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Tutorial: Very Quick, Down & Dirty Perspective

Using Perspective Guideline.
This tutorial assumes that you already know how to use Photoshop's adjustment and transform tools, and you have a good grasp of the fundamentals of perspective drawing. This works best using Photoshop 7 in which the transform tool has a realtime display of changes being made. i.e., unlike earlier versions of Photoshop, the image changes as you move the transform tool's anchor points -- you can see what you are doing.

Let's start with a rough drawing... very rough... essentially a basic composition layout. That structure on the left side will be corrected using perspective guidelines.



On a separate layer, use the line tool to lay down a bunch of horizontal lines. Hold down the shift key while drawing the lines to insure that they are all horizontally parallel. You can take the time to make each line equidistant, but that's probably not necessary for most cases. I just lay them down randomly.

NOTE: be sure to make these lines on their own layer above your rough drawing.



Once you have the lines on their own layer, activate the transform tool on that layer (shortcut - press Ctrl T). You should have anchor points at all four coners. I've placed a green circle around them in the image below.



Next comes the part where it is important to have an understanding of how perspective works. While holding down the Ctrl and Shift keys, move the anchor points up and down until you have what looks like a good set of perspective guidelines. Keep your horizon line in mind. In the image below, way off the the right where it can't be seen, there is a final vanishing point on the drawing's horizon line.

If you are using Photoshop 7, the process is made much easier because you can see changes in line positions as you are moving an anchor point. In earlier versions of Photoshop, using the transform tool is a hit or miss operation because you can't see the effect until after you have released a moved anchor point.

NOTE: holding the Ctrl and Shft keys down while adjusting the anchor points keeps the adjustments vertically constrained.



Even though the vanishing point can't be seen, the lines you've adjusted can be used to guide your drawing. In the image below, I drew the structure again on a separate layer using the perspective guidelines to guide my drawing. And then, of course, I deleted the original rough layout drawing for the structure.




When working with guidelines like this, it's a good idea to locate them on layers in their own layer set. That way you can easily turn them on or off as needed.