Visual terms

Although the terms are considered separately, they are all closely linked together.


There are three types of primary colours

Additive (emitted) primaries

Subtractive (reflected) primaries

and Psychological Primaries

digital devices reproduce colour using the additive primaries, (red,green and blue)

colour space- the code

colour gamut- the range of colours we see


Colour can affect us psychologically, fro example we associate different colours with different emotions or qualities

Red can be associated with strength warmth or even violence

blue with calmness or technology

green with nature.

yellow with friendliness or anxiety.





rule of thirds

the golden ratio can be used for guiding the eye around the image, from point to point,

framing can be used to help draw the eye towards the image itself

The Composition is where the elements meet it, is best if it is balanced in colour, shapes, and sizes. an unbalanced composition can cause the viewer to be drawn towards an unnesecarily large item (blank space, etc) when all the important things are happening somewhere else.


-Unity & Harmony-

closely related to colour among other elements

harmony can be used to bring the composition together

harmony in colours can be achieved by using similar hues or the same hues of colours as well as contrasting/complementary colours.

Shapes can also be used to balance the image and bring composition together.


balance is important as it keeps the composition together, too large amounts of, for example colour on one side of the composition compared to the other and it becomes imbalanced.

Balance of shapes and scales also unifies the image.

-Size & Proportion-

Proportion and size closely link to balance and harmony.

Even in character design when the head is too big in proportion to the body the character sometimes can seem to be unstable and imbalanced.

In Paintings it is important to keep the scale for the composition to look ‘correct’.

In perspective, if the trees in the far back seem larger or same scale as the ones in the foreground, the image looks odd and can loose it’s effect.





regular, flowing, progressive, alternating, random


Rhythm can be crucial to some areas, repetition can be used to bring harmony to the piece.

For example if a building had each window a different shape and size , it would not be as pleasing to the eye as a row of similar looking windows( it would also be extremely hard to construct).

Patterns and repetition of a sequence of images can be seen in a lot of clothes design like dresses or pyjamas.

Using altering patterns can be also effective when the focus if the image is the slight changes in the repeating object.



Can be in colour,


tone value

or textures

Contrast is often used to draw the viewers attention to the contrasting objects, and for emphasis.

Too much contrast can make the image hard to look at and enjoy.


Emphasis is used to point out the importance of a feature,

it is used in many ways, over dramatic lightning on a sculpture to show the detail, or even making character’s body parts larger, thinner or smaller to empathise someone’s intelligence or physique.






In paintings,- values

used for emphasis

to create atmosphere, chiarosuro and feeling

Strong lightning is also used in sculpture

Light festivals

Light paintings


Imagine seeing wood that looks like plastic

The textures are important as are the rest of the elements

In 3D  and art like concept art the texturing is what makes the scene believable and come to life.

Many artists choose to stylise the textures  to look more, or less like the actual objects, for emphasis

Jordan grimmor


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