Vector Art Tutorial Part 2 – Our Plan

“Someone who fail to plan is someone who planning to fail”

(Continuation from Part 1)

In this part I will show my basic arrangement of layers or Layer Order. This layer order is my unique way of getting the vector done that I developed via experiences. However these will be just my tips so don’t ever limit your creativity.

Illustrator as well as Photoshop use Layers to manage images. Thus to think in layers is important in imagining and managing our project. In time “thinking” and “conceptualizing” will get easier.

Few rules (regarding layers) that I always try to adhere in every of my projects.

  1. Always start with the bottommost layer toward the topmost layer
  2. Bottommost layer almost always cover more area than other vice versa
  3. Bottommost layer usually represent the mid color (a color between the lightest and the darkest color of skin)
  4. Bottom to top – Skin, Hair and Clothes

It might be a bit hard to imagine without showing it.

layers.jpg skinlayers.jpg

The figures above show the finished overall layers in their arrangement.

Basically in summary:

Bottom to top : Template > Skin > Hair > Cloth

Skin bottom to top : Base Skin > Dark (Shadows) > Light (Highlights)

When to start?

Always start with the easier part of the face such as face shape or body shape. Then follow by something harder and end up with the hardest part such facial detail (eyes, lips, eyebrows). Always start with the bottommost layer towards topmost layer.

Other things that might/would come in handy.

Familiarize with basic keyboard shortcut such as :

  1. (ctrl) + (+) and (ctrl) + (-) for zooming in and zooming out
  2. (spacebar) for ‘hand tool’ – useful to move the canvas to desired position without using scroll bar.
  3. (A) for ‘direct selection tool’ – white pointer to select a particular anchor point on a path
  4. (V) or (ctrl) when in other tools mode – for ‘selection tool’ – black pointer to select a path
  5. (I) for’eyedropper tool’ – very useful when selection desired color or copying color
  6. (P) for ‘pen’ – to draw path
  7. (shift) – multiple select

Always rename every layer appropriately

Try to use your own colors swatches although Illustrator have its own swatch called ‘Skintones’. But I don’t really like it.

In my case I prefer manipulating the color transparency rather than using different color to differentiate every shadows or highlights.

Use Posterised layer as tracing reference but always refer to the original image because Posterized image tend to give too extreme and illogical lines.

When all this has been clearly understand, just a few steps more to the “easy” part which are the actual drawing and tracing.

To Be Continued

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2 responses to “Vector Art Tutorial Part 2 – Our Plan

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