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Question for designers: how to convey action and movement

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I hope I'm posting in the correct section of the forum. And I realize this is more a general question about graphic design than specifically about PDN, but I'm trying to improve my skills.

So I'm wondering what are good tricks of the trade to visually represent movement and action.

I don't want to go with the comic book route of lines and trailing, but I wonder if there are basic principles I can follow for this.


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Comic book illustrators are very good at this and well worth a look. Perhaps use the ideas but be more subtle.
Additionally, because we are all used to photographs, we interpret blurs as movement. Consider where the focus of attention is and either motion blur the moving object (head still) or the background (eyes following the moving object).
Take a look at sports action photgraphs.
Consider the composition of the image too - unusual viewing angles add drama as can placing the focus of attention at the edge of the 'canvas'.

Hope that helps a bit - the only real way to learn is by looking at images that have the effect you want and experimenting with similar ideas. ;)


Red ochre Plugin pack.............. Diabolical Drawings ................Real Paintings



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I'm not an expert on this at all, but here are some images of things that are in motion. Maybe they can give you some ideas. (Similar to what Red suggested.)
Motion Blur, mostly photography motion blur, is what I tend to think of when it comes to moving objects.
This picture looks cool as the subject stands out against the background.
The lights on this ferris wheel give the impression of movement as the wheel is spinning.
These dice have both motion blur and a faded subject effect.


You can find more Motion Blur pictures here: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/08/24/45-beautiful-motion-blur-photos/
I don't know what you would call this, but seen in this picture are repeats of the subject. Each time the subject is repeated, it is in a different position and faded, giving the idea of a moving subject.
Sometimes the position of an object and effects of it's surroundings can give the concept of “motion”. For example, here is a picture of a bird in motion. Although it's wings are slightly blurred, it's body position and the water are giving the impression of movement too.
Water in general is great for giving a motion impression, such as ripples, waves, swimming, surfing, etc.



I hope these ideas help. Good luck. :)


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