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Glossary: Visual language

Here's a list of definitions introduced during this lesson.
  • Beat Boards: are meant to capture beats and convey critical story points
  • Color: used to create mood or emotion and to direct the eye by emphasizing different parts of the image
  • Complementary Colors: colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel
  • Composition: the organization of visual elements in a space
  • Concept Art: captures key moments from your film, but the art is usually more polished, done in full color, and meant to express how light and color will be used in each sequence in a film
  • Contrast: the difference between neighboring light and dark values
  • Contrasting Colors: colors that are furthest apart on the color wheel
  • Line: marks that span a distance between two points or the path of a moving point and have thickness, direction, and length
  • Linear Perspective: the illusion of space or depth by positioning lines or objects and adjusting weight and size
  • Lines of Action: an imaginary line that runs down the spine of a character which indicates the force and movement in that movement; used to imply movement by guiding the pose of the character or object
  • Motion Lines: extend from an object along its pathway of motion to make it appear like it’s moving
  • Shape: a two-dimensional, enclosed area that makes up the form of an object
  • Silhouette: a filled in outline of an object or character
  • Speed Lines: a simple way to indicate movement in storyboarding
  • Story Boards: quick drawings representing a frame of the film that are put together and played in sequence to visualize the film before animation begins
  • Tension Point: point where dark and light values meet and create this energy where the eye is drawn
  • Tone: also known as shading; adjustments in lightness and darkness of all the elements in your scene that lead your audience’s eye and create a specific mood
  • Vanishing Point: the point on the horizon at which receding parallel lines appear to converge or disappear
  • Visually Similar Colors: colors close to one another on the color wheel

Want to join the conversation?

  • orange juice squid orange style avatar for user Kathryn Sommers
    Can you explain the difference between contrasting and complementary colors? I would have thought that "furthest apart" colors would also be "opposite each other" on the color wheel.
    (8 votes)
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    • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Lucia Madriz
      This is about Color Theory. Colors can be considered warm (yellow-orange-red) or cold (blue,green violet). Contrast is more about light and darkness. For example an image in just black and white has a very strong contrast but the same image in very few and similar grey tones has low contrast. You can also have an image with cold colors and bring a detail in a warm color and that would act as contrast. Complementary colors are pairs. In pigments (not light) there are three primary colors: Red, Yellow and blue. The complementary color of red contains the other two primary colors (yellow+blue=green) so the complementary color of red is green. The pairs are red=green, yellow=violet, blue=orange.You can have a red next to agreen and if both are dark you have complementary colors but no contrast. Let one be light you have contrast. Best wishes!
      (24 votes)
  • duskpin seed style avatar for user maggiers2024
    ok just a theory, but what if, since color is viewed on a wheel that can be put to a gradient and there's an infinite number of points around the circumference of a circle then theoretically there's less than an infinite amount of people on the planet then every single person could see color differently by simply having their starting point of a "red" on the wheel. then going into that everyone's favorite color could be the same we just all see it differently because we are taught the colors names a specific way.

    that was a lot. I don't even know if it made sense...
    (12 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Nayan Kumar Rudro
    Can you please explain the difference among 'Silhouette', 'Tension Point' and 'Tone'? Thanks in advance.
    (5 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user nebtxwarren
    One thing I think I like about this lesson is I usually draw, not color, and it told me that just lines isn't enough. You gotta add color, depth, and contrast if you want to make it really MEAN something, and I'm not saying that just lines is wrong, I'm just saying that color can be a big part of a drawing, if you know what I mean? Also if you want to use lines to express feeling, you sometimes have to color it or it won't mean as much. for example, if I drew a tall, pointing triangle trying to make it seem dominating, I might have to color it black. And also sometimes drawing other things in the picture can make the big thing seem bigger, like if I drew a tiny blue circle kinda streching away from the big dominating triangle it might make it seem even more dominating you know? And if you want to just draw and not color you can do that. Just a little extra something, if you make a red, orange, and yellow triangle and than drew a blue, teal, and green triangle of the same size the color means a lot in the two triangles, right? The red, yellow, and orange triangle would be a lot more quick to anger than the blue, teal, and green triangle. I am writing this as advice to you, me, and everyone else that reads this. I hope it's good advice!
    (4 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user james dumont
    what is the rule of thirds
    (3 votes)
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    • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Hussein Khashfe
      The rule of thirds is a simple technique where designers divide their designs up into three rows and three columns, and at the points where the vertical and horizontal lines meet is where your focal points should be.
      By placing focal points at each line intersection, his design is made striking and effective.
      (3 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user pradeeba.p2009
    anyone is making stories?
    (3 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user hcps-copelandd
    Those stuff could help me design the character shapes.
    (3 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Bailey
    What is the visual language for Paul Walker do ya'll think?
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Vinnie Moruzzi
    sun goes up and down
    (1 vote)
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  • male robot donald style avatar for user ☄️Davito Nitro⚡
    Also if you want to use lines to express feeling, you sometimes have to color it or it won't mean as much. for example, if I drew a tall, pointing triangle trying to make it seem dominating, I might have to color it black. And also sometimes drawing other things in the picture can make the big thing seem bigger, like if I drew a tiny blue circle kind of stretching away from the big dominating triangle it might make it seem even more dominating you know? And if you want to just draw and not color you can do that. Just a little extra something, if you make a red, orange, and yellow triangle and than drew a blue, teal, and green triangle of the same size the color means a lot in the two triangles, right?
    (1 vote)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user