Monocular cues and how artists use them to bring a sense depth to their paintings.
using five monocular cues to give a sense of depth to a painting that includes building,river,fields and a mountain.
An essay on the five monocular cues that can be used to give perception of depth to a painting.
Depth perception is our ability to perceive objects in three dimensions. There are different types of depth cues including binocular and monocular depth cues. Both cues give us information about size, shape, distance and direction of an object The binocular cues give us information with the help of both eyes. Monocular cues give depth information with the help of one eye. In paintings, the artist use monocular depth cues. There are many types of monocular cues including: Motion parallax, relative size, familiar size, aerial perspective, texture gradient and interposition etc.
The monocular cues which are used to give depth in a painting are known as pictorial cues. In a painting that includes buildings, fields, a river and a mountain it needs to be decided first where to position each object. The painting could be of a valley with mountains on top, a river flowing downwards, grassy fields on each side of the river and buildings such as houses could be drawn within the field. Interposition is a monocular depth cue which is used to show position of objects with regard to each other. This is done by overlapping objects over another. In the painting the buildings could be made to overlap so some will appear near and some farther away. The mountains can be drawn the same way as well.
Relative sizing is normally used in paintings. Those objects which form a larger visual image on our retina we imagine them to be closer to us. In the painting some buildings could be drawn larger than others so they’ll appear closer to us. Relative height is another pictorial cue which gives depth to a painting. Some objects are painted closer to the ground and some higher up. In the painting the objects that are closer are painted near the ground and objects farther away are painted in the middle or top. Aerial perspective also referred to as relative height uses the concept of high and low contrast. In the painting the mountains can be drawn using this cue. The mountains that are nearer are painted with high contrast shades and those that are farther away are painted with low contrast shades so they appear distinct and blurry.
Texture gradient cue can be used in painting the fields. This cue is used to make some aspects of the painting better defined than others. It also gives a rough idea of the size of the object. Fields forming a larger visual retinal image can be painted with a more defined texture but the texture of the fields is not so apparent farther up the field. As the texture becomes less apparent the fields would appear smoother. To paint a river relative clarity cue can be used. In the painting the river is flowing down the mountain and into the valley. Relative clarity helps make objects that are sharp and clearer appear nearer than the blurry ones. So the river will appear closer than the hazy mountains.
In conclusion, artists have been able to recreate the perception of depth using these monocular cues. They also use light and shadow cue and linear perspective to give spatial depth to their paintings and to make them look more realistic.