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bishop_pass

Thematic composition

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Ok, I want to see some discussion about composition and the underlying themes which you can use to drive composition, and conversely, using composition to build a theme. By composition, naturally I mean the arrangement of elements and how they blend or contrast with one another within a 2d picture. The medium of the 2d picture is irrelevant. Your medium might be painting with oils on canvas, using a camera for final output to photographic paper, a 3d modeler and renderer outputing to a monitor screen, hand drawn sketches, etc. This is an artistic process which benefits from the ability to previsualize, understanding of light and color, balance and form, and texture. More importantly, the artist may be striving to convey a message to the viewer, evoke certain emotions, and rivet the viewer's eye to the image. Themes can revolve around the style of the image, the primitive elements of the image, the geometry of the image, the subject matter of the image, the frame of reference, and so on. So, feel free to suggest, share, philosophize, comment, hone, refine, and so on. ___________________________________
Edited by - bishop_pass on January 12, 2002 1:09:55 AM

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Ok, I don''t think I missed the mark by starting this thread. However, I''m not seeing any responses yet.

As a catalyst to start one thinking in terms of themes, here are some keywords and phrases: abandonment, recollections, isolation, desolation, contemplation, sense of wonder and awe, inversion, precision, chaos, childhood memories, traces of recent occupation...

With respect to composition and light, here are some keywords and phrases: Godbeams, silhouettes, receding ridges, compression of elements, monochromatic, reflections, depth of field, panorama, pastel, tonality, portrait, light cascading in through a window, shadows, alpenglow, focal point, profile...

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Wow ! Someone wants to talk *theory* of art ?

Well, here are the basic elements, as I have learnt them :
-colours: they define an atmosphere, convey what I would qualify of low level emotions, set a mood.
-masses: a bit hard to explain... basically, the shapes in a composition are grouped together, usually either because of their colours, or more generally because of the light level. The shadows and highlights are grouped together and describe "higher level" shapes. Those shapes are used to create a movement in a scene, a sense of harmony, to group elements of the composition, to bring the focus on a particular element that needs emphasis.

really these are the two basics. Once you got that, you have a good start for any 2d art you might do.
the "masses" thing is more for a painting rather than say, game artwork. on the other hand, the rules of colour are relevant most of the time.

Maybe there is another rule, the balance.
For a picture to be nice (it''s quite a relative subject, but the fact is, that is works), a picture has to have an inner balance.
It has to be balanced in terms of colours as well as composition (masses).
An example of colour balance is the rule of "warm background, cold foreground". The classic "firecamp at night" type of picture, where the focus is brought on an area of the picture by the use of the warm tones of flames, while the rest of the picture is depicted in a blueish tone.
For masses, it''s a bit the same thing. masses shouldnt be grouped on one side of the picture while the rest is left empty. If a crowd if drawn, it''s nicer to have an irregural pattern of masses rather than big lumps (Ok, that''s hard to describe without a drawing).

MMmmh, is that what you are looking for bishop_pass ?
Or maybe more examples ?
The problem is that giving examples is always a bit tricky as IMHO the underlying ideas expressed by composition (both in masses of light and in colours) are somewhat personal. Although there are some general things that a large portion of the population will recognise (what I described as "low level emotions"), it''s still somewhat tricky to make generalisation.
Although I must say most of our modern "design" culture is revolving around stereotypes, cliches and the association of ideas to designe elements : if I say red and white you think Christmas, but only because Coke used those colours and made worldwide advertisment campaigns, otherwise it could still be associated with things like the Templars, Ulster loyalists, England, etc...

anyway, maybe I am totally wrong



Sancte Isidore ora pro nobis !

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quote:
Original post by ahw
MMmmh, is that what you are looking for bishop_pass ?
Or maybe more examples ?
The problem is that giving examples is always a bit tricky as IMHO the underlying ideas expressed by composition (both in masses of light and in colours) are somewhat personal.


Take any theme that you might want to portray, it might be reunion, lonliness, being hunted, or discovery, and suggest how you personally would use the elements of composition to portray it. It is personal, and that''s what makes works of art unique, compelling, diverse, and powerful. A discussion on personal and unique ideas is the idea.

Stereotypes help and hinder. In the case of computer games, I would say they hinder. This discussion need not be focused on computer game art, but it can possibly inspire computer game art through a game''s set of compositions, whether it be package art, booklet art, introduction art, and even gameplay views as seen by the first person player.

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quote:
Original post by bishop_pass

A discussion on personal and unique ideas is the idea.




Isn''t it better to draw than to discuss?

Here''s why I think it is... We have the ability to draw before we can talk, which implies that art is expression, such as raising an eyebrow, unlike speech, which requires rules and learning. Maybe that''s why there are no hard and fast rules on what art really is, ie, where born able to express ourselves and what we see through images, and what we "see" is unique to each individual.

What it sounds like your asking us to do, is a discussion
the "technical" aspects of the subject. To go beyond that that, we''re going to have to start drawing.

In terms of talking about art, I consider myself a beginner. On the other hand, I''ve been drawing since I was three so my technical skill is high... just the academic portion is not much beyond what ahw said...

To put it simply, I don''t know how much I know, but as I continue learning these techniques, I realise I knew them all along.

Hope that all makes sense.

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Is it not possible to include pictures in your posts? It would be very helpful. Illustrations are ALWAYS better than reading text.

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quote:
Original post by Garott
Isn''t it better to draw than to discuss?

I think this is a shame. I get similar responses when I ask people about scales and harmony in music. I think there''s a lot to gain from taking a slightly more systematic look at "artforms".

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Nobody is asking anyone here to be technical or systematic. Nor is anyone precluding another from sharing imagery here via the img tag.

What is being asked is for thoughtful introspection, application of compositional elements to themes which are imagined within your mind, and ideas.

What is not being asked for is a debate on the merits of such a discussion.

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quote:
Original post by Garott
Isn''t it better to draw than to discuss?


I eagerly look forward to your illustrative work to further the idea sharing within this topic.



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