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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Illustrator Pathfinder and Gradients

February 12, 2010 at 2:14 pm (computer art, Digital Art, graphic design, Ilustrator) (, , , , , , , , )

Use of Gradients and Shadow Effects

Pathfinder Creates Complex Shapes

The wasps are created using a circular shape that I alter with the pen tool. I then create an arc for the stripes using the Arc Tool. After rotating it into position I Alt drag it to create a duplicate. Then I select both of them and create a Blend with Specified Steps for the stripes on the back. I then use a Clipping Mask to mask the edges and add an inner glow to the yellow body shape. The upper body and eyes are colored with gradients. I make the legs using a Brush with texture and use the Reflect Tool to create the legs on the opposite side of the body.

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Super Someone Book is Launched

December 2, 2009 at 3:01 pm (computer art, Digital Art, graphic design, Ilustrator, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , )

Detail of some art from the book

The Latest Childrens Book

My Super Someone and Sir Perfect Book images are finished and flattenme has launched it on their website http://www.flattenme.com The images are fun and whimsical, it was a lot of fun creating the scenes. There are 2 different versions, one for both children and adults (where customers insert their own faces and names into the books and enter a dedication at the front of the book so that the story becomes completely personalized). Here is a link to one of the versions: Sir Perfect

Teaching Photoshop

I’ve been so busy teaching Photoshop, this term I teach two classess back to back and am preparing for January when I’ll be teaching Illustrator. I’ve come to love it almost as much as Photoshop. It does some very amazing things with mathematical precision.

Next Project

Now I will begin working on a book cover with 3 little dragons. I’m looking forward to this project because it allows me to explore my own natural style of art. I have to do some experimentation, might even use some elements from Illustrator to create the scales and repeated patterns on the dragons skin and tail.

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Illustrator versus Photoshop

August 21, 2009 at 8:30 pm (computer art, Digital Art, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , , )

I’m still working on illustrations for another children’s book using Photoshop. In my spare time I’m trying to master Illustrator. After working with beautiful organic pixels in Photoshop for so long, that do anything I ask, easily adding illusions such lighting and 3-dimension with the Dodge and Burn Tools or the use of Blending Modes. Illustrator on the other hand has blending modes, but when vectors are blended there is not the same subtle realism, so a lot of extra time is spent adding fake shadows and highlights. I find this a bit cumbersome, especially when the file becomes large and Illustrator’s screen redraw begins to choke. Whereas Photoshop CS4’s instantaneous Open GL is beyond amazing, it is worth every penny of the upgrade.

At the moment I’m experimenting, trying to become comfortable with the tools and effects. I love the way you can reflect and rotate while copying which makes creating repetitive shapes a breeze, and selecting and coloring multiple objects at the same time. I was able to create this mandala in minutes using these techniques. I afterwards saved it as a Symbol so that I can use it over again. It can be recolored in seconds using Illustrator’s recolor feature.

Vectors are amazing. I’ve repeated the mandala inside the mandala several times. Illustrator allows you to zoom in to 6000% !! which means I can keep repeating the mandala perfectly inside its center over and over again until I can’t zoom any further. If you look closely into the center, you will see the pattern repeat again and again. I also placed some typed messages that are so tiny it can’t be viewed until you zoom into about 1200% And it is completely crisp with perfect edges.

It can be a full time job learning software, especially since there are so many that I want to conquer: Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, After Effects, and then there’s keeping up with multi-platforms, XP, Vista, Tiger, Leopard … oh for the days of my youth when I actually had weekends to relax and romp …

Learning to draw in Illustrator has taught me a lot about the way my brain functions. Although I have no trouble with the pen tool, I can use it with ease, but I’ve discovered that if I “carve” out the shape using a combo of the Blob Brush Tool and Eraser, I can draw with more accuracy … like a sculptor who thinks in terms of contours and the surface, rather than “outlines”. ie: in the image below I drew thick blobby lines for the head and limbs, then carved out the contours of the body using the Eraser tool. I then went back afterwards and removed unwanted points and tweaked the body shape using the white arrow tool and the Simplify Paths function. Surprisingly easy (blob brush is new to Illustrator CS4). This image is still a work in progress. I’m not finished adding shadows and highlights to the body. Gradient mesh will not work on complex shapes with too many vector points so I have to experiment with a work around.

red_dress

If you look closely you’ll see that I’ve superimposed the mandala from the first image over the bodice of the dress in this image. I’ve masked away the exterior using a “Clipping Mask” and blended it into the dress using “Overlay Blending Mode” which works exactly the same as in Photoshop. The floor was created by drawing with Pen Tool over a checkerboard shape that I created in Photoshop … for me it was easier to use Photoshop’s perspective transform tool, then simply place the image into Illustrator and trace over it, then delete the original. The clouds and door background is an imported jpeg.

Here is some fruit I created using the pen tool and Gradient Mesh to color them, created from scratch in Illustrator:

gradient_mesh_fruit

When it comes down to paths or pixels, for me pixels and Photoshop win hands down. But I now find myself jumping over to Illustrator to create bits and pieces that I import back to Photoshop to create various effects. Together they are dynamite!

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