Technically speaking, forced perspective is a clever technique that uses optical illusion to make an object appear farther away, closer, larger or smaller than it actually is. This technique manipulates the human visual perception through the use of scaled objects and the correlation between them and the vantage point of the spectator or camera. Continue reading to see more.

In architecture, a structure can be made to seem larger, taller, farther away or otherwise by adjusting the scale of objects in relation to the spectator, increasing or decreasing perceived depth. For example, when forced perspective is used to make an object appear farther away, the following method can be used: By constantly decreasing the scale of objects from expectancy and convention toward the farthest point from the spectator, an illusion is created that the scale of said objects is decreasing due to their distant location.

In contrast, the opposite technique was sometimes used in classical garden designs and other “follies” to shorten the perceived distances of points of interest along a path. The Statue of Liberty is built with a slight forced perspective so that it appears more correctly proportioned when viewed from its base.