P.W. Creighton

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

Abstracting Layers

Depth, Dimension, Layers…

As a narrative piece is composed, one of the difficulties of framing a specific point as the subject of the narrative is establishing the sense of depth in the composition.

Often a visual composition will rely on layering to add a sense of depth and even time to the piece. A narrative composition can quite frequently utilize similar techniques to bring that composition into greater focus, bring it to life.

Adding depth to a narrative is achieved through layering interaction dynamics and narrative history.

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Interaction dynamics are the implied and explored relationships within the narrative. These can be the relationships between subjects or between subjects and setting. Implied relationships are not overt reactions between subjects but the secondary inferred relationships. In a visual sense the subjects would be juxtaposed to demonstrate hidden emotions or draw tension. These are quite common in romantic narratives as two subjects awkwardly avoid interactions.

The explored relationships are overt dynamics, emotions and interactions are direct. Visually there are direct correlations between subjects or subjects and setting. These can be further layered with different levels of emotions, interactions and relationships. All of these are typically the make new friends, adversaries and love interests subject interactions.

The interaction dynamics of both implied and explored relationships add layers to the composition, provide a sense of depth to the interactions.

A visual composition can frequently capture a still moment in time, but it can also appear flat and superficial. While in a narrative it is possible to convey a linear progression of time, like a visual composition it can also appear flat and superficial.

Through narrative history it is possible to layer a composition with additional depth and dimension. The composition demonstrates a history for the subjects through details of worn settings, memories of previous events and relationships built on events not within the composition.

As any visual composition becomes more interesting with layers of interaction dynamics and narrative history so to does a narrative composition. The flat one-dimensional take on a narrative timeline or strictly overt interactions leaves a flat, superficial image. Adding layers of interactions, history and detail together brings the piece to life.

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