Thursday, 8 December 2011

Visual Composition

Visual Composition is the key idea of producing imagery that is pleasing to the eye, i say imagery as it goes for all visual stimuli and medias. It is the process of combining principles to produce imagery that attracts the viewers eye. These principles of Line, Shape, Colour, Texture, Form, Value and Space can be powerful on their own, but combined together they can produce professional pieces of art.
It is important throughout my progression in this course that i should exploit these compositional aspects at all times, but it isn't in till this point that i have really dissected my own work to show how my personal artwork is effective or not.
 Firstly i will talk more in depth about each aspect of visual composition and how it can be effective. Line is the use of lines to direct the flow of the viewers attention and draw a figurative path that the eye dances across. This is usual the first aspect of visual composition that is adopted. Art in its most basic form is line drawing, but this doesn't make it any less necessary or important in producing visually pleasing stimuli. 
 Shape is the principle of  producing areas or masses that resemble things seen in real life, or at least pulled from real life. Shapes are used to produce images and create focal points within a visual target. This makes a piece of work have something interesting to look at and prevents the user from getting distracted too quickly. Shape is adopted shortly after Line normally when i child starts to produce figurative drawings or stick characters with circular shapes for heads, as development progress's as does the complexity of shapes. unfortunantly because arts tends to be frowned upon and drilled out when your younger this is where visual composition ends for most people. Unless artistically inclined most people have a mediocre ability to draw and interpret shapes, thus preventing them from producing more complex and compelling art work. 
Colour is something that is hard to understand and involves understanding, in part colour theory and how colours interact with one another. It is also understanding that colour is light and different subjects react to light differently, producing a vast range of variation in the colours that we see. Colour can be taken in a literal or abstract form and can be used to describe feelings, emotions or messages. Such as blue is normally associated with cold but can also be depression, sadness or calm. Colour symbolic as well as literal, and making sure you understand this when producing aspects of work is important. It can leave a painting feeling dull or make it vibrant and lively. It is the most overlooked of compositional techniques, as if you cannot nail how i colour is supposed to look, the viewer will always have a slight nagging, not matter how perfect the other aspects of visual composition may be, that there is something wrong. Even in abstract pieces colour still has to be produced effectively to convey a message and ultimately entice the viewers eye and imagination.
When it comes to producing composition effective in concept art and 3d pieces the same principles apply. Without a thorough understanding of how these aspect react with the human mind, you will find that you paintings or scenes are always lacking something. Even if you final outcome doesn't turn out brilliantly, if it is fundamentally valid, and interesting, then it is still a success of understanding visual composition and producing worthwhile work. Below are some of my personal work that i have dissected with these fundamentals as well as some other laws of composition;

"Luca Pacioli was known mostly as a mathematician, but he was also trained and keenly interested in art. De Divina Proportione explored the mathematics of the golden ratio. It is often said that Pacioli advocated the golden ratio's application to yield pleasing, harmonious proportions."The Fibonacci spiral is a natural occurring mathematical equation that can be applied to art, as it is a way of producing the most visually appealing image by creating a spiral and working out the most appealing area of a painting. It is the area where the eye will try to stay and it is important to produce something interesting within this area."

It is always important that if drawing land you have the focal point most prominent in the picture, by having a high horizon line the viewers attention is inevitable drawn to the larger area and your focal point. By producing a key component on one side of a painting as well you are creating an asymmetrical image that is more natural and enjoyable for the viewer. Another theory is that odd numbers also avoid symmetry and produce something that is more appealing and more visually impressive. Symmetry tend to imply man made, by using the Rule of odds you can frame objects of interest with an even number of surrounding objects, it becomes more comforting for the viewer and creates a sense of ease and pleasure. An even number of subjects again produces symmetry which isn't natural and can be distracting. Framing your key aspect with others can be perceived as more friendly as it isn't forcing awkward confrontation with just one subject matter and feel's less threatening. One object surrounded by no interesting surroundings, can be aggressive or unsettling subconsciously. By framing the object you created a better composition and make your visual imagery more pleasing to the eye.

This painting and the one below demonstrate the power of flow lines and lead lines directing the viewers eye constantly towards the centre of the painting or towards a key focal point. Also by following key drawing principles you are creating an unequal ground/sky plane  which makes the painting feel more enjoyable. Again having key focal features of to one side and framing it produces a more enjoyable painting, unless symmetry is required or wanted. Symmetry isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just tend to distract the viewer from what you are painting.

The rule of thirds is that by producing a grid on any medium and dividing it in to thirds. will create areas where at least one focal point should be. For instance on the painting above the right vertical line follows the edge of the train, creating an area that will automatically draw the attention of the viewer and produce a good composition. The rule of thirds again ties in with the theory of uneven numbers being more enjoyable and natural.

The final compositional technique i've shown is simplification, by focusing the attention of the viewer on the focal point (bird) they are not distracted by shapes and forms behind them. Keeping the attention on what you want it to be. Avoiding clutter in an image can result in the full attention of the viewer and again making it a more enjoyable experience. A way of doing this would be to limit the focal length of the shot, but can also be achieved by limiting the pallet and intensity of strokes.

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