Creating a 3D shape with the Pen Tool

June 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Using your Pen Tool create a simple Vase profile.  Like in the example below.  You can choose whatever color you would like.

Then with the Vase Profile selected go to Effect/3D and use Default Options.

you should get something similar to the image below

This also works great for Text.  However, with Text use the Extrude option.


Illustrator Wallpaper

June 7, 2010 Comments off

Creating a Wallpaper in Illustrator using Gradients, the Blend tool and Blending modes.

First we will start by getting the document set up with standard computer screen resolutions.  Create a New document with the following settings.  Making sure you change the Units to Pixels, and the Color Mode to RGG Color.

Next Rename Layer 1 to Background by double clicking on it in the Layers Window (Window/Layers)  and renaming it in the window that pops up.

Select a Fill Color and set the Stroke Color to None and create a Rectangle the exact size of what we need my selecting the Rectangle Tool and then clicking on the ArtBoard and putting in the exact pixels.  Then move it so its within your ArtBoard.

Go to the Background Layer and expand it by clicking on the triangle icon and  lock the blue rectanble shape by clicking on the box next to the eye.  This will make it so that we don’t accidentally select it.

Next we will use simple shapes, a line, and the blend tool to create an interesting design to fill your canvas.

Create two circles fairly far apart.  Fill them with whatever color you choose.

Next deselect everything by clicking on any white part of the workspace.  Then select the blend tool., or press W on your keyboard.

With the Blend Tool selected Click on one of the circles then click on the other other circle.  After clicking on the second circle you will see that the bled tool creates in between shapes.  You will also see a line create in between the shapes.

With the new shape created select the Add Anchor Point Pen Tool.  Click and hold on the Pen Tool to see the different options and select the Add Anchor Point Pen Tool

Go to the line between the circles and add an Anchor Point by just clicking on the line

Then using the Direct Select Tool and select the new Anchor Point you created and drag it to a spot  you prefer.  Create more Anchor Points if you would like.

Next select the Convert Anchor Point Tool by holding down on the Pen Tool Icon

With the Convert Anchor Point Tool selected click and drag on the Anchor Point you created.

As you can see this is sort of a bad layout of the spheres to remedy this, use the Add Anchor Point tool and add anchor points to either side of the middle anchor point.  I highlighted green the anchor points.

Next we will used one of Illustrator Standard Graphic Styles to fill in the Circles.  With the Direct Select Tool Select one of the circles then go to Window/Graphic Styles and select Clear Bubble.  You will see the new graphic style completely replace your first circle and then blend to whatever color/style you had when you first created the circles.

The Bubble are starting to look pretty good, but the color seems to stand out a bit too much.  With the bubbles selected go to Window/Transparency, Here you can set the Opacity of them, or you can set the Blending Mode of the Bubbles with the background.  Its default should be Normal, Set it to Overlay.  Make sure you have the Bubbles selected and it should look something like the image below.   Feel Free to explore the different Blending Options and choose one you like best.

If you want all the circles to have the same Bubble Style, use the Direct Select tool and select the circle at the opposite end and apply the same Bubble Graphic Style

To make your background a bit more interesting, Unlock your Background Layer and apply a gradient to your liking.  When you have your gradient set to your liking, Lock the Background Layer again.

Next create a Shape using the Pen Tool.  We will fill this shape with a Gradient and adjust its Blending Style so that it fits nicely into the composition.  After creating the Shape, in the Layer Window, move it on top of the Background Path

Next add a gradient fill to the Shape, then using the Gradient Tool, click and drag on the screen in the direction you want the gradient to follow.

Once you have the gradient the way you want it to be adjust the colors to your liking.

Next play with the Blending Options Under the Transparency Window until you find one to your liking.

Categories: Illustrator Wallpaper

Illustrator Toolbar

June 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Categories: Illustrator Toolbar

Illustrator Intro

May 31, 2010 Comments off

Basic Illustrator (Vector Shapes)

Vector Images vs Raster Images (pixels)

Vector Images can be created in programs like Illustrator and in Photoshop and are composed of Geometric Shapes defined by Math and are therefore Resolution Independent, meaning they are scalable without loss of quality.  Typical Vector image formats are AI (Adobe Illustrator), EPS, CDR (Corel Draw), DXF (AutoCAD)

Raster Images are made up of actual Pixels, for example when you scan an image, the image is converted to pixels and is Resolution Dependent.  You cannot increase the size of your image without some sort of image loss (fuzziness).  Typical Raster image formats are JPG, TGA, TIFF, GIF.

Using Simple Vector Shapes to create an Image

Start up Illustrator and create a new document.  File/New and other than choosing RGB color mode, accept the defaults.  This will give us the workspace that we need to start

**TIP** Holding down the space bar will allow you to drag your workspace around.

We will start by blocking out the Angry Bear Body.  Hold down on the Shape tool and pick the Circle Tool.  Below is the Tool Bar if you don’t have it go to Window/Tools

Now go to the middle of the page and click and drag to create a circle.  If you notice you will see that it does not create a perfect circle, to create a perfect circle hold down the Shift key.  You will also notice that your circle has a black outline with a white fill.  To change this we will use color swatch in the Tool Bar.

Double Click on the Fill Color (Color Swatch above) and choose a color to fill the inside of your circle.  If you want, also change the outline color just double click on the Outline

Next Open up the Stroke Window, go to the top toolbar Window/Stroke and in the tool bar use the arrow next to Weight to increase the outline Size

Next create another Cirlce on top of this one that will be the body of the Bear using the keep the setting you currently have.  Don’t worry about making sure they are perfectly centered we will use the Aling command to center the two Circles.  Go to Window/Align to bring up the Align Window (it might already be on your screen).  Use your Selection Tool (Hotkey V)  Select both circles (you can click and drag to make a marquee selection around both circles.

Then using the Align Window Click on the Icon called Horizontal Align Center.

Next we are going to combine these two shapes the that it is one Shape.  With your Shapes selected go to Window/Pathfinder.  Here you will see that you have a few different Shape Modes.  For our purposes we will use the first Shape Mode(Add to Shape Area), this will make it look like one Shape, but make sure to click on the Expand button to make it into one actual Shape.  Feel free to explore the other Shape Modes to see the different results.

Next we will add the arms and legs.  Make Four circles around the body that will be the arms and legs.  Use the Selection Tool (V) to move them into place, and if you hover the selection tool around the corners of the selection bracket you will see it turns into a circular arrow, when it turns into this arrow you can use the Selection Tool to Rotate the Shape as well.

Using the Pathfinder Window combine all these circles into one piece making sure to Click EXPAND after you are done.  Then go to Filter/Stylize/Round Corners and play around with the size (I used the Default 10px)  then add the ears, you can round them if you’d like

Next we will use a simple line and circle to create the Eyes.  Draw a circle in the face of your bear, making sure to change the color and stroke weight.

Next using the Pen Tool Draw an Eye Brow on the bear.  Click once to start the line, then click and drag to create the curve in the middle and click and let go to create the end of the line.  If your line has a black fill make sure you select the fill color and set its attribute to None.  Also, if you want your line to have a Round Cap, set its Cap attribute to Round Cap under the Stroke Window.  Finish up the eye by creating a White Circle inside of it.

Next with all the different pieces of the eye selected go to Object/Group to group the eye into one piece so you can select the entire eye as one piece.

Next we will duplicate the eye to create the other eye.  Select the eye and go to Edit/Copy and Edit/Paste, then move it into position.  Then with the Duplicated Eye selected go to Object/Transform/Reflect and make sure to choose Vertical and the Angle set to 90

Next we will create the Mouth with the Pen Tool.  Use the Pen Tool to create a jagged mouth, set the Outline to None and the Fill to Black. The Yellow outline shows you where I put my points(Vertices) I also added two small dots for nostrils.

Next we will use the Pen Tool again, but this time make sure the Fill is set to None and the Outline to Black(or whatever color you want) and we will make the stitches from where the Angry bear was stuffed.  Also make sure that your Stroke has Round Cap on so that your lines have a nice rounded tip to them.

We are not done with the Bear, but we should place the Bear in a Frame to give him a more finished look.  Create a Rectangle over your bear with whatever fill color you choose, don’t worry if after you are done it completely covers your bear.   Then insede this rectangle create a rounded rectangle with a different Fill color.

Then with only both these rectangles selected, center them using the Aling Window toolbar we used earlier and lastly with the Rectagles still selected go to Object/Arrange/Send to Back to move the rectangles behind your Image.

Now just add finishing touches until you have an image you are happy with.

Categories: Illustrator Intro

Resize for Web

April 30, 2010 Comments off

To resize your hi-resolution images to upload to display on the internet you need to resize your images.

With the image open go to Image/Size.  Below you can see that this image is 1680 by 1080 pixels.  It’s resolution is 300 pixels per inch and its physical dimensions are 5.4 by 3.6 inches.

Make sure that you uncheck Resample Image and set the Resolution to 72 pixels/inch.  72DPI is the resolution of a computer monitor.  You can see that you Pixel Dimensions have not changed, but you can see that changing the resolution to 72 has changed the Document Size to 22.5 by 15 inches.

Once you have adjusted the Resolution to 72, check the Resample Image button again and now change the Pixel Dimensions.  Change the Width to 600 pixels.   And you can see that now the new image will be 703.1 K as opposed to the 50.1 M the images used to be.  Click OK.

Now that you have resized the image you can save it for the web.  Go to File/Save for Web

A new prompt pops up, click on the tab 2-up, this will show the original image on the left and the optimized for web image on the right.  Change the format to JPEG, and the Quality to 70 percent.

You will see at the bottom of the image that the original image is 703 K while the optimized image is 59.7K, even smaller than the resized image.

Below is the optimized image to display on the internet.

Categories: Resize for Web

Photoshop Toolbar

April 23, 2010 Comments off

Hi, click here to download a hi resolution image of a photoshop tool bar with quick explanations of what the tools do.

Categories: Photoshop Toolbar

Mary Ellen Matthews

April 23, 2010 Leave a comment

SNL staff photographer Mary Ellen Matthews does the photography equivalent of herding cats every week as she makes cool, quirky and creative images of the show’s guests

By William Sawalich, Photography By Mary Ellen Matthews

Here is a great article from Digital Photo Pro magazine

Categories: Mary Ellen Matthews