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In this lesson, you will learn about the Contrast principle.

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Source: Citations: Image of Switzerland mountain, Public Domain Image of Roses, Public Domain Image of Snowboarder, Creative Commons,_Austria).jpg

Video Transcription

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Hi, everyone. My name is Mario. And I'd like to welcome you to today's lesson, which is going to be contrast.

So we're going to talk about the contrast principle, learn about why it's important, and then see a few examples of contrasting practice. So as always, feel free to stop, fast forward, and rewind as you see fit. And when you're ready to go, let's jump in.

So let's begin by defining what contrast is. And contrast is a design principle. It occurs when two elements are seen for their difference. So contrast will have different levels of extremity, which is referred to as high contrast or low contrast. So let's take a look at some examples to see what I'm talking about.

So I'm going to use these two values here to quickly showcase contrast in practice. And we have black and white values next to one another, which creates very high contrast. And then we have a sort of two kind of gray murky colors that create low contrast. And this affects readability and visibility in a design, so it's a very, very important principle to master and make note of.

So let's look at a few other examples in photography. So there's a nice foggy picture of a couple of trees here in Switzerland. And notice that in the background foggy areas, there is very low contrast. Everything is somewhat mocked up.

And although you can tell that there are trees and snow back there, but the level of contrast isn't very high. So it's not a point of interest. And this is important to know, because contrast, as I said, is most effective, when there's a clear distinction between elements of the design.

So contrast is going to be used to create a focal point, which in this case are the two pine in the foreground. And the high contrasting layer of snow in the foreground also leads your eye to those pines, and it creates the highest level of contrast in that region of this image.

So let's take a look at something with lower contrast. Now, the roses are pretty low key here, but there is still clear definition between the roses and the rose petals themselves, due to the shadows that provide a bit of contrast.

But what if there were even less contrast between the details? So you quickly start to notice that the image loses its clarity, its appeal, and its punch. And elements are more difficult to distinguish from one other.

So we'll finish off with this image of a snowboarder with some color here. This looks fun, huh? So again, here, the background, sky, and trees on the back are areas of low contrast. And as a result there, not very interesting. It's not the point of interest here in the picture.

The higher points of contrast create a focal point, which in this case, would, obviously, be the snowboarder. And good use of contrast not only makes the image more interesting, but it also allows the viewer to clearly understand the idea or message that's trying to be conveyed here. So again, obviously, the focal point here would be the very, very bright and high-contrasting values of the snowboarder in relation to the background.

So that about wraps up this lesson. As always, we'll end with our key term, which was contrast. My name is Mario. And I hope you've enjoyed this lesson. And I'll see you in the next one.

Terms to Know

Contrast is a design principle that occurs when two elements are seen for their difference.