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Perspective and Light Source
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Perspective and Light Source
Created by:the Prof

Perspective and Light Source are a foundation to the development of 3D images. Since we essentially paint on a two dimensional image, in order to obtain depth, perspective and dimension to our paintings, we want to have an understanding of Perspective and Light Source.

As an introduction to the use of the PSP v7 Effects, this lesson will briefly review some basic concepts and considerations when painting with PSP Effects.


Perspective and Depth

  • Objects near are larger than objects farther in the distance.
  • Shadowing of light and dark create depth on a 2 dimensional plan (canvas).
  • In a 3 dimensional (illusion) painting, there is a a vanishing point. As a general concept the vanishing point is somewhere on a line where the 'sky' meets the 'horizon'. And, as a default for our paintings our vanishing point will be centered.
Standard Toolbar - New (image) buttonTool Palette - Flood Fill tool

Summer Field Background

Exploring Perspective

  1. New canvas: 300 x 300 pixels, white background, 16 M colors
  2. Promote background to layer and label it 'BG White'.
  3. Duplicate the 'BG White' layer and label it 'BG Gradient'.
  4. Set Foreground Style = Gradient, Summer Field. (Click on arrow, select Gradient, set Linear Gradient and select the Summer Field gradient.)
  5. Then, flood-fill the layer 'BG Gradient'.
Layer Palette - Create layer buttonTool Palette - Paint Brush tool


Set the guides. (We will use guides to set the vanishing point and then draw a perspective object.)

  1. Create a new layer and label it 'Guides'.
  2. Turn on the ruler [View || Ruler].
  3. Turn on the guides [View || Guides].
  4. From the left ruler, click and hold mouse button and drag a guide to ruler top of 150. (You can also use the status bar and the coordinates. Note: 149 or 151 is fine.)
  5. From the top ruler drag a guide to ruler left of 150.
  6. Use Paint Brush:
    Shape = Square
    Size = 7
    Step = 1
    Rest = 100
  7. Set foreground style to Brush (solid color) and color to 'Black'
  8. Paint squares at:
    middle cross hairs
    left and right horizontal line
    top and bottom of vertical line
    all four corners

Tool Palette - Preset Shapes tool

Layer Palette - Create layer button

Layer Palette - Layer visibility off

Layer Palette - Create layer button

Tool Palette - Drawing tool

Tool Palette - Mover tool


Tool Palette - Zoom toolTool Palette - Eraser toolStandard Toolbar - Save (image) button

Drawing a Perspective Box Object

To draw the box front:

  1. Turn off guides [View || Guides].
  2. Use Preset Shapes tool:
    Shape = Rectangle
    Retain Style = checked
    Create as vector = unchecked
    Line Style = #1 Solid Line
  3. New layer labeled 'Box'
  4. Press Shift key, draw square in lower left quadrant of canvas about size of quarter.

To draw the box back:

  1. Copy [Ctrl+C] and Paste as New Layer [Ctrl+L] and label it 'Small Box'
  2. Use Image || Resize:
    Percentage of original = 50
    Resize all layers = unchecked
    Maintain aspect ratio = checked
  3. Turn off this layer. (Click on the 'eye glasses' in the Layer palette.)

To draw the lines:

  1. Create a new top layer and label it 'Lines'.
  2. Use the Drawing tool:
    Type = Point to Point
    Width = 1
    Line Style = #1 Solid
    All bottom boxes = unchecked
    (Note: Perfection is not necessary, as just a basic idea.)
  3. Click on a corner (top left, top right, or bottom right) of the bigger box.
  4. Then click in the center on the center point.
  5. Right click and select 'Quit Node Editing'.
  6. Do the same for the two other corners.

To set the box back:

  1. Now highlight the 'Small box' layer, use the Mover tool, and move the smaller square into the lines so that the top left, top right and bottom right corners line up with the lines just drawn.

To merge the boxes and lines:

  1. Now, merge the three top layers (Lines, Small Box, and Box) [Layers || Merge || Merge Visible] and label this merged layer 'Box'.
  2. Zoom twice to see the lines behind the smaller square.
  3. Use the Eraser tool and carefully erase the lines from the end of the box to the center point.
  4. Zoom out to normal.
  5. Save your work as a PSP file named 'Perspective.psp'.
Colored Box with Perspective

The basic perspective image illustrates how to draw objects using a vanishing point. The box is in perspective with the front larger, back smaller; top and sides are a rectangular perspective. (When we use the Effects || Geometric Effects we will see how easy it is to create perspectives from squares and rectangles.)

You can color your image if you wish and turn off the guides layer. The example in the tutorial has colored the box red and added dashed lines to the vanishing point for illustration.


Light Source

Briefly, 'Light Source' is conceptualized as if it exists on a horizontal plane, like a 'Face of a Clock' (360 degrees):

  1. Consider that if the canvas we just drew were a 3-D area and we were standing in the exact middle of the 'globe' and facing forwards, 12 o'clock would be in our front, 3 o'clock on our right, 6 o'clock at our back and 9 o'clock on our left.

    Using 360 degrees instead of clock numbers, Front = 0, Right = 90, Back = 180 and Left = 270.

    Don't get caught up in this, just have a general idea of positioning on this circle. The light source can be at any degree on this plane.

  2. Next, consider 'Height' which is like a 'Rrising Sun' (from Horizon to High Noon or from 0 degrees to 90 degrees).
  3. Thus, when we add shadows to give objects depth, we want to consider the position of the light source (0 - 360 degrees) and its height (0 - 90 degrees) as this will help to locate the painting of shadows to maintain a proper perspective.

Subsequent lessons will illustrate light source, particularly as we explore the 3D Effects in our next lessons.

Enjoy -- Prof --