Traditional 2D art contains fundamentals that every artist should master and practice in their work, especially if they are professional artists.
The fundamentals are:
• shapes and forms
• values and shading
• color theory
From the list, two fundamentals are especially important during this course: perspective and composition. Naturally, we will also touch briefly on some others but not as comprehensively as perspective and composition.
Term perspective means "point of view, ability to see the whole of something", and specifically in art it means the ability to present three-dimensional objects using a two-dimensional medium. The fundamental of perspective is divided into two subjects: linear and atmospheric.
Linear perspective is a technique of creating an illusion of depth and space, of making the image appear more life-like and three-dimensional. Linear perspective has three essential components:
• Orthogonal lines (parallel lines): Lines that follow the object's parallel lines and are directed towards the vanishing point.
• Vanishing point: The point at which parallel lines meet in the distance.
• Horizon line: The line at which the sky meets the ground or water.
These three components make it possible to create a composition that is a realistic set of buildings, for example.
The one-point perspective has only one vanishing point along the horizon line. In the image from the streets of New York City, the vanishing point is far in the distance and the horizon line is set where the road meets the sky. The blue orthogonal lines go from the building's rooftops and ledges towards the vanishing point.
The two-point perspective has two vanishing points on the horizon line. A two-point perspective is used to show, for example, the corners of a building. The vanishing points are often placed far left and far-right, and the closer they are to each other, the more "squished" the object will be.
Depending on the height of the horizon line, the viewer's vantage point changes. When the horizon line is high, the viewer watches down at the object and up when the line is lower.
The three-point perspective, like the name suggests, has three vanishing points. However, when the two of those vanishing points are on the horizon line, the third is either above or below the horizon line. This depends on what area the artist wants to focus on in their drawing.
The image above has the third vanishing point down, so the cube's topside is more visible. Notice that the cube's corners aren't straight anymore, but askew because of the vanishing point below the horizon line.
Also known as aerial perspective, the atmospheric perspective works very differently from the linear perspective. Atmospheric perspective communicates depth through different values, colors, and clarity of elements. The objects closer to the viewer are much darker than objects far away.
Atmospheric perspective is often used in landscape and seascape paintings when architectural elements are few.
We should also mention isometric projection. Isometric projection is often used in the game industry, and it’s a method to visually present 3D objects in 2D. In the upcoming assignments you will learn to use isometrics to create interior concept art.
It’s not the main subject of the artwork that catches the eye, but the composition. It simply means where things are placed and how. Composition aims to make the artwork interesting and guide a viewer's eye on the important parts of the artwork, that have the information, the story, of the artwork.
Artworks with a calm and relaxing mood have a symmetrical composition with a balance on both sides of the image. Pieces with action and dynamic feeling tend to have an asymmetrical composition with the "weight" on either side of the artwork.
Here are some composition tricks you should keep in mind when designing.
All right, now you have a basic grasp of two important fundamentals for environment design. During this course, other fundamentals like color theory will be mentioned briefly as they also affect the artwork.