View Full Version : Terros Environment Workshop

08 August 2005, 04:21 PM
Painting Backgrounds Workshop (Part 1)
Important Note (We will be using 2 Threads for this workshop, This is the main thread containing the guidelines and steps. You can not make replies in this thread. To make comments, ask questions and give input, well be using a separate thread Terros Environment Workshop (Community) (

Important Note: This workshop is officialy done at a all 2D animation site, please forgive me for constant referances about 2D animation. It should be just as helpfull for stills.

Welcome to my Workshop. My name is Greg Kaperski and I , like you am interested in 2D animation and all the techniques that go along with it. Ive done a few tutorials over the years, but this is my first stab at an actual workshop, so please bare with. Hopefully you can pick up a few useful skills here as well as teach me some.

In this workshop well be tackling the process of painting/drawing backgrounds for your animation shorts. We will work slowly and try our best to help everyone along the way. You may have heard from a lot of people that art has no guides or rules. A lot of times that may actually be true, but sometimes a system is needed to make our work go along faster and smoother, and thats what well be building along the way. Just like video games rely on engines to ensure everything goes according to plan, well be building a engine inside your brain. A simple , yet powerful system that will make building the environments of your worlds much simpler and much more productive.

Well venture in to

One point perspective
Two point perspective
Plus a few Photoshop Tricks along the way. (Creating a sky, texturing, overlays, ect...)
You can use any paining software that you have available to you or pen and paper to follow this workshop. I will be using Macromedia Flash MX, Adobe Photoshop, and a Tablet. A mouse is OK to use for our beginning steps, but when we get into painting I strongly suggest the use of a tablet. If you do now own a tablet it will be easier for you to follow with a Pen + Paper.

This workshop will span over a months period, I cant be specific on time as I am doing this as a side project. I will post back shortly with lesson number 1.

08 August 2005, 04:32 PM
We'll begin our first lesson with One Point Perspective since its the easiest and very common. Feel free to fire up your programs or whip out your sketch pads.

I would like to introduce the Canvas. Such a empty thing , so lonely. Lets give it a purpose.

To start we need a horizon. Every environment has a horizon, even is it's not visible. Go ahead and draw a straight line a cross your canvas. For this lesson, make your horizon line in the center of your canvas.

Vanishing point. This little bad boy is what makes it all happen. This is the point where everything in your environment merges into 1.
It's the furthest point of vision. The Vanishing point is basically our guide for the rest of our outline. You'll see what I mean in the following few steps.

Diagonal lines. I tend to draw diagonal lines coming from all 4 corners of my canvas and all meeting at the Vanishing point. They create a tunnel like effect that is very help full for outlining the distance between objects in your environment.

That's as simple as it gets. What you now have in front of you may look stupid but it's a very powerfull example of a One Point Perspective.

Here's a super simple environment that is achieved by removing a few lines and filling in a few colors. Remember, these are just very simple examples to get you familiarized with the one point perspective.

08 August 2005, 04:32 PM
Going back to our canvas where we have the diagonal lines. I'm gonna go ahead and show you an example where the horizon is not visible.
In the following step we'll be using our diagonal lines as guides to add a box to our canvas. Use the picture below as reference.

In the next step we're going to remove the horizon completely from our canvas as well as the diagonal lines inside our new box. (Do not remove the vanishing point and do not remove the diagonal lines outside the box).

You should be left with something like this. An empty room with nothing inside of it , except our little vanishing point.
In this step we'll learn how to use our vanishing point to create a door for our room. In the picture below I have added 2 Vertical (Blue) lines and 1 Vanishing (Red) Line.

With our door outline in place it's time to remove excess lines that are not needed. Go ahead and delete/erase the lines as shown in the picture below.

Ok, lets say we want to add a rug to our room. We can do so very quickly with the use of 3 lines. This time I'll use 1 Horizontal (Green) line, and 2 Vanishing (Red) Lines.

Same as with the door, we now have a few excess lines that need to be discarded. Delete/Erase the lines go beyond our new rug. You should be left with image similar to the one below.

That's it, it's very simple. You can continue building your room by adding windows or what ever object you'd like. I'll stop at this point since I got tons of more material to cover with you guys. Plus your all smart enough to pick it up from here. In the next session we will be playing around with our horizon line and our vanishing point location. Moving those 2 around will generate very different points of view.

08 August 2005, 04:34 PM
Ok getting back in to the lesson. In this step well be moving around the horizon line as well as the vanishing point to represent a different point of view with the use of the One Point Perspective.

Go ahead and make a horizon line. This time around dont place it dead center of your canvas. I went ahead and placed mine close to the top.

Now its time to plot down our vanishing point again. Feel free to experiment and place it anywhere on your horizon line or follow my placement in the picture below. Variations in the placement of the point will generate completely different views.

In the next step well be adding in the diagonal lines stretching from the vanishing point to each corner of your canvas. Same as in step one, well be using these lines as guide for our environment.

Once we have our guides in place its time to make something happen here. I went ahead and added 3 more diagonal lines to my canvas. Well be using them to create a building like structure. View the image below for reference.

Next step is to outline a few of our buildings edges. We do this by adding 2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines. View image below.

Our next goal is to remove the excess line that stick out past out building. Delete/Erase the excess lines till your left with something similar to the image below.

08 August 2005, 04:37 PM
So far so good. We now have our building outlined but were still missing a few things. The main problem is the lack of the front wall. We'll go ahead and define it with the additions of 2 lines. 1 horizontal and 1 vertical.

Its time again to remove out excess lines. This time around well be removing portions of our starting guide lines in order to achieve the look of a wall. View the image below if I'm loosing you, it should clear things up.

Were almost done with our building, but we have a small problem. Right now its never ending building that keeps going towards our vanishing point. We need to remove the last 3 diagonal excess lines in order to give it the look were going for. Delete/Erase the lines till your left with something like the image below.

In the next step I went ahead and removed the diagonal lines in my sky as well as added color to the image.

We can quickly change the composition by removing all lines and just leaving the colored areas in the image to get the following effect.

So far it's been pretty simple, but if you have any questions or comment please post them in our --> Workshop Community Thread (

Remeber these are just very simple outlines , we'll be getting real painting once we tackle Two Point Perspective in our next lesson.

08 August 2005, 09:06 PM
Two Point Perspective

Two Point Perspective is a little bit more complicated but tends to give off a more realistic results. This time around the main difference comes from our vanishing point, because this time around we'll be using 2 vanishing point instead of one.

We begin yet again by making a horizon.

Now its time to plot down our vanishing points. Since were now working with 2 instead of one, space them as far away from each other as possible on your canvas.

In the next step well make a vertical line on our canvas. This is the line where our Vanishing Points will collide. Placement of this line is very important because it will change our point of view from left to right. If you place this line directly in between our 2 vanishing points, your view will be centered.

With our vertical line in place, well add lines connecting our vanishing points and our center line. You should have something similar to the image below.

Again well add 2 more lines a bit higher then in our previous step. See image below.

Our next goal is to add a horizontal line between the V shape of our upper most Vanishing lines. Please use the image below as reference, I dont want to confuse anyone with the way I word things.

08 August 2005, 09:09 PM
The new horizontal line should now be connected to both of your upper vanishing lines. What we need to do now is to draw in 2 vertical lines doing downward from the point of intersection.

Since we are all sick of our newly created horizontal line, we can now kill it off. Go ahead and delete/erase it. It has server its purpose. You should be left with something similar to the image below.

In this step we need to add in 2 more vanishing lines, each going from a vanishing point to the opposite vertical line. Kind of hard to explain, so just follow the example below.

With all our lines set in place you should now be able to see a outline of a 3D cure like object. Go ahead and remove all excess lines, leaving the cube only. You should end up with something like this..

I went ahead and added some color to the canvas , to make the cube more visible.

Important note: A lot of environments are done in Two point perspective, but the points could very well be off the canvas and not visible. I scaled the image to show you an example where a Two Point Perspective only has One Point Visible on the canvas.

That's all for now folks. We're done with Flash and it's time to power up photoshop. I'll post back shortly with an update.

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to add to this little workshop. Please do so in our seperate Workshop Community Thread (

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