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Cuyamaca College Perspective Comes Alive Analysis

In ancient pictures from before the Renaissance you see all the people flat and the same size (except royalty, who may appear larger), no matter how far away they are. A photograph shows realistic perspective. People who are far away appear smaller than those near you, but of course they aren’t, really. That’s so obvious that you don’t really understand it without learning about perspective, so don’t think people were stupid for imagining the world is flat and if you walk far enough, you’ll fall off. How else do explain that a ship gets smaller as it sails away and then it disappears? That point is on the horizon (a horizontal line across your point of view (PoV) where the Vanishing Point (VP) is located. (Remember what a “point” is? It’s just location, not an area.)  It’s not science fiction, but you’ll find it takes some imagination to understand perspective.

Project: Take three pictures with the following points of view (PoV) to demonstrate perspective by drawing perspective lines (PLs) to vanishing points (VPs):

Photo1: 1VP: Down a street (stand in the middle of a straight, flat, street or alley without getting run over). The curbs, power lines, cars will diminish and converge on the centerline at the a VP on the horizon.

Photo2: 2VPs: Face the corner of a building so your PoV is eye level to the horizon. The building needs to have windows on both sides so you can trace the PLs along the tops on either side to VPs 1 & 2 on the horizon line. Frame the photograph so you can see the top and bottom of the building in front of you.

Photo3: 3VPs: Looking up the corner of the building from pretty close up. Get the top of the building in the frame and some sky. The PLs to  may extend outside the picture frame so use arrows and PLs to show where the VPs should be. PLs to VP3 extend along doors and window sides up into the sky.

Print them out and draw straight lines over each photo:

mark the vanishing points (or arrow to where they would be if they’re outside your pictures’ frames)

draw the perspective lines (PLs) to the VPs by tracing curbs and architectural features like window frames and eaves

and draw and note the horizon line


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