Do your images look a little flat, but all your values are correct, your volumes are right, and your perspective is on point? Do you want to take that piece to the next level? There are a couple more tricks you can do to give a 2d piece the illusion of depth. Namely, blurring your foreground and putting less detail into your backgrounds.

These perspective tricks are used widely in various artistic industries, especially in movies and TV. In this short article, I’ll go through what the effects do and how to apply them to your work.

Blurring Your Foreground

I had noticed this a long time ago watching various TV shows unconsciously, but it didn’t come into my artistic life until I watched a video by WLOP. Here’s the video below:

What is emulated by blurring your foreground is the same thing a camera will do, or your eye will do when it’s focusing on something behind the foreground. There will be a slight blur to whatever is up close to the front of the painting.

Why? Well, because that’s where the focal point is and anything that isn’t in focus will blur slightly, especially if it’s closer to the eye or camera. Go ahead, try looking at something out of the corner of your eye. Or put your hand up towards your face and focus on your screen. Notice your hand is blurred?

Most drawing software will have some blur filter within it. To achieve this effect, select your object in the foreground and apply the blur filter to your liking. There, you’ve just tricked your audience!

Less Detail In Your Background

One of the first things artists learn about perspective is that items further away will be smaller. But we artists are perfectionists. We know what that thing in the background should look like close up. Digital artists have it even worse as we can make large canvas sizes and zoom in. We’re tempted to put detail into the background that shouldn’t be there.

Don’t. Stop.

Not only will things in your background that are further away smaller to things that are closer to the viewer, but they will have less detail. Our eyes have a limit to the range that we can see. This is why spyglasses and binoculars were invented. So we can see things that are further away in more detail than our eyes can provide naturally. Just because your camera can zoom in and see those details in the background doesn’t mean you should do it in your artistic work.

Foreground and Background
Leave me alone I can’t draw trees yet.

So use fewer details in your background to suggest things that are further away. Don’t give in to the perfectionism. Too much detail in your backgrounds can detract from a piece even if the perspective is correct. It’s just noise.

Conclusion

Hey, I told you this would be short – but tricks for perspective are essential, especially when it comes to the background and foreground. They can make or break a piece and you may not even know of them if you’re new. So go forth and trick your audience.

They’ll thank you for it later.

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