As one opportunity closes, another opens. I’m currently building another Halls of Shaping for the Consortium guild on Zaviel, Europe. The hardest part about designing another Halls of Shaping is not using themes and designs from the first one. Hopefully I’ll build something completely different but just as outstanding.
I wondered what to do the end of the Hall, that place where the invisible wall removes access to the rest of Hammerknell. At Faeblight, Feendish placed a metal gate to close off that end but still allow a view onwards. At Zaviel, I have taken inspiration from dimensioneer Eightynine’s murals and built an alpine road.
Murals require a sense of perspective to give a feeling of depth to the art. Perspective can be created by placing objects behind other objects or using parallel lines that converge on a ‘vanishing point. These two tricks along with diminishing sizes of objects, loss of detail and fading colours, suggest an object is further away from the viewer than it really is.
Murals or paintings are not a new thing to dimensions. I saw my first at Elegance Art Gallery by Dragondancer (now at Argent). Newcomer to the scene, Eightynine, has made 3D murals his special signature.
Eightynine uses all the tricks mentioned above to give his murals a 3D feel.. He starts all his murals by creating a frame for the picture. This frame becomes an important point of reference when placing items. He angles the frame walls into the centre of the scene; the lines where the vertical meets the horizontal frame are carefully constructed to point toward the vanishing point. The balloon painting (left) is a good example of this.
The frame helps layer the picture. Objects closer to the viewer are embedded into the frame higher or lower than objects further away from the viewer. See how the closest balloons are not only larger and more detailed but are also placed higher on the top of the frame. As the view moves further away, balloons shrink in size, and are lower, closer to the perceived horizon, all of which suggests further distance. His balloons get smaller and less detailed as they recede into the distance, down to the most distant balloons, which are faded blobs.
Another visual trick is letting the objects within the scene to escape from the mural. Focus on the rocks on the left in Villa 89. The rocks protrude from the frame and borrow depth from the ‘real’ world outside the scene.
Every item in a 3D scene requires a frame of reference. They need to be the correct size in relation to the objects in front or behind them and the correct height on the horizon for their perceived depth. Get this wrong and the viewer won’t be able to translate the intended size of an object correctly.
Take a closer look at the snow mural and the sword in the middle of the picture. How big is the sword? We know from experience how big a sword usually is, this sword is closer to the vanishing point than the rock with the cart and behind the log. It must be gigantic, right? The sword lacks a frame of reference, there are no objects nearby to tell us how large the sword really is. An appropriately shrunken barrel or bush placed near would give a relative size comparison.
Three dimensional scenes do not need to be as formally framed as Eightynine’s murals. So long as the edges between outside and inside the scene are defined from the viewer’s perspective, they’ll work. Alpine road borrows the walls of the passage to frame the scene. A pair of strategically placed trees or a glimpse between two buildings could work equally well. Keep your eye open for such opportunities to add a little visual trickery to your dimension next time you build.
Like to know more about perspective in paintings? Try these sites.