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Visual line

Composition means organizing visual elements in a scene. We use lines, shapes, space, tone, movement, and color to express meaning and emotions. Storyboards, beatboards, and concept art help visualize films. Sketching captures the essence of a scene. Created by Pixar.

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Video transcript

(objects clacking) (lamp clanks) (lamp chimes) - Hey, everybody. I'm Bobby Rubio. And I'm a story artist here at Pixar. Okay, so this is what we're gonna do. I'm gonna teach you some things about the basic elements of composition. Composition is the organization of visual elements in a scene. We'll focus on how we use these visual elements, like line, shape, space, tone, movement, and color to convey meaning and to express emotions in our stories. And today, I'm joined by my friends from both the art and story department. - Hi, my name is Scott Morse. I'm a story artist. - I'm Albert Lozano, and I'm a character art director. - I'm Michael Yates, and I'm a story artist. - My name is Daniella Strijleva, and I'm a production designer here at Pixar. - Throughout this lesson, we'll look at a few different kinds of images that the art and story department use, storyboards, beatboards, and concept art. Storyboards are quick drawings representing a frame of the film. We put them together and played them in sequences to visualize the film before we start doing any fancy computer graphics. Beatboards are meant to capture beats, those key moments in your film that we discussed in the last lesson, and convey critical story points. Concept art also captures key moments from your film. But this art is usually more polished, done in full color, and meant to express how light and color will be used in each sequence in a film. To get started, let's look at a final frame from the movie "Up" and think about how the composition is used to convey meaning and emotion. - So this image in "Up," by this time, we've already seen a beautiful montage that kind of shows us the life that Carl and Ellie have had together. They had a beautiful marriage, and this composition shows that in a way. - It really pushes you close enough to be intimate with the characters. You have the white windows, which kinda pushes you in and moves your eye towards where he's looking, which is Ellie. And then if you look at her head and where it's pointing, it's going right back to him. And it keeps you really close in this center spot here. - The minute you get to the characters' eyes looking at each other, it creates this sort of energy that runs back and forth between the two of them. And so, your eye is naturally just gonna be drawn to the two of them staring at each other. All the other information becomes secondary. You're really gonna stare at their gaze. - We're a little bit more focused on Carl and wondering how he feels about what Ellie's going through. And probably curious as to why Ellie's so optimistic here. - So you can see there's a lot going on when we talk about composition. But it all begins with a line. Lines can do more than you might think, because a line can have many different qualities. For instance, you can change the direction of a line. Which way does it point? You can also change the weight of a line. Is it thick or thin? You can vary the shape. And you can adjust the pressure you use when drawing it. And you could use these different qualities to express meaning. If I wanted to draw a nervous line, I might do this. An angry line might look like this. And if I wanted to create a sense of calm, I would do this. We use these same principles when drawing characters or environments in our films. - [Scott] The line that's chosen here by this artist with these boards really helps to note an organic sense of playfulness with these characters. We can see that they're still young at heart. We can see that they still have some energy to them. - [Albert] Daniel Lopez, who painted this image, he used a brush and used these sort of vibrating tones for the lines that are running up and down against the window. You could see the vibrating lines right here on the window sill. And that sort of vibration is meant to just symbolize energy outside in "Up," sorta like Carl is focusing on Ellie, but she's looking out the window sill. She's almost telling Carl, "There's still a lot of life out there. "There's adventure to be had no matter what, "even though I'm secure in bed." - Now, in this drawing from "Cars 3," line is used in a slightly different way. But when you look at the character, when you look at Lightning in this drawing, his line, even though it's rough, really conveys a sense of motion and a sense of emotion in that he's scrambling. He's really feeling uncertain, and he's digging harder and probably making mistakes in his own mind. We wanted him to more than likely feel off balance and feel a little bit scattered. You know, you'll see doubled-up lines, tripled-up lines. You look to Lightning first because of this. You look at how much energy is happening around him. It gives a sense of vibration and a sense of movement. - Yeah, so one of the interesting things that I got to work on was the abstract thought sequence on "Inside Out," where we turned the characters basically just into line. And so, what would be the cues then, if you were three characters, and you were altering the line? What would be the cues that were left to tell you what each character was? So we decided to rely on color with line. Line could have color. But line, we thought, "Well, wouldn't it be interesting if line had movement?" And so, we did a fun assignment where we decided, "Let's just move these lines around "and each one could maybe move a certain way "and pertain to each character's traits." So how would a sad line move? How would a sad line be colored? We also thought, "Well, how would a happy line move? "If it was a joyful line, how would that move around?" You don't really notice it in the film, but it was fun to sort of do this assignment. You notice it maybe for a split second, but each line does have its own personality. - So you can see with only a few strokes of a pen, we can build a world within a frame, bring it to life, and even portray the emotions of that world. In the next exercise, you will have a chance to think more about the direction, weight, shape, and pressure of the lines. And don't worry whether you think you can draw realistically or not, because this lesson isn't about detailed drawings or even really good ones. Sketching is making quick and expressive drawings that capture the essence of character or a scene. So loosen up and have fun.