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The most common mistake in drawing ellipses

From: Digital Matte Painting Essentials 2: Perspective

Video: The most common mistake in drawing ellipses

Take a look at these two cylinders. One has the elipses drawn correctly and one is wrong. Can you figure out which is which? Stop the video for a minute, and try to figure out which is correct; cylinder one or two. Beofre I tell you the answer let's check out both ellipses. Draw guidelines back to your right vanishing point and then to your left vanishing points to draw squares around both ellipses at the front of the cylinders.

The most common mistake in drawing ellipses

Take a look at these two cylinders. One has the elipses drawn correctly and one is wrong. Can you figure out which is which? Stop the video for a minute, and try to figure out which is correct; cylinder one or two. Beofre I tell you the answer let's check out both ellipses. Draw guidelines back to your right vanishing point and then to your left vanishing points to draw squares around both ellipses at the front of the cylinders.

Then draw an x through each square on the front of the cylinders to find the center and draw lines vertically and back to the vanishing points through the center to find the center of each side of the squares. You can see right away that the bottom cylinder has a problem. The ellipse is not touching the sides and the middle. But off center all around. The top one is correct since the ellipse touches the square in the middle of each side. Ellipses drawn like number two are the most common ellipse drawing error I see and it comes from not finding the correct short access.

This incorrectly uses the perspective guide vanishing to the left and dividing the square in half. But this is not the short axis. I call this the false short axis. The true short axis vanishes to the right. This can be difficult to visualize, but I remember it by thinking of the ellipse as a wheel And the short axis as the axle on the wheel of my elipse. You can also remember it by thinking the short axis is an axle not a spoke.The false short axis radiates out from the center of the elipse while the true short axis comes in from the side, like an axle on a wheel.

Let's go ahead and test the ellipse to make sure. Select the bottom of the ellipse and flip it over the short axis. Since it folds to the other side perfectly, it is drawn correctly. Let's try the incorrectly drawn ellipse. It will not fold over the short axis, so the ellipse is incorrect. One last tip. Ellipses on cylinders on their side can be deceptive. But for some reason the moment you rotate the cylinders upright, the incorrect ellipses look obviously wrong.

Luckily, for our two-point perspective castle project, all the domes and towers will be oriented upright. This makes things easier since the short axis of all of the ellipses with an upright orientation will be perpendicular to the horizon. All the long axises will be parallel to the horizon. Next up I'll show you 2 ways to determing the percentage of the ellpses you'll use on your castle.

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Digital Matte Painting Essentials 2: Perspective

30 video lessons · 3005 viewers

David Mattingly
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