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Designs dekeConstructed is a new series that breaks down the creation of cool designs so you can build them on your own. This installment is for everyone who needs an online avatar—that tiny image that has to communicate a thousand words about who you are in less than a square inch. Start by taking a photo of yourself facing forward—the traditional passport style. From there Deke McClelland takes you through the steps to transforming your photo into a cartoon avatar with Illustrator: tracing your features, refining and exaggerating the strokes, adding color and shading, and using gradients and patterns to fill in details like hair. Plus, learn some tricks for infusing your drawing with an extra bit of personality and exporting your final image in the best format for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
In this movie we're going to trace along the cheek the jaw and the neck. And we're going to do so using a couple of extremely powerful new drawing features in illustrator cc. So obviously if you have CS6 or earlier. You'll have to be drawing the old style way. But I do want to give you a glimpse into what's going on in the newest version of Illustrator, because it will give you a sense for just how much better things have gotten. So I'm going to scroll down to the neck here, and I'm going to grab my line tool.
And I'm going to start at the top of the neck right there, so you want to start at exactly where the neck starts, and drag down to more or less where the neck ends which is about this location here. You will of course miss your neck, that is to say, the line will not accurately trace your neck because after all, your neck is not absolutely straight. But watch this, if I go over here to the pen tool click and hold I've got this tool right here that it used to be called the Convert Anchor Point tool, and now it's just called the Anchor Point Tool.
And what it allows you to do, is not only convert the nature of your anchor points, from say corner points to smooth points, or vice versa. But you can drag straight segments. Check this out. I can now just drag this guy over. Now I've got a neck. That easy. And that's where it begins. This next one I think is really going to blow your mind. I'm going to switch back to the Pen tool. And I'm going to drag along the chin right about there, I don't need to create any chin underneath my beard, you may need to if you don't have a beard.
Then you'll need to start things off right there at that center guideline. And then I'm going to click beyond my jaw. Right there in order to create a corner point which is going to seem like utter and complete lunacy but is going to work brilliantly. Again, this only works inside Illustrator CC. Then I'm going to drag up here to create another smooth point just below my sideburns so I have a little bit of open space here. And that way I'm tracing along my cheek. But of course I've really missed my job.
Well, what you do is you press the a key to switch back to the wide arrow tool and you go ahead and click on that anchor point and notice that little handle there. That allows me to round this location and this location only, because this is the only selected anchor point. So I'll go ahead and drag inward like so in order to round off that path outline so it matches my jaw. Is that not totally amazing? And now I want you to see. It gets even better. Now I've got new anchor point right there.
So I could drag this handle way out here in my mustache. I could drag it around some more. So if you drag it toward the points you're going to get less moving. If you drag it away from the point You're going to get more smoothing.And then, whenever it is you want manual control, just go ahead and click off the path outline to deselect it, click on one of those new anchor points and now move it, to a new location. Now by virtue of the fact I moved the anchor point, I no longer have that little round corner control. But I do have this much manual control as I like over these anchor points and control handles that illustrator has created for me automatically.
Let's go ahead and drag this anchor point down just a little bit to round things of. Let me show you another really great use for this. Notice this wrinkly old dude thing that I've got over my eyelid here? Well, i can create that in a jiffy by switching over to the pen tool. And I'll click here so I'm just going to set down some corner points. Click here, click here, and click there. And now let's say I want to round off more than one corner at a time. Well I press the a key to switch back to my wide arrow tool, and I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click on a path to select the entire thing.
And now notice that I've got a couple of these handles And if I drag one, then I move both of them. So I'm rounding off both of these corners like so. And you can see what an amazing time savings this is. Alright, I'm going to drag this guy in a little bit, because he's still a corner handle by the way. Since he's an end point, and then I'll alt click or option click in the path outline to select it And I might nudge this guy up just a little bit by pressing the up arrow key.
And I can see now that I've clicked off the path that I have a little bit of a problem. Notice that I've lost my rounded caps, so I'll press the V key to switch back to my black arrow tool. I'll click on that path outline to select it. Go ahead and zoom out a little bit. I'll Shift+Click on the jaw line right there because it's got the same problem and Shift+Click on the neckline as well, and then I'll click on the word Stroke up here in the options bar and I'll select a round cap and the round join icons inside this pop-up panel. And that, friends, is how you take advantage of a couple of new drawing features here inside the most recent version of Illustrator CC One being the anchor point tool which among other things allows you to bend straight segments.
To which you can argue that illustrator should have always been able to do but it's great that he doesn't know and the new dynamic round corner functions which is a feature of the white error tool and is capable of automatically creating new anchor points as well as new control handles. Both of which dramatically simplify the drawing process here inside Illustrator.
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