Forced perspective is one of those common photographic illusions. Let’s say you go to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and position your spouse so that he/she is pretending to hold up the tower with their hand. That’s forced perspective.
But another way that forced perspective is used is to give objects and buildings the illusion of height.
Our brains already know that as object recede in the distance, they get smaller. So, what forced perspective does is pre-empt that by making those faraway objects even smaller.
Matterhorn’s Forced Perspective
Disneyland is famous for forced perspective. At the Matterhorn, larger trees are placed lower down. Farther up, the trees decrease in size. Up to the “treeline” of the Matterhorn, two foot pinion trees from Arizon were planted. This makes the 147-foot mountain look–if not 14,000 feet tall–at least something bigger than 147 feet.
Main Street Forced Perspective
On Disneyland’s Main Street, forced perspective means that each story farther up has smaller windows, smaller awnings, smaller cornices, and so on.
It’s not a complete illusion. It never is. But it does trick you subconscious mind at first glance.