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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey All!

We all know the stance throughout the history of aquascaping... even the big boys play by these rules... small carpets in front, taller plants in the back. The only problem is that this goes against the concept of tricking a viewers mind into perceiving greater depth than actually exists.

The goal here is the illusion of depth.

This has been a thought in my mind for some time, though I have never had the plant choice and opportunity to attempt. We've all seen those 29 gallon tanks that seem to shrink every 100gallon tank you've ever seen, mostly with mountain type scapes and small leaf carpets (HC and the like). This is done very strategically by choosing small fish, HUGE rocks, a varying contouring landscape... but also very importantly these small leaf plants... all giving the viewer the perception that the scape is much larger than it actually is.
(I will post some pictures here later to drive this home)

These scapes have a mostly uniform size/shape of plantation throughout the tank. (though for some reason people always want to put tall grass in the background to destroy the illusion they took the time to so meticulously created)(They've ingrained the idea of tall plants in the back sooo deep, its tough to shake)


Now... what if we took this illusion a step further...:nerd:

In theory (and this begins the subject of discussion), the effects of this illusion would be multiplied to an even greater extent if we didn't perceive all of the plants to be far away by using only tiny uniformity... but instead make the foreground plants look closer, while the background plants look further away.

By taking the above concept of creating distance in a tank, and reversing it, you could also create "closeness". ie Larger Leaves in front. The contrast between the two perceptions for the viewer, in my opinion, would create a much much more emphasized depth. The only struggle I see with this is that this would imply you need a very drastic slope to still be able to see the background carpet over the broader leaf foreground.


Alright now... let us discuss!
:grin2::grin2::grin2:
... and please post any pictures that come to mind that help to drive this discussion whether supporting/debunking this theory.
 

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Very interesting. I would love to see some pictures. I have a huge amazon sword in the front of my 75g that I don't want to move to the back, but don't know what to do with it...

Ben
 

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Could you give specific examples of what types of plants you could do this with?

I feel like you would need the same looking types of plants, like micro swords in the front that gradually goes to DHG in the back. But if you do something like amazon swords in the front to baby tears in the back it wouldn't look good at all.
 

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There have been some scapes submitted to contests that have the usual small leaved plants in a landscape but add a 'forest' of 'saplings' in front. Forests with more or less straight wood 'trunks' of various sizes work well with fine leaved plants like Myrio as a backdrop as a forest has foliage to the surface. Some of the extreme rock designs done in the past couple years work with larger/smaller ones as well. Granted most of these are landscapes rather than underwater scenes but 65 64 50 45 44 36 24 15 12 9 6 5 4 1 from from IAPLC 2012 show great depth.

I might be able to live with 65 but most of them would drive me batty with blocked views and not being a planted tank rather a work of art with fish added.


What you want to see is progression shots and videos. It's been done but is it something you want to live with?

I could see a scape using Stauro as the foreground moving to HC in back on a sleep slope with large rocks in front moving to smaller ones. A. 'Nana' on wood near front and A. 'Petit' in middle to moss in the rear. Java ferns are easy, so much variation in leaf size and shape. Use Bacopa and Ludwigia in front and Rotala and Myrio in back. Maybe C. parva in front to microsword? Use Brazilian pennywort in front and H. 'Japan' or creeping jenny in back?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Could you give specific examples of what types of plants you could do this with?
I feel like you would need the same looking types of plants, like micro swords in the front that gradually goes to DHG in the back.
Exactly what I am thinking! Now I must dig and see if I can find a picture of this.

There have been some scapes submitted to contests that have the usual small leaved plants in a landscape but add a 'forest' of 'saplings' in front. Forests with more or less straight wood 'trunks' of various sizes work well with fine leaved plants like Myrio as a backdrop as a forest has foliage to the surface.
Interesting Kathyy. They use the tall grass to represent a further away tree of the driftwood forest. so wood-to-plant has been done! I know I've seen this but haven't noticed this consciously. :nerd:

I think the similar structure would be needed to give that blend to the illusion as done in the forest.



You could probably do something with the hydrocotle SP? Species, Japan, Brazilian pennywort, etc, since they all have the same structure and leave shape but different sizes.
I have yet to see a pennywort carpet in real life, though I know they have them! Even something like dwarf baby tears would blend pennywort in my opinion, though keeping all of the pennywort the right size might cost an arm and a leg :)


MikeP_123, I get what you're saying. I do that when I paint nature scenes. It just depends on how good of a job you do it. Maybe something like this:
Joshism! That is a perfect photograph of what I am trying to capture with this concept! Thanks!

Bump: I could argue that it is done in this scape. Not as drastic of an effect as I expected to feel though. Needs more height in the back?


Bump: Also looks like it was done here to some degree. Tank looks much larger than expected until you notice the size of the rasboras
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've seen some cool tanks that have the rock structure come out to the front glass and open up in the middle. Same concept and it looked really really REALLY frikkin cool.


Haha @ theatermustic87. We all know that will look like poo (well at least my tanks). The trick is to define what needs to be done around scape design to make this actually look appealing.

So far we have:
1. Very hard slope (to help see the smaller plants over the larger ones)
2. Similar structure/leaf shape of plants (to give that illusion of the smaller ones being the same plant further away)
3.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Rocks in the foreground should be smoother to look smaller, while larger rocks in the background should have a lot of coarse surface detail to create the illusion of it being a mountain.
Very interesting. Some cases you match the shape/structure to create depth. Some you would create contrast by trying to display the "what would be" Larger structure. This gets a number on the list for sure!

Though I would say that the closer rocks should be large (maybe not "larger") and smooth to create the most depth to the tank, not necessarily small. But only a test would be for sure



What about color? Darker greens up front or far away?
Theory: Brighter color will draw the eye, and you want to draw the eye to the horizon for the deepest sense of depth?

I think we need an artist consultant
 

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Very interesting. Some cases you match the shape/structure to create depth. Some you would create contrast by trying to display the "what would be" Larger structure. This gets a number on the list for sure!

Though I would say that the closer rocks should be large (maybe not "larger") and smooth to create the most depth to the tank, not necessarily small. But only a test would be for sure



What about color? Darker greens up front or far away?
Theory: Brighter color will draw the eye, and you want to draw the eye to the horizon for the deepest sense of depth?

I think we need an artist consultant
Artist at your service. Create layers if needed. Darker plants in the foreground, and gradually lighter and lighter. The air in between is what makes it start to fade out in the back. Here's a link to what I'm trying to explain.

November 14, 2015 - 1920x1200 Mountain Range Desktop Wallpapers - Free Landscape Wallpapers

Bump: We could probably create this lighting affect with tannins.

http://miriadna.com/desctopwalls/images/max/Sun-light-through-the-trees.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I think this might be the start of the most beautiful and awe inspiring scape ever created :nerd:

I've seen that lighting effect in my tank before when I put my first piece of drift wood in. Stunning
 

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I don't think this will work out very well. Would love to see you prove me wrong though!
 
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