Saturday, October 30, 2010

2.1 Paneling Angles and Composition

The first step to providing variety in all our panels is knowing the Panel Angles. These should be thought of as the position of the camera as if we were shooting a movie. There are all sorts of positions we could put our camera angle at, but in the end there is only 3 we need to know.

Low Angle
A Worms eye view. This will be a angle looking up at the subject or subjects

Middle Angle
Eye level. This will be an angle where the subject or subjects are looking straight at you

High Angle
Birds eye view. This will be an angle looking down on the subject or subjects.

The Panel Angles don’t just help us with creating variety in our panels. They can also be used to help direct the reader from panel to panel which I will get to later when we start piecing it all together. Even though I only listed 3 types of Panel Angles, each one also has it’s own extremes. By knowing this we could provide an isometric Mid shot from above to show all the characters present in a scene, or a 3-Point-Perspective angle from the ground looking upward to show enormous buildings in a Wide shot. By knowing the 3 basic Panel Angles first, we already have an understanding of how we can build off them creating even more Panel Angles.

The next step in providing variety is Composition. This will help use properly place our characters and dialog inside each panel. I spoke earlier how thumbnailing needs to integrate both writing and drawing. Well it all begins with the Composition of each panel. So let’s see the 2 basic methods of composition we’ll have at our disposal.

With these basic methods of composition we have an idea of how to properly juggle both subjects and dialog with in our panels. One rule is to never focus too much on the center of panel.

With the Triangle Composition we can place one subject on one point, leaving the other two points free for dialog. Or we can have subjects take up two points leaving just one point for dialog. All while keeping the clutter away form the center of the panel.

The same method can be used for the Traditional Composition. We could use 2/3rd for a subject and use the other 1/3rd left over for dialog, or vice-versa. The theory behind Composition in general is to distribute the contents of the panel in an uneven manner. If we cut a panel in half and only used one half for dialog and the other for the subject, it will be boring. It will also be boring if our subject occupied the precise center of the panel. The idea is to distribute the space to it looks interesting, and a way to do that is in 3rd’s.

Composition will give our panels variety between them. If we use a Traditional Composition on one panel, we could use the Triangle Composition on the next one, and so forth. This variety not only helps us lay out our thumbnails, but provides different images to the reader keeping them interested. After all most of our comics will contain people. Without different ways to present them to the reader without repeating ourselves our One-Shot will look boring.

By knowing the 5 Panel Shots, 3 Panel Angles, and 2 methods of Composition we have a whole variety of panels to use throughout our comic book by simply mixing and matching between all those categories. This is the first step to learning how to build off these basics to make more advance or extreme panels. However for now this is all we need to know to make a comic book that will stand out.

With that we can move on to the next subject, laying them out together. This is where the real work comes in. And where we’ll work off both our drawing abilities and our writing to make sure we are properly placing the panels on our pages. There is also a little trick involved to make sure we keep the reader involved.

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