Tuesday, September 16

How To Achieve a Strong SIlhouette, Tutorial Tuesdays

Definition: The outline or general shape of something: "the slim silhouette of a skyscraper."
Silhouette is important. In fact, it may be the most important factor in determining how striking a build is. Because of this, silhouette should be considered from the concept stage all the way through to adding the finishing touches.

All of these images link to the originals, so to see the non-blacked out version just click on them.

 Consider the primary viewing angle. Some builds have great silhouettes, but they are sabotaged by the chosen presentation angle. Lego Junkie's model on the left has a giant gun and little T-rex arms, but from this angle the gun is foreshortened and the arms are partially obscured by the body. Brickthing's MOC on the right definitely has a striking silhouette, but it is most impressive at this angle. The flatness of it is de-emphasized, while the sweet spherical cockpit and amazing fin assemblies are shown at their best.

 Consider the important aspects of your source material's silhouette, and do not compromise them; emphasize them. In this case, Retinence recognized the importance of Arcanine's oversized tail and decided that it was worth the trouble to build it dramatically. Silhouettes are also the best method of conveying action in a build, whether it's a spaceship taking off or a bridge falling down.

 The FBTB Moc-Madness Alphabet Fighter contest is awesome because it forces people to make bold decisions about their builds' silhouettes. Otherwise, it's easy to end up with something a little too bland and stiff-winged, like Brickthing's old vic-viper.

The importance of silhouette is not limited to merely spacecraft and creatures. Structures and complex compositions are much more dramatic when a little attention is paid to their silhouette.What separates Legonardo's dynamic models of buildings from the stoic Lego-realism of the Parisian Resaurant? It's the silhouette.
This build by Tyler is one of my favorites of all time, and chiefly because of the brilliant silhouette achieved through a combination of camera angle and and major shapes. It's a great example of what can be achieved through proper consideration of the silhouette.

If you have questions or anything, feel free to comment.

1 comment:

  1. Great post John! I never thought about the importance of silhouette that way before.

    I just came across a great example of what you are talking about. This is a great build, but the silhouette of the main picture isn't the best: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dutchlegos/15276395236/

    Contrast that with these alternate views: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dutchlegos/15276392446/