Author Topic: PER105: Basic Complex Shapes  (Read 3552 times)

Mother Roshiya

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PER105: Basic Complex Shapes
« on: April 18, 2016, 06:26:51 PM »
Glad to see you're still with us on your journey to mastering perspective drawing! Remember, all of these tutorials build upon skills learned in earlier lessons, and this one is no different. If you haven't learned how to divide a plane or draw an ellipse on an orthogonal plane yet, you will find this lesson hard to follow. I highly suggest you read those lessons first, before beginning this one, to minimize any frustration. Don't worry, this tutorial will still be here when you're done!

Great! Now that you have those skills mastered, it means you can make three of the comic artist's basic building shapes: the box, the cutout, and the cylinder, in any direction you choose. This lesson gives you what you need to finish your basic building shape toolbox: the Pyramid, the Cone, and the dreaded Sphere.

Let's get started.

Step 0: Setting Up the Picture Plane

As with every other perspective drawing, let's set up our horizon line with our vanishing point.

And for this lesson, let's create three boxes, one for each shape that we're going to learn.

Basic Complex Shape #1: The Pyramid

Other than for drawing the obvious, pyramids can be used for studs on leather jackets, 4-sided dice, gems in jewelry, as building blocks for more complex shapes like octohedrons for 8 sided dice and floating power gems, a building block in making mecha and other mechanical things, and a host of other things only limited by your imagination. It's also one of the easiest "complex" shapes to make. So let's get started using our first box on the left:

Step 1: Find the Point

Choose which direction the point is going to go on your pyramid and divide the plane by connecting the corners to find the center. I chose the top plane for an upright pyramid.

Step 2: Draw the Edges

Draw lines to connect the center point you just found with the corners of the square plane on the opposite side of the box to make your pyramid's sloped side planes.

Step 3: Identify Which Planes can be Seen

This one is slightly above the horizon line, so we have three planes that can be seen: the front plane, the side plane and the bottom plane.

Step 4: Erase your Guidelines

Erase your guidelines, and you have your pyramid!

Alright! On to your next shape!

Basic Complex Shape #2: The Cone

Ice cream sugar cones, sharpened pencil tips, lances held aloft by knights, candle stick holders, tapered candlesticks, party hats, trophies... The use of the cone is endless, and only slightly more complicated than the pyramid to draw. So let's get started with the middle box:

Step 1: Draw the Ellipse Plane

So you're not swimming in guidelines yet, it's easier to start with the ellipse plane rather than the point with a cone, so choose which direction you want your cone in and divide up the plane for an ellipse (I again chose to have the point up, so my ellipse plane is the bottom one)

And draw your ellipse.

Step 2: Find the Center Point

Just like the pyramid, divide the opposite plane by connecting the corners to find your plane's center point.

Step 3: Define the Turning Edge

Line up the center point with the furthest part of the ellipse and draw a line to connect them on both sides to show where the cone curves out of sight.

Step 4: Identify the Seen Planes

Identify which part of your cone can be seen.

Step 5: Erase your Guidelines

Erase the guidelines and voila!

Now on to the dreaded Sphere!

Basic Complex Shape #3: The Sphere

Marbles, beach balls, scoops of ice cream, GUIDO's roller... There are a lot of spheres in art represented by that singular, deceptively simple, slightly distorted circle. For some artists, estimation and approximation are good enough to save them the headache that I'm about to introduce you to. But for the OCD perfectionist that has to have everything perfect, the end product is worth the headache and inevitable non-appreciation that follows. And after a while, experienced artists can get the hang of eyeing the sphere with only some of the guidelines drawn, so it's not all doom and gloom. Let's get started.

Step 0: Oops! Sorry!

You don't need to follow this step, but this is included to keep you from becoming disoriented during the following instruction steps. I found out that the box I had drawn was too centered on the horizon line to give you an adequate tutorial, so I moved it. The new box is a little smaller, but you'll be able to see all the steps I need to show you, which wasn't going to be possible with the earlier box.

Step 1: Divide Three Planes

You need to find the three interlocking planes in order to create a sphere, so divide the back plane in half vertically and horizontally

As well as the front plane

And a third plane. I actually don't have a third plane pictured, because I accidentally skipped this step while creating my images. So that you can avoid my pitfall and back tracking that I had to do, choose either your bottom or top plane and divide it like the others.

Step 2: Find Your Interlocking Planes

We'll start with the orthogonal planes by connecting the horizontal and vertical halved lines on the front and back planes to the vanishing point.

Next, find the middle parallel plane using the divided top or bottom plane that you should have from the last step (but that I don't because I added this later after realizing I had forgotten it, an hour and a half after bedtime after doing later steps that correctly identified the position, forgetting to put in the early guidelines for your benefit ^^;;; We're all human. Don't sweat the small stuff! You are going to be okay!)

Step 3: Erase Unnecessary Guidelines

At this point, there are a lot of lines that are confusing and will serve to not be your friend in the next steps, so identify your middle interlocking planes

And erase everything else.

Step 4: Draw Three Ellipses

Divide and draw ellipses on each plane, one plane at a time to keep from getting confused by the guidelines.

And, if you're curious, this was the point where I realized that I had forgotten the third~very important~plane, and retrospectively added it to the tutorial. Thank you, Photoshop Layers for allowing me to simply hide my guidelines without destroying them!

Step 5: Draw Your Sphere

Now use your ellipse guidelines (yup, they're guidelines) to draw your sphere's edge. The edge has to encircle all three ellipses touching all outermost edges just like the cone or cylinder, while still maintaining a circular shape. Pointed edges don't exist here. Take your time with this step!

Step 6: Erase your Guidelines

Erase all of your hard worked guidelines and be left with your slightly distorted, yet perfectly in perspective, circle sphere.

Now, you might feel like screaming at this point (and rightly so. I told you this was headache inducing), but let me show you this same circle, not adjusted for perspective at all, moved to the other side of the cone

See how the picture feels wrong all of a sudden? How the sphere doesn't quite belong? Though you may not give it much mind, our brain knows how perspective is supposed to look, and when something doesn't line up correctly, it's a glaring error, a wrongness that may be felt without exactly understanding what's off. That's the power of the subtle distortion of the circle that our perspective guidelines created for our sphere. It belongs in it's SPOT and nowhere else on the picture plane. So while it may be headache inducing, using perspective with your spheres can be powerful.

And That's It!

You now know how to create pyramids, cones, and spheres in one-point perspective! Put alongside the other basic shapes you already knew before you started this lesson, you are now armed with all the basic shapes you will need in order to create your new worlds! Congratulations! As always, I encourage you to post up your lesson in the WIP and Completed Works forums so that you can obtain some constructive feedback on how you are doing, and keep tuned for more tutorials to continue your journey to perspective mastery, including: shape placement relations, making compound shapes, and adding details to turn those basic shapes into your first backgrounds!