Film freeze framing was recommended to me as another main way to improve. Here are my first attempts at in-depth studies.
The original images are all from Hayao Miyazaki's 'Spirited Away'.
I decided to focus mainly on value composition and look for the major design elements. This was relatively simple. It's like a word search puzzle. You have a list of what you're looking for, and it's not difficult to find them if you have some time.
The hard part was trying to understand the point of the composition - the abstract ideas that made it work, and how the design elements interacted to produce a certain reaction. Or continuing with the metaphor, how to make a sentence out of those words you find.
Again I tried to make my own based off what I thought was right. This time Jose told me to abstract even more, keeping the same composition, but changing subject, theme, and figures. Not going to lie, this made my brain hurt like a motherfucker.
For this one, I thought the major idea was how to add unease to a calm setting . The scene is when Chihiro senses something weird about the town. The imbalance of the dark shadow shapes on the right and the empty openness of the street gives you an eerie vibe. My version was a fortress wall facing some kind of oncoming darkness - a growing forest perhaps.
This one was mainly the variety in the shapes and placement of light sources, giving the whole thing sense of busyness and life. My take was a man looking up at the skyscrapers of the city around him, with windows and flying cars providing variety.
This last one was the use of framing, with all elements pinpointing the exact place you're supposed to look. My take was of a priest approaching the inner sanctum of a temple, where a relic or person awaits him.
I really don't know if I'm doing this right and if I'm learning what I'm supposed to be learning. Regardless, I'll keep chipping away at it.