I'd suggest tinkering with the colour of the wreath, then, so it's not so close to the colour of the skin of the forums. Other than that, naw, it ain't terrible. Just dishin' out critique 'cause that's the point of the thread.
edit: there's a lot of other Christmassy symbols you could use that aren't green for the BG, but if you're set on the wreath, that's cool too.
Want to know your guyses opinions on these. Instead of entering the best, I'll enter whatever gets the best feedback here since you guys have messed up taste in art that's pretty much backwards, for the most part.
I really don't think there's such a thing as "messed up" or "backwards" taste. Everyone has different taste, and to act like one particular person's taste is better than another's is very egotistic and elitist.
My two cents.
As for the signatures, they're far too dark in composition. Excluding the first two signatures, there's little depth, which isn't a bad thing sometimes, but right now I'm just kind of scanning over the whole piece instead of focusing on a particular part. I wouldn't blur anything to try and move my eyes to anything, because everything looks fine, but I would try and do something to the focal point that would differentiate it slightly from the rest of the work.
Taste only goes at a certain point. When there is a clear difference in quality and stuff, it's fact. When two things are pretty close in quality, it's opinion. For example, a 4 year old just blowing a kazoo randomly is not as good as Beethoven's 5th. Now, one can argue which is better, Beethoven's 5th or his 9th.
The darkness is to try and make the lighting seem more intense and give an a better sense of atmosphere, like with xProphet and Amanda's work.
Still, which one would you guys vote for in SOTW? I can get CnC pn other sites, but I can't get your taste of art anywhere.
Kesha: the second of four, but I think you should drop the "sparks." they make the whole thing look low-quality. what's the stock? I'd also drop the wispy criss-crossing if I were you. contrast looks good and so does the lighting. I'd like to see your process though.
If I drop the "sparks" (fractals), there won't be much to it. The "wispy thing" (also a fractal) makes it look a bit better, and I tried getting rid of it and a few other fractals, but it looked better with them.
The sig was mostly the stock and a lot of fractals placed and erased parts with different layers settings and stuff done to them. Like, the black effects were fractals that I ran a black-white gradient map on and set to multiply. All the while, making adjustments to the colors, contrast, and lighting and stuff. Then I did more adjustments and finishing touches and stuff.
I can upload the PSD or XCF if you want.
The stock was either from one of Amanda's packs or one of Kiki's. It's a very whored stock, it's in tons of packs.
Needs more to it. Text and border aren't doing it any favors. I know it's your first in a while, but you can still try to add a bit more to it than what appears to be a stock, a c4d, and a render, and maybe a few adjustment layers. Blending seems like it's a bit of an issue and looks kinda awkward.
Colors seem to be the biggest issue here, this piece needs more of them. Now, the whole thing is pretty much just a wash of sepia or whatever. Maybe this is just personal taste, but I'd crop some of the top off so that it goes with the rule of thirds to help the compo, especially since there's no real defined focal point. Depth needs to be improved as well, since it seems like some dimension could be a fairly easy addition and could add more interest and emotion and stuff. Not sure about the windy effects for the text, but that might just be me. And I'd maybe consider cloning over that printing on the nearest bed.
Alex, I really like your album art there. The only thing that bugs me is that I think the opacity of the blur behind "Tighter and Tighter" could be lowered somewhat because it's too distracting for me.