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the eye's path

I think that one will first look at/near the center, then the eye will follow a path. That path will be following color or darkness. Or one, then the other, of course. Contrast is of secondary interest, and serves to separate one thing from the next. When the color is also the focal point of the tank, there is nowhere else to look, unless there are mysterious black spaces for the eye to investigate.

So, in the first picture that SCMurphy posted with the big red plant, the red is right on top of the focal point, so there is nowhere else to look. Removing the red plant and placing a small mound of orange/pink on the back right and a small spike or mound of red on the far left would create the eye movement that the tank lacks now. In fact, if I cover the lefthand side of the tank and just see the rock and red part, it actually is more satisfying.

In the two contest tanks, my eye is drawn in the first from the center down in the dark to the right, then up across the pink, then the red, then back to the blackness on the left and then right again. So a full sweep of the tank has been made. The second one also demands a full sweep, scanning the color then the darkness, but covering the full tank.

So, I think one should use color and contrast to mean more than red against green. Color is also green against black, bright against dim. Filled space against open space.

Likewise, contrast should include shape and form. Fine vs coarse, soft vs hard. Plant vs rock, wood vs stone.

Don't limit yourself to red vs green. You have more to work with than that.
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