A Midterm In 2D Digital Design by Alex Medeiros

Figure and Ground

NOMA BAR, Digital Artist

This photo captures the essence of figure and ground. The photo can be viewed in two different ways. When looking at the top of the photo the penguin is the focus. However, switching perspectives the man is the focus. Figure and ground separate the different elements of an art piece like the penguin and the man. When done subtlety, it is hard to tell that anything is being done at all but the effect is a much more compelling image.

Frame and Surface

chasestone, The Ice King, Digital Art

When considering the frame and surface of an image it is important to look at how the details are framed in the image. Above we can see that the fingers of the man point to the eye of the penguin. This give an importance to where the penguin is looking. Furthermore, looking at the second penguin, he appears to be entranced with the first penguin. Lastly, and most importantly, the positioning of the penguin is in the lower third section. This puts him right in the center of interest for this image. The whole image is framed from the wide open mountain tops giving a perspective of the cold and dark cave. The unhappiness of the penguin can be inferred from the board look in the man's face. Changing where an object sits in an image can have a large impact on how the image is perceived. If the man was put in a different location some might have thought he was the Ice King. But with the clear focus on the lead penguin it is clear that the penguin is the Ice King.

Mark and Line

drachenmagier, Penguin, sketch

Lines have the amazing ability to give an amazing amount of detail to an object and bring it to life. With a soft and wavy brush, the feathers are added to the penguin. With a few lines intersecting, the foliage in the Hawaiian shirt is drawn. These details could be painted in a solid surface and the image would still be understood but is would not look like a compelling penguin. Furthermore, if this was a digital image where the shades were filled in with a solid color the image would have a completely different feel. The solid look feels very cartoon like. This is in contrast to the very real and textured look that the lines give this image.

Alex Medeiros, Penguin Trace, Photoshop

Here I took the above penguin and drew in only lines. This gave different textures to the penguins different areas. Marks have a powerful effect on how the image is perceived.

The Grid

LTSeraa, Reverse World Tiles, Digital Art

Grids were traditionally used to create a sense of depth in paintings and drawings. The first drawing that civilization drew were nothing more than crud stick figures. It took a long time for artists to discover how to make a drawing or painting feel real and alive through grid lines. Artists discovery of grid lines and perspective allowed for the creation of isometric video game tiles. These base tiles, on the right, show that with only a few different textures an entire world can be created and played with. Even though this is a flat image our brains are very good at interpreting the world as having depth. Our eyes only see a flat image but our brains recognize that some objects are further away then others. This trick allows the flat game to appear real and convincing when a character walks around in it.

Alex Medeiros, House, Illustrator

Here is another example of how a grid can be used in traditional art to give a sense of depth. This basic house comes to life with the depth given by the lines of perspective.


SidicusMaximus, Pattern of Pattern, Digital Art

When looking at an image it is rare to see every element as unique. This is true in nature as well. Looking at a grassy meadow the same greens blade poke up in similar shapes an patterns. In fact, the human brain has entire section devoted to recognizing patterns. The longer I stare at the image above the more it is fascinating. The repeating lines and colors are satisfying to behold. It is because of our natural design to see patterns in things even where they do not exist. When we see an example of patterns done well its like candy for our brains.


Alex Medeiros, Team Logo, Photoshop

Texture can play a drastic role in changing the composition of a piece. This simple heart and numbers was turned into a rustic sign with the addition of a few new textures. This use of texture was used to combine the two parts of the team name, Love and 907.

Joshua Miels, Paint Brush

Texture is an element that gives an amazing amount of detail to a picture but can also be very subtle. In this vase the texture is the focal point of the painting. every stroke is used to create a line that gives meaning to the image. The strong short strokes on the bead give it a soft and fluffy appearance. The varied colors in the face break up the face into the checks and the nose. This use of texture and some colors really shows what texture can accomplish. Texture of an image might be the most important aspect when considering how an image will feel. A solid infill color will make an image look like a cartoon character, while a pen stroke can give a life like appearance to a drawing.

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