my suggestions, especially for the first one, is to make the player much bigger, to recognize his face, etc...
what i do for backgrounds, and this is my personal preference, is to just use a picture in the background, and just add some effects to it. brush over it with a color on overlay, some gradients, etc... i stay away from brushes and abstract type bg's mostly.
Shane Victorino wrote:“We keep fighting,” Victorino said. “We keep plugging along.”