Principles and Elements of design. A short description.

Commodorefirst

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  • ELEMENTS AND PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN
    a short summary by Wade Dowdy, www.aestheticphotos.com

  • Elements: Line, Direction, Shape, Size, Texture, Color, Value

  • Line
    : edge created when two shapes meet, may be curved, straight, natural or manmade, implied
    Direction: created by lines, may be horizontal, vertical or oblique, each creates a different feeling and eye movement (example - horizontal tends to be calm, vertical gives balance and strength, oblique indicates movement)
    Shape: an area of form, many times geometric, shape is defined by its perimeter, may be 2 or 3 dimensional.
    Size: the area or relationship of one shape to that of another
    Texture: the surface quality of a shape, may be visually or physically implied, generally rough, smooth, soft, hard, glossy, etc.
    Color: also called hue, may be complimentary, analogous, triadic, etc., may be subtractive (pigmentbased mixing of paint, adding towards black, absence of pigment produces white) or additive, (electronic, or CPU screen, light is added to screen to produce colors)
    Value: the lightness or darkness of a color, Tone is another word for Value.

  • Principles: Balance, Graduation, Repetition, Contrast, Harmony, Dominance, Unity

  • Balance
    : balance between large and small shapes, light or dark, etc. Symmetry/Asymmetrical
    Graduation: size and direction changing gradually, colors changing from warm to cool and dark to light, adds interest and movement to a shape
    Repetition: element repeated with and or without variation, (Rhythm)
    Contrast: opposing elements including color, shape, tone, value, light/dark, lines
    Harmony: the balance or effect of combining similar related elements (colors, shapes) the Proportion of the elements
    Dominance: emphasis of one or more elements and their proportion
    Unity: relationship of the elements to the idea of the work, how are elements linked visually

  • Other:

  • Positive and Negative space: generally objects are +, space around objects is -
    Rules of Third: generally thought that the most interesting or compositional focus may be located at intersection of imaginary lines dividing the study into thirds
    Golden Mean: rules of thirds source, Fibonachi numbers, derived from this ratio 1.618, (0,1) 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, golden rectangle/triangle
    Visual Center: not always the center of the image but the natural focus point
 
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Commodorefirst

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The above is from my handout when I do photography workshops. I even discuss these in regards to wildlife photography and the use of the elements and principles in photographing wildlife.

Of course other subjects including light, aesthetics, story, what is the imaging conveying, along with photographic techniques being properly done (focus, clarity, cropping, theme, etc etc) all contribute to quality images. Generally thinking about design aspects will enhance your images, and it provides a terminology to discuss photo image quality. I keep my cheat sheet with me when I judge images. Sometimes I forget about a principle or element and images can be seen in a new light upon reflection and consideration of these items.

Thought this might be helpful for some folks. This comes from my knowledge and background in my career of fine arts education.
 

Commodorefirst

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I like it. Practical and devoid of "thou shalt always . . ." Thanks Wade.
Yep, folks also forget that as humans we all have a natural bias to like a certain thing, or element or design principle because of our experience, education, and just natural gut instinct. No right or wrong or absolute! Art is subjective.
 
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Ogden Nash, the British poet wrote verses to go with the French composer, Camille Saint-Saëns’ The Carnival of the Animals'. Since all of us here at the Café are such a stubborn lot, the simple words for the piece on Mules comes readily to mind:

"In the world of mules,
There are no rules."


So appropriate :joyful:
 
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