View Full Version : Critique Please

03-30-2006, 01:45 AM
A potential competition entry (Don Chick please avert your eyes):

Works or not? Why or why not?

03-30-2006, 02:02 PM
Hi Mark;

I looked at this image last evening and this morning did a critique. This is what I came up with. (keep in mind I'm a Craftsman and not a Master and have only been a print judge twice. However, my Craftsman came from teaching Adobe Photoshop)

#1 The bright bulb at the bottom right needs to be remove or toned down. (squint at the image or, better yet,flip it upside down first to see what draws your eye. If anything other than the bloom draws your eye take it out or tone it down)

#2 The flower bloom is a bit too high for the 4th quadrant.

#3 The accent line is too vivid & wide and too distracting.

#4 I'd suggest working it in Corel Painter. (on the example I'm posting I used Photoshop and the smudge tool).

#5 Watch when you save an image. Yours was 11.111 inches by 8.889 inches at 72 ppi. You saved the .jpg as "progressive". Save as Baseline Standard and it won't interpolate a size. On the forums, we have all standardized on using 5" x 4" or 4" x 5' @ 100 ppi.

I hope my example gives you some inspiration. I thik it's an image waiting for the right treatment ... and then it should merit.

D. Craig Flory PPA Certified, Cr.Photog., ASP

03-30-2006, 02:37 PM
Thanks, Craig.

I see your point about the bud in the lower right. And with the accent line, I did toy with the idea of using a pink stroke. Part of what led me to go with the outer glow was the fact that I'm trying to avoid the same treatment on all my comp entries. Having never attended a print competition, I'm a bit at a disadvantage in terms of knowing what the judges are looking for. (And I won't be able to attend this competition, either, dagnabbit.) But I wanted to avoid all of them looking the same.

What did you do to the image in Painter? And I don't understand this comment, You saved the .jpg as "progressive". Save as Baseline Standard and it won't interpolate a size. My understanding of progressive is that it allows a partially downloaded file to render a pixellated image, filling in detail as the file finishes downloading. Does the final pixel matrix differ between progressive and baseline? Note that I save as baseline for all my images that I send to the lab; it's only for web use that I use progressive.

What did you think of the original background, with a sampled green and gradient? Your background renders as black (on this monitor), but it's unclear whether you changed that because you didn't like the original or because it was easier for you to rework the image.

Thanks again for your input.

03-30-2006, 02:52 PM
I disagree about the bud in the corner, only because of the one in the upper left. Leaving both gives balance. If you take out one, then take the other too. I love the color burst, and think it will merit without Painter. I have seen a LOT of painter flowers in the past 2 years, and one that is not manipulated in that way will stand out as unique. I would also take out the bottom of the bud in the upper right, and the two strands coming in at the lower left. I like the background as black instead of the green. The green made me look at the background wondering about it. Black leaves no competition for the image. A step mount with a more subdued stroke line will look great. I think a merit is coming.

03-30-2006, 03:36 PM
Hi Mark;

I made the background a very deep green ... so it would not compete with the subject layer. (selected from one of the stems)

I agree, with the other Mark, about the bud. I took it out but ... I did say before to either take it out OR tone it down. So tone down any areas that are close to being as bright as the open flower.

I used that shade of pink (in a 1 pixel stroke) after trying 5 shades and densities. I felt yours drew too much attention.

And ... I didn't use Painter on it. I used Photoshop and the smudge tool to give a feeling of brush strokes. (at 25% opacity) You might want to save a version with, and one without. Then get 10"X8"s printed of both and see which you like best.

You will find that almost everyone on the forum posts images in 5X4 or 4X5 @ 100 ppi. Yours was 16.667" X 22.222" at 72 ppi ! So when you saved it ... obviously Photoshop did some interpolation of the size which does not happen if you use baseline standard. That's why I pointed it out.

I think this will be a merit print ... go for it. When I judge, one thing I look for is images that make me think " I wish I had created that" !

D. Craig Flory PPA Certified, Cr.Photog. , ASP

04-06-2006, 07:22 AM
If I'm not too late, I would suggest that both buds remain, but they be subdued to let your subject stand out.

I'm ok with the border color, but I'm bothered with the amount of black "negative" space surrounding the image. It's so large, it becomes a point of focus itself. I understand nonmasters requirements. Been there done that.

My suggestion would be to painter the image. The subject flower would have fine detail brushes and virtually all detail left. You might even consider a layer or two of low opacity Lucis art on the main flower. Use like 25% or less of "exposure" and "wyeth" dropped on in separate layers. Then painter the rest, making the buds moderately detailed and moderately darker. Then the underlying foliage can be even more dark and less detailed.

For the black space you could then consider an underlay of even less detailed, even more subtle foliage.

I'm ok with the pink border rather than the first one. Better at bringing out the subject.

Just some ideas, good luck.