Products and perspective (1)

4_7 bannerClass 4/7 – December 6th 2012 –

We kicked of this class with a couple of presentations of the results from last weeks class. By presenting your product proposals to the class you have demonstrated that the sketches you had originally used to explore and develop your ideas are equally useful in communicating the conclusions. In fact, the story is often stronger when the development is still visible in the background, which eliminates the need to produce ‘nicer’ sketches for a presentation.

Not everyone had used all the basic ingredients to make your sketches communicate. The most important one being: text. You might think something is too obvious, but it really doesn’t hurt to add a description and especially a title to your pages. It not only helps you to remember what to talk about (no more blackouts during presentations) it also helps in archiving your ideas and… it also looks way better!

One big observation is that regardless the (expected) trouble with perspective drawing the product sketches still communicated your ideas pretty good. So, you are halfway there. You just need to learn and practice sketching in perspective and your sketches will start to look really professional!

See where these (and other) general comments apply to your own work and include it in your personal reflections (also on your blogs).


In this class we investigated the basic principles of perspective by analyzing a 3D model of a cube. We discovered that in most cases you can’t actually use the geometric rules of construction directly since the three vanishing points are most likely not visible on your page. Therefor you have to take a guess at where they are and aim your lines in the appropriate direction. A good way to practice this is by sketching cubes from multiple angles.

We also looked at two pictures of a whiteboard wiper taken with a different focal length. In reality we see very little perspective in smaller products like this one, however when sketching products a slightly exaggerated use of perspective makes the product a little more dynamic and attractive because it literally draws the audience closer to the object. Be careful not to use too much perspective because it also makes the objects appear larger then they are.

Next we used images of simple square products (such as remotes and dvd players) to analyze the perspective and use their framework of angles and proportions to construct sketches of these products.

Observation is key in understanding perspective. The better you understand it, the easier it becomes to reproduce it in your sketches. A major part of learning to make good sketches is training yourself to see what is wrong in your sketch and than correct it. That is why we use the blue pencil and sketch as light as possible. Sketching is an exploratory process of working towards a result. By training your skills extensively you will gradually be able to put down your lines in the right place at the first attempt and speed up the process step by step.

In the last demo I showed you how to communicate a selection of your sketches by adding contrast and some details like radii, parting lines, screens and buttons.

To do for next week:

A lot of practice! Take a good 4 hours to focus on this exercise. Finish the two pages with cubes in various perspectives and highlight the best one or two per page. Next, collect plenty of reference material or create your own and repeat the above exercise of sketching from a picture. First by using the same perspective as in the photograph and than by mentally rotating the objects and constructing our own perspectives. See how much you can explore and produce in this time frame (at least two pages), but save the last hour to switch to the communication mode and highlight a couple of sketches per page. Include a title and some descriptive text about the products.


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