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Lines are Like Eye-Roads

 

Explanations > Perception > Visual Perception > Lines are Like Eye-Roads

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?

 

Description

When the eye is following lines, the line acts like a road, guiding and speeding the eye as it traces out shapes and so recognizes objects. As with roads, the eye is kept on a particular way and dissuaded from deviating off-course.

Like driving on roads, the eye speeds up when the line is straight and slows down on bends. And the sharper the bend, the more the eye has to slow down. Angles require distinctly more effort than curves, as the eye can easily overshoot. Junctions add further complication when decisions are needed about which alternative to take.

Also like driving, a road or line with lots of twists and turns takes more attention and effort. Initially, this may be no problem, though the effect is cumulative and both long journeys and complex images can both be exhausting.

Example

In the line picture below, the 'road' is the blue line that should be followed. The red dotted lines indicate how the eye can overshoot, just as a car might if it is going too fast along the road.

Discussion

When we think about the future, whether it is what we will have for dinner or milliseconds ahead as we follow a line, we make predictions which are largely based on the past. When these predictions come true, we become more confident in consequent predictions and spend less time in cautious checking.

Complex images often have more lines and more curves and angles.

As the eye moved through a scene, it does so at varying speeds, for example flicking quickly back and forth to find a focus, then slowing down as something is examined.

So what?

When creating graphics or even photographs, think of how they eye will be moved around the image. Create roads that guide the eye to the places you want them to go.

See also

 

 

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