ID3230_Unit4_Pt2_PPT.pptx

UNIT 4 – Part Two

Elements and Principles
ID3230 UNDERSTANDING IMAGES

Line

Shape

Color

Pattern

Texture

Tone
Rhythm

Balance

Hierarchy

Unity

Figure/ground

Contrast
Visual Elements

Principles of Composition
One way to approach Appearance is to divide the topic into visual elements (the basic components of the image) and visual principles (the way those components are arranged inside the frame).

COLOR
Hue…warm or cool
Colors, for example, have different qualities that give us different impressions or feelings. Warm colors like red tend to feel more intimate or intense; cool colors like blue more distant or formal.

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COLOR
Brightness…light or dark
Brighter colors tend to seem more energetic or upbeat (van Gogh on the left); darker colors more subdued or even more mysterious (Bierstadt on the right).

4

COLOR
Range…colorful or monochromatic
Images with a wider range of colors (Monet on the left) can seem busier or more exciting; images with a narrower range (Rembrandt on the right) can seem quieter or gentler.

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LINE
Density…simple or complex
The simple lines in cartoons as on the left suggest that the image is to be taken more lightly; dense lines as in the Durer etching on the right communicate more intensity or weight.

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LINE
Quality…loose or rigid
The loose lines of the sketch by architect Frank Gehry seem more casual and personal; the rigid lines of a floor plan have a more formal or geometric feel.

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LINE
Flow…jaggy or smooth
Irregular lines feel more exciting or perhaps risky; smooth lines may feel duller or safer. These feelings are communicated even without knowing what these two graphics represent.

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SHAPE
Contour…rounded or angular
Rounded shapes (in the Alexander Calder painting on the left) feel softer or gentler; angular shapes (in the Frank Stella painting on the right) can seem more intense or perhaps even irritating.

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SHAPE
Edges…soft or hard
Shapes with soft edges seem gentler, very much in the style of Leonardo da Vinci; shapes with hard edges seem harsher and louder, as more often seen in work by Pablo Picasso.

10

SHAPE
Complexity…simple or intricate
Simple shapes are easier to recognize which is why they are used so often for logos and symbols; more complex shapes require more brainwork and therefore can seem more involving.

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LINES
Loose or dense
Jaggy or smooth
Wavy or rigid
Jumpy or flowing
Etc.
COLORS
Warm or cool
Soft or harsh
Bold or dull
Dark or bright
Etc.
SHAPES
Round or angular
Intense or calm
Clear or ambiguous
Precise or loose
Etc.

All the different variations in these elements have slightly different effects on the viewer.

PATTERNS
Gentle or bold
Subtle or strong
Intense or calm
Etc.
TEXTURES
Harsh or soft
Scratchy or smooth
Coarse or fine
Etc.

TONES
Bright or dark
Similar or varied
Soft or harsh
Etc.

But what those effects are and what impact they have is always about how you personally respond to them and what words you might use to describe them.

Visual Principles

Rhythm (steady to irregular)

Balance (symmetrical to imbalanced)

Hierarchy (strong to weak)

Figure/ground (clear to confusing)

Contrast (high to low)
Visual principles refers to the way in which the elements are arranged within the frame to create certain effects.

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BALANCE
Balanced images can seem more calming or subdued; imbalanced ones more exciting or dramatic. Which image above looks static (like a hole in a wall) and which one suggests motion (like a bouncing ball)?

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BALANCE
Many religious symbols rely on a balanced design to suggest stability, continuity, timelessness.

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BALANCE
On the other hand, most sports logos are imbalanced to suggest motion, energy, movement.

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BALANCE
The balanced image in da Vinci’s Last Supper has a more serene feeling as compared to the more dramatic imbalance of the figure from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.

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The logos for hate groups use bold colors, sharp shapes, and balanced designs to suggest strength and power. Imagine their instant visual appeal to people who long for those feelings.

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RHYTHM
As in music, the repetition of visual elements can create a feeling from controlled and steady as in the Andy Warhol painting on the left to offbeat or looser as in the Piet Mondrian on the right.

Orderly versus irregular

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HIERARCHY
Images with strong visual hierarchy control your exploration through the image…like most advertising that attracts us with an image, then guides us through the copy or text, and ends with the product.
Strong versus weak

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HIERARCHY
The image on the right has a weak hierarchy; it is not clear what to look at first or second or third. The feeling of wandering through the image is intentional to suggest the vastness of the Chinese court.
Strong versus weak

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CONTRAST
Contrast refers to the sameness or difference in any of the
elements in the image. Low contrast, as in the image on the left, supports the restrained design for an English formal garden.
Dull versus dramatic

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CONTRAST
While the many contrasts (in colors, shapes, sizes) in the image on the right support the excitement and drama of a travel adventure.
Dull versus dramatic

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The categories and names of all these Appearance factors may change but the idea is always the same…

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…that all images communicate through their Appearance…both visual elements and principles. The trick is becoming aware of these effects which are sometimes obvious and other times subtle.

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