Beyond Perspective Drawing
The subject of perspective has conventionally limited its focus to that of creating the appearance of depth upon a flat artwork surface.
Furthermore, studies have also centered around perspective drawing techniques.
This tutorial describes what could be called "the ingredients of perspective," which could be applied to any visual art form, whether perspective drawing, photography, 3D graphics or filmmaking.
The Ingredients of Perspective
Form means, "the shape of something, regardless of what material it is made of." Especially in art, form can refer to an object, a person's body or their appearance.
Any form consists of only three basic things:
So the amounts of distance and direction between the parts of a form create its particular shape. (above right) Observe this in a few forms around you.
Next, we also have different overall forms. (right) Each can have its own size, are separated by a particular distance, and have direction in relation to other forms. This direction aspect includes how each is turned, along with where they are located around each other. Observe this between a few forms in your vicinity as well.
Everything has form, whether matter, energy or space.
For example, the energy of light has a form consisting of an overall amount which is traveling across distance in specific directions. (below)
A single ray is just one-directional. Combining many creates multidirectional light. We refer to this amount of light arriving from an object as its angle of light. (above)
This angle of light has an "amount of direction," which is the most basic definition of an angle. In fact, the purpose of an angle is to establish an amount of direction.
Perspective drawing has been dealt with in a technique called linear perspective, which is, "a method for producing a three-dimensional image onto a two-dimensional surface by the use of lines." (left) Depth is primarily achieved by drawing converging lines which appear to extend outward in the distance. This, however, has limited application since it deals primarily with drawing lines on flat surfaces, excluding perspective from any art forms such as stage, window display or designing amusement park attractions.
What we need is an understanding of perspective that is more universal than that of drawing techniques for creating depth.
Recall from "What Perspective Really Means In Art" that perspective basically means "viewpoint" or "position." For example, "It looks good from my viewpoint," "It looks good from my position" and "It looks good from my perspective."
With that in mind, we will introduce a new subject called form perspective, which is "our position in relation to forms" or "forms from our perspective."
This subject follows laws of perspective which are more complete than that of just observing converging lines which suggest a feeling of depth upon a flat drawing surface. It is a basic law of form perspective that size, distance and direction are the only three things that can affect how large or small a form appears.
First, the size or amount of a form will affect how large or small it looks. (below)
Its amount of distance also determines how large or small it will appear. (below)
The amount of direction (the angle) it faces affects its apparent size, too. (below)
This combination of size, distance and direction is what determines the appearance of every form around us.
For that reason, a more expanded definition of form perspective can be stated as: "the size, distance and direction of forms from our position." That translates into "how large forms are to us," "how far forms are to us" and "what angle forms are to us." Note that this may or may not even be applied to art.
That definition demonstrates how limited the subject of "depth perspective" really is since the size and direction of a form are just as important as its distance to us.
Also notice that "three-dimensional" is not a part of form perspective's meaning. Any form, even if more two-dimensional, still represents a form we are looking at.
Yet, vision is not mentioned either. Even with our eyes closed, we do establish a connection to forms in some way. Still, form perspective could also be stated as, "the size, distance and direction of forms from our viewpoint."
With the appearance of forms as our purpose, let us focus next on apparent form.