Forced perspective displays


cut. glue. paint. repeat.
May 24, 2009
I have an idea for a project, and was trying to gather some how to info before starting.

Does anyone have information on how to calculate scale / distance relationships in a forced perspective display. I want to display two aircraft flying at a distance and use different kit scales to give the appearance of distance between them.

I've seen displays like this done in the past, but never an explanation on how the scales are selected.

I believe the book(s) by Shep Paine have a chapter on Forced Perspective, They are invaluable for any dioramaist.
That said, I think it may just be a matter of TLAR.
That Looks About Right!
Thanks Mac. I will try and look for/into the books by Shep Paine.

TLAR - my new favourite acronym. :)
If you ever learned to use perspective in drawings it's basically the same idea - the key is that you're building a shape which, from one specific viewpoint, will fit the perspective you're trying to convey.

So if your diorama were looking straight down a long corridor, for instance - the corners where the walls meet the ceiling or floor would in real life be parallel - but because of the properties of perspective those parallel lines will appear to converge on a single point in the distance, at eye level. So to do that view as forced perspective, you could have a small rectangle for the back wall, a scaled-up version of that rectangle to provide the shape for the open end of the corridor - line 'em up and build walls connecting the two ends. If you want to get really fancy you can choose a specific viewpoint on the two ends of the corridor, and align those...

If you don't know how big to make a certain item that appears in the background - remember that it should be at the same scale as the section of wall it's next to. So if the wall's supposed to be 20 meters tall, and the object is supposed to be 10 meters tall, then the object should be half the height of the area of wall it sits next to.

How much depth you add to the thing could mostly be a matter of what's practical. Obviously, more depth means more space required, but it also means a better effect.
I found a lot of usefull informations about shadow boxes in this book:
Thanks for the link, I appreciate it.

Mac also recommended Shep Paine's books. I was planning to take a look-see, but as it stands right now I can not find a decent MiG-17 kit in a usable scale...this idea may be on the back burner for a LONG time. Besides glaciers move faster than I build... :-\

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