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Animated Character Design with Illustrator
Illustration by John Hersey

Creating template layers


From:

Animated Character Design with Illustrator

with Angie Taylor

Video: Creating template layers

Depending on the situation and the look that I want to achieve for my artwork, I use various methods for creating my characters. Sometimes I draw directly into Illustrator without using anything as a guide. Other times I draw my characters in Photoshop, and then import them into Illustrator to convert them to vector files, because I like to use the brushes and some of the effects in Photoshop on my drawings. But the most common technique I use is to do a rough sketch on paper, scan it in or photograph it if I'm not near a scanner, and use this as a guide in Illustrator to create my drawing. Now in here I have the template layers file open, which is in the tracing artwork manually folder.

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Animated Character Design with Illustrator
2h 33m Intermediate Jan 14, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This workshop from author and animator Angie Taylor teaches how to use Illustrator's tools and features to prepare 2D files for animation in Adobe After Effects. Discover how to make the most of Illustrator's drawing tools and Autotrace feature, and to how use Live Paint and Kuler to recolor artwork. Plus, get a ton of tips and tricks for giving artwork a hand-drawn look and find out how to set up layers, aspect ratios, and transparency options for importing into After Effects. The lessons are focused and solution-oriented, and all the project files are included.

Topics include:
  • Setting up the work area
  • Bringing artwork into Illustrator
  • Tracing artwork manually
  • Creating complex shapes
  • Working with paths
  • Using Live Trace
  • Coloring artwork
  • Applying 3D effects
  • Exporting artboards
  • Options for saving files
Subjects:
3D + Animation Design Illustration Character Animation video2brain
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Angie Taylor

Creating template layers

Depending on the situation and the look that I want to achieve for my artwork, I use various methods for creating my characters. Sometimes I draw directly into Illustrator without using anything as a guide. Other times I draw my characters in Photoshop, and then import them into Illustrator to convert them to vector files, because I like to use the brushes and some of the effects in Photoshop on my drawings. But the most common technique I use is to do a rough sketch on paper, scan it in or photograph it if I'm not near a scanner, and use this as a guide in Illustrator to create my drawing. Now in here I have the template layers file open, which is in the tracing artwork manually folder.

And in here I've already placed a file where you can see it's directly taken from my sketch, because I just photographed this and then captured the image in quickest way I could do it. I think I just took the photo with my iPhone, so it's a nice, quick way of getting an image into the computer. So, it's a rough drawing that I did in my sketchbook, and now I'm going to use Illustrator's drawing tools to create a cleaner and easier to edit version using vector art. Now the first thing to do is double-click the layer that the drawing is on, and choose to make that a template layer, and there's a few reasons for doing that. A template layer is a non-printing guide layer, and it won't export when you save the file.

So if I open up this file in After Facts, and this has been made a template layer, it won't come through as a layer. So it's kind of like an invisible layer. So when you choose to make a later template layer, Illustrator will automatically lock it. Now if I click on template you'll notice that lock also becomes activated. It also dims the image to 50 percent. Now you can overwrite the dim setting if want a little bit more depth to the image. So that you can trace over a bit more reliably then you can change that value yourself.

And then when I click Okay, I'm just going to give it a name, for now lets just call it template. And click Okay, and I now have a locked layer that I can start to create my artwork on. And then I just create subsequent layers to draw the artwork on. So, that's how to create a template layer for tracing manually the drawings that you've done and imported from Photoshop or from your sketchbook.

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