Week One Focus: Linear Perspective
This first week’s study task focuses on one of the easier, but often overcomplicated elements of painting environments. Linear perspective is a definite and calculable part of the process, and can be easily measured and refined. However it is also plays an important part in establishing the illusion of depth, and minor mistakes in perspective can have a very detrimental effect on the success of your image.
Using linear perspective as a starting point for our lessons allows us to begin with an area that is easy to develop and critique, and also one which will improve naturally along the way once it is firmly planted in our minds and we are aware of it.
The study task this week will comprise of two parts.
Study Task A): Constructing cubes in space. 1.5 hours
In task A) we will introduce the 3 perspective setups you will use most – 1, 2 and 3 point perspective. In fact, humans see in 3 point perspective. 1 and 2 point are introduced for the sake of simplicity, by placing the 2nd and 3rd vanishing points at ‘infinite’ distances. Take half an hour to work with each setup. First, draw a horizon line straight across your drawing space. Choose any point on this line and place a dot. This is your VP1, or first vanishing point. In one point perspective, this is your only vanishing point. From here, draw out radiating lines in all directions. Between two of these lines, draw 2 direct verticals. This forms the ‘receding’ face of your cube. From the front vertical, draw out a square. This is now the front plane. Continue in this fashion, and construct some basic scenes using different sizes and shapes of cubes.
For 2 point perspective, your ‘front’ face now conforms to a vanishing point also. Place 2 VP’s on your horizon line. Draw out your radii, and drop your two verticals as before. Then, from each end of your front vertical, draw a line back to the second unused VP. Drop your third vertical somewhere along here, and you now have a cube in two point perspective. Continue as above, and create 2-3 abstract scenes without detail in 2 point perspective.
Finally, 3 point introduces a 3rd vanishing point which simulates the vertical movement of our eyes. VP3 determines (in abstract space) whether we are looking up or down. After placing your two horizontal VP’s, place a 3rd vanishing point between these two, but far above or below the horizon line. Proceed as with 2 point, except now all of your verticals follow back to the VP3. Again, construct 2-3 abstract scenes.
Study Task B) Observing perspective 1.5 hours
Collect a series of 5 photo references or screen grabs from movies. These must be of some sort of urban environment. Using Photoshop, trace perspective lines over the major objects/buildings. Do this on several objects, and then connect the dots where your tracing lines intersect. This should form a horizon line. Finally, using the same horizon line, construct a simple cube that fits the perspective of the photo.
Note: Whether you are working digitally or traditionally, it helps to place your VP’s as far off the ‘frame’ of your drawing as possible. Placing vanishing points too close will result in extreme distortion and you will break the conviction of your illusion. This may take some time to get used to, but eventually your eye will learn to ‘fake’ perspective without needing to draw in your points far off the canvas.
Week One Portfolio Artwork: Focus on Perspective. ‘Nuclear Silo’
You must come up with a concept/back-story for your nuclear silo. It MUST be futuristic/science fiction based. The focus here is on using as much as you know about perspective to produce a scene with complicated geometry – push your limits, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Use 3 point if you can, or 2 point if it feels more comfortable. It may be helpful to start with an abstract ‘cube’ scene like you did in study task part A. Impress your classmates with how many complicated shapes you can integrate – but make sure they all confirm to their vanishing points.
Posting Your Results
We will be keeping everything consolidated in one thread this week, so feel free to post work in progress shots, ask questions, throw feedback around etc. Dont worry if you are faster or slower than someone else in posting - we all have different schedules. Critique will be given to anything that is posted. I will also be running through all the study tasks myself and will post up my results alongside as we go through each topic. Furthermore, I will try to dig up good references and further reading to go along with it all.
the Fail/Pass/Professional gradings will be given out at week's end. Please have ALL of your study work and your portfolio piece submitted 7 days from the time this was posted. (5pm Sunday GMT+10 is my time).
I look forward to seeing what you all can do - and do know im around the thread a fair bit to help out. Also, you guys can feel free to add me to MSN for any off topic questions, but please keep all the relevant stuff in the thread for all to learn from.
NOW GIT TO DRAWRIN, MONKEYS!!
If you are wondering whether you have passed each task - this is how you will know