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Learn what it takes to design and create your own custom silver-age superhero. Join Deke as he starts by tracing a photo to create the hero's body and then jumps into Illustrator for the creation of the final effects. Finally, Deke takes us through the steps to lay out our own custom type to complete the comic.
Want more of Designs dekeConstructed, the series that breaks down popular graphic designs so you can re-create them on your own? Check out Deke's page.
In this chapter, we're going to create our own custom fonts, specifically, the one used to create these words, down here, at the bottom of the screen, FIRE UP! Which is also the name of the font. This is live-time, by the way, so, if you open this document at this stage of the game because we haven't created the font yet. You will get a font warning. Now, we're going to create and modify the letters inside of illustrator. And then we'll turn around and paste them into a font creation software. And there's all kinds of font creation apps out there. The one that I'll be demonstrating is this guy right here, Glyphs mini. Which is a great little program, does just about everything you ever needed to do and generates awesome results, costs just $45, so it's priced to sell, really great investment.
Here's the problem, notice that I'm viewing the program here at the Mac app store and that's because it's available only for the Macintosh. It is not available for the PC. If you're looking for a cross platform solution, well probably the best one out there for the price is type tool, and you can find it at fontlab.com right here, it costs about 100 bucks, either for the mac or the PC, so you can go that route, if you prefer. If you don't want to spend anything, there are free font programs out there but they are challenging. A great example is this guy right here, FontForge. And you can learn about it at fontforge.org. But it is an interesting user experience at best. And it's a little bit challenging to even download and install the program. You can also locate some font creation software reviews out there like this. Notice that number two is Type tool, so that's a good sign. The reason it's number two is because another FontLab product, FontLab Studio,. It's pretty much the gold standard in the industry. The thing is it cost six hundred and 50 dollars.
So you pay a pretty steep price. In any, case you can use any program you like. We're going to start here in a PC because that's where I usually record. And we're going to start inside of illustrator as well, so I can give you a sense of how you start roughing in your characters. Now, of course if all you want is the words flame up, and you never intend to use that style of type ever again, you can just draw the characters inside of Illustrator, and then paste them inside of Photoshop, and go that route, and you can do that along with me too, if you want. I'm just creating a font because presumably I might want to use this type treatment in a future project. Anyway, I went ahead and sketched out the word flame using a pencil and a piece of paper and then I scanned it in and I placed the image inside of illustrator and then what I would do is double click on a layer that contains the imported image and turn on the template check box, so that we have a tracing template.
And then I'll click OK. And now, I'll go ahead and automatically dim that text. And then I would trace it using the pen tool which I've done in advance because this is fairly standard fare. So, I'll go ahead and turn on my trace letters. And I've made the fills translucent, so you can see that I've pretty accurately or really scrupulously followed my sketch lines. Problem is, that doesn't necessarily mean the letters are going to look consistent when combined with other letters. So, they look great with each other for the word flame, but we do have a few, sort of, idiosyncrasies from one letter to the next.
Which is why I ended up taking a different approach over time that resulted in these characters right here. So, you can see that they no longer match my sketch, at all. However, we have a great deal of consistency between the F, the L, and the E for example. They're almost exactly the same letters. And then the stems associated with the A and the M, subscribe to the same angles as well. And, so to pull this off what I did was, I assembled all of the characters in one overarching document, and I identified the letter forms that are similar to each other in order to simplify the process. So, you can see here all of these red characters are more or less elliptical so they're all based on this O right here, so we've got the Q, the C and the G all based on the O, and then these blue characters are all the vertical characters essentially, they're all based on this I shape right there.
Which is modified to some extent, along with a bar for the H, and a couple of different bars for the F, three bars for the E, and so forth. And then, we have the combo characters which include more or less vertical stems, along with round pieces like the D and the B P and R based on each other, and the R and the K share similarities as well, and then we've got these diagonal characters such as the A M X and Z, and then the upside down versions which I've made dark green, which are the V, W, and y. And then finally, we have these just playing free-form characters, that go their own way which are the J, s and U. And I'll show you how I assembled this letter forms inside of a single, over arching illustrator document in the very next movie.
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