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Quick Tutorial : Image Impact Rules

Since I’ve been playing in the 3D world I’ve come across a lot of really talented folk who can create virtual people or worlds, but sometimes can miss the basics of shot composition/finish. Something to take a good image and make it a great image.  Although I’m new to 3D, I’m not new to imaging – working as a fashion and glamour photographer in my day job.

So, there are rules – the same for all images whether its trad art, photography or 3d work,  which help to make an image work for the viewer. It’s a brain thing – how we perceive things that make us connect to them and there will be better folk than me to explain how it works. However, it just works. So below are a few tips in how to set a shot to work and best impact the viewer.

*Remember this is all subjective – follow your own path – but if you know the rules you can then choose to break them or use them as you choose.
Rule of thirds

One of the biggest in composition. Imagine your image has a noughts and crosses grid on it. Place your main point of focus around the intersection points. It’s that simple.

Keep it Simple

Complex can be interesting, but over-complex can be distracting. If its not adding to the image, bin it. Be ruthless.

Negative Space

Negative space (empty space around your subject) can also make the subject punch out from the image. Best used with the subject to one side or another.

Aspect Ratio

Find a good aspect ration for your shot – I tend to work portraits in 4:3, but sometimes I’ll do them landscape, sometimes square.


Try and look at the picture and cut away anything distracting and unnecessary. What is your main subject? What are you trying to say/show? Remove things that distract from this.


Again add interest/framing etc with your choice of background.

Use of Colour/Mono

In my photography work I tend to shoot mono film a lot or convert my digital shots to mono afterward. I like the textures and shadowing on faces. However strong bold colour can work well in the right setting.


There are lots of others – intersecting diagonals, perspective, leading lines etc, but these are the main ones that help with my own image creation with models, both real and virtual.  Hope some of you find this useful for your own images.

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