Digital Matte Painting Essentials 2: Perspective
Illustration by John Hersey

The three types of linear perspective


From:

Digital Matte Painting Essentials 2: Perspective

with David Mattingly

Video: The three types of linear perspective

There are three types of linear perspective. One point, two point and three point. One point is the simplest type of perspective and occurs when the vanishing point for the objects in your picture is near the center of the scene. Obvious examples are roads, rail road tracks or looking straight on to a building. In one point perspective you only calculate a single vanishing point for all the objects in your scene, while it can be associated with power and steadiness, it is also the most boring type of perspective which is why I suggest you stay away from it for your castle concept.

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Watch the Online Video Course Digital Matte Painting Essentials 2: Perspective
2h 37m Beginner Aug 27, 2013

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An accurate perspective drawing is an essential base for most matte paintings. Learn how to create linear perspective drawings of a castle in Adobe Photoshop with this course, and migrate the lessons to your own project. David Mattingly, a matte artist for many groundbreaking motion pictures, teaches you about the three types of perspective, and how to set up vanishing points, find and rough in the forms in your painting, add detail like crenellations, draw ellipses, and polish the final drawing.

Note: This installment of Digital Matte Painting Essentials builds on the concept sketch from the first course, but it's not necessary to have those files to proceed.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the three types of linear perspective
  • Preparing your concept sketch for drawing
  • Setting up vanishing points
  • Finding the first boxes in perspective
  • Roughing in the other rectilinear forms
  • Creating a flat crenellation
  • Plotting measuring points
  • Drawing ellipses
  • Adding repeating details to walls
  • Delineating the background
Subjects:
3D + Animation Design
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
David Mattingly

The three types of linear perspective

There are three types of linear perspective. One point, two point and three point. One point is the simplest type of perspective and occurs when the vanishing point for the objects in your picture is near the center of the scene. Obvious examples are roads, rail road tracks or looking straight on to a building. In one point perspective you only calculate a single vanishing point for all the objects in your scene, while it can be associated with power and steadiness, it is also the most boring type of perspective which is why I suggest you stay away from it for your castle concept.

Two point perspective is the type that you will use for most of your work as a mat artist, and occurs when one or both of your vanishing points are off to the sides of your picture. In two point perspective, both vanishing points will generally be outside of your picture. Most scenes in daily life can be represented by two point perspective. Three point perspective perspective is the most complicated form. And occurs when you are looking up or down in your scene. Any time you are surrounded by skyscrapers and look up, you'll have to calculate all three vanishing points.

In three point perspective, all three vanishing points will generally be outside the edges of your picture. Although if you were looking almost straight up the top vanishing point will be inside your scene. One last topic we need to cover before we start working on our perspective drawing is the cone of vision. The cone of vision is how much of your scene your picture includes and will profoundly effect the position of your vanishing points. Let me show you three pictures.

All three were taken at the same time at the same place near my home in Hoboken, New Jersey. The first one was shot with a 28 millimeter lense the second with a 50 millimeter lense, and the third one with a 100 millimeter lense. The 28 mm lens takes in more of the scene, and is called a wide-angle lens. The 50 mm lens is close to what the human eye normally sees, and is called a normal lens. The 100 mm lens takes in a much narrower field of view than the human eye, and is called a telephoto lens.

All three of these are valid fields of view. But which one you choose will determine where your vanishing points are. Notice that in the 28 millimeter view the vanishing points are quite close to the edge of the picture. In the 50 millimeter view the vanishing points are further out. And in the 100 millimeter view they are far beyond he edges of the picture. Also in the 28 millimetre photo, the lines of convergence are dramatically angled, but in the 100 millimetre view, they are very flat.

So the closer to the edge of the picture you place your vanishing points, the wider your view will be. And the farther out you place your vanishing points, the closer to a normal or telephoto view your picture will be. Let me switch back and forth between these two illustrations, and have you note the difference between them. This one is more of a normal view, while this one is more of a wide angle, and distorts the buildings somewhat. My advice on your castle is to place your vanishing points far enough out so that you minimize this distortion.

With all that information in hand, it's time to prepare your concept sketch for making a perspective drawing and to set up your vanishing points.

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