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Old 02-02-2011, 04:07 AM
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Default Re: READ FIRST: Graphic Art: Rules, Resources, and Help

.::Guide: How Not to Suck at CnC



Hello and welcome to 'How Not to Suck at CnC'.
This guide is written mostly by MSUK, but a few things have been thrown in by Tombi.
This guide is here for you to read, follow and study, and it should hopefully show you how to critique somebody's work. Overall there are about... three, maybe four people on the whole of this forum who actually give critique. You may think you do, but you don't. You will find out why after reading.
Before the main guide, however, here are a few questions and answers.

-What is CnC?
CnC, also known as C+C or C+CC, merely means 'Comments and Criticism', or 'Comments and Constructive Criticism'. When people post up their work, they generally ask for criticism. However, I notice that a lot of people ask for it lightly, without really knowing what it means, and if on the rare occasion they gain some true criticism they complain, or totally dismiss it.
This, my friends, is wrong.
-Why is it Wrong?
Because, naive little mortal, we don't want to waste our time telling you exactly what is wrong with your banner only to get told we're a troll or that you like it how it is and you won't change it. If you're that sensitive to advice over the internet or if you have NO intention of changing the banner in anyway, DON'T ASK FOR CRITICISM.
-How Does CnC Help?
Basically, good critics tell you what is wrong and how to change it. Take on board their advice and generally your banner will be a lot better.

- Tombi.


.::Ways in Which You Should NOT Critique Somebody’s Work

Alright, as the title aptly implies, here I’ll be explaining how you should almost certainly NOT crit somebody’s work unless you simply want to waste the artist’s time and not contribute to any of their approach to improvement. For aesthetic reasons, I’ll split these into different examples based on how commonly I see it and how god-awfully useless it presents itself to be. Some of these may be actual quotes from the Signature and Avatar showcase itself.

Example #1

This should NEVER EVER be used to CnC somebody's piece. Why? Well let's see. It's bland, lacking any elaboration whatsoever, and gives the artist absolutely no heads up on how to improve their next pieces. In fact, anybody who posts this might as well get on all fours, pour strawberry sauce all over the artist's ass, and then lick it up in a circular motion. Sure, the piece may indeed be amazing, but comments like these are ultimately spam and overall only increase the artist's ego and self-esteem. I see these far too much around the graphic art section and every time you do it, it kills a kitten and is noob fodder. Please refrain from Commenting in such a fashion.

Example #2

Well, isn't this delightfully short and lacking any detail on why the piece itself is actually bad. Seriously, if you're going to be negative, at least explain the negative parts in more elaborative detail rather than just throwing your excrement onto it and basting into a fine mixture. Also, when pointing out these faults, state your ideas in which they could improve it, so the artist can go back and either add said improvements, or incorporate these into future pieces. Get my drift?

Tombi's Turn.

Example #3

... wat
Thanks, man.
My opinion is totally all-rounded and EVERYONE agrees with me, and this means that the banner completely sucks and you should trash it immediately because I won't bother telling you what is bad, I just think it looks terrible, mainly because the banner's colour scheme is green and I HATE green so that means it's bad, and I also don't like the anime character you used because he sucks lol he dies in the 4648482827837784th episode in a really lame way.

*clears throat* Back to you, MSUK.

.::Ways in Which You SHOULD Critique Somebody’s Work

Okay, so lets now look at the opposite, and how you most certainly SHOULD comment on one's work and actually contribute to their climb up the ladder of graphic art skill rather than throwing them off course and provoking their hormonal mood swings.

Example #1

This is probably the best piece of critique I've found on this forum in quite a while. Not only does it take a huge insight on many many aspects of the banner and judges whether they are utilized to effect(or lack thereof), it also actually states how to circumvent these flaws in massive, massive detail. It also covers flow and depth, and uses the actual terminology used in graphic art itself, which contrasts it so well from the critique I've heard from most other members beside a select few. This should be an archetype on how to actually critique somebody's art without falling into the trap of either giving the artist a lovebite or shooting a rocket propelled grenade at his or her head. A balance between positive and negative.

Tombi's Turn...

Example #2

Now this is a crit. Written by MSUK himself directed towards one of my graphics. It says exactly what was wrong with it, and not only that, he says how to improve. With this is mind, my next graphics came out a lot better, and I even learnt something I'd never heard of before.

Learn from him. D<

Back to you, MSUK... xD


Now then, you've seen how you should CnC, and how you most certainly shouldn't CnC. So what should you cover when you've evaluating somebody's work? lets take a look at the various aspects that you should at least take a look on. Some of them aren't necessarily mandatory and this isn't an absolute definitive guideline(you wont be castrated for not following this completely through), however, if you do follow this through during the evaluation of somebody's piece, well... happy days.

Flow is the direction that a piece goes. In other words, how your eyes pan. Are you inclined to look at the piece from the right, or the left? Or in rare cases, from the top or bottom? Flow is a contributor to the overall harmonic consistency that a piece should have, and it is almost mandatory to include comments on flow when you critique.

Depth is exactly what the name implies, the depth of a piece. Does the piece give the illusory conception of depth, i.e, does the focal feel like it stands out beyond the 2-dimensional canvas, and does the piece feel deeper? since depth is commonly overlooked by many newcomers and never truly analyzed in detail, it's helpful to the artist if you state the effect of depth, or the lack of depth thereof.

Almost every banner or tag will have a focal point - a select object, person or thing that is placed to mark the attention point. Focals can be stock images, renders, brushes, even text in occasional cases. Since the focal should compliment every other aspect of the banner and correlate with the flow whilst establishing depth between the foreground and background, comments on the focal point should be made.

Saturation is the overall boldness of colours and correlates with both brightness, and contrast. it is important not to misunderstand saturation for contrast, as the two tend to be different aspects altogether.Saturation is the overall level of colour within a certain thing. Decreasing this could make something feel less bold and washed out, and increasing this could make something look more intensive, more saturated. It is important to gain a balanced standpoint with saturation during the creation of pieces, due to the fact that highly saturated pieces can tire one's eyes and tend to make other aspects look less concise.

I've put these two together because they directly affect each other. Contrast is the overall difference in terms of each colour. If one was to increase the contrast, less colours will become visible in order for said thing to become more bold and contrastive. Contrast also affects brightness in order to gain this effect. Brightness is pretty much what the name implies...the brightness of a certain thing. The brightness also affects the contrast. A balance between the two is ideal, and should compliment the piece rather than glorifying it.

Over to Tombi because MSUK is too lazy to fill in this part...

Aaaah the light source! A nasty little bugger to say the least. The light source is where the direct source of light comes from. This affects everything. A light source that is in the top right corner when the lightest parts of the banner and the highlights on the renders are in the bottom left is TOTALLY in the wrong place. Make sure that the light source and the shading matches up. Adjust the render with the paintbrush if you have to. Nothing looks worse than a bad light source. Except maybe if it's teamed with everything above gone wrong.

Back to MSUK. :3


And there you go. Steps on how not to suck at Comments and Criticism on somebody's banner, tag, digital art piece, whatever. This can probably be applied to other forms of art anyhow. I hope by reading this you've gained somewhat of an insight on how to evaluate somebody's work and actually help them during this (that is, if they listen and are dedicated), or even help on certain visceral aspects of a graphic piece itself if you happen to be a graphic artist. I hope to see most of you be more elaborative with your CnC now, because you really don't have a reason not to anymore.


Example of a review -- By Anastasia-R

(Banner by Anastasia-R. I can do better, but I wanted to make this easy to review. XDDDD)
What to improve?
Text – Well, the text looks placed on, and plain. There are effects for text, like dropping shadow, adding outlines, ect. Also, the color of the text seems odd. It could have used a better color. The cross/plus symbols aren’t needed in the text.
Flow – A little hard to see where it’s going. Is it going towards the render? The right side? Where?
Render – Could use some more effects for the banner. And it’s somewhat over used.
The red brush effect – It’s stands out, and seems a bit … random? There’s no other parts of the banner that is red, but the border and text. If you had more red added to the colors of the banner, then maybe it would blend more with the banner.
Color theme/colors – Well, we can tell, the theme of the banner is YELLOW

Some positive feedback
The focal point – Well, immediately, you look at the render’s face. The background color helps as well. Darker colors surround the render, while brighter colors are behind the render.
The blend with render and banner – Well, the blend in the banner and render are pretty good. The render doesn’t look Copied and pasted.

Render – Try another kind of render. Even though it’s okay to use over used renders, it’s just either annoying to see all the time or plain.
Text – Try another kind of color for the text. The text looks like it could use a better font. You can also do shadow effects to make it somewhat stand out a bit.
Flow – My suggestion would be for flow, is maybe make the flow towards the render, instead of going to one side of the banner.
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw
If you've a ready mind
Where those of wit and learning

Will always find their kind.
ASBL | twins with Jenn <3
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