Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Understanding composition

Brisbane man, Andrew Price, discusses one of the most important things you can learn as a Computer Graphic artist: Composition. There's more to it than the rule of thirds.

1 comment:

Kathy Smart said...

Andrew Price has made this video as a CG artist’s guide to understanding composition.

Composition is about arranging elements in a scene in a pleasing and easy-to-read manner. When done correctly it guides the viewer to what is important and overall results in a more pleasing and aesthetic-looking image.

3 stages of composition
1. focal element
2. structure
3. balance

1. Focal Element
Need one clear element of interest in image, something that the viewer is drawn to immediately on seeing the image. Without one, viewer is left bouncing around image wondering about its meaning. Make something stand out to change dynamic of scene.

Often used incorrectly. For example, interior shot with window with bright white light has most contrast, this is magnet for eye and incorrectly becomes focal element.

How to create focal element
• High contrast
• Saturation
• Camera focus
• Motion
• Faces or figures or familiar objects like the earth

Focal element influences which can be added to scene to draw attention:
• Guiding lines with stoppers so they don’t lead viewer off edge of page
• Framing
• Geometry (eyes are drawn to rectangles, triangles, circles)
• Symmetry
• Repetition
• Framing

2. Structure
The deliberate organisation of elements in a scene based on a rule so that the viewer can orient themselves. What most people think of when they think of composition.

Any structure is better than none at all. Anarchy or randomness is chaos and displeasing. Need order.

Common structures
• Rule of thirds (A simplification of the Golden Ratio. It is good to counter something placed on one of the four points by placing something on its opposing point. Powerful technique to show relationship of character to environment. Also allows two characters to face each other or to face off-camera, showing dialogue very well.)
• Golden ratio or Golden spiral often seen often in nature
• Pyramid allows you to create a striking figure. Looks like towering figure.
• Symmetry can create powerful, important, calming building. Vertical symmetry works well for reflections.
• Full frame

Gestalt principle of design – grouping

3. Balance
Ensuring the visual weight of the image is evenly displaced.

Visual weight includes
• Size
• High contrasting elements (One way to check is to turn up contrast and blurriness: the squint test.)
• Saturation
• Faces
• Figures

Andrew Price shows how to balance unbalanced images and analyses his examples masterfully. This video went by in a blink of the eye. Watch it!