I also have a little question to cringer8!
I wonder what are the issues you found on my "okay" bird?
I hope it is not about the wrong angle of the beak, one eye is too big or looking at wrong direction, or the fact that the eyelids seem to support the too heavy eyes... because it was intentional!
I really think my bird is not okay. This bird has a major issue, something like: "Why the fuck I'm born this way!"
So if it's only that you don't like the face of my bird, I'm really okay with it!!
First, let me say that I would not be able to pull off that bird as well as you did. I was merely judging the bird based on the quality found in the rest of the image. So here it goes:
Some lighting issues... the right corner of the beak could have used some shading to match the lighting surrounding it. As it stands, that part of the beak looks like it's hovering off of the face. If it is hovering off the face, there should be a darker drop shadow just behind it.
The shadow on the neck does not agree with the angle of light found on the rest of the bird. The light reflection on the eyeballs and shadow of the beak would suggest a higher angle for the light source which would drop the shadow on the neck lower, possibly even out of sight.
The translucent effect on the left eyeball is great, but the effect on the right eye is too bright and defined, considering that it is further away from the light source. The difference in brightness found on the eyelids should have translated to the eyes as well. It makes the right eye look out of place.
The motion blur on the feather seems way too blurry and you missed a spot at the top of the feather. I also think the motion blur at the tip of tongue was unecessary and ruined what could have been a very cool tongue.
This is all just opinion, which is meaningless. It's even less meaningful when I'm sure you could pull up ANY of my chops and find even more issues
I'm sure some other choppers will jump in here and take care of that for you
Congratulations on the win. Well deserved. Hopefully you can find the time to play around with a daily contest some time. I'd love to see more of your work
Good observation! You were able to see I didn't put same level of time and attention on details of the bird than the nest & egg.
Yeah, the too bright right corner on beak was the most obvious flaw.
I'm okay with the shadow on the neck... in fact I think it's more about the light reflections on eyeballs that doesn't fit perfectly with the rest of bird. I worked the light source from the egg, more from the left than the top, but I kept the light reflections on eyes at wrong place just for better aestheticism.
I agree with too bright right eye and also the too blurry feather. I didn't miss a spot at top of feather, I just wanted to create some parts around the stem more rigid, but obviously the blur was too strong and anyway badly cropped. In fact I made the blur effects on feather and tongue in a final 1 minute rush before bringing the kids at school at 7:45AM, 15 minutes before the final round started...
I played a bit on those details just to make it better on my PSD file.
I kept the small blur on tongue, just took off the blurry highlight on top... it was weird!
Oh! I also added a little shadow under the tongue... but it doesn't look really good... for better aestheticism, I prefer without.