Forms, axes and guidelines

Each image must be structured in a very special way and should not be left to chance. It is mainly through the use of shapes, axes and guidelines that the developer will be able to create the sensations that he desires in the viewer.


The guidelines

The horizontal lines reflect the stability and tranquillity. They are relaxing to the eye because in line with the movement of the eyes.

The vertical lines are more tiring, they force the eye to look differently. They can also evoke the power, scope of something.

Finally, the diagonal lines, or lines with a dominant oblique makes the composition of the image more pleasant and less monotonous. Converging, they will participate in the depth-of-field. Cross, they can illustrate the instability, the imbalance.

Hitchcock was working a lot around these famous guidelines, not only in each of his films, but also in each of its plan !

Death to the kits is essentially built around these lines horizontal, vertical and diagonal. Also, the end credits, designed by Saul Blass and aptly titled “the lines” is a perfect illustration :

Among the many sequences in the film, a plan is particularly rich in lines.

The effect is striking : The spectator has the dizzy, an odd sensation, as if he had vertigo.


The different axes

There are four main axes that define the space. As for the guidelines, the use of such and such an axis in an image or a movement has the goal of creating a sensation in the viewer :

– The X-axis is horizontal, going left to right or right to left

– The Y-axis, or vertical, going from top to bottom and from bottom to top

– The axes XY, diagonals, four in number, which start from one corner to the opposite corner

– The Z-axis, depth, is from front to the back of the image and vice versa

A sequence of Kill Bill volume 1 by Quentin Tarantino, is used to illustrate what use can be made of the x-axis. It is the sequence of Split-Screen, which you can view below.

Whistle does not kill extract Kill Bill : Volume 1



As a result of our education and our culture (western) we read from left to right. In this example, the character of the bride, the “nice” is to the left of the screen. It Driver, the “wicked” is to the right. What’s more, when it advances, it goes from the right to the left, to show that she is nearer to his future victim. Our eyes are accustomed to move from left to right, to see it move in the other direction reinforces our negative feeling towards the character.


The forms

The backgrounds, objects, characters, even the guidelines… all of it created shapes within the image. And once again, they are square, rectangular, or even triangular, the forms can mean a lot and affect the feelings, the emotions of the viewer.

The square and rectangle shapes can evoke, depending on the context and their integration in the image : the calm, linearity, stability, power,…

The triangular shapes are attached to the concepts of dynamism, balance, insecurity, aggressiveness…

Finally, the round shapes can evoke : the sweetness, the purity, the simplicity

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