P.W. Creighton

It's The Unanswered Questions That Haunt Us...

Establishing Perspective

In any composition there are a core set of elements needed to create the composition and each element can be adjusted to reflect the desired effect on the entirety of the piece.

The composition can be adjusted through the subtle shifts to subjects, lighting, settings and especially focal points. A shift in perspective can change the entire composition. In most narratives perspective is long-regarded as first person, second and third person in reference to the narrative perspective.

The narrative perspective is actually the 'narrators perspective' and not necessarily the visual perspective for a scene. In the visual arts the concept of a perspective is defined as the relationship between objects within a composition.  Simply put, a three-dimensional scene is compressed to a two-dimensional depiction of that scene but through the illusion of perspective it is possible to convey a three-dimensional scene.

Taking the concept of the visual perspective and applying it to the narrative composition allows for similar control of a scene through different visual perspectives.

The Linear Perspective is the most common perspective for most narrative scenes. As objects and details are perceived further from the focal point, the fewer details are visible and smaller the objects are perceived to be in relation. The narrator's perspective as an individual is subject to a visual perspective within the environment.

Most instances of visual perspective in a narrative are subject to the subconscious Rectilinear Perspective through interpretation. This means that what is actually straight in the scene is perceived as straight. The perceptions of objects and subjects in a scene will shift however depending on the visual perspective. Illusions like overlap, dwindling size and volume will influence the perceiver within the scene.

When perceiving the perspective of a scene it is important to understand how visual perspective works. Through the eyes of a character, the objects and subjects in a scene can be unintentionally deceptive. Controlling the specifics of the perspective can provide a narrative with a stronger connection for the audience and more opportunities to affect the atmosphere of each scene in the composition.

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