A Beginner’s Guide to Atmospheric Perspective

In painting, a technique called atmospheric perspective is often used to create the illusion of depth. This technique relies on our ability to see gradations in color and light as we move away from an object. The colors become lighter and less saturated, while the contrast between dark and light increases. This creates a sense that objects are receding into the distance. In this article, we will explore how you can use atmospheric perspective in your artwork!

What is Atmosphere Perspective?

Atmospheric perspective is a technique used in art to create the illusion of depth. It relies on our ability to see gradations in color and light as we move away from an object. The colors become lighter and less saturated, while the contrast between dark and light increases. This creates a sense that objects are receding into the distance.

There are a few things to keep in mind when using atmospheric perspective in your artwork:

  • Use cool colors (blues, greens, and purples) to create the illusion of depth. Warm colors (reds, oranges, and yellows) tend to look closer to the viewer.
  • Add more contrast to objects that are farther away from the viewer. This will help to create a sense of depth and distance.
  • Use less detail the farther away an object is from the viewer. This will also help to create a sense of depth.

How to Use Atmospheric Perspective in your Artwork?

Now that you know what atmospheric perspective is and how it works, let’s look at how you can use it in your artwork!

The easiest way to use atmospheric perspective is by using cool colors to create the illusion of depth. Warm colors tend to look closer to the viewer, so it’s best to avoid using them when creating an aerial perspective.

You can also add more contrast to objects that are farther away from the viewer. This creates a sense of depth by indicating that the object is further away. Use less detail the farther away an object is from the viewer to create this effect as well.

Creating the Illusion of Atmospheric Perspective

To create the illusion of atmospheric perspective in your artwork, follow these steps:

  • Create a new layer.  We will be using this later to add our aerial perspective effect!
  • Draw or paint all of your main objects on another layer (this includes any large foreground items). Make sure that they are far enough away from each other so that they don’t overlap.
  • Turn off the visibility on your foreground layer, so you can see how it looks with aerial perspective. You may have to play around a bit more to get this right, but I find that adding a cool color wash over my objects is usually enough!
  • Select all of your main objects and change their blend mode to Overlay.
  • Create a new layer and set it on top of your main objects (the one you created in step two). Set the blend mode for this layer to Linear Light.  You can also add another color wash if needed, but I find that this frequently is enough!

Now go back and turn off all layers except for the foreground layer. You should now see how your artwork looks with an atmospheric perspective!

Effects at Sunrise and Sunset

Atmospheric perspective is often more pronounced at sunrise and sunset. This is because the colors are typically more intense during these times, making it easier to see the gradations in color. You can use this to your advantage by adding a bit more contrast to objects that are farther away from the viewer.

Here’s an example of how atmospheric perspective can be used to create the illusion of depth:

In this artwork, I used atmospheric perspective to create a sense of distance between the sky and the mountains. I also added more contrast to the mountains to make them look farther away.

You can also use atmospheric perspective to create an aerial view effect. This is when you show a scene from a bird’s-eye view in your artwork.

To create this effect, you will need a large foreground object and a background that fades into the distance to create depth. You can also add texture to the sky or other areas of less detail for an even more realistic aerial perspective!

Creating Atmospheric Perspective with Watercolor Pencils

In this tutorial, I will be showing you how to create atmospheric perspective with watercolor pencils. This is a great way to add depth and realism to your landscapes!

  • Start by drawing or painting your main objects on one layer. Make sure that they are far enough away from each other so that they don’t overlap.
  • Turn off the visibility on your foreground layer, so you can see how it looks with atmospheric perspective. You may have to play around a bit more to get this right!
  • Select all of your main objects and change their blend mode to Overlay. This will make the colors brighter when applied later on.
  • Create another new layer, but this time set the blend mode to Linear Light. 
  • With a watercolor pencil, start adding color to the sky and other areas of less detail. Make sure that you are using light colors for these areas!
  • Once you’re finished, turn on the visibility for your foreground layer and take a look at your final result!

Night Light Effects

One of the best ways to create a sense of atmospheric perspective in your artwork is by using night lighting. This allows you to really focus on creating depth and adding texture, which can be difficult if done during the day!

There are a few different ways to create night lighting effects in your artwork. You can use light colors to indicate the sky, or you can add a gradient of color to represent the fading light of the sun.

In Conclusion

Atmospheric perspective can be used in any type of art, including painting and comics! It’s best to practice with cool colors before trying it out on your artwork. It can be difficult to keep everything consistent if you’re just starting out, so it’s best to practice with simple objects before trying something more complex like human figures!

FAQ

What Was Leonardo da Vinci Atmospheric Perspective?

In the 1300s, Leonardo da Vinci described atmospheric perspective in his artwork. He used this technique to create a sense of depth and distance when depicting buildings or mountains in comparison to the sky. 

What is Atmospheric Perspective Quizlet 15th Century?

15th-century atmospheric perspective was used by Da Vinci in landscape paintings. He added gradation to the sky, mountains, and other areas of less detail to create a sense of depth.

Does Mona Lisa use Atmospheric Perspective?

Yes, Mona Lisa uses an atmospheric perspective. The use of light and dark colors in the painting help to create a sense of depth, and the buildings in the background are farther away than the ones in the foreground.

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