Art: Perspective Process Thread

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    Perspective Process Thread

    Let's start a thread where those talented artists who have mastered the use of perspective can give us a glimpse of their process (be it digital or traditional).

    I don't know about everyone else, but I find that merely knowing the laws of perspective isn't enough. I either end up so muddying my work with perspective lines until it becomes unworkable or I suck the all the energy out of the final. I for one would greatly benefit by seeing how the rest of you stay sane during this right-brained side to our left-brained industry.

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    2nd'ed.

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    I have a ton of day job meetings right now, but I hate to see the whole community leave you guys hanging. I hope you can forgive the crudity of the drawings I have here. You can make much better drawings once you know how to show their proportions in space.

    In traditional media use something like a 4H pencil and don't push down hard enough to inscribe a channel in the paper. In digital, put these lines in a layer you can later hide.
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    This will be one point perspective this week. In step 0ne draw a horizon and then draw one vanishing point somewhere on that horizon.
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    Then you would draw a two dimensional shape that leads toward the three dimensional shape you will eventually need. (stick with me here, I hope it will become more clear).
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    Then you can draw a line from each corner of the two dimensional shape back to the vanishing point. The other corners of a three dimensional shape can be defined by those lines toward the vanishing point. They are merely guidelines to show you how things gradually seem to be smaller as they become farther from you.
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    Here is the point that you can begin to see why you are doing these shapes. Everything in the world fits inside some kind of basic shape. I am making a Toyota Scion in the box and a boat seen from underneath using the cylinder. Cylinders are, of course, great for space ships and airplanes.
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    Chairs are basically modified boxes.
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    Complex shapes, such as the front end of the Sulaco troop ship from Aliens, or a cityscape seen from great altitude can be done in one point perspective. Just erase away the lines that wouldn't be visible, including the ones that are hidden because they are behind a solid object.
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    Other very complex shapes can be made by making shapes in multiple sections, or shapes within shapes.
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    I would like to see more examples. I am struggling with perspective. I have a ton of resources, yet I can't get a grasp on it. How do I incorporate the figure into a scene? How do I get the point of view that I am aiming for?

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    Understood. More examples next week, including moving on to FUNdamental 2 point and three point. I'd do it now but I have to spend the next four days in So. Cal. attending mandatory continuing education classes (so I don't lose professional licenses I really need). With more time I hope to be able to make drawings that look a little more polished.

    For a slew of one point perspective environments, go to the past Environment of the Week community activity thread known as "Tunnel City" which is a topic that screams out for one point perspective.

    The tunnel city episode happened about the first week of May, 2007, so you'll have to set your "show threads" option to show the old stuff or else do a search for that thread.

    Last edited by arttorney; September 26th, 2007 at 05:25 PM.
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    Hello! This thread has the potential to be a great resource. Thanks for starting it. I happen to be in the process of teaching perspective to my mentees. I can copy those assignments in here for anyone else seeking to learn.

    ******************
    [edit] I'm going to start a new thread with this stuff.

    Last edited by Seedling; October 1st, 2007 at 12:23 PM.
    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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    The perpective nugget

    I'm a high school art teacher, and I help students understand perspective all the time.
    Itís really very easy, once you get rid of some bad ideas.
    First, I don't use the word perspective, Ďcause it has connotations of using a ruler to make a road go into the distance.
    I say POINT of VIEW, instead of "perspective"
    The most important thing about UNDERSTANDING point of view, is not that all the receding lines go to that little dot... its realizing that YOU are the little dot.
    That dot, (called the vanishing point) moves where you move, it goes where you go. If you are up high, it goes up high on your picture plane. If you are to the left, the vanishing point goes to the left on your picture plane.
    Don't even call it a vanishing point any more... call it your "eyeball."

    From now on, wherever you get ready to start a drawing, decide where you want your POINT OF VIEW to be from, and thatís where your vanishing point goes.

    P.S all of the above is for Ď1 point liner perspective.' Which is only useful if you are inside something; like a room or tunnel or roadway, for everything else, there is 2,3,4, and even the never used 5 point linear perspective (all of which I may try to come back and explain laterÖ if Iím not too lazy.)

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    Psst. . . Lanham, Iím just getting warmed up. You might be interested in checking out my concept Art 101 assignments for your class. The link is in my sig.

    I donít get to invent the names of the things Iím teaching. Iím merely passing it along.

    Iíll be right back. . .

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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    Just for clarity what I'd like to see in this thread is less of the academics of perspective (there is value in that, but most of the people here already have had the acedemics) and more about the application of those academics.

    I'll post something here shortly about how I use 3D software to make very generic shapes to find perspective in my work. But I'd love to see some real world process examples from others.

    You know, hear some of the pros say "here was a perspective challenge and how I met it".

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    Perhaps someone else can fill in with that. I'm posting these assignments here because I happen to already be writing them for my students, and I know there are others here who don't yet know the basics.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Dubu View Post
    Just for clarity what I'd like to see in this thread is less of the academics of perspective (there is value in that, but most of the people here already have had the acedemics) and more about the application of those academics.
    I know it's your thread and you're talking about what you intended for the thread- but I think it's worth mentioning there's a surprising number of people here who don't understand the fundamentals of perspective very well.

    However, I think you're talking about seeing ways people apply those fundamentals in specific situations, which would be really helpful.

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    Here's some stuff in the way of examples that I drew with ballpoint during a particularly boring class last weekend (not an art class). Thinking about what Valor had said about examples and about fitting people in, I decided to draw a 1 point with two figures running away from a house that are staggered in distance from the viewer and not running single file like an ascent of man poster. I also decided to include several people flying on some kind of flying jetskis. The house is seen exactly straight on because as soon as you have a corner pointed to you you have entered two point perspective.
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    To do the staggered figures I am using the two vertical line segments of a rectangle in perspective to make them so they are not in single file, and yet their heights will be in relationship.
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    The people on flying jetskis I could visualize as fitting inside of sections of the 3d shape carved out of triangle based perspective shapes. Thus, I have a couple of telescoped triangles and a big telescoped rectangle in my first drawing. I then begin to define out the three dimensional sections the jetskis will fit inside and make the gestural action lines of my ground figures (to help me as I draw everything together and make sure that the farther away things are correctly partially blocked by the nearer things).
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    Once I have gotten that far I can begin trying to focus in on the tapers of the figures and solidify them. As to the house, I reason that the door of it will be somewhat taller than a figure, so I put the door on one of the sides of the rectangle that a running figure is on. That way I can make it be an appropriate size and then decide the size of the rest of the house in relationship to the door.
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    From here my basic shapes and relationships of size and position are established so it is just a process of firming up my lines and rendering out the drawing.
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    All the drawings here are made by putting that first one under a new sheet of paper so I can see where the lines are to go etc., but my scanning software re-cropped a few things for me. I will continue trying to come up with specific examples that I bring up to this point of where the only thing remaining is to actually firm up and render the drawings. It looks like that is the kind of thing people are looking for. Something I had thought of saying this morning is to suggest to people not to think of how far the object or figure is from the viewer, but how far it is from the vanishing point. If you look at how the perspective lines form up, that is what determines how big something seems to be.

    Last edited by arttorney; October 1st, 2007 at 12:31 PM.
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    I agree with Lord Dubu. i would like to see the application of the fundamentals. How does one incorporate the Cone of Vision? How does one arrive at the finished perspective drawing?

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    *shrug* I can see I'm not wanted here. I'll take my posts to a new thread then.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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    Thanks so much! I can't wait to see more!

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    You're welcome. I'm glad I am able to help. Do you think you need any more one point examples, or shall I draw a couple of cars on an intersecting street in a cityscape approaching a collision with one another? (which is two point as long as it is being seen from street level and there are no flying things)

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    I would like to see how cars fit into a scene. How does on establish relationships between objects and people in space?

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    OK. Here's what I got for this for starters. For those who did not have perspective in art school, you have a horizon with two vanishing points in two point perspective. The vertical lines are going to be perpendicular to the horizon. My drawing professor said "parallel to the sides of the paper," but you see a lot of drawings where the horizon is tilted like the viewer is in a flying machine that is banking through a turn. In that case perpendicular to the horizon is the correct statement. Ignore the squiggly lines. The genius who made my scanner program never heard of negative space and I have to fight against the machine cropping for me.
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    How to make a building? Shoot perspective lines from the tips of your vertical line toward each of the vanishing points. Then cut the lines somewhere down there to be the far ends of the building.
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    Erase lines that shouldn't be seen.
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    Repeat the process to make other buildings in your cityscape and define where your streets are going to be.
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    This drawing has some of the hidden lines put back in there with green so i don't lose anybody about how I am coming up with the boundaries of the streets and buildings. Erasure is not even the issue here necessarily. As I am building up these lines with my T square if I can see a line is going to be behind a building I have already drawn, I never draw it in the first place. Everything is just related to one of the vanishing points except the verticals. The verticals are all perpendicular to the horizon.
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    BTW, if anyone is interested, I'm currently going over perspective from the ground up for my mentees, over in our sketchbook thread. http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=106306 I just added three-point perspective this morning, and I plan to go much further in-depth on the subject. Once I've accumulated enough assignments I'll start up a new thread so they'll be easy to find.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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    Now. You are going to want to put sidewalks in your new city. They will shoot out toward your vanishing points. You can relate where they meet by drawing an extension of the building vertical down (here in green) so you know where the sidewalk lines are going to meet.
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    I put another building in the back that is taller than the building it is behind, and it is also set back from the sidewalk a little bit compared to the building it is behind. I also added more street and sidewalk action. Hidden lines for these structural things are in green here. You will probably want to remember to make other lines close to the side walk lines that show curbs. This is just elaboration of the drawing and I haven't put it here. Just remember that everything shoots to one of the vanishing points (unless it is a vertical in which case it is perpendicular to the horizon). I include an example of how to do inset 3d detail on windows and doors. If it is above the horizon you will be able to see the top and farthest away vertical inset. If it is below the horizon you see the bottom and farthest away vertical inset. The magenta lines are the hidden lines that lead to how the blue lines of the window are oriented.
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    Now for the good stuff for Valor. I have decided to put a low slung car like a Ferrari, a bus, and a person in this drawing. At 6'1" I am damn near twice as tall as a Ferrari. I pick the height of the Ferrari as my unit of measure and draw a stick figure near it so I can try to get the sizes to relate. I actually want my human to be endangered by the bus so I relate my person horizontally across the picture plane. You can draw rectangles around each of these figures and shoot the rectangles back to each of the vanishing points. This way you will have a record of how tall a person has to be at each distance down each of the streets (in case you want to overpopulate your city).
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    Here I am starting to firm up the lines of my vehicles. I had drawn the first vertical for the bus to be twice as tall as the figure here if the bus was in direct collision with that human. In the drawing the bus is not apparently twice as tall as the figure, but that is because the bus is back a little bit toward that right vanishing point. I have three more tracings of the buildings without the cars and human if there are follow up questions, etc.
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    Psst. . . don't forget that you'll need to use two points of perspective on those vehicles, too.

    Last edited by Seedling; October 3rd, 2007 at 01:27 PM.
    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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    Hum i have never understood what the hard thing is about perspective? can anyone show me something difficult? i mean doing a 2pts / 3pts perspective isnt more then drawing some help lines in my oppinion, i surely are wrong but i would like to see advanced perspective or something that is really hard too grasp with it.

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    Armetage, are you saying this because youíve tried it, youíve explored it to the depths of its complexity, and youíre truly baffled as to why people find it difficult; or are you saying this because youíve glanced at these sort of simple beginnerís steps and said to yourself, ďthis is obviousĒ? I see only one sample of one-point perspective on your website, so Iím guessing the latter. So let me warn you: if you assume that this is so easy that you never take the time to learn it properly, then you are hamstringing yourself. I made the same mistake years back of assuming I knew it all, because I was able to grasp the basics intuitively, and it hindered me substantially.

    Check page two of my sketchgarden thread for an intro to three-point perspective. Thatís merely the beginning of where I plan to go with this stuff.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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    Quote Originally Posted by armetage View Post
    Hum i have never understood what the hard thing is about perspective? can anyone show me something difficult? i mean doing a 2pts / 3pts perspective isnt more then drawing some help lines in my oppinion, i surely are wrong but i would like to see advanced perspective or something that is really hard too grasp with it.
    Try drawing a figure in a non-boring, non-standing pose in correct perspective from a non-head-on angle without using a ruler. Make the pose complex enough that it's got about 10 or 12 vanishing points- I'll even be nice and let you construct the figure out of cubes. Heck, I'd even let you just do one hand built out of cubes in a decently complex position.

    When they say to learn perspective, it's necessarily just about drawing street scenes with a couple vanishing points. A street scene is a cinch if you understand the basics of 2 or 3-point perspective. If you want to get really good at figure drawing, you're going to continually hit a ceiling until you understand how perspective works on a really deep level. You'll probably think you need to learn anatomy, but really the problem will be perspective and how to construct complex forms in perspective (knowledge of anatomy will inform that, but it's less fundamental than perspective). Even with a "boring" standing pose, if you are at eye level with the model, you'll be looking down at their feet. You can't have the face from straight on and the feet from straight on as well (unless you're stylizing purposely). This is a problem that plagues most artists- not having a clear sense of the viewpoint and how that affects the forms they are drawing.

    Bottom line: every figure drawing is essentially a very complex perspective construction problem.

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    Hello I thought I could join in on giving some perspective help. I'm not that great at it, but I can demonstrate some how to's like shadows, spiral staircase, etc.

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    This is something I did for class to show you how something could look. Actually this is FILLEd with errors, the figures and half the lines I "fudged" up and don't converge, and I only approximated the shadows. In the end though, realistically you don't have time to make everything correct. Some of it is just intuition. My perspective teacher used to flip through a comic book and show us all the lines he did out of his head without correct perspective.


    Quote Originally Posted by armetage View Post
    Hum i have never understood what the hard thing is about perspective? can anyone show me something difficult? i mean doing a 2pts / 3pts perspective isnt more then drawing some help lines in my oppinion, i surely are wrong but i would like to see advanced perspective or something that is really hard too grasp with it.
    Yes, you are right, perspective is not hard to learn.

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    It just takes f*cking HOURS if you want it done right. I sure as hell can't do this, let alone over 300 pages.

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    Thanks for the examples, Chobo. What manga is that from? I remember flipping through it once, years ago. There really is a mind-boggling amount of perspective usage in it!

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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    It's from Domu by Katsuhiro Otomo. He does the same quality perspective in Akira, which is around 2000 pages long. I've always wanted to see how he does it.

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  29. #28
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    Here is the three point drawing from my Drawing I sketchbook. Is there anybody who doesn't see why the "verticals are no longer vertical" in three point? To avoid the distorted look of this drawing, one might tape the 9x12 paper onto a big piece of newsprint and draw the vanishing points way out to the sides and below on the newsprint. The distortion look increases the closer things are to the vanishing points.
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    Our heroine has gotten to the top of a chain link or a wall or something. The guards are still playing gin rummy in the guard shack.
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    Unfortunately, some big-assed jumping and biting thing, like a Great Dane, is leaping at the last minute to snap at her heel.
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    The guard shack is "over there" and one might be able to do it in two point, if it weren't for the fact that the dog is "down there."

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  30. #29
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    Perspective nugget #2

    Here's a second term I don't use with my students... Horizon Line.
    Instead i say EYE LEVEL.
    If you live on a boat, or in the desert, you are still allowed to say horizon line, because you can always see the horizon- however, for the rest of us there's usually lots of crap, like walls, and ponies, and trucks, blocking our view of the horizon-so think of it only as your EYE LEVEL.

    Your EYE LEVEL is wherever you are in a drawing.
    If your POINT OF VIEW is from above, your EYE LEVEL (formerly called horizon line) is up high in the drawing. Guess where you would put your EYE LEVEL if you wanted a view from down low? I think you know.

    If your POINT OF VIEW is inside of a building, (or tunnel or train tracks or whatever) the receeding lines in your drawing will almost always go to one spot, and that is where your EYEBALL is.

    By definition, your EYEBALL(vanishing point) must be on your EYE LEVEL(horizon line) .
    Thus 1-point linear perspective is born.

    1-point liner perspective is ONLY usefull for drawing the interior of a space.
    for all else there is 2 or 3-point perspective.

    If I werent such a lazy slob, I'd include drawings to better illustrate my point, instead of signing off to go eat ice cream and watch tv with Ms. L. Lanham.
    I swear to God I'll come back and talk about 2-point very soon.


    stuff from earlier: The most important thing about UNDERSTANDING point of view, is not that all the receding lines go to that little dot... its realizing that YOU are the little dot.
    That dot, (called the vanishing point) moves where you move, it goes where you go. If you are up high, it goes up high on your picture plane. If you are to the left, the vanishing point goes to the left on your picture plane.
    Don't even call it a vanishing point any more... call it your "eyeball."

    From now on, wherever you get ready to start a drawing, decide where you want your POINT OF VIEW to be from, and thatís where your vanishing point goes.

    P.S all of the above is for Ď1 point liner perspective.' Which is only useful if you are inside something; like a room or tunnel or roadway, for everything else, there is 2,3,4, and even the never used 5 point linear perspective (all of which I may try to come back and explain laterÖ if Iím not too lazy.)

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  31. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by L. Lanham View Post
    Don't even call it a vanishing point any more... call it your "eyeball.")
    Dang, thatís even more confusing. Have you had a look at the perspective assignments Iíve been posting for my mentees in our sketchgarden sketchbook? I would like to know if they pass muster in the confusing department before I post them.

    Donít worry, Iím doing those example drawings for you. Coming soon.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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