Gain Some Perspective: An Adobe Photoshop Tutorial


Perspective is one of an artist’s most common annoyances and one of the hardest techniques to learn and master. There are many, many levels of perspective and all of them require an almost mathematical precision to look right. What’s worse is sometimes the digital program in use doesn’t even have a perspective tool built in. However, Adobe Photoshop has some great work arounds that can help in a pinch. Today, we’ll be looking at a DIY perspective tool in Photoshop.


1. Choose the polygon tool.

The Polygon tool has the ability to make any symmetrical shape with multiple sides. First, make sure that specifically the polygon tool is selected. The other shapes lack the features that we need here. Next, check that your stroke is at a reasonable size, and then head over to the gear symbol.


2. Select the Gear Symbol.

From here, click on it to open the drop-down menu


3. Set the Star Ratio to a percentage below 15%.

The star ratio essentially pulls the sides of the polygon in to create a star effect. I have mine set to 1% but any percentage below 15% works just as well and creates an empty middle space where you can place your point of perspective.


4. In the Polygon symbol with the Hashtag, choose a number above 50.

After setting the star ratio, close the settings and head next door to the Polygon with a Hashtag symbol. This symbol controls the amount of points your polygons have. This will add more perspective lines on your star. I set mine at 100, but any number between 50 and 125 is good.


5. Set your points on the canvas and adjust as needed for your horizon line.


6. Optional: Trim the Canvas to keep the file size low.




This next step is optional, but important to take into consideration if your file size is getting too large. The polygon tool, unfortunately, is a pretty hefty tool for your file size. The rest of the polygon that is hidden by the edges of the canvas can be trimmed away. Be careful that you don’t have any objects of importance that you don’t want to be cut into pieces. Head up to Images at the very top and scroll down to Trim. A small box will pop up. Skip past the section that says, ‘Based On’ and select the edges of the canvas you want trimmed away. I chose the entire canvas, but the option to only trim one side or only half the canvas edges is there.


Congratulations! You learned a valuable shortcut! Unfortunately, Photoshop lacks the capability to make a perspective grid that art can be snapped to, but this is a fairly easy work around if you’re in a pinch. So, get out there and get creating!


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