What Is ThreePointsPerspective? And What Makes It Different From Other Perspective Types (Like TwoPointsPerspective)
From the name of it, ThreePointsPerspective is the type of perspective we draw using 3 vanishing points. Each with its own set of lines that converge toward it.
ThreePointsPerspective is usually used to draw cityscapes. It also has some notable use in storytelling. And just like OnePointPerspective, it’s less used compared to TwoPointsPerspective, since it’s usages requires looking at things from a specific angle, as we will see shortly.
As a little reminder, 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:
Examples Of ThreePointsPerspective, And A Comparison To TwoPointsPerspective
Just like we use TwoPointsPerspective when we look at the object from an angle. ThreePointsPerspective is also used when we look at the object from a similar angle, except that we are also looking at it from far above, or far below. Like how we are looking at this brown building:
Unlike OnePointPerspective and TwoPointsPerspective, there are no perpendicular lines that are easy to draw. All the lines of the object converge toward one of the 3 vanishing points. On the case of OnePointPerspective, most of the lines were perpendicular, except for the receding lines that converged toward the vanishing point:
The 3rd vanishing points is not shown in the picture, since it’s too far to fit the page, but it’s out there somewhere.
You may remember this example I used in the TwoPointsPerspective:
When extended, the two sets of parallel lines converge to make the two vanishing points:
But how about the 3rd set of lines? Well, we can extend these lines forever, and they would never meet. Which is the reason why there’s only 2 vanishing points in TwoPointsPerspective:
In other words, the angle we look at the building from is the reason we have a 3rd vanishing point, where we need to use ThreePointsPerspective to make the drawing.
How To Draw ThreePointsPerspective
Drawing ThreePointsPerspective is similar to drawing TwoPointsPerspective, except that we use 3 points here. Drawing this kind of perspective is systematic, and not really hard, but it may require a large canvas to draw all the 3 vanishing points in some cases (in which case the use of approximation is needed).
First, we start by drawing a triangle, each corner of the triangle represents one of the 3 vanishing points:
It’s worth noting that the final drawing is going to be at the middle inside these 3 points. Because anything drawing very close to the points is going to look so skewed, not matter how you placed the 3 points.
Next, we draw a straight line, just like the case with TwoPointsPerspective, this line represents the corner of the cube we are drawing. This time around, the line doesn’t need to be vertical, but needs to point toward the vanishing point at the bottom:
We connect the tips of the line we drew with vanishing point 1 and 2:
No, it’s time to draw the side corners of the cube. When we drew TwoPointsPerspective tutorial, we drew two vertical lines between the receding lines going toward the vanishing points, like this:
In case of ThreePointsPerspective, The two lines are not straight, as they need to converge toward the third vanishing point, like this:
To make the upper edges of the cube, we draw two more lines. Each line starts from the upper corner, and goes to the vanishing point in the opposite side. I drew the two lines here in actions:
By now, we are done drawing a cube in ThreePointsPerspective. We can go on and add more details, using the 3 vanishing points we have. I added a little window to the cube here, using 2 of the vanishing points. To do that, I extended two lines from vanishing points 1 and vanishing point 3 that intersect with each other to form the window:
You may remember that I did the same thing when we draw TwoPointsPerspective in the last lesson, but I only needed to use one vanishing point there, as two of the lines are perpendicular to the horizon line:
Here’s how the window looks like after I erased the lines I extended:
Continue adding more cubes and details to the drawing until you draw the scene you want.
When To Use ThreePoints Perspective?
So far, three point perspective is the kind of perspective that distort the object the most. It is because we are not facing any of the edges of the cube or object we are looking at.
It’s worth noting that the same object can be drawn using any of the 3 perspective types depending on where the viewer is standing. Some buildings can be drawn using OnePointPerspective, TwoPointsPerspective or ThreePointsPerspective. You can even apply Atmospheric perspective to the objects you’re drawing with any of these perspective types.
We will look at Aerial perspective in the next lesson of this series.
Final Word On ThreePointsPerspective
Like OnePointPerspective, ThreePointsPerspective has its own specific uses, and is used less than TwoPointsPerspective. It’s pretty much the same as TwoPointsPerspective, but with the vertical lines converging toward a third vanishing point.
As long as you have a large enough canvas, drawing this kind of perspective is easy. This is totally doable if you happened to draw digitally. In case you’re drawing on paper, you may need to place some newspaper below your paper, and draw the vanishing points there.
I hope this post helped you understand ThreePointsPerspective more, and see you again in another post. Please subscribe to my mailing list for more updates & promotions~
Next lesson: What is Aerial Perspective (atmospheric perspective)? How to draw it? And What causes it to happen?
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