Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Gurney on how you look

James Gurney was working with some scientists studying how people's eyes move across an image naturally. here and here

Saccades occur between three and five times per second, alternating with brief periods of rest called fixations. Larger saccades for absorbing the scene, smaller ones for getting details. (which is useful for animators)

The artistic theories of composition driving the eye and of the golden mean don't appear to hold up. Dr. Edwards succinctly puts it, “abstract design gets trumped by human stories.” The job of the artist, then, in composing pictures about people is to use abstract tools to reinforce the viewer’s natural desire to seek out a face and a story. Abstract design elements do play a role in influencing where viewers look in a picture, but in pictures that include people or animals or a suggestion of a story, the human and narrative elements are what direct our exploration of a picture.

The unconscious impulses seem to include the establishment of hierarchies of interest based on normal expectations or schema of a scene. Just because an element has sharp detail or strong tonal contrasts, it doesn’t necessarily attract the eye. The dark branches behind the dinosaur’s head drew almost no attention because they fit into the natural schema of a forest scene, they didn't stand out, but the sunken log and detailed leaves did gain a lot of attention because they could house another potential threat to the characters.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post! I think one of the great appealing things about Gurney's paintings is their realism and wholeness/ evenness without exaggeration which enforces that suprise moment when you discover his work contains really surprising elements and potential conflicts like the kids and dinosaur on the beach. By conflict I mean it creates a conflict in the viewer which intrigues them enough to explore, look harder, turn pages, learn a way to percieve Gurney's reality exactly like an enticing exploration into a new appealing country.I just realised this as I read your post and links and I was thinking about the gentleness and evenness and realism of his art.He probably creates a more meditative, thoughtful experience with really exciting surprise elements.
Really interesting how the eye reads an image first as a cultural survival response!
I didn't see the man in the last picture first so he was nicely hidden, the clues being the face? shape lichen patches at dinosaur eye level.Lots of food for thought! Thanks!Relevant to me as I weigh up how to make my backgrounds in my student animation work for me in telling the story that the animated movement should "theoretically" be the first to tell!I think of simple backgrounds like "My Neighbours the Yamadas" and I admire that animation so much because it's deceptively simple like the unrolling illustrated scrolls that Takahata collects, but the cartooniness and simple, shifting backgrounds gives it enough distance from the average Japanese viewer to be comfortable with the contrasting very natural behaviour of the "average" ordinary family , (the Yamadas).The whole "Que Sera" theme is extremely touching. I also love the eye drenching colours of all the other Ghibli animations, of course!The style of "the Yamada's" really makes you sympathetic to the reality of the little cluster of cells that make a functioning family after all. Thanks, lots there to weigh up and ponder.Sorry went on a bit....these blogs allow you to talk shop!