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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, author and industry expert Deke McClelland teaches how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic features in Illustrator CS5. This course demonstrates how to apply these features to paths, groups, and editable text to create professional-quality artwork. The course covers Live Trace, Live Paint, and Live Color, as well as symbols, gradients, exporting, and integration with Photoshop. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this movie I am going to demonstrate how to take a traditional line drawing and develop it inside of Photoshop so that you can later trace it in Illustrator. So what we will be doing is we will take this image and you may recall that it was a two-part process. I drew the skull first and then I scanned it in the Photoshop, made some modifications, printed the skull at a reduced size so that I could draw these sabers in the background in a second pass. Everything was rendered with a Sharpie, however. So we don't have as much contrast as I would like, and not only that, I want to make some modifications too.
This is the time to do it inside of Photoshop before you trace the line art inside of Illustrator. You can always make more modifications inside Illustrator if you want to, but you might, as well get things as close to right as possible inside of Photoshop now. I ultimately want to come up with this result here. Now you might look at this image once again here inside Photoshop and think well gosh, this looks just fine. Why do we need to take it into Illustrator at all? Well, recall that I drew this image on an 8.5x11 inch sheet of paper, and I want to print the flag 5 feet wide by 3 feet tall.
That's a huge increase in size. So if I were to go up to the Image menu, for example, and choose the Image Size command, and I turn off the Resample Image check box for a moment, so I can just dial in a different size without adding pixels, I will change this value to 60 inches, let's say, which is 5 feet wide and that reduces the resolution to 60 pixels per inch. Well that's just not enough resolution. So I am going to Cancel out of there. Photoshop allows you to up sample an image, but it's not going to do a good job of inventing pixels, especially, if the transitions between the existing pixels are a little soft in the first place.
So I have zoomed in to 100% here, and you can see these are typical Sharpie lines, that is the ink is bleeding into the paper a little bit and we have sort of these thick and gooey edges. I would rather these edges be absolutely razor-sharp, and that is a service that Illustrator affords me. That's what we get from vectors. All right, I am going to zoom back out of this illustration. We are going to start things off inside of this one. So I am going to develop this guy, and I am going to make a few different modifications. I'm going to adjust the angle of this handle so that it's not touching the jaw of the skeleton, and then, I'm going to basically finesse the structure of the skull using the Liquefy command, and then finally we'll go ahead and increase the contrast.
So I am going to zoom in on the handle of this saber, and I am going to go ahead and select it using my Lasso tool. Now one of the great things here is that because I output the skull from a printer and then I drew the handle using a Sharpie, I can see the distinction between those two areas. So I can just follow that. I can actually trace that edge using the Lasso. So I'm Alt+clicking or Option+ clicking along this edge in order to take advantage of the Polygonal Lasso function and I will just go ahead and cut through the first few millimeters of the blade there around the handle, and that's okay, because I can always rebuild those details in just a moment, and then I will go ahead and drag down to here and complete my selection, like so.
Now I am working on a Background layer, so what that means is as long as the background color is white, which it is in my case, I will leave some whiteness behind as I rotate this handle into a better position. So I am going to zoom out just so I can see the angle of the saber blade a little bit better, and then I'll go up to the Edit menu, and I will choose the Free Transform command. This one command is how you scale and rotate and otherwise transform selections and layers inside of Photoshop. You can also press Ctrl+T, that's Cmd+T on the Mac.
I am going to move this central target point to right about there, so that we are rotating along that edge of the blade, and now, I will move my cursor outside of the selection, and I will drag like so in order to apply that rotation and I want to rotate it as far as I can essentially, because I really want to get this edge away from the jaw, but I don't want to rotate it so far that it looks like the angle no longer matches the blade. So I think right about here looks pretty darn good actually, and I will just go ahead and press the Enter or the Return on the Mac in order to accept that modification.
Then I will click outside of the selection in order to deselect it. Now I have got to rebuild these details right here. I am going to do that just by selecting some areas and either pressing Ctrl+Backspace or Cmd+Delete on the Mac to fill that area with white, or I could draw around here, this areas that should be black, and I've got my foreground and background colors set to their defaults, which are black and white. You can assure that that's the way it is by pressing the D key as in Default. And then press Alt+Backspace or Option +Delete to fill that area with black.
Now you might look at that and say, well, that's not a good match Deke. We have got this jet black area that you just filled, and then out here we have this dark gray area. Well, the dark gray area will be black before we're done. We will increase the contrast of this image using Levels command, just not yet. It's better to get his other work done beforehand. I will go ahead and drag around this area and maybe I'll try to firm that up a little bit by Alt+dragging or Option+ dragging to deselect that region there, and I will fill that area with black as well by pressing Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete, and I'll go ahead and connect this area.
You might wonder why am l using the Lasso tool and filling by pressing Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete? Why don't I just grab Paintbrush tool and paint with it instead? Well, I just find, for this kind of work that the Lasso tool gives me greater control, because I can specify the size of the area that I want to fill before I go and apply the color. Anyway, now I have gone ahead and added the color that's necessary to fuse those areas together and that should work out okay. We have got some weird little edges going on there, but nothing that troubles me too much. Now then, I need to make some changes using Liquefy, and here's a little trick, and this is an old-school trick.
Basically the idea is as you develop a piece of artwork, as you're drawing it, you tend to become accustomed to it. You sort of fall in love with it. You grow to know the good things about it, but you don't necessarily see the defects. And a way to wake up the image, so that you're taking a new look at it, it's very simple technique. You go up to the Image menu, you choose Image Rotation, and you choose Flip Canvas horizontal, and what that does is it just forces you to take a new look at this image, because it doesn't really matter if it's flipped one direction or flipped the other direction, that doesn't change the basic composition of the image, but it does force you to reappraise it, and this is true for portrait shots as well.
It's a great thing to do if you're retouching a portrait. Just go and flip it horizontally, forces you to take a new view of that image, and then go ahead and modify the flipped version of the image. Now I am going to do that by going to the Filter menu and choosing the Liquefy command or pressing Ctrl+Shift+ X, Cmd+Shift+X on the Mac. We usually think of this command as being useful for adjusting portrait shots and models and that kind of thing. It's actually exceptionally well suited to modifying line art like this. So I will go ahead and choose the command.
And the first thing I noticed when I was working here inside of Liquefy is that the blade over your right-hand side is much thicker than the blade on the left-hand side. So I increased the size of my cursor quite a bit and I am doing that by pressing Shift along with the Right Bracket key, and then I grabbed this tool right there, the Bloat tool, and you don't want to just drag with this tool because you get that kind of horrible effect there. Instead what you do, I undid that by pressing Ctrl+Z, Cmd+Z on the Mac, you just kind of click every so often in order to basically bulge out certain areas at a time.
So you just click very gently on the blade, you have to be pretty deliberate about it. You do have to be patient as well in order to get the results you are looking for. I also went ahead and increased the size once again of my cursor and I used the traditional Warp tool up here in order to move some details around. So I decided this eye over here on the left-hand side was looking too small, vis-a-vis the one over on the right-hand side, and I wanted to draw out some of these cheek details as well, and I wanted to make the jaw a little taller like so, and I took it a little easier than this.
I actually probably painted inside of this dialog box for a good 15 minutes. I did go and ahead and save out my settings. I saved my mesh, which is always a good idea. Once you get some decent results out of this filter, you want to click on the Save Mesh button before you click OK, before you accept the results, and that's going to save you a lot of effort in the future. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and load that mesh right now, the one that I saved in advance, and I called my mesh skeletal adjustments.msh. So I will go ahead and click on a saved mesh file and then I will click on the Open button in order to apply it and there is the final meshed version of the image.
So to give you a sense of what I did, I will press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac. This is the before version, what we were looking at just a moment ago, and if I press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z again, that's the after version, thanks to my modifications here inside the Liquefy filter. I will go ahead and click OK in order to apply those changes. And then finally, I'll go back up to the Image menu, I will choose Image Rotation again and I will choose Flip Image Horizontal. And note that flipping is a nondestructive operation inside of Photoshop. So I will go ahead and choose the command in order to reinstate the skeleton looking to the right.
We still have yet to increase the contrast of the image, and we need to add the red background, and those are changes that we will make in the next exercise.
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