ok, info is ready.. somewhat. Some of this is just a retread of what I said in my previous journal entry, to introduce horizon lines and whatnot, I've added some specific stuff about 2 point underneath. Describing perspective is really really boring. I'm going to have to do some more diagrams for this too and add bits and pieces. There's a whole crapload of stuff involved with perspective but I don't know if I want to bother going into it because most people would probably never need it or care.
ph33r teh floating e-Starscream head of doom!
Horizons and Vanishing points
The Horizon is the line where the sky appears to meet the ground on a planet's surface (there is no horizon in space). This is actually a curved line because of the curvature of the earth, but this rarely comes into play because of the planet's large size in comparison to other objects. Wherever you are, the horizon is always in line with your eye level- no matter how high or low you get in comparison to the ground. When you shift your eyes so that they are no longer looking out parallel to the ground you begin to see different planes of an object. A plane refers to a side of a 3D object ie. a cube has 6 planes. When you look down you will begin to see the tops of objects as well as the sides, until your eyes are pointed at a 90 degree angle to the ground and you are only seeing the top plane. And vice versa when looking up at the sky above the horizon line.
So when deciding where to put the horizon line in your picture you must first make the decision of whether you want to be looking up at your object, or down at it. If you want to see the top of your object- put the horizon line somewhere closer to the top of the page. And if you want to be able to see the bottom planes of an object- put the horizon line towards the bottom of the page. If the horizon line is somewhere in the middle, for example with a figure, there will be some areas where you will be looking down at the body part- such as the legs/feet, and others where you will appear to be looking up at the figure- such as the head. At the horizon line will be a neutral area, where you are looking straight on at the body. The horizon line doesn't always have to be visible on your page. If you are looking up at a head at an extreme angle and the head and upper body are cropped to form the picture, the horizon line would be somewhere below the borders of the picture. You can always use a large sheet of paper or tape a piece on to your picture to draw it in for reference. You also don't have to be outside to be able to have a horizon line- even inside a room there is a point at the eye level of the viewer where the line goes, even if you can't actual see the sky meeting the ground.
Vanishing points relate to convergence in that they are points where parallel lines (in reality) appear to meet as they recede into the distance. In 1-point and 2-point perspective the vanishing points will always lie along the horizon line. In 3-point perspective a third vanishing point is brought in some distance above or below the horizon line. This third point is called either the zenith if it’s above the horizon, or the nadir if it’s below.
1 point perspective- I’ll talk about this another time
If 1-point perspective involves looking straight on at a box, 2-point involves rotating that box so that you are looking at it diagonally (with one corner closest to you). This means you are looking at 2 sides in perspective, and therefore we need 2 vanishing points for each side of lines to converge to. In 2-point, the only lines that do not converge are the vertical ones, they all remain parallel to each other and are drawn as such.
To practice 2-point, draw yourself a horizon line somewhere in the middle of your page. Remember that this represents your eye level, so for any objects above or below the horizon line we will begin to see a third plane of the box, either its top or bottom plane. Place 2 vanishing points at either end of your horizon line. Draw a fairly short vertical line to represent the corner of your box closest to the viewer in a place of your choice (between the 2 vanishing points). Now we will draw straight lines from the top and bottom of the vertical line to both vanishing points. To finish the first walls of the box we will add 2 more vertical lines somewhere along these converging lines, on either side of the first corner. Now the box looks like a 3D “L”. Repeat the same step of drawing lines to the vanishing points with the new vertical lines. You should now have what looks like a 3D box (mine are transparent, so I added an extra vertical line to represent the back corners).
Practice drawing different sized boxes in different places above, below or on the horizon line. You’ll notice that the closer you get to one vanishing point, the less of the side closest to the point you will see in favour of seeing more of the adjacent side. Try also using different widths of paper to see what boxes look like with vanishing points different distances away from each other. The limit of 2-point is that the further above or below the horizon line your go, the more unrealistic and distorted the picture becomes. In order to make realistic objects like a set of tall buildings you have to use 3-point perspective, which incorporates vertical converging lines as well.
Forced perspective: This refers to the technique of placing the vanishing points fairly close to the object you’re drawing in order to obtain an extremely angled look that would not normally be present in nature. This is often used in comic books or pin-up images to make something look very dramatic. It works, but try not to overdo it as it does distort the object and can easily look cliché or phony.