The Film Makers Blog - Visual Elements - Other Visual Components
by, 03-30-2010 at 04:26 AM (2322 Views)
Well so far we have covered space, tone, and color. I would consider these the big three of the visual elements. In this blog I'm going to cover the rest. I am not doing this because I am lazy and I want to get them out of the way but because these are simple elements and they may be a little harder to apply on LBP. So here we go, it's time for a visual blitz!
A quick note before we begin. I spent most of the weekend, ok, well, all of the weekend on my World 1-4 level and forgot to make examples of each one. So the examples will be from random images but I will hope they illustrate it enough for you to see what it would be like in LBP.
I Walk the Line
Line is well, lines. You take a piece of paper, put your pencil on one end and drag it to the other side of paper, congrats! You made a line! Now in movies, and LBP for that matter, lines are formed in a more subtle way, through the different pieces in the level.
To see what I mean let's look at this set up:
So where are the lines in this picture? Well you have big horizontal line in the middle of the picture. Then you have several vertical lines in the background. You don't see them? Take a look of this.
So how do you use lines in your level? Contrast/affinity! It's pretty easy to contrast lines, just have them going different directions. Look at our picture above, this is contrasting lines because you have horizontal and vertical lines. To turn that into affinity, just remove one of those sets.
Remember contrast means more visual intensity and affinity will help the player relate different objects to each other.
I Like Your Shape
Shape is like lines, it pretty much defines itself. You take your line on your piece of paper, now draw a nice curved line down and back to the other end of the line. Wow, a shape!
When you choose a material you have to choose a shape. So you are already choosing shapes when you first start building so your decision on how to use shapes starts early on. How do you choose a shape for your level? Well shapes can be simplified into two different categories, round and sharp.
A circle is a round shape and a square is a sharp shape. So how do you use them? Well, to illustrate this I turn to Disney. Now I am sure that all of you have seen atleast one disney cartoon. Disney uses shape in their characters to help define who is good and who is evil. Good characters are made up of mostly round shapes where the evil person is very sharp shapes. They use this contrast (ohhh) and affinity (ahhhh) to help the audience know who to cheer for and who to boo.
Another really good use for shapes is symbols. As rtm pointed out in the comments of my last post, symbols can be used to help teach the player what to do in your level. If every time you need to grab something there is a patch of cloth decoration, then the player will learn that when they see patch of cloth, they need to grab that. There are also universal symbols that we have been taught since we were kids. For example:
Even without color and words we know this is a stop sign. Remember this in your level, you can tell the player all kinds of messages visually without words by using symbols that we see everyday.
So when you make your level use this to your advantage. If you are making a story level, use the Disney tactic. Also, keep the location of your level in mind. Rocks are usually more sharp shapes. Things that are organic (trees, bushes, etc) are usually round shapes. Machines are more sharp shapes. Remember that you can use symbols to teach the player or tell the player what to do without words.
I Like to Movement Movement
In the film world, movement refers to camera moves. In LBP, movement will be more referred to as which way the player is moving. Is the player moving horizontally, vertically, or diagonally? This determines your level's movement.
Usually, vertical movement is more visually intense. Diagonal movement makes the task seem difficult. Horizontal is usually gives the sense of stability. These all contrast with another. If you have a player moving horizontally mostly, then they start going vertical, it will contrast and increase the visual intensity.
Visual rhythm is much like it's music counterpart, it is how the level's pace. If you had a level consisting of several rooms one after each other. And every third room was just blank, while the two preceding where complex, that would be a rhythm. If your level takes a lot of exploring and exploring, that is a rhythm.
Now just like in music, they change rhythm to change it's intensity, so can you to change the intensity of your level. If you have a horror level where for the most part it has just been mostly moving slowly, then all of a sudden you are being chased, that is a contrast in rhythm. The opposite is true, if it is a fast paced level and then you have a space where there is a bit of safety, this is a contrast.
Remember, both fast and slow rhythm can increase the intensity but too much of either can kill it. If the player is always having to move and dodge and jump without it ever slowing down, they could get frustrated and quit, if you have the opposite where it is only slowly moving, the player could get bored and quit.
I Can See, It's a Miracle!!!!!
Well, this wraps up our little serious on the visual elements, atleast for now. We started with space which can be either deep or flat. From there we covered tone, is it more black or is it more white. From tone we dove into the colorful world of color and how you can teach the player how to accomplish things by using affinity of color.
Now we just quickly surveyed the other four components of visuals. I hope that they are all explained enough. I will come back to any of these if need be but I am going to work on a film makers level which will illustrate all of the visual components. Thanks for reading these, I am excited to start working on my next little series about story. Remember, please comment here or on the thread with any suggestions and comments. If this helped you, please let me know so that I can know that these are worth the time and effort. Thanks again!