(Fonts: Chachie & Saginaw; ribbon by Lynn Grieveson at Designer Digitals)
There are a couple of issues going on here. One is that the focal point is not well-determined; the eye has a tendency to keep on bouncing onto the next element, over and over again. There's a lot to look at here! The other is that the level of realism varies from pretty realistic to obviously digital, so the mind has problems perceiving the layout as a functional whole.
The puzzle pieces are ok... except that you expect a continuous image, not one image per puzzle piece. The ribbon is great (one of the reasons I chose it--the other being that I can't tie a proper knot to save my life and so I've never gotten any good enough to where I'd be willing to spend time extracting it from a scan), the little tags with staples aren't too bad... but the cookie splats (yes, that's what those are!) are pretty unconvincing, even though I took them off another picture and blew them up; the "sticker" (Mmm -- cookies!) is kinda lame, and my torn edge is seriously lacking. And even if I'm kind of proud of my first pin, I don't really think the head looks very real... Annoying!Here's a fun site for you: decide whether the photos are real, or digital. It's not that obvious! But it sure points out what a long way to go I have...
A few sites I've found useful for beginning efforts at realism:
- Janee's Photoshop Tutorials (she also covers Elements when there's a big difference)
- Planet Photoshop
- The Photoshop Guru's Handbook
And if you have anything to suggest for this layout, please do!