Sunday 27 December 2015

Photography tips #1 - Rule of thirds

By Scott Nobody

Second Life photography is so much fun, and lots of people do it. Here is a way of taking real life photography tips and bringing it into Second Life.

One of the most simple ways of improving your images is to use the "rule of thirds". When you shoot a picture in SL, typically the object ends up dead center of the shot if you don't move your camera. That is not necessarily the best spot for an interesting image. Watch any movie, magazine, billboard, even the news on TV. Pretty much everywhere, this rule is applied in some form or another.

The rule of third grid looks like this:

When you're framing your shot, imagine four lines that is about 1/3 of the entire length or height in from either edge. Where those lines intersect, you have a focal point (red circle). A point where the eye almost automatically goes to right away when we look at an image. You can use this to your advantage and position your object, in one of those intersections. It can be in anyone of the four intersections, just pick one that looks good to you. 

Fun fact: Most people will look at the top left intersection first, then the bottom left, then the top right and so on. You will quickly find out using this method, your images will look more pleasing to the eye.

The lines are also very helpful. In landscape shots for example, you want to the horizon line to run along one of the two horizontal lines in the grid - a third from either the top or the bottom.
The vertical lines can be used to line up a tall structure or a person in just the right spot.

Not the optimal position of the subject, even though the horizon is located along the right line.
If you know you are going to be editing the image in Photoshop or Gimp later, try to make sure to leave extra room for a crop if that's is your intentions. With the crop tool in Photoshop or Gimp you can easy put the object in the desired spot, however, having not done that at the time of shooting, you will now have eliminated a lot of good pixels. Something to think about :)

Last but not least,  - this is a more a guide than a rule. - Rules are there to be broken, and very often you will get an interesting result by doing just that. An example on that could be a shot where the back ground is 100% symmetric or perhaps there is a perfect reflection. But more often than not, using this guide, or rule, will give you a better image, and should result in more favs on Flickr.

Bonus tip: Both Gimp and Photoshop has the rule of third as a guide preset already built in. Here's how you turn them on when you're using the crop tool.

Select the crop tool, (C) - in the tool bar, click the mesh looking icon, and select the Rule of Third grid. Now drag from corner to corner to select the entire image. As soon as you let go of your mouse the grid will pop up and you can now adjust the handles on each side of the cropping window to place the image the way you like it.

Click the pen cutter like tool....?! (Shift+C) to select the crop tool. In the drop down list, chose Rule of Thirds guides. Now drag over the entire image and your grid will be drawn out. Now you can adjust the crop by using the handles in each corner to get the composition right.

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