incomplete, however there is a lot to like in what you do have here, but it does need some more added. First off, while I'd argue it is a fraction too obvious, the black brushing you've got around the edges is actually a really nice touch. I've been harping on to everyone to add more lighting, it is refreshing to see someone naturally add some! But yeah, definitely could go with a little bit of reducing the opacity, or just make it more of a gradient, so it more gradually fades to dark. Another thing you could consider given you've added shadows, is to add a proper light source. Using a soft brush on linear dodge, or using the dodge tool if you're familiar will help make the focal pop a little bit more!

Onto the background, the blue watery, smudge stuff is a good base, but I'm not feeling that C4D or whatever those black floating things are. Not sure how they really work with the Pokemon... But a rather beginner approach to graphics is to make a background, and then paste render on the top and leave it. That's kind of what you have, and it's what Jalorda touched on, that you don't have any effects, or any way of blending the focal and the background. If you are familiar with C4Ds, or smudge, or whatever else you like, you need to put some over the render. Not smothering it, just over the tail, and around the bottom edge of the tag, and then you could extend them out either side of the tag over the background. Without this, it really is a little boring and nothing special, but with just a bit, it will improve a lot!

Some more general things, I would've positioned the Pokemon a little bit higher, and a tiny bit to the left. Just because the body feels like it is being cut off, and is sort of an awkward positioning for it. But yeah, a great start, I just feel it needs a little more polish to finish it off!

It's not about how many filters you use! It's which ones you use, and how you use them... I use like 3/4 on all my pieces, but they are the ones that aren't obviously filters. Sharpen / blur / reduce noise all help with the quality of the piece, but things like displace, ripple and stuff are just too obvious, unoriginal and frankly look pretty bad...

Not feeling this one at all, and a lot of it is down to elements of your technique which bring this down. First of all, I don't know if you were rendering the violin, or if you were trying to create some sort of look by soft erasing all the edges, but this is a big no-no. If you wanted to render, you really need a harder edge, so you can use the magic wand / hard eraser if you've never done it before, but try and experiment and learn to use the pen tool or polygonal lasso. Look up some tutorials if you need them, but it will look so much better, and you definitely need those skills if you want to go any further with graphics. This is a similar story with the stave and the notes on the left, I can't tell if you've rendered it poorly, or if you've added glow, but that's another thing to watch for. If you create effects, and it ends up looking like something bad, even if unintentional, you might not notice because you know what it is, but to other people who don't know what you've done, it can really bring it down. Try and make the effects obvious and really clean execution. Another tip, just stay away from outer glow. It's one of those things that isn't made for tags, it just feels cheap and amateurish...

Um some little things all without real big comments. Placement of the violin is not strong at all, should be brought up quite a bit, and definitely closer to the middle. It just gets lost down there and doesn't draw the eyes at all (soft erasing is also responsible for this).
Text is way too obnoxious, it is just taking all the focus, especially cause it literally has pole position over the actual focal... Get rid of that outer glow / stroke as well, the black, it gives it a rough edge and feels cheap. If it doesn't stand out, use black text.
Colour scheme is really lacking any variety and is monotonous. Then again, unless you go really crazy creative, the violin doesn't give you much to work with...
Lastly, effects just feel random. Like, you kind of got a concept, but it's too vague. Basically it is just "things to do with music" and that tells. There's no flow, the effects don't complement the focal, they are kind of their own thing. Again, violin is a damn hard focal to choose...

Sorry that end bit got a little blunter, I needed to point them all out but would take ages to write them in my normal style.
Basically a recurring thing I can tie to your work, and things that can be improved is that you are making your job really quite difficult. Choosing inanimate objects as focal points, putting emphasis on number of filters used, makes me think you are too caught up in your technique to actually end up with really nice, polished results, which in itself contradicts the point on focussing on technique. I'd like you to go back to characters as focal points, do some more Pokemon ones, or some anime, or real life or something. Getting to do abstract / inanimate / space stuff is a lot more difficult, and I don't think you're quite up to it yet. Need a little bit more experience. I don't mean that in a rude way, they are damn hard to do. I avoid them myself because either I won't be able to do something really nice, or because I will have to spend so much time on one piece to get it decent that it isn't worth it...

Whoever is next, rate JalordaSerpent7's tag. This is not a free pass.