Have you ever wondered how to make things look three dimensional on a two-dimensional surface, like a piece of paper or a canvas? Do you want your work to convey depth and distance? Do you wish to find the point of view of your, or someone else’s, art?
For all those questions the answer is PERSPECTIVE.
What is perspective
Perspective is a method for representing distance, depth, point of view and the overall placing of people and objects on your canvas. It is the way things appear to get smaller the further away you, the viewer, are from them.
In art we will work with two different kinds of perspective, Linear perspective and Atmospheric perspective. In this article we will talk about Linear perspective, which helps as plaster depth and placing in our work in a more mathematical way, but don’t worry, you won’t be needing a calculator to work this out. Later on, on another article, we will discuss Atmospheric perspective, which tackles the uses of color, lights and shadows to highlight depth and distances.
Points of perspective
There are three different styles of perspective depending on how many vanishing points your image has.
What is a vanishing point, you ask? A vanishing point is the point on the horizon line at which the receding parallel lines converge. In case you are wondering, the horizon line is that line at which the land and the sky meet, usually at eye level for the viewer.
One point perspective
In one point perspective the viewer is located in front of the object, so as to see the vertical lines (the lines that go upwards and downwards) that cross the field of view remain parallel from each other, yet the horizontal lines, which are the lines perpendicular to the viewer, meet at a single point on the horizon, the vanishing point.
Two point perspective
In a two point perspective the viewer is positioned as if watching things from a corner. Thus, creating two sets of horizontal lines that meet at two different vanishing points on the horizon line, while the vertical lines remain perpendicular.
Three point perspective
In a three point perspective the viewer is located either above or below the object, generating a third vanishing point that would be below or under the horizon line, making the vertical lines also converge at this third vanishing point.
Linear perspective was introduced as a method in art by Italian architect Flippo Brunelleschi during the renaissance
I hope you have found this article useful, see you next time when we talk about composition!
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