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Dividing a form in perspective

From: Digital Matte Painting Essentials 2: Perspective

Video: Dividing a form in perspective

Next, we want to define this causeway or bridge at the front of the castle. But doing that it slightly more complicated. The bridge needs to be centered on the front of the lower box of the castle. It won't look right if it's off center. When not working in perspective, you could just measure the distance across the box, and divide it in two. But that won't work in perspective. Here is a simple trick you'll use all the time to divide up surfaces in perspective. Draw an X across a box to find its center point.

Dividing a form in perspective

Next, we want to define this causeway or bridge at the front of the castle. But doing that it slightly more complicated. The bridge needs to be centered on the front of the lower box of the castle. It won't look right if it's off center. When not working in perspective, you could just measure the distance across the box, and divide it in two. But that won't work in perspective. Here is a simple trick you'll use all the time to divide up surfaces in perspective. Draw an X across a box to find its center point.

If you draw a vertical line through that point, you now have the center of that surface. I want to open up a work file to show you this division technique in more detail. If your a premium member of lyna.com and want to follow along using that file it's available in the Excercise Files folder for this class. First I want to show you an example of divisions that are not drawn in perspective. This file I just opened has two lines of convergents that vanage to the left.

Make a new layer. Choose a brush that's around four pixels wide and draw a vertical line by holding down on the Shift key. Then, Cmd+Option or Ctlr+Alt+Shift+Drag to duplicate the line and drag it horizontally. That creates a new layer. So, merge those two layers together. Then select both lines and again, Cmd+Option or Ctlr+Alt+Shift+Drag the lines to the left so that the first and last lines overlap precisely.

Then make sure the distance between the three lines are exactly the same. Select the three lines and drag duplicate them again, making sure the lines lineup as before. Now we have five equally spaced lines in space. Select all of them, and put them right on top of the line, that is bounded by the lines of convergence. I'm going to spread these apart more so that you can see this more clearly. But the divisions between the lines are still exactly equal.

Clip off the top and bottom of the line so that they match the lines of convergence. Now that these equally spaced lines are placed in perspective, they no longer look equal. Notice that this first division looks like the largest, and the second one looks smaller. The third one is smaller yet and the last one closest to the viewer looked smallest of all. Let me undo the clicking on the top and bottom of the lines so we can use them again later. Then hide them then a new layer so we can experiment with that x trick I showed you before on the castle.

Draw a vertical line to define a rectangle on our lines of convergents that we'll divide up into perspective. Draw an x starting from each of the corners across the rectangle. Where that x meets is the center of the rectangle divided up into proper perspective or the half way point. You can see that outer perspective. These distances don't look the same. But in perspective they look equal. If you draw another line from the vanishing point to that center point in the square, you divide the box in half vertically.

And you can use that to get other divisions horizontally. If I draw another line corner to corner through this first division, where it intersects that line we just draw is the center of that section, will do the same thing for that front section and now we have divide the square into four seen proper perspectives. That works great for quickly figuring out the center of a rectangle, or dividing up a surface into a few divisions. But what if you want to break a surface up into a lot of segments? Luckily, Photoshop provides a great way to divide up any number of segments in perspective using the distort tool.

Let me turn back on that layer I saved with the five equally spaced lines that were not in perspective. For this trick to work, whatever you're distorting must be flat and not in perspective as Photoshop adds the perspective to it. I'm going to transform these lines to reduce the distance between them so I can get more inside of this document. But the distance between them remains equal. Select all of the lines in option or alt drag copy them as we did before, overlapping the first and last line so that we get exactly equal divisions again.

Repeat that until you get a lot of divisions, it doesn't really matter how many, this will work for any number. Select all of the lines and Cmd or Ctrl+Press the right or left arrow key to reduce the selection to just the area containing the lines. You want your selection to be as small as possible to get the best control from the distort tool. Press Cmd or Ctrl+T to invoke the transform tool and then right click and choose Distort from the drop down menu.

Distort let's you move any of the corners wherever you want. And you want to match the lines to the lines of convergence in this example. You also want to make sure that the right and left edges of the Distort Bounding box remain vertical. If the guides lean to the right or left, you'll get incorrect divisions. So, make sure they remain vertical. Carefully line up the corner points of the Distort tool to the edges of the section you want to divide up.

When you're satisfied with the alignment, press the Return or Enter key to accept the distortion. When using this technique the lines that have been distorted the most could become faint. But you can darken them up by selecting all and optional roll right or left arrow keys to duplicate the lines in place. So there you have it. The area we selected divided up into 15 equal segments in perspective. In the course of doing your perspective drawing, you use these techniques over and over in various ways depending on how many divisions you need on a form.

In the next lesson, we'll get back to our castle and continue on our perspective drawing.

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Digital Matte Painting Essentials 2: Perspective

30 video lessons · 3136 viewers

David Mattingly
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