Deviation Actions

sootzy's avatar


By sootzy
For critics:
Should I make sure all crayons are sharp?
How should I do the lighting?
Should I make it less lop-sided?

And...anything else you can think of.

For :iconcritique-it:

This is for re-envision.
Here is the re envision:

©maya elaine {}
may be used freely, just don't claim as your own.
Image details
Image size
3648x2736px 18.62 MB
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
Argolith's avatar
:star::star::star::star-half::star-empty: Overall
:star::star::star::star-half::star-empty: Vision
:star::star::star::star::star-half: Originality
:star::star::star::star-empty::star-empty: Technique
:star::star::star::star-half::star-empty: Impact


I’m writing this in response to the critique request you sent to <img class="avatar"… alt=":iconcritique-it:" title="Critique-It"/>.

What makes this picture interesting is in my opinion primarily its richness of colors. You created a very vibrant image which naturally attracts some attention. However, I think that some changes could give this photograph a lot more impact and really make it stand out.

First I want to address the geometry. You arranged crayon shavings in a heart-shape and placed the crayons around this heart with the tips facing it. The positions of the tips roughly follow the heart-shape, but I think you could do better. I’m sure that sharpening all tips would have helped you arrange the crayons more precisely, and it would have resulted in a more uniform appearance. Also, the heart made of the shavings would be more impressive if its outline hadn’t been drawn on the paper underneath.

The shadows of the crayons suggest that most of the light was coming from somewhere behind the reddish crayons. Since there are double shadows, two light sources must have been present and apparently both of them produced relatively hard lighting conditions. For this kind of picture I would recommend using a single, soft light source, preferably a soft-box placed above the crayons. This would result in a more even lighting with softer shadows.

Now I’d like to talk about some of the technical aspects. One of the first things I noticed about this photograph was that there’s quite a bit of noise in it. You didn’t include the EXIF data, but I would guess that (depending on what camera was used) the ISO speed was set to somewhere between 400 and 1600. When you’re taking pictures of motionless objects, this is really not necessary. Just use the lowest ISO setting and place the camera on a tripod or find some other way of supporting it in order to avoid blurry images due to camera shake. And if you absolutely have to use a high ISO setting, I recommend running the image through some noise reduction software such as Neat Image.

Since there’s not a lot of depth in this photograph, the depth of field does not matter that much. However, some of the crayons near the bottom of the image appear to be slightly out of focus. I guess one or two additional f-stops wouldn’t have hurt. The exposure is pretty good in my opinion, as is the contrast of the picture. The color saturation seems a bit high, especially for the red tones. I would selectively reduce it a little bit.

While I do like the simple composition of this photograph, I have a suggestion regarding the arrangement of the crayons. I think it would look better if the colors of the crayons followed the spectrum of visible light: Red, yellow, green, blue, violet, and back to red to close the circle (or heart in this case). You’d have to throw out some of the crayons you used (white, gray and black aren’t spectral colors) and add others (I’m really missing yellow in this photograph), but I think it would be worth the effort.

In a nutshell, I think that this is a quite creative piece of conceptual photography. There are some flaws, but since you’re participating in #Critique-It’s Re-Envision project, you will probably create a new version of this picture soon, and I’m confident that it will have even more impact than this photograph.

I hope I was able to provide some useful insights. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me.

sootzy's avatar
thanks so much!
Charlene-Art's avatar
Great concept! Love what you did out of crayons!

I didn't even notice not all the crayons were sharp until you pointed it out to me. In that case, yes, it would be more smooth.

The lopsidedness does have a childlike feel to it. But and even heart would have a more professional look to it. Up to you
FullofSecrets's avatar

First I'll give an overall critique, and then I'll specifically answer your points that you asked about. This is a cute picture, and I really like the concept and the idea behind it. All of the other comments so far have been right on target, so I'll keep the points brief where they've already been touched upon. To begin, the heart drawn around the shavings is quite distracting and detracts from the picture. Next, the colors are indeed oddly placed, and since the theme here is crayons bright colors are a must. If you happened to have a box of brand new crayons, like one of those little 24 pack boxes kids take to school then I'd suggest using that so that the crayons are uniform, and so that teh colors are normal colors and as bright as possible. To get shavings accumulated you could use old crayons and sharpen them to create the pile. Lastly, the focus of the picture is quite grainy, and unless that is caused by a poor choice of camera (such as a cell phone camera) it is probably caused by too little light.

Something that hasn't been mentioned so far is the shape of the crayons. Maybe it is just me, but the shape it is in thsi picture is bothersome. It's not quite a heart because it doesn't come to a tip in the top middle of the heart, and yet it isn't a circle either. If you are aiming for it to be a heart I think making the shape less rounded and fitted much more tightly around the shavings heart (while still having the same amount of space between the shavings and crayons) you would get a better effect. Imagine an invisible boundary one inch along the edge of the shavings heart on every side and that is where I think it would be best to put the tips of the crayons to form the outer heart.

On to your specific questions. "Should the crayons be sharpened?" Yes, they should so they are as uniform as possible. If you want some variety between sharpened and unsharpened, or to show wear so that the shavings make more sense then you could have a few dull crayons thrown in sparingly, but they shouldn't be close to each other, and none of the crayons should be glittery. It should also be a conscious choice.

"How should I do the lighting?" My suggestion is to do it with natural lighting, but diffused natural lighting. Indoor lighting can cause odd colorations, and often it does not provide enough usable light for the camera to get a clear photograph. Taking the photograph by a window where indoor lighting comes in easily, or going outside to take it are both options there. If you do this you should make sure it is either cloudy somewhat or is in the shade to avoid glares off the crayons and the white paper. If you have a way to produce good indoor lighting and just mean where should the lighting be, I like the way it is now being straight on to the crayons. Basically any lighting that creates little to no shadows and is equally distributed over the crayon heart is probably best.

"Should I make it less lop-sided?" Not entirely sure what you mean by "it" but I already discussed fitting the hearts closer together. I think that without the drawn out heart under the shavings any lop sided-ness is much less noticeable, though.

Hope my comment helped.
sootzy's avatar
Holy crap really long critique wow. o.o
Thank you all this input amazes me! And is mighty helpful. C:
gppr's avatar
Hi there, I'm here from #Critique-It

This is a very cute concept. I love the how much colors you have included.
As for critique, there is a lot of noise in the image. This can be reduced by working with lower ISO, if this lengthens the exposure too much, you must use a tripod to avoid shaking.

The contrast from the light white crayon to the darkest colors (clustered at the bottom of the image) is too much. You could choose not so dark crayons to avoid clipping on both the highlights and the shadows.

If all the crayons were completely sharp, I think it would look too artificial.

I hope this is helpful to you.
WingSilk's avatar
This is so cute, I love it <3
sootzy's avatar
nycterent's avatar

I'm going to bounce off ~K47454k1's comment and say that I agree with most of his points. The colors around the heart seem oddly drab and dark (which also makes me think that perhaps you did not have a lot of crayons on hand, or had used up all the ones in bright colors) and uneven.

Perhaps if you're going to keep the colors limited to three or four, the color wheel could be a big help? The Color Scheme Designer site is one of my favorite when I need to play around with different colors, and an accented analogic color scheme could be just what the doctor ordered (if you want to avoid the full rainbow effect or can't pull it off).

I also agree on the drawn heart comment above - I imagine the piece would be all that more "free" and untethered if there was no outline. I also got a sense that the heart was drawn first, then the crayons were placed around it, and only then were the shavings dropped. Perhaps if you do it in the opposite order (first the shavings, and then the crayons) the image will be able to avoid the noise of having small pieces lying around (you'll have a chance to remove those before placing the crayons).

Finally, I'd really like to see a different kind of focus for the photograph. There's almost a grainy feel here, and it's not quite working for me. I wish I had more photography experience to offer some concrete advice, but my only suggestion would be to make sure you have good lighting. I've found that taking a shot outside during the first half of the day gets good results.

Hope this helps!

sootzy's avatar
I was using a box of crayons I found at my friends Grandmas, this was taken just to pass the time. XD

I have no idea why the grain turned out that way and I've always hated this photograph because of it.
K47454k1's avatar
From a lamen's point of view, I can only give you the perspective of a normal person that sees this:

I wish the small specks were either not there or a brighter more colorful accent.
I wish the colors of the shavings were more bright and cheerful. Some bright yellows, oranges, pinks, even some whites and a few reds and darker colors for a bit of contrast would be great.
I wish the drawn on heart wasn't there, that it was just the shaving-heart.
I wish the crayons were either more varied in color or made a more smooth progression, in which gray was between black and white, and there was a rainbow-like progression of colors (Reds morph into x (transition color) which morphs into (primary color) and repeat.)
I would either like more uniform crayon wear, or varied, but smooth. For instance the very middle on the bottom and to the right one: smooth. 2 more right: jagged and ugly.
Also the glitter ones are mostly very unpleasing colors except for the two purple ones in the upper left hand side.

Hope this helps!
K47454k1's avatar
LuliYoursTruly's avatar
love it!! so .... nice and colourfull..
brings out the sunshine in mee =P
sootzy's avatar
Sunshine. ;D
AeonOfTime's avatar
Great concept indeed, love it :)
sootzy's avatar
JigensMobsterGirl88's avatar
Pure love, I lve the colors :3
snoopgirl's avatar
awww this is so creative! :clap: great job!!

Madrigal-Moonlight's avatar
Beautiful colours and composition! :clap:
sootzy's avatar
Thankyew. C:
iheartcolours's avatar
very creative. :heart:
sootzy's avatar
lena-yukime10's avatar
wow, this is really amazing, you know, imagination is what i love about the human beings.
i just love it xD
i can see you put much effort in this. i can see that for others eyes this is pretty easy but from my eyes its pretty amazing.
i love the idea of it. i mean you can have plenty of good idea's and one simple idea can make it a very good and amazing one. well anyway nice job:D

Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In