[GUIDE] Compositional Tips & Techniques

Discussion in 'GT5 Photo Mode' started by leeislee, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. leeislee

    leeislee

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    Ok, so before I start I want to make clear that this isn't a tutorial per se, It's not a do or die, definitive guide to photography in GT5 nor real life. It's just some of the processes I go through with my actual real life photography that can translate well into creating more polished work with your photomode photos from GT5. (If you really want to learn about the many aspects of Composition there are plenty of tutorials online)

    I'm not going to go into detail about how the "Camera" in GT5 works. There is a great guide to it HERE. It's well worth taking a look at if you're not sure what all the jargon on screen means.

    I don’t claim to be great at this GT5 photo lark but I hope some of you can read this and at least apply something to your own photos.


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    Anyway I’m going to go through a few things that I don't do and don't like to see others do.

    Of course, we all know that composition is one of the ways to make or break a photo and because I come from a Photography background, I do like to spend a few moments in my photography, real or in GT5 to at least try to get it as good as I can.

    This section should highlight one of my pet hates that I see crop up so much in Photography and especially here on GtPlanet. It does bug me I’m afraid, so much so that I wanted to point it out to anyone who wants to listen.


    Ok, let's get going...

    1 - Compositional separation

    Try and separate the subject, in this case a car from it's background. One way I do this is to obviously, shoot a shallow depth of field but the main thing that people don't do is to watch out for lines, shapes and flow that suck the car into the background.

    Example 1 - Highlighted by the dotted line...
    [​IMG]

    Have a look at the line of the wall. Notice how the line of the wall flows directly into the Beetle's wheel arch and on across the reflection line. This has the affect of forcing the car and wall together, and obviously, they aren't, they are some distance apart.

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    Example 2...
    [​IMG]

    See how the wall flows into the A-pillar across the top of the bonnet/hood and on into the side window line. Again, your eye may not realise it but it forces the two together so the car looses separation.

    In the same picture, look at the blue circle, see how the wing mirror is lost in the middle of the tunnel support?

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    Example 3...
    [​IMG]

    Here the shadow on the floor sweeps around the A-Pillar and almost mimics the roof shape, again it may not be immediately noticeable to the casual viewer but it ruins the photo for me.

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    Example 4...
    [​IMG]

    Now on the final example using the Beetle you can see how I’ve avoided most of the above problems by making sure no major lines flow into the car, that way the car should look as though it stands alone which of course, it does.

    However highlighted in the blue circles, you'll notice that the angle where the wheel and wheel arch meet, and the indicator/turn signal on the wing sits in the shape of the tunnel support. Kind of breaking my own rules I guess but those small things are ok to do that because the main elements that the eye will be drawn to in the photo are not merging into each other thus retaining more separation.

    Of course, this isn't always possible, sometimes it's unavoidable to keep everything separate, but by keeping the main features of a car away from distracting background elements, eye catching background shapes, merging lines and shadows etc, it can start to improve matters.

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    Example 5...
    [​IMG]

    See the way the steel structure in the background looks like its part of the LFA because they share the same line.

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    Example 6...
    [​IMG]

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    These two examples show the Armco barrier lines flows into the lines of the LFA adding weight to the car that doesn't need to be there aswell as forcing the two together.

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    Example 7...
    [​IMG]

    Watch what happens by moving the camera slightly, it has the instant effect of separating the LFAs' lines from the barriers' lines. I’ve highlighted the shape of the car in yellow and the barrier line in blue, see how they can’t flow into one and other.

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    Remember...

    The same principle goes for walls, trees, street lighting etc. Don't let things touch if you can help it, the background is separate from the car so try and keep it that way if you can.

    Now that we have seen the value of separation, lets move on to how to create an interesting visual.

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    2 - Drawing the eye in

    Next is a small section on Eye flow, how to draw the eye in. It's a good way to make people look at a picture in a certain order thus seeing things in a linear way.

    Think of it like a path through your photo. You start at point A, the eye is drawn to point B then on to C, D and so on.

    Again, it's not always needed but it's something to try when you're running low on artistic inspiration. It can make a seemingly average photo seem alot better.

    Of course, there will always be people who look at point C then go to point A and mess everything up so this is a general rule of thumb, it's not set in stone because everyone is different...there are always those annoying idiots who mess everything up!

    The ABC way...

    This is the method I mention above. Making the eye see things in a certain sequence, well that's the goal anyway!

    Bare in mind though that in the examples below many of you will look at letter B first, but this technique works either way, A-B or B-A but i tend to think of the main detail in a photo as A.

    Example 1...
    [​IMG]

    Notice how your eye sees the Corvette the moves left to the cars ahead in the distance?

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    Example 2...
    [​IMG]

    Because of the drifting Vette your eye follows the smoke across the image to the Vette at the back.

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    Example 3...
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    The wet Ferrari 458 here should be the first thing you look at then your eye will be draw off into the distance.

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    Example 4...
    [​IMG]

    This is an example showing how it can work both ways, It depends what you see first the Camaro or the light at the end of the tunnel?

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    3 - Keeping the eye on the subject

    This is a method of using negative space, lines and composition to stop the eye moving around the photo.

    Even if the eye strays from the subject it is guided back by the various elements mentioned above.

    It's easier to show you rather than to explain it, this next photo is rubbish but it's here to illustrate how your eye can be pushed back to the subject and kept on it.

    Example 1...
    [​IMG]

    Instinctively you see the giant yellow 'Zero' on the floor but because it's out of focus and narrows at the top, it acts like a big arrow forcing your eye to the Aston. Crap photo but I’m sure you see my point. Your eye wants to look at the big yellow 'Zero' but every time it looks at it, your gaze moves up towards the car. unless you force yourself to look at the big yellow 'Zero' on the floor that is. :indiff:

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    Example 2...
    [​IMG]


    This Samba bus shot uses the road markings and street light shadow to draw your eye back to the bus if it wanders off.

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    Example 3...
    [​IMG]

    The same applies to the Civic photo. The sky, wall, road and white line pushes your eye to the car.

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    Example 4...
    [​IMG]

    The lines and perspective in the Lambo picture keep your attention on the car because everything points to it your eye wants to see what everything is pointing at.

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    Example 5...

    Back to the Beetle shot from earlier, you can see how using the tunnel you can force the eye to the car. This one is more subtle because it's not as obvious as the Aston shot but you can see what I mean.

    [​IMG]

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    This is an example of both ABC and use of negative space...
    [​IMG]

    The red Beetle here is speeding along up the hill. The negative space as indicated by the arrow on the right instantly guides your eye to the car, You then you see the crest of the hill and you almost want to look over the hill.

    The light coming through the trees helps push the eye down and over the crest so for this picture you have to imagine there is a Letter 'C'.

    Just to confirm that Negative Space is the use of nothing, blank areas in a photo that don't draw the eye so it forces the eye to look at more interesting things.

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    4 - How to bounce the eye around

    Example 1...
    [​IMG]

    This Enzo is speeding through the tunnel at Monaco here, your eye sees the car (A) then wants to look into the picture and around the corner (B) but the focus pushes your attention back towards the car (as indicated by the arrow)...back and forth and so on.

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    Example 2...
    [​IMG]

    Similar photo to the tunnel Enzo this one but now the Enzo is taking a fast right hander, so by having the car pointing right and the barrier in the background shooting off the right side of the image, your eye wants to see where the car is going.

    The eye is then drawn back to the car by the Curb acting as an arrow. then you start all over again looking right then back to the car, then off to the right and back and so on.

    Not only does the curb push you eye around the corner, it drags the eye back to the car.

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    However...

    You can of course, have cars in the middle of the photo, with lines blending into the body work, no flow to the picture, it's up to you. If you like it then do it. i'm a big believer in making up your own rules if it results in a picture you like.

    The previous examples are just things I look out for. Hopefully you can take what you like from them and apply them to your own shots...or not!

    If you can't be bothered thinking so much about your photos then obviously, just click away. There will always be people who like them and as long as you like the photos you take then that is all that matters. You can still get amazing photos by ignoring everything I’ve said here!

    By the way, I’m not saying my way is the right way. you can make your own mind up and discover your own way of shooting.


    Please have a look through my gallery and Flickr page to see more examples of this approach.

    Thanks


    Oh, by the way. Here's another tip for everyone out there who want to improve your shots....

    If you like putting loads of camber on your wheels then please stop it. It instantly makes a car look ridiculous and makes all photos look stupid!

    The only car ever that looks good with mad wheels is the Delorean from Back To The Future II...that is all :tup:
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013
  2. leeislee

    leeislee

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    Feel free to share your own techniques and ideas here...
     
  3. Apok

    Apok Premium

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    This is great! If more people used these kind of techniques the photomode forum would be that much better.
    Though a lot of this seems to come with practice. I usually move the camera around and see what works best. And I see why, it's the way the lines worked and how everything worked together, kind of like it's explained here.
    There's of course the times where you can't get a good picture just by faffing about with angles and this is a great way to find out why you think your picture doesn't work well.
     
  4. leeislee

    leeislee

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    I agree, like everything in life it takes practice. but by reading this and having a bit more knowledge of composition it will help. it won't help everyone but if it helps a few then it's cool with me.

    Like i say in the guide, it's all about preference. Everyone should do what they feel like doing, but hopefully this guide may shed some light on a few things. :tup:
     
  5. SVX

    SVX Premium

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    Great tutorial, I'll try use this for my newest shots! :cheers:

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  6. gtsteviiee

    gtsteviiee

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    Oh god, I feel like I'm in Photography class again. Great tutorial! Makes me remember my old class again, even though, I never put what I've learned to good use. :D
     
  7. XSquareStickIt

    XSquareStickIt

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    I've always been stunned by your works, Lee. I feel like I know a bit more about your secrets now XD Although, what do you think about drawing out a car's character in a photo shoot? I think it's an area worth exploring.
     
  8. leeislee

    leeislee

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    That's a different topic all together hehe. I always try to do that by using complimentary or contrasting colours, thinking about shapes and form and all that.

    That's something that is harder to cover because everyones tastes are different and there are way too many cars and locations to cover!

    :tup:
     
  9. NP

    NP Premium

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    Thank you for sharing valuable information with the community, leeislee! :tup:
     
  10. leeislee

    leeislee

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    No worries. the vast majority of users here won't even look at this thread but as long as it's seen by the few i'm happy.

    I look forward to those 'Realistic' shots from the many who ignore the various tutorials here on GtPlanet :indiff:
     
  11. RomanBidnyy

    RomanBidnyy

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    This thread is amazing. I've just tried a few of these tips and pictures look good without any editing or so.. Thank you so much. I hope to see more threads like this from you:D
     
  12. driftinziggy

    driftinziggy

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    I love this thread... after reading it I hope my shots improve :scared::nervous:
     
  13. leeislee

    leeislee

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    Glad you picked up a few tips. :tup:

    Thanks a million :tup:
     
  14. McZachenF1138

    McZachenF1138 Premium

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    I found myself using a lot of these techniques without even realising it. :dunce:
    Regardless, fantastic stuff here man. Keep up the good work. :tup:
     
  15. Kaison

    Kaison

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    Thanks for taking the time to write this leeislee. I know I'm still struggling after months of practice to get pictures that look good, so it's always interesting and helpful to get anothers perspective; especially when that person works with the real thing. :tup:


    Perfect timing too as there is plenty of opportunity for practicing these ideas with the latest round of photomode competitions.
     
  16. leeislee

    leeislee

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    Hehe, must come natural to you mate :tup:

    No problem. Glad the timing came in handy. I hope you can take something from my guide and apply it to your own work. :tup:
     
  17. binbin90

    binbin90

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    awesome thread.:tup: I'm learning a lot :D Checking most of my photos right now, I see lots of errors :nervous:, especially with the compositional separation thingy
     
  18. leeislee

    leeislee

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    :tup::tup:
     
  19. kennylmao

    kennylmao

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    Thanks leeislee, this is a great guide! Gotta try some of these techniques soon. :)
     
  20. The R!CE Guy

    The R!CE Guy

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    Awesome guide! Thanks for posting, I picked up a couple good tips from this! :cheers:
     
  21. leeislee

    leeislee

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    :tup::tup:
     
  22. eugene2023

    eugene2023

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    leeislee

    Very interesting and comfortable guide! Thank you for this work!
     
  23. iNs3CuRe

    iNs3CuRe

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    Thanks for taking the time to do this guide Lee ;) You pointed out a few things that I didn't really pay attention to before. :tup:
     
  24. GPR

    GPR

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    That was a pretty good guide leeislee. I'm sure the effort very appreciated by all.

    One thought I had was the idea that sometimes you can slightly break some of those rules and still create enough background to car separation through bumping up colour contrast if the shot has such elements to do so.

    But I suppose it's all relative really, I guess I find it hard to articulate my process as when I shoot most of considerations just seem to flow from me without much thought.
     
  25. leeislee

    leeislee

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    :tup:

    Cheers mate :tup:

    Yeah all the "rules" can be broken. i'm a big believer of doing what you like if i gets the results you want when it comes to art.

    Go with your flow mate, it's obviously working for you! :tup:
     
  26. MadMoss

    MadMoss

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    Oh my god, perfect guide, leeislee! :drool:
     
  27. Primus Ortus

    Primus Ortus

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    Brilliant guide Lee. Thank you for your insight.
     
  28. leeislee

    leeislee

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    Thanks lot fellas :tup:
     
  29. leeislee

    leeislee

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    Any new members who you feel may need help with their photos it'd be great if everyone can link them to the many tutorial and guide threads here on GTPlanet.
     
  30. zzz_pt

    zzz_pt

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    ^That and...

    ...all tutorials should be together in one topic and "sticked" (I don't know if that is the proper word lol)