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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
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    Difficulty in holding a mental image

    Hello, I used to be a very daydreamy lad but after hitting my forehead very, VERY hard (not concussion but close) a couple years back I experienced actual pain trying to visualize things for a short time. Now, this faded pretty quickly, but I find that I don't have the knack for visualization I used to. I can create short flashes of images with decent clarity so I'm obviously not aphantasic (thankfully) but I have difficulty holding onto any image for more than a few seconds. I also find that the image I'm focusing on rapidly changes and cuts in and out so I can't really focus on a specific object. It may be that hitting my head scrambled things a little OR the trauma of that experience put up some mental roadblocks towards properly visualizing things (I sometimes have a slight tension ache in the area I hit when I'm struggling to visualize things, but I acknowledge that it might just be psychological stress related rather than pressure from the bump)

    Honestly, it doesn't matter either way, what matters is I need to improve in this specific aspect. I want to be able to hold a visual image with much more clarity for much longer. I want to be able to visualize locations around me and see and feel the shapes I'm using to construct my drawings in 3d space in my head before I put them to paper. I believe I can improve through proper discipline and practice. I'm probably a 3-4 on visualization and I want to be a 9-10.

    So, I'd like to ask: what some good techniques and exercises to improve your minds eye? Are there users here who had a weak minds eye that trained themselves up to being really good at it? -and to people with very good or photographic visual memory; are there any methods or techniques to your visualization?

    Thank you!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Toronto, Ontario
    Thanked 1,329 Times in 1,059 Posts
    What you can try is to practice with after images, i.e. what will remain after you stare at a bright image, or a window. It will slowly fade away, but with practice you will be able to hold this for longer periods of time. From there, it is a small step to visualise arbitrary images...
    Grinnikend door het leven...

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Thanked 512 Times in 405 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Space_Broadcast View Post
    I also find that the image I'm focusing on rapidly changes and cuts in and out so I can't really focus on a specific object.
    This just sounds normal to me. Imagination is not like a film that you can play back, freeze frame, and zoom in. As far as I can tell the minds eye is pretty vague, and you don't just think of a picture in your mind and then put it on paper. But maybe other people can do this and I just can't, I dunno. I would guess your time would be better spent practicing drawing what you see than trying to develop your 'minds eye', but it's up to you.

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Thanked 573 Times in 480 Posts
    Don't just wait for ideas to hit, sometimes you just have to work it like if you narrow subject matter down its much easier to manage, that's why you have to learn how to communicate those ideas to paper, screen or whatever you are using, show us your pieces and studies by starting sketchbook
    edit sketch your ideas down, those doesn't need to be perfect, you can morph, combine, develop those later, dont forget to use reference
    Last edited by stonec; November 29th, 2018 at 04:01 PM.

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Thanked 16 Times in 13 Posts
    I think the point the OP was trying to make is something changed and he wanted to get it back to what was normal for him. It may just be a mental block, if trying to visualize something caused pain. If it's really bothersome it would be worth checking with a doctor.

    But something totally random occurred to me while reading your post. . . I thought Gattis and Moffat made up Sherlock's "mind palace" but it's a technique that actually dates back to ancient Greece?! I was floored but it got me thinking (ha!). . . could something like that be used to organize mental imagery to use in art. But maybe even just the mental exercise of visualizing and organizing could retrain the brain to focus on what is important and filter out what is "noise."
    "No one escapes unhappiness."

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Munich, Germany
    Thanked 967 Times in 579 Posts
    I've never really had any previsualisation like it is commonly described. I might have a general idea of the mood and colours, but nothing beyond that. I figure it all out during the process, not in my mind beforehand.

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