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January 15, 2013
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Do you have good Visual Memory?

:iconthisdesignup:
ThisDesignUp Jan 15, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
I was curious, as someone who has grown a visual thought process, I have always wondered if other people could see visually as I can. Since many of my friends were not very visual they could not and it made me wonder. Through research I found out that other people can visualize similarly but there are still differences in the way they visualize.

For example when I imagine things 3d and I can rotate them around, animate them, all in my head after only seeing them once or twice. If I can only see one side of something usually I can still imagine the other side based on what I have seen before. I find this to be something that has grown with me as an artist and has gotten better the more things I have seen and created. I believe that visual memory is something that can be grown, do you agree? Though it seems that some people cannot visualize this way and it intrigues me as to why and in what ways they they then think instead.

How do you visualize things? If I said think of an animal what might you see in your mind? A word, an image, combinations of everything? What other ways do you visualize things? Is there any way you wish you could think better? For example I wish I was better at analytical thought. If someone tries to give me directions without visuals, and I don't know the area, I will get lost because roads and street names don't process in my head well. How does your mind think?
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:iconthesurrealisticmind:
thesurrealisticMind Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Yeah, I know what you mean, I'm like this as well. I have a question though. Do any of you visualize images when listening to music? Or do you focus entirely on the lyrics/melody?
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:icongagglygoo:
I can do it listening to music, while not focusing on it of course. But when focusing on the lyrics, no.
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:iconhedwards:
That's much less common than what the OP is talking about.

I have that as well, synaesthesia is kind of fun sometimes. But, it tends to confuse people when I'm looking with my ears instead of my head. Makes learning foreign languages and picking up accents really easy though.
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:icongagglygoo:
Yeah, I can easily rotate things in my head if they're simple enough. Like, a tank I can do, and a rose too, but I can't do a mech with a human sitting inside it, that's just too much detail.

Sometimes when I begin to spin something, I can't make it stop spinning. Yeah, like a cup will keep spinning forever sometimes. But, usually everything will go okay.
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:iconthesurrealisticmind:
thesurrealisticMind Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
I'm like this as well..
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:icongagglygoo:
What, the spinning thing lol?
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:iconthesurrealisticmind:
thesurrealisticMind Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
yeah haha, but like you, I can only do this with small/medium objects like a cup or a chair.
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:iconopiumtraum:
Yes. I know almost immediately when I've seen something before...remembering where, exactly...not so much. Unfortunately, what I don't have are direct pathways between memory, creativity & the physical act of drawing...so I use references.

The one thing I don't like about a good visual memory, is it's getting more & more difficult to feel original...
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Jan 15, 2013  Professional General Artist
For example when I imagine things 3d and I can rotate them around, animate them, all in my head after only seeing them once or twice.
There's a term for this: spatial intelligence/reasoning.  I would warrant that most visual artists have strong spatial reasoning ability, although this may not necessarily be something innate but improved through training of those skills.

I can recall in pretty exquisite detail every place I lived from the age of 5 on and could pretty easily draw maps for you.  The only difficulty is that I have a hard time drawing the connections between these places beyond a very general sense.  I share your difficulty with street names, but I've always had difficulty with name and number recall.  My grasp in these areas has improved slightly due to travel, and I would have no difficulty naming major streets where I currently live.  Out of necessity, I had to learn these the first few years I was living here, since I didn't have all the familiar landmarks to guide me.   The landmarks I did recognize weren't connected within a larger mental map or the connections were so similar to others that I would end up getting lost when relying on them.
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:iconpuppy-dangerous:
puppy-dangerous Jan 15, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Usually.

Sometimes when I'm drawing I'm just making lines on paper, or I see it as a drawn piece I just 'trace' in my head.

But other times, I see a whole complete scene and I can move my camera around to any angle to have a look.

I tend to look very closely at things, I'll walk around objects to look from every angle, and 'record' it in my head.

I also often record a description of the object as well, though. I'll think about how I would write it down. I've found doing this and the visual memory works better than just one or the other. Ideally, I'd use writing to describe things people are familiar with and drawings to give them a specific image to follow.

I see things as a vague 3d form first, then details get added. So in your example, off the top of my head I'd say 'horse' (need to feed them still this morning), I'd see a sort of vague general equine form then start adding details. I could make it one of MY horses, or make a new horse from parts I've seen before.

I like literal descriptions as well as visual ones, but it's easier to 'force' your image correctly with a drawing. Writing involves to much of the persons mind. You say 'horse' they see a horse THEY know. Even if you describe it in detail, they won't see the exact same horse as you do. But if you draw it right, then you can give them that exact image.
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