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Lines Separate

 

Explanations > Perception > Visual Perception > Lines Separate

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?

 

Description

When a line is perceived, the eye follows it to discover a shape or see where the line goes. The line also has another effect in that it separates things on either side of the line, which are now two different zones or things.

Example

A tree in a photograph separates things that are to the left or right of it. When it reaches right across the image, it divides the image into two sub-images.

A road divides the landscape into two parts, each of which may have different visual characteristics.

The horizon separates the land and the sky.

Walls separate a property from public space.

Discussion

Sometimes lines interrupt a harmonious image, rudely breaking it into two. At other times the separation is essential and expected, such as the outline of an object or the visual horizon, above which is the sky. When these essential, expected lines do not exist, we may feel uncomfortable and look harder to see if there is even a trace where we can call a line.

When we experience separation, then the separated things each gain individual identity, even if it is just things on the left and things on the right. We will then naturally look at each separately, unconsciously seeking similarity within each part and difference between each part. When this difference actually does exist, then the line exaggerates the difference.

Lines can also be inferred by separation. If you see two groups of people standing opposite one another, you will also perceive a 'negative space' line between them.

So what?

Use lines to deliberately delineate objects and separate. Infer lines with spaces between things.

See also

Eye Follows Line

 

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