Finding car proportions (Scott Robertson)

# Thread: Finding car proportions (Scott Robertson)

1. ## Finding car proportions (Scott Robertson)

Hey everyone, in need of some help here!

I'm working through Scott Robertsons car DVD, but have some trouble figuring out how to get the proportion sketches right. From what I can see, he basically draws any kind of ellipse to begin with, then a square around that and just multiplies the square to find the length of the vehicle. Trying this technique, I keep running into this issue (where the minor axis meet don't line up with the vanishing point of the square on the horizon line).

(Pardon the color)

I've tried rewatching the bit he does on this technique and I for the life of me can't figure out what I'm doing wrong in the process, even though it would seem like a basic thing to do. I also don't understand how he mirrors the square to the other side with an ellipse (what determines the width of the ellipse, can't you draw any kind of ellipse while still hitting the center point of the wheel and have the verticals match?).

Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

2. Noob in Painting Level 1 Gladiator: Andabatae
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I think you should understand the basic perspective first before you bought his DVD. I think that is already for the viewers who have already understand perspective.

Okay I think you already know it, but I really don't get what are you saying?

Last edited by .Vee; October 3rd, 2012 at 08:44 AM.

3. Your perspective is borked, for one thing. Do you see where you're drawing out your minor axis on the back ellipsis? All your lines jump a bit about there, so you're already working at a disadvantage because nothing is straight or converging properly to begin with. That's what is ruining your subdivision, and consequently making the back ellipsis operate on a different perspective plane than the front.

If you need more clarification on scott robertson's dvd, you could also pick up a book he wrote some time back called "How to draw cars the hot wheels way" It seems like a kiddie book, but honestly it has some of the best information I'd ever found on drawing cars. I'd also say to grab his first dvd on perspective if you haven't already, since he talks about this sort of stuff at length.

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5. Thanks for the replies, though I still don't really know what I'm doing wrong.

I know my perspective is borked, that's why I'm asking! I tried doing it in Sketchbook Pro using rulers and had the exact same problem, so I imagine that my lines being too wonky isn't the sole reason for what's going on. I clearly misunderstood his method, but don't know where I went wrong. I do own his Hot Wheels book, and it does not cover this way of establishing the wheel base, though I totally agree with you on the verdict of it! It's an awesome book for sure. I already did go through the first DVD and he doesn't cover this method of establishing proportions in perspective (where you start with an ellipse), it's only in his second DVD on cars as far as I know, but if you know where in any of his material he covers the mistake that I'm making here, I'd love to know where to go!

6. works so far... now place your horizon line and it will all make sense. normaly youd start with placing it, but you can still rescue this . im prepping images for the explanation atm, but it would be great if youd think about the solution yourself meanwhile ^^.

7. Drawing cars in perfect perspective is very hard. Designing cars is pretty hard. Doing them both at the same with no prior experience is like putting your contact lenses in with a bread knife while standing one legged in a hammock

Dude save yourself a lot of pain by just going over a real car using thin paper. its what car designers do all the time. Youre not being paid to draw circles in perfect perspective, but design things. Fine a photo of a car you like, use Filter> Find Edges, print it off and use it as an underlay.
Heres a quote from the Car Design Glossary by David Browne, my old head of year at Coventry

"photos with useful perspective placed underneath, will show through and can be sketched over as can previous drawings, making adjustment or improvement straightforward. Some view this as 'cheating', but it's really a way of speeding-up the creative process and is standard industry practice."

http://www.cardesignnews.com/site/ho...e4/item131869/

It allows to sketch really expressive and loosely at first, and then refine the geometry and perspective after. The key to utilizing underlays (or overlays) is not to "trace". Still be quick and loose and simply use the underlay as a guide."

Last edited by Velocity Kendall; October 3rd, 2012 at 01:59 PM.

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9. well ok heres the solution...

the points the x (vp1) and z (vp2) lines converge to need to be on the horizon line... for construction this should be horizontal.

10. Velocity Kendall: Thanks man! Yeah, this method definitely does not seem all that important to know, I just really wanted to understand what to keep in mind to make it work (doing the ellipse first). I'll just stick to drawing the grid before the ellipse!

sone_one: Thank you so much man, I really appreciate you taking the time to do this! I already knew the vanishing points have to meet at the same horizon line, but I can't figure out how to make that happen when you start the drawing off with the ellipse first (the way Scott starts some of his drawings in the DVD). I'm just gonna stick to doing a box / converging lines before doing the ellipses from now on.

11. Originally Posted by yochanan
..but I can't figure out how to make that happen when you start the drawing off with the ellipse first (the way Scott starts some of his drawings in the DVD).
The problem you're having is placement of the horizon line. You have 2 parallel lines projecting to the right vanishing point in your OG image yet you are placing your horizon line according to some "guessed" place based on the minor axis of the ellipse. That's very wrong. Logic mandates the position of the horizon based on the parallel lines you created towards the right vanishing point. Once you establish the right VP, then the horizon lines projects straight across to meet up with the minor axis projection.

12. Drawing ellipses is easy; you can either buy some ellipse guides, or just turn the page on its side draw some ovals freehand. Start moving your hand roundinthe desired shape before putting the pen down on the paper.
dont worry about being super neat, you can do a messy sketch to figure stuff out and then lay another sheet over the top and pull out the lines you want.

I think the most important advice I can give you is DONT TRY TO BE NEAT too early

trying to be all neat will paralyze you, remember you can always neaten stuff up later.

13. Originally Posted by yochanan
sone_one: Thank you so much man, I really appreciate you taking the time to do this! I already knew the vanishing points have to meet at the same horizon line, but I can't figure out how to make that happen when you start the drawing off with the ellipse first (the way Scott starts some of his drawings in the DVD). I'm just gonna stick to doing a box / converging lines before doing the ellipses from now on.
hrm... you know both vps need to be on your horizon line which is horizotal... you only know vp1 now for sure... place it on the horizon line and rotate your whole sketch using vp1 as your center until it seems to be right, like the z lines would meet each other on that horizontal aswell.

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do you mean you still really doesn't understand how eye level work?

15. Not very helpful .Vee Its clear the OP does understand the eye level that is how he knows there is something wrong with the construction in the first place.

Anyway from what I gathered the OP understands that the minor axes should meet on the same horizon as they are place correctly inside the foreshortened plane.

I was just talking through with him trying to find out what was going on, I think I MAY have found out why so thought I would post here.

On the first elipse look at the foreshortened square its been put in. The length of the vertical of square compared to the length of the horizonal cant be correct. The horizontals (going to towards the vaninishing point) are much longer however they should be shorter because they are foreshortened otherwise it would be a rectangle. It couldn't possibly be a square and thereforce what's drawn inside couldn't possibly be a foreshortened circle meaning trying to find the vip of minor axis wouldn't work.

If this is right I hope it helps anyone else with a similar problem. If its not right feel free to chime in

16. in the end its just an idea... a way to get your head around perspective.

as vk posted, probably noone is designing cars using that approach. almost every resource ive been to, mentions blocking in wheels using traces. to the design it just isnt important if you drew those elipses yourself or if they are traced... noone is going to pay the extra time spent on making them up from scratch.

on the other hand, i think its neccessary to understand the concept of perspective to design and invent in simulated 3d space. and this is an exercise that helps it.

so my conclusion would be to not stress it and think to much about it.... one thing i cant stress enough though is... basics! and therefore get disc 1 of his workshop, because the others (airships, cars, dontremember) are rather about tackling individual problems to each of them, then explaining perspective in general. and at least imo he is great at explaining it and disc 1 is the fundament needed for the others to be understood.

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I have this dude's DVD too. He draws the ellipses first however he's been doing this for years. If I recall he says, "This is how I do things" which translates to I take a shortcut cause I've done this a hundred times.
Hope to see the final result though.

19. Originally Posted by ŝarko
I have this dude's DVD too. He draws the ellipses first however he's been doing this for years. If I recall he says, "This is how I do things" which translates to I take a shortcut cause I've done this a hundred times.
Hope to see the final result though.
right, when he says that he is actually designing his whole picture doing that... it gives him his horizon line, mass, proportion etc. mr robertson doesnt need any perspective construction, because its already done in his mind. and he is placing his ellipses so they are coherent to an underlying (yet envisioned not drawn) perspective design.
as you say, he has done it a million times before... thats what people dont get. there are no short cuts. whats represented in that aspect is experience, not tricks.

if i remember correctly he says something along the lines of "ellipses are powerful, you can even base your construction on them, like..." (very condensed but thats what i got out of it). if you know the first dvd, you know that he is really emphasising construction and understanding it. but after he's mentioned all the rules theres only so much left to talk about in that aspect in his other dvds without running the risk of beeing redundant and beeing accused of it. if you dont get it after youre done with watching dvd 1 ... watch it again. do it untill you grasp whats going on. thats how it works. you can watch it any time you want... use that oportunity.

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drawing cars pain the butt...

I know when I did these you have to let your vps shoot off the page.

22. Yeah - pick up "How to Draw Cars the Hot Wheels Way"...trust me.

23. Oh also, you can try drawing the ellipses with the aptly named Elliptical Marquee tool.
You can either draw the ellipses directly, or do some circles and distort them to suit. See attached: