4:07 PM, Tuesday May 25th 2021

You can think of the exercise as being broken down into two parts- firstly, there's what we focused on with the box challenge, which is simply drawing arbitrary boxes whose lines converge fairly consistently towards the same vanishing point. It doesn't actually matter if the foreshortening itself is dramatic or shallow - either way, it comes down to thinking of all 4 edges simultaneously, and considering how they need to be angled to converge together. The best way to address this is just to do more freely rotated boxes (this should already be one of the many exercises you cycle through in your warmups, so you can keep sharpening those skills).

The second part is the addition of the ellipses, which effectively tests the proportions. Based on the ellipses' own line extensions, and their relationships with the box's line extensions, you'll be able to make adjustments to which proportions you choose to use, based on the general orientation of your box in space.

Of course, if your box's own lines aren't converging entirely consistently, then that will mean you'll have to eyeball the relationship between those line extensions and the ellipse's with some margin for error. You can still of course progress through this exercise meaningfully without perfect boxes - in fact, it's not really expected that your boxes will be perfect - but it means that you have two distinct things to deal with, and remembering that they are separate issues will help you address them each in turn.

As for the why behind those aspects of foreshortening, the best explanation I have right now is in the more recently updated Ellipses video for lesson 1. Here I actually use a little prop of two cardboard discs connected by a toothpick to show how the degree of the end closer to the viewer and the degree of the end farther away will shift in degree.

The rate of foreshortening itself is largely determined by the form's proximity to the viewer and the form's own length, so in this video you don't get a lot of variation in that. You do however get to see the third factor, which is the orientation of the form relative to the viewer, with that foreshortening getting more notable as we turn the cylinder to face the camera. Hopefully that demonstration will help.

1:04 AM, Wednesday May 26th 2021

Hmm...okay, thanks. I read this a couple times, watched the video (it did help), and then cut a toilet roll in half and stared at it for a while...after that I drew a few more boxed ellipses and I think I get it a little more now.

Much appreciated.

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The Art of Blizzard Entertainment

While I have a massive library of non-instructional art books I've collected over the years, there's only a handful that are actually important to me. This is one of them - so much so that I jammed my copy into my overstuffed backpack when flying back from my parents' house just so I could have it at my apartment. My back's been sore for a week.

The reason I hold this book in such high esteem is because of how it puts the relatively new field of game art into perspective, showing how concept art really just started off as crude sketches intended to communicate ideas to storytellers, designers and 3D modelers. How all of this focus on beautiful illustrations is really secondary to the core of a concept artist's job. A real eye-opener.