LESSON 3To Sense. To Select. To Perceive. TOPICS COVEREDTo Sense. To Select. To Perceive.The Visual Process.Visual Communication’s circle dance. OBJECTIVESHave you ever wondered how you sense, selecting from a myriad of sights and sounds,perceive...The more you know the more you see. This lesson will focus on our seeing andlearning, what we remember, what we forget and what are memorable images.By the end of this chapter you should know:. That visual analysis is vital for understanding the visually intensive world in which welive. . That if you can learn to be more observant, you will see, learn, and remembermore. “ The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, and religion, all in one.” John Ruskin 1819 – 1900
The day that changed everything 9/11What do you remember?What have you forgotten? The Art of SeeingSensing, Selecting, and Perceiving“The more you know; the more you see.”From the morning of September 11, 2001, radio, television, and print media sourcesalong with their Web site counterparts all went to work to try to inform and explain thehorrific personal carnage and destruction that was unleashed against thousands ofinnocent Americans. Reporters gathered as much information as quickly as possibleduring the confusing and unbelievable first hours after the attack. With the north tower ofthe World Trade Center already on fire from a previous direct hit from a commercialairliner, viewers on television saw live and unedited video footage of another airlinerslam into the south tower and then witnessed the collapse of both 11 O-story structures.At least 3,000 people were killed.Many stunned viewers watching live television reports commented that they thought thepictures seemed more appropriate for a Hollywood movie than actual events (Figure 1.1).In fact, it was those striking, unforgettable visual messages that made this story socompelling and memorable. President George W. Bush acknowledged the power ofvisual communication in his speech to the country the first evening of the tragedy: "Thepictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, havefilled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger:
THE VISUAL PROCESSAldous Huxley, author of the novel Brave New World and forty-six other books ofphilosophical and futuristic vision, detailed his efforts to teach himself how to see moreclearly in his 1942 work The Art of Seeing. From the age of sixteen, Huxley sufferedfrom a degenerative eye condition known as keratitis punctata, an inflammation of thecornea. One eye was merely capable of light perception, and the other could only view aneye charts largest letter from 10 feet away. Today, the condition is rare and attributedmost likely to bacterial or viral infection. It can be treated easily with medications. In hisbook Huxley described the physical exercises he used to overcome his disability without
the aid of glasses. However, his main idea is that seeing clearly is mostly the result ofthinking clearly. Huxley summed up his method for achieving clear vision with theformula: "Sensing plus selecting plus perceiving equals seeing:The first stage of clear vision is to sense. To sense simply means letting enough lightenter your eyes so that you can see objects immediately around you. Sensing alsodepends on how well the many parts of the eye work. Obviously, a damaged or improp-erly functioning eye will hamper sensing. Think of sensing as a camera without film; thatis, there is no mental processing of the image during this phase of visual perception.Huxleys next stage is to select a particular element from a field of vision. To select is toisolate and look at a specific part of a scene within the enormous frame of possibilitiesthat sensing offers. That isolation is the result of the combination of the light gatheringand focusing properties of the eye with the higherlevel functions of the brain. In otherwords, selecting is a conscious, intellectual act. When you select you engage more fullythe objects in the scene than when you merely look. Selecting starts the process ofclassification of objects as harmful, helpful, known, unfamiliar, meaningful, or confusing.To select is to isolate an object within the area where the sharpest vision takes place inthe eye: the fovea centralis region in the retina of your eyes (see Chapter 3). By selectingindividual objects within a scene, you are doing what the eyes physiology is made to do-to focus your mental activities on a single, small object that is isolated from all others. The last stage in Huxleys visual theory is to perceive; that is, you must try to makesense of what you select. If your mind has any chance of storing visual information forlong-term retrieval and to increase your knowledge base, you must actively consider themeaning of what you see. To process an image mentally on a higher level of cognition than simply sensing andselecting means that you must concentrate on the subjects within a field of view with theAs with your own memory, a family snapshot often contains visual messages that you will always remember, but alsoelements that you have forgotten.intent of finding meaning and not simply as an act of observation. This process demandsmuch sharper mental activity. Previous experience with specific visual messages is a key
in seeing clearly. Huxley wrote that "the more you know, the more you see." A formerbaseball player watches and sees a game much more attentively than someone whoattends one for the first time. The newcomer probably will miss signals from a manager,scoreboard details, the curve of the balls flight as it speeds from pitcher to batter, andmany other details observed by the former player. Although you can certainly isolate aparticular visual element with little mental processing when it is a new or a surprisingoccurrence, analyzing a visual message ensures that you will find meaning for thepicture. If the image becomes meaningful, it is likely to become a part of your long-termmemory..Sensing, Selecting, and Perceiving”The more you know; the more you see.”To Sense. To Select. To Perceive.What is the Meaning?Graphic CluesSymbolic CluesLiteral and Symbolic MessagesWords Hold the AnswerTo Sense. To Select. To Perceive.Other Examples:Moving from Sensing to PerceivingDrawn by 3 year old girl on itsy bitsy spider.
The more you know, the more you sense. The more you sense, the more you select. Themore you select, the more you perceive. The more you perceive, the more you remember.The more you remember, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more you know.For clear seeing, this circle repeats itself on and on .The greatest aid to clear seeing isnt eyes that function with or without glasses or atelescope that brings into sharp focus the craters of the moon. The process of sensing,selecting, and perceiving takes a curious, questioning, and knowledgeable mind. The goalof a visual communicator isnt simply to have an image published or broadcast. The goalof a visual communicator is to produce powerful pictures so that the viewer willremember their content. Images have no use if the viewers mind doesnt use them. Asfuture image consumers and producers, you will want to see images that you rememberand make images that others remember.The goal of this book is to give you a method for analyzing visual messages regardless ofthe medium of presentation. Without systematically analyzing an image, you may see atelevised picture and not notice the individual elements within the frame. You might notconsider its content as it relates to the story and to your life. Without considering theimage, you will not gain any understanding or personal insights. The picture will simplybe another in a long line of forgotten ,images. Analyzing visual messages makes you takea long, careful look at the pictures you see-a highly satisfying intellectual act. Thoseimages become a part of your general knowledge of the world. You discover how imagesare linked in ways that you never thought of before. You also become a more interesting,curious person.To Sense. To Select. To Perceive. The more you know; the more you sense.(more light will fill your eyes) The more you sense; the more you select.(you will notice more) The more you select; the more you perceive.(you will understand more) The more you perceive; the more you remember.
(long-term memory is enhanced) The more you remember; the more you learn.(compare and contrast more) The more you learn; the more you know.(you will use more of what you see)