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Kuyusi's Critiques
A record of my critiques for the original arena winners from each week.
Week 06 Crits

Shaman Tao
I love everything about this. The combination of red and green is beautiful, and even though Serene Green has been used twice, I don't mind because the intricacy and originality of the outfit design is not carried by the use of two of the same item. I love the design of the face as well, the texture and color is captivating and very strange in a good way. I also adore the background combos, very creative use of mid and foreground items to create depth and an interesting overall scene.
The Bottom Line: Amazing character design and color, very intricate and polished with a touch of whimsy.

Rio Carnival
I really enjoy the fun colors and light-hearted nature of this avatar; the use of multiple dresses/skirts gives this a fluffy and layered look that is consistent with the theme, and the bright orange with pink and green catches the eye. My only complaint is that the layering feels a bit messy and choppy, the bodice is very cluttered which makes it difficult to read, and the way the dresses are layering doesn't look entirely believable (mostly it's the gogh reed dress causing this issue.)
The Bottom Line: A bit messy, but overall it sizzles with fun rio flavor.

Spirit Animal ~ The Jackalope
The best thing about this is the simplicity of the design. The color choices are striking and the limited use of items brings attention to the excellent combos that have been used. The combination of ears is delightful and amusing, and the spots of blue mixed with the spots of red add detail to the simple blocks of color that make up the rest of the character. The only thing I'd recommend changing would be the face, which feels a bit blank and lifeless in contrast to the whimsical and creative look to the rest of this.
The Bottom Line: Great use of simple design and interesting color combos to make this character stand out.

Learoux, the Blue Crimson
Though this is a fairly typical character concept, the bright colors and creative design make it stand out and feel original. I love the use of red and blue here, mixed with soft shades of gold and creamy brown. The simple background is perfect for this character, and doesn't compete with the bold choices for the outfit. Instead, it helps to draw attention to the cartoony colors and brings all the focus to the character. The only thing I'm not to fond of is the way the bodice has been designed; the skirt's belt is a bit chunky and flattens her out, while the top feels shallow and flat beneath the equally chunky shoulder armor.
The Bottom Line: Love the colors and overall design, a bright and fun take on the knight/adventurer character theme.

The Empress
The first thing that really stands out to me about this one is the background. The character/outfit is being carried by the awesome background in my opinion, because the actual design of the character is pretty typical for this type of avatar. The dress isn't really anything special (seen it many times before) and the face is also a bit uninspired, but the background makes her pop, and gives this a lot more "oomph" than it would have standing alone as an avatar. I like the creative use of the new ukiyo-e item though it starts to feel a bit cluttered with all the hair accessories and smoke. That said, the black and white looks lovely contrasting against the red/brown/gold hues.
The Bottom Line: Not particularly original, but the background and contrasting color combos make this pleasing to look at overall.

Guardian of the Treasure
Haven't had a good gimmick avatar in a while! I really like the way the avatar body has been hidden in this one, and the items used have been arranged in such a way that they are very believable as a pile of treasure. The only thing I could say about this is that it could use more. It feels somewhat sparse and while I like the simple and clear composition, I think a background and perhaps a little bit more treasure would be a nice addition.
The Bottom Line: Creative and appealing, great concept with a nice and tidy composition.

The Mythical Unicorn
While I enjoy the balance of ruffles and texture on this one, the all-white design leaves me feeling bored. The swirling blue element is neat, and the dress design is lovely, combining multiple skirts to get a layered look is always great for characters like these, but adding a little bit of pastel color would help to give it some staying power. I feel a sleeve element would help here too, just because her arms feel a bit bare, and the pearl bracelet looks kind of clunky.
The Bottom Line: Clean design and well-tailored, but it doesn't really hold me captive for very long.

Lotus Flower
Another of my faves for this week; the background design is so so so perfect for the character, I adore the dull red with the jewel tones. The face is gorgeous and captivating, and the outfit is something different that I haven't seen much of before. I like how the sashes and the head scarf thing all are moving in the same direction, which pulls everything together from top to bottom. The only complaint I have here is that it's a little difficult to read the torso (especially the bust/shoulder area) because of the cluttered textures, but it's a minor nit-pick.
The Bottom Line: Beautiful character with great color choices and a creative overall design.

The colors on this one are striking, and the simplicity is somewhat pleasing but it's a little too simple to do much for me. I love the use of background elements to stage this character without overwhelming her, but I wish there had been more work put into the outfit design, because the simplicity is verging on boring and plain.
The Bottom Line:Aesthetically pleasing but a little too simple to have any staying-power.

Domina de Apocalypsi
Can you say texture-gasm? I love the attitude and mood of this, and the use of choppy textures with tiny black details to give this a graceful but rugged look. The use of gold/skin accents is subtle but brings this up from just monochrome to something more interesting. It's clear there's been a lot of attention paid to detail, every part of this fits and works together to give a really clear idea of who this character is.
The Bottom Line: Love the textures and the overall mood, very dramatic and captivating.

Week 02 Crits

Chinese Zodiac 2012: Boar
As an avatar, I quite like this. As far as the theme goes however, I really don't think this conveys the "Boar" zodiac sign very much at all. Ignoring the theme issue though, I really enjoy the way this is designed; that hair is really difficult to work with and using a fairly simplistic outfit design really helps to make the hair work on its own without adding a bunch of hair accessories to it. I love the grittiness of the top, and the use of dull colors with bright accents to give this a "wild" feel. The face could use a bit more personality, though I do enjoy the touches of bright blue that have been placed throughout the avatar.
The Bottom Line: Doesn't really work with the theme, but as an avatar the design is well-done, good use of color and simplicity to make this intriguing.

Amaterasu, Goddess of the Sun
This is a very interesting entry; I remember seeing a lot of this red/gold "asian goddess" stuff going on a while back, and it got tired pretty fast, but this is nice and fresh. I enjoy the consistent use of gold texture/accessories, they help to tie the outfit together and make it cohesive, also the use of white is an interesting way to bring out a clear focal point. I love the way the face has been designed, it gives this a very other-worldly feel. The only thing I don't like so much is the lack of a complete background; the sun and cloud work great with this, but it needs something other than dead space in-between.
The Bottom Line: Fresh take on an old theme favourite, great use of items and design to make this stand out.

Belinda's Passion
I love the dress construction/design on this one, but the rest of it is pretty "meh" to me. The face doesn't convey much emotion and feels blank, and she looks a bit odd standing out by a lake with not much else around. I also don't really like the head-piece very much, it's so bulky, and adds to the "blankness" of her face by getting rid of her hairline and making her face look oddly giant in comparison to the rest of her. But again, I really adore the way the dress has been made, this exhibits a great use of various elements to piece together something that looks truly tailored to fit.
The Bottom Line: Lovely dress, but the rest is a bit flat.

Sparkling Dreams
There's not much to look at here, is there? I don't mind simplistic avatars, but when all you've got on is some hair, wings, horns and a cape...that's really not enough to merit placing. I like the background combos, very creative use of the sparkles with the new Reve Rouille background, but there could have been a lot more put into the avatar than this. Some sort of sash perhaps, maybe a few blue accessories to make her look less bare and unfinished. Even tattoos would be an improvement to the blank slate we've got here.
The Bottom Line: Sparkles are pretty, but this is clearly unfinished. No amount of glitter can hide that fact.

Night Creeper
This is an interesting take on the new lavender trend; I like the use of texture and also the consistency with the way the fabric is draped, the face is amusing and I get a good sense of personality from this. I'm not really digging the way the hair has been handled though, I think some sort of hat would help to round this out and make it look more complete, also the shoes feel somewhat out of place with the rest of this and give it a kind of "random" look, and the way they layer with the stockings looks odd to me.
The Bottom Line: Nice use of texture/fabric, but it could use a bit of finishing.

While this does look pretty cool at first glance, the use of multiple equips of one item to basically create the whole avatar is not cool. There isn't much to this beyond the shark and the tail; there's only a top, some hair, and a shine effect. The blank face is boring, the pile of black flattens out the avatar, and the random gun makes no sense, not even for the sake of matching.
The Bottom Line: Nothing much to see here except the new re-color of Reve Rouille.

This is...odd. Very surreal. I think I may have nightmares, but at least they'll be pleasant to look at! The strangeness of this is oddly appealing, and the use of these absurdly bright colors is something I haven't seen done well in a long time. I really like the construction on the dress, and the intricacy of the accessories. I don't feel the collar is necessary, the black looks odd. Also, while the eye is hilarious and intriguing, it brings this down a bit for me because it just doesn't quite "fit" on the face, or with the look of the rest of this.
The Bottom Line: Unique, exciting, and a little bit frightening.

Chilling around
This is really sweet; I enjoy the simplicity and the mood here, and using that bench is a really creative way to get those legs to make sense! I enjoy the soft colors in this as well as the realism, and the design of her outfit and accessories is lovely. I don't really like the gloves, they feel a bit stumpy on this, and don't mesh well with that guitar. Also while the face is sweet, the lips are starting to look a little goofy under that nose.
The Bottom Line: Sweet, simple and creative. Could use a few tweaks but overall I'm chilling to this groove.

Cream & Baby Blue
I'm rarely a fan of cream, and this is no exception. The use of 3 fanciful light charmers, first of all, is really sad to look at; there are only a couple other elements to the outfit that I can see, which is incredibly lazy. The over-sized key is kind of cute but the sparkles look like a cloud of gnats to me. There's not much to say about this one, similar to "Shine", using multiple poses of the same item immediately robs most avatars of creativity and just looks like a cop-out.
The Bottom Line: Boring color scheme with lazy item choices.

The Dark Oiran
I really like the mysterious look this one has, the face is haunting, and the dress design is neat. I think the simplicity works for the dress, though I'd like to see some sort of accessory or tattoo maybe to make her neck a bit less naked. I love the umbrella with that skirt and the hair, not so sure the hair piece works with the mod geisha hair though. Perhaps something instead of the white lotus would tie it in better with the rest of the outfit, like a red accessory with a touch of white.
The Bottom Line:Definitely interesting, though in places it feels a bit unbalanced/unfinished.

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