How do I cap­ture weight and move­ment in a com­po­si­tion?

ImagineFX - - Imagine Nation - Mad­die Hall, Eng­land

Nick replies

Once you in­tro­duce ac­tion into a com­po­si­tion, it can have a dra­matic ef­fect on the spa­tial re­la­tion­ships. Dy­namic poses in par­tic­u­lar have great in­flu­ence, in that not only are the an­gle and thrust of the pose im­por­tant, but the spe­cific na­ture of the ac­tion ex­erts in­flu­ence on where the viewer’s eye will look.

In this pared-down ex­am­ple the fig­ure is arched back­wards, but pre­par­ing to launch a pro­jec­tile for­wards. I’m ex­ag­ger­at­ing the space for him to launch the mis­sile into, to coun­ter­bal­ance the ex­treme pose and also in­form the viewer what’s about to hap­pen next.

Ex­act place­ment of an ac­tion pose within an im­age is down to per­sonal taste and what dra­matic ef­fect you’re aim­ing for. Bal­anc­ing a strong ac­tion pose with blank space or some large fixed shape next to it can help keep the eye on the can­vas. How­ever, that may not be the ef­fect you’re af­ter. Al­ter­na­tively, weight­ing a com­po­si­tion by de­lib­er­ately un­bal­anc­ing it can be ef­fec­tive. In other words, us­ing the strength of the ac­tion pose in­flu­ences the im­age’s fo­cus.

Cropped and framed more con­ven­tion­ally in a cen­tral po­si­tion, the pose loses a lot of its power and move­ment. It still works, just in a dif­fer­ent way.

The sketched pose of the fig­ure pre­par­ing to throw to the right is bal­anced by the blank space he’s about to throw into. The space

helps an­tic­i­pate the ac­tion.

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