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Page 1 Matthew Studebaker

Written By onci on Wednesday, November 4, 2009 | 11:48 AM

Compositional Geometry By Matthew Studebaker

Successful compositions not only depend on our sense of balance and movement, but also on mathematic symmetry, pattern, and geometry. When auto-makers want to manufacture a highly stylish car, they will often relate each line and shape in the vehicle to other lines and shapes within the vehicle. For example, the length of the hood of the car may equal the length of each door, which will also equal the height of the car from the ground. The height of the window may equal the diameter of the tire, and the length of the antenna. The angle of the antenna may echo the angle of the doors and dashboard, and the list goes on and on. While the untrained eye may just see a stylish car, an artist will see purposeful design, and geometric precision.

These rules don’t just apply to making sports cars, they apply to successful designs of all kinds, from newspaper layouts, to yes, even bird photography. The more that the shapes, angles, sizes, and colors relate to one another, the more unified and pleasing an image will be.

Lines in an image can and should also be used to direct the viewer’s eye to the bird. Whether simply selecting which image to keep or delete, or setting up a perch, lines are created by grass, twigs, the edges of trees, the horizon, waves, etc.

When these lines terminate at the bird or point to the bird, they help make the bird important in the composition and help lead the viewer’s eye. Strong lines which have no pattern, cut through the corner of the image, or do not lead our eye to the subject tend to be distracting, and can weaken a composition.

Matthew Studebaker
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