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5pointballBWA handy time saver when working in analog or digital mode, is to lay in under your art, a perspective grid to follow when drawing objects in space!

I’ve made and used many over the years. To the right is one I found on google, looked up the site credited but it’s malwared and gone.

Those below were copied from transparencies printed on mylar for use at the Animation studio my mother, and later I worked at. I used them on a light table to save time working things out. Especially lets you off the hook for vanishing points and horizon lines off the page/paper-the main theme behind this set. Feel free to download them for your own use!

There are some simple methods to drawing out one by hand, I’m working on a set of clips about that. But it’s a time intensive job. These days there’s some good digital tools to do the job faster.

Maybe the easiest trick of them all, is to install sets of perspective grid brushes for photoshop, like this one by by adammiconi on deviantart! [Remember photoshop CS2 is free now] I really like this, one click and presto. There are a few sets there to install! Probably more to be found elsewhere on the net.


This simple stand alone app called Carapace, lets you make very dynamic multi point grids and export them, and import photos to use as a guide/baseline to create them with too. It’s a bit tricky to get the hang of at first but once you do, pretty easy to use.

The second clip I’m going to embed in this post is a simple tutorial for a method of using the shape tool to make grids right in photoshop! This method is very handy either for print or digital work, and if you keep your shapes un-rasterized and in layers as a PSD or Tiff file you can modify it later as you need!

Using the photoshop shape tool, I made this set of colour coded 5 point grids, meant to be printed out at 11″x17″. Mostly by way of example of what I could do the first time I tried it, but feel free to utilize them. They represent a few variations on horizon position, and distances of vanishing points; From closer in/more distortion, to very far away and much less distortion. The method is generally being called ‘The vanishing point tool’ online. Covered in the links in detail but i’ve mnemonized as Shape/polygon/100 sides; Pick your vanishing points & Bobs your uncle!.

It’s possible to make curvilinear versions as well but that’s a bit more tricky. I’m researching it now and will add that to this post in time.

Update: Ok, that was easy. One simple method is to enlarge the canvas to encompass your vanishing points, and just use the spherize filter to induce something like the organic rounding of space we experience visually and achieved with wide angle lenses on cameras. It’s not a perfect set of lines here, but if you like easy enough to make one to suite yourself! 😉 Also before wrapping up this project I made one where I edited out the lines after the cross the horizon for the top and bottom vanishing points, and the center for those on the right and the left. Generally for curvilinear grids, you don’t want those. Have fun!


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