Friday, January 23, 2009

Everything I ever wanted to know about perspective drawing I learned in junior year of college and then forgot

Before I begin this post I must state that I am in no way an expert or even at perspective drawing. But after a marathon session of drawing, and then complaining to Matt while he was trying to watch wrestling, we both finally remembered some of the basics that the incomparable Matt Sheridan taught us in college. I thought I would share my meager knowledge today.

So, this is how you figure out proportions of equidistant crap in perspective. I'm talking about like, if you're drawing a row of doors down a hallway or telephone poles disappearing into the desert horizon. That's the classic example they use in drawing classes- for some reason. I'm down with it; something romantic about the American Southwest indeed. Anyways, for my purposes I'm drawing cement poles in a parking garage, since that's where the next mini episode of RDCCDX: The Digital Pirates of Dark Water Saga takes place. I had to figure out where to place all these poles in a manner that looked like they were equally space apart yet getting smaller in the distance. Here's how I did it, and how you can do it- in 6 easy steps.

Step 1: get yourself a vanishing point. Most art stores carry them- some places online sell them in bulk. Don't worry about brand, they're all the same. So you get some vanishing points. If you're doing one point perspective, put down, one- if you're doing two point perspective- you put down two. Since I'm a simpleton- I did one point perspective. So here goes my dot.
Phew. Ok. Step 2: lay out your horizon line (the line in red there) and then make two lines for the angle of the stuff your drawing. In my case, these purple lines marked where I wanted the tops and bottoms of the cement poles to go.
Step three- draw some vertical lines. I drew where I wanted two of the cement poles to go.
Ok, so at this point I was like "Man, I think these poles are spaced too far apart, I need to draw a pole in between these two- but HOW?". Conventional widsom says, just find the halfway point between the two verticals. Well, conventional wisdom is wrong- cuz you're in the twisted world of perspective- up is down, black is white, god is dead and geometric algorithims rule with an iron fist. So what do you do? Step 4: Draw an X between the two verticals.
The center of that X is the halfway point between those two verticals. Amazing! But shit, I wanted to draw some more poles. You know like, ones going far into the distance, how do I figure out where thos are? I have nothing to make an X between- WHY IS LIFE SO CRUEL!?

Step 5: Draw a line from your vanishing point- through the center of your X. In my case it was pretty close to the horizon line, so I'll just use that again.

Step 6: Draw a diagonal from the top of one of your verticals through where the center line meets the next diagonal. Where that line touches the bottom diagonal- is where your next pole would go. It sounds complicated, but it's not- I'm just really bad at explaining things. LOOK AT DRAWING!
You can keep doing variations of this X/diagonal method to figure out where things should go. For this drawing I kinda winged some of it, but the used that whole technique as a basis for laying it all down.
Man, that took a while. And I got 5 more to go. Woo and a hoo. The next RDCCDX mini episode is coming out this Monday. Be ready and keep watching the medicine cabinets- KEEP WATCHING THE MEDICINE CABINETS!


Carrie said...

Bodycare and Grooming. THEY'RE COPS.

Gibbous Moon said...

Actually when it comes to perspective, God equals 1.618... because the human jesus is to the divine jesus as the divine jesus is to god... somehow this makes sense according to my symmetry, shape, and space teacher...I think I'll just leave it at that

:: smo :: said...

informative and educational!

is dark water basically your main gig right now? it sounds really awesome and rewarding to be working on something like that!