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Zones of Contrast

 

Explanations > Perception > Visual Perception > Zones of Contrast

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?

 

Description

When interpreting the visual data than pours into our eyes every moment, a stage in understanding is to look for whole areas where contrast can be seen. This gives us the beginnings of being able to understand and name what we are seeing.

Zones may be broken down into sub-zones and sub-sub zones until we reach the greatest detail our eyes can see.

Example

In the image below the eye can see zones of color that stand out by contrasting with one another. This starts to give us clues that perhaps this is a frog or a bird.

Discussion

Zones give us early clues as to what we are seeing as we consider areas in detail. They break what we see into distinct areas that may combine in various ways. Blurring is a useful way to understand this as it removes detail and softens boundaries.

Zoning is an important principle in photography, where contrasting areas of an image are considered as zones and which are composed in contrast with one another in order to create an overall image.

So what?

When composing an image, squint at it or otherwise defocus it. See the contrast zones and how they interact with one another. If possible arrange them for a whole image that is pleasing and, as appropriate, persuasive.

See also

Contrast principle

 

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