How We Control How You Look

Jon Senior plays an important role within our 3D visualisation team. Here Jon looks at the belief that an image helps to tell a story and why we make a judgement instantly.

As a company that specialises in 3D visualisation, we can be liberated from the chains of reality. We can create an environment where a camera is positioned 1,500 ft in the sky, to view a scene through the clouds. The biggest investment is the time to think and consider how to depict an image that encourages a positive reaction. We can make materials shimmer with the intensity of a neon cityscape, we can render a landscape with the hazy light of a Jupiter sunset. The possibilities and reach of our creativity is endless.

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Deliver A Vision

Whilst creativity and innovation are important assets, there also has to be an appreciation for deadlines and setting milestones for every project. Having systems in place can assist us by acting as positive limits to our imagination. Much like a painter learns to limit his palette, within the creative digital realm we must apply restraint, consideration and critical judgement when we create and deliver our vision. 

A book I have read, that has become influential in my thinking is William Mortensen’s ‘The Command To Look, A Master Photographer’s Method For Controlling The Human Gaze.’ The book was originally published in 1937 (the same year as other hugely influential books such as Napoleon Hill’s Think And Grow Rich).It has been out of print for over 50 years and is one of Mortensen’s most influential and sought-after books. To those who are unfamiliar he was an American art photographer, who worked from the 1920s through to the early 1960s.

An aspect of the book that is still relevant today for the treatment of 3D visualisation work is how to approach setting up a composition. He focuses on the first fractions of a second that an image is seen. Before an image is consciously observed, the brain has automatically decided if what is being seen is worthy of any attention.

 

What Is It That Captures Attention?

It is important to note that the actual subject matter is disregarded before the viewer has identified what the image actually is. Mortensen presents us with the question, “what is it that captures the viewer’s attention, forcing them to look?”

At the pre-conscious level of perception, Mortensen argues that the brain is hard-wired to determine whether an object is worthy of the mind’s focus, by detecting if there may be danger associated with it. This is where the opportunity is for the 3D visualiser to create something that is immediately powerful to the person who is consuming. This is achieved by ensuring that the basic silhouette of the composition speaks to the low-level functioning of the brain. Mortensen identifies four archetypal forms that he believes trigger a response related to focus and an urge to look from the viewer.

As a 3d visualisation company our aim is to make sure the viewer will take time to consume and pay attention. Our objective is to control their gaze and it is up to the content of the image to make the viewer’s efforts worthwhile.

It is our role to help tell a story, whether still imagery or an animation, we have to take the viewer on a journey that they will enjoy.

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