- Though I think Hofmeier's interpretation of the theme was the most original and unexpected (although not really a background), Loominous created an interesting world that exceeded beyong the borders of this single image. More than the other pieces it feels like it is part of a story. I should add though, that while the world he created is immersive (is that a way one is allowed to use that word?), there is nothing truly original about this dwelling that gives me an indication why this sorcerer is different from all the other sorcerers we've met (apart from the fact that he has the skill to turn people into stone, but don't they all?). So while I feel the piece has a lot of character itself, it doesn't really present the character of the subject of interest: the person living in the house. But then again...maybe the house was decorated by some TV show rather than himself, and they removed all his personal items.Atmosphere
- This was a though one and I thought about skipping it, because I felt non of the pieces really outshines any of the other in this category. What I expect for a sorcerers dwelling is something mystical, something clandestine, hidden, secret (in Latin: 'occultus')...there has to be some sort of mystery to it. I don't really care about the place being occult (which is derived from that Latin word as you may have guessed, but is something completely different in modern use), or filled with magical items; the atmosphere itself should 'call out' that it is a magical place, even if none of these props would be present. And to be honest non of the backgrounds give me this atmosphere. So why choose Loominous? - Because it came closest...the atmosphere in the other backgrounds is a bit (too) sterile, while this one give me the feeling that something more might be going on. But Loominous, I expect more from you...particularly on this department.Design
- It's really not my style. I feel it's just too clean and sterile (except for the spider's web). But I will also admit within that style it really does work. There is enough in the background to make it stand out, and not too much as to give a cluttered feel to it. The only things that I would have liked added to the image is either a windows or - and I think that would enhance the image even more - a magical orb that spreads light (and a more interesting shadow) in the room...combine with some dust to allow us to see the light beams, and I think the background would be excel. This might also make it a little less sterile.Composition
- Of all the backgrounds, Loominous has the most interesting use of layers, shapes, etc. The trees - and more obvious the mushroom - function as arrows directing towards the house ( though oddly enough the tree above the house rather than the house-area itself...is is the streak of light on the top; so I would expect the sorcerer to (eventually) stand there defending himself). There's clear depth and direction within this 'story'. I do have some comments though: I think the house itself is a little too close to the centre of the image, and should be shifted a little more towards the left. In their current iteration, the stone warrior with the rock and the mushroom take the attention away from the main scene rather than direct it. Despite these flaws, I think it's the one that works best composition-wise. Also...it's an environment rather than a background...which I prefer in a game.Functionality
- I see no reason why it wouldn't work with characters (particularly after some refinement). There's a clear path, the walking areas make sense and perspective and layer-wise it should work (if you think in layers, rather than walk-behind-areas). Hudders' background is of course a very Sierra-early-days background (with some variations) and it is obvious (and proven) that it will mix well with characters of the same era...nevertheless, the reason why I did not choose him is exactly that: it's an (over)used style that has to it's advantage that it is proven and doesn't provide the challenges of Loominous' background...but wouldn't provide as much excitement either.Technique
- Ok, this might have come to a surprise to everyone, so let's elaborate...I like Loominous' style and technique, but within his style and within his technique it's not even close to the best picture I've seen (from him). I think he tells the story well, but overall the piece (and the incorporation of some of the ideas) is unfinished. I think Buckethead's background shows promise as well, but I feel his technique just hasn't matured enough...without going over the top I would like to see it to be a bit more alive. It currently feels a bit like a stage rather than an actual world. As for Hudders...while it's a style that I'm personally not partial for, I think he managed to incorporate his ideas well within this style. There are two aspects that bother me a bit: the door doesn't seem right, and the black front-layer doesn't really fit the rest of the style...but overall - within the chosen style - it works.
Ps. my appologies for the length of this post...as always