I think you are taking this contest a bit too literally Put a few score-lines on the chopping board to represent the impact of the blade on the board. Extra points if you can show some wood fibres being raised up. See if you can apply a more random wood texture to the overall board so that is not so linear and make this just a bit darker but not blurred along the edging as you currently have. Darken the handle of the knife a little where it can be seen between the fingers. The background could just be white with shadows so as not to distract from your finished work.
2360 days ago
Chop-chop; deliberate all -- thanks for suggestions, but shadows on knife handle didn't look right before submission and the cutting "board" is plastic (photochop thickened)... but the background is a real piece of (faux) polished stone countertop I had left over from a job years ago and it's a great FLAT work surface .... the white background didn't work with the motion blur on the knife very well. Thanks,