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Jessica_Edwards
10-08-2009, 08:52 PM
I've given up on my first image of Nichole, so I wanted to try another. Personally, I like textures on my images, but I'm unsure how they would score. I have a version without texture if that might work better.

So, does this one have a chance of meriting? What can I do to improve it?

Also, I merited with a print using the same umbrella last year, so I'm not sure if using it again is a good idea.

http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g167/jrayeedwards/Nichole.jpg

Thanks in advance!

Jessica

Keith_A_Howe
10-09-2009, 06:17 AM
Jessica
I feel this image is better than the Sunshine image but I am not confident that it is a merit image. Alot depends on the finished image. To answer your questions
"I merited with a print using the same umbrella last year, so I'm not sure if using it again is a good idea". No Problem. The only ones that will even know or might even care are the other members in your organization that might happen to remember last years entries.
"Personally, I like textures on my images, but I'm unsure how they would score. I have a version without texture if that might work better." Textures work good WHEN they benifit the image and add to the story being told. They will hurt the image when they distract the eye of the viewer away from the subject or story. Take this image, the texture really adds to the rainy story in parts of the image, especially in the lower right. Yet in this image it causes a fairly strong distraction in the upper right over the umbrella, drawing my eye to what looks at first like stains on the umbrella. I feel the bare arm draws too much attention and the high neck on the fur coat has eleminated her neck. Lighting is good! Maybe a skinny crop would help this image. Hope this helps.
Keith

Jessica_Edwards
10-09-2009, 06:44 AM
Thank you, Keith.

The first version of this image was a SOOC crop. I cropped it again eliminating her arm. I do agree about the absence of a neck, but obviously that's something that I can't fix. I eliminated the texture on the umbrella in the upper right and upper left corner.

How's this version?

http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g167/jrayeedwards/17wip.jpg

Keith_A_Howe
10-09-2009, 06:04 PM
It's an improvement. I like the use of texture in the corners because it perpetuates the story of a rainy day. The small sliver of the umbrella shaft that shows below her shoulder needs to be darkened down to about the same color as the upper part of the shaft. You also should think about enhancing the eyes to make them pop. Experiement with adding just a little more saturation to see if the blue pops more and the skin tones become more vibrant - richer. Remember blue is opposite of orange on the color wheel but you don't want orange skin tone - but lean toward a warm peach. The image still has some challenges against it even with all the changes you may make. The two light sky areas and the dark coat give you mixed keys. It's nicely balanced so that may become a moot point in the actual print. The strength of the print will be if you can make her eyes really sing without making them look overworked and artificial. I don't know how much artwork experience you have so if you haven't doen a lot of eye enhancements for print competition do a search through the forum. At some time in the distant past I posted an explanation and samples of worked up eyes.

Keith

Jessica_Edwards
10-12-2009, 06:01 AM
I toned down the bottom shaft of the umbrella, enhanced the eyes, saturated the skin and umbrella, smoothed the skin, and toned down the bright spots in the background.

I'm worried that I've made the skin too orange.

Do you think the improvements helped it get any closer to a merit print or should I start looking for another?

http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g167/jrayeedwards/comp-nichole.jpg

Keith_A_Howe
10-13-2009, 06:50 PM
I did a little work on this image, It is hard to tell from the low res image here but it appears that the whites of the eyes have lost the roundness and the eyes need to have the bags of eyes softened as well. Holly recropped the image to eleminate some of the artifacting look in the lower right corner and I feel that it works better with this image to push her into the right third. You would need to fix some of the fly aways in her hair as well. In my sample I darkened the image and added saturation to the background and umbrella, added more warmth (yellows) to her skintone and darked her fur coat. I also worked her lips some to add shape and soften the feeling of a somewhat forced smile. Once I previewed this post I feel her skin is still showing a bit too much red. I do feel that there is still to much texture / artifacting look in the upper left and lower right corners.
Good Luck
Keith

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/Umbrella.jpg

samgardnermcr
10-13-2009, 08:06 PM
I agree with Keith that the brighter corners are still distracting and the few "fly-a-ways" in the upper portion of her hair might distract as well. This is overall a much stronger image than the first edition posted here. I am hoping the viewers are seeing how working on preparing images for a panel of jurors forces us to pay more attention to details. If we were to strive to be this artistic and detail oriented with much more of our work, clients would see the differences and be drawn in by the galleries in our businesses, displays and websites.
Sam Gardner M.Photog.Cr. CPP

Jessica_Edwards
10-13-2009, 08:22 PM
Thank you, Keith and Sam! I agree about the hair and all of your additional comments.

I reworked this image by smoothing the skin, enhancing the eyes, taking away the texture in the umbrella in the upper right and left, darkening the umbrella shaft, adjusting the color on the skin, saturating the umbrella, and toning down the background highlights and I posted it 2 days ago, but I assume that it never got approved because I don't see it. ?

The reason that I hadn't darkened the fur is because when I print, my shadows are always darker than I see on here on my laptop, so I've learned to adjust for that.

Keith_A_Howe
10-13-2009, 08:56 PM
I posted it 2 days ago, but I assume that it never got approved because I don't see it. ?



It was two days because I was out of town for a wedding on Saturday and a little getaway on Sunday and Monday. I did not have internet access on Sunday and Monday as we were staying at a cabin in the woods but even if I had - I was sorta on vacation. It didn't show up today when I made my comments because I didn't post them for all to see as I was waiting on some additional information before I hit approved. Apparently whatever Sam and I write must show up for everyone without us marking it approved so that's why you saw our comments but not your reworked print we were referencing Clear as mud right? Another reason why I don't like this having to approve stuff before it shows up. Anyway, I have gone back and marked approved on the post you are refering to.

Jessica_Edwards
10-13-2009, 09:18 PM
Thanks, Keith. I must say, I'm jealous of your sorta vacation! :)

When you say that the eyes have lost the roundness. Could that have happened when the image's levels were adjusted? Would you suggest that I go back to the original version and layer mask the whites of the eyes back in?

Keith_A_Howe
10-14-2009, 02:47 AM
When you say that the eyes have lost the roundness. Could that have happened when the image's levels were adjusted? Would you suggest that I go back to the original version and layer mask the whites of the eyes back in?

Jessica, It could have happened if the whites were too close to max at that time but it could also be the result of this low res file, check it out at full res and see if you are seeing a brighter white near the iris that gets progressively darker towards the corners of the eye. Note also that the eye lashes will cast a shadow over the top part of the eye ball, this too should naturally be a little darker. If it is gone too far, you may be able to mask it back in or you may have to go back a few steps and start again, it all depends on how you do things.
Keith

John_Metcalfe
10-14-2009, 10:06 PM
Is it sharp in the face? The mouth, teeth and lips blend/get lost in the highlights.