First of all, I'd like to thank the people who submitted their works and wanted to be part of this project.
I appreciate all of you, and hopefully, my bits of advice will help you with improving your works.
And I want all of you to understand and see what "constructive criticism" is.
I'm here to help you. I'm here to help you improve.
And only through practice and knowledge, we can master our craft.
FIRST, ATTENTION PLEASE:
I do not claim I'm perfect nor the best at Photomanipulation.
Everything comes from my personal knowledge and experience.
You can take my advice and blend it in your own style of work.
You can also agree or disagree with what I say.
But it all comes down to this: I do this from the heart because I was once a beginner and I know how much I needed some guidance and help before.
Please also understand I'm working on .jpg files and not .psd files, which makes it look messy sometimes. I do my best!
So, let's go:
The first thing that I notice is how beautiful, unique and interesting are the model and concept.
I love everything about the model.
The second thing that I notice is the fact that you have an understanding of the light source.
I talked about it in my previous critique, but here we have another scenario: two light sources.
The main one, which comes from the sky (background) and the second one, that comes from the fire.
It's not unusual when an artwork has multiple light sources, and that can become confusing.
How do we work with multiple light sources?
As you can see, both lights hit the scene differently. The main light is slightly dull, but it doesn't matter.
Even a dull light creates lights & shadows. Think of an old light bulb. Even though it's not as powerful as a neon light, for example, there's still light and shadow cast around.
The main light source hits the side of the wings, which in this artwork is done correctly.
The light source coming from the fire hits certain parts of the buildings, hits the wings, parts of the hand and the dress.
Everything that is lined, is not hit by any kind of light. So those parts should be darker, as they are not in the way of any direct light.
(I want to apologize if things look messy but it's not easy to work on an artwork that is already finished)
As you can see, I darkened the parts that were too light.
Now... maybe it looks too dark? Well, let's fix that!
How? By adding more light...
"Let there be light!"
By making several selections in the background, and lighten them, we are able to create spots from which we can lighten the model as well.
But don't forget, once we add extra light - not just the model is affected, but the background too.
As you can see, this helps us create more light in the scene, and also, get rid of the overall darkness.
Now, there's a little detail on the models head, a fire crown, that is also a light source and it's gonna help us create more light, and details.
I'm not done with the lightning yet, I'm gonna go ahead, and get rid of the extra light that the fire casts on the side of the dress.
And then we will move on to another thing. And later come back to the light part. But for now, let's fix the dress.
Now, let's move to something else.
How does perspective works, and how to correctly use it.
Background, and foreground.
Always keep in mind that there's a horizon line.
Now, you can base your scene on the model, or anything you like.
In this case, I took the model as our base.
But keep in mind what your base is, because everything else in the artwork, needs to follow that line.
And, because of the perspective - we always have a background and a foreground.
Now, as you can see, the model is off the horizon line.
The perspective size of the model in comparison to the perspective and overall size of the city is a little off.
That's because the artwork needs a foreground.
This , can be fixed - and I'll show you how and also explain how and why I did it.
(Again, please keep in mind that I don't work on a .psd work so it might look weird-ish, but I hope it will be easy to understand.)
(stock image used as example for the foreground is courtesy of kuschelirmel )
The background (buildings) need to be pushed above, so they look like they are covered by the foreground.
Now, as you can see, the fire that comes from the model looks odd.
We're gonna work on that too.
The perspective of the fire it still off, as the fire coming out from the hand, should hit a different part - according to the perspective and hand pose.
Now - I would personally give up the idea of her shooting the fire to the city, and rather have her be some fire angel princess, and the city being on fire on it's own.
The way the model is positioned makes it very hard to make her actually lit the city on fire.
But still - her being some kind of fire princess makes sense in having the city on fire - even though you can't really see she did that.
Here is how I would have approached it:
Now, the fire created another light source, so we can lighten the model even more.
And now, she's already a fire princess, and she already has a crown, I would accentuate the crown.
And what's fire without some embers? Let's add that too.
Make sure you use a soft brush to add some kind of fog/light around the fire itself. Lower the opacity of the layer as you see fit.
(stock crown is courtsey of and embers are from )
(Colorizing & Vignette)
As I said, you always need to think which way you want your work to go. This is another warm image, so the colorizing should follow the theme.
Which means warm lights (yellow/orange/red)
The vignette will add some dark round overall shadow, to make the center of the image pop.
Yes or no?
I want to remind you again - I worked on a .jpg image so many things might look off, but I would have cropped this image to something like this.
Less background on the side, so the artwork can focus on the model.
Of course. We will be using two kinds of blur:
Gaussian Blur & Radial Blur.
Gaussian Blur for the background & Radial Blur as a "movement" blur.
Always play with the settings to see what fits your work, and what looks good for you.
The only reason I will do a side by side comparison is because I changed a lot the original artwork.
(Play around with Color Balance on each part Highlights/Midtones/Shadows so you can add a different mood for your work)
I want to highlight your strong points.
You have a very vivid imagination, and you tend to go for works that do not follow what I call "the norms" or "trends"
This work tends to surrealism, which not many people are able to understand and create (myself included: bucktooth)
You also used the perfect elements for the scene, they all fit beautifully.
You have a very good understanding of colors/lights/shadows which means it's going to be easier for you to grow and improve.
The clouds and clouds overlay is also very beautiful and they fit the mood of the work perfectly.
The wings are perfect, in comparison with the model (size-wise), and I saw they are added from a different stock.
I saw the original model has a sword. You can keep that, and add the flames around it, but don't drag it towards the city. Always think of the foreground.
Remember that all works have a background and foreground, and they all depend on the perspective.
I'd love to hear your feedback, and also - if you want and wish - you can always submit any of your other works for critique.
I'm always here for a hand and a piece of advice.
The same thing that I encourage you all.
My tips and advice are here for you.