Well, I had been in that same funk with The Musketeer. It wasn't that anything was wrong, exactly... it's just that there was something right that wasn't there. That something that would make it more than a rendering, that would give it...
I was looking across the room at the painting, with the lights turned low, and that's when it hit me....
In the low light, I could visualize a different light effect, more... theatrical.
So I took the latest photo into Photoshop and did a few quick masks to see if anything would 'click.'
Not bad, but...
It seems to me that in the Before version, he's just there, but not really integrated with the environment.
In the After version, it's as if he's emerging fro the shadow, stepping into the spotlight.
The After version just seems to work better for me. It 'sits easier' or some other metaphor.
Of course, making this happen in paint will take a lot more work - wait, not work - effort.