20 Oct Introduction to One Point Perspective
In the previous post we saw how things in perspective foreshorten into a point in the horizon line; where they become so small that they seem to vanish. We called this point the Vanishing Point.
We also saw how a box had nine visible lines and three hidden ones. These twelve lines can be arranged in three pairs of parallel lines: Width lines, Height Lines and Length Lines.
The following text is a transcript from the video above. You can go ahead and watch it. It will be easier to understand and it will take only a few minutes of your time. But if you are old school and prefer to do all the reading, feel free to do so!
One Vanishing Point
If we put a cube right in front of us, we will notice that we can only see two of its sides: The front face and the top face if our Eye Level is above the cube, or the front and the bottom faces if our Eye Level is below the cube.
If the cube is open–like the walls of a room–we will be able to see the side faces as well, and we’ll notice that they too foreshorten to the same Vanishing Point as all the other sides. We can also notice that the Width and the Height lines always remain parallel to each other and consequently unchanged, while the Length lines foreshorten to a Vanishing Point in the back, resting on the Horizon Line.
This is what we know as One Point Perspective.
One Point Perspective happens when the objects we are about to draw are facing us, and their Vanishing Point is located right behind them on the Horizon Line.
It is important to remember that in One Point Perspective, only the Length foreshortens. The Height and the Width always remains parallel.
Drawing Boxes in One Point Perspective
We are going to see some practical examples of how to draw boxes in One Point Perspective.
We will start by creating a One Point Perspective setup in our paper. We must first define the Eye Level (or the Horizon) of our scene. Next, we will add a single Vanishing Point somewhere around the middle of the line.
Once we have it, we can begin by drawing a square. As we just learnt, the height and width lines do not foreshorten. Therefore, we can safely draw the front face of the box as we want it to be.
Knowing that the length does foreshorten, we will simply draw a line from each corner of the front face and we will extend them to the Vanishing Point. Somewhere along this length will be the back face of the box. To draw it, we will intersect the foreshortened lines as shown in the video. It is not necessary to draw the hidden lines of the box every time, since they can make the drawing confusing and full of lines. We will draw the hidden lines only when we need to have a better understanding of the size and position of the box, for example.
We can repeat this process, to draw any number of boxes, with any shape and in any position, as long as they keep facing us.
There are several ways to measure the exact amount of foreshortening for our drawn objects, but they require to have a little more knowledge on Perspective Drawing, so we will study them further in the course.
For now, we will try to eyeball the Length remembering that the furthest away the box is, the shorter and smaller it will look.
Notice how when drawn above the Eye Level we can see the bottom face of the box, as if it was floating over our heads, and when drawn under the Eye level we see the top face, as if they were in the floor at our feet.
When drawn at the same height as our Eye Level, the box will appear to be right in front of us, and we will be able to see only the front face, that will be covering the rest of the box as it foreshortens away to the Vanishing Point.
And that’s it! One Point Perspective is that easy!
The most important thing to remember when drawing One Point Perspective, is that the objects we draw must be positioned facing the viewer, and the Vanishing Point must be right behind them within a certain threshold.
If the Vanishing Point was too displaced to the right or to the left, we would get a wrong perspective. Do you see the difference?
The first box looks distorted, while the second one appears to be correct.
Avoiding Distortion in One Point Perspective
To better illustrate this concepts, we are going to be using the perspective ruler of Manga Studio / Clip Studio paint.
As you can see, this ruler come by default with an Eye Level and a Vanishing Point that we can adjust.
From this Vanishing Point we have two guides that radiate with an angle of 90 degrees. This angle is very important, because it indicates the threshold in which the drawing will keep correct proportions.
The best way to see this is to activate the floor grid. This grid is composed of perfect squares. If we look closely to the size of the squares, we can see that the squares within this range remain fairly proportionate, while the squares outside the guides quickly start to distort as we move towards the sides.
The distortion also starts to happen the further away from the Vanishing Point we are.
To avoid distortion in our drawing we must try to keep the drawing within this lines as much as possible. The best way to do this is by drawing a safe zone around the most proportionate parts of our grid, and make our drawing there.
In any case, One Point Perspective is the most prone to distortions, so don’t worry too much about defining your safe zones. Just try to keep the important parts of the drawing as close as the vanishing point as possible, and you will do great!
Coming up Next
In the next post we will see how by following the same principle we can draw more complicated boxy shapes like letters. See you then!
Stay tuned for our next tutorials!
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