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Old Mar 5, 2006, 09:35 AM   #1
Sam/B
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cartooning or vectorising a dog (pics)

I'm trying to wrap my head around the best way of doing this, I'd like to turn a few pictures of my dog into something that looks like this:



I've tried playing around with the live trace and images come close to it but they don't seem to have the same edge (this is not my dog just an example I was practicing on):



I was wondering if their was a series of filters you could apply first to get a better edge to it or if their were any other methods to getting a rough shape? If I can get it almost their I can tweak a few lines and change a few colours with the pen tool

Is their a way to turn the image into a series or lines first as that would probably work if I layed it underneath on a serperate layer and deleted parts I didn't want. The High pass mode is the closest I can get to turning it into a series of lines in cs2.

it's usually quite simple to do with cars or bikes - objects that have hard edges - but this is a little difficult i'm finding.

Here's a picture of my actual dog, I found it easier practicing this effect on other dogs that were less fluffy and curly as it was just showing up too much detail:

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Old Mar 5, 2006, 09:45 AM   #2
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A friend of mine has good effects with a tool for Illustrator called Silhouette. The trial version is free so there's no harm in trying it, but it may not do much different than live trace.
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Old Mar 5, 2006, 09:45 AM   #3
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looking at this lot it seems like it takes a fair amount of cartooning skill to start off with to get it how I wanted it, i've never been much of a cartoonist, I could always draw lifelike images but never cartoon style stuff like that - http://www.istockphoto.com/file_clos...php?id=1320009

I bet whoever does those must draw them out from scratch to get it that good?

I like the look of that think i'll give it a go, nice video showing how it works here - http://www.silhouetteonline.com/silh...ame=video1.mov
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Old Mar 5, 2006, 10:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam/B
I was wondering if their was a series of filters you could apply first to get a better edge to it or if their were any other methods to getting a rough shape?
When doing stuff like this, I've had decent luck when posterizing the image first. Your particular dog is going to be tough though...I'd recommend getting a dog with less hair or more contrast or something.

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Old Mar 5, 2006, 10:14 AM   #5
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That's a good idea actually, I was looking through all the similar shaped dogs on here to use then all I have to do is verctorise the eyes and noes and possibly the ears of my dog so that it actually looks like him and combine it together, it's alot less time consuming tweaking the eyes and a few facial features than it is the whole of my dog because hes so fluffy and curly - http://www.worksafevideos.com/wherecanifind/puppies.htm
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 05:13 PM   #6
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i just finished a few illustrations with a similar technique. It's not difficult - I recommend not using a plugin or a program.
In illustrator:
Start out by picking 4-6 basic colors (from darkest to lightest in your photo) Make them swatches. Create a new layer on top of your placed image. Start tracing the complete shape of your dog (darkest color). It helps to reduce the transparency to 40%. When finished, create a new layer on top, and start tracing the next set of shapes that fall in a similar color group. Keep repeating until done.
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 05:33 PM   #7
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nice one does that take long zarathustra? I think I might go down that route if I'm going to to get exactly what I want.

I found a similar method that may or may not work where I drew it out on paper first rather than the computer as I can't feel what i'm doing on the tablet unless I have a blank sheet of paper over the top of it. I can scan this in now and trace around the parts I want to keep or just convert it into a series of vector points and manipulate. Or what I may even do is trace over it on paper again but with a graphics pen leaving out most of the unwated parts then scan it in and convert it. It's too complicated at the moment pretty much all of the brown can go and the lines simplified but i'm just playing around with it see if it works as it only takes about 20 minutes to do the drawing like that:

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Old Mar 6, 2006, 06:48 PM   #8
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I made a really quick and ROUGH one.

Total time: 15 minutes. The trick is recognizing which colors to use and then layering them. Also use negative space - very important

I can give you ai file if you'd like.
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 06:55 PM   #9
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wow I like that, did you do that through tracing around parts of the image or through the live trace and tweaking little bits afterwards? I'd love the ai file to study closer if you don't mind, I've always been jealous of people who can do this digitally or just drawing cartoon styled pictures on paper.

If it'll fit in an email feel free, or through msn messenger if you use it, here's my addy & email - sam.barwick@ntlworld.com
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 07:01 PM   #10
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I free-hand drew it over your photo. It helps a LOT to have a tablet. You can pick one up for around $100 (for the smallest one, which would do for a hobby).

I am sending the ai.
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 07:15 PM   #11
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good stuff, just recieved your email thanks. I hadn't realised you could get so much control as that drawing straight from the tablet, if that's all it is think I best get practicing with the one I have abit more from now on.

out of interest was it the pen tool you used set on freehand or the normal click and drag pen? I've tried the freehand a few times and I get very wavy lines and the normal pen i'm fine with clipping masks and all that (tracing around an object etc) but i'm not all that fluent and spontanious as you seem to be with it. I tend to just place my points where i'm tracing then go bag and pull the drag handles into the shape of the object. Any tips?
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Old Mar 7, 2006, 05:02 AM   #12
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another way to do it:

in photoshop:
- play with levels til you get a high contrast image. since your dog is mostly dark, you'll need to lighten shadows and bringing up highlights in order for it to be recognizable.

- play with the cutout and posterizing filters. use cutout to nail the image down to 3-4 shades. then posterize it to make it look more vector.

open in illustrator:
- auto trace the shades.

- you'll get paths with crazy amounts of points. use object->path->simplify to simplify the shape.

- use the direct selection tool to fine tune the shapes to your liking.

there are countless ways of doing this. thats how i would tackle it.

of course, like someone already suggested, the tablet will get you the best result w/ minimal effort.
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Old Mar 7, 2006, 07:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zarathustra
I made a really quick and ROUGH one.

Total time: 15 minutes. The trick is recognizing which colors to use and then layering them. Also use negative space - very important

I can give you ai file if you'd like.
I like that Very good!

I was going to say, but I think it's already been covered; do not use filters. if you freehand it then you're going to get massive amounts of personalisation. I would definitely use Flash with onion skinning turned on. Or use the Lasso tool in Photoshop and just draw around key areas and fill in block colours. multi layer it too, can make for some really good animations in Flash or another moving image application
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Old Mar 7, 2006, 08:35 AM   #14
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I'm fascinated with it, very impressed with how much control you can actually get drawing straight over an image with nothing but a tablet



Are their any tricks/best settings to achieving that fluidity? Does illustrator allow you to straighten all of your lines after drawing it out with the freehand pen?
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Old Mar 7, 2006, 09:44 AM   #15
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Double click your pencil tool in illustrator. Here you can adjust the fidelity of the tool. These are my settings.

I draw it with these settings and then fine tune curves than turn out funky. Good luck.
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Old Mar 8, 2006, 05:25 AM   #16
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Thanks for the inspiration everybody! This is making me want to go give it a shot as well. No tablet, but I can certainly see what I can do. I especially like the 'family portrait' cartoon by zarathustra. Anyways, if I come up with something that's not crap, I'll post it.

Cheers!

EDIT: So here it is....tell me what you think.
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Old Mar 15, 2006, 08:14 PM   #17
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zarathustra is there any chance i can get the ai emailed to me aswell ur work is excellent i will pick up a tablet asap which cheap ones can u recommend
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Old Mar 15, 2006, 09:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zarathustra
i just finished a few illustrations with a similar technique. It's not difficult - I recommend not using a plugin or a program.
In illustrator:
Start out by picking 4-6 basic colors (from darkest to lightest in your photo) Make them swatches. Create a new layer on top of your placed image. Start tracing the complete shape of your dog (darkest color). It helps to reduce the transparency to 40%. When finished, create a new layer on top, and start tracing the next set of shapes that fall in a similar color group. Keep repeating until done.
Or you could just open up layer options and make the image a template.
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Old Mar 16, 2006, 11:42 AM   #19
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For what it's worth...

Total Training has a Podcast (you can find it by searching for "Guru Lounge" within iTunes) that describes different graphics techniques... the first episode describes "Line Art" from a picture within Photoshop. It's done by Deke McClelland (of Photoshop Bible fame) and Brian Maffitt... absolutely outstanding technique. Sam/B, it sounds like your particular situation was solved... but for future reference it is a super way to make a very good line art version from a picture.

You can also find the link to the video by going directly to Total Training's website here:

http://www.totaltraining.net/gurulounge/photoshop.asp

(however the direct link takes you to the High Definition version... so it's a very sizeable download).

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Old Mar 21, 2006, 07:25 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by corywoolf
Or you could just open up layer options and make the image a template.
That wouldn't help because the image is the bottom layer - i am applying a transparency to the layers drawn on top so I can see underneath. It's just the way I work...
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Old Mar 22, 2006, 01:07 AM   #21
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Don't forget Corel Trace - you can get some great results with this application very quickly.
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Old Mar 29, 2006, 08:59 PM   #22
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Vectorizing A Weasel (Man, that sounds bad)

Since this seems to be a related query, I'll post it in this thread. I have a bitmap image of a weasel that I need vectorized. The version I have is too low-res for my liking (or uses) and I don't have the software anymore that it came from (which was some old OS 9 print shop / clip art app whose name I forget). Attached is the image at the best resolution I have.

Can I attempt to convert this to line-art myself (I only have Photoshop 7 and limited artistic abilities) or would I be better off paying a designer to convert it for me? Comments, suggestions...
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Old Mar 29, 2006, 11:26 PM   #23
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this is a cool effect. i'm wondering how they're doing A Scanner Darkly. Some of it looks like an automatic process, but then some of it looks hand tuned. i'm really curious now.
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Old Mar 30, 2006, 02:46 AM   #24
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I'm not sure about that particular film, but the director Linklater's previous film Waking Life involved the same type of animation technique, so I assume they did the same for this one, too. The process is called rotoscoping, and they have artists manually draw over each frame of the film using rotoscoping software. In the case of Waking Life, they used a proprietary software called Rotoshop, but it's not commercially available.

So no, it isn't an automated process.

Edit: So Wikipedia is your friend, check out this page on A Scanner Darkly. Yes, they used Rotoshop on this one as well.



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Old Sep 17, 2010, 08:02 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by zarathustra View Post
I free-hand drew it over your photo. It helps a LOT to have a tablet. You can pick one up for around $100 (for the smallest one, which would do for a hobby).

I am sending the ai.
Hey i know this is ages ago Z, but which tablet did you have back then (2006ish) I'm thinking of picking one up from ebay for this same purpose and wondered if you can steer me in the right direction?

Thanks in advance,

Tommy
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