How To Make Dynamic Compositions

Here’s how to make your motion design frames more dimensional and impactful.

Blind creative director, Matthew Encina, joins Chris Do in this quick tutorial/lesson on creating more dynamic compositions. Matthew will be showing you just one simple trick to create dynamic compositions that breed more impactful designs, photos, and illustrations.

The single key concept you need to add to your compositions is contrast. Everything that makes up a visual frame—size, value, weight, and color—falls in line here. By adding contrast to these elements, you’re able to control the eye, and define the hierarchy, movement, and meaning. This ultimately will help you tell better stories with your frames.

To keep things simple and clearly illustrate what’s being said, Matthew has put together a few greyscale examples that show how adding contrast to your frames can drastically improve your compositions and effectiveness of your storytelling.

If you ever find yourself stuck with a boring composition, push the contrast in the value, weight, size, and color of your subjects. One formula to try out is:

  1. 1 really BIG object — usually the subject, and most important element in the frame.
  2. 1–2 medium sized objects — secondary elements to give meaning to the main object.
  3. Tons of very tiny objects — tertiary elements to give movement and additional context for the frame.

When adding meaning, hierarchy, or movement to your composition, start extreme. In the examples shown in the video, Matthew dramatically increases the size of one vector object to convey a specific meaning, then pulls the contrast back to adjust.

One thing to note when creating contrast is that anytime you want one object to be interpreted as the most important in the frame, give that object the largest/most contrast against the others. You can do this by giving it the darkest values and making sure that that one object is the one you want the viewer to notice.

Another thing to be mindful of here is to not be afraid of type. If type is something you’re going to be including in your compositions, but you’re a novice at typography, just look at it as another shape. This makes it a little less intimidating and more familiar to manipulate.

And that’s the jam! You’re on your way to creating more dynamic compositions that tell impactful stories using a simple little thing called contrast.