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Perspective problem

edited March 28 in Painting
I hope I put this under the correct heading. Folks, I could use some help with this photo. I took this standing on the sidewalk. The problem is the verticals. No matter how I straighten it vertically, something is either out of plumb (e.g. the windows next to the sidewalk, the sides of the building in the back) and/or the flat roof of the back buildings is out of level. How do I fix this in order to make a believable painting? Or do I ignore the appearance of the verticals and horizontals in the photo and make them plumb and level for the painting? Any advice is appreciated. 




Comments

  • @Hondo, in Photoshop, Affinity Photo and other image editors there are perspective tools you can use to fix the distortion in this photo.  :)
  • @HondoRW

    This is not really distortion. It''s only slightly optically distorted 3 point perspective. This is where it's so important to have basic perspective tools in your arsenal. In a case like this the drawing would be the most important part of the execution. In there point perspective there are the 2 horizon vanishing points and also a vertical. 

    By the way This is my old neighborhood. I lived on the west side of Beacon Hill for 12 years in the 1960s & 1970s. We had too much fun. 
    This is a print by my first mentor Bob Kennedy. One of my first gigs was watercoloring his prints like this one. In trade for a crash in the hay loft storage area. When ever I go to Boston I eat here.Another Kennedy print with me carrying my portfolio next to the lamp post. Bob taught me more in a couple of months than I learned in all of art school. Real world stuff.
    1971 The Kennedy family, Ted, Peter, Joe, Kathy, Me and Bob on the right. Amazing times. Our building was an old horse and carriage barn at 40 Joy Street Beacon Hill Boston.
    GTOArtGalHondoRW
  • edited March 29
    The problem you see in your photo, @HondoRW is perspective distortion and perhaps spherical aberration caused by the spherical surface of your lens. This is very common. You can correct for perspective distortion in image editors. You'll find Photoshop tutorials on how to do it - just do a google search.  :)
  • edited March 29
    @HondoRW, your post was about the perspective distortion in your photo and how to correct it. So, that's the issue I'll address.

     You'll see below that  I've managed to do a bit of correction. It's still not perfect but I'm in the middle of something so, if you'd like, I'll have a proper go at it later. I should be able to get everything straight. For the moment, at least the sign is pretty straight. The is the first time I've used the perspective tool in Affinity Photo so it will be good learning experience for me.   :)


  • @HondoRW
    Just what is it that disturbs you about your photo?

    If I were to draw this. That's draw not paint. I'd sort of square your original picture up on the sign. Find a crop that focuses on your point of interest Then draw it using proportional dividers and your eye. Trust your eye. Make corrections as necessary until what you want to paint is realized in the drawing. This is the artist process. You are not copying a photo. There are all kinds of mechanical tools to do a mechanical rendering. Try to rely on your eye.
    The lettering on the sign is the 'eye' of this drawing. How do you want the viewer to read this sign. The awnings are distinctive. The hidden signage 'Ladies and Gents Sea Grill' is to be noted. Loose the people and the closer orange traffic can. Hint at the bunting with muted color. The rest of the background could just be suggested. Make a nice gray sky.
    Paint a couple of rough studies to find your darks and lights.


  • edited March 29
    What is disturbing about this photo, @KingstonFineArt, is the perspective distortion, as @HondoRW has already said.

    @Hondo asked: "How do I fix this in order to make a believable painting? Or do I ignore the appearance of the verticals and horizontals in the photo and make them plumb and level for the painting?" 

    @Hondo, you can fix it in the photo first as I've outlined above, then draw from that, or you can draw it correctly by eye and hand, (I'd use a ruler and draw perspective lines first) and then paint over the drawing. Or you can just wing it with the brush.

     If it were me, and I was just starting out painting as a beginner, I'd be happier if the photo was corrected first. The distortion is just an added complication I wouldn't need. And I wouldn't have to deal with it because it can be corrected.

    If you were out in the street drawing/painting this from life there would be no distortion to worry about. But distortion is one of the problems with photography. Since you are working from a photo it might as well be one without distortion. The photo can be fixed.
  • CBGCBG -
    edited March 29
    HondoRW said:
    I hope I put this under the correct heading. Folks, I could use some help with this photo. I took this standing on the sidewalk. The problem is the verticals. No matter how I straighten it vertically, something is either out of plumb (e.g. the windows next to the sidewalk, the sides of the building in the back) and/or the flat roof of the back buildings is out of level. How do I fix this in order to make a believable painting? Or do I ignore the appearance of the verticals and horizontals in the photo and make them plumb and level for the painting? Any advice is appreciated. 







    @HondoRW


    I think there are two main issues making the eye confused and causing you to think the reality in the photo is "wrong"

    1. The road is going uphill by quite a slope, which makes a fake uphill horizon, confusing what the real horizon is

    2.  Your camera is pointing upward by quite a bit, even higher than the fake horizon


    The actual horizon is quite low.. 1/4 of the way from the bottom.  The eaves and windows and fire escape platform are all built to be perfectly horizontal, those make the true horizon.  So it is clear your camera is pointing uphill/upward by quite a bit.  That is why you are seeing the verticals pointing toward their own convergence point as pointed out by @KingstonFineArt (3 point perspective)  but this is normal, the verticals of those buildings are built to be all perfectly pointing upward so they are all pointing in the exact same direction.

    Just imagine pointing your camera higher and higher ... straight up... all those verticals point to the same point.  When you get straight lines looking very curved then you can say you have lens distortion, but here everything looks perfect.


    The problem here is because of the fake horizon made by the road, your eye thinks you are looking more horizontal than the camera actually is, making the convergence of the verticals look too extreme.  


    Fact is that there is nothing wonky at all about the buildings, there is no lens distortion, the perspective is correct, but there is an optical illusion set up by the uphill slope of the road, which makes things look wonky.


    My advice is to keep the tilt of the photo correct (even after cropping to the left or right), so that the in the center all the verticals are perfectly straight up.  This lessens the confusion made by the illusion, and gives the viewer the chance to figure out what is going on (we naturally keep our heads level when looking at something).
    GTO
  • Here it is after working on it for a few minutes, @HondoRW:


    Still not perfect but much better. 

    @Richard_P is great with computers and photos. He'd probably have this perfect in a flash.  :)
  • Plenty of distortion here"


  • CBGCBG -
    edited March 29
    tassieguy said:
    Plenty of distortion here"


      :)

    Ok there is some distortion here, but it is minimal.  Mostly what you see is proper perspective.
  • CBGCBG -
    edited March 29
    No distortion here:


  • @CBG, whatever you want to call it those horizontals and verticals are out. It may be that the camera was not held level. Whatever it is it is not an optical illusion.
  • CBGCBG -
    edited March 29
    I think the original photo of the OP needs to be tilted a bit counter clockwise, but only a tiny bit.
  • CBGCBG -
    edited March 29
    What's worse is that the buildings at the end of the street are not square with the street/store fronts.

    They have their own vanishing point north eastward.




    and to further complicate things, the buildings at the end of the street are not built with a single common facade... they are slightly askew of each other... in particular the grey building.


  • Wow...fascinating discussion! Thank you all @tassieguy, @KingstonFineArt and @CBG! Very good information here from each of you. By the way, it was not my intention to “stir the pot” as we say in Texas. So hopefully we’re all still friends 🙂. 
    CBGGTO
  • @HondoRW

    Well, whatever you decide about how to go about doing it ... I do hope you still paint the scene!
    HondoRW
  • edited March 30
    No worries, @HondoRW. You didn't stir the pot. When you get round to painting it I'd suggest a crop with the sign in a fairly central position and crop some at the top and sides.  :)
    HondoRW
  • This thread has been a very interesting discussion. Everyone has valid and profitable input.  Street scenes, heck even houses along a rolling up and down roadway, will have their vanishing points move up and down.  The trick is to identify each buildings vanishing points.
    I do like @KingstonFineArt ‘s approach to draw it out.  
    CBGHondoRW
  • Valuable information from all of you. Thanks for your help @tassieguy @KingstonFineArt @CBG @GTO. I’ll be able to come at it from a better perspective now (pun intended).
    tassieguyCBG
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