Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Composition of the Rabbicorn room



The eyepath in the Rabbicorn room

In a 3D environment it can be very difficult to lead the viewers eye around your composition. Having them focus on the things that are important over things that are secondary is a challenge. The viewer can look with a cam from any angle at your work unlike looking at a 2D image. But this same cam is a unique part of Second Life and should not be controlled. It is our most powerful tool and in my opinion more superhuman than our ability to fly in SL!. We can have an out of body experience at will and combined with profile check gain information about people a sim away. Anyway, this post is not about that. It is about composition.
Below is the first stage of the Rabbicorn story at IBM. What I want to do here is have the viewer's eye move around the important elements of the first scene. One way i did this here is by using inferred line and the eyepath. Generally, when someone's eye enters a picture, meaning where they look first and where their eye then travels, it is done in the bottom right hand side and moves counter clockwise. This is not always the case but it is fairly common. So in creating this composition I want to take advantage of this and cycle the eye around the composition over and over again.

Below at 1 the eye enters the room. The eye curves around and follows the angle of the gramophone. A natural tendency of the eye is to follow where things point. The gramophone points up to Bryn 2 in the picture on the wall. Another tendency of human beings is to follow to see what other people are looking at. In the picture Bryn is looking down and to the left. The viewers eye will follow this new path down the wings of the Bryn character and to the poem in her hand 3. Hopefully the viewer will now read this poem. Next the lower arm holding the poem curves the eye to the table top. The contrast between the grey table and dark shadow create another horizontal line across to the main character of the story 4... the Rabbicorn. If the eye continues past the Rabbicorn it will again be cycled by the gramophone. Also drawing the eye to the Rabbicorn is the light. It shines down from Bryn Oh to her creation. Furthermore, the light is the brightest part of the composition and as such will draw the eye more than other elements. So the Rabbicorn is highlighted and hopefully brought to the attention of most viewers. After a few cycles the eye tends to move out to secondary objects. The next object past the poem is the teleport to the next scene. What you might also notice is that the general eye movement over this composition creates a triangle or pyramid shape.
Gramophone -> Picture -> Poem -> Tabletop back to gramophone. This shape is considered a strong grounded shape. It gives the feeling of stability and weight. The relationship between these figures is strong and seemingly eternal. So to have the Rabbicorn leave this relationship creates the initial contrast in the story. It is something broken. If I had reversed the composition so that it were a pyramid shape resting on its point then the feel of the composition to the viewer would change to one of disquiet and instability. However I did not want that yet.

Now this composition can lose its strength once the viewers cam moves. So I have also tried to create a strong composition from above. To do this I have made virtually everything point at the Rabbicorn to draw ones attention to her.
The shadows from all the chairs and tables point to her. The gramophone, wings, light from above. Her colour is contrasted against the dark wall which again brings her forward to out attention rather than fading into the background. So while it is difficult to lead the viewer around in a 3D composition is it not impossible and they eye path is one way to do it.
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