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Lesson 2: Composition

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Lesson 2: Composition

Post by nneoj14 on 16/10/2010, 11:31 am

Lesson 2: Composition

Welcome to the second lesson of GFX! My name is nneoj14, and I will be guiding you throughout this whole entire crash course of GFX. So, the second thing we have got to learn about is composition.
Let's get started then shall we?

What is Composition?

So, you might have been wondering, what is composition anyway? Well, composition is basically the way you arrange all the elements in your signature together. Depending on how you do it, composition can pretty much ruin the signature or make it a masterpiece. Composition can also be thought of as a page layout if you prefer that term ;)

Improving your Signature through Composition

Well, to improve your signatures through composition is quite simple. Although there are many tips and tricks, I will just list the ones I know or think are the basics.

1. Rule of Thirds
This is pretty much basic and the one you will most likely hear when asking for other's opinion. The rule of thirds is generally used with photography, but can be implemented when creating a signature. An example can be found below:

This is an animated gif so you have to wait a while to see the complete animation =]

So, the rule of thirds is basically an imaginary grid (3x3) that divides the art. Usually, the main focal or interest would be placed in one of any 4 intersecting lines (see example above). See the tree above? It was placed so it falls right where one of the lines intersects. This makes the whole thing a lot more interesting.
This means that when you are placing your main focal (such as an anime render for example), think about where you are placing it. Does it look interesting in the middle or should I move it a bit to the left to create a better mood for the signature? Of course, that does not mean that you should now place all your renders in the left or right side of the signature. Sometimes, placing it right in the middle can be effective as well, it all just depends on what type of signature you are creating.

2. Contrast

Another useful tip involving composition is adding contrast. You can think of contrasts as being two things completely opposite each other, but when placed together can create very interesting effects. Examples of these are placing a large teacup right next to a small one, water and fire, or even the colours black and white can create very interesting contrast.

This signature makes good use of contrast.

Looking at the signature above, can you guess what makes it have good contrast? As far as I can see, there are two things. The first being the fact that it uses only 2 main colours (the black doesn't really count) which is white and brown. The second thing is the fact that one of them is lying down. This creates good contrast and your eyes automatically go to the brown scrabble lying down, since it is so much different from the other things in the signature.

This also shows good contrast by placing blue against red which creates a more interesting signature.

3. Lighting
The third (and the last one to be covered with depth) tip is lighting. Now, you might think that this isn't very important, but when used correctly, it can enhance the overall signature and make it interesting to the viewer. Lighting can be easily produced, yet works wonders if you use them in your signature. Not only does it produce a better sense of realism to your sig, it also creates contrast between the light parts of your signature and the darker parts.

Now, the signature above has good lighting. It clearly shows contrast, and it gives of a sense of realism to the entire signature. The light attracts the viewer's eye and leads them to the focal (which is the girl). Note how they also used the rule of third in this signature.

Now this one, its lighting is more simple and is the type you would likely used. Normally, you would usually place the light source somewhere at the top (there are exceptions though). The lighting used here just gives the signature something extra special and creates a better feel.

Other Ways on Improving Composition

Of course, those 3 things are not the only way to improve. There are a lot more, and it is up to you to experiment on what looks good and what doesn't. Below is more ways on improving composition:

1. Balance - Is the brushes and shapes in your sig placed evenly or is it all bunched up leaving a wide gap? Think about your render and what works better with it, since the two choices above could work - it all depends on what you are trying to make.

2. Colour - Are you thinking about which colours you are using or are you just randomly picking them out? Colour is important and can help your composition. Choose colours which work well together such as blue and yellow. Are you trying to create a peaceful signature or a crazy one? You would then decide to choose cool colours for the former while warm colours for the latter.

3. Size - Choosing your canvas size can also matter. If you plan on creating something all bunched up together, choose a smaller size. If you want more space to see the background stock image, then by all means should you make it bigger. This is personal preference mostly, but can help with composition too.

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