Vanishing points

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Harry
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Vanishing points

Post by Harry » Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:32 am

What do you do when the vanishing point is way, way off the page? I have occasionally drawn pictures with the vanishing point a little outside of the frame but I am looking for - if such a thing exists - a technique for dealing with very distant vanishing points.
At present I deal with this in one of 2 ways: Simply judge by eye or measurement the diminishing sizes of things in the frame, or 2; regard these as so insignificant that they are not worth bothering with.

My inclination is always with the latter as I am basically lazy - a trait which my mother, bless her heart, insisted was responsible for my calling to the arts. After all, drawing pictures, playing an instrument requires no effort, practise, determination or dedication - but erm, yes. I am lazy.

I am torn in this by the lazy-bones that says just use your eyes, Harry and the perfectionist in me that just won't leave it alone.

Does a technique for dealing with this issue exist? Or, if so, is it best left in the realms of technical drawing? I am certain an architect would not use my lazy-bones approach.

Cheers to all
Harry

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Rebecca
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Re: Vanishing points

Post by Rebecca » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:52 am

I usually hold a stick to the angle I need to catch, or imagine the stick, and then interpret that angle as minutes on a clock dial. A few years ago, I offered this technique to Rajesh when he wanted to sketch incognito in public places. You can find it here:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1670#p10775
A bunch of people found it helpful.

I read the angle as minutes in the top half of a clock dial (minutes to or after the hour):
Image
Imagine the clock as so minimal, there is no structure other than its minute hand and point of origin:
Image
Then, keeping in mind where that point of origin is, you can read a pure line as minutes on a clock dial.
What minutes do you read?
Chances are, your answer is plenty accurate for sketching:
Image

edit: To set the angle on the page, remember that the left and right edges of the page represent vertical -- on the hour, and the top and bottom edges of the page are horizontal -- 15 minutes to or after the hour. To draw a horizontal line (15 minutes to or after the hour), make sure it is parallel to the top and bottom of the page, and so on.

Then the trick is to place the ascending or descending line in the correct position on the picture plane while making sure it still reads as the angle you saw in the scene. To place it, figure out where the angle enters the scene at the crop line.
That is how I did this sketch (the patio awning sags -- that was the true angle of its edge)...
Image
Rebecca

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mdmattin
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Re: Vanishing points

Post by mdmattin » Mon Feb 25, 2019 5:32 am

Hi Harry,
I got very interested in this question a while back and came to to the conclusion that vanishing points, while convenient, are not necessary to do perspective drawing. There are other ways to figure out the relevant proportional relationships. I kinda went down a rabbit hole with this, so it may be more than you want to bite off (Rebecca's answer is definitely more practical), but I found it to be an interesting way of thinking about what perspective is and is not: http://www.matthewmattingly.com/2014/11 ... ii_15.html
Or you could get one of these: http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2010/ ... inead.html
Here's another post from James Gurney: http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2008/ ... e-tip.html

Matthew

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Harry
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Re: Vanishing points

Post by Harry » Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:55 pm

Wow, what great ideas! I particularly like the clock dial. Thanks Rebecca. I am really glad I didn't buy a digital watch last time. (but then, I have always been a traditionalist, old world kind of guy).

That centrolinead device looks interesting, Matthew. Thanks.

I did discover an interesting technique, a gimmick really, but it works: You put a drawing pin each side of the picture at eye level and at the vanishing points. Between these pins you lightly stretch a rubber band. Then you can tie a pencil to the rubber band and wherever you stretch it on the page the rubber band will show you the correct line. a simple trick but probably very useful if drawing a cityscape with a million rooftops and windows etc.

Thanks again, guys. I love this forum. so many people eager to help. It is really refreshing to find that spirit.

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Rebecca
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Re: Vanishing points

Post by Rebecca » Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:14 am

Harry wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:55 pm
...I did discover an interesting technique, a gimmick really, but it works: You put a drawing pin each side of the picture at eye level and at the vanishing points. Between these pins you lightly stretch a rubber band. Then you can tie a pencil to the rubber band and wherever you stretch it on the page the rubber band will show you the correct line. a simple trick but probably very useful if drawing a cityscape with a million rooftops and windows etc...
You're welcome!
The rubber band thing is a good tip. The problem I would have with that is the board that the pin sticks in. For portable sketching, I don't want a big board. Far away vanishing points would require a big board, unless I didn't fully understand what this process would look like.
Rebecca

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Harry
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Re: Vanishing points

Post by Harry » Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:21 pm

Sorry, I should have added that the rubber band thing only works with vanishing points that are not too distant, like one the page or close.
I can't see the idea working on location. It is probably one of those gimmicks that we file away in our memory, that gets you out of trouble once in a long while.

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