View Full Version : What Creates Impact?

10 October 2010, 03:15 AM
I've been trying to figure this out lately, what makes impact and give an impression of wow this is a good picture upon looking at it.I know there are a combination of things working together that do this, but im trying to figure out what helps the most in creating impact.Im pretty sure now that impact in a picture at its core doesnt require realism. I used to believe that however.

So far I beleive creating impact might be something in this order(most important to least)

1. Composition - i've seen black and white pics that were incredible, just because of composition
2. Detail - Doesnt have to be realistic just a lot of small strokes to go with the big strokes.
3.Color - well obviously
4. Lighting - for mood

And ofcourse other things help, but I think these 4 are the most important. Im still puzzled however. When someone looks at their favorite artist work and goes wow, why are they going wow? Whats the IT factor that creates impact I wonder hmmmmmm

10 October 2010, 12:17 PM
I think this thread will give you some answers....

Further read this one......I find it useful.

10 October 2010, 02:38 PM
Thank you very much I think I found my answer from Robert Chang's post.

"A compelling piece of artwork contains both creative and technical excellence"

But I still think that something in the Technical Category is the major part of creating impact. I say that because Im looking at a bunch of pictures I've collected from artworks I thought were amazing. One of the simplest pictures in my collection is of iron man posing in front of a gray background. In the picture they dont even use color in an amazing way, but its amazing technically because the armor looks like real steal, they use depth of field, fog, and lots of glows.
It looks just like iron man, yet I've seen images of iron man that were photorealistic (taken from the movie) and I wasnt as impressed. Very interesting, perhaps I like the iron man in my art collection more because of the "creative side" that Robert was talking about. Perhaps the fog, the glows, depth of field, ect used are actually technical things that could be put into the "creative category". So technical aspects of art can be creative too.

In fact maybe it just boils down to different points/categories of interest, the more you have the more impact. Thank you again for your help.

10 October 2010, 03:48 PM
Impact is different to different people... but for the WOW moment, I think you are right, composition plays a major role as does the "vibrance" or "brilliancy" of the work... which has everything to do with tonality and color scheme.

Details do matter some, but not a whole lot since good composition can actually make up for intricate minutia. Many times, too much detail actually is overkill, and can cause the massive amount of detail to actually seem to cause sensory overload sort of, so the more overworking and detail that is put in can cause the viewer to have a tendency to turn away instead of get absorbed in to looking closer. Some details are nice, but only if they are placed in the right place.

Chiaroscuro seems to have a big impact as well in making compositions have the WOW factor...

This is one reason some old school low res film noir sometimes seem to have more visual impact then some newer realistic HD stuff put out these days where you can see the actor's and actress's zits, pimples, and overdone makeup...

10 October 2010, 04:20 PM
hmm Chiaroscuro? I never heard of this, I looked it up on google, but couldnt find a definition that made complete sense to me. It differs from contrast right?

And your right about the detail, too much unthoughtful detail cant be bad, but placed correctly does play a big part in impact. Detail as in just is it draw right, did u draw the hands right, the face right, that kind of thing. I find even sketchy detail placed right brings about almost the same impression as Fine detail.

10 October 2010, 05:53 PM
as robert chang said....
"A compelling piece of artwork contains both creative and technical excellence"

I too find it as a great advice. But I think the best thing is this.......

If you really want to investigate what you personally find to be "soulful," then simply do an experiment. Collect a large variety of images and then separate them into what you find to be soulful and what you find the opposite, and those that fall somewhere in the middle. Then you analyze the common traits in each group. Like I already said, the so-called intangible aren't exactly intangible, just that most people don't bother investigating and spending enough time understanding.

I'll bet that the images you find to be soul will have some similar traits like expressive emotions, evocative moods, strong atmosphere, some sort of visual narrative, some kind of dramatic contrast, compelling composition...etc. These are all tangible aspects that could be understood and studied. I think some things are only mysterious if you haven't learned enough about it or haven't excelled enough as a practitioner of the discipline. It's actually very surprising how much isn't mysterious if you spent enough time investigating. For example, music can be utterly magical to most people--the way the sophisticated harmonies and captivating melodic contours and complex rhythms take a hold of us and put us and transport us to another world. But if you actually studied music for long enough, you'll learn to deconstruct even the most complex music and learn what makes it tick--how the tension is built up with dissonance in harmonic intervals, and how it modulates over time and then finally resolves for the release. Even the ethereal and heavenly sounding impressionistic music could be deconstructed, such as the use of whole tone scale and parallel fifths often used in impressionistic styles. Melodies also have contours that can be broken down to see how each interval contributes to a very specific emotional response in conjunction to the harmonic structure.Rhythmic elements like syncopation is the foundation of modern "beats" but so many people who aspire to "make beats" never even make an effort to understand the anatomy of a rhythm.

I am doing that now.......

10 October 2010, 09:59 PM
yeah thats true, and thats exactly what i was talking about too in my previous post about the iron man thing, but sometimes its hard to put into words even after studying what really your looking for.

10 October 2010, 04:54 AM
Corey, looking at your work, I think visually you've already figured out a lot of stuff that works for you, and I think how visual art foundations contribute to the impact of an image isn't that hard to figure out if you spend enough time analyzing and deconstructing a large number of works spanning a wide range of styles and time periods. But what's harder for many artists is understanding the anatomy of emotional and intellectual resonance of visual images. Most people just don't think about such things, which is a shame because that is exactly what separates an artisan from an artist. Technique and technical theory can be learned by just about anyone, but it's the stuff beyond them that makes someone truly great.

I can tell you guys right now that every single one of my students that's finished my workshop can describe in details what the OP is asking in this thread. In the workshop we completely deconstruct and analyze all the elements that contribute to an image's allure, and we also practice hard to be able to hit all those targets with lots of very challenging exercises. It's not just the widely known foundations of visual art, but also very specific emotional and intellectual elements as well narratives that visual artists have dealt with for hundreds if not thousands of years.

One of the main reasons I created such an extensive workshop was because there are many things I couldn't possibly explain in detail here in the Art Techniques and Theories forum, and the sticky threads can only do so much since the resources are collected from all over the place, and without a experienced artist guiding the lost and the confused, one gets drowned in all that information. The workshop organized everything I have ever learned about becoming a better artist into logical, and learnable structure, and a lot of it is directly related to the various elements that contribute to the impact an image has--not just visual impact, but also emotional and intellectual resonance that are the heart and soul of images.

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