Illustrator Gradient Mesh Guitar

April 8, 2010 at 8:23 am (computer art, Digital Art, graphic design, Ilustrator) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Created With Illustrator’s Gradient Mesh

This guitar is 100% Vector

Here is another example of gradient Mesh, used to add a soft contoured gradient on the body of the guitar. Illustrator’s regular gradient tool would not be able to add this kind of contour and this is where gradient mesh comes to the rescue. First a mesh is carefully drawn using the gradient mesh tool (the tool in the toolbox that looks like a Spiderman web). If care is taken in the beginning to place the mesh lines, then afterwards, coloring the mesh is quite simple, using the lasso tool, white arrow tool and eyedropper.

Other Parts Created With Gradients And Pattern Textures

All the other parts of the guitar were created by tracing them with the pen tool, then adding numerous fills set to various Blending Modes via the Appearance Panel. Some of the fills were set to Pattern textures to give the appearance of wood texture, and texture on the abalone inlay bits and tuning pegs.

Art Brushes Used To Create Wood Grain

I drew brush strokes and added the Artistic / Charcoal / Rough brush to create the wood grain pattern on the body of the guitar. I experimented until I found the one that best mimicked the wood grain I wanted.

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Masking With Smart Objects

February 24, 2010 at 7:17 am (computer art, Digital Art, graphic design, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , , )

Painted in Illustrator then imported into Photoshop

Experimenting with Smart Objects

I created the woven mesh with Illustrator CS4’s blob brush tool, then applied multiple gradients. I overlapped the layers of this weave repeatedly, moving their position so that it created more of a tangled appearance. I recolored some of the layers using Live Color, altering the color order and saturation of colors to add depth. Then I simply selected these layers and copied them via the clipboard into Photoshop as Smart Objects and continued to manipulate them. I used a Mask created from duplicating the blue Channel of an image of a man. I then clicked on this new Channel in the Channels Panel and increased its contrast using Brightness/Contrast and Levels in order to Mask away portions of the woven texture to make it appear as though the man was constructed of this substance. I also painted directly onto this Channel Mask layer with Dodge and Burn and a paintbrush set to Overlay Blending Mode. This helps to add more contrast to the edges of the mask.

Afterwards I continued adding gradients to these layers in Photoshop, and dodged and burned onto the layers themselves. I also used the Liquify filter to tweak the effect.

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Photoshop Crashed Again

November 24, 2008 at 7:09 am (computer art, Digital Art, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , )

lily_wordpress

This one took 4 days to create

Photoshop Crashed Again

I took a breather durng the card project to work on one for myself. It is so relaxing to begin working without any idea of what the theme would be. I start by just playing with background, piecing bits and pieces, then blending, manipulating until a mood and idea begins to emerge. I had no idea in the beginning that I would make a woman with a bird. Whereas, when I’m working for a client, with a specific theme, it’s much different. When I do art for myself, I just let my hand lead me, instead of forcing the art to comply with a specific idea. It is very relaxing … until …

At 3 a.m. after working for about 6 hours without saving, Photoshop crashed when I tried to distort an object that had a Mask applied plus was linked to several other layers with Masks on them. The Photoshop file was already more than 6 gigs! with about 70 layers, so the calculations for this distortion exceeded the available RAM, so down she went. I remember emitting a loud “NO !” (I hope I didn’t wake my neighbors) ūüôā There was nothing to do but to redo all that work. I had to redo most of the dress that I had painstakingly worked on for hours, had to redo the bird, the flowers and the woman’s chest and collarbone, which you might think is easy, but the small portion just below her neck alone had taken me more than an hour to complete.

You think I would have learned my lesson by now. Once I lost an entire day’s work when Photoshop crashed and since then I’ve gotten into the habit of saving more frequently. But when the files are 6 gigs unflattened, (169 MB as a flattened Tif), it actually takes 17 minutes for the file to save (I timed it). That’s the reason why when I’m in the ‘zone’, I hate to have to sit and twiddle my thumbs while the file saves. But I sure paid for it, I had to redo 6 hours of work. I was up until 9 a.m. finishing it up (and had worked day and night for 3 days before). This image took me 4 days and nights to complete.

The woman is made from too many pieces to count, ie: the eyelashes from one, irises from another, eyebrows from another, nose from another, hair from several, shoulders from another, and so on. I love this kind of challenge, creating things from bits and pieces. I made the dress in Photoshop, using tiny bits and pieces. I tried so many hand poses, and different birds, eventually settling on this little sparrow, comprised of 3 different images.

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Another Children’s Book – GlitterGills

July 21, 2008 at 6:42 am (computer art, Digital Art, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I made this animation from the Toad I created for the book

I’ve been living¬†like a hermit for the past month,¬†working day and night on a new series of digital art images for another children’s book for the same company as The Tuesday Mushroom King, commissioned by www.flattenme.com¬† I am averaging an image every¬†3 days¬†plus an additional¬†day to complete¬†the alternate boy/girl version.¬†¬†Normally I¬†need to take some time¬†between digital art pieces to¬†replenish my creative¬†energy and¬†let¬†new ideas formulate and marinate.¬†¬†But timelines for this project are much tighter and in order to meet the final deadline I have¬†to work¬†on images back to back.¬† This has¬†been both challenging and at the same time enlightening because it has taught me a lot about my own creative processes.¬† Now I know for future projects how to best stimulate my¬†creative juices and to work most effectively.

This story is about children who live under the ocean and frolic with fishes and seahorses.¬† Their bodies are half human, half fish.¬† Very sweet concept.¬†¬†Like the previous book,¬†people will be able to send images of their own child which is inserted onto the main character’s throughout the book, and the child’s name is also inserted throughout the book as the main character, to make it a very personalized gift for a child.¬† There is also a page at the beginning of the book¬†with a personalized dedication from the person¬†giving the book¬†to the child.¬† A really delightful idea from the¬†people at Flattenme, who have a whole series of children’s books available.

It took me some time to design the toad, who plays a main role in the book.  I created him combining realistic images combined with fantasy art that I conjure using Photoshop.  Many of the other characters like the seahorses, octopus, etc., are melded with reality overlapped with fantasy.  

I have just three more images to complete,  and the book be available shortly after August.

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Danielle’s Dragon

May 27, 2008 at 3:38 am (computer art, Digital Art, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Danielle’s Dragon

I worked on this image for 4 days. It took more than 50 hours in total, longer than most because I had to build the dragon piece by piece. I composited digital images of iguanas, a monitor lizard, crocodile, and even some giraffe fur samples for the dappled effect on the wings. The fox is also comprised of many different pieces. I built several different backgrounds and foregrounds until I was finally satisfied with this version. I love building backgrounds and spend hours adusting and tweaking even the smallest bits of foliage. This one is made of at least 40 or more images.

People have asked me how I extract the tree leaves against the sky. The method I often use is a combination of contast and Blending Modes. For the dark leaves I first adusted the image’s Levels and Curves, maximizing contrast. Then I overlayed the image using the Multiply Blending Mode.

This piece is made for my friend Martine, of her daughter, Danielle.

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Digital Art At Last !

April 23, 2008 at 8:56 pm (computer art, Digital Art, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , , , )

New Beginnings

This is the first digital art piece since I finished school. I now have time again to do digital art !!

I began this one yesterday at about 6 p.m. and just finished it now at 6 p.m. the following day. I worked all evening, all through the night and all day the next day. I have not yet slept. In total it took a marathon 24 hours without a break in between. I’d only stop working for about 10 minutes to make a quick snack, toss something in the microwave. Right now my legs are cramping and I am almost hallucinating from lack of sleep. But I am feeling very happy to finally be able to do art again without piles of homework assignments looming over me.

This file ballooned up to 9 gigs in size in the uncompressed layered format. At full size it is 7200 x 10800 (24 x 36 inches @ 300 dpi. I was so happy that one of my Flickr friends told me abut the PSB large file format, because in the past I was always using PSD, which allows a maximum of 2 gigs to be saved and gives an error message if you try to save anything larger. To compensate, I used to have to flatten several layers to bring the file size down. But now that I know about the PSB large file format, I no longer have to reduce my file sizes, which means that I can later go back to change them or repurpose them. For example I might want to use some forest branches, or in the case of this image, I might want to use the flowers or vines or some other element, which I will then change to something new, unrecognizable from what you see in this scene.

My daughter bought me a wonderful book for a graduation gift, Masterworks of Alphonse Mucha, a Czech painter who lived and worked in Paris durng the late 1800s. I was inspired by the amazing color palette used in his paintings, burnt oranges, olive greens … and I wanted to bring some of these colors into this piece. His style is more of graphic design, but the mood, balance and colors completely inspire me.

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