Understanding Multiple Vanishing Points
- Greg Petrics
A Vanishing Point in a 2-dimensional composition is a point in the 2-dimensional media where parallel lines of the 3-dimensional subject converge in the 2-dimensional composition. For example, the vanishing point of the parallel lines in Raphael's School of Athens is behind Plato and Aristotle. The presence of a vanishing point or vanishing points creates the illusion of 3 dimensions in 2-dimensional media. This illusion is sometimes called perspective. When creating a 2-dimensional perspective composition, it can be challenging to understand how to intentionally locate vanishing points in your 2-dimensional media to accurately depict your 3-dimensional subject. The applet below helps you understand the process of selecting the location of vanishing points based on information about your subject. To get started: Move the point MyEye in the left window around the 3-dimensional cube. The point represents your point of view of the cube in 3 dimensions. As you move MyEye, the blue canvas--which represents your 2-dimensional canvas--automatically draws a perspective drawing of the cube from the point of view of MyEye with three vanishing points. The drawing is displayed on the right.
- Click the button on the bottom to toggle on/off aids in locating vanishing points.
- If you get "lost", click the circular arrows in the top right of bottom pane.
- Click on MyEye to toggle between lateral/vertical movement.
- You may need to pan or zoom in the right pan if motion of MyEye takes your drawing out of frame.