Add Contrast for Emphasis

Hello there! It’s Art again – E-Learning Art – bringing you another lesson to enhance your e-learning scenarios. In my last post, I talked about facial expressions and provided a lesson on how you could add that effect into your own training. One of the greatest advantages of building your scenarios with elearning characters and backgrounds that are separated is that you have the ability to add contrast. For example, check out the images below:

By adding a simple shading effect to the background, I’ve made the characters above stand out. This technique is easy to do and can really improve the visual impact of your course. In this lesson, we’ll  look at some background shading effects.

Background Effects

There are several effects that I like to use to de-emphasize the background and highlight the character in the foreground of a scenario. Below are five of my favorite background effects. You can also watch the video below for an overview of the effects, or read the text below.

1) Black-and-White Effect

The example that I have created above shows a black-and-white background with the characters in color. It reminds me of the movie Pleasantville due to the great amount of contrast and meaning they both create by using black-and-white and color simultaneously. In the video above, we show you how to create this effect using PowerPoint.

2) Blur Effect

Because your eye is naturally drawn toward images that are in focus, I find that blurring is a simple, yet powerful, effect for creating contrast. To learn how to apply blur effects, click on either of these simple tutorials:  Blur in Photoshop, Blur in Gimp.

3) Cut-Out Effect

As you can see above, the cut-out effect gives backgrounds a cartoon-like feel. Contrast that with the “real” photos of your characters, and you can really make the characters stand out.

4) LineArt Effect

The LineArt effect is one of the greatest ways to simplify the background. In addition to converting the background into black-and-white, this effect also makes it look like an illustration. The characters therefore really pop out of the scene because I have downplayed the background.

5) Sketch Effect

The sketch effect I used here makes the background look like it was created using colored pencils. This has more color than the LineArt effect, yet the background is still subtle and downplayed. Again, the contrast in themes between the sketch and the photos adds emphasis to the characters.

Where To Find Background Images

We offer a variety of background images that are shot specifically for your e-learning courses. You can also find decent background images on other stock photo sites, or, if you’re on a budget, just shoot some photos of your own work environment!

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