View Full Version : Question about scale.

11 November 2006, 01:47 PM
Hello. I couldn't decide if I should put this here or wherever. I am conctantly struggling with scale. It seems I can't seem to push an image to look like it's a huge open area. It either feels big and empty, or like a small scene really close up.

Are there any resources on how to really nail massive panning layouts, or the feel of general massive scale?


11 November 2006, 06:43 PM
well I really can't understand completly what you mean or what you want to achieve, you should post an image so we all can tell you exactly what you need for the scale effect
scale is a matter of distance that can be done with several techniques
aereal perspective
color saturation
human reference
image composition
I would suggest that you study perfectly your image , your focal nodes, your mood
what do you need to have that massive scale effect? well that can be done adding details at foreground , middle ground and finally the background
but an image will help you more , so we all can share tips

11 November 2006, 09:05 PM
Howdy :thumbsup:

Feeling of scale can often be modified by use of diferent lens, a wide lens will encompass more of the scene and feel much bigger, while the opposite will produce, as you can imagine, the opposite effect, a feeling of been closed in.

In photoshop play around with the fish eye distortion filter, slght touches can produce a hashed/plausable effect of wide angle.

Confusing question :)

Play around with an image and post it up.

Cheers - Dave.

11 November 2006, 01:39 PM
Man, I am truly sorry. I wrote that when I was obviously very tired.
I went through and found a few examples from some of the great artists who post here.

What am I looking for is maybe a tutorial or book explaining how to make more dramatic landscape paintings. I am struggling mainly with vast layouts, thike this example below from Hervé ARPHI. (

This is a more vertical one covering a nice believable scale from xu liang an: (

This one is a good overheard example by Thierry Doizon. (

I can work on the painting techniques once I get to that stage. I just find myself stuck at the sketch stage with something that just doesn't push the fact that it's a huge area. They always seem like you're standing within the area, or are just too sparse, like I just can't fill all that huge space.

Do I need to make the intial sketch then forget the big picture and detail pieces of the image while zoomed in. I imagine it just takes a good long time to fill the space with anything of impact?

In short, my layouts are boring and sparse, and I'm looking through some explanitory material to dig through and learn better ways to tackle my weakness.

Thanks again. I hope that was more clear. :)

11 November 2006, 02:08 PM

Well your question is somewhat like asking what makes the perfect picture, just one of those things that is quite hard to pin down i guess. It comes down to a gut feeling, it either works or it don't.

A few thoughts about the three you've selected.

They all use strong atmospheric depth, ie, the foreground is very vivid in colour while the background it often pale/saturated with haze and mist, this provides a sense of depth.

Next the actually format of the image can sometimes fool the eye. Like the first panoramic image you selected. Working in this format creates and forces a wide angel persepective.

Then we have the camera angle, as in the third image, now this one i can comment on quite well because i've got the original tutorial for this sat to my left in a pile of magazines. The original tutorial was a demonstration of how to use simple 3d geometry to build the foundation for a perspective correct scene. Really useful. Basicially he creates the blocks of the scene in 3d, real simple boxes, creates a cool camera angle then uses that as a base to paint over. A really great technique that i recommend for gettting things right. oh and ImagineFX if simple one of the best magazines for learning this kind of stuff, well recommended.

IF you really want to get over this one then do a little test, create perspective lines for each of the images above and then really tint back the image so you can study the lines themselves, this might provide a little visual help, you can also use this as a guide for creating your own environments, just create the guides then drop these into your own blank space and paint underneath them.

Hope that helps a little.

- Dave.

11 November 2006, 02:11 PM
Human reference like Jasso says, is one of the most important things. When I made my pyramid (which has no humans on it), I discovered that the larger I made the railing on the bridge, the smaller the pyramid looked. (because we can relate to the size of the railing - we autimatically assume it's about hip-height for humans)

So, I made the railing tiny, and the pyramid looked big. Next, I wanted a grand doorway, about 10 meters tall, but alas... without any humans in the picture, the human mind automatically assumes that a doorway is about human height, so the larger and more majestic I did the doorway, the smaller the pyramid looked.

Get some human reference in there!

This picture ( that you linked to clearly split the scene in foreground (the silhouette rider), middleground (the subject of the scene, the house and the waterfall) and background (mountains, far away in the mist). This is completely by the book, and also helps give depth to the scene.

Another thing Feng Zhu speaks a lot about on his Gnomon DVD's is "repeated shapes". The basic concept is, if you have something really huge up close to the camera (a roof, a spaceship, vehicle, architecture, doesn't matter) and the same shape in a tiny version further away, the eye can immediately connect the two, and assume that the tiny one must be really far away.

-As opposed to having one shape up close, and another tiny shape far away - the eye can't automatically match those two.

- Jonas

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