What Are The Different Types Of Perspective, And Which One To Use?
There are multiple types of perspective. Each kind is useful to draw a certain type of scenes. By knowing about these types, you will be able to draw almost any scene you want to.
With the exception of one type of perspective, these perspective can be mostly distinguished by the number of vanishing points used.
While I will be introducing each kind of perspective here, I am going to write a dedicated post about each of these types later. Where I will have the freedom to explain each type in details.
This post is a part of a series about drawing in perspective, you can refer to the first post of the series here if you want to read the whole series.
Quickly go to:
Sweet Reminder: What Is A Vanishing Point
In case you didn’t read the previous parts of the series about perspective. Here’s a quick revision: Vanishing point is the point where parallel lines would meet at if we are to extend them indefinitely. It’s makes it very useful to draw the different kinds of scenes easily and accurately.
To see vanishing points in action, take any scenery picture, and then extend the parallel lines in it (This is easy using a drawing program like Photoshop), and you will be able to detect the vanishing point(s) in there. I did that in the following road picture, which only had one vanishing point:
I did it again with the following building, where there are two vanishing point:
Vanishing points always happen to be on the horizon line. In the following picture, there are multiple roads, each has a different vanishing points, but all the vanishing points lie on the horizon line:
For the most part, any object can have from one to three vanishing points.
Please refer to my lesson about Perspective principals & definitions for some more definitions.
OnePointPerspective
As its name suggests, OnePointPerspective is the perspective type with only one vanishing point. One of the most common examples of this perspective type is the corridor:
The parallel lines in this picture, which are the sides of the corridor, can be extended and meet at their vanishing point.
Another common example is the road. If we are to extend 2 or more of the parallel lines of the corridor, we will end up with their vanishing point. I extended the parallel lines in the following picture, and they are all met at the same point:
Here’s another case for this kind of perspective, if we stood inside a room, and faced one of its walls, the room will be drawn like a very short corridor. In any other case, we draw the room scene using twopointperspective. This specific example makes it easy to tell when to use OnePointPerspective, and when to use twopointperspective. I have marked the vanishing point of the following room, by extending the parallel lines as we seen before:
The fact that all these parallel lines meet at the exact same point is very useful when we draw scenes like that. As we will see in the post dedicated this type of perspective.
Because OnePointPerspective is only used in specific examples. It’s not very widely used in a lot of scenes, compared to the other kinds of perspective. But it’s a very easy entry point to learn about vanishing points & drawing in perspective, because the same concepts apply to the other perspective types as well.
Read more about OnePointPerspective: What’s OnePointPerspective? And how to draw a room with it stepbystep
TwoPointPerspective
As you may have guessed, TwoPointPerspective is the perspective type with two vanishing points, instead of one.
To see this kind of perspective in action, take a look at the following building, where we look at a building from an angle:
If we are to extend each set of the parallel lines of the building, we will end up with two vanishing points, as we can see here:
Are you noticing the pattern here? Each vanishing point is related to one set of parallel lines.
We can draw the inside of a room using this perspective type too. But in this case, we are not facing one of the wall, like we did with OnePointPerspective, but we are facing the room from an angle instead, like this:
Extending the parallel lines of the picture lead us to the two vanishing points. In this example, one of the vanishing points goes way beyond the picture:
TwoPointsPerspective is very widely used to draw all sorts of scenes. You can draw a lot of artworks with accurate perspective solely by understanding it.
Read more about TwoPointsPerspective: What’s Two Points Perspective? And how to draw it StepByStep?
ThreePointPerspective
This type of perspective is very useful to draw cityscapes. Remember how buildings can be drawn using TwoPointsPerspective? Buildings can be drawn using ThreePointPerspective too. Let’s take a look at the building example, where we are looking the building from above:
If we are you extend the parallel lines of the building, we will end up with 3 vanishing points (One of the vanishing points is not shown, since it’s so far away):
You may be asking, wasn’t it possible to draw the building we saw in the TwoPointsPerspective earlier using this type of perspective? The simple answer is no. Because in the building example before, we were facing the building straighton, and the vertical lines of the building appeared parallel to each other from that angle we are looking at the building from. We can extend the 3rd set parallel lines in that example forever and they would never meet at all.
So in other words, the 3rd vanishing point doesn’t exist in the scenes where we had to use TwoPointsPerspective.
Read more about ThreePointsPerspective: What’s ThreePointsPerspective? And to draw it Step By Step? (with a comparison to TwoPointsPerspective)
The Difference Between The 3 Types
You may have an idea about the differences between the 3 perspective types for now. But you may also be wondering. When to use each kind of perspective?
As we have seen, each set of parallel lines meet at a different vanishing point. So the perspective type we use depends on how many group of parallel lines we have, each group meets at a different vanishing point.
Let’s see this in example. Let’s say we have a cube, and that we are looking at one of its sides directly. In this case, there will only be one set of parallel lines, so using OnePointPerspective is the way to go:
We can totally think of the cube as a very short corridor, in this case.
Now, if we looked at a cube from an angle, we will end up with two sets of parallel lines. We use TwoPointsPerspective in that case:
If we looked at the room from above (you can look at it from below as well), we will end up with 3 sets of parallel lines, and so using 3PointsPerspective is the way to go (I made the cube much longer to demonstrate that):
Note: Depending on the angle we are look at the cube from. The perspective type we use can be change. It’s safe to say that there are always 3 vanishing points, no matter what the perspective type, but in many cases, the 2 other vanishing points may and may not be present.
How About Atmospheric Perspective?
There’s a 3rd unique kind of perspective, where perspective doesn’t depend on vanishing points, but more on the change of colors. This kind of perspective is called Atmospheric Perspective or Aerial perspective.
In the following picture, we can clearly see how the mountains that are far away are dimmer than the ones closer to us:
This dimming of color is caused naturally by the atmosphere in the air. And you can take advantage of that in your drawings. This is useful when drawing nature. It’s also useful to guide the viewer eye toward a certain object, by emphasizing the colors of the main object in your artwork.
Read more about aerial perspective (atmospheric perspective: What is Aerial Perspective (atmospheric perspective)? How to draw it? And What causes it to happen?
Other Kinds Of Perspective
Besides the kinds of perspectives covered here. There are some much less common types of perspective. Like FourPointsPerspective, FivePointsPerspective, as well as SixPointsPerspective. These are the Curvilinear kinds of perspective we don’t see often. They perspective types are outside of the scope I am covering in this series (since I am more keen on helping you accurately in perspective), but it’s nice to know they exist.
If you’re curious, you can take a quick look at these perspective type in this Termespheres post.
And Finally
Knowing the different kind of perspective to use can be crucial in drawing the scene you want to accurately. In the next lesson in this series, we will take a closer look at the OnePointPerspective. Including some practical steps on how to draw it. There’s going to be a dedicated lesson on all the other kinds of perspective as well.
I hope this post has helped you understand the different kinds of perspective. Stick around to see more on them in the near future, and subscribe to my newsletter below for more updates & promotions~ :3
Next lesson: What’s OnePointPerspective? And how to draw a room with it stepbystep
See Also:

 My Drawing And Digital Art Books
 Getting started with Wacom graphics tablet and Digital Painting With Photoshop: Learn Digital Art & Paintings On Good Fundamentals
 Getting Started In Digital Art (or digital painting) for beginners, and what you need to know from the start
 8 Tips On How To Create Smooth Lines with your graphics tablet (or pen display)
 How to avoid stiff poses and drawings?
 Introduction to drawing proportions, and how to get it right (With practical example).
 Best Affordable Pen displays and Cintiq Alternatives to buy in 2018 – Including Huion, Ugee, XPPen, Monoprice & other brands