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# Perspective (graphical)

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Perspective (French: perspective from Latin perspicere, to see clearly) in the graphic arts, such as drawing, is an approximate representation on a flat surface (such as paper) of an image as it is perceived by the eye. The two most characteristic features of this representation are these:

Objects are drawn smaller on the drawing as their distance from the observer increases Spatial foreshortening, which is the distortion of items when viewed at an angle (see discussion at the end of this article)

In art, the term "foreshortening" is often used synonymously with perspective, even though foreshortening can occur in other types of non-perspective drawing representations (such as oblique parallel projection). Producing a perspective drawing on a flat surface, whether sketched or calculated, is always an approximation. It necessarily incurs some distortion from what would be perceived by the eye due to the nature of the geometric transforms involved. A perspective drawing, whether roughly sketched (ie, intuitively by freehand) or precisely calculated (ie, using matrix multiplication on a computer or other means), is usually a combination of two geometric transforms:

First is a perspective transform, which is a perspective projection onto a typically flat picture plane (or painting plate) of a scene from the viewpoint of an observer Second is a similarity transform, which is simply a scaling of the picture plane from the first transform onto an actual drawing of a usually smaller size.

An exact replication of the image perceived by the eye is only possible when the picture plane is a spherical surface or portion of a spherical surface (with the center of the sphere located at the observer's eye). The distortion that occurs is similar to the distortions that occur when attempting to represent the globe (approximately spherical) on a flat surface (see perspective projection distortion).

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1 History of perspective o 1.1 Artificial and natural o 1.2 Early attempts at perspective 2 Varieties of perspective drawings o 2.1 One-point perspective o 2.2 Two-point perspective o 2.3 Three-point perspective o 2.4 Other varieties of linear perspective o 2.5 Varieties of nonlinear perspective 3 Methods of constructing perspectives 4 Foreshortening 5 See also 6 External links

History of perspective

The Groom Bewitched, woodcut, c. 1544: Hans Baldung Grien is more interested in the problems of his perspective than the details of witchcraft. However, the foreshortening exhibited in this image appears to be an amalgamation of parallel and perspective projections rather than a true artifical perspective.

That the two most characteristic features of perspective (see above) are not self-evident in art is apparent from even a casual perusal of the art of other cultures and eras - most frequently objects are drawn or painted a certain size for reasons that have nothing to do with their position in space. The optical basis of perspective went undefined until the year 1000 when the Arabian mathematician and philosopher, Alhazen, in his Perspectiva, first explained that light projects conically into the eye. A method for projecting a scene onto a plane surface (known as the picture plane) was unknown for another 300 years. The artist Giotto di Bondone may have been the first to recognize that the image beheld by the eye is distorted, viz. that the projections of lines that are parallel to each other (but are not parallel to the picture plane) intersect on the picture plane (in the manner of receding railroad tracks). One of the first uses of perspective was in Giotto's Jesus Before the Caf, more than 100 years before Filippo Brunelleschi's perspectival demonstrations galvanized the widespread use of convergent perspective of the Renaissance proper.

Pietro Perugino's insistent perspective in this fresco at the Sistine Chapel (148182) helped bring the Renaissance to Rome. 

## Artificial and natural

Artificial perspective projection is the name given by Leonardo da Vinci to what today is called classical perspective projection. Natural perspective projection is the name given by Leonardo to the projection that produces the image beheld by the human eye. Both types of projection involve a distortion; parallel lines never intersect in nature, but they always intersect in perspective projections (with the exception in classical perspective projection where the parallel lines are parallel to the picture plane). However, differences exist in the types of distortion between the images of the same object produced by artificial perspective projection and by natural perspective projection. These differences are called perspective projection distortion. Mathematically, artificial perspective projection is a perspective projection onto a flat surface. Because drawings are typically flat, this is the type of projection utilized in most perspective drawings. Natural perspective projection, in contrast, is a perspective

projection onto a spherical surface. Thus from a geometric point of view, the differences between artificial and natural perspectives can be thought of as similar to the distortion that occurs when representing the earth (approximately spherical) as a map (typically flat). 

## Early attempts at perspective

Prior to perspective becoming the accepted manner of representation of images, drawings did not associate the represented size of objects with distance. In medieval Last Judgement paintings, for example, the relative scale of the various figures is determined only by their sacred significance; the most important are the largest. Once the diminishment of scale with distance is noted, it is an easy step to understanding why the space between parallel lines must also appear to diminish. A wall retreating from the observer will appear to get progressively shorter, and the top and bottom edges of the wall will thus appear to move closer together. However, it was an enormous conceptual leap when artists concluded that sets of parallel lines, if extended indefinitely, would appear to meet at a single point on the horizon. These points are called vanishing points. This idea was likely made from a theoretical analysis of the process of seeing rather than direct observation. Jan van Eyck, for example, was unable to create a consistent structure for the converging lines in paintings like London's The Arnolfini Portrait because he was not aware of the theoretical breakthrough just then occurring in Italy. 

## Varieties of perspective drawings

Of the many types of perspective drawings, the most common categorizations of artificial perspective are one-, two- and three-point. The names of these categories refer to the number of vanishing points in the perspective drawing. Strictly speaking, these types can only exist for scenes being represented that are rectilinear. The difference between the three lies not in the mathematical definition of the perspectives (it is the same for all three), but at what angle (both side-to-side and up-and-down) that the scene is being viewed. 

One-point perspective

Figure P1 One-point perspective. If the viewpoint is pointing directly into a linear object like a building or a road, one would use one vanishing point, that is the principal focus. All lines perpendicular to the painting plate would vanish in the vanishing point. More precisely, one-point perspective exists when the painting plate (also known as the picture plane) is parallel to two axes of a rectilinear (or Cartesian) scene (see also Cartesian coordinate system) --- a scene which is composed entirely of linear elements that intersect only at right angles. Therefore, all elements are either parallel to the painting plate (either horizontally or vertically) or perpendicular to it. All elements that are parallel to the painting plate are drawn as parallel lines. All elements that are perpendicular to the painting plate converge at a single point (a vanishing point) on the horizon. 

Two-point perspective

Figure P2 Two-point perspective. A vanishing point exists for every set of parallel lines that are not parallel to the picture plane. (If the lines of a rectilinear scene have angles to the painting plate, they would vanish in other vanishing points. There are lot of vanishing points homologous to

different angles. But all vanishing points should be located in the same horizontal line with the focus.) A two-point (ie, two vanishing points) perspective is derived from one-point perspective by yawing (typically) the line of vision so that the line of vision will be at an angle away from the focus (the view may be pitched as well to create a two-point perspective along the vertical axis). Then the lines which used to be horizontal and parallel will now be concurrent, intersecting at the horizon. Interpreted according to projective geometry, the horizontal parallel lines of one-point perspective are actually concurrent, intersecting at the point at infinity [1:0:1]. When the head is turned by a slight angle, these lines no longer intersect at an ideal point, but at an affine point on the horizon, so they are no longer parallel. In other words, two-point perspective exists when the painting plate is parallel to a "Cartesian scene" (a scene composed entirely of linear elements intersecting only at right angles) in one axis (usually the z-axis) but not parallel to the other two axes. If the scene being viewed consists solely of a cylinder sitting on a horizontal plane, no difference exists in the image of the cylinder between a one-point and two-point perspective. 

Three-point perspective

Figure P3 Three-point perspective. If the lines have angles from the painting plate up or down, one would use the other kind vanishing points. Those vanishing points must be located in the same vertical line with the focus. Looking at the object from above or below, the horizontal line with the focus and all other 2nd VPs would left the horizon up or down. Three-point perspective exists when the perspective is a view of a rectilinear (Cartesian) scene (a scene composed entirely of linear elements intersecting at right angles) where the painting plate is not parallel to any of the scene's three axes. Linear elements in the scene that are parallel to one of the three axes will converge on one of three vanishing points. Each of the three vanishing points corresponds with one of the three axes of the scene.

## Other varieties of linear perspective

One-point, two-point, and three-point perspective are dependent on the structure of the scene being viewed. These only exist for strict Cartesian (rectilinear) scenes. By inserting into a Cartesian scene a set of parallel lines that are not parallel to any of the three axes of the scene, a new distinct vanishing point is created. Therefore, it is possible to have an infinite-point perspective if the scene being viewed is not a Cartesian scene but instead consists of infinite pairs of parallel lines, where each pair is not parallel to any other pair. Due to the fact that vanishing points exist only when parallel lines are present in the scene, a zero-point perspective is also possible if the viewer is observing a nonlinear scene. One example is a random (ie, not aligned in a three-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system) arrangement of spherical objects. Another would be a scene composed entirely of three-dimensionally curvilinear strings. A third example would be a scene consisting of lines where no two are parallel to each other. 

## Varieties of nonlinear perspective

Typically, mathematically constructed perspectives are "linear" in that the ratio at which more distant objects decrease in size is constant (ie, graphing the drawn size of a one-foot object versus the distant from viewer will form a straight line). It is conceivable to have non-linear perspectives --- those in which the graph of the ratio mentioned above does not form a straight line. A panorama is a perspective projected onto a cylinder. The actual drawing can be drawn onto a cylinder (typically on the interior surface and viewed from the inside the cylinder) or onto a flat surface, equivalent to "unrolling" the cylinder. A panorama (projection onto a cylinder) removes one of the differences between artificial perspective projection (projection onto a flat surface) and natural perspective projection (projection onto a spherical surface). A standard Mercator map projection is similar to a panorama.

## Methods of constructing perspectives

Several methods of constructing perspectives exist, including:

Freehand sketching (common in art) Graphically constructing (once common in architecture) Using a perspective grid Computing a perspective transform (common in 3D computer applications)

Foreshortening

Figure F1 Stack of cubes illustrates non-perspective foreshortening (A) and perspective foreshortening (B). Foreshortening refers to the visual effect or optical illusion that an object or distance is shorter than it actually is because it is angled toward the viewer. Although foreshortening is an important element in art where visual perspective is being depicted, foreshortening occurs in other types of two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional scenes. Some other types where foreshortening can occur include oblique parallel projection drawings. Figure F1 shows two different projections of a stack of two cubes, illustrating oblique parallel projection foreshortening ("A") and perspective foreshortening ("B").

Axonometric projection

Jump to: navigation, search Axonometric projection ("to measure along axes") is a technique used in orthographic pictorials. Within orthographic projection, there is an ancillary category known as pictorials. Pictorials show an image of an object as viewed from a skew direction in order to reveal all three directions (axes) of space in one picture. Orthographic pictorial, rote, instrument drawings are often used to approximate Graphical Perspective projections, but there is attendant distortion in the approximation. Because pictorial projections innately have this distortion, in the rote, instrument drawing of Pictorials, great liberties may then be taken for economy of effort and best effect. The three types of axonometric projections are isometric projection, dimetric projection, and trimetric projection. Typically in axonometric drawing, one axis of space is shown as the vertical. In isometric projections the direction of viewing is such that the three axes of space appear equally foreshortened, of which the displayed angles among them and also the scale of foreshortening are universally known. However in creating a final, isometric instrument drawing, in most cases a full-size scale, i.e., without using a foreshortening factor, is employed to good effect because the resultant distortion is difficult to perceive. In dimetric projections, the directions of viewing are such that two of the three axes of space appear equally foreshortened, of which the attendant scale and angles of presentation are determined according to the angle of viewing; the scale of the third direction (vertical) is determined separately. Approximations are common in Dimetric drawings. In trimetric projections, the direction of viewing is such that all of the three axes of space appear unequally foreshortened. The scale along each of the three axes and the angles among them are determined separately as dictated by the angle of viewing. Approximations in Trimetric drawings are common.

Projective geometry

Jump to: navigation, search Projective geometry originated through the efforts of a gifted French artist and mathematician, Girard Desargues (1591-1666), to provide an alternative way of constructing perspective drawings. By generalizing the use of vanishing points to include the case when these are infinitely far away, he made Euclidean geometry, where parallel

lines are truly parallel, into a special case of an all-encompassing geometric system. Later, when non-Euclidean geometries were discovered, it was demonstrated that these, too, are special cases of projective geometry. Projective geometry can be thought of informally as the geometry which arises from placing one's eye at a point (or perspective). That is, every line which intersects the "eye" appears only as a point in the projective plane because the eye cannot "see" the points behind it. Projective geometry has also been a useful tool in proving a number of theorems from Euclidean geometry. The field of geometry that developed in the first half of the nineteenth century under the name projective geometry was a stepping stone from analytic geometry to algebraic geometry. When treated in terms of homogeneous coordinates it looks like an extension or technical improvement of the use of coordinates to reduce geometric problems to algebra, that reduced the number of special cases. And on the other hand the detailed study of quadrics and the 'line geometry' of Julius Plcker still forms a rich set of examples for geometers who also work with more general concepts. Towards the end of the century the Italian school (Enriques, Segre, Severi) broke out of the traditional subject matter into an area demanding deeper techniques. It should be said first that the notable projective geometers, including Poncelet, Steiner and others, were not intending to extend analytic geometry. Techniques were supposed to be synthetic: in effect projective space as we understand it now was to be introduced on an axiomatic basis. This poses some problems in recovering the theory. In the case of the projective plane alone, the axiomatic approach may encounter models that cannot be described via linear algebra. Whatever the precise foundational status, projective geometry did include basic incidence properties. That means that any two distinct lines L and M in the projective plane intersect in exactly one point P. The special case in analytic geometry of parallel lines has been subsumed in the smoother form of a line at infinity on which P will lie in that case. The point is then that the line at infinity is a line like any other in the theory: it is in no way special or distinguished. (In the later spirit of the Erlangen programme one could point to the way the group of transformations can move any line to the line at infinity). It also included a full theory of conic sections, a subject that already had a large number of theorems (mainly useful as a source of examination questions). There are great and clear advantages in being able to think of a hyperbola and an ellipse as distinguished only by the way the hyperbola lies across the line at infinity; and that a parabola is tangent to the same line. The whole family of circles can be seen as the conics passing through two given points on the line at infinity - at the cost of allowing complex number co-ordinates. Since co-ordinates were not 'synthetic', one replaces that by fixing a line and two points on it, and considering the linear system of all conics passing through those points as the basic object of study. This whole approach was very attractive to talented geometers, and the field was thoroughly worked over. A later many-volume work by H.F. Baker shows the style.

This period in geometry was rather overtaken by the research on the general algebraic curve by Clebsch, Riemann, Max Noether and others, which stretched existing techniques, and then by invariant theory. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, the detailed study of projective geometry itself was less important to professional mathematicians, though the literature is voluminous. Some important work was done in enumerative geometry in particular, by Schubert, that is now considered an anticipation of the theory of Chern classes in their guise as representing the algebraic topology of Grassmannians.

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## Forms of the Living World

Another branch of projective geometry has remained true to the latter's origins in synthetic geometry. Stimulated by a comment by the philosopher Rudolf Steiner (not to be confused with the Swiss mathematician Jakob Steiner, mentioned above) that projective geometry could describe phenomena of the living world, a number of mathematicians have investigated different aspects of this question. Dr. Louis Locher-Ernst explored the tension between central forces and peripheral influences in his work Space and Counterspace. Dr. Hermann von Baravalle explored the pedagogical potential of projective geometry in high schools and teacher training colleges. Perhaps most significantly, Lawrence Edwards discovered significant applications of Klein's path curves to organic development. In the spirit of D'Arcy Thompson's On Growth and Form, but with complete mathematical rigor, Edwards demonstrated that such forms as the buds of leaves and flowers, pine cones, eggs, and the human heart can be simply described by Klein's path curves. Varying a simple parameter, lambda, metamorphoses the interaction of what are known in projective geometry as growth measures into surprisingly accurate representations of such organic forms; negative values of the same parameter produce inversions that accurately represent the forms of vortexes (both of water and of air). Edwards wrote a general treatise on Projective Geometry; the work described here, however, appears in his The Vortex of Life.