Summary – Images can be made better through proper use of lines. Knowing how to incorporate lines in an image depends heavily on understanding how they are seen and interpreted by a viewer.
Understanding lines and their proper use
Will greatly improve your images
It starts with understanding the language of lines
Roll mouse over image
Sunrise at the Beach
Ultra-simple use of lines
Chose location of #1 (horizon) to show “not too much” sky
Everything above this point was uninteresting
Got down low for #2 (12 inches) to emphasize the beach
We don’t need any more water showing for this “story”
The “S-curve”, well that goes without saying
Runs obliquely (more dynamic) to the water & sunrise
A single exposure with a grad-neutral-density filter
Don’t need no stinkin’ HDR
What? Too dark? Ever been up at sunrise? 😉
There are many types of lines
Each communicates something to a viewer
Lines have a psychological impact
Knowing what they say is important when making images
The direction & character of lines convey different feelings
Vertical : strength, power
Horizontal: tranquility, rest
Diagonal: dynamic, action, tension
Straight | Curved: direct & quick | meandering & unhurried
Thin | Thick: Weak | Strong
Converging: depth & distance
Uses of lines
Define shapes (including within the design space aka frame)
See lines 1 & 2 in the above image
Lead the eye
Line 3 above
Create texture (dependent on lighting)
Learning to see lines (both actual & potential) and
Knowing how to place them in the design space
Is at the heart of visual design
Every time you look through your viewfinder
Seeing & Placing lines should be your first thought
Else – it’s not visual design, it’s random helter-skelter
What are you trying to say?
What do you want the viewer to see?
How can lines (& the objects they form) help?
In the above image,
Combining restful suggestions in the form of
Landscape orientation with long horizontal lines & shapes
with the path’s oblique form (dynamic, action)
is an attention grabber because of the
mixed messages (a good thing if done carefully)
Here’s the image from the previous post on lines
Let’s consider just one change
What would it look like (more or less) IF
I moved to my right & stood on the green path
(or cut & pasted in PS as I did here)
To change the main line from
Diagonal to vertical
The switch from diagonal
Plus the loss of both the foreground seed head line and
the golden triangle pointing in from the right edge
changes the image for the worse
When I arrived here (via the green pathway)
This is essentially what I started with
Before eventually seeing & placing the lines
That told the story I wanted
Continuing with the above example,
Seeing my primary line was easy; I was standing on it
BUT – how about placing it?
Placing it on a diagonal?
Running up from the lower right corner specifically?
(this direction removes clutter to left of house)
(NOTE: to be precise, diagonals run between corners;
There are only two diagonals per image
Otherwise the lines are obliques)
Placing lines – CHECK BACK TOMORROW
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