Copyright 2002 T. Sheil & A. Sheil  All Rights Reserved

All Gauge Model Railroading Page

Visual manipulation

Directing the Viewer's Gaze

By placing scenes and conspicuous items appropriately, you can not only hold the viewer's interest, but encourage him to view your miniature world i9n the desired direction.  We manipulate the gaze consciously, thereby directing the viewer to see things in a chosen sequence.  This means toning down some areas of your world, while making others more conspicuous.  You must determine speed as well as distance.  Dull, dark, small and less-interesting pieces are scanned over quickly, while bright, large, elaborate and interesting pieces hold the attention longer.  In manipulating the gaze, we use movement, color, shape and timing to create the desired effect.  

Below are illustrations to help you understand a few basic principles.

The viewer may be drawn left or right. Most people look at an object straight on, then scan for details.  The skillfully-made village can be designed to pull his gaze left or right as he starts his scan.

Use of scenery can draw the viewer to start from his right and then move his gaze leftward.  He would them scan the entire scene (brown arrows) in a clockwise direction.

It is natural to start left and scan to the right. Once again, a good scene or vignette can make sure he looks to his left first and moves his gaze to his right.  he would then continue in a counterclockwise scan.

Your main scene can be so striking that if pulls all to it. By using left and right sides to pull the eye to the center (shown above) you focus all attention in one place.  This is good for small scenes.

You can direct attention to any place you desire and keep it there, provided your central scene has all the interest and the others are made to merely point the way to it. Here yellow depicts the central scene. For this kind of focus, the central scene has to be much more conspicuous, larger and more elaborate than the rest of the miniature world.

Animated scenery is powerful.  Placed conspicuously, it becomes a focal point.  Here it draws the gaze first to the viewer's right, then allows a slow leftward scan.  By having an elaborate main scene here (depicted in yellow), you can be sure the viewer scans everything in one swoop from right to left..

In this case, the viewer is drawn to scan and follow in a clockwise fashion.  There is no one specific central scene opposite the animation.  Instead, all scenery is equally interesting.

If the animation is to the rear, the viewer will naturally start at his left and then pull right quickly. Scenery not only directs the gaze, but alters the speed of visual scanning.

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