A term I can't quite grasp for some irritating reason.
A good mate of mines one time would explain when i would do "designs/logo's" on clothing, the logo/design looked flat/pasted onto the shirt and doesn't follow the contour of the shirts folds.
He tried explaining how the contour is suppose to follow the outline of it. But that's the part i don't quite understand. What outline exactly? When do I and how do apply this to keep my images from..being so flat looking. I'm a visual learner.
Even on textures, like rocks. he mentions the "cracks" i would add to give the rocks a bit more texture also appeared flatten/cropped onto the image random.
This term must be the most simplest thing, but i can't for the life of me grasp it and i would really REALLY like to keep my work from being...So two dimensional sometimes.
In this respect, contour should be interpreted as cross contour, as explained by Nicolaides. It is sometimes explained as the path of an ant walking across the surface, or a cross section, when the model is sliced up like a sausage...
You're worrying too much about the phrase here, be it contour, depth, form, whatever. Contour is ultimately just a word. I think what you and your friend are getting at is that things look too flat, 2-dimensional. The outline doesn't have much to do with this I think, what you're looking to do is to create form, to make your object 3D. For starters, most of the advice here, and sound advice it is too, is going to be to practice.
To improve this area in particular, you might want to check out books by Bridgeman and Loomis, which really help with construction of 3D objects be it for figures, environments, props, whatever. On top of this you could take a look through some perspective books. This'll help a lot with environment work in particular, but like all things in art, it's transferable and helps with everything. And of course, you're going to want to practice, half from observation; be it life drawing, studies or still life, and half from imagination; all the way from making simple cubes, to figures, to cities, everything.
I hope this helps.
"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." - Winston Churchill
In the upper left of the picture the logo is flat. In the upper right the logo forms with the contours of the folds of the shirt. Perhaps the bottom left is what you think of as "the outline" and what a contour means, when your friend is explaining the bottom right picture. It's like the others said, he's talking about following the form of the object.