View Full Version : Criticisms: What are the limits?

04 April 2003, 08:51 AM
What are the limits to criticizing someone's work? Recently, some designer, a good one, totally thrashed my work saying it made no sense, looked like a blue pile of sh**, and other stuff that was quite rather obtuse and uncalled for.

Sure I'm not all that in any way, but truly, what role should humility play in criticizing work? IMHO, I think you can criticize, but to that degree seems extreme ... if you are good, and know you are good, what right do you have to walk over others as if your nose were a mile in the sky? What are the limits of what people can say?

the two pieces of work in question are as follows:
Easy to make, just looks cool with the wireframe dealy. This was the one called the blue piece of !@#$.
this was was called junky because it made no sense and was "filterwhored." :annoyed: like geez man!

personally, I think that kind of attack is unnecessary. I just posted a piece, it need not require an attack. I think my foot and his @ss should meet. Ideas?

Ian Jones
04 April 2003, 02:52 PM
I agree, criticism has its limits. There are a number of reasons why it can only be taken as advice, not gospel. Whoever treated you like that is moronic and pretty childish. Don't take any of the negativity to heart.

You should always take advice with a pinch of salt. It is afterall just simply advice.

Art and Design is a particularily difficult area within which to offer criticism, simply because different people have different taste, different aesthetic ideals, different conceptual approaches etc...

It really is impossible for anyone to define the ultimate aesthetic. nobody has all the answers. Different designs appeal to different people, colours, shapes, compositions all appeal differently to different people.

However, the whole idea behind most commercial design is that you target a more general audience, so individual taste tends to get bottled into a more general aesthetic ideal. This is probably how design theories and principles evovled, and are widely and generally accepted as the fundamental basis of design and aesthetics.

Design 'theory' and 'principles' are just exactly what they say. Merely theory, and principles with which to guide the design process. Never let anyone tell you that theory is design gospel. Make up your own mind how you design, maybe some of the theories make sense, maybe some of them don't. Pick and choose what you wish to believe and what you don't. I personally think that design is a fairly logical / rational process of trial and error until you come to a final solution. Most of the theories and principles make good rational sense to me, so my designs can usually be justified against these principles.

What I'm trying to get across to you is that 5 or 10 unbiased opinions tend to carry a bit more weight than one fool. Just ignore any criticism that is not constructive.

I'll be honest now in saying that personally I don't particularily like either of your two images. However, I don't dislike them either. I see both good and bad qualities of each one. Its even hard for me to say why, or even form a solid opinion.. because I don't know what your aesthetic intentions or conceptual intentions were on either of the images. I'm purely judging them on my own taste, and therefore only looking at particular aspects and trying to compare them to designs which I like.

I could accidentally try and criticise you that you can't draw for shit, but if your image was meant to be abstract or stylistic then my criticism would be unfounded. Let us know your intentions with both images, show us some designs which inspire you and that you aspire to emulate and maybe then we can compare.

04 April 2003, 05:59 PM
10q for ur support. :)

Yah, I agree on that... that guy was being quite unruly... just flat out calling my work trash. Like geez, originally my work was done as a personal thing for my own wallpaper and personal enjoyment so there was no real target audience. Then he trashed that too and asked me "why the !@#$ bother posting if it's personal." Times change, this is old work, and I just want some input.

But yeah, for some insight on my goals for these two images:

The first image with the blue wireframe was just an application of a really neat tutorial that showed me how to do 3D wireframes in photoshop. The tutorial used a geometric wireframe and so I made my own modifications to make an organic thing. By no means was it meant to be a difficult process. The other guy trashed it out because it was "too easy" to make ... like yeah, i know that. It just looks like a cool 3D wireframe done in a 2D medium.

The second image was an attempt to create a fairy-tale-ish piece based on some old high school memories. I took three photos, one of the cityscape and skyline, one of a nice balcony from my backyard, one of this girl of which the memories are of. I took and snipped each image apart to get the sky, the balcony, and the girl sitting out, looking at the world ... her look of boredom with the overall color scheme and blocky texturing produce a type of melancholy of the times ... a dissatisfaction or so ... the use of mostly horizontal and vertical lines was meant to reduce motion to a stand still and the filter was used to at the same time, provide a texture ... an illusion of motion via line angles in the texture. The filtery look was also used because all three images had a horribly different graininess and light level that clashed together badly.

Anyhow, that's what those two images were all about.

Ian Jones
04 April 2003, 01:20 AM
Thanks for letting us know your intentions. I certainly can appreciate them more now that I know what you were trying to achieve.

The wireframe pic is an interesting technique, it looks mostly mechanical to me but it also has a pretty organic form at the same time. My main criticism of this piece would be the composition and the background. I think that because of these reasons it looks unfinished, perhaps more like an experiment (which is probably what its meant to be anyway). The negative spaces (white space) is kind of clashing and dominating a bit too much. A better composition should solve this problem.

I can understand now why you filtered the second pic. It makes sense to abstract some of the features and try and unify it with a common style. It definitely appears to be a personal pic, whether you post it or not isn't up to anyone else but you. So feel free. I think maybe the typeface and its position could be refined a little bit more. That particular font doesn't seem to fit in imo. It looks like a decorative font, and I'm not sure of its purpose in the picture.

I hope that helps.

04 April 2003, 01:24 AM
Thanks for the commentary. :) It feels much better knowing that there are reasonable people out in the world. After doing more research, it appears this other designer is just an overly ego'd kid still in high school. I actually barely graduated so yeah, I'm not that far off in terms of age .... he got some severe ego problems. I got away from that long long ago... or so it seems ... -.-"

Though I know exactly what over praising of someone and their work can do ... ego boost.

04 April 2003, 02:48 AM
I agree totaly, criticism, even the type I provide when something slides into the field of my expertise, is meant to be constructive..building the the foundation of the individual to promote clear vision in his/hers look. what they are trying to express not what I am trying to express. Certainly the more you are clearly deliniated in your artistic goals and intentions the more specific those who are in thier own sense "secure" in who they are, are the one who will help you constructivly.

And I have seen many remarks about "over filtered", should that then alll things that are "production" be considered as such? Such as over processed foods? How many foods are actually "Machine made" but yet when eaten are"mmmmmm good".

Art and music are the same, I have caught gripes about "digital music" portraying itself as classical, when in fact its not. Is no different, the work for itself should be considered as how it moves the viewer, even negative. As long as you know its only "comments" from another reality and in no way should be considered serious. Your the filter, no one can filter out the negative responses for you, just simply ignore them. Or provide a well constructed rebuttal of your perspective.


04 April 2003, 11:09 PM
hey singularity!
I thought your stuff was great!
obviously you are experimenting with different ideas, checking out filters and so on, who cares what other people say! right??
it's all about personal goal, only person who has the right to say your work is crap is yourself!

Also I really think if someone is that "good" he/she should also learn to respect other peoples work, regardless of whether it's good or bad, everyone has different taste. If we didn't allow ourselves to explore ideas who will?

well mate, everyone has to start somewhere, once you reach the top make sure to look back and remeber how you got there, unlike that ungreatful bastard!

keep up the good work!

04 April 2003, 01:10 PM
Criticism is nice as long as it is constructive.

Ian Jones
04 April 2003, 04:23 AM
If we didn't allow ourselves to explore ideas who will?

Couldn't have been said more eloquently.

04 April 2003, 12:20 AM
That supposed "blue piece of sh*t" doesn't even look that bad. It's abstract art. Whoever said that was probably some close-minded numbnut. So... yeah. All art is for is to convey meaning to someone. If that happens to anyone, including yourself, your job was done.

Besides, I'm convinced I suck at photoshoppery, but... I don't need to know it. I'm happy enough just thinking it, thank you. :)

04 April 2003, 07:37 AM
thanks for your support guys :beer: ... i was feeling pretty down from those incredibly negative and obtuse remarks. :wavey:

04 April 2003, 05:12 PM
Art is Art to me really. If i do something for myself, i will show others and see what they think, they may slate it and say they dont like it, to which i would probably ask why, they might offer me a different perspective to which i could improve it.

I think what the designer said was a bit over the top, i am not normally fond of overly abstact work, but yours are nice none the less.


04 April 2003, 08:36 PM
I may just be inept beyond all reason, but how did you make that blue abstraction, anyway? Did you model it or something, or just pay an insane amount of attention to the wireframe and go nuts with a brush?

05 May 2003, 05:16 AM
twas easy. Draw any organic or geometric shape, select it all, and the edit > define as brush

select a brush and select the organic shaped brush as the brush, change spacing, and brush away... this is of course the photoshop method.

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