Anti-terrorism and the Rule of Thirds

Fact: Ancient Greeks devised the Golden Ratio out of pure malevolence. “The whole is to the larger part as the larger part is to the smaller part” can terrorize anyone who isn’t a mathematician, and though the ratio can lead to golden compositions, are you really going to whip out your calculator when composing slides? Besides, have you ever seen the actual number used to calculate the ratio? It’s 1.618033988749…and so on and so forth. Of course, rounding it up to 1.62 is helpful, but who cares when they’re just trying to photograph a rabbit or place objects in a slide?

An unknown anti-terrorist came up with a pseudo-ratio called the Rule of Thirds, which Photodex calls Composition Lines, but they don’t say much about it in the manual, which isn’t very helpful if you’ve never heard of the Rule of Thirds. Maybe Photodex is rooted in ancient Greece.

Though this method of screen division is probably more useful in photography, Composition Lines can be a boon in slide shows when there are several elements in a single slide.

To check it out, create three random rectangles either in ProShow or your image editor, and with all three in the same slide, start shifting them around, placing one edge of each rectangle on a vertical or horizontal line, allowing the rectangles to overlap where necessary. Here’s an example I came up with after a bit of quick play:

Using the Rule of Thirds in ProShow isn’t without flaw. After lining up the edges with the guidelines, I had to shift everything up an equal amount because the rectangles were too close to the bottom edge of the slide. However, with that little tweak, I can imagine the white and blue rectangles as photos and the red rectangle as a caption.

I rather prefer the Golden Ratio, but I’m no mathematician, and so I have a Photoshop action that creates guidelines for it. You can see the difference in the following illustration where the red lines depict the Rule of Thirds and the yellow lines the Golden Ratio.

There are no hard rules in art, and neither the Golden Ratio nor the Rule of Thirds is a magic bullet, but half a bullet is better than no bullet at all.

Published in: on April 2, 2010 at 4:26 pm  Comments Off on Anti-terrorism and the Rule of Thirds  
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