Taking a Perspective Look into the Basics of Stunning Sidewalk 3D Art

The Daily Mail’s contributor Emily Davies tells the tale of two artists travelling the globe, gracing people everywhere with their love for immersive sidewalk 3D art:

3D Steet Art

“From Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles escaping sewers in London’s Southbank to a Royal Wedding in Sweden, a pair of British artists have shown a talent for creating 3D street art that sucks people in.

For eight years Joe Hill and Max Lowry travelled all over the world creating vibrant realistic scenes to brighten up pavements for pedestrians as they go about their business.

The duo brought fantastical scenes of raging waterfalls, fiery depths and plunging canyons to city center walkways – much to the delight of commuters across the globe.”

Joe hit a major homerun with his work when his 1,160.4 square meters of 3D anamorphic street painting in London’s Canary Wharf district snagged two Guinness world records for the longest and largest piece of 3D street art. Today he works with Wasabi 3D company to further spread the brilliance of this new form of creativity.

On Perception

If you’re wondering how 3D art works, the secret is depth perception. Aside from the ability to view the world in three dimensions, human depth perception also grants the viewer the ability to perceive distance and the changes in image that his perspective allows. By manipulating these concepts, an artist can make you see the depth dimension even in a 2D medium such as paper.

Binocular Cues

The fact that humans have both eyes facing frontally allows the perception of 3D images. The distance between your left and right eye creates a slight disparity in the image that each one registers, also called horizontal separation parallax. The disparity is larger when objects are close by, and becomes smaller as you go farther away, and this allows you to perceive depth, even if it is illusory, as in the popular 3D sidewalk chalk art.


At the most basic, the 3D painting process starts with at least a couple of grids in a single medium—one that’s perfectly aligned with the paper, and another inside it that’s slanted or distorted to the desired depth effect. Any image that you draw on the latter grid will appear to ‘pop out’ of the paper when viewed from the right angle.

The next time you gaze with awe at that chalk-drawn gaping hole on the street that seems to want to swallow you whole, spare a thought for the intricate science behind the creative magic that is 3D art.

(Source: The hole you can’t fall through… because it doesn’t exist: Artist creates breathtaking 3D street art all over the world and tourists can’t resist posing for photo, The Daily Mail)