How to spot the horizon and converging lines of a building?

From the previous article,
you learn about the 5 steps to starting drawing a scene in perspective.

Let’s spend a bit more time in the Step of Observation.

Today, I give you an observation exercise for designers – to do as often as you want. You can practice it anywhere, anytime.


Below an example of a common 2-point perspective scene:
a regular eye-level street view.

You will train your eye to identify automatically:

  • The horizon line
  • The converging lines

In the street, parking, a gallery, anywhere you go, try to spot these lines.


How to spot the horizon line and converging lines?

How to spot:

  • The Horizon line
  • The Converging lines
  • The Vanishing points

If you are not familiar with these, may I recommend you to watch this video tutorial of How to draw a cube in perspective.

You will get more familiar with the vocabulary.

Guggenheim museum New York City 1

Note: This kind of common scene suppose that if you look at the buildings on a map, they are all parallel to each other.



Did you see that the people in the scene – closed or far – have ALL their eyes on the horizon line!

Why?

Because the photographer is standing and holding his camera at this level.
We consider that people are all about the same height.



To find the Vanishing points,
we reverse engineer the perspective drawing tutorial,.

(Note that your vanishing points are outside of the picture. It is very common for buildings.)

Spot some bold and obvious lines that converge toward the horizon line.
They will join the horizon line in one dot: the left vanishing point!


Now, connect some more.
Pretty easy right?



Same logic for the right side of the buildings.
They converge to the Right vanishing point.



That’s all!
If you know how to observe, you will know how to draw your own cities!

TIP
The horizon line is actually
where the Left and right converging lines “merge”.


Drawing Perspective challenge:

With these 3 pictures below, spot the:

  • Horizon line
  • Converging lines
  • and Vanishing points.

Hint: Look at the most obvious lines such as the windows or the road.

Central-Singapore-Perspective

Central Singapore

Parking perspective

High building Parking

Penang-Perspective

Shophouse of Penang

Remember to train your eye wherever you go and travel!
You can play with your friends at spotting these lines. Soon you will do it like a 6th sense !!


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About The Author

Chou-Tac

Hello! My name is Chou-Tac. I am a Product Designer from France. If the sketching methods I’ve acquired aid me in my life and in my industrial design career, I believe that they can also help you reach your design goal as a student or professional. My aim to help you all along with your design projects and journey. Anytime, feel free to leave a comment in the blog or send me an email at choutac@thedesignsketchbook.com : )

4 Comments

  • Chris

    Reply Reply July 20, 2015

    Can you post the first image of the challenge of the day with the correct HL and converging lines? I can’t seem to make them all match. I keep getting 2 vanishing points for the lines converging to the right of the screen.

    • Chou-Tac Chung

      Reply Reply July 20, 2015

      Hello Chris,

      Thank you for your question.
      You are RIGHT, there is something awkward. And I didn’t noticed it.
      To find out what, let’s both of us play the DETECTIVE ! So try to follow me in that investigation. 😛 (If you take perspective like a game, it’s much more fun)

      I think you noticed that the 3 towers of Park Royal doesn’t match with the perspective lines of the FRONT buildings made of glass.

      At first I made the hypothesis of a lens distortion of my camera. But I checked the map on Google to look at this case closer – And yes, it’s “normal” that all the lines doesn’t match ! There is 2 sets of vanishing points in the scene !

      Now you might wonder WHY?
      To answer you, let’s look at the map together. http://bit.ly/1LxcJlO

      1- I want you to spot Clark Quay (front buildings on the picture) and Park Royal.

      2- If all the building were placed in the map perfectly like in a GRID and the road were perfectly PARALLEL, then ALL the buildings (and streets) would share the SAME vanishing points and converging lines on the picture.

      3- BUT as you can see on the map, the 3 towers of the Park Royal are NOT parallel to the front buildings at Clark Quay.
      The Park Royal follow the [South Bridge rd], while the front buildings are parallel to the [New bridge rd]. These 2 roads are ALMOST parallel, but they are not. That’s why you saw something awkward.

      Conclusion: The scene has more than 1 set of perspective lines. Basically 2 sets.

      TIP: If you were drawing a Urban sketch, you would merge the perspective lines using only 1 set instead of 2 – Why ? Because the difference is not obvious enough to worth the extra complication.

  • Majik

    Reply Reply July 17, 2015

    Hello Chou,
    First, thank you. This is great. Also, are there any tips for find the horizon line, vanishing point and converging lines in products shots, or images with curved objects.
    Thanks

    • Chou-Tac Chung

      Reply Reply July 18, 2015

      Hello Majik,

      For curve forms, it helps to imagine the form inside a box. Eg. A computer mouse, or a bicycle helmet… It will help you to draw it from multiple angles.

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