Join Bert Monroy for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding the basics of perspective, part of Artistic Concepts with Bert Monroy.
What is it that makes things look three-dimensional? It's a little thing called perspective. You look at the two blocks that are on the screen right now. The one on the left looks kind of flat; the one on the right has dimension. It really looks like it's moving in space, and it looks real. Now, what makes them different is the fact that the one on the right is following the normal conventions of perspective. So I'm going to go in there and set up what's called the horizon line. This is my horizon line. And if I go and look at my paths here, right there, you can see that I have these little vanishing lines, that are converging on the vanishing point right there.
And these lines will follow every edge and converge eventually on that point back there. If we were to look at something like say, this one here. Let's turn these off. And look at these. Now those blocks all look three-dimensional. We see the tops, we see the sides, and so on. What makes them look real, is the fact that they are also converging on the vanishing point. Here we're dealing with two points of separate vanishing points. And we look at them here. There's a vanishing point, and there's a vanishing point.
Now if I was to grab this line and start to follow, you'll see that every single line follows that perspective. Same thing is the case on this side. Every single line will follow the same perspective. Now in a case of reality, well, when we look at something like say, this image here, you can see that it's going back in space. Well, when we go and look at the perspective lines, there you see, that there's our vanishing point on the horizon, and all the lines are converging on that same spot. The pier goes all the way down, the tops of the girders, the tops of the building, and the edges of these little piles, all of them go and converge on the same point.
Now when I create my paintings, I take that into consideration. In my Times Square series, it's a very, very complex set of perspective, because of the fact that you're dealing with multiple vanishing points from two different avenues and side streets. In this particular case, we're dealing with a single vanishing point. And what happens here, is the vanishing point is way off down there at the center of our painting. And if we look at the actual perspective lines that were created, there you can see them. And as I get in a little closer, you see that there's that single vanishing point. And all my vanishing lines are converging on that point, so that the tracks and the girders and everything, the platform tops and everything, will converge on that same point, including all the windows and the buildings and such. It is these that I then use as a guide, where I start to create all my elements. So we see here where the girders are conforming to those perspective lines. So vanishing points and horizons, these are the things that make something look three-dimensional, by having things receded in space so as they get further, they get smaller.
By following that concept, your objects and your images will look three-dimensional.
- Understanding the vanishing point
- Establishing a light source
- Creating shadows on surfaces
- Creating reflections
- Aligning layers to add and remove objects