Output can be as important as the design. What is the story that is created with the example work below utilizing composites? Yes, it is a photograph, but what does the addition piece add?
Output, to me, is just as important as conceptual design and process design. For instance, when using Photoshop to create and/or develop an idea (sometimes from scratch), usually I feel compelled to add to such idea in order to enhance my theme or message. In doing so, I choose from a variety of techniques including but not limited to: layers, masks, text boxes, texture overlays, etc. The resulting output ultimately will differ subtly to greatly from my original pre-touched draft.
With regards to the example piece posted above, I kinda get a hard read on the story the student was telling. If I have to guess, the subject is about an individual gazing upon someone or something in a relaxed and tranquil manner. What is confusing to me is the addition of what looks like faded mixed watercolor on top of the black-and-white sketch of the individual; at first glance, the piece looks like a portrait having had gone through age and water damage. But thinking more about it, I also believe that having a partial-overlay of dull color on top of gray scale color is meant to give viewers a sense of dichotomy in the two schemes, all in the same piece.
The student was particularly good at doing this because the underlying texture still remains under the colored areas, showing uniform and continuing detail. The only minor to moderate difference in this regard is the hidden/blurred outlines of the skin but overall, the color addition in this piece at the very least made for extra thinking concerning what the subject of the student’s work was.