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Thread: Vector Illustration Tutorial: Part 2

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    Witch Hunter GallComp may be famous one day GallComp may be famous one day GallComp's Avatar
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    Vector Illustration Tutorial: Part 2

    This is the second part of the vector tutorial, now we will create our first vector.


    Creating our First Vector

    Original Image to Vectorize

    Line Art Drawing

    For our first vector image we will do a simple old car that I draw some years ago. We will start by creating a new Illustrator document with the default options (File -> New -> OK); illustrator will present us a white page that will serve as canvas for our illustration. Then we will proceed to place the drawing into our page to be used as guideline for our vector.

    To place a raster image into our document select “File ->Place from the main menu, then proceed to locate the image to use, before pressing the “Place” button make sure to check the “Template” checkbox, to ensure that illustrator will insert the image as a faded non-editable background. This will protect us from deleting the original image by mistake.

    Placing the Car Scan image as a template in our document

    Note: There is a “Link” option in the Place window. Placing the image as a link will create an illustrator file relatively small containing only the paths traced, but will force us to have the original image in our hard drive until the work is finish. By not placing the image as link we will gain portability by not needing the original file, but the file size of our illustrator file will be a lot bigger. At the end we will delete this template so you can decide which way of placing your image is best for you.

    As mentioned before, placing the image as a template will insert our image as a faded locked layer, and in most cases it s good to go and we can start our traces. But there is cases when the original image is too small on our canvas (I prefer working as large as possible, because that way we can add more details to our image), and we need to resize it.

    The template’s layer is locked, meaning we cannot modify any of its contents

    To resize the image we will need to unlock the layer it resides in, for that click on the little lock next to the layer name, once unlocked select the “selection tool” (Dark arrow in our tools pallet or by pressing the letter V), click on the image and proceed to drag the corners of it until it reaches the most comfortable size for you to work on. Don’t forget to lock the layer again to prevent mistakes.

    Image placed as template and resized for a better tracing

    Once the image is in place we can proceed to start our first traces. Since our illustration will be composed of several elements we will need to create them one by one on a bottom-to-top approach, meaning that we will start from the lowest visual element (in this case the car’s body) and following with the rest of the elements on top of it until the illustration is complete. Make sure that your stroke weight is 1pt and that you have no fill and a black stroke (all this mentioned in the earlier section)

    Proceed to zoom-in to about 500% (anything less will make it hard to follow the lines of the original image, select the main Pen tool and make sure you are in the “Layer 1” layer.

    Place your cursor at the right corner of the car’s body (or select any particular point of you template if you are using another image as reference) and do a click and hold with the left mouse button and drag the pointer about an inch from the starting point to create our first anchor point and its handle, do not worry at this moment about the direction your curve will follow as we will correct it later on.

    First anchor placed and a handle was created

    After our first anchor was placed proceed to do the same at the opposite side of the drawing, this will create our first curve. Again don’t worry about the direction.

    Second anchor placed, and our first Bezier curve has been created

    Now we have our first path, but is a curve and we need it to be straight and follow the outline of our image, for that we will need to select the “Convert anchor point” tool and move your cursor to the handle of the right anchor point, now click and drag to the left and release when it is aligned with your handle. Repeat the same procedure on the left side by dragging the handle to the right. This will create a straight line.

    Straight line resulting from the dragging of the control handles of our first path.

    The following step will be to create the curved side of the car’s body, for that create your next anchor point in the middle of the tire, the stroke should continue from the last anchor point unless you missed one of the handles (it gave you a warning window or a system sound) and the continuity was lost, to restore the continuity of our path, with the main Pen tool selected click exactly in the last anchor point and drag the cursor again to create its handle. Proceed to correct the flow of the curve to match our drawing.

    Create the next path and correct the direction with the “Convert Anchor Point” tool

    Create two more paths to complete this object, one to the right and the other one up by touching the first anchor point that was created. This will close the object and we will have our first shape finish.

    Next create an anchor at the right, and correct the handles to make it straight

    Close the object by clicking on the first anchor point, and proceed to correct the anchors.

    Now proceed to draw the tires the same way as we draw the car’s body. Start at the middle top part of one of the tires then continue your curve at the middle bottom part of the tire.

    Create half of the tire, the same way as the previous object

    Correct your shape and click and drag the handle on the first anchor point to close the object, and proceed to correct that side too. Do the same procedure for the other tire.

    Close the object and do the other tire

    At this point we should have the following illustration with three objects.

    Body and tires have been drawn

    The more objects we add to our illustration the harder it will become to see the original drawing; our paths will need to be hided to properly continue with our work. Of course this image is too simple to be a real problem but imagine working in an illustration with 200 or more paths, all in front of your image.

    To hide/show one or more paths we will need to use the “Layers” window. By default it should be located at the bottom-right corner of your work area; if you can’t locate it then you will need to open it by either pressing “F7” or by going to “Window -> Layers” from the main menu.

    Illustrator’s layer window

    We have two layers at the moment, one for our template and another one for our paths. Click on the arrow next to the “Layer 1” title, the layer should expand and it will show us the three objects we just draw, from bottom to top they are the body, first tire drawn, and the second tire.

    Layer 1 expanded showing our three objects

    Notice that at the left of each element of this window there is an eye, this means that all of our objects are visible, to hide each of them we will need to do a click on that eye, and to show any hidden object just click on the empty box where the little eye should be.

    Alternatively, next to the eye, there is another box, this box will help to lock or unlock the content of that particular object, like in the template layer which is locked to prevent changes to it.

    Layer 1 with our three objects hidden, the moment we do a
    change in this window Illustrator will change our image

    Now that our working area is clear from objects we will continue by creating the fender of our car. But first make sure you have “Layer 1” active, by confirming on the layer’s window that the “Layer 1” title has a color BG (like in the previous images),if this layer is not the currently active one, just click once on the layer name.

    Working in the same way, we will create the fender of our car by making paths and then do a correction of the flow with the handlers.

    Create the first line

    Add a new anchor point and create the right side of the fender

    Continue making the shapes until you complete the fender

    Our next step in this illustration will be to create the hood; again the procedure will remain the same as in previous shapes. Then we will proceed to make all our paths visible in the “Layers” window to see our semi-finish illustration.

    Our image so far with all the shapes visible

    To be Continued.
    Last edited by GallComp; Oct 15, 2007 at 11:42 AM.

  2. #2
    Newbie SuicideJoe is off to a good start SuicideJoe's Avatar
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    Quick question

    What if I only have paint shop pro could I use it in simaler ways as to what you are doing?

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    Newbie slax is off to a good start
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    Re: Vector Illustration Tutorial: Part 2

    no images? that sucks................................

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    Re: Vector Illustration Tutorial: Part 2

    ^^^ need images for examples. But thank you for the illustration tutorial.

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    Newbie mayclemaini is off to a good start
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    Zmienial pozowac stawowiaka losie

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