Well yes visual composition is perhaps one of the most important thing in presenting work either for a portfolio or in the gaming universe and I think it takes certain skill to be able to judge this and to be able to use the "artists eye".
If im honest im not that confident with my artistic judgement. While working/ giving crits to other peoples work, there are a few things which I notice to look "wrong" but that is mainly just about finishing the image but to be able to say to myself something to the effect of "oh perhaps if i put a few cans of beer on that street corner it would help" a basic example but at times I feel like I have a few problems with it. I dont think im able to easily recognize areas that need improvement or to be able to suggest things that can be done. I believe this judgement will develop in time - as anything it needs practice and I would need to immerse myself in different pieces of artwork and be able to analyze them properly and professionally.
Composition can do a lot for a subject/asset, for example in producing a 3d model/drawing which I am not terribly pleased with, it can be set up in such a way that makes it interesting to look at, almost like designing a portfolio. To the general public visual composition is usually taken for granted and they often dont realize why things work, but contrary to this they can usually tell when something looks obviously wrong (I believe its partly to do with the media-based era we are living in). In one of the previous blog tasks where I looked at that 40 page essay on concepting and planning, it made me realize even more how important this is. My final piece for the Bradgate park had evolved more than I thought it would as I spent a little bit of time doing very quick sketches of what I wanted and also trying to work out how things flow in the final image. During my first year I didn't really do this and I think some of the reasons things worked was because of this "random chance". This year I realized that for things to look at their best - even if the subject matter isnt that interesting - planning the composition is the way to go and if the concept is visually engaging more interest will spark in your artwork which also acts as the driving force to get you producing more interesting and exciting work.
I believe that this year the quality of my work has increased and am able to put more hours into it without getting tired/bored of them as opposed to last year. Though I wouldn't say I am particularly strong in my technical skills, brush strokes - easy texture construction etc, because I have more of an understanding of how things work together visually and compositionally the work Im producing has been enhanced. For these skills to develop I basically need to continue to really look at produced things and differentiate the good points and the bad points.