I want to de­sign an en­gag­ing en­vi­ron­ment – any tips?

ImagineFX - - Imagine nation Artist Q&a -

An­swer Belinda replies

My first ap­proach to mak­ing a po­ten­tially mun­dane scene look in­ter­est­ing is gen­er­ally to use the prin­ci­ple of har­mony ver­sus va­ri­ety, to spark in­ter­est in an image and cre­ate a fo­cal point.

Peo­ple have a nat­u­ral ten­dency to look for pat­terns, so pro­vid­ing re­peated shapes through­out the image but in a va­ri­ety of sizes will en­cour­age the viewer to scan the image. Coun­ter­point­ing these repet­i­tive shapes with some­thing dif­fer­ent will cause the eye to set­tle, and these con­trast­ing ar­eas are per­fect for the fo­cal point for your image. This is where you can per­haps add a story el­e­ment or char­ac­ter in­ter­ac­tion to re­ally draw the viewer in and keep them look­ing around.

This prin­ci­ple of har­mony ver­sus va­ri­ety doesn’t just ap­ply to shapes, but also works with con­trasts in colour, value, line and other art fun­da­men­tals. The idea is to cre­ate a sense of over­all unity within your image us­ing any of these as­pects or com­bi­na­tions of them, then in­ter­rupt­ing it with a con­trast­ing el­e­ment where you want the viewer’s eyes to set­tle. An image that has no har­mony in it at all will give the viewer a hard time scan­ning the pic­ture, yet on the other hand a scene that’s too har­mo­nious will be­come bland and have dif­fi­culty grab­bing the viewer’s at­ten­tion for long. I like to main­tain a ra­tio of about 80:20, in which 80 per cent of the image is har­mo­nious, with 20 per cent fea­tur­ing con­trast­ing el­e­ments.

For your fo­cal point, try us­ing ei­ther colour ac­cents or ar­eas of dra­matic value con­trast. Also con­sider de­pict­ing an area of quiet in a chaotic scene.

In this scene I use the repet­i­tive curves of the rocks and path to cre­ate a sense of har­mony in the shapes, which I con­trast with sharp, an­gu­lar build­ings.

I cre­ate a sil­hou­ette to es­tab­lish the over­all con­trast of round and an­gu­lar shapes. The sil­hou­ette in the fi­nal image is pretty much the same.

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