workshop slide gallery theory help   

01. Relationship of dot, line and plane
02. Dot
03. Constellations
04. Line
05. Grids & Patterns
06. Shapes
07. Openings (shapes within shapes)
08. Colour
09. The colour wheel & natural order of colours
10. Color Harmony
11. Texture
12. Light & Shade, Shadows
13. Three-dimensional form
14. Voids
15. Space
16. Composition
17. Principles of basic design
18. Proportion and Scale


16. Composition


A figure-ground relationship must be understood as something more than an inert shape on an inactive background. Maximum figure-ground contrast can be achieved by placing active shapes on passive backgrounds, or passive shapes on active backgrounds. This happens especially when bold patterns and pronounced differences of colour are used.

Camouflage, or the art of visual deception, consists of images being arranged in such a way that they are grouped together and lose their individuality or they blend into the background and lose their identity. The purpose of visual deception in art is to create an illusion or to create interest through complexity.

An active shape is one with acute angles, bulges and protuberances that reach out aggressively into space, while a passive shape is self-contained and compact. An active ground is one, which is visually imposing, and a passive ground is one, which departs very little from a blank surface.

An active pattern on a passive ground can be expected to advance, a passive shape on an active field will appear to retreat to a position within the ground. A passive shape on a passive ground totally lacks lustre, while an active shape on an active ground is a bit too vibrant and chaotic.

a. Principle of Proximity - The eye is able to focus on small shapes and objects located within very little distance of one another. These become related as a group, even if they are dissimilar in every other way - in form, texture, value or colour.

b. Principle of Similarity -If the objects are alike in one or more ways, the eye will have less difficulty in relating them to each other, whether they lie close together or are some distance apart.

c. Principle of Orientation or Continuation -If points, lines and shapes fall along a definite path, share the same kinetic energy or speed, or are similar in the general outline and aimed in the same direction, or even if they divide into two or more directional movements, the eye will immediately establish sense and order.

d. Principle of Closure - The eye will always reduce even the most battered shape to its simplest ordered structure. It will complete a semi-circle by seeing it whole, it will finish a broken arch or doorway and correct a faulty square.

A composition should make meaningful use of the entire given space. There should be proper balance between positive and negative space.

Due to advent of abstract expressionism there is a tendency of visual artists and art educationists to prefer informal and asymmetrical balance. One reason to discard symmetrical balance composition is because it is done initially by most art students.

Consistency is an important factor determining the success of a composition. The composition should work as a unit. A small amount of conflict may however create visual interest.

Attraction/communication are the two important requirements of a successful composition. First the composition should attract, and then it should be able to communicate.

Proximity plays a very important role in judging a composition. The star filled night sky is always perceived as a group of constellations. Even the Chinese puzzle is based on this principle of creation of visual interest in a composition.

Similarity -- similarity is conceptually very simple. It is concerned with the descriptive qualities of an object. Such descriptive qualities are size, shape, colour, orientation, texture. Here are some more rules about aspects of similarity

• similar qualities of object tend to form groupings
• similar texture can unify unsimilar shapes or vice versa
• too much similarity makes the composition monotonous
• to less similarity makes the composition chaotic
• similarity is a stronger workforce than proximity
• complexity
• visual deception


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For more details contact - Ar. Shirish Sukhatme
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