Compact description of far-field optical interactions between plasmonic nanocomposites and adjacent media permits facile a priori design of devices for light manipulation. Limited tractability of nanoscale descriptions at device-architectures previously limited development of plasmonic devices. Optical interactions between nanocomposites and adjacent optical elements, a simple device, are describable using infinite linear algebraic sums. Influence of plasmonic absorption and non-linear phenomena on device performance are distinguishable from measured transmission, reflection, and attenuation (resonant and non-resonant losses) of nanocomposites featuring nanoparticles in multiple dimensions. Two- and threedimensional distributions of gold nanoparticles supported by silica and poly(dimethylsiloxane) substrates, respectively, are considered. A unique ternary map of transmission, reflection, and attenuation correlates far-field optical behavior to nanoparticle density and opacity of the adjacent element. Intuitive, visual specification of nanoparticle density and adjacent media needed to obtain a desired optical behavior is possible using the ternary map. The compact model and ternary map provide useful tools for the design and integration of plasmonic nanocomposites into photonic devices for sustainable energy and biomedical applications.