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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Avoiding Visual Cacophony

We know it when we hear it, but what do our eyes do when we see it? Cacophony!  Vocabulary.com says this: "A cacophony is a jarring, discordant mix of sounds that have no business being played together. When the orchestra tunes up before a show, it sounds like a cacophony because each musician is playing a completely different tune, at different times, and at different volumes."  

Although each of our senses has a unique function, they communicate in concert so it is not out of line to apply one sense's definition to another.  Here's an example of visual cacophony that might fit very well with vocabulary.com's definition.
From an artist's viewpoint, if our resource is in clutter, it has visual cacophony. That doesn't mean it is unusable, but it does require some clearing out of junk before selecting and placing images we want to work with.  In other words, rather than use everything we see, we'd do better to decide what needs to be left out.  

This image is visual cacophony.  The llamas might be the subject or the tree or the house, but the scene with all these images from this point of view is cluttered.  

We can begin by taking out everything except the llamas, the front fence and the upper parts of the big trees.  Already, it feels like we can breathe.  The cacophony is gone and instead, we have visual clarity.  We have cleared the clutter.
The key to avoiding visual cacophony is to make an intuitive decision about what is important, then be willing to leave out anything that doesn't in some way help give clarity to the subject without sacrificing interest.  It's a kind of visual purging of the resource.

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