» Dynamic Symmetry Grids for Photographers and Painters

Dynamic Symmetry Grids for Photographers and Painters


Dynamic Symmetry Grids are here!

Hello to all of the artists out there, I’m excited to make available these amazing dynamic symmetry grids! I’ve had a lot of inquiries about these, so I really wanted to put the time into it and make the best dynamic symmetry grids ever. Convenient, easy to use, and ready to print!

I used these helpful grids (armatures) for my photography, but not in the way you might think. They helped me break the habit of plotting on a third like the rule of thirds grid. Man was that tough to break!

Taking the time and using the dynamic symmetry grids on my camera LCD helped me capture photos while incorporating coincidences (see Day 48) for more unity and movement, and rhythm by using gamut (see Day 38). Painters can use this same idea to capture reference photos and easily transfer the grid they used to their canvas.

I’ve also used the grids on my computer to analyze 100’s of master paintings and photographs. These simple, yet sophisticated grids are super convenient tools and provide the foundation you need to create a remarkable masterpiece.

FREE SAMPLES: test the grids out on your computer, camera, ipad, and phone  🙂 Adjust them in Photoshop, or print onto transparency film. Both US and European Sizes are available.

US Letter Size (8.5 x 11in) Phi Rectangle Grid download

Europe A4 Size (210 x 297mm) Phi Rectangle Grid download

*The Master Pass members can enjoy 9 essential grids that have been updated and are available for free download on the Resources page.

Dynamic Symmetry Grids: From Camera, to Canvas Video

In this video I show you how the dynamic symmetry grids can be used to move seamlessly from camera to canvas. I also show how to create the basic armature of the root phi rectangle.

How to Draw Dynamic Symmetry Grids with Simple Math

Here’s a great video showing you how to easily draw the dynamic symmetry grids with simple math.


Too Long, Didn’t Read…I just want to BUY EVERYTHING!

Don’t feel like reading more about the grids, and just want to buy everything now? Click on the PayPal button below and you’ll get everything!  This way if/when you change your gear, you will always have a grid available. Individual prices are listed in the same drop down menu.

Dynamic Symmetry Grids PACKAGE Includes:
1. All 56 high resolution individual grids for computer use.
2. All 14 high resolution PHI grids inspired by Ghyka
3. All camera grids (24 grids, Three sizes-3 inch, 3.2″, and M43)
4. All phone grids (24 grids, 12 different phones total)
5. All iPad grids (24 grids, Two sizes- 9.7″ and 12.9″)
6. PDF on Dynamic Symmetry (included in all downloads)
7. PDF on Overlapping Root Rectangles (included in Package and Computer downloads)

*Both US (8.5 x 11in) and European (210 x 297mm) sizes are available in each download.

Download Size for Grids PACKAGE: 471.6 MB
Download Size for Computer Grids: 206.5 MB
Download Size for Phone Grids: 146.8 MB
Download Size for Camera Grids: 36.5 MB
Download Size for iPad Grids: 90.6 MB

*After purchasing the grids you will receive an email with your download password. I will send the email ASAP, but please allow 3-8 hours for time zone differences. If your email is different than what is in PayPal, please email me a current one. Making money is far less important to me than making people happy 😉


Dynamic Symmetry Grids

Instinctive art without mental control is bound to fail. ~ Jay Hambidge

All 70 Dynamic Symmetry Grids Listed: For Computer Use

All of the dynamic symmetry grids are listed below and there are tons to use on your computer for analyzing or designing a photograph or painting. There are 70 total! This includes 56 various rectangle grids, and 14 phi rectangle grids. All high resolution grids have ratios embedded on them so you’ll never forget. Plus, there are a ton of different layouts that have never been seen before (like overlapping rectangles).

Square– Basic, MAD
Phi (aka Golden Section, Golden Mean, Golden Rectangle, Divine Proportion, etc) – Basic, MAD, Whirling Squares, Overlapping 1, Overlapping 1 MAD 6, Overlapping 1 MAD 24
Root Phi– Basic, MAD, Overlapping 1 MAD 6, Overlapping 1 MAD 24
Root 5– Basic, MAD, 5 Side by Side, 2 Overlapping Phi, Overlapping 1, Overlapping 1 MAD 45, Overlapping 2, Overlapping 2 MAD 40, Overlapping 3, Overlapping 3 MAD 35, Overlapping 4, Overlapping 4 MAD 30
Root 4– Basic, MAD, 4 Side by Side, Three 1.5’s, Overlapping 1, Overlapping 1 MAD 28, Overlapping 2, Overlapping 2 MAD 24, Overlapping 3, Overlapping 3 MAD 20
Root 3– Basic, MAD, 3 Side by Side, Overlapping 1, Overlapping 1 MAD 15, Overlapping 2, Overlapping 2 MAD 12
Root 2– Basic, MAD, 2 Side by Side, Overlapping 1, Overlapping 1 MAD 6,  Overlapping 1 MAD 24
1.5– Basic, MAD, 3 Root 4’s
Micro 4/3– Basic, MAD, 1.5 Side by Side, 3 Root 4’s
Phi Inspired by Ghyka– 14 different phi grids inspired by Ghyka’s book “The Geometry of Art and Life”
Diagonal Gauge– including diagonals for the square, root phi, root 2, 1.5, phi, root 3, root 4, root 5

Size of Grids:
Averaging 10 inches wide (3000px), Height varies
Resolution: 300dpi
Line colors: Both white and black
Formats: TIFF (with transparent background, JPEG (with white or black background)

How to Use the Dynamic Symmetry Grids

These grids can be used by artists of any kind to be printed or used on a computer. When I use the grids to analyze master paintings or photos I always use Photoshop. I create an action to place the dynamic symmetry grid onto the master work. I also use the grids to analyze my own photographs, and help design drawings or potential paintings.

Here’s a photo I designed with the Phi Rectangle Grid.



Here’s a preliminary drawing I created by first designing it in Photoshop with the grids (before I had nice grids) , then drawing it out with Conte Pencil.


Here we see “Pop-Tart Roasting Over Vegetables” preliminary drawing. Eventually I might make a painting out of this.



Free Articles to Understand the Dynamic Symmetry Grids

To help you understand  the dynamic symmetry grids, I’m going to include two FREE PDF articles with the grid package and computer grids. These won’t be available for cameras, phones, or iPads because they aren’t serviceable…meaning these are mainly used for painters or for analyzing paintings.

The first free article is “The Simplicity & Beaty of Dynamic Symmetry” (see Day 14) , which covers how the root rectangles are constructed from the square, the ratios, and the root rectangle grids.

You’ll also get a PDF of “Composition with Overlapping Root Rectangles” (see #419), which will help you understand how to properly overlap root rectangles. You might have noticed from the list of grids that there are some new terms. To simplify the terminology, “Overlapping 1,” means it’s a bigger rectangle than “Overlapping 3.” The number “1” refers to the increment (see PDF to understand).

When it reads “MAD 45”, this just means “Major Area Divisions” and the number refers to how many smaller rectangles are within the two overlapping mother rectangles. So, if the dynamic symmetry grid reads “Root 5: Overlapping MAD 45, Increment 1” it means there are two overlapping root 5 rectangles on the first increment, with 45 smaller root 5 rectangles within them. You can see this in the simplified example above.


Phi Rectangle Grids Inspired by Ghyka

If you’ve been learning about phi and dynamic symmetry, then you’ve probably heard of Matil Ghyka, the author of “The Geometry of Art and Life” (Affiliate Link: http://amzn.to/2j98o1Y). It’s a great book even though it’s loaded with mathematical equations that I’ll never understand.

While I was reading the book for reference, I saw the various phi rectangles that Ghyka displayed in the book. I thought it would be fun to recreate these and make them available to artists that are interested in using the phi rectangle in their work.

These phi grids are awesome, and there’s 14 of them! Twelve of them can be seen in the example above. These are meant for the computer because they are mostly serviceable to painters, graphic designers, and illustrators. They can be used for photography, but it would be best to have them on the computer to design your photograph…as opposed to an LCD.

Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art. ~ Frank Lloyd Wright


Dynamic Symmetry Grids are Excellent for your Camera, Phone, and iPad

The dynamic symmetry grids are perfectly sized to fit your camera LCD, phone, and iPad. This way you have grids no matter what camera you are using. You’ll get 24 of the most useful grids in each option (details further below).

Do we really need a grid for iPad’s? Yes, I’ll give you an example. I own a Canon 6D with WIFI capabilities. This means I can use my iPad for the LCD instead of the smaller one on the camera. I can place the printed grid onto the iPad and have a larger area to help me compose the image. Perfect!

Sheets are ready to print and available in PSD (Photoshop File) to adjust as necessary. Why would you need to adjust them? Well, as you work with them on location or in the studio, you’ll start to favor certain rectangles…depending on your subjects. This way you can adjust the file to have several of the same rectangle on one sheet to save on printing costs.

How to Use the Dynamic Symmetry Grids Video

To use the dynamic symmetry grids on your LCD screen is a piece of cake. I’ve got a video below to show you how I use them. There’s also an updated video above that shows how to draw the grid onto canvas.

PRINT: You’ll have to get them printed onto transparency film. You can also use window cling decals, but I’ve never tried them. The transparency film works great and it’s durable. I usually go to FedEx Office to get them printed, but other office supply stores will work too. Just give them a thumb drive or email them the sheets you need printed…everything is sized to print onto an 8.5 x 11 sheet (do not resize for printing, it will mess up the dimensions for your LCD).

CUT: Grab some scissors or have the office supply store cut them…they charge for it though. You can cut on the black border, but I usually leave approximately 1/16″ of clear transparency film on the outside of the black border.

TAPE: Use removable double-sided tape to adhere to your LCD, it works great and I recommend this for a cleaner aesthetic (Affiliate Link: http://amzn.to/2ilmzj2). I keep the tape on the grid and it can be used later. With my phone I take the grid off when not using it and adhere it to the back of my case. This way I always have a grid with me!

Size of Grid Sheets: 
8.5 x 11
Resolution: 300dpi
Line colors: 
Black for printing
TIFF, JPEG, and PSD (Photoshop format for adjusting)
Camera LCD Sizes:
Micro Four Thirds (Panasonic, Olympus), 3 inch LCD (Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sony), 3.2″ LCD (Canon, Nikon)
Phones and Screen Sizes and Brands: iPhone 7- 4.7″, iPhone 7 Plus- 5.5″, iPhone SE (or 5S)- 4″, Google Pixel XL- 5.5″, Samsung Galaxy Edge S7- 5.5″, HTC 10- 5.2″, Sony Xperia Z5- 5.5″, Huawei Mate 9- 5.9″, LG G5- 5.3″, Motorola Moto X Force- 5.4″, Nexus 6P- 5.7″, OnePlus 3T- 5.5″,
iPad Screen Sizes: 9.7″, 12.9″


Dynamic Symmetry Being Used by Masters

Take a look at the masterful pieces of art below to see what it looks like when the grids are placed onto them. You’ll see how the masters like Vincent Van Gogh used these to create unity, movement and rhythm throughout their work. He uses the root phi rectangle in his chair painting.

Usually I will use the white grids and a darkened background to analyze paintings, but the black grids can also be used. In this next example by Euan Uglow I placed the black grids and lightened the background.

Uglow uses two root phi rectangles side by side.

Salvador Dali uses the phi rectangle to compose this next painting. You will see a small square in the lower section of the grid. Draw a line up from this and you’ll see how it creates a square. Four lines can be seen to designate the location of the square.

Pablo Picasso uses two phi rectangles that are stacked onto each other.

Several sculptors created this statue of Laocoon by designing it in a root phi rectangle.

Henri Cartier-Bresson always used the diagonals and reciprocals of the 1.5 rectangle. The 1.5 rectangle is the same size as most camera sensors.

Gustav Klimt used overlapping phi rectangles in his painting. We can see him using a grid of 24 smaller phi rectangles.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau uses the root 2 rectangle to design this remarkable painting of the “Birth of Venus”.

Annie Leibovitz uses the root 4 rectangle to organize this group of celebrity woman (see Day 2). We can also see how three 1.5 rectangles fit perfectly inside the root 4 and can be used to design the photo.

The cinematographer of Game of Thrones, Alik Sakharov, uses the root 3 rectangle to help compose this scene. The root 3 rectangle (ratio=1.732) has a ratio that is very close to the 16:9 frame ratio (ratio= 1.777), so it can be used by cinematographers to compose their scenes.  The root 5 rectangle (ratio=2.236) can also be used because it has a ratio that is very close to the 21:9 frame ratio (ratio=2.333).


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