Posted by: Leslie White | April 16, 2010

Because I can’t stop talking about how fantastic “How to Train Your Dragon” is….

So this promotional image for the Dreamworks film “How to Train Your Dragon” (which is currently my desktop wallpaper) is fantastic. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Check out this breakdown of the image’s compositional strengths..basically an explanation of why it is so awesome.

Untouched version

Highlighted key lines

“Right after I posted my thoughts on HTTYD, the publicity image I included really caught my eye, specifically how the animator used the pose to lead the audiences’ eyes through the frame. I’ll talk more about this concept in an upcoming podcast, but this still is just so perfect in many ways that I had to share. First off, if you’re not familiar with this idea, the basic rule of thumb is that you want the lines of your pose to lead the audiences eye towards the most important part of the image. Usually this is the eyes of the main character.

I’d argue that the most prominent line is the one I highlighted in red, and the reason that its so great is that it not only shows off a perfect use of this technique, but a perfect example of how you can break the rule to achieve a certain effect. Notice how Hiccup’s right hand isn’t pointing towards Toothless’s eye? You’d think that would be such an easy way to make that red line even better right? Well, in the context of this shot, its clear that Hiccup is protecting toothless. And guess what happens if we pull out all of those extra “pretty lines” to highlight the two most important ones in the shot?”

See the triangle?

“Boom. Hiccup is now forming a perfect triangle with his body that encompasses Toothless’s head. Its a very protective gesture that uses this concept to enhance and re-enforce what the pose is trying to convey.

A huge congrats to whoever did this shot. If anyone knows who it was, I’d be very curious to hear if that really was their intent, or if I’m just intellectualizing. Something tells me that you don’t just get something that beautiful and simple without a whole lot of planning.” ~

P.S. Going to see the movie again tonight. Can’t wait! 😀

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