Monday, February 24, 2014

Perspective - An Introduction

I did perspective layouts by hand in the early part of my career. When 3D modeling came along I jumped on board eagerly. So… in regard to this blog I have to ask myself…

Does anyone need to know how to do layouts by hand?

If you are relatively young, and only know computer modeling, you might view hand layouts as anachronistic and useless. Indeed, when dealing with basic renderings they ARE useless.

But if you want your rendering to stand out from the crowd you have to know when to step outside the CAD “box”. And, when you step outside the box you’ll find it handy to have a basic understanding of perspective. 

So, yes, I’m going to publish a number of posts on laying out perspectives.

Following are examples from my files where knowledge of perspective came in handy.

Placing a modeled structure into an existing aerial photograph takes a good eye, and a sense of vertical convergence; as in this rendering of the observation tower at Niagara Falls.

… Or in this proposal for Olympic venues outside New York City.

…Or in this master plan aerial perspective of the Rutgers Camden campus across from Philadelphia. In all these cases understanding basic perspective helped to make a coherent image of the project.

Rendering a simple building in the computer is quick and satisfying, but working out the context in detail is hard. A photo-montage is the quickest solution, but making the final image seamless and believable is not so easy. This performing arts center at Georgetown University is an example.

…As is this office building in Providence, Rhode Island.

…As are these additions to the Kansas City Auditorium.

An existing interior has the same problems of perspective “fit”.  This view of the Minneapolis Symphony Hall changed the color scheme and carpet. The believability of the carpet demanded a clear idea of receding surfaces in perspective.

Although a bird’s eye perspective can be produced in a CAD rendering program, it is useful to know the basis for the mechanical layout of such a view.

The same goes for a worm’s eye view, although the only reason I did this one was to see if I could actually pull it off.

So… in the next few months I will post on one point perspective, two point perspective and three point perspective, as well as some notes on marginal drawing types. The information will not include detailed instruction on layouts (there are plenty of websites that cover the nuts and bolts of perspective layout), but rather will focus on basics that will help anyone integrate hand work, computer rendering and photography.

Other posts on Perspective:
Perspective - Two Point Perspective - Distortions & Complications
Perspective - Three Point Perspective- Hand & CAD

1 comment:

  1. I hope you will continue this series on perspective. I am twenty-one, and still at university, so I've known only CAD and computer generated drawing. Older drawings done by hand had a certain "snap" and a wonderful artistic quality that is totally lacking in CAD work. Even the lettering was beautiful and individualistic. I really enjoy your blog!