Author Topic: PER101: Perspective Definitions and Terminology  (Read 4674 times)

Mother Roshiya

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PER101: Perspective Definitions and Terminology
« on: March 03, 2015, 11:52:33 PM »
Welcome to your first perspective lesson! In this lesson, we will be talking about what perspective is, why you want to learn it, and what some of the key terminology is that will be used in all of the drawing tutorials.

What is perspective? According to Google's search engine when typing in "perspective definition":
Quote from:  Google
1. the art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.
"a perspective drawing"
a picture drawn in perspective, especially one appearing to enlarge or extend the actual space, or to give the effect of distance.
a view or prospect.
plural noun: perspectives
synonyms:   view, vista, panorama, prospect, bird's-eye view, outlook, aspect
"a perspective of the whole valley"
the relation of two figures in the same plane, such that pairs of corresponding points lie on concurrent lines, and corresponding lines meet in collinear points.
In short, perspective is making your drawing look three dimensional such as we're used to seeing in our every day environment. There is One Point Perspective, Two Point Perspective, Three Point Perspective, and Atmospheric Perspective. I will clarify the differences between them later on in this lesson when I discuss the terminology so as to avoid confusion now. However, know that each type has their strengths and weaknesses in different drawing situations, and each one is a valuable resource for the comic artist.

Now then, why do you want to learn perspective? After all, you're not going to do photo realism! You're just drawing comics!

But you need backgrounds for your comic, yes? As your audience, we need to be able to easily see how your characters are interacting with their environment, without you telling us what is going on. With perspective, we can tell if your character is standing on a box, behind a box, or if they're grabbing their phone that sits in front of the vase and slightly to the left of the pile of bills. We can tell if you're driving up a street in the middle of a busy city or around a curve in the road in front of a quiet shrine. We can tell how huge your mecha is in comparison to your character and how massively dizzying it is to look down off the top of it at everyone in the street below you. With perspective you can make sure the proportions are always correct, no matter which angle you're drawing the camera view from. It can be argued that knowing perspective is even more important for the comics artist that has to make cities from scratch than for the photo realist drawing an arrangement of items sitting in front of them (also known as a "still life"). This is because the comic artist has to draw everything from nothing, where as the photo realist with a still life has something to reference should they get stuck. Perspective is the tool the comic artist turns to.

So now that we have that cleared up, on to the terminology!

1. Picture Plane: The surface area of your drawing, imagined as a piece of one-way glass that we can see in through, but that the characters can't see out of. Often referred to as the "fourth wall" in comics, any character in a comic or show that sees past the picture plane and addresses the audience directly is said to be "breaking the fourth wall" or "breaking the picture plane".
2. Horizon Line: The horizon line is a line drawn across the picture plane to represent where the ground meets the sky in the far off distance. Its position shows if we're above the object looking down (horizon line near the top of the picture plane), below the object looking up (horizon line near the bottom of the picture plane), or at the same level as the object (horizon in/near the center of the picture plane). It also shows at what angle our view is in relation to the horizon (straight across vs. angled).
3. Vanishing Point: Also called "The Sphere of Invisibility" or "The Sphere of Disappearance" the Vanishing point is a dot where everything "disappears" at because it is so far away from the viewer that any object is too tiny to be seen.
4. Plane: An area of flat surface. Areas of flat surface that face in different directions are considered different planes. In Geometry your teacher probably taught you that a plane is the third dimension and can be thought of as an expansion of the two dimensional line, which in turn is an expansion of the zero dimensional dot (if you didn't understand that last sentence, it's okay to ignore it for the purpose of this lesson).
5. Orthogonal Lines: Lines that extend from the corners of your planes to the vanishing point.
6. Height: The length of an object along the vertical axis (top to bottom).
7. Width: The length of an object along the horizontal axis (left to right).
8. Depth: The length of an object from its front plane to its back plane along the Orthogonal Lines.
9. One Point Perspective: One point perspective gets it's name from having only one vanishing point positioned on the horizon line. In one point perspective the orthogonal lines only affect the depth lines of the objects in the picture, while any straight height and width lines stay perfectly parallel to each other.
10. Two Point Perspective: Two point perspective uses two vanishing points positioned on the horizon line, with orthogonal lines affecting both the width and the depth lines to their own vanishing points respectively, while straight height lines remain parallel to each other.
11. Three Point Perspective: Three point perspective, I'm sure you've guessed, utilizes three vanishing points. Two are situated on the horizon line, affecting depth and width the same as in two point perspective. The height lines' vanishing point is above or below the horizon depending on whether you are looking up or down at the object in question: if you are looking up, the vanishing point is above the horizon, if you are looking down, the vanishing point is below the horizon.
12. Atmospheric Perspective: The observation that things become more blurry and faded the farther they are away from the viewer due to atmospheric moisture and dust. This presence of moisture and dust between the viewer and the object reflect the sunlight and create a bluer tint to the object until it can no longer be seen. Game designers will often use atmospheric perspective in creating 3D games by utilizing a "vision fog" that fades things out past a certain distance from the player.

One-point, Two-point, Three-point and Atmospheric perspective is used in collaboration with each other to create a sense of extreme depth in a picture. When trying to figure out which is best to use, here are some helpful tips:

One point perspective is best used when looking at an object or road "head on", or slightly to the side that you still mainly see only the front plane. It can also be effective for a straight down limited shot describing the top of buildings in a city as the hero flies to land on one of them, so long as there aren't too many of them.

Two point perspective is best used when looking at an object diagonally so that you see roughly the same amount of two planes. It can also be used when looking up at a tall building from the front, using one vanishing point for the height lines, and one vanishing point for the depth lines, leaving the width lines parallel.

Three point perspective is best used for angles that see three planes or need to be overwhelming, such as looking up at a tall building at a diagonal, or flying over a wide panorama of a city where you can see the tops and sides of all the buildings while also looking out towards the horizon.

Atmospheric perspective is mainly used outside with large views, or to depict a foggy day out. It is very rarely used inside because of small spaces and little humidity. An exception would be a bath house or sauna where large amounts of humidity exist.

So! Now that I've bored you with all of that, head over to PER102: One Point Perspective: The Basic Box and begin learning how to put all these words to use!
« Last Edit: March 29, 2015, 10:38:43 PM by Mother Roshiya »