The perspective in the crib

Perspective is an essential element in a nativity scene because it gives it a sense of distance and depth as we observe it.

To highlight this aspect it is necessary that in the crib there is only one point of view and that the height of vision can make our eyes coincide with the eyes of the figurines placed in the foreground. To clarify the concept of perspective we must think of the classic example of the railroad tracks, we know that they run parallel, but our vision of distance sees them converge in a single point, the point where the lines converge is called the vanishing point.

prospettiva nel presepe

Look at the images for a clearer concept.

Notes on perspective and respect for proportions.

To create a crib we must first take into account the structure that is intended to be built, the proportions and the characters that must be well contextualized.

The following image shows the so-called S.GIUSEPPE scale, it is a tool that is used to decide the dimensions to be attributed to the structures, including doors, windows and trees in relation to the size of the characters you want to use.

prospettiva e proporzioni di san Giuseppe

The scale of S. GIUSEPPE makes it possible to make a correct proportion between the objects that one wants to insert in the crib and the real world, it is constituted by a Cartesian plane in which on the axis of the abscissa (HORIZONTAL) the measures in m and c are shown on the one of the ordinates (VERTICAL) the measurements in cm of the characters you have, to establish the size of the objects that we are going to position. This allows the measurement of the figurine of which you have to find the corresponding value of the real height of a person, in such a way as to be able to trace the line that traverses the point found from the origin of the axes (in the figure above “A” – line blue dotted line). The straight line is the scale to which we must refer, in fact knowing the real value of an object and projecting it from its point of numerical value on the abscissa to the straight line, we immediately find the corresponding value on the axis of the ordinates, which we repeat, represents the measurement of the object to be made.

The example shown in the previous figure is highlighted with red hatching and shows that in a scale created with statuettes of about 12 cm, corresponding to the average height of a person of 160 cm, a bucket that in reality measures 40 cm, in our crib must be about 3 cm.

It is therefore necessary to ensure that this proportion is preserved throughout the course of the work, taking into account in any case the perspective, ie the dimensions that the objects assume in the observed reality. This is to say that the more we move from the eye of the observer towards the horizon, the more an object of the same size will appear smaller.

In the following photo the character we purchased is 20 cm high, in reality a woman of medium height will be about 160 cm tall.

So we divide the 20 cm into 16 parts (starting from the real size of 160 cm chosen for convenience). Our goal is to obtain how many centimeters a real meter is in the crib, using a suitable proportion. The part obtained is 1.25 cm (20/16 cm), if the person was tall in reality 170 cm was divided by 17 and so on. The choice of the height of the character in reality is selected based on the patterns, usually the average height is 170 cm.

Once this is established and the elementary division is obtained, in this case 1.25 cm, if we multiply by 10 we have our meter in scale to the character. The calculation is the one used to identify the equivalence of 10 cm real in our crib by dividing the 20 cm by 16, we remember that the 20 cm corresponded to 160 cm in reality in fact dividing 160 by 16 we have 10 cm real)

The example shows a meter measuring 12.5, drawing it on a wooden strip, we can use it as a miniature meter and make everything proportional based on this unit of measurement. So a door that actually measures about 2 meters, a table 80 cm, a floor of a house about 3 meters, a tree about 8-10 meters.

prospettiva e proporzioni nel presepe

prospettiva e proporzioni nel presepe

Here is a demonstration of the example given above

So a character 18 cm tall and in reality will have a height of about 170 cm, a table about 80 cm high, in the crib, will measure 8.5 cm, these are results obtained with the calculation of the proportion, as in the following table. The method is always the same and foresees the division into 18 cm (statue height in the crib) into 17 parts (equivalent to 170 cm / 10), the segment obtained (1.1 cm) is equivalent in reality to 10 cm (real) multiplied for 10 you get our meter (reality: 100 cm crib: 10.1 cm the proportion is about 10: 1 that is a cm in the crib is equivalent to 100 cm real).

The proportion is obtained again as follows: 170 (real person height): 18 (crib character height) = 100 (1 real meter): x (crib meter) x = 10.5 This means that 10.5 cm (in the crib) corresponds to 1 real meter.

For convenience, large cribs are divided into several levels that ideally represent the vision

natural observed and on which it is possible to build more adequate stairs of St. Anthony.

The plans of the crib will have different purposes. (in the above case we show you just one example)

FIRST FLOOR: Usually Capanna or Grotta della Natività (in evidence), characters with larger dimensions.
SECOND FLOOR: Borgo and houses with characters climbing to the first floor
THIRD FLOOR: Background with mountains.

Mathematical equations can also be used to respect proportions and perspective. Let’s take an example: – Consider 30 cm tall characters and build a proportioned table, all you have to do is respect the following operation: 170: 30 = 80: X where 170 is the average height of a person, 30 is the size of our statues, 80 is the real height of a table and X is the unknown of which we must find the value. Developing the proportion we have: X = 30 x 80: 170 or 2.400: 170 = 14.11. In this way, we have established that the table height should be about 14 cm. Developing the various proportions from time to time, we will be sure to respect the right balance of the whole set.

We show you a table with some already calculated proportions.proportions table

This speech also includes animals, accessories, vegetation, proportionate to the various perspective planes that make up the Nativity.

To facilitate the work, you can have a wooden strip in which we report our proportionate meter; in the following example a meter is represented for a statue of 15 cm, or 8.8 cm long (having calculated it with the above formulas 15 [statue height] / 17 [real height 170/10 cm] = 0.88 cm, 0.88 * 10).

We divided the listel into 10 equal parts [width 0.88 cm] (which simulate distances that in reality are 10 cm). It will be used for the construction of all the structures and will be the main reference for proportioning each element.

If in reality a table is one meter high, we take 10 parts of our small meter (in this case 8.8 cm), if a door is two meters high then we will take 20 parts of the meter (in this case 8.8 * 2 = 17.6 cm) and etc.

For our character who is actually 170 cm 0.88 (elementary segment) * 17 = 15 cm the size we actually have in the crib. We used the proportion 170 (real height): 15 (character height) = 10 (cm): 0.88 because 10 cm is equivalent to the meter of our crib, at 0.88 cm. Summing up again for this example we calculate the proportion: 170 (real person height): 15 (crib character height) = 100 (1 real meter): x (crib meter) x = 8.8

This formula states that 170 cm (real) stand at the height of the crib’s character (15 cm) as 100 cm (1 real meter) is the length of the meter in the crib.

This means that 8.8 cm (in the crib) equals 1 real meter and the elementary segment (8.8 / 10 = 0.88) 0.88 equals 10 cm in reality.

The generic formula for obtaining the length of the meter in the crib is:

[real person height]: [crib statue height] = 100 (1 real meter): x (crib meter)

We just have to select the height of a person in reality because we know the height of the character and we get the length of the meter [x].

It is sufficient to know the real size and to report it in miniature with our meter.listello metrico

We define (geometric) perspective the representation of a three-dimensional figure on a plane (or two-dimensional surface) from a certain point of view, so that by observing it we obtain the same perception of the human eye in the real vision of that figure. This system of representing the depth of space through design and making it similar to reality, was and is today the subject of studies and research that have developed in the artistic and architectural field.

The first to deepen the correct perspective construction was the Florentine architect Brunelleschi, who in the fifteenth century formulated the rule that all lines of depth converge in a unified vanishing point in two vanishing points for the bifocal perspective. These formulas were taken up and examined in greater detail by Leon Battista Alberti, later all the masters who followed in history made it a treasure.

The perspective was applied in various fields, but found widespread use in the artistic and architectural fields, so as to find numerous interpretations. , in fact, based on the view from which it is observed, it assumes different nomenclatures and interpretations.

There are various types of perspective, the linear one, with a vertical frame, with an inclined, accidental, central, solid framework and so on, depending on the point of view or point of view and point of origin where all the lines converge on the horizon, these are the two fundamental elements of the perspective, namely the projection plane or point of view of the observer also called framework and the point O of origin, not belonging to the plane called the projection center. Usually, in the creation of the crib, reference is made to the linear perspective, that is, the one that simply converges all the lines on a point projected at a distance in the space called “vanishing point” or on two vanishing points positioned at the same height and on the same plane in depth.

Determined, the vanishing point, with the help of a wire fixed to a fixed point at a distance (fugue), generally calculated at the DOUBLE of the working plane length, it is necessary to make the lines of the structures converge on the straight line that leads to the point of escape. The horizon must be at the height of the observer’s eyes and the vanishing point must therefore be positioned at the eye level of the manger’s character and the visitor who in theory must coincide.

linea dell'orizzonte della prospettiva per i presepi

The house proportioned to the characters and shaped in perspective gives the illusion of distance.

Remember that even the ground is subject to the rigid rules of perspective, in fact it tends to have an upward trend.

The essential pivot of the construction of a crib is the preparation of the plan and of the houses, possibly realized, in the form of shapes, for example in cardboard, in which the characters can be positioned, temporarily. This step is a great help for us crib makers, because it avoids the danger of gross errors of proportion.

An example is shown below.

Full respect for the techniques of perspective leads to a false work, we will always be with our critical eye to correct and intervene promptly. The application of the general rules of perspective generally occurs for large jobs.

prospettiva in un presepe

prospettiva in un presepe

For housework and less professional, it is not necessary to resort to a meticulous study of all the rules illustrated above. Rely on your eye for the evaluation of proportions and distances. If you decide to use equally the use of perspective, it is necessary to observe the crib from the pre-established point of view, other angles will do so to make you discover the trick that is under the desired effect.

In the following examples it is evident that the perspective, applied to a crib, is of considerable effect.

linea della prospettiva in un presepe

In the previous image it is evident the application of the perspective technique, in this specific case it was not followed to the letter, there are some modifications underlined by the presence of some sweeter cuts. For this reason, it is necessary to modify the lines to make the whole harmonious. Our goal is not to achieve a technically perfect result, but to get to people’s hearts, conveying emotions with our art. Therefore, the first objective to be achieved is to make the work harmonious by connecting the various parts emotionally, the perspective must help to achieve a good result, but it must not be the protagonist. An indispensable element is the proscenium, which forces the visitor to look only in the direction that has been studied in perspective. This way you can study the vision to make the effect as good as possible.

We provide you with a lateral perspective view that highlights the effects of the mathematical perspective on the shapes of the houses and on the height of the characters, you will notice that the windows, the doors and the roofs must be shaped following the lines of flight and also the ground tends to rise. The most effective way to understand the prospect is a good deal of experience. In the following illustrations it is shown how, starting from shapes that are rectangular with the effect of perspective, with the help of a thread for drawing, it is possible to obtain the effect we see (view of the table). Doors and windows as you approach the vanishing point decrease their width.

linee della prospettiva di un presepe

Here is another example of the realization of the perspective in the crib, together with the drawing that reproduces the perspective study, here the camera was positioned almost on the horizon line so as to capture the view from the vanishing point.

As you can see from the photo the lines converge on the vanishing point, some have been slightly modified in the initial phase of carving the shapes, this serves to improve the vision from other angles avoiding useless exasperations of the perspective effect.

Coloring plays a fundamental role in highlighting distances, proportions and therefore perspective. The colors closer to the crib watcher will be more marked and will fade and be more subdued as you move away.

In the second and third floors, the wise use of colors will be the main determinant of the perspective, with adjoining shades of blue, to the point of entering the final part where we will find the mountains, here we will find the blue in its most intense gradation to reinforce the sense of depth. As already mentioned in the first floor we will tend to take care of the smallest details, since it is the part closest to the viewer, as we move towards the next floors the definition will be smaller. To be part of the landscapes there are the trees, they too will be subject to the rules of perspective, these will be arranged in a gradual manner with respect to the point of the observer. The flooring is not exempt from this type of discourse, it will also have the perspective effect, to obtain it it is necessary to draw the lines that converge towards the vanishing point and then shape the bricks of the floor. The walls of a room tend to cling towards the vanishing point, to create a sense of perspective, to look at the image to have a more practical example.

For more details, exhaustive explanations, I suggest buying my DVD VIDEOs.prospettive di un presepe

In the image a floor and a side wall are shown, in order to create the sense of perspective a wire fixed to the vanishing point was used, the lines that are drawn towards it spaced from each other by a fixed width taken on the red line were drawn. , that is, at the beginning of the floor, it is necessary to ensure that as the depth of the bricks decreases, the perception of proximity to the vanishing point is obtained.

prospettive in un presepe

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