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August 2007

August 2007 - Cats



  • Healthy Green Artists:
    Modeling for your Health
  • Wombat Droppings:
    Cats Are Hard
  • EMG News:
    News for August
  • Behind the Art:
    Isometric Perspective
  • Myths and Symbols:
    A Controversial Creature, part 1


  • Library Cats Walkthrough


  • Fiction: The Other Cat
  • Fiction: Spring
  • Fiction: Puss in Wingtips
  • Fiction: Housecat


  • Book: The Outlaw Varjak Paw

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  • Isometric Perspective
    Behind the Art
    by Annie Rodrigue

    This month, I have decided to cover a little bit more about the touchy subject that is perspective. For this session, we will see how isometric perspective works. This type of perspective is a little easier to do so it might be a nice way to start if you want to practice your feeling of space instead of focusing too much on the technical aspects for perspective.

    Different Rules

    Isometric perspective is a little different from your regular 1, 2, or 3 point of view perspective because it doesn't require any vanishing points nor does it require a horizon line. How is that possible? Well, the truth is that isometric perspective is an illusion of perspective. It will give shape and depth to a scene, a room, a background, but it remains very static. You cannot deform it, you cannot cheat your way around it either. But it is a great way to learn how to set up a scene without worrying too much about learning all the tools of the trade of perspective right away. Note that this type of perspective is often used for pixel art (a lot of pixel art games are done with isometric perspective).

    Choosing an Angle

    The basic rule of isometric perspective: width lines will be parallel to each other, same applies to height and depth lines. So you work your perspective using a grid. Width lines will never cross each other, depth lines will never cross each other, and so do not height lines. Because of this, width, height and depth lines will always cross at the exact same angles between each other. Changing these angles will have an impact on the overall look of your background. Unfortunately, there are also a limited number of angles that you can use for this to work. Choosing extreme angles will inevitably deform your background.

    These angles are the ones suggested to stick to if you want to keep your perspective believable. Keep a protractor handy for easier drafting. I even suggest creating your grid in Photoshop or any other photo editing software and saving it as a guideline to print out when necessary.

    Creating a Grid

    Once you have chosen an angle to work with, you need to create a grid. This grid will help keep consistency in your isometric perspective and will save time when drafting your elements in your background. The lines of the room or space will be the guide to doing all the others lines of your grid. Make sure that these lines or correct before starting the next ones.

    Next, you simply need to measure and equal distance from the extremity of your lines (distance can be 0.5 inch or smaller depending on how you like the size of the squares to be). Bigger could work also, but would allow for fewer details in your background. Finally, trace your line and continue these steps until you have a finished grid.

    Adding Elements in Your Space

    The fun part will be to add elements to your scene. What is great with isometric perspective is that it allows you to define a specific surface area for each square in your grid. So if you were to say that a square would equal a 1foot x 1 foot surface, you can easily put furniture in a room and keep the aspect ratio of each element you add believable.

    Create elements by drafting your vertical lines and closing the figure. You will then have a box. Draw your element in the box, making sure it follows the perspective. Erase the box lines. When you are done, you should have a full background!


    If you are still unfamiliar with perspective, isometric perspective is for you. The grid will help you get the perspective right almost every time because the lines always cross at the same angle or stay parallel. If you want to study good examples of isometric perspective, I strongly suggest taking a look at pixel art: most backgrounds done with this medium are done with isometric perspective.

    What's Next?

    Next month, we will be taking care of our art. We will see how temperature can have an effect on certain mediums, how to store our work and material and how to protect our work.


    Annie Rodrigue

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