I had a hard time drawing backgrounds at first ... But thanks to the perspective tool I was able to get way more comfortable at making environment!
So I’m going to show you how I make backgrounds using the perspective tool !
So before going straight into drawing backgrounds you should have a bit of knowledge about the perspective basics. If you’re already familiar with perspective you may skip this part.
First, we’ll take a look at the horizon line which is also called the eye level.
It means that it is positioned at the level of the viewer’s eye.
Depending on where the horizon line is positioned, we’ll have a different field of view.
If the horizon line is positioned high we will see objects from above and if it is positioned low we will see objects from below! Pretty easy right?
With that out of the way i can introduce you to the different types of perspective:
[1 point perspective]
In 1 point perspective, all detail converges at a single vanishing point on the horizon. All objects facing us have parallel sides. That is to say, all verticals are purely vertical, and all horizontals are purely horizontal. The only angled lines are the ones actually receding back to the horizon line's vanishing point from the edges of objects.
The 1 point perspective is mostly used to draw a simple scene like a street or a room for exemple.
Observe these drawn examples for a better understanding of 1 point:
[2 point perspective]
As you can most likely assume, two point perspective utilizes two vanishing points. That means that in two point perspective there are only one set of parallel lines on your objects which are usually (but not always] the verticals. When you think about how environments rotate around you when you turn in place, you can see how things can change from one point to two point very quickly.
While looking forward, we experience most of our world in two point perspective, and it should be one of the most common forms of perspective used in most drawings. Observe the drawn examples:
[3 point perspective]
While most of what we experience from day to day is two-point perspective, this is assuming that we're always looking forward, eyes level to the ground.
If we begin to look up or down, we introduce a new, third vanishing point. As we have two vanishing points on the horizon line, looking down will create a new one far below in the ground. Looking up will create one high above in the sky. In most cases, this third vanishing point will be far outside the picture’s frame ,unless we look up or down at a more extreme angle to the point it's actually in view.
In three point perspective, no lines are drawn parallel anymore. All lines drawn will recede to a point. Observe the examples to see three point in action:
There’s also the 5 point perspective but I’m not too familiar with this one so we’ll skip it.
[ Field of view]
The field of view deals directly with how close together or far apart the points are on your horizon line.
If the lines are close together, you begin to see more of your scene and things start to look thin, tall, and pointy -- kind of like a widescreen movie squeezed onto a normal box TV.
We're seeing more of the scene without zooming out. Likewise, when the points are farther apart, we're seeing less of the scene without zooming in. So details begin to appear horizontally stretched, fatter, and flatter.
Having the vanishing points close to each other can create a more dynamic drawing . So keep in mind the field of view when making a background!
Setting up the perspective ruler
There’s two ways to set up the perspective ruler , you can either do it from the ruler panel or (like I mostly do) go in >Layer > Ruler/Frame > Create perspective Ruler
And then choose what type of perspective you want.
After getting the perspective ruler on your canvas , you can modify it with the operation tool.
When clicking on the line , little dots will appear:
1- Move the vanishing points
2-Move the horizon line/eye level
3-Move the entire ruler
4-Move the vanishing point according to the guideline
5-Just moves the guideline but not the vanishing point’s placement
If you want to move only the vanishing points and not the horizon line you have to click on the horizon line dot and click fix eye level:
If you wanna see the grid (which comes in handy often) you have to go to the tool property window and click on it:
Using the perspective tool as a guide
So now I’ll show you how I use the perspective tool in my background drawing process.
First I make a rough sketch of my background.
I recommend drawing your sketch without the perspective ruler first because otherwise it may end up looking a bit stiff.
I then place a perspective ruler to match and correct my sketch.
Most of the time the perspective in my sketch is incorrect so it’s common for the perspective to not perfectly match your sketch since it will correct it.
If you noticed , the horizon line is not straight! It’s important you experiment with different angles to make your backgrounds more interesting!
For example the horizon line in the painting above is tilted. I think it’s an easy way to make your drawing more dynamic!
Next i go on with the lineart ( or more constructed lines if you’re making a painting and not a lineart).
I made my pen convert to the perspective, to have your brush follow the perspective you have to click the “enable snapping ” in the the brush’s settings:
And if you want to go back to free hand drawing just click this icon :
Then after adding the colors and my characters I’m usually done!
Rotating objects in perspective
If you’re wondering how to rotate an object in perspective to not have it follow all the other lines and to not have everything look the same all you have to do is add another vanishing point to your horizon line or just create another perspective ruler on a different layer.
These boxes are all on the same horizon line but they all have different vanishing points!
Use the Free transform tool with the perspective ruler
Next is one of the features that’s really helpful and it’s the free transform tool!
If i want to convert a logo or object to my current perspective, all i have to do is use the free transform tool on it:
If i wanted to put this logo on the box all I have to do is use the Free transform tool
For that you have to select or click on the object you want to transform with the operation tool . Then after tweaking with the little guideline boxes ; try and follow the perspective.
And there you have it!
This is helpful in many ways too!
For exemple , I used it multiple times on this city landscape.
I drew windows , bars and the city’s welcome board on different layers and then used the transform tool on them to make them match the perspective.
Here’s another exemple , I don’t draw the building’s windows manually anymore and use assets to make the process faster.
(Here are the ones i used if you’re interested)
It can be used to place tiles on the floor or the wall too:
A last example is how I used just only one plank , multiplied it and put it where I wanted to fit the perspective .
Use photos to make backgrounds
This is a method really useful especially when making a comic !
All you have to do is import a photo and then align your perspective ruler in order to make the ruler match the photo’s perspective!
After placing the ruler correctly you just have to trace over it. Once again I recommend you use vector layers for this , they’re really convenient!
And then just color everything and you’re done!
Lastly, to make your background believable and give it a sense of depth you have to take atmospheric perspective into account.
Atmospheric perspective indicates that as an object recedes into the distance relative to the viewer, we see that object with reduced clarity, value and color saturation. In addition, objects in the distance appear to have a colder temperature.
It basically looks kind of like this. The colors on the foreground are much more saturated and darker whereas the ones that are far away in the background loose saturation and become lighter.
Here are some more exemples of how i use atmospheric perspective:
As you can see the colors on the foreground when turned in greyscale appear much darker.
Thanks for reading!
That’s it for this time !
I’m not an expert at backgrounds yet but i thought I’d share how i draw them for now!
I hope that helped you even a bit !
And if you want to see more of my art i welcome you to my Instagram page :
Thanks for reading and see you next time !💖