Learning to see in 3D
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    Learning to see in 3D

    I hope this is the right place for this, sorry if it's not.

    I read everywhere that it is key to learn to see everything around you in 3D in order to understand shapes and how to draw them, I see people drawing faces built from planes etc...

    But how do I go about teaching this to myself? I mean, I could go ahead and draw planes on a face to teach myself how the human face curves and stuff, but I doubt I would be doing it right...

    Thanks for every answer in advance!

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    FourTonMantis is offline Without vision we will die Level 11 Gladiator: Essedarii
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cranberry View Post
    I could go ahead and draw planes on a face to teach myself how the human face curves and stuff, but I doubt I would be doing it right...
    You're wrong. That is a great place to start.

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    a great place to start would be to practice drawing basic shapes from as many views as possible. do pages of just cubes, cylinders, etc to get the feel of perspective and forshortening.

    i would also suggest taking an everyday object and doing studies of it from different views. place it in multiple angles and observe the forms, if you do it from life youll learn alot. then slowly work up to more complex forms like the human head and figure

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    exactly what they say above. don't be afraid, just draw, and you'll start to understand soon enough. maybe take a book like the loomis, or bridgman one, that seems to be very helpful.

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    Thanks everyone for the replies!

    Very busy period for school atm and exams are coming up as well so I do NOT get to draw as much as I'd wish to but when all is done I'm getting back into it.

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    OmenSpirits is offline Commercial-Illustrator in-training, NOT an artist. Level 13 Gladiator: Retiarius
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    study perspective.

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
    -John Huston, Director
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    structural drawings of objects and figures helped me tremendously. Draw from life, and focus on the 3D form rather than shading. I also found structural drawings help me see 3D in photos better.

    here's an example of a structural drawing of a human I found online. It's not the best example but it's the first one I could find. You should aim to have less shading than this. But the cut-through lines across the form are essential.



    You could start from simple still life like an apple or a box, and go from there - TV, game controllers, hands, figure... It might be a bit weird to begin with, and forcing yourself to not focusing on surface textures and lighting might be difficult, but it's well worth the effort in the end.

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    Can't you see in 3D?

    Only have one eye?

    Last edited by George Abraham; January 13th, 2010 at 08:42 AM.
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    What helped me a bit at the beginning was drawing simple still lifes as if they were made out of glass and I mean by that including the other edges that are not visible (full ellipses in jar/bottle, other sides of the box). Also cut-through lines across the form for more complex objects. Nightblue mentioned those already. In first stages the transparent/wireframe "mode" can be draw lightly and then you can put strong lines where the contours on form create external silhouette.

    This exercise is not about making nice drawing but showing the form by revealing to the viewer the process of how it's constructed.

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    Another way I've been told but have not yet tried is to start getting into sculpting and some say specifically the skeletal structure.

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    sculpting is by far the best way to start really seeing 3D. It worked for Michaelangelo.

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    Sculpting is great fun, everyone should make a lumpy clay copy of their pals head at least once.

    It's like 3D in that "not essential but kinda fun" way..

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    Definitely just constantly observing and doing studies of objects, will help with realizing form in a mentally tangible manner.

    Cross-contour drawing might help a bit with realizing form, which is essentially just drawing lines across objects, that follow the form. It's like painting everything in your room white and then painting thin black parallel lines over everything... and then drawing that room from life. The end result should look like something CG wireframe images. Cross-contour is a very physical way of drawing, in the sense that one skims the surface of the object being drawn, almost as one would if they drew on the object directly.

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    3D modeling is also helpful because you can see 4 views SIMULTANEOUSLY, though it does vary on how well different individuals can process all 4 at once...

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    Thanks a lot! Great input from everyone, except for zaorr -.-'

    Exams now, draw later!

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    OK, OK....

    I'll try to give you something.

    You don't need to learn to see in 3D, you already do.

    It's what you do when you look at your page, it's a matter of projecting the feeling of space, to fool the mind that the page is not flat but actually "space", you need to feel the space you allocate in your feeling before you draw. It's a sensation more than something you see and it happens before you start drawing what you feel.

    Practice drawing 3d objects in mid air, where you don't have a flat surface limiting your movement as you follow the contour. Like drawing a line around the axis of a sphere, now thake the rythm of that movement and do the same on a page. Or Draw a circle around a spere in mid air in a 45 degree angle away from you, but continue that movement round and round then close one eye, and notice the 2D elipse you are drawing but also the feeling of the rythm. Try to recreate that on paper.

    Vilpu has a good system for helping your mind to be entertained by the idea of being able to achieve that trick, he'd use words like "over" and exxagerate a movement with his arms and hand to make his student's feel that, he's actually feeling the object as a dimension before he draws a line around it's surface.

    The more time you spend stretching and expanding that bubble before you draw the better.

    As someone have said before here somewhere it's just that we don't think well enough. or some anime book that didn't make sense "You draw to much"

    Last edited by George Abraham; January 25th, 2010 at 09:07 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaorr View Post


    OK, OK....

    I'll try to give you something.

    You don't need to learn to see in 3D, you already do.

    It's what you do when you look at your page, it's a matter of projecting, to fool the mind that the page is not flat but actually "space", you need to feel the space you allocate in your feeling before you draw. It's a sensation more than something you see and it happens before you start drawing what you feel.

    Practice drawing 3d objects in mid air, where you don't have a flat surface limiting your movement as you follow the contour. Like drawing a line around the axis of a sphere, now thake the rythm of that movement and do the same on a page.

    Vilpu has a good system for helping your mind to be entertained by the idea of being able to achieve that trick, he'd use words like "over" and exxagerate a movement with his arms and hand to make his student's feel that, he's actually feeling the object as a dimention before he draws a line around it's surface.

    The more time you spend stretching and expanding that bubble before you draw the better.

    As someone have said before here somewhere it's just that we don't think well enough. or some anime book that didn't make sense "You draw to much"
    THIS. There comes a point where you stop drawing drawing flat, and when you begin to draw you just feel like there is depth on the page, before you even put down lines. Then it's just a matter of laying the figure down. Drawing basic shapes on the page like spheres with axes on them, and blocks and cylinders are exceedingly helpful to understand how to trick your mind into thinking this way. You can't make a good illusion on the page for others unless you trick yourself into believing the lie of form you are creating.

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  23. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaorr View Post


    OK, OK....

    I'll try to give you something.

    You don't need to learn to see in 3D, you already do.

    It's what you do when you look at your page, it's a matter of projecting the feeling of space, to fool the mind that the page is not flat but actually "space", you need to feel the space you allocate in your feeling before you draw. It's a sensation more than something you see and it happens before you start drawing what you feel.

    Practice drawing 3d objects in mid air, where you don't have a flat surface limiting your movement as you follow the contour. Like drawing a line around the axis of a sphere, now thake the rythm of that movement and do the same on a page. Or Draw a circle around a spere in mid air in a 45 degree angle away from you, but continue that movement round and round then close one eye, and notice the 2D elipse you are drawing but also the feeling of the rythm. Try to recreate that on paper.

    Vilpu has a good system for helping your mind to be entertained by the idea of being able to achieve that trick, he'd use words like "over" and exxagerate a movement with his arms and hand to make his student's feel that, he's actually feeling the object as a dimension before he draws a line around it's surface.

    The more time you spend stretching and expanding that bubble before you draw the better.

    As someone have said before here somewhere it's just that we don't think well enough. or some anime book that didn't make sense "You draw to much"
    I am amazed at how much I've improved over night simply from actually thinking about the shape I am drawing... Now that I read your post it also all makes sense all of the sudden. I know we see 3D by default unless you lost an eye, but understanding that it is necessary to draw efficiently is pretty much a whole new thing for me... I've been drawing on a whole new level this past week and if I may say so myself the difference is enormous, it's like I've been stuck in a bad routine but I've been learning nonetheless, I've just not been using it, and now it's all coming out...

    Thanks again for the input!

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    Nothing better than working from life, that is why I recommend one of these

    http://www.planesofthehead.com/

    You can light it or turn any way you want to after awhile you start to see the planes in your mind when you look at anything.

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