Three Point Perspective Drawing with Illustration

Hey explorers! I am back again with a new topic. After illustrating you one and two point perspective drawing, I will be discussing the three point perspective drawing now ;). As, three point perspective also concludes One and Two vanishing point study, So before understanding this point of perspective, you’ll have to learn about one and two point perspective which are being discussed earlier . Now coming to the main point- Three point perspective, the two vanishing points will be on the horizon line but the third vanishing point will be either high above or lower below the horizon line. The third vanishing point depends upon the viewer’s eye level, whether you want the viewer to be looking upwards or downwards at the figures in the drawing. The closer the third point is to the horizon line, the more magnified and enlarged the perspective will appear. The horizon is always on the eye level. If your point of observation is higher or lower a third vanishing point comes into use. Think of looking up at tall skyscrapers and seeing three vertical side angle to a third vanishing point, far distant, as they reach toward the sky. From the Worm’s Eye view (looking up) the upper vanishing point is called the Zenith. From the Bird’s Eye or Helicopter view (looking down) the lower vanishing point is called the Nadir.

A third point can come into play in perspective, but only when dealing with extreme heights or lows. Tall buildings are one example. In the case of looking up at a tall building (this view is called as worm’s eye view) the edges of the building will not only recede to the two vanishing points if looking at the corner, but there will be an upward or downward recession to a vanishing point. This vanishing point is always directly in front of the viewer at a 90 degree angle to the horizon line. If looking down at an object in three point perspective it is referred as a bird’s eye view. 


Let’s get practical:

1) Draw a horizon line and place two vanishing points on the far right and left sides.
2) Draw a vertical line bisecting the horizon line and place a third vanishing point above or below the horizon line.
3) Lightly draw orthogonal visual rays from the top vanishing point past the horizon line.
4) Then draw orthogonal lines from the left and right vanishing points and bisect the orthogonal lines from the top vanishing points using the rays as a measure.
three point perspective example

Final Picture:

three point perspective example

Here in the above illustration, a simple shape (in the form of buildings) in three-point perspective is drawn. Start just as you would in two-point perspective, with a horizon line and two vanishing points as close to the edge of your page as possible. However the vanishing points are not clearly jointed but appear to meet at a particular point. Then, as far from the horizon as possible, place a third vanishing point. It can fall anywhere between the horizon vanishing points, though closer to the middle is better for our purposes. Then, draw lines connecting the three vanishing points. I have illustrated the drawing by showing the angles of the each vanishing point that is supposed to meet at a particular point and thus it will be easier to visualize the VPs.

This technique is most commonly used when drawing buildings viewed from a low or high eye-level. The low eye level in our illustration above creates the illusion that its box shape is towering above us. It naturally gives it the scale of a tall building. However, in one and two point perspective the picture plane is fixed at right angles to the ground plane. Whereas in three point perspective, the picture plane seems to be set at an angle as the viewer tends to tilt their head back or forward to look up or down from the eye level.

Tip: By constructing your vanishing points outside your picture plane, you can easily avoid the problem of accidentally drawing outside the triangle.

There are a few ways to do this:

  • You can tape down your paper to keep it stationary, then place pieces of tape on your work surface outside of your paper to locate your Vanishing points.
  • Or you can keep your vanishing points on the page, place a rectangle within the triangle and only draw within that rectangle. Later, you can crop your image to the size of this smaller rectangle.

The biggest difference in three-point perspective is that there are three vanishing points. Two are along the horizon, just like two-point, but the third VP is located either above the horizon or below the horizon, depending on the area you intend to draw. Remember that in basic one-point perspective, lines are either vertical, horizontal or recede toward the vanishing point. At two-point, lines are either horizontal or recede toward one of the two vanishing points. In three-point perspective all lines recede toward one of the three vanishing points.

Thanks…Have a nice Day 🙂


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