When drawing, animating, or even creating a live-action movie, the creators have to direct the audience’s eyes to what they want them to see. It can be done by having the following:

  • Visual Clarity. The content that you want to show has to be presented clearly in the structure
  • Contrast. If you have characters in mainly dark colors, create a lighter background to make them stand out
  • Focus. Balance, and position things in a way that the content that you want the audience to see is not dominated by anything else. Increasing the blur as objects become more distant can also help.

I tried keeping this in mind when I was working on a scene. Before I knew of all this, this was the background I created:

Original

Original

I was aiming for the cluttered room look. Now that I look at it, it looks like there’s a bunch of items that are screaming “look at me” and if I were to put a character in this scene, the audience would get distracted by the randomness. So I tried something new:

Depth

Depth

The characters are in focus, but I still felt something was missing, and the eye still wondered a bit.

Not too long ago, I wrote in a post about how, in a very wordy way, the “lack of shades and shadows diminishes realism and does not accentuate shapes to improve the overall quality of a scene.” I experimented with the idea here and there with what works on this background, after I realized that some objects appear to float above the floor.

I had to fix the issue of course and who knew that shading could do so? Well certainly not me. But it definitely created a more pleasing and uniform composition. Here’s the final (for now) result:

Depth, Shadows, and shading

Depth, Shadows, and Shading

Now the characters stand out more clearly, and are also more in focus. I will probably add more blurs here and there, and maybe decrease the saturation of some objects, to make the characters stand out even more.

I hope you enjoyed reading this, and hopefully learned something new, tell me what you think of this in a comment, and follow me if you would like to stay updated with the adventures of Bo in “Bo the Creature.”

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