I’m going to show you the wonders of Photoshop perspective plugin Lazy Nezumi. This fantastic piece of software allows you to have full control of drawing perspectives in Photoshop, and it’s invaluable for anyone who has a part or full digital workflow in comics. When you have finished reading this tutorial, you will be familiar with:
- Finding and downloading Lazy Nezumi
- Installing the Photoshop perspective plugin
- Setting up the plugin
- Setting up a one and two-point perspective
[bctt tweet=”I’m going to show you the wonders of Photoshop perspective plugin Lazy Nezumi. ” username=”garrymacl”]
What You Will Need
There’s a few things you’ll need before you can get started. This tutorial will presume that you’re using the following:
- Photoshop CS6 or CC
- A graphics tablet (Wacom or otherwise)
- A good understanding of Photoshop, including how to install plugins (I’ll talk through this, but it helps if you have a little experience)
- A knowledge of perspective – Lazy Nezumi will not do perspective for you. It’s a Photoshop perspective plugin for helping you to set up perspective, but you’ll need to know at least the basics, like setting up eye-line and vanishing points. It really helps if you’re well versed in perspective, but if you’re still learning, Lazy Nezumi is a good way to get better.
For years, I’ve been using Photoshop for my comic art. I started out with a hybrid workflow that involved setting up page layouts and sketches in PS, which I converted to blue line before printing out and doing finished pencils and inks. Since getting a Wacom Cintiq I do everything digitally now. I’ve got some great natural brushes which I’ll discuss another time, and they help to give me that pencil feel I need, while still allowing the infinite flexibility of digital work.
The only thing that really got in the way for a long time was setting up perspective. Photoshop has no real native perspective tools that are useful for comic work, and while Manga (or Clip) Studio has some good tools, overall I prefer Photoshop. Clip’s tools are a little clunky too. What I needed was something that emulated as far as possible the feel of setting up perspective using pen and paper, but which gave me the digital advantage of speed (and not having to use half the room to set up long vanishing points etc).
Step 1 – Download Lazy Nezumi Photoshop perspective plugin
[bctt tweet=”Head over to the Lazy Nezumi site and download the Photoshop perspective plugin: https://lazynezumi.com/” username=”garrymacl”]
Head over to the Lazy Nezumi site and download the Photoshop perspective plugin. Guillaume Stordeur is the creator of the software, and he offers it on a 30-day trial, which you should set up. Once you get to grips with the software (presuming you enjoy it), pay for the plugin and show him some love for crafting such a useful tool.
You’ll see right away that this started life as a smoothing tool. PS has this annoying tendency to cause jitters and blobs on otherwise smooth lines, and in comic work, it’s all about the line. This plugin has smoothing features that are incredibly powerful, and which you should explore at leisure for your finished lines, but we’re here for the tools that Guillaume doesn’t really shout about on the site, but which I think are Lazy Nezumi’s best feature.
Click ‘Download’ and save the file.
Step 2 – Install the plugin
Installation of PS plugins is pretty easy, but with Lazy Nezumi, make sure you don’t install it into your PS plugins folder as you might normally do. Double click to run the installer, and set your destination folder to something else – Lazy Nezumi will automagically install itself in the correct plugins folder.
Lazy Nezumi is actually a standalone piece of software, so you can use it with other art applications. There are details on Guillaime’s site on how to do this. However, he’s helpfully supplied a Photoshop perspective plugin that will automatically launch when you load Photoshop. Open up PS to check that it loads properly. If not, follow the troubleshooting info on the website and manual (I’ve installed the software a number of times on different machines with no problems).
Step 3 – Setting up the plugin
Once it’s open, you can dig into Lazy Nezumi and check out some of its settings. It’s incredibly powerful, and gives fine control over smoothing, as mentioned earlier, using an elegant interface that lets you pull a “string” that the brush line follows. This allows for really fine control over curves, without the usual PS jitters. However, for the purposes of this tutorial, we’re going to go straight into the perspective tools.
There’s one absolutely crucial thing you need to know about the plugin before you start. Lazy Nezumi gets no feedback from Photoshop on your canvas position, rotation or zoom level. This means that once you’ve set up your perspective angles and positions if you zoom in or out or move around the canvas, the guides won’t move with you, and everything will be completely out of whack. This is a shame, but it’s a function of how PS is designed, not the plugin. There is an option called Spacebar Pan Offsets Ruler Centers, so set this, and make sure you only move by spacebar panning – otherwise, all your work will go to waste.
The following video clip shows Spacebar Pan Offset on and off, as well as what happens when you zoom:
My suggestion is to set up a document for each new perspective image you’re working on to give yourself loads of room around your page and set up your perspective like you would on paper, zooming out to a comfortable distance. Make sure you find a balance between having enough room to set up your vanishing points and still getting a level of detail on the page that works for you. Once you’ve got down enough detail, you can drop that into the document for the comic page you’re working on.
Step 4 – Setting up a one and two-point perspective
The first tool we’re going to look at isn’t the Perspective one – it’s called Connected Lines. The reason for this is that this tool is easiest for one-point perspective. Connected Lines allows you to draw a straight line between any two points.
With the tool selected, click once on the canvas. Move the cursor around and you’ll see that a line overlay follows you. The next time you put the pen down, hold and drag and you’ll draw a perfectly straight line between the new point of origin and the place you originally pressed down.
This free-floating ruler is an elegant way around drawing straight lines in PS. It means that all you need to do is set up your 1-point perspective vanishing point, and go from there. I use PS rulers and guides to help set up the horizon and vanishing point, and then work from there. As it’s so easy to use, it makes setting up diagonal vanishing points easy too.
One thing this tool doesn’t give you that the perspective one does is field of view etc. I find that’s not as crucial for one-point, but if you really wanted to access that in one-point, once you’ve learned the perspective tool for two point it’s straightforward enough to reverse-engineer it by setting both your vanishing points to the central vanishing point and going from there.
Once you’re comfortable with Lazy Nezumi, you’ll probably find yourself dipping in and out of various tools, including perspective, fixed lines and ellipses. Just remember to work from a static view of the page that doesn’t zoom, and keep panning to a minimum.
Draw out ruler guides for the horizon and vanishing point.
Using the VP, place the pen at the central point. Lift the pen and move it around the canvas to get a feel for it.
Place the pen down at a point below the horizon. Draw a line directly back to the VP. Do this a second time and you’ll have a floor plan.
You can then draw straight lines up for the back wall, the horizontal ceiling, and pull lines back for the top lines of the walls.
I tend to do all of this as construction lines first, running them right back to the VP. You can do this in a cyan or red to clearly delineate them from any final lines you do, and of course you can drop the transparency of the layer later.
Once you’ve got the construction lines you need, drop the opacity of this layer and take a new layer.
On this work, work in 100% opacity in black, and pick out the lines you want to keep.
It’s as straightforward now as place the first point down where you want the line to start, then dragging back to the end point.
You’ll find that using this ruler means you can really quickly establish a one-point perspective, and because you’re working in your chosen brush, these can be finished art lines – no need to trace over them later, unless you want to.
So that’s one-point, but what about two?
Two-point perspective is trickier with Lazy Nezumi for the simple reason that it’s trickier traditionally, but otherwise, you’ll soon see how helpful the tool is.
Click on Perspective in the Lazy Nezumi dropdown.
You’ll see below there are a variety of options. These include field of view and VP angles. There are two main angles to concern yourself with. Remember that all the rules of perspective apply, and you’ll be fine.
When you’re choosing your angles, remember they both need to add up to 90⁰. So if your right angle is 45⁰, your left angle will be minus 45⁰ (the minus is just showing that this angle works back from the central point).
If we work from the basic room construction we made in one-point perspective, placing the new perspective overlay on the guides we created, and set the angles to 45⁰ each, you have just set up diagonal vanishing points. Using these, you can build yourself a perspective floor grid that you can use to map out the contents of the room.
However, if you’re working on a pure two-point perspective, the tool is even more useful.
Take a new canvas, and set up guides for the original and central vanishing point. Now choose two different angles, making sure they add up to 90⁰.
Now when you go to the canvas you’ll see that you have an overlay with two lines, one for each vanishing point. Lazy Nezumi lets you choose how you decide which line to draw. It uses inference, meaning that the direction you pull the pen can be used to decide which angle you’re drawing. Try it out and see. You can choose either of the angles, plus horizontal and vertical.
Inference is great, but it can be fiddly. You can also lock in the angle using the hotkey. Press it once and you’ll see which line becomes bolder. Press it again until it’s the angle you want active.
Moving from angle to angle, you can quickly build up the construction lines for a two-point perspective, like how you did with one-point. The following video shows how quickly you can throw together a 2 point perspective with the plugin. You’ll notice I jump between Perspective and Connected Lines – that’s a good habit to get into as you learn how to use it.
It might seem tricky at first because perspective generally is, but once you get into the flow of it, I think you’ll find that Lazy Nezumi is natural and intuitive. It’s a tool like any other, but it’s well-designed and doesn’t get in the way. You can turn it on and off whenever you want, and it’s unobtrusive.
[bctt tweet=”Once you get into the flow of it, I think you’ll find that Lazy Nezumi is natural and intuitive.” username=”garrymacl”]
If you want to learn more, here’s a list of resources for further reading:
- https://lazynezumi.com/ – Here’s where you’ll find the plugin
- https://lazynezumi.com/perspective – Here’s Guillaume’s page on using the plugin for perspective
- https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1581809549/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=1581809549&linkCode=as2&tag=garmacmak-21 – This is a fantastic book on perspective for comic books, and way more intuitive than David Chelsea’s popular, thorough and complex book (note: this is an affiliate link, meaning I get a kick-back if you order it through this).
- https://www.useloom.com/?ref=476 – Referral link for Loom, the in-browser recording software I used to capture the Photoshop videos. Loom (formerly Opentest) lets you record camera, browser tabs and applications. The referral link gives me free space for storing video.