The Making of

J. W. Rider's

Personal Perspectives When I'm asked about the renderings that I've created, some people are surprised to learn that I have no art training to speak of. The renderings emerge naturally. Just the same, I do follow a relatively consistent approach in the creation of the artwork. The remainder of this page shows the steps that I used in the creation of a rendering that became known as "Personal Perspectives". Let the images load; there are many of them. Then, you can follow along and see how I let pixels emerge on their own.

The Sketch

Ordinarily, I don't precede the renderings with sketches. Almost everything I draw is on the computer. However, for complicated renderings, I will play with what the image is supposed to appear like when I finally get to the computer.

Separating Earth and Sky

The basic approach to letting the pixels emerge is the let the pixels that are supposed to seem the furthest from the viewer emerge first. The far background is what everything else gets drawn on top of.

Begin the Cloudscape

The pale blue sky is boring. Some modicum of clouds is necessary in order to make the sky interesting whatsoever or otherwise natural.

Finish the Clouds

Clouds are three dimensional. Just like any other three dimensional object in the sunlight, some cloud parts are brighter than others; some are darker. The highlighting and shading will make the clouds look "fluffier".

Beyond the Horizon

I'm still working forward in the image. Next comes that sensitive region that would not be visible whatsoever except for its size. Things beyond the horizon are never as sharp as things closer, but they need to be identifiable in order for the distance effect to be useful.

Snow in the Mountains

I add snow to mountain peaks because it makes the objects more identifiable as mountains, and to make the mountains seem even larger, and thus more distant.

Blur the Horizon

The horizon is never straight. The horizon is never smooth. Blurring makes the horizon seem further away.

Going the Distance

The projection of three-dimensional parallel lines into a two-dimensional surface makes the parallel lines seem to intersect at a point. Railroad tracks would have worked; telephone lines, fences or walls would have had a similar effect. In this case, the parallel lines give the impression of the ground being very smooth and flat.

Large Artifacts

My ultimate objective with the rendering was to demonstrate the effect of size on perceived distance and the effect of the perception of depth by placing one object in front of another. I could have chosen anything; I choose spheres. The shadow on the ground attaches each sphere to the earth.
I draw the sphere first in a separate file and paste smaller versions of it to the working image.

A Human Measure

Adding a human-sized figure to an image is a very quick way of scaling the other objects that are visible. I draw the figure independently first and then paste it over the sidewalk and in front the spheres. The shadow ties the figure to the ground.

Natural Monuments

Throwing in a few trees enhancing the identifiability and apparent familiarity of the rendering. The trees are drawn directly on the image. The trunks and leaves still have the highlighting/shadowing that makes the trees seem solid.

Finish the Background

It's a violation of my rule about completing the furthest objects first, but I needed to be able to feel what happened with the middle ground trees before I started filling in the forest in the background.

Adding to the Midground

Shadows even help anchor trees to the ground.

Filling in Empty Space

When I moved the human figure from the left hand side of the rendering to the middle, that left a large empty gap on the left. I had to put something in there. I thought about just a fence at first, but that still looked too empty. So, I added a garden instead.

Finishing the Nearground

There's only a single flower in the flower patch in the lower right of the rendering. That flower is rendering in large form and then scaled down and applied at several locations in the patch of flowers.


I keep my signature in a special file that I apply to my renderings when I've decided I don't want to ruin them with my tweaking any more.