Scenic Cycle Round 6 Results

Hi everyone! We had another first here in Scenic Cycle (because Scenic being…. you know… the first of its kind.) We had a tie early on in the rounds, but our photographers did such a great job with the Impressionism round that our judges…. couldn’t pick a winner. Or even two winners. That’s right, we had a three way tie this round. I don’t know if that’s an ENTM first, but it’s certainly a very rare occurrence.

So congratulations to Darius Stormcrow for Skybound Sanctuary, Sudedki Nankali for Champs de Citrouille en La Noscea, and Yume Aawkot for Wings and Prayer this week.

Skybound Sanctuary
Champs de Citrouille en La Noscea
Wings and a Prayer

Please continue reading for our final week of feedback from the judges!

Judge Forthyn

Skybound Sanctuary: Beautiful composition that is accentuated by shifting light, the visual color harmony is simply divine. The contrast of loosely painted-impressionist treatment of the background and solidly modeled foreground rivet’s the viewer’s attention to the calm passage within the garden. The texture within the sky keeps it equally engaging as what is immediately seen within the foliage and structural elements of the stone wall; there is acute form mimicry that lends to the unity of the piece. I could rave for days about the use of texture, but I’ll refrain. Excellent setting, good technique, and attention to detail.

Another City, Another Home: I appreciate the atmospheric mood you’ve achieved with the title, the descending light of the city and speckles of dancing snow. Yet what would really pull this into the realm of the theme and ultimately make your piece stronger is: color. Aside from color, I cannot quite recognize a filter that would push the impression of a painting. As seen in a few other pieces this round, effects and filters can unify your ground and sky to be a cohesive whole, creating areas of interest with texture and illusion.

Champs de Citrouille en La Noscea: A wonderfully captured day-in-the-life painting with farmers milling about their duties, as I imagine an artist would in their own rendition as they sat down to freeze this moment in time. This scene of life was a driving subject during the period and often expressed accurate events, and so it is exciting to see one submitted here. The view has depth yet with a sense of flatness; this is a delightful allusion to modern art. The overall composition is sound, excellent color-capture, and while there are areas where even less figurative rendering would’ve pushed this more into the element of Impressionism, I enjoy looking at this work as-is.

Wings and a Prayer: Such strong, eye-popping blues; the high saturation is a brightened palette to grab one’s attention and fits well with the more direct painting technique, akin to Renoir, in the sense of Impressionist painting while still maintaining the form of your objects. An exceptionally deep composition that has one exploring for every ounce of detail in the piece: the foreground is a good rest from all the blue shades, and the painterly fashion in which the horizon is mimicked into the sky is a nice touch to break up the excess ultramarine blue; this part especially as it abstracts and creates flow in an otherwise empty space that would have been terribly distracting.

Splendor of Mor Dhona: A great example of Impressionism with the direct application of paint and feathery brushstrokes; the heavy filter pushes the viewer to capture what they see with visual sensations of perception versus actual definition: we know what you are rendering, but nothing is crisp and clean and is instead broken into relative good groups of color. To push the Impressionist style with the ingame function is extremely challenging, but before one can even begin it’s essential to choose a proper composition, and you’ve set a strong foundation for yourself here. The vertical brushstrokes compliment your vertical elements with the breakup of color keeping your flow interesting and engaging.

What You Leave Behind: This excellent stippling filter really drives the illusion of an Impressionist painting; everything shimmers in the light, the colors are broken up individually and appear as short brushstrokes. There is a shifting play of light on the eye rather than the physical character of the objects, reminiscent of Monet in his later works. You have greens and blues to break apart the presence of the bright corrupted crystal, and again good use of composition: the waterfalls of the background attract your attention to deviate from the foreground, and the jutting crystal of the right pushes the viewer back into the threshold of the scene to continue observing. Overall a strong piece, good form and a close fit to the theme.

Hidden Beauty: Exceptionally bright colors take control of one’s attention straight away, so much in fact, it nearly blocks out the background with how commanding the flora is of one’s attention. The abrupt foreshortening of the growth jutting up from the lower right is an interesting element, but as a whole the grouping here could actually benefit from a desaturation, to share the limelight with the background, so that one can appreciate more textural elements within the work. Compositionally, some work can be done in regards to depth; create an area where the flora accentuates and adds pop to the scene, not necessarily the focal point.

Grief’s Eternal Shade: Such a mysterious piece, and one that is exciting to see here. I enjoy visualizing the push of a more monotype technique: the bright pastel colors juxtaposed unto the dark and abstracted background, the interesting use of device in blocking our view with a silhouette to interrupt the composition; the piece creates its own structural unity without the need of classical elements to draw strength. Evenly balanced, this work is calming and is pleasing to look deeper within for hidden queues; especially with the little “tips” one is given. A touch of textural brushwork would have been lovely.

Scarred History: The technique of the Impressionists was the capture of sensory light against objects, in the form of direct color application and how that color would shift throughout the time of day while the artist worked on their subject. Easier said than done, and not something wholly expected to be achieved in digital means available through the filter system, but it is important to stay rooted in the core concept that makes a work Impressionistic, which is the color. The monotone scale chosen for this scene in fact loses the details held within the work, it forms an ambiguous glob without clear definition, and one cannot begin to comment on the composition if one cannot see it. It doesn’t matter if this was taken in the desert climes, as I know there are greens accessible within the cacti and other manners of potential shades elsewhere in the structural elements, the point being these colors break up your otherwise bland browns (sandy assumption), to give interest. Snap at an interesting time of day and/or weather and you would have a curious shot taken from life.

Judge Ona

A quick little “Thank You” to the photographers! This competition has been really fun to judge! Not knowing who was winning or whose image belonged to who made it super exciting for me! I got to just look at the images and get this cool “feel” for them, then really judge them based on the expectations of the rounds! You all did wonderfully and I am very excited to see who wins the contest overall!!!!

To my fellow judges, Forthryn and Ni’ko: love you :kissyface: :xoxo:

Oh and to Katarah, you da best frendo <3

OK! On to your critiques!

Champs de Citrouille en La Noscea

There were still shards of an ancient pastoral
in those shires of the island where the cattle drank
their pools of shadow from an older sky,
surviving from when the landscape copied such objects

I immediately was drawn to this image. The colors are vibrant and attractive, the simplicity of the image’s subject allowing for each viewer’s own interpretation. Though a simple farmstead, the eyes are drawn to the mills behind, the large red sails, and the warmth of this small village.

I appreciate the inclusion of the farmer, the variety of crops and the color of blue from the clouds above. Impressionism is supposed to convey a mood through the various colors and lighting in the image, and I really feel that you hit that spot on in this image. I feel that it is a beautiful day, a good day to be tending a field, enwrapped in this town were everything just feels peaceful. Wonderful job this week!

Wings and a Prayer

You shall not fold your wings that you may pass through doors, nor bend your heads that they strike not against a ceiling, nor fear to breathe lest walls should crack and fall down.

Oh this is lovely! I have often thought of taking an image with those statues and structures, but I never quite figured it out. This image is way stronger than anything I was thinking of!

The vivid blue of the sky, matching with the paler blue of the statues/structures, has this dimension to it that draws the viewer to it, even though there are many foreground items to focus on. The balance of the green at the bottom of the image, and the blue at the top is unique and lovely as well.

 I would only caution to avoid adding too many additional bright colors into a shot where the main focus is the same color as it’s background. The little yellow flowers, although pretty, with where they are placed, may steal the focus, momentarily, and any hindrance of focus can detract from the image.

 Another thing I do love, however, is how everything is just slightly unfocused. Impressionism tends to leave the viewer with a feeling, even when the subject is not always discernible.

Skybound Sanctuary

At the end of the road lies a haven of peace
A place to rest A sanctuary
Hoping one day this war will cease
With a hope and possibilities.

I could curl up here with a good book, a basket with wine, and my dogs (only cause I don’t own a cat, and I don’t think I can make Ni’ko sit still long enough to let me give him pets). Honestly, though, I really love how peaceful this image is. The softness of the shadows, contrasted by the brightness of the sky in the background really relies on the lighting to set a stage for the viewer.

I really do wish that large column of light was missing from the image, however, as it feels out of place. With it being so large and bright, the viewer is immediately drawn to it. I know you can’t necessarily control the background, but I just feel it’s a bit out of place. What I do love, however, is the colors and the subtle lighting from all the items within the image. The lights along the path, the glow from the trees, and the pink flowers all give that feel of something special to the viewer. It’s gentle and inviting.

Grief’s Eternal Shade

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower; 
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.

I didn’t realize the statue threw such beautiful colors… or did you just use a filter and I’m an idiot? Either way, its really a beautiful use color to enhance such a simple statue. The dark shadow against the building, contrasted from the praying angel are just enough to provide a feeling of sadness and grief, while also conveying a sense of overwhelming fear or depression into the image.

I know impressionism is about not necessarily making the image decernable, however, if you look at some of the famous impressionism artists, they would have some stronger lines, or definition in certain areas, to provide guidance to the viewer. I feel a slight bit of definition to the angel would have helped this image overall.

I really am impressed by this image’s emotion without actually giving anything to dictate that, and I love how both sides of the image appear to be in the foreground, and not one behind the other.

What You Leave Behind

And how it really does matter how we live our life…
as part of man and womankind…
because the way we live our life each day
is what we leave behind. 

This image screams impressionism! It uses lighting, It leaves the image descript. It allows for a feeling rather than an idea. This image leans more towards the impressionism of Hassam, which is that of more of the abstract, the image which requires less definition.

Impressionism of that type can be difficult to pull off, however, as his images tended to still give some “definition” to the subject. They didn’t necessarily look exactly like what you would see walking down the road, but you could still tell what they were, such as his image “Moonlight, the Isle of Sholes.” Though attempting to blur the image was useful to create the impressionist feel, I think the blur, or unfocus, was just a little too far.

I do love this interesting vantage point of this view and the limited colors in the image do help to bring some sort of sense of cohesiveness to the image. Thank you for sharing!

Splendor of Mor Dhona

What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
     Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;

I think there are some of you who like to go to the same places and just take all the photos and submit them all. I respect that.

I don’t know if it was you, but this area has never really screamed “beautiful” or “interesting” to me, but you guys have definitely made me rethink this obviously invalid argument.

I love this image. The darkness in the landscape, the structures, the shadows cast onto the ground. The brightness in the sky, the crystal formations, the glow from the surrounding rocks. Its very well balanced.

I fear, however, for all the balance in this image, it is a little too unfocused. As I previously mentioned, there were several “types” of impressionist paintings, and some are harder to pull off than others. I feel this image, like a few others, would have been stronger if there was the tiniest bit more definition in the details. Not much, just a hint more.

Thank you for sharing this image with us and for competing for this first scenic cycle!

Another City, Another Home

Bound for your distant home
you were leaving alien lands.
In an hour as sad as I’ve known
I wept over your hands.
My hands were numb and cold,
still trying to restrain
you, whom my hurt told
never to end this pain.

I think the sky in this image is becoming of the snowfall in the land. It is dark and ominous, and terrifying, and seems to stretch outward to another world. The marbling in the sky is absolutely gorgeous and really is, in my opinion, the star of the image.

Which is unfortunate, because I think the star was meant to be the building. Though in second look, the building is interesting and definitely a focus, I lose something in the blurred lights and the lack of definition in the image. I find myself squinting to see the other features of the image as well. Impressionism painters used a variety of lighting to create moods, but I feel you didn’t use enough in this image.

I would try to focus on adding lighting to the focus points of your image to enhance them. I appreciate your work here, and would love to see this image again, with a bit more lighting.

Hidden Beauty

There’s beauty in the stars above 
It’s there when we share our love
There’s  beauty in the trees
The oceans and the seas
There’s beauty there to be found 
where ever we may be

Holy bright flowers! Pyrepods are a joke between a friend of mine and I. I forget exactly how it started, but one of our retainers brought them back, and then we spent the better part of 6 months “hiding” them on each other’s property. It was good fun until she moved from Goblin and I don’t have an alt on her new server.

Anyway, these flowers are both hideous and beautiful at the same time, so your title is very fitting. Two fold for the fact that this is inside of a dungeon. I love how vivid they are, and how they don’t allow anything else in the image to steal center stage!

I just wonder what emotion you are really trying to give in this image. Impressionism images leave the viewer with an emotion, not necessarily an clear image. It leads the viewer to feel something. I just feel melancholy because of the actual pyrepods, not necessarily the image.

I do love the background coloring in this image, and the subtle opening of the cell door in the background. It adds a dimension to the image that you see after really looking it over for a few moments.

Scarred History

The scars they leave are there forever.
We have to learn to live with them.
We have to choose to live beyond them.

An interesting take on impressionism. It utilizes the elements of impressionism throughout. The shadows and lighting, the less than defined focal points, and the feel or emotion associated with a place especially when paired with the lighting.

I am afraid that it has fallen a bit short of really knocking the image home, however. There are shadows and lighting, but they don’t really provide enough dynamic lighting, and without color, the image falls a very monochrome flatness that could have been enhanced by a variety of hues. If the image was taken with a bright blue sky, or even a dark omious sky, then the viewer would have had inferred a different feel.

I really love the attempt here, and would love to see the image again in color. It is an interesting location to shoot in, regardless of this contest, and a contrast from manmade to natural throughout.

Judge Ni’ko

Two queens stand before me. Prior to tonight you were asked to prepare a lip-sync performance to … oh, wait, one moment. Hmm … wrong show you say? How dare you presume I don’t already know that. I will have you know I am very well aware. Now then. It has been my pleasure and privilege in acting as your judge this first of hopefully many scenic cycles. You’ve all turned it fiercely, and it doesn’t take much to see that you are all winners. Shante, you all stay.

Skybound Sanctuary
This was an unexpected shot, and you’ve done the location justice here. This shot does well in bringing out both the whimsey of the environment and the solemnness of the locale. This shot was taken at a great angle to convey the contrast between the unusual trees, stoic stone fencing, and burst of color erupting from the ground beyond the wall. Overall I find myself having difficulty finding negative here; the color is vibrant, but not so distracting that you’re unable to enjoy the whole shot. I found solace in your secret garden. Well done.

Another City, Another Home
I enjoy this shot for what it means; Ishgard is nothing short of iconic, and a shot in the snow is not hard to manage given the nature of Coerthas these days (no pun intended … yet). However, what turns what could have been a typical shot on its ear here is how you presented the location to us. The darkness of this shot sets it apart from similar shots; the clouds are roiling, the snow is vibrant against the backdrop, and the city is aglow in the midnight mist making for a great focal point. Overall this shot is excellent, but where it misses for me is just how predictable it winds up being despite the uniqueness conveyed here. Ishgard is a common locale, and in this final week I would have liked to see something more unexpected. You took us to the Holy See, but I must confess this isn’t taking me Heavensward.

Champs de Citrouille en La Noscea
I found myself drawn to this shot because of just how quintessential this type of locale is for Impressionism. It almost gives me the feeling of a Dutch summer day, the windmills gently turning, the crops ready to be harvested. There is some good texture here and there making this feel like an actual painting. I do wish this shot was a little more abstract, but this shot fully realizes the challenge without just showing me a textbook example. I love how this came out. No matter which way the wind blows one thing is for certain; you’ve a bumper crop of talent.

Wings and a Prayer
The majesty of this shot is splendid. It really captures the location well. An iconic location to be sure, but there is just so much texture here that one cannot help but enjoy this. The use of texture here is excellent, as it gives a bit of extra splash to what could have been an otherwise plain blue sky. It fades into the rest of the shot giving everything a grainy feel without coming across as too rough. This could have been a very plain monotone blue shot, but it is smartly broken up with some pale green foliage and just a bit of rocky outcroppings. Overall this shot is nothing short of exceptional, and a great way to showcase this location. You’ve got your head in the clouds, and bringing us along for your flight of fancy. Well done.

Splendor of Mor Dhona
Mor Dhona seems to have gotten rather popular suddenly, hasn’t it? I love this unique take on the locale; this is a stark contrast to the typical ‘Gloom’ weather effect we see. This is just a bright blue sky dotted with clouds, a rare respite for the location. It winds up making everything very clear in the region. Unfortunately that seems to be lost with the texture you’ve chosen here. Everything comes off as blurry, and muddled, and therefore it becomes muddy apart from the red structure in the foreground, and the iconic tower in the rear. Overall I appreciate the effort here, as this certainly meets the criteria of the challenge, but this texture turned what could have been a lovely, unique shot of Mor Dhona into something unsettling. You frosted your lens for this shot, but it came off more like frosting.

What You Leave Behind
I genuinely love this location. It is an oft-forgotten locale that tends to be overlooked, but there is so much going on in this area that it’s hard not to just be in wonder of one of the prime impact locations of the recent Calamity. The unique waterfalls, the unusual bridges, and outcropping of crystalized aether make this location an incredible place to visit. Your angling here is exquisite as it leaves so much room for the mind to wander as it takes in every nook and cranny of the area. Unfortunately this shot feels very fuzzy to me, and makes it unclear. Your texture here strives for textbook, however when taken in the shot doesn’t have the impact it could have had if a different texture had been chosen. I very much appreciate bringing a unique location to our eyes. You attempted to bridge the gap here, but aether way it’s just chasing waterfalls.

Hidden Beauty
I love how stunning a simple close-up shot like this can be. The fluorescent fauna keeps our attention right where you want it, and the background is just simple enough to provide ambiance, but the door to the left side brings mystique. It is a simple, but powerful shot that I find myself struggling to find fault in. The texture chosen here is simple as well, giving shards of interest dazzling across the canvas. Your neon fantasy blossomed, and had me rooting for you. Well done.

Grief’s Eternal Shade
When I first saw this shot I was immediately drawn to it. The coloring here is so unique, and clearly speaks of your talent at playing with lighting to get dramatic effects. It feels as though the location is set aglow for an occasion of sorts, much like how they shine lights on buildings to set it aglow in recognition for certain holidays. Nothing short of breathtaking. What misses for me here is firstly how unnecessary the frame choice is (though I can see why you chose to use it), but secondly how blurry this comes off. With better focus and a unique texture this would have done much better in my view. Despite that this is an enjoyable shot, and I am so intrigued by the lighting effects. You set us aglow with this, but unfortunately it was a bit of a Churning Miss.

Scarred History
What I love about this shot is that it is a bold choice. The location is very monotone with not much interesting to see. Rather than shy away you chose to embrace it, add texture, and a frame to break it up. The effort is appreciated, and realized; you turned what would have been a drab picture into something interesting and unique. It almost looks like one of those old photos from the early 1800’s during the American frontier days. A genuine snapshot into the past. Your saving grace with this shot is the story it inspired, and my appreciation for thinking outside of the box. This is a well-done shot. You set out on a new frontier, and melted mine heart of stone.