Gestalt Factor: The Good Curve
More on gestalt factors. In our context, we are now on the fifth factor.
In his article Wertheimer has just explained the condition for The Factor of Closure, or the tendendy to perceive unfinished materiel as being more completed, than is actually is.
He continues: “It is not true, however, that closure is necessarily the dominant Factor in all cases which satiesfy the conditions. In Fig 23, for example, it is not three self-enclosed areas but rather The Factor of the “Good Curce” which predominates”.
Figure 23 in Wertheimers book, is a figure somewhat similar to this one.
The figure contains three fully drawn “self-enclosed areas”, but none of these seems to be dominant. Much more is it the diagonal curve that we perceive. This is the factor of the good curve, then. Wertheimer talks about “the influence of a tendency towards the “good” gestalt”. It is the good curve that holds this figure together.
Not that complicated, right?
For Wertheimer’s exact wording on the gestalt factors including his original drawings, you could go here. I have the online article from from an internet resource developed by Christoffer D. Green for York University in Toronto, Canada. It is the same article that I have been referring to all along. I just found it on the net the yesterday. So, go read the original.
To illustrate the good curve I have two pictures. The first one shot at Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, Germany in August last summer. It is from the inside of Sony Center.
The second one is shot at Louisiana Art Museum at Humlebæk north of Copenhagen in Denmark. Shot some years back. The curve aspect in both pictures is pretty obvious, so let me just accompany each picture with a few words. Very few words.
Good Curve: Berlin.
To me, anyway, it is pretty obvious that what holds this impression together is the curve of the Sony Center’s beautiful glass roof. It dominates this picture. Everything else is subordinate to the dominant curve. As in Wertheimer’s example, the picture contains enclosed areas: the glass buildings, but in this lay-out they clearly take on a minor role. (Please let me know if you disagree on this).
For those interested in photography, I should mention that this image is shot with a 16 mm Hologon lens. Famous stuff, actually.
Good Curve: Copenhagen.
Copenhagen good curve.
Maybe not that predominant as the Sony Center glass roof, but all the same. One of the items holding this picture together, is the glass cylinder in the middle of the exhibition room. Please notice, that in terms of physical dimensions , the cylinder is not even the major object in the picture. The walls takes up more space. Nevertheless it is the glass cylinder, the good curve, that perceptually steal the show.
No, this is not the 16 mm Hologon. It is the 21 mm Biogon :-) . Got you.
How to use:
Well, if you have a complicated shot or a drawing or another piece of visual or a layout, that you want to round up as one coherent, controlled unit, simply use a good curve to accomplish that job for you.
If you don’t have that ambition, or that need, then don’t.
By all means, there are other ways to influence perception, but right now, and here, the talk is about curves. Good curves.
And remember, that if you want to have a glance at the gestalt factors so far, go to the tag cloud and hit “gestalt factor”. They are all there.
Good luck with this, as well .
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