Lesson 4

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The day will begin with a review of the add remove assignment from Lesson 3.


Perspective is one of the means by which a scene may be realized effectively on a flat plane. It is a system which is entirely unnatural and has to be learned.

A page addressing perspective.

Exercise: perspective

Perspective excersise.jpg

Examine the image above. Using it as reference quickly do the following three exercises as line drawings.

  1. Draw the scene as if you have taken three steps to the left, and also turned slightly so that you are still facing the computer.
  2. Draw the scene as if you are a giant looking down at it (giants eye view).
  3. Draw the scene as if you are looking up at it (Child's eye view).

Tone and painting

The slides from my talk on Tone: here (right click download).

See also notes on painting.

Exercise: tone and painting


This exercise is simple: to paint a black and white copy of the Rembrandt painting.

  • Download the Rembrandt painting above (direct link is here).
  • Duplicate the image layer and desaturated it.
  • Make a new file exactly the same pixel dimension as the Rembrandt. The easiest way to do this is to select all (command A), copy (command c) and then make a new file. The size of the file will default to whatever is in your clipboard.
  • Start with a dark grey background (around the average value of the Rembrandt painting), not a white one. This grey will be your mid tone onto which you will apply your dark and light tones.
  • Place the two open windows next to each other (Window / Arrange / Tile All Vertically).
  • Paint a copy of the Rembrandt into this new file.


  • Use the following tonal set: black, dark, mid, light, white. Other values will be blends of these.
  • Black and white are 'rare' values, do not over use them.
  • Details come last. Do not start with a super detailed rendering of the eye. To begin with, paint big and broad and establish the positive and negative space. After that, work down to the details.
  • Just as tones are 'three fold', so to are edges. An edge is hard, soft or diffuse. Edges are particular important in tonal painting, as they act to separate the tonal regions.
  • Evaluate by copy and pasting the original over your painting.
  • Work fast!

Assignment: Piranesi

Do a google search for an artist called Piranesi, or better yet go the magnificent online collection at Complutense University of Madrid.

He was an 18th century artist who was famous for his fantastical etchings of ruins. The perspective and tone of this art is what we will be learning from. Find a Piranesi etching that you like and re-do it as a science fiction image. Keep the overall form of the original but take liberties with everything else. The Objective is to produce a fantastical space. Pay attention to the quality of light, space and texture.

It is almost certain that you will require good textures. These can be downloaded from cgtextures.com. The school has an account with this website, the password and user name are in the animation folder: animation/LIBRARY/_assets/textures/CGTextures.com/readme.txt

cgtextures.com is limited to a fixed amount of downloads per day. It is recommended that you grab your download early. Remember, overlay blend mode is good for textures.

Don't just use imagination, use reference. Use black and white only... no color.

Examples of previous responses to this assignment are [here].

Remember to filperoo!

Related links

A page addressing cast shadows and form shadows.

A page addressing contact shadow.

A page addressing perspective.

A landscape is organised through its foreground, middle ground and background. These are the depth planes of a painting.

Creating space requires that overlap be mastered.

Assets for Lesson 4
Name Description Link
Vignette A vignette is a complex way of managing the edge and corner values of a painting. Download here a psd showing a complex vignette. Right click download (80MB)
Slides: Landscapes The slides from my talk on landscapes. Right click download (8MB)
Slides: Tone The slides from my talk on tone. Right click download (2MB)