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Elements in Context

Elements in Context

Author: Sophia Tutorial

In this lesson, you will review the elements in context and learn how to pin-point its utilization in a visual design work.

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What's Covered

Welcome to today’s lesson on the elements in context. Specifically this lesson will take you on a virtual field trip to a gallery museum where you can look at how all these elements interact together in visual design. Specifically, you will look at:

  1. A Vector Image
  2. An Abstract Image
  3. A Hued Image
  4. A Saturated Image
  5. A Weighted Image
  6. An Active Image

1. A Vector Image

So let's begin your virtual tour of our gallery with the vector-looking image below.

Now the first thing you should notice is the use of space and that figure-ground separation. You will also notice that the use of color creates some depth and separation between the girl and the background, and also between the face and the hair. Even though the colors are flat, it creates this separation.

There is a good use of texture in the fabric. The fabric also creates this nice kind of pattern going on around the shoulder and body.

Finally, the image is framed in a way where the figure is surrounded by negative space all around her, which puts her in the spotlight in center frame.

2. An Abstract Image

Next you have the image below that's a bit more abstract.

First, there's a lot of great use of line and a wonderful sense of movement and energy. There's also the use here of dot, both on their own and also arranged in clusters. They're arranged in ways that give them tension with how close together they are. But it also provides a nice bit of energy to the piece. The bottom region also of provides this nice flow as well.

There's a good use a rectilinear shapes, with some of the rectangular elements going on up and down the page. Of course, there is also a great use of curvilinear, with the dividing S-curve down the middle.

Finally, there's a nice use of graduation in the values from dark to light, which provides a sense of direction. The light and dark against one another also creates this really nice separation between the spaces.

3. An Animal Image

Next you have this image of the tiger.

Even though this tiger's a bit sketchier, like the first image, there's a very clear separation of space between figure and ground. The image is also very dynamic and there's a clear sense of action going on all around.

The layered shapes and elements in the water create very nice texture. The fur also has a lot of overlapping elements and shapes creating this texture. If you zoom in, you might even see some patterns that start to develop as well.

Finally, in this image, it's predominately blue hues that give this piece a nice cool feel. There is also a range of saturation here to provide some visual interest or variety.

4. A Saturated Image

Now this next photo here has a very clear use of saturation to create a focal point and areas of interest.

As you will recall, there's no line in nature. But there are a lot of hills here that create that sense of line. There's also shapes and line being created within the positive and negative spaces.

Finally, this image has pretty high contrasting values. Although it's not as dynamic as past examples in previous lessons, chiaroscuro does create a nice punch in this image with the high contrast with dark and light.

5. A Weighted Image

So in the image of the peacock below, there's a nice use of line with varied weight all over, thick and thin.

It provides a good sense of motion and a more dynamic feel that sort of gets your eye moving in this direction where the feathers fan out. There are mostly curvilinear elements going on here.

Now color and value also play an important role in creating space and separation once again between the background and the foreground elements, all this negative space, dark, lighter values. Framing here plays an important role and it enhances the design and allows you to follow the flow and direction again towards the peacock feathers.

Finally, there's a lot of texture going on here, both on the surface of the peacock and the background, which almost act like fish scales. There's a pretty clear pattern that develops as a result of the proximity of the shapes. All these elements here in the peacock feathers also act as dots. They're kind of their own point of interest and focal point and they're again placed in clusters, which provide tension between these that creates action in this area of the piece.

6. An Active Image

So here's an image of a more common video game nowadays in the mobile space.

Again, you have these dots positioned in clusters and they act as areas of tension and focus. There's all this tension going on between them where the action is happening.

The small simple lines, which sort of act as bullets, also provide direction and action, because although it's not obvious, it does have varied line weight. So it's looking more like a teardrop. You get a sense of where it's going as a result again of that line weight or varied shape.

The other elements in the top left corner are a great example of form. You can see that multiple shapes are being used to create three-dimensional objects with depth and volume. Now like some of the other examples, here value plays a very important role, because the blue hues help separate these invaders here with their yellow-orange hues. Likewise, there's also a very clean separation of background and foreground space so that the player or the viewer focuses on the elements up front and not any of this stuff that's sort of just vast and empty in back.

Finally, in a similar fashion, the gradient of values are used to create a kind of vignette effect, which is another way to frame an image without using rectilinear elements. So if you notice the light value gradiates towards a darker value in this corner. It creates this oval and this kind of circular again oval frame, which keeps your eye here in center focus, where all the action is happening.

Did You Know

Now value and addition is used effectively here to separate elements of information from the area of game play. So a lot goes on here in the design with games both to direct the eye, to show areas of focus, and all of that without overwhelming the player and providing too many things for them to do or look at.


That ends our lesson today on elements in context. Specifically, in the lesson you got to look at the elements in a vector, an abstract, a hued, a saturated, a weighted, and an active image.

Keep up the learning and have a great day!