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Even with perfect mastery of all Adobe Photoshop's tools and filters, unless you get the perspective right, your montages will always look a little off. In this workshop, author and expert Steve Caplin teaches how to work with horizons, vanishing lines, and Photoshop's extraordinary Vanishing Point filter. Plus, learn how to adapt a photograph so that it fits in with the perspective of any scene in which you want to place it.
What's wrong with this picture? There's clearly something wrong with it. Look at all these figures don't look like they belong together in this scene. But what exactly is the problem? Well, we look at this and we see the figures in the foreground are larger from the figures in the background, well, that's exactly how it should be. I mean, we're looking at it in perspective, the farther away people are, the smaller they appear. So, why is it that this girl in the blue shirt looks so much smaller than the woman in the black shirt? Why is it that the boy behind her in the brown top looks far too small? I mean, he is smaller but then he's farther away is in perspective, he's suppose to be smaller.
The woman in pink right at the back, looks like she's towering over the boy in front in of her, even though she's a lot smaller than he is. And why is the man in the foreground look like he isn't really as far in the foreground as the woman in the black shirt? These are really tricky issues, and the answer, all comes down to the horizon. The simple trick is our eye line is always on the horizon. If we're standing as we are here, on the beach looking straightforwards, our eye line is on the horizon. Here's my son, Joe, and at the time this photograph was taken, he was exactly the same height as me.
So, when I look out to see the horizon, his eye line is also on the horizon, and that works fine when we're standing down on the seashore like this. If we're sitting down, we lower ourselves, we lower our eye line, and we also lower the apparent position of the horizon. Even when we're sitting down, looking straight forwards, our eye line is always on the horizon, even if we're at the top of a tall building. Here, we're standing on a cliff and you can see people on the seashore far below, and you can see the pier way below us. That shows how high we are.
Even now, our eye line is on the horizon. And when we look straight forward at any point, we see the horizon. And this is the fundamental key to making perspective work in Photomontage illustrations. And that brings us back to our original image. Clearly, the problem has something to do with the horizon. The trouble is, this photograph was taken on a built up street, and there's no horizon visible. So, how on Earth do we read the position of the horizon out of this image? Well, that's the next problem we have to deal with.
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