What is Atmospheric Perspective? Evil Sloth brought it up in Ventrillo on Friday. I'm always amazed by the depth and atmosphere people can get in their paintings especially environments. Can learning atmospheric perspective allow me to achieve more depth in my artwork?
Thanks for the help!
Atmospheric perspective is showing distance by a gradual de-saturation of color and lightening of darks as objects recede. Basically, it's showing the effects of the air in between objects over distance. The more particles in the air (fog, dust, etc.) the more obvious the effect will be because there are more minute particles floating around to catch the light. The easiest way to observe this is to go outside and look at the landscape nearest the horizon (be it buildings, mountains, etc.). You should notice that the darkest areas in distant objects are much lighter than those of objects close to you, and the colors will be more muted.
"Every little step considered one at a time is not terribly daunting" - Ethan Coen
Thanks Dave. I'll try to pay attention to that in my next painting.
This is the look I am talking about:
Painting by James Paick
Does atmospheric perspective have a lot to do with the depth? I can definitely see a decrease in contrast towards the left. Is there a way to use it in a single figure or a painting that focuses on a character/creature vs a scene or environment?
adding to what dave said, atmospheric perspective is a system of depth which occurs naturally in the environment.
scale- naturally things closer will seem larger. one techniqute to give the impression of depth is overlapping forms and adjusting placement and scale.
color- on earth the atmosphere narurally has a blue-ish gray hue to it. you don't really notice it unless youre looking great distances. as the landscape stretches out things will become less saturated (intense in color) and take on a slight blue colorization.
contrast (tonality/texture)- because partially of the color element which i just mentioned and because our eyes naturally can't percieve detail in as much clarity as closer objects. an artist can utilize this to have the greatest value range in the foreground and have the tonal range become more limited as the distance increases. same is ture for texture. up close you can see the threads on your shirt right? if someone is standing a healthy distance away, you wouldnt go about trying to portray every last stitch of fabric to be 'accurate' would you? texture gets difused and blurs out into obscurity as distance is increased.
here's a picture i jacked from google and threw some atmospheric notes on.
depth also has a lot to do with repeating elements and making them smaller as they receede in space. The viewer recognizes that these elements are the same, and because they get smaller and smaller, the illusion of depth is created.
Also, I think I read it in the notes thread for revelations, but jason says that atmospheric perspective can be shifts of anything as the object recedes to create depth, it can be a hue shift, constrast shift, edge quality shift, whatever!
the most common is what has already been explained though.
edit: Also, A lot of artists neglect this but A real neat trick is to get atmospheric perspective showing through in a single mountain for example. most often when people are painting mountains, like the example above, all of them have their specific depth, without much atmospheric perspective change on the individual mountains... and It kind of flattens them out somewhat... but if for example you paint a single mountain receeding into space, getting more and more atmospheric perspective, it really adds to the depth side of things! thats what I think anyway.
and by the way, A good rule to follow when picking the colour of far away objects is to pick the sky colour, darken it a little bit and paint away!
Last edited by archipelago; January 15th, 2008 at 05:20 AM.