Crafting Composition from Points, Lines, and Planes 1 – Positions of Points

Composition is used to demonstrate the relationship between story and characters and make the picture more aesthetically pleasant. This series arranges and briefly concludes different composition’s usage. Using points, lines, and planes, and is divided into three parts.

Composition Basics

What is Composition

Usual referred to as “arrangement” in eastern art, “composition” in western art, “Picture” in photography. No matter what media or how it is called, composition is what we have to consider before we start creating art, or else the piece will not have a focal point, lacking in story-telling ability. That would not be called “creating”, that would be just “drawing”, equivalent to someone talking without any content, just spewing noises.

Purpose of Composition

Composing is fitting the 3D world into the 2D picture. Whether it’s illustration, manga, or animation. They all have to consider how to demonstrate in order to show subjects and others.

Different Types of Composition

Mainly divided into:

  • Points- relative positions
  • Lines-leads the eye
  • Planes-shape sensories
  • Balance-viewing weights

We will use this series to thoroughly explain these points, helping everyone utilize compositions better.

Taking Layout Into Account

Anime culture involves a lot of commercial works, so they are shown in different media. We need to think about how to show the focal points in the correct positions.

Manga Layout

BLEACH (C)Tite Kubo

  • Considering the layout, it’s better to avoid putting focal points(face) in the middle for reading convenience.
  • Focal points are usually contained in the basic boxes.
  • Due to manga storying telling is more connected, storyboard usage is more lenient.

Cover Layout

KonoSuba (C)Natsume Akatsuki/Kurone Mishima

  • Most light novel will leave space for title, subtitle, and author information. Avoid the face of main character being covered up.
  • If you know that there will be a tummy band, then avoid drawing those at the bottom.

Card Layout

Fate/Grand Order (C)TYPE-MOON/Koyamahirokazu

  • Most card UI layout will contain decorated edges composition, name, type, rarity… and other information.
  • Most of the cards will have these edge designs. These parts should be avoided.

Planning Composition

Viewing Order

For a picture that contains words and character, we will usually view it in the following order.

Title → Eyes → Face → Body → Other Parts

Date A Live (C)Kōshi Tachibana/Tsunako

Why do we view the words first?
Because we can’t see the details from a distance.
Also education usually emphasizes on left brain training(Language and Logic), so we are accustomed to identify words.

Why do we look for the eyes?
We care about people the most.
We are used to looking at others’ eyes to read their emotions, it is a part of our instinct to avoid dangers.

Focal Point of the Picture

We’ll skip the word parts, because those are up to the editors. We just need to leave faces

  • Main focal point: Most of the time it will be face.
  • Sub focal point: Characteristics(outfits, body), weapon, story items, key items, sub character(face), background points.
  • Basic Rule: According to the parts that you want the viewers to see the most and arrange the viewing order.

Placing Focal Points

How do we decide the positions?

Triple Division Method

In order to make the picture more natural, we will use some auxiliary lines.

The red lines that the arrows point towrds are the triple division method auxiliary lines

How to draw the dividing lines:

1.Use the diagonal lines to locate the middle vertical middle line.
2.Us the middle vertical middle line to locate the diagonal lines of the rectangles.
3.Use the diagonal lines to find the remaining lines.
*Of course you can use the pre drawn layouts.

Effects of triple division:

Chivalry of a Failed Knight (C)Riku Misora/WON
▲Head is on the focal point, body is on the dividing line, creating natural feeling.

Chloris Garden (C)ORATTA/MANA
▲Head is on the focal point, in order to show the sexiness of body(sub focal point), it is also on the focal point. (This is a male audience oriented game)

Golden Ratio

Golden Ratio Proportion

In or der to make the picture more natural, using auxiliary lines(golden ratio). The ratio is 1:1.618.
It’s hard to hand draw this, so you can use a pre-drawn layout.
Scenery photography usually utilizes this method.

Kara no Kyokai (C)Nasu Kinoko/Takashi Takeuchi
▲The head is right on the focal point, creating natural feeling.

Middle Line

The two compositions above are non-symmetrical compositions, suitable for more lively pictures. If we want to create a sense of stability, we can utilize the middle line.

What does putting focal point in the middle do?

Putting it in the middle has a, holy, serious, distanced, facing the camera feeling.
Often used to create idle style, or distanced feeling.

Fate/stay night (C)Nasu Kinoko/Takeshi Takeuchi
▲Character is on the vertical middle line, along with the white wedding dress creates a holy and calm feeling.

Hyperdimension Neptunia (C)Idea Factory/flankoi
▲Utilizing the vertical and horizontal lines, equally dividing the four girls, showing their equal and friendly relationship.


Chapter Review

  1. Understanding composition’s purpose
  2. Knowing the layout of the media
  3. Planning viewing order
  4. Determining the main and sub focal points of the picture
  5. Placing the focal points
Author: Pin2D
Link: http://pin2d.com/en/thesis/20180531/
Copyright Notice: All articles in this blog are licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 unless stating additionally.

ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ