Activities

For the most part, visual art or design is motionless. For example, if someone were to take a photograph of an activity, the activity might suggest movement but the photo itself would in fact be static.

Repetition can occur in form, size, color, direction, and texture. Even if objects seem very different, they only need one shared characteristic to have been repeated.

This design incorporates repetition. Although color and direction differ, the objects have a repeating form within them. (Designspiration)

This design incorporates repetition. Although color and direction differ, the objects have a repeating form within each and every object. They also have an even frequency because they are spaced out equally.  (Designspiration)

Frequency and rhythm has to do with the distance between repeated objects. If objects have an equal amount of space between them then they have an even frequency. Rhythm occurs if the distance between the objects varies between several given frequencies.

I think the concept of mirroring is pretty self-explanatory. Mirroring is when an object is reflected on a surface. When an object is mirrored, the two create a perfectly symmetrical composition. In nature, a butterfly is a great example of this. While nothing in nature is perfectly symmetrical, in general a butterfly’s wings appear to be mirrored and symmetrical. However, when an object is mirrored on a volume, often the resulting image will be distorted. This is similar to how “funny mirrors” that are sometimes common at amusement parks or the popular fisheye lens that has become a trend in photography will distort an image.

This  mirror sphere illustrates the idea of an object(s) being reflected off a volume.  We know what normal buildings should look like, but what is seen in the sphere is highly distorting them to fit its own shape. (wikipedia)

This mirror sphere illustrates the idea of an object(s) being reflected off a volume. We know what normal buildings should look like, but what is seen in the sphere is highly distorting them to fit its own shape. (wikipedia)

According to Leborg in Visual Grammar, rotation is “when an object moves around a point or an axis. The shape of the path along which a rotating object movies can be either circular or elliptic.”

As well, upscaling and downscaling an object has to do with it’s size. Whether you an enlarge or decrease the size of an object, the proportions must stay the same, otherwise the object will become distorted.

The left two leaves are not an example of downscaling. While the mid-left leaf is comparatively smaller, it has only become shorter and is proportionally distorted. The right two leaves are an example of downscaling an object correctly without distortion.

The left two leaves are not an example of downscaling. While the mid-left leaf is comparatively smaller, it has only become shorter and is proportionally distorted. The right two leaves are an example of downscaling an object correctly without distortion.

Movement in a composition really does not happen, it can only happen in the real world where objects are not static. When we refer to movement in a work, we’re really just referring to the suggestion  of movement. The direction of a movement is the invisible line that goes from the implied starting point to endpoint. This same invisible (implied) line is the path. Lastly, displacement occurs when only parts of an object move. It is defined by an angle.

After reading this chapter of Leborg’s Visual Grammar, I searched the internet for resource that further explained these concepts in a new light. I think what I found most helpful was a video that was shared on Pinterest. It was a video by Matt Kohr from the website CtrlPaint explaining the design elements and principles. This specific video focused on repetition and rhythm. I like that Kohr pointed out right away that when we think of these two elements, we usually identify them with music, but they’re actually very relevant to design as well. He also gives a great example of how repetition may be used to create continuity in a work. He shows an illustration of an orc standing on rocks, and he designs the rocks in a similar fashion to the armor of the orc. While scale of the points differs along with form, it is still recognizable and consistent overall.

This is a screenshot from part of Kohr's video.  It is illustrating how different part of the armor on the orc are repetitions of each other and of the rocks.

This is a screenshot from part of Kohr’s video. It is illustrating how different part of the armor on the orc are repetitions of each other and of the rocks.

Kohr then uses the same rocks to demonstrate rhythm. At first he has all the rocks in a uniform pattern that isn’t quite convincing that it would be in a natural setting. By changing the placement and giving the rocks more variety, it starts to look much more natural.

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