Customizing: The Artist's Guide to Composition
Do you feel that you have what it takes to enter the Customisation Spotlight and come out on top? You’ve got an awesome painted pet, a wardrobe brimming with wearables, and a bank account that knows no bottom. What about art competence? Surely you didn’t expect to throw just anything on your pet. Finding a good outfit takes time and consideration, just like in real life. If you don’t have it set up in your closet already, you have to be prepared to do some digging.
What you can do in general is limited considering the number of wearables available. TNT has worked hard to give us what we have now, but the task is one of preposterous size. Still, you can undoubtedly make something of great significance using what we have been provided. The Customisation Spotlight should be viewed as an art, not a cheap game of paper dolls. Taking the competition seriously, here are a few guidelines for good composition of an outfit.
1. Clothing in General- Hello! This is a Customisation Spotlight. That means you dress up your pets and let people rate the outfit. Despite the simplistic beauty of an UC Faerie Xweetok, the Neopets image alone will not win you points. Any pet in the Customisation Spotlight that wears absolutely nothing receives an instant zero from all serious viewers. Have you ever seen a pet free of wearables win the spotlight? I should certainly hope not.
2. Colour Scheme- There are many different colour schemes you can use when customizing your pet. A colour scheme is when you choose a certain combination or range of colours to use. It may help you to find a colour wheel when doing this. The colour wheel, however, doesn’t include brown. Brown is usually closest to orange.
• Monochromatic- A monochromatic colour scheme is when you use only one colour in your customization. Most people think this rather bland, but if it is done well, it can look rather pleasing. Monochromatic doesn’t mean you can’t use other colours at all, but the majority of the picture should be the same colour. For example, if you did a blue monochromatic customization, you could use a very small bit of purple.
• Complementary- A complementary colour scheme is when you use two colours that complement each other, or are on opposite sides of the colour wheel. If you find a colour wheel and place a pencil on a wedge of colour, you should see something on the direct opposite side of the wheel. On a 12 colour wheel (the number of colours depend on how many tertiary colours the wheel includes) purple is directly across from yellow. Once again, the image can contain snippets of other colours.
• Triad- A triad is very similar to complementary, only a step more complicated. On every colour wheel, you can form a triangle. Starting once again at violet, you can form the other two points of an equilateral triangle using orange and green. This is why split pets are purple and orange, while dark faeries are usually purple and green. Both look good because all three colours go together in a triad. Try moving the pencils around the circle and see what other colours often go together.
• Cool- Cool colours are simple if you understand the temperature colours often bring. If you think of a hot fire, you see reds, yellows, and oranges. However, if you were to think of a cold day in the ice caves, you would see more blues. Cool colours are the icy colours on the colour wheel: dark green, blue, and purple.
• Warm- Warm colours are just the opposite: reds, oranges, yellows, and light greens. Of the warm and cool colour schemes, purple, brown, and green are the most confusing. In these colours you can find multiple degrees of temperature. A lighter green is considered warm, while adding more blue or black to it cools it down. Purple and brown are the same. The more red you add to purple, the warmer it gets until it is magenta. Brown, which is usually considered an orange by artists, can cool if you add blue to it, like dark chocolate. To add yet another complication, inside warm colours, you can cool things and vice versa. The more blue you add to red, the cooler it becomes, edging toward purple. As a rule, the darker a colour is, the cooler, and the more vibrant, the warmer.
• Analogous -Consecutive colours on the wheel are called analogous colours. This is sometimes confused with warm and cool colour schemes, but it can be different. Choose a section of three or four colours on the colour wheel, and you will have an analogous colour scheme.
• Rainbow- This isn’t considered a colour scheme by most artists, but if you have a rainbow or disco pet, you need to take a different view when dressing. Try to equally use all the different colours of the rainbow, and instead focus on the lights and darks. If most of the colours on the pet are darker, then it would probably be best to contrast by filling the rest of the scene with lighter, more vibrant colours, and let your pet act as a paperweight, or to use very dark colours, like black, to make the muted colours stand out more. If the pet is bright and vibrant, let it stand out as the point of interest. Think of colour like activity. Movement attracts the eye quickly. The background should be duller than the pet, because the background doesn’t move. The pet, however, moves and should stand out, so he or she should stand alone in the picture as the center of interest, distracted by nothing else.
3. Confusion-Yes, this is a factor of a good picture. You don’t want your pet to be absolutely buried in their clothing and accessories. Just like a yard at Christmas time, when you get to a certain point, another inflatable Santa only detracts from the overall scene. If you have a pet with a plainer, solid colour, you can do more with the wearables, using the patterned clothing and flashy accessories. In contrast, if you have an island pet or something with intricate designs or many colours, it cuts down significantly on the wearables you can use. For the more confusing or busy pets, you must use the plainer wearables, or your wild display will confuse the viewer. Certain backgrounds, like the Game Room Background, are confusing by nature. Be careful when using backgrounds like these, they are hard to control, if I may, meaning they are very limiting as to what else you may use without overpopulating the picture. Think of the age old saying, ‘never wear spots with stripes.’ This is the same concept.
4. Characterization- After you have finished customizing, step back and look at your pet. Does it have a theme? If everything goes together, does it give your pet a personality? Does he or she look like a ruthless killer, or the coolest kid on the block? Something that inspires a feeling of power, malice, slickness, or hyper-joy often catches the viewer’s eye and downs them hook, line, and sinker on giving you a good rating. If your pet looks like they actually dressed to convey the fullness of their nature, it’s much more convincing than a pet that matches in colour but not in being. If Sloth held a nuclear bomb in balance over the whole of Neopia and wore a flowery shirt with a sunny beach background, you’d laugh. Generally, wearables of the same colour scheme have the same mood, but this is a good step to take, simply precautionary.
Now that you know the basics to good composition, please, go out and use it everywhere you can! These same basic concepts can enhance most any area you wish to apply it to. I know because I’ve tried it before. Good luck!