@David: Hahaha…no David, I don’t have any formal training in art appreciation. A couple of art courses in college to satisfy my humanities requirements does not do to train one in art appreciation. It’s more a matter of just being able to tell what needs/should/shouldn’t/is more than anything. I don’t know where it comes from, but I have it. And I’ve found it can irritate some people. I think it falls under the heading of doing it without realizing how.
As an example, after I got the toy balls in my pull toy image situated, I knew something needed to be placed to the right of the wagon. But couldn’t determine what because anything placed there was going to be somewhat distracting. I thought about it for a few moments and realized nothing had to actually be there, just something in that area to give the impression something was in that area. Hence the shadow of a large ball not in camera range. I don’t know how I knew, I just knew.
Speaking of which, that second underwater scene is, in my opinion, even better than the first. And here’s more of my don’t know how I do it, reasons. First, the foreground statue is more pronounced, giving the viewer a good reference point to come back to. It also, once again, guides the viewers’ eye further out into the haze, making them ask the “what’s out there” question. Which is a guide to the furtherest object, back to the nearest, and to the foreground. While the eye may explore the above, far out, side to side, the eye will always come back to the object in the foreground in order to further study that object.
Second, the object on the left, which looked like a rock mound in the first image, can now be seen as a statue. Giving better definition of where it’s located, along with the right side object which can now be deduced to be another statue.
Third, what you used to create the light rays works better in this scene. Along with the added bubbles. Even without the fish I’d recognize it as being underwater.
Fourth, it’s render size. You and Dave have posted underwater scenes, and they have been about the same size, the size of your latest render. You also did another underwater render of an anchor, again about the same size. After looking at what both of you have done, and what others have done, I beginning to think the viewer’s eye can be better tricked into thinking underwater with the smaller size renders. More detail has to be placed into a large render in order to trick the viewer into thinking underwater. The more that’s added, the more the eye takes in for comparison to see if it fits the belief of what underwater looks like. And the greater the chance something will be spotted that doesn’t quite meet with expectations.
Side Note: David’s question gave me pause to realize I might be irritating some by giving in-depth reasons why I like a scene. If that is the case I apologize, and will limit my responses. Others have been kind enough to offer valuable insights into the renders I’ve done, which have been of great help, and I think it only fitting to try and offer the same.