Principles of Composition
In Art and Design
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"Composition" is a term
that can relate to several areas of
study. The meaning may vary a little
in the different usages, but generally,
composition refers to how things are
"put together." We will feature composition
as it pertains to the visual arts.
ELEMENTS ARE NOT EASY TO GRASP UNTIL
RELATING TO DESIGN AND COMPOSITION
Refers to different kinds of visual content,
it refers to "differences" in general. Why
variety? Variety makes things interesting,
without it we experience Monotony or
in composition: Contrast suggest differences
between any of the elements being described.
Such as size contrast, color contrast, line
movement (movements) contrast, tonal contrast.
Any visual element can be contrasted. Contrast
contributes to clarity and variety.
in composition: Transition is a design
effect which relates to contrast listed above.
But in transition there is an attempt to gradually
show steps or in-between changes between two
extremes of an element. For example a transition
between large and small would be "medium";
a transition between black and white would
be a middle tone; a transition between vertical
and horizontal line direction would be a diagonal.
Etc. Why use transition? Transition is a harmonizing
tool. It makes "unlikes" look more harmonious.
It also brings a quality of "rhythm" into the
composition. Rhythm is listed below.
oval patterns of water lily leaves are
repeated to form
In this photograph of climbers on the Devil's Tower in Wyoming we see the similarity of vertical structures that span vertically across the picture frame. Even though there is strong similarity of the rocky "ribs" there is none the less some subtle variety in each one.
there is plenty of contrast in shape
and color, as well
or grouping in Composition: Generally artists
will form the main objects in the composition
into a kind of group. If you connect the main
objects in the composition with a line you
will probably notice a kind of "shape" made
by the object. This is shape may be triangular
(very popular during the Renaissance) or some
other shape. If a person is not thinking about
"grouping" the result will probably be "random"
in composition: The term emphasis also
can be called "dominance" or dominant. A feature
may be dominant owing to its size, its color,
or some other device which the artist uses
to draw attention to the point of focus or
Pattern in composition: For a complete lesson is pattern making techniques, please click the web link called "pattern" to see a listing of pattern making systems.
in composition: Tension is a way of creating
a visual "drama" within the groupings of lines
and forms. Tension comes when elements are
not visually comfortable with each other.
in composition: Clarity results from
having enough focus, darkness, or other emphasis
of elements. The result is that they can be
viewed clearly from a distance. High contrast
extremes create very vivid images. Very low
contrasts create unclear images. At times artists
may intentionally choose to use a "high key"
effect in which all forms may be nearly the
same color such as the white on white designs
sometimes seen in fashion photos.
What Are Design Elements?
Movement (direction) Rhythm, Repetition, Contrast, Variety, Unity, Emphasis, Tension, Similarity.
Movements the directions the line or edges move through a space.
Rhythm are the effect of repeated similar line movements or similar shapes.
Repetition refers to repeating any element, see above list.
Contrast differences found comparing any single element. Such as contrast of color, contrast of form, contrast of texture, etc.
"colors" red contrasts with black.... texture: rough contrasts with smooth.
Variety expresses numbers or differences, different kinds of elements or content.
Unity expresses the appearance of oneness or harmony that every design requires. Emphasis is the effect of bringing some parts out or making prominent or dominant.
Integration is when parts appear to fit together and have a sense of oneness.
Tension results when elements do not fit harmoniously; but cause opposition or dissonance. Tension happens when line movement paths crash into another path
Similarity of elements is the main method of making the composition harmonize.
Harmony is a feeling of correctness when the parts appear to belong together and to work together visually in a pleasant way. In a art creation there is sufficient variety to cause the forms to be interesting and not boring but not so same and unvaried as to become boring.