..::DMS 121B::..
..::Basic Digital Art::..

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Composition:  The arrangement of visual elements, including organization, placement, and design.

The eye sees and the mind perceives things in a predictable way. This means that you can do things to make your images more pleasurable and understandable to look at, enhancing the impact of your work.

Five Concepts to Consider in Composition

Subject:  As an artist you must make a decision about what appears in the frame. This is important on both the compositional and conceptual levels.

Focal Point: What draws the eye first? This could mean literally making a portion of your image more in-focus than the rest, or it could mean the element in the image that draws the most attention. We usually seek out the most complicated element of an image to focus on, and we pretty much can't resist human faces.

Rule of Thirds:  The center of an image is considered "dead" space. The image below shows the most important parts of an image.

A real-world illustration:

Unity:  The mind loves groups and patterns, and will actively try to find or create these when viewing an image.



Pattern of color and shape

Balance:  Arrangement of elements in an image can create different kinds of balance.




There is, of course, much more to composition than what is discussed here, but this will hopefully begin a thought process for you. It is worth giving a lot of consideration to issues of placement, focus (both conceptual and physical), and design when creating any composition.

This page based on a lecture by Sarah Wichlacz.
Photography by Sarah Wichlacz.


Shawn Rider || Department of Media Study || University at Buffalo

This website is a resource for a college course and is not intended for public use.
Last updated: Sunday August 24, 2003