Monday, 11 February 2013

Elements of game design, part six: visual composition

Composition is something I have never really understood, I get that having a certain layout or focus in a photograph of piece of art is important and can effect how appealing the piece is overall. But I don't understand how or why that works, or what the actual method is. I've heard of the rule of thirds and the golden ratio but have never looked into it and tried to properly understand what they mean. I don't understand composition fully, so I don't use it in my work to full effect and this probably has a negative effect on my work. I haven't really looked into composition before but if it helps my work then now is probably a good time to start. Here is what I learnt:

Composition is like an art form in itself. The idea of composition comes from way back in the Renaissance, with the guidelines used to create photographs today established centuries before the first camera was even invented. So the idea of composition and what makes an appealing image isn't new.

Rule of thirds photography

Composition is basically the balance of everything in a photograph or piece of artwork. As humans we like symmetry and look for patterns or appealing layouts which make us like something.
The rule of thirds and the golden mean are two of the most well known methods of setting up composition in a piece. Both methods provide a means to capture the background in the photo as well a creating a compelling piece that guides the eye of the viewer.

With the rule of thirds you divide the frame into three parts, then place the main parts of the image on the green dots.

The golden mean works in the same way, you draw a line from corner to corner of the frame. Then draw a line from the opposite corners to the line. The subjects of the image should lie at the intersection of these two lines. This technique was developed in ancient Greece and has become less well known over time.

These rules are the basic building blocks of composition. The aim is to create a visually compelling  image that captures the attention of the viewer. The rule of thirds and the golden mean aim to create a composition that leads the eye of the viewer around and tells a story behind the photograph.

Golden Mean photography

These are the main rules of using composition, but there are other elements that will enhance a piece of work if used correctly. These include;

Finding a Clear Centre of Interest

Find something that captures your eye and interest. Try to avoid distracting objects or shadows.

Fill the Frame  Get the subject into the frame so there is no doubt what the photo is all about.

Present a Clear Message Try to avoid anything that would distracts from the main subject.
Compose Boldly Look for repetition or patterns, diagonals, contrasting colours and shapes. They all help to make an interesting image.
Create Depth Put objects in front and behind your subject but a little out of focus. This isolates the subject and helps bring focus to it.
Light and Dark Use light and dark carefully, light tones advance while dark tones retreat. Most people look at the lighter portions of an image first.

Framing with shapes
Vertical and horizontal are bad, diagonal is good. Psychologists say that instincts honed back our caveman days are responsible for that. Diagonal images are visually more interesting that vertical and horizontal.

This is the use of elements in the foreground to frame the object in focus.

Lines Vertical lines emphasise power, strength, and height.
Horizontal lines express stability and width.
Diagonal lines express dynamic energy.
Curving lines express sensuality.

I found this website very useful in learning about composition -

No comments:

Post a Comment