View Full Version : Should verticals always be vertical ?

05 May 2005, 02:23 PM
I do quite a lot of painting work, non 3d or CG this time. Posting on traditional artwork forums for traditional artwork I almost always get critisism on verticals on buildings not being vertical. I have attempted to have an argument with people on many occasions that verticals in architecture are never vertical unless you are looking exactly normal to the building plane and the building is directly in front of you. Am I talking a load of rubbish or is this right ? If you render an image this is the case which is why I am posting here.

05 May 2005, 02:48 PM
Sorry to pull your work into this - but I perused your gallery to see specifically what you're refering to and. . . .
Looking at your gallery - I'd say that the non verticleness works very well!

True that in relative perspective - things will tend to "lean" one way or the other. Perhaps not as dramatically as I've seen in your renditions - but I say poo-poo to that knit-pick.

My advice is to smirk at whom ever brings up the verticle issue while viewing your work. It's probably a question of personal asthetics in this case.

05 May 2005, 03:09 PM
I've also taken a look at your work and I disagree with the criticism too. I think you 'solved' the verticals well, you use your own preference how to draw it and I think is a good choice, it looks good taken the picture as a whole.

What they probably mean is that people tend to draw buildings strictly vertical in perspective, they are basically cutting corners. Verticals should also have a vanishing point. So I think you did good.

05 May 2005, 04:06 PM
The preference for true verticals in architecture is by no means a hard and fast rule and you should feel free to represent your work as you wish. It will always come down to personal preference and appropriateness for the task at hand. If you do architectural work professionally though, you will more than likely be told to make you verticals vertical by certain clients. It is considered more aesthetic and less provocative and can also communicate the form and proportion of the building better. Depending on the application and the desired effect this can be the right approach.

To do this the camera does not have to be exactly normal to the plane of the building and in real world cameras the same can be acheived with a tilting lens which changes the angle of the lens to the film counter acting the keystoning effect. This was used to allow the use of the full frame as opposed to having the bottom half all ground. Sorry for my crap explaination but you should be able to search for more on this topic (you could start here (

In any case it is good to know and understand the conventions and their usage so you can make informed choices. It also helps in solving visual problems and dealing with clients requests.

05 May 2005, 04:08 PM
I tend to agree with the above posts. Verticals dont -have- to be vertical, they just tend to in paintings / drawings. I see you've got some photography on your site as well though, which is a medium very prone to lines ending up out of place when you take into account different focal lengths, barrel distortion, and other factors.

It seems to me that a lot of your work almost has a through-the-lens quality, in that when the verticals are prone to leaning, or bending, its done in a way to make it feel like a photograph rather than a painting. And since the human eye distorts things in such a manner anyways (albeit, a lot harder to notice), it actually seems almost more natural, or kind of "hyperreal"(?)

I guess what I'm saying is, good job, keep it up! :thumbsup:

05 May 2005, 07:15 PM
Your perspectives aren't constructed very solidly. That's not necessarely bad, if it's a style, but it does have a very strong effect on how the image reads. If you want it a bit wild and skewed, that's working fine. If you don't, draw your geometry more precisely using vanishing points etc. Your verticals still don't have to be straight in the sense of being parallel to the horizon, but if you want realism they should conform to one perspective.

05 May 2005, 08:34 PM
You can always draw what you want, but you should be aware that there are some rules in perspective design. Your verticals usually converge to above and this gives the impression that you are looking down and also your views are sometimes tilted. This is your choice as long as you respect the vanishing points. If you do not do that maybe someone can tell you that you made a mistake.

05 May 2005, 02:25 AM
Posting on traditional artwork forums for traditional artwork I almost always get critisism on verticals on buildings not being vertical.

If you like it (the style) and the "critics" aren't signing the check...then who cares. :)

05 May 2005, 05:10 AM
The perspective in some of your paintings seem off. Sure the edge of a building isn't always perfectly vertical but there is a reason why, go study perspective, listen to people's critisisms.

05 May 2005, 05:14 AM
yeah i agree with the above post. verticals shouldn't always be vertical, but in your paintings, they don't seem to be following the rules of perspective... they're just randomly skewed.

05 May 2005, 06:50 AM
Thanks for the discussion and all the interesting points, expecially the link on photography, thanks bmcaff. Also for the comments on my work, both good and bad. I'd be the first to admit that my perspective work can be "slightly wonky", but then you only get better by painting or drawing things that you find challenging. One other thing is that if you've looked at some of the pics then most of the buildings are venice, if you've ever been there the architecture actually does defy most laws of perspective, just drawing that can be quite problematic :)

05 May 2005, 10:14 AM
I had a look at your paintings, and again, I feel the perspective is way too off. If that's what you intended, it's fine, but if not, then you need to work the perspective side of things. Most "how-to" painting books deal with this subject. For example , the venice painting shows everything skewed. The waterline, the buildings leaning toward the water, etc.
There are several kinds of perspective, also. 2-point, 3-point, 4-point, spherical (fish-eye), etc. If you learn about them, then apply them to your work, you'll see what people are criticising you about!

05 May 2005, 11:01 AM
my 2 cents:

Didn't go through the entire website, but I think that the non-vertical verticals in the painting "Venice" really added something to the image. If I were prone to bouts of analysis, I'd use fancy words and say important things of space (it would be womblike if you were a female artist), time and other light subjects. But I'm not, so I'll just say that there's something there.

But another thing is that sometimes it's in your eyes. I tend to draw everything slanting towars the left, and often I don't see it until I flip the image. So I suggest that if you really want to make sure, check the images with a mirror, and if they still are what they ought be, then tell the critics to shove it. A constructive attitude is always safest ;)

05 May 2005, 11:44 AM

Here's an example of the sort of architecture Venice has, I think to draw this with conventional persepective lines would completely miss the point. Every window on that wall has its own vanishing point. Just adding i'm not intending to justify my own perspective just wanted to know opinions of others.

05 May 2005, 12:35 PM
I think the camera in the image above is held at an angle, if you straighten it up the vertical are pretty much vertical. The tilting of the camera makes a more interesting image so of course vertical don't have to be vertical in artworks.

The perspective in this image is correct but not vertical however looking at some of your works the perspective is not correct. They look great I like it as a style but the perspective is not technically correct. The house by the river doesn't look as though it stands perpendicular to the ground, so it looks like it's leaning over.

Also I think the verticals in the image of venice aren't vertical in the real world, so they are not vertical in the picture, i think the buildings are leaning in towards the water slightly. But it is not as pronouced in real life as it appears in the picture.

Hope this helps.

05 May 2005, 01:24 PM
I may be talking rubbish here again, but I think that your eye's do actually straighten things out. How many times have you been doing some DIY work on your house and found that when laying tiles or flooring that from one end of a room to the other the tiles don't actually macth up, but before they were up you'd never notice it. I think this is one thing which people really overlook in CG, everything is generally too perfect. Anyway enough forum hogging !

05 May 2005, 04:02 PM
Damn, did you take that picture of Venice? It is totally skewed!!!
When in doubt, stand up straight and look at your paintings at a distance: Is the horizon horizontal? Are vertical lines at the horizon vertical?
I like your style also, but I start to think you have got this whole perspective thing messed up. Sorry for the harsh words, but it seems to me you can't cut corners at this.

Alex Morris
05 May 2005, 04:19 PM
The convention for verticals in architectural perspective has been around since the Renaissance. Its not a hard and fast rule. Originally it was just a convention that worked as far as I can see. The idea was that psychologically the brain has to do less work in "correcting the perspective" (everything is curved in reality!). Architectural illustration is largely about selling an idea rather than creating extreme emotion. 3-point perspective adds drama but also unease. As long as you are aware of this and prepared to justify it to your audience then it's fine. These days in illustration - a lot of it is photomontage - its normally a case of matching photography and most architectural photography uses a shift lens to correct verticals.

CGTalk Moderation
05 May 2005, 04:19 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.