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ELEMENTS

Elements

It's impossible to perceive visual information without the Elements of Design.

You don't create them. You identify and interpret them, in their most subtle arrangements.

Thinking like a Designer means communicating like a Designer;

You can do neither, without the Design Elements.

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Line

LINE

GEOMETRIC

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ORGANIC

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ABSTRACT

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A Dot is single visual point in SPACE.

A Line is a Dot moving in a direction.

Lines can be straight, horizontal, vertical, diagonal, or curved.  Lines define edges, indicate FORM and imply direction as MOVEMENTWhen lines interact with one another by overlapping in consistent or chaotic patterns (cross-hatching or scribble) they can also create TEXTUREs that imply value or visually interesting filler for negative space. 


DCC:

In 3D apps, lines are the EDGE segments plotted between VERTICES to another create various meshes or TOPOLOGY.  In 2D creative apps, we deal intricately with lines as vector data, to plot pen strokes and curves from one ANCHOR POINT to another using BEZIER Curves/Math; Bezier math is also used in 3D apps to create complex surface areas using 3D elements called CURVES and NURBS.

Shape

SHAPE

GEOMETRIC

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ORGANIC

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ABSTRACT

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Shapes are completed when the end-point of a Line touches its starting-point .

Shapes are 2D surface areas defined by their POSITIVE or NEGATIVE SPACE. A shapes defined by the space inside itself is a Positive Shape. A shapes defined by the space outside itself is a Negative Shape. But shapes cannot exist without CONTRAST. All shapes fall into two categories: GEOMETRIC and ORGANIC. But when Geometric Shapes are used to imitate Organic Shapes for design purposes, we can refer to them as ABSTRACT Shapes.

 

DCC:

In DCC apps, Shapes are 2D elements that exist on the X and Y axes of an app's workspace. Themost basic shapes are usually provided by default, within an app's immediate drawing or selection tools; these shapes are best thought of as "building blocks" for creating more complex shapes or objects, by EDITING, TRANSFORMING, or MODIFYING their basic properties, manually or PARAMETRICALLY.

Form

FORM

GEOMETRIC

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ORGANIC

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ABSTRACT

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Form refers to visual information that "triggers our depth perception."

The entire observable universe is a 3D space that we cannot perceive without LIGHT--that means the amount of light or darkness touching anything or anyone, at any moment, determines how much of it or them we can see. 100% Light = Invisibility due to White-ness; 100% Shadow = Invisibility due to Black-ness. In design, interactions between 100% Light and 100% Shadow are called VALUE--and value is basis for ability to detect Form.

DCC:

3D objects are, technically, referred to as OBJECTS (not to be confused with shapes). The best way to conceptualize/construct a complex 3D object, is by visualizing it's TOP, FRONT, and SIDE as completely separate and completely flat; this is called ORTHOGRAPHIC VIEWING/DRAWING. Talented Illustrators are talented because they can "see orthographically" and are great at representing the Form (of 3D objects) as Shapes (2D objects)--using Line and Value, atop flat surfaces (paper and screens).

Texture

TEXTURE

GEOMETRIC

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ORGANIC

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ABSTRACT

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Texture refers to the way something actually feels or "appears to feel."

 

Our real-life experiences touching some stuff things informs our expectation for how other stuff should feel. For example, we often expect objects with broad angular lines to be hard or sharp and things with wispy curvaceous lines to be soft or smooth. When those expectations are justified, tactile patterns ON the objects, register visual patterns FOR the objects in our mind.

Patterns are the REPETITION of dots, Lines, Shapes, or Colors and they are the basis of Texture. How patterns repeat across a surface determines the ACTUAL or IMPLIED TEXTURE we feel in reality or imagine we feel through artistry.  Smoothness, bumpiness, sharpness, softness, rigidity, exist in the mind as much as the hand.

DCC

Texture(s) are often referred to as libraries of pre-defined patterns that can be applied to shape objects or selections in 2D creative apps; or procedural, artistic, or photographic content that can displayed on the surface of a 3D object or "wrapped around it" in a process called Texture Mapping. Texture(s) can also be a great way fill underutilized or over abundant Negative SPACE. 

 

Space

SPACE

GEOMETRIC

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ORGANIC

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ABSTRACT

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Space refers to any area that's relevant to an artistic composition and its presentation.

Space is easy to overlook and impossible to overlook when you aren't thinking about it. In most cases, Space refers to the entire surface area or RESOLUTION of your canvas or immediate workspace. And there are two types of Space: Positive Space and Negative Space. Positive Space is any area in your composition where the SUBJECT(s) exist (ie main character) and Negative Space is the area that exists around (ie the background) your Subject(s). Well utilized Space can make viewers focus on what they need to see or look for what you want them discover, it all depends on the HIERARCHY and PROXIMITY of Subject(s) in your composition.

 

DCC:

In creative apps, the Space of a composition is, theoretically, unlimited--but technically, limited to how much resolution and/or visual information your PC or mobile device's MEMORY can handle before it "taps out" and crashes. Otherwise, the behavior of Space in traditional and digital media is the same. However, 2D and 3D workspaces allow you separate your compositions into LAYERS, GROUPS, or COLLECTIONS to make navigating between or combining visual elements more dynamic and convenient 

Color

COLOR

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Color is phenomena that occurs when light is reflected or refracted on the surface of objects.

 

Color has three main characteristics: HUE (color name: red, green, blue, etc.), Value (how light or dark it is), and INTENSITY (how bright or dull it is). Color also has too much info to cover here, but not here.

Principles
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PRINCIPLES

Principles of Design are extensions of Design Elements .

They're combined expressions of Design Elements, that create context for visual data.

Design Principles are less apparent, but more easily manipulated by Artist/Designers than Elements;

Understanding Principles of Design is what's meant by : "Having an Eye for Design"  

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Contrast

CONTRAST

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Contrast occurs when a sharp visual distinction occurs between two or more visual elements.

In Design, light and dark, big and small; square and circle; rough and smooth, etc.are all strong examples of Contrast. How much SPACE a LINE, SHAPE, or COLOR occupies, in comparison to a completely opposite set of visual info in the same COMPOSITION makes our brains say "Oh! That's different." But usually, what doesn't follow is an answer forwhy its different. And that's fine for the viewer, but the Designer must must havea answer; the most common answer is to create VISUAL INTEREST or EMPHASIS. But a need for Emphasis often implies some aspect of a Visual Story that needs to be told...

Rep & Rhythm

REPETITION & RHYTHM

REPETITION

RHYTHM

Rhythm and Repetition are about the subtle or apparent predictability of how of design elements are reused in a composition.

Rhythm and Pattern are the awkward "half-brother and sister" who act and appear completely different, except for that weird way they both kinda remind you of their dad: Repetition.   

Repetition is all about the reuse of a single visual element, over and over again. It makes no attempt to hide or obscure its work or to keep you from "picking up on what it's putting down"

Pattern, respects its fathers' consistency, but also, wants to stand on its own--so it will alternate between a two or more visual elements, while keeping the simple predictability of dear old dad.

But Rhythm, ever the rebel, wants to be nothing like the family, so it picks up groups of visual elements that seem like they have nothing in common--at first. But closer, inspection of its groups will show distinct signs of repeating visual elements, even if the aren't displayed or arranged as obviously or predictably as the rest of the family would like them...

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REPETITION:

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

PATTERN:

ABABC  ABC  ABABABC  ABC    

RHYTHM:

bAC  aCa  BC Ac Aa CAb  aBc

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Much like its musical counterpart, visual Rhythm is often "easier to feel” than explain. But In most VISUAL STORYTELLING or Concept Art, Rhythm may also be referred to Shape Language. Shape language refers to subtle complex shapes that are repeatedly layered beneath the more apparent shapes of subject objects within a composition. 

Alignment

ALIGNMENT

Alignment refers to the inivisible lines that pass through the center of one shape to another.

 

Right out the gate, Alignment tells you what it wants you know about itself--that if you draw "A Line" horizontally, vertically, or diagonally,  through the center of a bunch of shapes--it will be there for you. "Periodt."  Alignment is definitely the "brother and favorite uncle" of Repetition and Pattern. Alignment is great for creating a heightened sense of order, structure, solidarity, BALANCE and predictability between shape elements. This is why alignment is the basis for the most effective/efficient UI/UX experiences in app trays, Operating System, menu interfaces. 

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Proximity

PROXIMITY

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Proximity is about how SPACE used to create relationships between objects.

Basically, the closer a set of visual elements are together, the stronger the relationship is between those elements, in the mind of the viewer, and vice-versa. This is actually deep--because consciously and subconsciously people are constantly breaking life down into categories and subcategories--and this definitely includes your artwork. So, when relevant things are grouped together like titles and subtitles, or images of food and hungry emojis and are and images of machines are separated our minds say "Ok, makes sense. I like it."  

Emphasis

EMPHASIS

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Emphasis is about creating visual cues that guide a viewer's eye to the important aspects of a composition.

For better or worse, every composition creates Emphasis; the challenge is ensuring your composition only highlights what you want a viewer to see. Not thinking about Emphasis is the best way to ensure goes into the less important or weaker aspects of your composition. Emphasis is a child of CONTRAST--distinct differences in size, color, or the amount of a visual element, compared to others naturally calls attention to the space where they occur. Wherever the largest, brightest, or most abundant elements in a composition are, that's where the viewers eye will go first--and that's where the most important aspects or subject(s) of your composition should go.

Wherever, the greatest emphasis lies within an image becomes it’s focal point.  As Visual Storytellers, the ability to create deliberate areas of interest within a composition is indispensable!

Movement

MOVEMENT

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MOVEMENT is the path the viewer’s eye takes through a composition, often leading to the images focal point or area of emphasis.  This movement can be directed along lines, edges, shapes, and color within a work of art.

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SCALE & PROPORTION

Scale & Proportion
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SCALE is simply the relationship of the area occupied by one shape to that of another. PROPORTION refers to the relative size and scale of the various elements in a design. It’s about the relationship between objects, or parts, of a whole. This means that it is necessary to discuss proportion in terms of the context or standard used to determine proportions. The most common standard for proportion is the “Human Body.”

SCALE is simply the relationship of the area occupied by one shape to that of another. PROPORTION refers to the relative size and scale of the various elements in a design. It’s about the relationship between objects, or parts, of a whole. This means that it is necessary to discuss proportion in terms of the context or standard used to determine proportions. The most common standard for proportion is the “Human Body.”

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UNITY

Unity
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UNITY may be described as the “quality” achieved by an image in its final state. It’s the very subjective feeling about the harmony or “connectedness” created between the individual parts of the composition that gives the viewer a sense of “completeness” about the image.

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