06 Oct The Eye Level in Perspective Drawing
As we will see during this course, we must always start our drawings by defining a Horizon Line. In this Horizon Line we will set up the Vanishing Points that will simulate the effect of Perspective.
Let’s begging by learning what is the Horizon Line.
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!
What is the Horizon Line?
When we go outdoors and look ahead into infinity, we see a straight line at the “end of the world”. That is the Horizon Line.
The horizon is easier to see when we are near the ocean. There, we can see the horizon completely; uninterrupted. We see the horizon as a flat horizontal line, that covers all the view from right to left.
When we are inland, we can also see the horizon. It is again a strait horizontal line, only this time, it might be covered by mountains, houses, trees, etc. The fact that the mountains are covering it doesn’t make it disappear. The horizon is still there, behind the mountains, behind the houses and behind the trees.
Even when we are indoors and we look outside the window into the distant land, we can still see the horizon!
Anywhere we look, and in any direction, there will always be a horizon line in front of us.
Why does this happen?
The reason why there is a horizon is because the Planet Earth is so big, that when we look forward to the land in front of us it seems endless.
Even when we get in a plane and we are flying over the earth, we can still see the horizon.
The only place where we would see no horizon would be in space…
Or maybe in a very small planet.
Note: Even though we don't see a horizon line in space (because there is no earth), for our drawing purposes we will have to behave like there is, and use it to find the Vanishing Points. We will see why in future lessons.
An interesting thing happens though, when we move up or down while looking at the horizon. When we crouch, we will notice that the horizon actually moves with us!
What’s going on!?
There is actually a very simple explanation for why this happens.
We just learnt that the horizon can be seen just as well from a plane as from a mountain, from the ground, as from our window pane. What do all this places have in common?
That’s right! You guessed it! It’s your eyes!
Through your eyes, you can see the horizon from any place or height you can possibly find yourself in. When you crouch, the horizon crouches with you, because it is following the height of your eyes.
The horizon line is but a plane that generates in our eyes and travel all the way out into infinity. The point where it hits the curvature of the earth will appear as a line. Therefore, the horizon line is just your eye level.
Choosing the Eye level
When we are planning to make a drawing, we must first decide where to set the horizon line. This horizon line will represent the eye level that the viewer of our work will have when looking at that particular drawing.
If you draw a scene of a table where you can actually see its bottom, the viewer will feel as if sitting on the floor under it. If the drawing shows the table from above, the viewer will get the feeling of being standing in front of it.
Controlling the eye level of our drawing, you will make the viewer of your work feel on a specific way. So, if you want the viewer to feel powerful when looking at your drawing, you will want to make a very high eye level, where the viewer is looking down on everything in the drawing. If you want them to feel small or threatened, you must choose a short eye level, and the things in the drawing will appear to hover the viewer in a threatening way.
The Eye Level in Manga Studio / Clip Studio Paint
Deciding the eye level in Manga Studio is a piece of cake! We just need to select the ruler with the Operation tool, and click and drag the green square of the eye level.
Activating the grid in the X plane will make it a lot easier to understand our position in the “world” we are about to draw, because we will be able to see the floor, and choose the appropriate height for our scene.
Coming up Next
In the next post we will see what is that makes perspective happen. We will learn how parallel lines can intersect in the horizon, and how foreshortening is what makes the vanishing points appear.
Stay tuned for our next tutorials!
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