I get quite a lot of DD suggestions each day and I'm afraid I just don't have time to answer even a small percentage of them any more. I don't answer DD suggestions, nothing personal, just a question of time-management. So, to give you a better idea of what I base my decision to feature something on, here are some points to be considered:
- I only take suggestions for photomanipulations that are actually filed under Digital Art (category: Digital Art > Photomanipulation). No darkroom photography, no manips that have been mistakenly placed in the photography category or elsewhere on the site (sorry! too much of a not-so-great example here, community-wise). I can feature manip-heavy mixed media pieces, though - category: Digital Art > Mixed Media.
- I'd like to remind you that I need to see credits for the images used (and of course the images need to be legitimate stock - i.e. you have permission to use them in your manip). That goes for all images. You don't need to link direcly to the stock pics, but you do need to link to each stocker or stock site you got your resources from. And if there's some things that you photographed yourself, please mention that! If I can see that you got the model from x and the sky from y, but there's no credit for the ground the model sits on and/or the bird and/or the ribbons or whatever else you added on top, then I cannot feature the work! And don't try to pass something off as being from stocker xy when actually you got it from google, that's just pathetic and it's not that hard to spot either. You can read more about this "No credit no feature" rule of mine in this journal (which will hopefully convince you that I'm not trying to make you jump through hoops, but that I'm trying to set a reasonable example here for newbies especially).
- One set rule is that I can't give someone another DD if they've just had one during the past 6 months. In fact, I may wait longer than that before I give the next DD. In addition to this, I will also check to see what the other DD(s) was (were) for and if the deviation that has been suggested for DD is something new or outstanding in relation to that. Especially if I was the one to give the last DD this kinda raises the standard even higher than for an "ordinary first DD". Try to look at it from the artist's point of view: even if the image is really outstanding compared to everyone else's images, if it is similar (in style, technique, etc) to what the artist has gotten a DD for before, it will draw the same crowd as the last one and it will "block" the artist from receiving a DD during the next 6 months - meaning that if they were to do something really, really new and cool that they're hella proud of, they cannot get a DD on it at that point in time (even though they might've in retrospect loved to trade the pieces).
- Other reasons for a DD suggestion not being taken can for example be
- lack of technical skill shown in the image (shadows set at random, blending not done well, perspective of the combined images doesn't fit, etc)
- lack of originality [I wish I had a better word for it] (concept has been seen a million times before, suggested image looks very similar to the artist's last DD, etc)
- I rather not DD a collaboration, especially not if the image can be found in both collaborators' galleries - it seems unfair one should get all the attention when both did the work. And personally, I'm just not a fan of dividing that attention by putting both deviations up for DD.
Next up, I'd like to talk a bit about suggesting yourself for DD: It's totally fine to do so! BUT please, don't go on stammering something about wanting to "win" this DD even though you know the image still has flaws. Either you know you should get a DD because your work is good and you're just not going to be sitting around until someone else suggests it, or you're probably not quite there yet. Because while a DD is "just a feature" it is one that will be seen by a great number of people who expect a certain standard to go with it (because at the end of the day, it's really not just another feature at all) and they will rip you apart if they think you're not delivering. It will be feedback, but it won't be constructive and helpful at all. So to get feedback on how to improve, suggesting yourself for DD isn't the way to go. You can read more about how you should not go about suggesting yourself here and about how DDs and the wish for feedback don't quite mix here. On how to actually get feedback, read on below!
Let's face it: this site has grown huuuuuuuge and getting your work noticed is not easy. I should maybe interject here that I'm not talking about the number of faves or even watchers you have. Those numbers are not a measurement for you feeling welcome or getting in touch with the community. Especially faves seem to depend not only on the quality of your work, but also on if you hit some nerve (can be a trend in style, an emotion that speaks to people, a topic that has been in the news, a fandom with lots of followers, etc). Provided you are here for some interaction and most of all feedback from likeminded and not so likeminded people, then comments are probably what you want. It's not just the sheer number that counts, it's what's inside.
But how do you get good feedback?
In my opinion, you usually get what you give. If you'll just drop by to say "wow, nice work" then it's likely you'll get just that in return. If you get more involved, though, chances are you'll find a group of people who you can turn to not only for feedback on finished images, but also in case you get stuck on a wip (work in progress) or whom you can ask to help you find that essential piece of stock you desperately need to make your idea work. This is not just about giving long critiques that elaborate on every aspect of the image in question and that will ideally even give technical advice (such as how to achieve what is currently lacking in Photoshop), it's about getting involved in small steps: Find out what you like and what you don't like and tell the artist that (of course without being one of those critic-smart-ass-*beeep*)! It will help you figure out what works in your own art, what fascinates you, what you want to share with others. If you do that, others will return the favour.
But where to start?
There are tons of groups on dA that deal with giving critiques / feedback. Some are geared towards a certain genre, some are based on member involvement ("give a comment get a comment" kind of deal) while others have a special "critique crew". Two that are suitable for photomanipulators are: GimmeFeedback and FeedbackHub. Another good way to meet other manipulators is to get involved in contest groups such as ManipulateThis (a themed contest, bi-weeks), createbyweek (one stock image per week that needs to be used), Manip-Contest (stock image or tutorial that needs to be used, bi-weekly) - they usually also offer critiques and in any case it's a good challenge and a way to get to know people.
dA has a chat system called dAmn (deviantArt message network) and there are hundreds of rooms available to choose from - you can even create your own! Just go through the list and see what takes your fancy. I used to hang out in DigitalMedia a lot, but I'm afraid I haven't had time to do much chatting for quite a while. So I can't really say what would be an active chat to start out with (in case that one is dead-ish - I have no idea if it is or isn't though!).
(if you know more in any category, please tell me!)
TL;DR? too bad, I thought it was worth the effort