Depth Perception And Composition

This week I created a composition using Adobe Photoshop. My particular composition is made up of bits and pieces of several pictures from a roadtrip that I took to the Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone and the Badlands, along with a photo I took in Southampton.

According to Robin Landa in the sixth edition of Graphic Design Solutions, composition is “the whole spatial property and structure resulting from the arrangement of graphic elements…in relation to one another and to the format, created to visually communicate.”

Our eyes move across a landscape orientated composition, Landa said, and while some are closed off through the use of borders and margins, my composition is considered an open composition. This means that our eyes are directed past the boundaries. We know the mountains continue on both sides. On the left, the mountains go down while on the right, they move upward. We also know that my wife has a lower torso, and the house continues off the screen.

As far as symmetrical or asymettrical compositions, mine is more symmetrical because both sides have a balance of elements and negative space.

I also create spatial depth, or the appearance of three-diminsional space, both shallow and deep. This was done using layers and overlapping elements.

Rather than throw bits and pieces onto a canvas and say, “There. That’s my art,” I wanted to incorporate a story using the elements. The story is fictional, and is about a guy who wants to play god. You can see this person in the clouds looking down on his world. In the world, there are mountain goats ready to fight for love, a grizzly bear wandering around, looking for the meaning of life, and the woman who stole the man’s heart but doesn’t know it – he is a stalker.

Moving from the back of the image forward, I used a picture of mine from Yellowstone, of a geyser and clouds in a v-fromation above. I like this image because the clouds are reflected in the geyser, adding another element of depth.

I used the lasso tool to create additional depth in the clouds, then took a headshot of mine and tucked it behind the clouds.

I used another photo to insert the mountains – these are the Grand Tetons. The original image had a frozen lake in the foreground that I removed, along with bright blue sky with clouds – those were removed as well. The only pieces that remained were the mountains and two trees in the foreground. I pushed the mountains up so the geyser took the place of the lake. The problem I ran into was the two trees were jus standing there and looked out of place.

To fix that, I utilized a picture of the Tiana Lifesaving building in East Quogue, New York, and stuck it in front of the trees. You can see the trees sticking up above the lifesaving building, but it actually creates depth that it is between the mountains and the house.

Another thing that adds to depth perception was the sand in the foreground, which almost mixes with the geyser flat. The bighorn sheep in the foreground were cut from an image that I shot in the Badlands. The location I chose was specifically the front left corner, which added a sense of symmetric balance. There really was nothing there.

I also took a picture of a grizzly bear that I shot, removed the bear and placed him on the geyser flat.

In the front right, I took a picture of my wife that I removed from another picture, and put her up front.

There are several layers to this image, but there is also a flow.

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