Generally we work with 3 levels of visualization. Low-level visualization includes creation of markers, middle level visualization enables linking and other marker manipulations, high-level visualization enables creation of virtual worlds with coplex hierarchies of chunked markers.
Lev explains visualization exercisesEdit
Here I present some visualization exercises in order of difficulty. Do them in order, moving on to the next one only when you have mastered the first.
Find a photograph, and take your time to analyze it. Memorize every detail you can. Then simply close your eyes and try to recreate it in your mind. Bring in as much as you can: the colors, the birds in the sky, the freckles on the skin — whatever is there. Open your eyes to get more detail if you have to. Remember that this is not a test: do it until you get good at it.
[This is Anna's favourite exercise. You cannot imagine how many times Lev failed it :)]
For the second exercise, we’re going three-dimensional. This time, take up a small object: perhaps your pen or your keys. Again, analyze all the details and memorize it. Take your time. Now, close your eyes, and see the object mentally. The challenge here is to start rotating it. See every detail, but from all angles. If you feel comfortable, begin to bring in some surroundings. Place it on an imaginary table. Shine a few lights on it and imagine the shadows flickering.
3. Multiple sensesEdit
Think of a pleasant location. I like to use my favorite beach. Now, imagine yourself in it. It’s important to be in the scene, not just thinking of it. Bring in your other senses, one by one. What can you hear? Are the leaves rustling, are there people talking in the background? What about the sense of touch? Can you feel the sand you are standing on? What about smell? Can you imagine eating an ice-cream, and feeling it slide down your throat? Again, make sure that you are in the scene, not just thinking of it. Make this mental movie as strong and vibrant and detailed as you can. Now — begin moving around, interacting with things. Pick up a rock. Sit on a bench. Run in the water. Roll around in the sand.
Realism is the most important consideration in visualization. Soldiers train in almost exactly the same gear they are going to wear in combat. None of them got really good just by playing shooting games on the computer or by playing paintball. It is the same with mental training. Everything has to be as realistic as possible. Carry over all your flaws and fears into my mental arena, any improvements made there would also begin to carry over into the real world.
Draw it out One of the first things I try to do before visualizing anything complex; is to draw it out. Do I need to visualize purple spheres or blue horses? Whatever it is I draw them in detail on paper. By drawing what one needs to visualize; it jump starts the mind and it serves as a point of reference to embellish from.
[This is another exercise Anna is fond of. Students are usually sceptic about their doodling and need to be convinced that even the worst kind of drawing is useful. By analysing the way you draw things you can learn about your visualization style.]
Write down what you see An excellent exercise, and it can be done for any creative project; is to write down what you see. Go to a secluded place with a pad and pen. Sit down and write down everything you see for 30 minutes. Be as descriptive as you can. If there is a rock next to you; don’t just write “there is a rock next to me.” Write what color the rock is; what size it; the texture; the imperfections in it; how it looks. Don’t leave anything to the imagination.
Create a mnemonic device Sometimes improving memory can help to improve visualization ability. Make a mnemonic device to help you visualize. Get a rock or bracelet, a ring, anything will work. The objective here is to think of a green sphere around the object every-time you see it. Put the rock in your pocket. Now when you see the rock in your pocket visualize a green sphere around it. Over time this becomes instinct to envision a green sphere around it.
Reduce to simplicity If you need to visualize a complex structure like a temple or mansion then look for simple shapes. Pick out shapes of squares, circles, and triangles. Then add details later. If the visualized base structure isn’t developed then one cant expect the details to be spot on too.
Get a soundtrack or a smell Smells and scents, music and auditory components can greatly aid in the visualization of something. If you hear a bark or meow you immediately visualize a dog or cat. The animal has become associated with the sound. Why not create sounds to match your visualizations? Play an album or music dedicated with the purpose of visualization. Now whenever you need to visualize the music will aid in recall.
Look for shapes in clouds Sometimes creativity needs to be sparked. You can give it that spark by looking at clouds or spilled liquid and trying to find shapes. I myself used to see countless worlds in the flecks on speckled ceilings. Seeing shapes and things in clouds promotes imagination.
Make an imaginary friend This technique can get quite advanced very quickly. Make an imaginary friend. Give your friend a name and start by having conversations in your head with your new friend. Over time add details to your friend; give them a hat, or claws. Make them into whatever you want. The longer you have your friend and the more detailed your friend becomes the better you get at visualizing.
[This is good for those who are "people person"s and have difficulty with visualizing inanimate objects. Pretty specific mindhack...]
I prefer more traditional visualization methods. Before my kids were born I used to meditate a lot. Here is a description of how I used to visualize when meditating:
You start with a point. A black point on white background is very precise and holds your focus. When your focus is fully attracted to the point, you start to increase it into a circle. The circle encompasses several things and you can bring shapes into and out of it with the power of your mind. Increase the circle as much as you can without loosing intensity of your focus, and bring in a simple inanimate object: a flower, a statuette, a candle. Make the object rotate and dance in your imagination. Try to experience it with all senses. When the object becomes lively try to transform it into a specific person. Visualize the person in all details. Generate a conversation with the person, to the point where you are drawn into conversation. At some point both the circle and the person disappear, and you drift to magical landscapes created by your imagination as the result of your conversation….