Monday, 14 January 2013

Task 15: Elements of game design, part six: visual composition

Although this is very late coming I should probably get back to the blogs we are meant to be doing.

This time COMPOSITION. Something which I personally don't really understand. Like most people I can sort of see when an image or piece of artwork looks appealing or more interesting than others, something which can be put down to its composition, apparently.

I have a problem with composition in that it seems rather technical, when trying to learn about it I always seem to give up as I get abit lost and confused in the things its trying to explain. For example here is a wonderful looking tutorial from those ImagineFX people.

Despite trying a few times I just can't get past the 3rd point. I loose commitment and interest. *sigh*
So what can I do but go to the very very most basic bit of composition, the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is the simplest rule of composition. All you do is take your frame and overlay a grid of nine equal sections. This means you split the vertical space into three parts and the horizontal space into three parts. Here's what that it looks like:

The idea is to place important elements where the grid intersects as this is where the eye tends to go first. Here are a few fantastic examples stolen straight from Google.

Something else which can affect the composition and bring feeling to an image or piece of artwork is perspective. Used in the right ways it can have different visual impacts. When you're beneath the subject it often makes them/it appear more powerful to the viewer. Conversely, when you're above the subject it makes them/it appear more diminutive. You can use this to an extreme for a powerful impact, but it's also a very good subtle technique for portraits. Slight positioning above or below the subject can subconsciously imply aggressiveness or passivity. Additionally, left and right positioning isn't as direct and can often make a photograph feel more honest and candid. When capturing a moment, whether it's staged or not, photographing the subject head-on can often seem a little awkward and end up being less-effective.

Basically composition is a powerful tool that can be used by photographers and artists, to improve the look of their work. Its not necessarily the most important part of a piece, but great composition is something that immediately separates the amateurs from the pros and enthusiasts.

Right now I am definitely an amateur.

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