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Homage to Star Wars - can't tell if I've overworked background so I posted with and without. Any constructive crits welcome. Thanks Lee
Well, what's bad about the spaceships in the background, is that they draw the focus away from the emperor. And secondly, if you go with the spaceships-version, I feel that there are too many points of focus! It would help if you made them paler, by fading them more into the background. Put an orange overlay over the spaceships, since the background is orange. That would put less focus on them. You see, I think you should have some spaceships and similar there, because it tells us more about what is happening outside, it gives the city more precense, and it gives the emperor a more powerful look. It seems like he's commanding them.
One more thing: try not to use so much pure gray in the shadows, like you did on the guards' red robes. It flattens the image, and it gives it a muddy and dull look. Instead, try using darker red, as well as blue and / or green in the shadows. A little darker than the main colour, of course.
Oh, and I miss some strong, black reflections on the floor beneath the emperor! The guards have strong reflections, and so should he. This will also put more focus on the emperor, since he dissappears a little between them at the moment...
If I don't count the spaceships, which are rather distracting right now, the composition is good. There is a solid triangular composition.
Psychological hierarchy! You needs it!
Right now, the emperor is on a frumpy tiny throne, below pretty much everything else in the pic. Being taller/above something in a composition shows that the element is more important. Also, where he's parked looks like the entrance to a temple, not really a throne room. Here's an example of what might work better; it centers the emperor in a contrasty circle, outside the ships and city can be seen, but because they're faded and grouped closer to the emperor, they're not elements that could be distracting. the deep shadows could be pretty dramatic too.
I agree, at the moment, we the viewer are looking down on the emperor.. stick him on a pedestal or something (remember the walking throne from Ep1?)
Their is also no foreground element, making the bottom third of the image a bit odd and useless.
http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=219464 - Portfolio review thread