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https://www.test.storyboardthat.com/articles/e/storyboard-tips-depth


Incorporating a three-dimensional property like depth into a two-dimensional plane (a storyboard for example) can be difficult, but there are some tips and tricks to help create the illusion of depth.

Depth is always illusory in a 2-D space (photos, drawings), which are flat. Our brains are built for 3-D environments though. They take cues from lighting, shadows size, and angles in order to interpret our distance to objects, and we can apply these tricks to a 2-D medium with perspective, thereby tricking our brains into seeing distance and depth in a storyboard.

3-D = Width x Length x Depth (or Height x Width x Length)

2-D = Length x Width

Create Depth by Manipulating Size

When looking at our surroundings, optics cause objects in the distance to appear smaller, while those which are closer in the foreground to appear larger. Our brains use context to distinguish between objects that are small, and objects that are far away. Similarly, objects that are very close take up a large portion of our vision, but we don’t usually mistake them for being extra large.

Making items huge and cropping them implies that the camera/viewer is right next to them. Look at the catcher in the example below.

The line of sight is the intended eye level in a piece of work, and is an important element of composition. It helps determine perspective and distance through lines of sight that converge at a vanishing point. In practice, an object above the line of sight will be smaller the further away they are from the line. Conversely, items below the line will appear larger the further they are from the line.

As you can see, the baseball players are smaller in proportion to their distance above the red line, while the baseball player below the line is substantially larger.


Create Depth with Color

If you’ve ever looked across a long distance, at a mountain range, ocean, or winding road, you’ve probably noticed that distant objects appear lighter and more blurred. This effect is called atmospheric perspective, and it is caused by the quantity of air between the viewer and the viewed object. Pretty cool, right?

Using this information, you can give the appearance of distance by coloring objects meant to appear far away with lighter tones and faded hues.

Let’s take a look at an example:


Create Depth with Detail

Standard human vision is pretty good at capturing detail, but regardless of how keen your eyes are, it is impossible to see every minute detail. Things that are farther away appear to have less detail, while those that are close are crisp and clear.

This allows a storyboarder to portray distance by using more detailed characters and objects in the foreground of scenes, and using silhouettes or simpler objects in the background.

See how using silhouettes make the kids fall into the background, and brings out the character in the front? This is also useful when trying to show focus in a scene.

Although these tips are each good on their own, the best results will be achieved by combining all three. Try them out to add a little extra dimension to your storyboards!

How to Create Depth in Storyboarding

1

Understand Perspective

Recognize that incorporating depth into a two-dimensional medium like storyboarding requires understanding perspective. Our brains interpret depth cues such as lighting, shadows, size, and angles to determine distance in a three-dimensional environment. By applying these cues in a two-dimensional space, we can create the illusion of depth in storyboards.

2

Manipulate Size

Utilize the concept of size manipulation to create depth. Objects in the distance appear smaller, while those in the foreground appear larger. By making objects larger or smaller and strategically cropping them, you can imply proximity to the viewer. Experiment with scaling to indicate the camera or viewer's proximity to different elements in the storyboard.

3

Consider Line of Sight

The line of sight in a storyboard is the intended eye level and plays a crucial role in determining perspective and distance. Objects positioned above the line of sight will appear smaller the further they are from the line, while objects below the line will appear larger as they move away from it. Use this knowledge to accurately represent distance and perspective in your storyboard.

4

Use Color for Atmospheric Perspective

Leverage atmospheric perspective to create the illusion of distance. Distant objects often appear lighter and more blurred due to the quantity of air between the viewer and the object. Apply this effect by using lighter tones and faded hues for objects intended to appear far away in your storyboard. This technique adds depth and realism to the scene.

5

Vary Detail Levels

Employ the concept of detail to convey distance in your storyboard. Objects that are farther away tend to have less visible detail, while those that are closer appear more defined and clear. To depict depth, incorporate more intricate and detailed elements in the foreground while using silhouettes or simpler objects in the background. This contrast emphasizes the focus of the scene and enhances the sense of depth.

6

Combine Techniques

While each technique can contribute to creating depth individually, the most effective results are achieved by combining them. Experiment with manipulating size, using color for atmospheric perspective, and varying detail levels simultaneously to add an extra dimension to your storyboards. By incorporating these tips, you can enhance the visual impact and depth of your storyboard illustrations.

Frequently Asked Questions about Storyboarding Tips on Perspective

What is perspective in storyboarding?

Perspective in storyboarding refers to creating the illusion of depth in a two-dimensional plane. It involves manipulating size, color, and detail to create the impression of distance and depth.

How can manipulating size create depth in a storyboard?

Objects in the distance appear smaller, while those in the foreground appear larger. By making objects huge and cropping them, the viewer will assume that the camera is right next to them. This technique can be used to create the illusion of depth and distance.

How can color be used to create depth in a storyboard?

Distant objects appear lighter and more blurred, which is known as atmospheric perspective. To give the appearance of distance, storyboarders can use lighter tones and faded hues for objects meant to appear far away.

How can detail be used to create depth in a storyboard?

Things that are farther away appear to have less detail, while those that are close are crisp and clear. Storyboarders can portray distance by using more detailed characters and objects in the foreground of scenes and using silhouettes or simpler objects in the background.

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