freecat15: (happy dance)
My participation in the LIMS BTVS challenge lasted exactly one round. I hadn't expected more, and it was still fun. What I loved about it though is the concrit I got there. It's the only challenge I saw so far where voters are requested to not only vote, but also explain the reason why they voted an icon out. And of course everyone tries their best not to hurt people, so they really gave some good advice.

I took some of it and worked the participating icon over once more. They said it was too dark, which was true, the writing was too big (I had it a lot smaller, but enhanced the size in fear of it being unreadable, and I'd noticed it was a little too big in the end, but it was already way too late that night to change it again, so I let it. A mistake I won't make again...) and too dark (which I don't agree on, so I didn't change that). They were also right that the cutting away from the background was to harsh. This was something that really caught my eye in direct comparison to the other posted icons, but you don't see them before voting, so I didn't have the comparison, and I just still lack experience. (Then again, my untrained eyes maybe wouldn't have seen it even in comparison...)

I thought I show you the difference it made:

Loss1.jpg vs. 

It's really minor things I did, but the difference is still huge. I don't know if this would have kept me from being voted out, but I like it more.

So, why am I telling you all that?
I loved the concrit. I am so new to this that every advice what to do better gets me, well, better. Also, I was a little frustrated about the result (because of course I had hoped to last at least one round. Even if I knew I wouldn't, hope dies last after all, and participating without it makes no sense at all! And thank you again, red_satin_doll, for your encouraging words, they helped a lot!) and played around a bit more, and I wanted to present you the result. And (that's why I told you the whole thing) I'm not averse to getting critic on it (as long as it's constructive).

Here goes:

So, what do you think?

Date: May. 26th, 2016 10:18 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] double_dutchess
double_dutchess: (Spuffy flame hands)
Wow, you really put those comments to good use -- that is definitely a huge difference! It makes me all the more sad that you were eliminated, because it would have been such a great learning opportunity if you could have participated more and get more concrit.

Actually this makes me think that a better system would be to not have any eliminations, but just have everybody participate and collect positive or negative points each round, and then count them all at the end to determine the winner. That way you could really improve yourself and make up for a bad start later. Then of course it wouldn't be "lims" anymore, but I think I'd like that way of doing it better.

About the new image, what I really like is how you combined the two images, that's actually brilliant. It might seem obvious, but I haven't seen it done this way before. The colours are pretty and romantic. I also think the text is good, except there seems to be a spelling mistake.

Suggestions for improvement: the font you used is pretty but not that easy to read. It's also a bit baroque, so maybe too much of a good thing to use for the whole text. Something I've had to learn myself is that often, it looks better if you combine a few different fonts and text sizes (but watch out not to overdo it). Spike's face is a lot darker than Buffy's, maybe you could lighten it up a bit to give them equal focus. Also there's still some dark borders around Spike's face, especially at his throat. This is a problem I have a lot myself, and I always find it hard to fix without removing too much, so I'm not sure I can give you good advice on how to avoid or remedy it.

Those are the main things I can think of right now!

Date: May. 26th, 2016 11:51 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Thank you! I'm glad you think so!

Yeah, you're right, it would be a great idea. I think, though, it's not really meant for absolute beginners like I am, but for those like you and red_satin_doll and teragram to compete with equals, so I'm probably out of place there anyway. (And I'll try the come back challenge anyway :D).

Thank you so much for your opinion! There was indeed a spelling error, I had a part of the 'r' mistaken for the 'i', obviously. It must have sneaked in when I corrected the first mistake, the r and e had changed places... I corrected it now.

These are actually two different fonts. I kind of got taken away with the curlycues, I guess...I took the first one for Buffy (it looks very feminin, I think) and the second for Spike (kind of Victorian), which is not really fitting, now that you mention it. Another one would've been better.
I love it when someone uses different fonts and sizes! I'll keep in mind to try this one day. Maybe even with this one.

The faces were a real pain in the a**. Spike's is candle lit in the darkness of his crypt, Buffy's is shining in the bright moon light. I did a lot already to match them. Additionally the Spike pic was of low quality due to the darkness, which made it even harder. I found a tutorial today how to light up only specific parts in a picture, maybe I should try that. The main problem is the color, though - the candle light gives him such a warm yellow glow, whereas the moonlight colors Buffy in a blue-ish tone. I worked with coloring a lot already, and this is the best I could do. I'd really love to know how the pros solve problems like that. So much to learn...

You're also right about the darker edges at Spike's face. Part of it is shadow, and the other part - I gave up on *ducks*. I tried, and it looked weird, and I decided it was good enough. It isn't, I guess. I'll try again. I'll also change the second fonts.

Thank you so much for taking the time to improve my 'skills', you helped a lot!!!

Date: May. 27th, 2016 12:31 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] double_dutchess
double_dutchess: (Spuffy flame hands)
I see now that they're actually two different fonts! My bad. But they are quite alike in style; I think in general it works better to combine fonts that are more different.

Actually I think you did an amazing job matching the colours of Buffy and Spike; you managed to make them very similar in tone. The remaining problem is more with the lighting. In Photoshop (Elements) you have things like lighting brushes; I don't know if there's anything like that in Gimp? You might be able to use those to highlight Spike's face a bit, similar to Buffy's. But I don't know if it would really work, it's really difficult and I'm pretty bad at it myself. Probably there are better ways to do it, but I don't know them! I'm also self-taught (with Internet help) and a lot of what I do is just trial and error. So when it comes to techniques there's not so much I can share with you, I'm afraid.

Date: May. 27th, 2016 01:53 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Creating images is addictive, isn't it? What program are you using? I find it really difficult to even see icons, much less work at that size. But the people who make icons, sure have a lot of fun. The image above looks really great. And… double_duchess made some really excellent points as far as what works and what could be tweaked.

When you start combining images from two different pictures it can be HARD. Really hard. Especially matching skin tones. I have been working at it for many years, and I'm still learning. If you really like doing this, just stay with it.

Date: May. 28th, 2016 12:45 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
It is absolutely addicting! I can't stop, there's too many possibilities I haven't tried yet...I'm using gimp, though today I downloaded a PSPI plugin for the first time, the matting tool. It took me hours to get it to work, and then I kinda found the result not better than what I had done

I don't work on the icons in icon size. I scale it down when it's done (and a million times to check the effect on it).

Thanks for your words about my image! I knew that the skin tone still didn't match, but I changed it already that much and had no idea left to work with, so I decided to leave it the way it is. DD's tips about the various fonts and the dark borders at Spike's throat are great, I'll work it over some when I have the time.

Thanks again for your encouraging words! I'm so happy that you like what I did!

No title

Date: May. 27th, 2016 04:23 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
User [ profile] rahirah referenced to your post from No title ( saying: [...] [Images, Audio & Video] Artwork:Buffy Icons & Banner [...]

Date: Jun. 18th, 2016 05:50 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
I haven't kept up with you're doing - sorry for that, but I reacted now when you uploaded a whole bunch of userpics, that I presume that you made yourself? Really pretty! And now I've read this post and the feedback and discussion in the comments and it seems to me that you have found a great new hobby that you are really good at! Being creative is a real pleasure, the best pastime; both invigorating and soul-soothing.

Date: Jun. 18th, 2016 01:09 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Yes, they are all mine except the prettiest one - the sparkly Buffy (red background). That one's by the wonderful red satin doll.

The good thing about making icons is that it allows me to spend the inbetween minutes I sometimes have with it. I don't have to refocus, dive in at first like with writing. I just sit down, look at what I have done so far and begin playing around until I inevtably have to take care of something else after some minutes. That really doesn't work at all with writing a story.

The drawback though - it's terribly time consuming probably for the very same reason - those minutes would otherwise have been spent for commenting, maybe, or for laundry, or for talking to my kids. Or, behold, for working. Which I have to press into time slots I have to create out of thin air then. So I really have to limit it in the future.

You know that tune already, don't you???

It also keeps me from replying to emails. You know how terribly sorry I am for that, too. Rest assured though that I'm thinking a lot of you...(<3) There will be an email soon, but be warned, I guess it'll be short-ish :(

I hope you're okay...(hugs!)


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