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Eye Follows Line

 

Explanations > Perception > Visual Perception > Eye Follows Line

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?

 

Description

In making sense of what we see, our eyes first seek lines, and then they follow them. This allows us to see outlines and distinguish shapes.

The lines that our eyes follow can be very tenuous, dotted, vague and otherwise not easy to identify. Nevertheless, our eyes will do their best to follow the line to see where it goes.

Example

Eyes will follow all kinds of line, including ones which are straight, curved, zigzag, and interrupted.

In a photography, a common device is a 'leading line' which is intended to lead the eye into the picture.

Discussion

After detecting contrast, the eye looks for a line between two areas of different contrast, such as black and white. Having found a line, the eye then follows it. If there is a problem, such as a broken line, the mind will try to guess where the line is going, filling in gaps as needed.

Lines can have several functions that helps the viewer make sense of what they are seeing, including:

  • Outlines: When they eye detects an outline, the mind will try to name the object being outlined.
  • Pointers: Eyes will follow lines to see where they go, often assuming that the destination is significant.
  • Separators: Lines can separate two parts of an image or diagram.

So what?

When creating images or graphics, make sure there are clear lines for the viewer to follow in quickly and easily distinguishing key objects. Use lines also to guide the viewer around the image.

See also

Eye Seeks Contrast, Eye Seeks Line

 

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