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Old 10-25-2004, 12:04 AM
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Basics 101: Class 2 - Foundation of Perspective

Basic 101: Class 2



Eye Level: Foundation of Perspective

The source for this class can be found on Pages 15 through 19 of Rudy de Reyna’s How to Draw What You See.

Welcome to Class 2 of Basics 101. We are going to be covering the concept of eye level as it pertains to the successful laying out of perspective. The guest lecture series will take this class one step further with an excellent section devoted to one, two and three point perspectives. I urge you to do these simple exercises first before moving into the lecture hall.

Materials:

1. # 2 pencil or pencil you used in the last class

2. Paper—same as last class

3. Feel free to use a ruler this time around

Exercise 1: To demonstrate the concept of eye level, lay on the floor on you back. I did this in preparation for the class and woke up 45 minutes later. Please do not follow my example and take a nap. Instead, look up at everything around you and mentally break any objects that you see into geometric objects—mentally eliminate the detail. Even though this seems obvious, note that for most of these objects you will see the BOTTOMS of these shapes. Now, pick out an object and sit up and keep your eyes FIXED on the chosen object. Note that the object’s point of view changes as you raise to a sitting position. Now keeping your eye on the object, stand up slowly and continue to observe the change until the tops of the object come into view. Eye level is THAT simple yet it is such a natural occurrence for us that many of us (read ME) forget to make this basic observation. If you can establish eye level you can correctly work out perspective. The level at which your eye views an object is called the “horizon” line. (Figure A) There are an infinite number of horizon lines.

Vanishing Points

At this point, having learned my lesson from the last class, I am going to label our images as figure A, B, C and so on.

A vanishing point is an IMAGINERY point on the horizon line.

There are in infinite number of vanishing points and it is up to you to fix the vanishing point according to your viewpoint. Your vanishing points will always be located ON the horizon line (eye level) that you establish. (See Figure B) In one point perspective, there is only one vanishing point. In two-point perspective there are two vanishing points and so forth. You will find examples of these in the guest lecture area.

The Cube In Perspective:

Exercise 2:

Follow these steps to create a cube in perspective (see also figure C)

a. Draw a rectangle or a square anywhere on your paper. This is the front of your cube..

b. Establish your horizon line (your eye level) and lightly draw it on the paper (you can also just do this in your head as many of us are prone to do).

c. Pick you vanishing point.

d. Connect the lines running from each of the edged of the Square or Rectangle to the vanishing point.

e. Add lines parallel to the front of the cubes along the lines running to the vanishing point (see figure C)

When you do this exercise, draw the cube several times using different vanishing points and horizon lines (eye levels).(see Figure D)


The mighty cube is a perfect visual example of the three dimensions: height, depth and width. If you can clearly define and then incorporate these dimensions into the objects that you draw, then you will be able to draw realistically.

Each dimension can vary. The height of the cube can be greater the depth or the width could be the biggest dimension of all three. Keeping this fact in mind will speed up your progress as an artist.

[Edit 2015: intuitive illustration]

The foundation of perspective that you learn in this class is very simple. The problem lies in the consistent application of the principles. That needs very attentive checking and re-checking. But illustrated by an elementary example - a double railroad track - it is almost ridiculous that it should be explained.
1. Further away looks smaller.
2. All VP's of horizontal lines lie on the same and only horizon line aka Eye Level.
3. All lines in a group of parallel lines converge to the same VP.



Exercise 3:

Look about your home and locate four boxes. When you have finished practicing the cubes, draw the boxes and add detail to them such as packaging design or lettering (if it is on you box). Do several studies of these boxes with detail but at different eye levels. Keep in mind eye level (horizon line) and vanishing point.

Exercise 4:

Taking your newfound artistic superpowers draw and post the following items.:

1. A Television (with detail)
[Ed 17 Dec 2009]: skip this, the modern flat screens are no good illustrations of perspective.

2. A box of Kleenex (with detail)

3. A table
[Ed 17 Dec 2009]: advice: choose a rectangular table with straight legs

4. Redo the chair exercise from the previous class—only this time CHANGE THE HORIZON LINE (EYE LEVEL) and post. I will be doing the chair again for another class (Drawing with Cubic Objects). Use an ordinary straight dining chair (on the recommendation of Robin Neudorfer, class tutor), changing the eyelevel from the previous exercise. [changed 16 May 2008] post ref with exercise


FINALLY,

At the guest lecture hall you will find examples of one, two, and three point perspective. Go over these lectures and then try you hand at applying two and three point perspective to the subjects in exercise 4.

[Edit 2016 Friendly advice: if you don't understand 1, 2 and 3 point perspective on first reading, forget it . Contrary to what all tutorials make you believe, this is NOT basic. Indeed, it is studied in this classroom in the more advanced 102 - class 1.
]

For those of you with buildings or outdoor scenes, take a crack at establishing your horizon lines in one, two and three point perspective. Correct the perspective in your drawing if needed. TIP: SKETCH OUT YOUR DRAWING FREEHAND AND THEN CORRECT THE DRAWING USING PERSPECTIVE.

I have included some reference photos that I took that you can try your skills out on OR you can grab some from the reference library.

Good luck and happy drawing!

Last edited by arnoud3272 : 12-23-2016 at 08:12 AM. Reason: Intuitive illustration
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:23 AM
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Homework for Class 2 - Exercise 2 - One Point Perspective

I have started week 2 exercises. Here is my Exercise 2, (a) through (e), without the reiterations of (d) at different vanishing points, etc., which will follow in a day or two.

I know we haven't talked about people yet, so I won't ask about them, but I tried them out anyway. In general, after correcting a few errors, I seem to have arrived at correct perspective, but not necessarily correct scale. Hopefully that will follow in a subsequent lesson.



Sorry there's no field/court or game! I started with random boxes first and hadn't planned it was going to turn into any kind of scenario!

Okay, I'm just going to ask my people question. How come the guy at the far end of the bleachers looks smaller than the guy standing near the farther away score post? I seemed to fit them in the lines toward the vanishing point correctly, but their sizes didn't come out right. Maybe it's because I had to guess at the size of the people sitting down and they actually should be bigger?

Feel free to come back to that question in a later lesson. I know I was just supposed to draw boxes, I just got carried away.
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Last edited by Pirou : 07-11-2014 at 02:29 AM.
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Old 07-11-2014, 05:30 PM
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Re: Basics 101: Class 2 - Foundation of Perspective

Good job, Kiran , almost correct .
Quote:
I know we haven't talked about people yet, so I won't ask about them, but I tried them out anyway
Well, as a matter of fact your question is not about people, it is about perspective alright.
The three sitting people further away are not in correct relation - perspective wise - with the nearest sitting person.



BTW, the left standing person is too tall. Assuming that the observer stands at ground level and that all people are about the same height, all figures standing on the ground level will have their "eye level" at the eye level of the drawing, aka the horizon line .
(There is recent discussion thread on the issue here)
Keep up the good work .
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Old 07-12-2014, 01:34 AM
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Re: Basics 101: Class 2 - Foundation of Perspective

Oh! Thank you so much! I just couldn't logic that out! But now it makes perfect sense. However, I don't understand what the blue line is?

The guy standing on the left's eyes are exactly on the horizon line (actually it goes through his head!) but I think in my photograph the drawing is slanted down towards the right. The top of the third step is exactly on the horizon line.

And that makes me realize I had one more question when I was trying to draw that top step that falls above the horizon line. I was able to tell where to draw the distant horizontal and vertical ends of the three lower steps because of the guidelines that went to the vanishing point. But when the step fell above the horizon line, there was nothing to guide me to know where the vertical line of the far end of that top step went. I just guessed at that, too, but is there some method? It seems there must be.

Edited to add: plus, I clearly guessed very wrongly, since it's longer than the step below it in the distance and it's shorter than the step below it in the foreground!
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Last edited by Pirou : 07-12-2014 at 02:09 AM.
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Old 07-12-2014, 03:25 AM
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Re: Basics 101: Class 2 - Foundation of Perspective

Kiran -
Quote:
...However, I don't understand what the blue line is?...
Parallel lines (as it is in 1PP) to transfer the height of the "reference" person to the correct distance (depth) on the lower step. Analogous to your:
Quote:
...I was able to tell where to draw the distant horizontal and vertical ends of the three lower steps because of the guidelines that went to the vanishing point....

Quote:
there was nothing to guide me to know where the vertical line of the far end of that top step went. I just guessed at that, too, but is there some method? It seems there must be
That is not basic, but I can come back on it before you move on
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Last edited by arnoud3272 : 07-12-2014 at 03:29 AM.
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:48 PM
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The thin blue line...

Thanks, Arnoud!

I feel like I understand the red and green parts of the lines for transferring the height of the reference person up and down the steps and further down the steps towards the background, but still don't understand what the blue line in particular shows, especially since the blue line first traces the three lower steps, but then goes straight up into the air for the 4th step. If it's tracing the steps for the first 3, why doesn't it continue for the 4th step like this yellow line? I feel like if I understood why it doesn't turn for the 4th step, I would understand its purpose/meaning!



Also, how are you drawing lines on the drawing? I would like to get that app. The one I have on my phone is not very easy.

And yes, would love to hear the non-basic explanation for predicting the end of the step above the horizon line. I might find it in my old architectural drawing class notes, as well, as I go through the rest of the exercises for the week.
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Old 07-12-2014, 10:49 PM
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The blue line...

Maybe I just figured it out: the blue line shows where to start the red line at the bottom?
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Old 07-13-2014, 02:48 AM
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Re: The blue line...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pirou
Maybe I just figured it out: the blue line shows where to start the red line at the bottom?
Exactly

I'm not working on a smartphone, I'm on a PC.
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Old 07-13-2014, 02:51 PM
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Re: Basics 101: Class 2 - Foundation of Perspective

Yes, any software for the computer would be welcome! I want to be able to draw lines from my computer and not have to use the phone! Please let me know the program.
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Old 07-13-2014, 04:35 PM
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Re: Basics 101: Class 2 - Foundation of Perspective

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pirou
Yes, any software for the computer would be welcome! I want to be able to draw lines from my computer and not have to use the phone! Please let me know the program.
I use GIMP, free and powerful.
I use it in its native environment (Linux). On Windows it is a bit slow, but hey, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:04 PM
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Re: Basics 101: Class 2 - Foundation of Perspective

Thanks, I have heard of GIMP. Will have to check it out.

Okay, I have been working on the next exercise, the drawing of three cubes around the house in different positions. Here are my three yoga blocks:



I couldn't see where the edges of the blocks extended to the horizon line, so I thought I would take a picture, print it out, and draw them out manually and see what I could see. Well, I couldn't make the edges extend to the horizon line even with the paper extended far out and a long straight edge:



What is going wrong?

Please excuse my drawing assistant. He gets into everything...
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Old 07-15-2014, 08:59 PM
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Re: Basics 101: Class 2 - Foundation of Perspective

In the mean time, here is the Exercise 3 done just putting the principles in the back of my mind and using them to inform what I am actually seeing without completely measuring them out and making them line up exactly to a vanishing point on the horizon, as I couldn't even do that with a printout of the actual view. This was drawn from actually looking at the bookcase and the yoga blocks, not from looking at the photograph I took of them. I'm sure had I drawn from the photo it would be more accurate, but I'm trying to learn to draw from seeing things in actual life. It's easy to draw from a photograph because the transition from 3D to 2D has already been made for you. I don't know why it's so hard to do it in actual life. Anyway, here is my attempt. I only have 3 yoga blocks, so it's not 4 boxes, but maybe the books can count.

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Old 07-15-2014, 11:19 PM
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Re: Basics 101: Class 2 - Foundation of Perspective

More perspective questions.

Okay, I have been examining the diagram that is supposed to go with Exercise 3, which is Figure D. This shows a cube with only one vanishing point, but more than 1 facet of the cube is visible. This should be drawn in 2-point perspective. If we were to stand this object up, it would not be square, and it would fall over.

The same situation is shown in the accompanying guest lecture which describes one point perspective as "all vertical lines are perpendicular...all horizontal lines are parallel, and...all diagonal lines intersect at the point on the horizon..." That is not correct. The lines described as horizontal would only be horizontal if the front facet were directly facing the viewer and was parallel to the viewer. As soon as the cube moves to the side or rotates so that more than one facet is seen, it becomes two-point perspective, as each of those facets is going to have its own vanishing point. Otherwise, it's not a square object. I think these descriptions and drawings are confusing to a learner. Can these posts be changed? I think they are presenting erroneous information.
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Old 07-16-2014, 11:06 AM
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Re: Basics 101: Class 2 - Foundation of Perspective

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pirou
More perspective questions.

Okay, I have been examining the diagram that is supposed to go with Exercise 3, which is Figure D. This shows a cube with only one vanishing point, but more than 1 facet of the cube is visible. This should be drawn in 2-point perspective. If we were to stand this object up, it would not be square, and it would fall over.

The same situation is shown in the accompanying guest lecture which describes one point perspective as "all vertical lines are perpendicular...all horizontal lines are parallel, and...all diagonal lines intersect at the point on the horizon..." That is not correct. The lines described as horizontal would only be horizontal if the front facet were directly facing the viewer and was parallel to the viewer. As soon as the cube moves to the side or rotates so that more than one facet is seen, it becomes two-point perspective, as each of those facets is going to have its own vanishing point. Otherwise, it's not a square object. I think these descriptions and drawings are confusing to a learner. Can these posts be changed? I think they are presenting erroneous information.

Sorry for interjecting, but I had the same thought process that you expressed above when I was thinking about 1pp versus 2pp. But I do believe the posts you refer to are correct: If one of the cube's faces is directly facing the viewer (even if it is off to the side, not directly in front of the viewer) then it's 1pp. If one the the cube's edges is directly facing the viewer, then it is 2pp. And if one of the cube's corners is directly facing the viewer, then it's 3pp. Arnoud, is this way of thinking about the issue correct? Or maybe you can correct us both :-) Thanks.
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Old 07-16-2014, 12:38 PM
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Re: Basics 101: Class 2 - Foundation of Perspective

Here, I think this drawing will illustrate my point:

The big box, we can all agree, should be drawn in 1pp as it is right in front of the little stick viewer. But then you see that if you take a slice off of the right side of this box, you get another box (the small, right most box), which is no longer straight in front of the viewer, but which still has a face facing the viewer and clearly is & should also be drawn in 1pp.

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