Visual Design Part II – More Lines

Last Monday I gave my talk on visual design at my local camera club, it seemed to go very well. I managed to sound almost sane and we had a good discussion afterwards covering both visual design and composition. This week I want to continue from where I left off last time, with some more types of lines, specifically diagonal and curved lines.

Diagonal Lines

Diagonal lines have more energy than either horizontal or vertical lines and can be used to move the eye quickly through an image, the angle of the line and whether it is angled top to bottom or bottom to top affect how dynamic the line is. Lines angled up are generally more positive than those running down. Of course this depends on the viewer normally reading from left to right and top to bottom. 


This is still quite a calm image, the lines are not steeply angled.

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The angles here help make the image more dynamic.

HongKong_2010-05-13_15-53-20_DSC_2014_©RichardLaing(2010) Curve



Curves are more gentle and restful than straight diagonal lines. They lead the eye more slowly through an image and are often found in nature, a winding river would be a good example but also roads and paths can provide good curves to lead the eye through an image.





Implied Lines

Not all the lines in an image need to be real. The eye is very good at connecting points to make lines and when a person or animal is in the image the subject’s direction of view can make a strong line. We automatically look at eyes in an image and want to see where those eyes are looking. This is one reason that is usually a good idea to make sure that there is room in the direction the subject is looking. This avoid a the viewer from being drawn straight out of the image.

Cat in the grass

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