Perspective Home Project
This unit focuses on using digital media, with multiple tasks in place to allow me to explore different ways of using software, hardware, and fundamental art skills to create pieces of artwork.
Intro to Photoshop
27th September 2021
Our first day had us working on Photoshop to explore the different brushes and layout of the programme. I've used Photoshop before however, my main tool is Procreate so I still consider myself a Photoshop novice. For this lesson, I used my iPad Air, Apple Pencil, and Photoshop app. I'm aware that the mobile app is not the same as the desktop programme, however, at the time I was in self-isolation and did not have a drawing pad to pair to my desktop.
The task was to draw an item/items which could be used as a prop by Sherlock Holmes. I chose three items and used reference images from the internet to guide my drawings. My goal was to create basic images using two different brushes on each piece in order to expand the brushes I use and see where they could be helpful in future projects. The results were quite satisfactory and I feel I really benefitted from this practice.
Introduction to Madeline Maxwell
28th September 2021
Our first project is to create the image of a home designed for a fictional character. My chosen character is Madeline Maxwell (aka Max) from a book series called The Chronicles of St Mary's and the spin-off series surrounding The Time Police. She's a chubby, ginger, time-travelling Historian who enjoys black tea with a slice of lemon and eating sausages in the bath.
I chose her because the series she's from has no pictures to refer from, meaning I get to draw what I believe St Mary's Priory looks like (or should look like) based on what I've read, without the influence of canonical imagery from TV or movies. I have lots of opportunities to use my creative license to really make her home look like it is inspired by her character in this project too, as I believe personalising the home to her will create more of a connection with the audience. I also picked her because she's so intelligent, funny, and powerful - she's a character I really feel emotionally invested in which means I'll find it more inspiring to create a piece inspired by her.
She lives in St Mary's Priory, which is an old, battered building with a lake, stables, gardens, and bell tower. To the outside world, it is a slightly odd, but far from an incredible historical research facility. Inside, however, it is an incredibly advanced place that houses several Pods, which are machines that allow the users to "jump" to specific places and times. They don't like to call it time-travel, but it's time-travel. The Historians and their teams jump to events and periods of history to study the past in great detail and provide accurate documentation of the history of the Earth. When the team are not on "jumps", they experiment with practical history and try to see if myths, recipes, and unusual feats could actually be achieved by our ancestors. This sometimes leads to an occasional explosion, gas leak, or chemical damage to the building - this would give the building a lot of battle scars and personality.
I want to research what old priories look like and work from there for my piece of work, so I have a basic foundation to begin my creation. Then, I want to add some personality to the piece by adding scorch marks, the flower beds, stables, lake, and possibly details like the swans described in the books. It's important to me that I find ways to make it distinguishable as St Mary's and the home of Max. As Max enjoys painting and is an accomplished artist, perhaps I could add an easel by one of the windows or in the gardens, or a table with a tea set on it in view of the building. The size, age, and complexity of the building could either hinder me by overwhelming me or help me by giving me a really interesting, beautiful home to be working on - it depends on how well I organise my time.
Intro to Perspective
4th October 2021
In this session, we had an introduction to a basic two-point perspective. We created cuboids using Photoshop's guidelines, rulers, and pen tools to create two vanishing points and a horizon line, and build up base guides. As a cuboid is going to be the base shape of our final pieces, we need to be able to create one with ease, which made this skill really essential to learn.
As you can see from the image below, I drew a line where I wanted my corner to be and drew lines from the top and bottom of the central line to my vanishing points, to begin with, and then built my cube using this point to guide the rest of my lines.
I made sure everything was aligned in my cube, then drew a cross on the face of the cube where I wanted my roof to point upwards and another on the parallel side to it, which you wouldn't see usually as it is "inside" the cube. I drew straight vertical lines through the points where the lines of the crosses intersected to find the centre of the faces and used this as a guide for my roof. I drew lines from the top corner of my cube to the point where I wanted the top of the roof to be to make a triangle. The next step was to draw a line from the top point of the roof to the left-side vanishing point, which gave me the angle the roof needed to be built on as it disappears backwards, and then joined this line to the mid-point of the "inside" face. This gave me a house with a roof.
The next step was to add windows. I used crosses I drew on the building showing the distance I wanted the window to be from the wall as a base for foreshortening to figure out where my windows should go. This method will be really useful for my final assignment as my building will need bump-outs, doorways, and windows and they need to be properly spaced out. I can replicate this to add these pieces to my image of St Mary's Priory. The images below show the final piece with windows both with and without the guidelines.
8th October 2021
My homework was to use what I'd learned about perspective in my last lesson to create a three-point perspective house. I found it more difficult than a two-point perspective piece because I had more factors and angles to think about, but once I managed to wrap my head around all three vanishing points working together I felt confident I could recreate my piece and use this method in the future for more complex work.
I found the placement of the windows quite difficult, but my tutor advised me to use the top of the cuboid to guide the foreshortening which was very useful. I now know I can use this method in the future as well to measure space and plan additions from upper angles and three-point perspectives.
My next step is to create a base for my final piece using what I've learned so far. I've been given the choice to do either two or three-point perspective. While I appreciate the challenge and style of three-point perspective, I think two-point perspective is more suitable for my priory building.
9th October 2021
I began to use what I've learned so far to create a base cuboid for my priory building. I really wanted to have some interesting bump-outs on the building, some steps leading up to the front door, and a bell tower on the building. I know these all present challenges so I wanted to use my first draft to just try and get some of the features in and figure out how to make them.
I used my two-point perspective cuboid as a starting point but straight away I knew it didn't feel as grand and large as I wanted it to, and at the same time I knew that there wasn't space on my canvas for the height I wanted. I still continued on this piece though, as I wanted to get a chance to make mistakes and experiment here.
I started by learning to add a bump-out using the foreshortening method I used for the windows in my first perspective exercise combined with my knowledge of making cuboids. I feel this worked really well and I could use this method to add more shape and interest to my structure. I'd like some windows to bump out and I want to build more levels to the building and this will help me do that accurately. I'm still unsure at this point as to how I'll get the feeling of scale I want, and how I'll add the stairs. I know I'll definitely have to restart on a fresh canvas and I'm okay with this. I've learned from my experiment and when I gain more knowledge I can learn to create the image I really want.
Perspective and Light
11th October 2021
In this session, we learned how to expand our canvas, add a light source, and use guidelines to create shadows of a basic cuboid and a house with a roof. We went through this process as a group but each worked on our own individual Photoshop document.
The first thing we did when given our pre-made canvases with cuboids was to expand the canvas in several directions so we would have room for a highly placed light source and for the cast shadow to be shown fully.
The next thing we did was place a dot on the canvas showing where our light source would be. In this case, the light source would be the sun high up in the sky but this method could be used in different settings and positions to show any light source. For example, you could place a light source close to a desk to replicate the light and shadow a desk lamp would cast.
After that, we began to add in guidelines from the light source crossing through the corners of the building, making sure they were long enough to cross over each other so we could see where the lines of the shadow would meet. We used different colours for different intersections to avoid confusion. The next step was to join the intersections by drawing lines between them to draw the outline of the shadow. We could then use the paint bucket tool to fill in the shadow in black. If this were a pencil drawing or drawn more complexly there would be a gradient from dark to light heading outwards from the building, but for the purposes of this exercise, a single black colour is all we're using for simplicity.
We then added shade using the paint bucket tool to the two visible faces of the cuboid and changed the opacity of each side so they would more accurately represent the amount of light the side would be getting. This method can be used for basic colouring of an object or building as you can colour the building any way you want and have the darker filter on either side to give it some quick shading.
Next, we added a roof using the method used for our first house and repeated the process we used for the cuboid to add to our shadow so it includes the roof.
This lesson was really informative and I'll be able to use what I learned today to restart my priory piece with a larger scale and more dimension using light and shadow.
17th October 2021
After learning how to expand my canvas and gaining a better understanding of how to build my structure using perspective, I decided to create a second attempt at my house using Procreate on my iPad. Initially, I was using Procreate so I could experiment on the go as my Photoshop App doesn't have the straight-line features the desktop version does, and Procreate has very similar tools. It has turned into what could be the base for my final piece. Instead of images, for this attempt, I'm using a time-lapse video to show my process because it shows me doing everything step by step including making mistakes and having breakthroughs. I will go through the basic processes of each part though, to allow a better understanding of what you'll see in the video.
I inserted a jpeg of a cuboid I created on Photoshop and then removed the backgrounds. I duplicated it and experimented to see if I could make the building a floor taller by using a similar process to the foreshortening for the windows. It didn't work out that way and I ended up placing the duplicate above my original layer, then removing the top lines and placing them properly using the two-point perspective so the angles looked correct. When theorising how this would work I didn't take into account that height would change the angles, which was a silly oversight, but easily done.
I moved on to figure out how to create the bump-out for my building entrance and the steps leading up to the doorway. I imagine the building is on some substantial foundations and I want to add flower beds detailed in the books of St Mary's as being lovingly cared for by the building caretaker/gardener/handyman in front of the front sections off to the sides of the bump-out to fill the empty space and make the place feel loved and lived-in. I was concerned the angles didn't look right on the stairs, and I still believe they need to be a bit taller but I asked for the opinion of my tutor (Chloe) and she confirmed my angles on the stairs are correct. I think that looking at the document too long makes me perceive the piece differently and having so many guidelines is confusing me.
I wanted a roof with a thicker, rectangular top for the bump-out so I could get an interesting shape leading up to the bell tower. I used crosses on the sides and surfaces of the cuboid I made for the bump-out, which had been placed using foreshortening, and figured out where the centre of the cuboid was and built another cuboid on top of it. I then linked the corners of the cuboid to create my roof.
To create the bell tower I made another cuboid that fit on my existing bump-out roof and spread onto the main roof. I wanted the tower to be very prominent while allowing for other interesting features; that's why I chose this position on the build for it. I made the roof part by using a cross on the top surface of the cuboid to find the centre of it, then joining all corners of the top surface to the central line to make a triangular roof shape. I haven't added in the bottom of the roof yet as I need to add in some columns and details such as the bell itself and I want to give myself flexibility in placing these.
I want to add another tower and a larger roof towards the back of the building, but still have some nice symmetrical roof features in the front to give the building character. I struggled a bit with these front/side roof bits but I managed to figure out how to make them by using foreshortening to create two cuboids representing where my two roofs would be placed. As you can see in the video, I got confused with how many lines and angles I was working with but I managed to find out where they needed to be in the end. The process for adding in the roofs was the same as my perspective demo house once I managed to work out the shape and size of the sections.
My next steps will be to add in the back tower and the roof at the back of the building, make the stairs taller and add in the actual steps, and add in the details such as the columns around the bell, the front door, and the windows. I'm considering making bump-out windows, as you can see on some of the sketchy notes I made to myself during the video, but I am very aware that I have a time limit to work to and it could be unwise to add in more work than I absolutely need at this point.
18th October 2021
This lesson was all about colouring digitally using Photoshop, however as university systems were down and it wasn't easy to use Photoshop on my laptop, I once again used Procreate as a make-do replacement. I do know the instructions on how to complete this process in Photoshop, but I adapted the instructions so they would work in Procreate because the controls aren't the same.
The first thing I did was open an A4 canvas and import my reference image for my piece, which was an image on an apple. I used my colour tools to remove the saturation and then darkened the layer to give it more contrast. I then drew a basic contouring shape of the apple on a new layer and coloured it black using the colour drop tool, which is the Procreate equivalent of the Paint Bucket tool. I repositioned the layers and enlarged them so that they would be easier to work with.
Next, I added a mask to the layer and used a soft brush with a low opacity to build up tone and shape, and a smudge tool to remove any harsh edges and blend the light and dark smoothly.
The next step was to duplicate the black apple shape and distort it to make it look like the shadow on my reference image. This wasn't easy with Procreate because the masking and smudging must be different to Photoshop, and the shadow appeared to be on top of the main shape and very opaque, which covered up a lot of the work I'd done on the tone. I had to experiment a little bit to find a way to cut the shape of the shadow and place it so it wouldn't have a white line cutting it off from the shape to make it seem disconnected, or take over the main shape of the apple. You can see the trial and error in the video time-lapse. This would have been much more simple in Photoshop, where I would have been able to have more control over how the layers and masks looked.
In order to give the apple more texture, I inserted a textured image to the page and then turned it into a clipping mask for the main apple and altered the opacity to make it look like the apple has a bit of roughness and natural speckles. I used a liquify tool to create a rounded effect to make it feel more three dimensional and rounded.
After that, I found a way to add the colour so it shared a mask with the main apple in a way that would look similar to how it could be done in Photoshop. In Photoshop I would be able to duplicate the mask and change the layer type so it would appear to have the same tonal effect, but this wasn't possible in Procreate. I decided to use Alpha Lock and colour the original black shape in so the mask and texture would still cover the colour which worked out very well.
I did find it challenging to use the colours as they appeared differently under the mask than they did on the palette and I found it particularly hard to find a shade of brown which matched the colours of the apple. Overall, though, I think this image was a good resemblance of an apple and I did gain a good understanding of how I can use layers and masks to colour images digitally in Photoshop and Procreate.
1st November 2021
Note: This entry is being written as I develop and edit the piece instead of being a look back on what I've done like former entries.
I worked more since my last update and ended up with a building which has several bits of roof and is looking quite complex. There are parts of the roof which don't appear to be at the correct angles, which I figured out is because I measured the centre of my roof from the wrong corner. My side roof is extended upwards from the original square I'd been working with the for the side section of the building and that threw the angle of the roof off significantly. This is the first thing I'm going to fix in this session.
The second thing I'm fixing is the distance between the bell tower and back tower as the space between the towers isn't as large as I wanted it to be and it looks strange. To avoid having to do a major rework or having more complex roof-work than I can manage, I'm going to extend the bell tower back towards the back tower so they meet.
Finally, in this session I aim to add the back roof bit for my right side piece of the building. I want it to be a bit higher than the first/front roof on this side and have the appearance of being a floor with a shorter ceiling than the lower floors. As this building was once a home for a well-off family a couple of hundred years ago I'm picturing this bit being used as a living space for servants and staff. It would be less extravagant inside and would maybe be a bit cramped instead of having the beautiful tall ceilings, windows, and walls in the main parts of the house. I've already created some guidelines to help me get started with this. The following is how my document looks at the time of writing:
I just worked my new bell tower into the build. I first created new layers to create my new, extended cuboid in showing the visible front and the invisible lines in the back. I used crosses to work out the centres of the sides, top, and bottom of the cuboid to find the point of my roof and to check that all the centres would join the point correctly. I think that this looks a lot better than it did before. Now I just need to work this into my main lifework. I think it would be appropriate to make a new main line-work at a later point to keep all my correct lines on so I won't get confused or have to rub out and repair old work too much. Making fresh layers helps my mind keep on track with the present. This is how my updated Bell Tower looks:
The angle on my right side roof was slightly off, so I had to do a bit of investigating to see how I could fix it. I tried moving the roof to different points just to tilt it back slightly, but it wasn't working or looking correct. I decided to re-check all of my lines and found that my guideline from my view point to the centre of the face of the cube and roof was slightly off, which was making the roof look tilted. It was very subtle, but I feel the piece looks better even with this slight change.
I added in a cuboid to represent the back part of my building and used the same guide as I have done before to add in the roof. I feel it does still look wonky but I keep measuring it and it does line up to everything it should correctly.
The next thing I've done is build up my steps. I think they look a bit strange because I split the cuboid I made to represent them into equal sections horizontally and vertically and I feel like this is a bit too perfect. I feel like maybe in real life the lower steps would be shorter or the length would at least be measured more by the height of the step. Something looks a bit off. I'm going to leave this part for now because I think working on another area may give me an idea on how to improve them.
I wanted the doorway to have some interest and some curved to give the building character as everything is very sharp and straight right so far. used foreshortening then added an eclipse and warped it to fit my doorway, then drew over the curved with my smoothing setting up to finish the archway. It's not a smooth transition between the curve and straight line but I think it works well enough for now.
2nd November 2021
Yesterday I made some really good progress and submitted my work so far. I wanted to start adding some more details to the building as, although I've handed in my progress and we're moving on to a new project, I can resubmit this house in January when it is complete and I fully intend to do that. Today I added some windows to my build using the same method as I used for the door. I do need to add in some details such as the window sills and frames. The windows in this image do go from floor to ceiling on the indoor room of the building, but from the outside it's sitting nicely just above the building's foundation. I think it could be nice to add in some curtains or blinds to the windows as this is still an institute with a lot of secrets. I think it's looking good so far, though.
Editing After Feedback
17th November 2021
I got some feedback after submitting my progress and decided to take it on and continue my piece while improving it. My tutor suggested I remove the back roof as it made the piece look busy and strange, which I agree with so I pulled the front roof back and removed the back bit. I then double checked he angles and measurements for the roofing and fixed some small mis-calculated areas to make the house look more balanced.
After that, I created side windows on the lower floor and used a process similar to what I used to create the back tower to open up the bell tower. I think the walls may be too thin but I don't think it's too bad. I need to figure out how to add the bell in so it will look more complete, although we could assume the bell is damaged and has temporarily been taken down.
When I next work on this, I want to add windows to the upper floors and detail the doorway and the window frames, as well as detailing the roof so it has more character and looks more realistic.
A New Beginning (Again)
11th April 2022
Like with my Pet Food Project, I haven't updated this blog on my perspective house in a while because I got COVID and my health has been up and down, but I have been working on this project. I chose to use the house so far as the bones and guide for the build but I found I couldn't connect with the file or work with it the way it was. It was too complex and too much for my brain to digest. I needed a fresh start. I made a new file and started to re-build my house with improvements. To make the process of documenting this easier, I recorded the work and then talked through my intentions and process. You can see this in the video below:
Windows, Doors, and Other Details
19th April 2022
This video is me talking through where I'm at so far with the house and describing my process of adding in windows, doors, and little details like a pathway and the steps up to the main hall.
21st April 2022
This video is the final in the entries for this unit. I did create videos of me going through my Photoshop document but there was an error so I talked over my jpeg here just to give an idea of the process I used. I liked this unit. I feel like it was really valuable to my course and my learning journey.