Thread: judge voting
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:22 PM   #2
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2nd Place:  - Issue reason: Video Game Sequential Contest '07 
Total Awards: 1
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Georgia, USA
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Congratulations all that were even able to enter. :P It looks like you all put a lot of effort into your entries, and I think you would have placed highly even more people had entered.

Anyway, I'll just quick little critiques on all the entries and why I feel they placed the way they did.

It's a nice colorful entry, with interesting characters. I think as far as the character design portion of the contest, you did an excellent job. It also seems to fit the theme perfectly. For me, this entry didn't rank quite as high because of technical issues.

Overall, I think the issue of depth is what bugs me the most. You have selectively colored some of the lines and not others. Coloring the lineart is fine, but you have objects in the foreground with colored lines, but the cliffs still have a dark outline, which is counter intuitive to indicating depth. Also, maybe fading them out or adding some blue to them as they recede would help push them ack more. The guy gets a little lost in front of the cliff as he is mostly browns and neutrals in front of a similarly toned background element.

The characters also seem at odds to the depth you're trying to convey. The guy seems somehwat off and is maybe missing a shadow. If he's kind of up in the air and his shadow would fall in the same space as the creature's, then the dust cloud is misplaced. The main problem, though, is the girl. There is no way she should be in front of the creature. The creature is literally standing on the ground line, which means that this is at an extremely low angle, so these elements int he background should be much farther away than they seem here.

As a nitpick, the signature seems very distracting to me. Usually, it would be placed in a less prominent position and not right in the middle of the action.

I feel bad giving you second place here, because I feel your entry is the strongest in terms of technique. It's beautifully and meticulously rendered in great detail, and I checked out your WIP thread, so I know you put a lot of thought into this as well.

I feel like you've done a better job of eliminating that plastic look by adding some texture to the piece overall, but it does still seem a little stiff, the hands in particular. I understand that all the elements have meaning, but I agree with Darkreaver in your WIP thread about the hummingbird. The other elements are subdued in the background, but the hummingbird is jammed in between them in a very distracting way, in my opinion. It seems odd to have them staring directly at each other, then having something break that up. Also, everything else, aside from the constellation, is perfectly symmetrical, which makes this element stand out way more than it should. I'm not super familiar with the myth (never heard of the hummingbird), but my understanding was the wolf was what was most associated with Romulus and Remus.

However, the main reason I placed this second was the theme and rules of the contest. I understand that you were doing something unique and different from a standard fantasy piece, and something like a character sheet doesn't make as much sense in this case, but it was part of the criteria. I realize you have sketches and a WIP thread, but they were just initial drawings of the final piece without any real deviation or exploration. Also, the relation to the theme, while I get what you were going for, is not as strong as the other entries.

Your entry I felt was the most on point to the parameters of the contest and the final entry. You did a great job not only designing the ships and the creature, but the composition studies are nice as well. I also like the rendering and color of the final piece.

I actually like the compositions from your studies more than the one used in the final piece. Even the final sketch, which is essentially the same, shows a little more of the creature. You did some interesting design work on the whale, yet in the final, it is missing a lot of these features, making it appear more bland. I also think the sense of scale is weaker than in the studies. In the first and second, the ships overlap the creature, which makes it clear that they are much smaller. I really like the second one, because the emerging from the clouds also evokes the feeling of an actual whale rising from the sea. Even with no direct overlap of the ships, the third one captures the feeling of depth as well. The foreshortening and atmospheric fading of elements helps a lot here. It still looks big in the final, just not as massive as it does in the others.

Also, this has nothing to do with scale, but it seems odd that such small ships would be harpooning such a large creature. Doesn't seem entirely plausible that they would be able to do anything besides being dragged through the sky once they hooked it.
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