Thursday, 2 December 2010

The Lay of the Land

Although many games have their own individual art style, there are very few which use their art style for any compositional purpose to add to the quality of the game.

Although, it’s becoming a cliché to use this as an example of how the industry does something well, the Halo franchise actually uses composition very well and has developed a reputation its views and compositional land/sky scapes. In the first game, Halo: Combat Evolved, it has become an iconic moment at the opening of the second level when you step out of the escape pod from the Pillar of Autumn, and you find yourself on this alien planet it almost seems until you look up and realise you’re on this ring. Even though with this example you have no choice but to notice your environment and be in awe of what lies before you, throughout the Halofranchise, they’ve become very good at getting you to step over a ridge or turn around a corner to what is often a very atmospheric and well laid out piece of scenery. Particularly the Sky backdrops which have been emphasised in Halo Reach for the space battles.

Not that I mean to make a habit of using this franchise as an example for every one of my blogs this year, but the first two Oddworld games: Abes’ Oddysee and Abe’s Exodus both use, composition, and a mixture of complimentary and contrasting tones to not just create a nice back drop, in keeping with the games own charm, but to get the player’s eyes to go where you want them. For example, the image below with the green background, the bridge that heads off into the distance channels the player’s eyes towards the sign which shows the player their progress so far and the repercussions of their current actions. These days we see very little thought going into backgrounds and scenery like this and they are there purely to stop the character from floating around in nothingness.

This is defiantly something I should look more into to improve the layouts of not just my final piece but also my prep sketches. If I get myself into a regular mindset of trying to find the best composition for every photo I take the outcome will work to the benefit of all my artwork, including my personal surreal works.

After taking a look at some masterpieces, of my favourite artists, it’s only just become clear now, how the Rule of Thirds and the Golden Mean are actually useful in composition. In all of the examples above it is clear how these images have been thought about compositionally from that particular view point using one or both of these techniques. However, not even in my previous education did I learn about these two compositional rules. Only from my own studies did I come across them, but now after doing research for this blog has it just clicked how I can actually use these techniques in my own work as appose to just using them as reference when analysing a piece of art. Now that I think about it, It’s actually quite ridicules how as an art student, this has never even been mentioned to me, and I would still be none the wiser if it wasn’t for my own extracurricular studies.

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