The Rule of Thirds is a compositional guideline to use when taking photographs, shooting a video, creating artwork or designing graphics. To apply the rule, you divide the scene into nine equal squares, drawing three evenly spaced horizontal lines and three evenly spaced vertical lines to form a grid. According to the Rule of Thirds, in a well-composed piece, the most important elements should be at or near these lines or the spots where lines intersect. Additionally, according to this rule, the horizon should be either at either the 1/3 or 2/3 line on the grid
Horizon Line Examples:
Wheatfield Under Clouded Sky by Vincent van Gogh
Here the horizon line is at 1/3:
Starry night over the Rhône by Vincent van Gogh
Here the horizon line is just about at 2/3:
Examples of Placing “Important Objects” where the Grid Lines Intersect:
Portrait of Dr. Gachet by Vincent van Gogh
Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando by Edgar Degas
Try to spot the Rule of Thirds in action when you are watching TV, a movie, or looking at graphic design or photography.
Today’s Activity: Divide and Conquer
Whether you are taking a photograph, a video, or designing a graphic, applying the Rule of Thirds to your composition produces eye-pleasing results. Like many great artists, you can use the rule wisely to communicate with your viewer. Make a drawing or choose a work or art or photograph. Divide the piece into a nine-square grid by lightly drawing pencil lines. Describe the components that are positioned near or bisected by each line and explain why.