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View Full Version : The wonders of Vector. Questions...

XNine
Jan 3, 2006, 10:27 AM
So, vector art is awesome, and I know how to get it done effectively by hand, that's not hard at all. but I'm having a hell of a time using photoshop or illustrator to do it.

What's the best techniques to get it done? The hardest, I find is faces and hair.

What are the best tools, methods of getting these things done efficiently with not spending all damn day on it?

Thankee!

Plymouthbreezer
Jan 3, 2006, 10:34 AM
I'm in love with vector art too.

I just wish I knew how to really use Illustrator. :rolleyes:

Sam/B
Jan 3, 2006, 10:42 AM
I'm confused I thought vector art could only be done digitally as it see's images as a series of points and mathematical equations which is why it can be enlarged to any size? Or did you mean drawing your project on paper scanning it in and converting to vector which I often do sometimes (I find i'm doing that alot more lately for certain tattoo designs I come up with).

dops7107
Jan 3, 2006, 10:48 AM
Practice, practice, practice...! :) I am not very good at faces and hair yet, I started on real basic stuff with geometric shapes etc., and I primarily use vector art for diagrams and scientific figures rather than artwork (which is harder IMO). A good place to look for advice is the newsgroup alt.graphics.illustrator. Lots of helpful people on there.

XNine
Jan 3, 2006, 11:37 AM
I'm confused I thought vector art could only be done digitally as it see's images as a series of points and mathematical equations which is why it can be enlarged to any size? Or did you mean drawing your project on paper scanning it in and converting to vector which I often do sometimes (I find i'm doing that alot more lately for certain tattoo designs I come up with).

Basically, yeah. Or even taking a photograph of someone, scanning it in at a large resolution so it can be scaled down if need be from there. But basically taking things that already exist (again, my art or photos) and making them vectorized. And not through a filter, but by using illustrator itself and perhaps the pen tool or some other method.

tobefirst
Jan 3, 2006, 11:47 AM
The Live Trace feature in Illustrator CS2 can do a pretty decent job of creating vector artwork from scans or other images. It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but on logos and other simple files, it can be a great headstart. It's also fun to up the settings as high as they can go and let it go to town on a photograph, just to see what kind of a job it does. I was decently impressed.

You should get to know the Pen tool intimately. (: I use that tool (and it's alternates- the add/subtract point and convert point tools) as well as the Direct Selection Tool more than anything else in Illustrator.

One more thought: The pencil is a pretty cool tool, as well. Though to get it to work its magic, a graphics tablet is best. The other tools will work fine with a mouse, but this one really needs the tablet, I've found.

Sam/B
Jan 3, 2006, 12:18 PM
ah yeh, I was addicted to converting my photos into vector when I first discovered it, you can actually do it in photoshop with a filter then put that image into illustrator and convert it into a real vector, gives it a more graphicy look.

like this
photoshop filter:
http://img252.imageshack.us/img252/7481/capri523zg.th.jpg (http://img252.imageshack.us/my.php?image=capri523zg.jpg)

then that image put into illustrator with very minimal tweaking with the pen tool:
http://img266.imageshack.us/img266/1060/vectacapri528hv.th.jpg (http://img266.imageshack.us/my.php?image=vectacapri528hv.jpg)

About the only thing it doesn't look too brilliant with (imo) is faces and figures. I haven't had any success with making it look good atleast. I wouldn't mind seeing anyones face pics that have come out looking good.

XNine
Jan 9, 2006, 01:11 PM
ah yeh, I was addicted to converting my photos into vector when I first discovered it, you can actually do it in photoshop with a filter then put that image into illustrator and convert it into a real vector, gives it a more graphicy look.

like this
photoshop filter:
http://img252.imageshack.us/img252/7481/capri523zg.th.jpg (http://img252.imageshack.us/my.php?image=capri523zg.jpg)

then that image put into illustrator with very minimal tweaking with the pen tool:
http://img266.imageshack.us/img266/1060/vectacapri528hv.th.jpg (http://img266.imageshack.us/my.php?image=vectacapri528hv.jpg)

About the only thing it doesn't look too brilliant with (imo) is faces and figures. I haven't had any success with making it look good atleast. I wouldn't mind seeing anyones face pics that have come out looking good.

Is that photoshop filter the PASTEL filter?

Jaffa Cake
Jan 9, 2006, 01:22 PM
Practice, practice, practice...! :)And then practice some more! It's also useful to look closely at vector illustrations to see how the artist has made them up – a lot of the illustrations on lifeinvector.com (http://www.lifeinvector.com) will show you how they're put together if you move your mouse over them. ;)

mikebatho
Jan 9, 2006, 03:05 PM
I did the main drawing of this in Illustrator, then drew the reflected image & did the transparency in Photoshop.

I use a Wacom Tablet for all my graphics. It's more benefit in Photoshop fo rpainting, but is very handy for drawing in Illustrator too.....

bousozoku
Jan 9, 2006, 04:17 PM
One of the first things I learnt about using Illustrator was to use an illustration as a template and to trace the illustration with the pen tool, and then, to colour the vector art to match. After everything is done, we disposed of the template layer.

To do more complex, photo-like vector illustrations, use lots of layers. My instructor had done this and had some impressive illustrations, but I think that you have to be very determined--or better, committed :D to making it all work, especially with Adobe Illustrator.

Jan 9, 2006, 04:24 PM
mmm... Vector -- clean edges, and so nutritious too

mikebatho
Jan 9, 2006, 04:25 PM
One of the first things I learnt about using Illustrator was to use an illustration as a template and to trace the illustration with the pen tool, and then, to colour the vector art to match. After everything is done, we disposed of the template layer.

To do more complex, photo-like vector illustrations, use lots of layers. My instructor had done this and had some impressive illustrations, but I think that you have to be very determined--or better, committed :D to making it all work, especially with Adobe Illustrator.

This is sound advice, and a bit of a funny one for me. In the workplace, I ALWAYS use layers to their full value, and label them correctly.

However with my work I do at home, personal stuff, I have a bit of a "Rain Man" thing going on, where I don't use as many layers as are probably required, and never label them, and I somehow seem to keep track of it all in my head.

It's probably because I come from an art background, not a technical one, so I just use whatever technique to get the creative result I want, regardless of whether that follows the text book method.

Listen to the man though. Layers are your friend.....
:p

bousozoku
Jan 9, 2006, 05:15 PM
...
It's probably because I come from an art background, not a technical one, so I just use whatever technique to get the creative result I want, regardless of whether that follows the text book method.
...

I challenge anyone to find a text book which has created art. :D

Jaffa Cake
Jan 9, 2006, 05:22 PM
I challenge anyone to find a text book which has created art. :Dhttp://img299.imageshack.us/img299/2445/g87810qt.th.jpg (http://img299.imageshack.us/my.php?image=g87810qt.jpg)

dops7107
Jan 9, 2006, 05:25 PM
I wouldn't mind seeing anyones face pics that have come out looking good.

This is the first (and only) one I did. I spent about 3 hours on it I guess, working from a template. Al paths drawn myself - Illy 10 doesn't have a vectorise tool! It's quite "coarse" - not much detail in hair and face - but I was quite pleased with it for a first attempt.

dops7107
Jan 9, 2006, 05:27 PM
I did the main drawing of this in Illustrator, then drew the reflected image & did the transparency in Photoshop.

I use a Wacom Tablet for all my graphics. It's more benefit in Photoshop fo rpainting, but is very handy for drawing in Illustrator too.....

Very cool, btw :) . How long did you spend on that? Looks very realistic.

bousozoku
Jan 9, 2006, 05:46 PM
http://img299.imageshack.us/img299/2445/g87810qt.th.jpg (http://img299.imageshack.us/my.php?image=g87810qt.jpg)

The book itself didn't create anything, though it might have engendered ideas or facilitated technique but nice try.

Sam/B
Jan 9, 2006, 06:18 PM
Is that photoshop filter the PASTEL filter?

Hiya Onizuka that filter is in filters > artistic > cutout.

Settings:
8
5
2

Those settings usually bring out the best results for me (I do mostly cars and bikes). Then drop it into illustrator cs2 to play around with the livetrace.

mikebatho
Jan 9, 2006, 07:08 PM
Very cool, btw :) . How long did you spend on that? Looks very realistic.

It took a while. Probably about half a day at the time.

None of it is done with the gradient mashtool, either. It's made up completely of individually drawn shapes with the regular gradient fill applied at different angles.....

There are obviously ways to cut corners, like the first wheel in the foreground went on to become the rear wheel & the wheels on the reflection, and once you have enough sections filled with gradients you like, you tend just to sample them for other bits with the eyedropper for other parts.....

mikebatho
Jan 9, 2006, 07:34 PM
This is the first (and only) one I did. I spent about 3 hours on it I guess, working from a template. Al paths drawn myself - Illy 10 doesn't have a vectorise tool! It's quite "coarse" - not much detail in hair and face - but I was quite pleased with it for a first attempt.

An easier way to start with hair, is to have a lot of patience, draw your areas to hold the highlights individually, and apply a gradient (hairgrad), build these up, alter colours as you go to add lowlights too (girl_clipped) and you'll end up with something where you have a deeper, richer feel to it...

Make solid blocks of your colours to use first, then turn them into swatches, so you can just drag them onto the gradient bar......

mikebatho
Jan 9, 2006, 07:57 PM
I did this one in a really boring job I had a few years ago. I was supposed to be designing a catalogue at the time. Lots of sneaky flipping between Illy & Quark......:p

Again, all Illustrator, just the regular gradient bar.......

Artful Dodger
Jan 16, 2006, 07:52 PM
Hair like this? Send me an email and I can show/tell how to do the basic in about 5 mins.