Designing Your Own Online Avatar
Illustration by John Hersey

Separating and enlarging a face


From:

Designing Your Own Online Avatar

with Deke McClelland

Video: Separating and enlarging a face

In this movie we are going to separate the neck and shoulders from the head, and then we are going to enlarge the head. My reasoning once again being that we want to exaggerate the most recognizable portion of your avatar. So, I'm going to start things off here by creating a new layer, and I'll do that by alt clicking or option clicking on the little page icon at the bottom of the layers panel. And I'm going to call this new layer neck/shoulders you can call it anything you like.
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  1. 2m 3s
    1. Welcome
      2m 3s
  2. 43m 10s
    1. Preparing a photographic tracing template
      4m 9s
    2. Tracing eyes with the Ellipse tool
      7m 30s
    3. Tracing features with the Pen tool
      5m 43s
    4. Drawing asymmetrical facial features
      3m 58s
    5. New ways to draw in Illustrator CC
      5m 24s
    6. Using the new and improved Pencil tool
      8m 5s
    7. Roughing in hair and other complex features
      8m 21s
  3. 36m 53s
    1. Reshaping paths to enhance their accuracy
      7m 54s
    2. Assembling and exaggerating eyes
      7m 0s
    3. Reflecting and joining symmetrical shapes
      10m 44s
    4. Separating and enlarging a face
      3m 14s
    5. Establishing variety with stroke attributes
      8m 1s
  4. 52m 57s
    1. Coloring areas with Pathfinder operations
      5m 44s
    2. Coloring areas with the Live Paint Bucket
      6m 4s
    3. Independently scaling facial features
      7m 43s
    4. Updating a photographic template
      5m 25s
    5. Shading a face to match a photograph
      9m 19s
    6. Editing paths inside a clipping group
      9m 21s
    7. Adding additional shading
      9m 21s
  5. 52m 9s
    1. Shading a face with gradients
      8m 9s
    2. Assigning a gradient stroke
      2m 31s
    3. Creating a seamless fabric texture
      7m 4s
    4. Customizing a predefined pattern
      4m 25s
    5. Designing a custom crosshatch pattern
      13m 57s
    6. Combining gradients with crosshatching
      5m 57s
    7. Adjusting crosshatching to suit filled paths
      4m 44s
    8. Repositioning patterns inside paths
      5m 22s
  6. 22m 3s
    1. Curling a neutral lip into a wry smile
      4m 37s
    2. Adding playful smile lines
      5m 41s
    3. Clearing guides and arching eyebrows
      4m 19s
    4. Adding selective wrinkle lines
      7m 26s
  7. 7m 1s
    1. Saving a universally compatible PNG file
      7m 1s
  8. 46s
    1. Until next time
      46s

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Watch the Online Video Course Designing Your Own Online Avatar
3h 37m Intermediate Apr 22, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Preparing a photographic tracing template
  • Tracing eyes and other features with the Ellipse and Pen tools
  • Roughing in hair and other complex features
  • Reshaping paths to enhance their accuracy
  • Establishing variety with stroke attributes
  • Coloring the avatar
  • Shading a face with gradients
  • Adding expression and personality
  • Saving a universally compatible PNG file
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Deke McClelland

Separating and enlarging a face

In this movie we are going to separate the neck and shoulders from the head, and then we are going to enlarge the head. My reasoning once again being that we want to exaggerate the most recognizable portion of your avatar. So, I'm going to start things off here by creating a new layer, and I'll do that by alt clicking or option clicking on the little page icon at the bottom of the layers panel. And I'm going to call this new layer neck/shoulders you can call it anything you like.

And I'll change the color to gold. You have to do that, no you don't. All right. Then go ahead and click OK, in order to create that new layer. And drag it below what is now called the tracing layer and let's rename the tracing layer head because that's what it's going to be. Now, go ahead and scroll down a little bit, make sure you've got your black arrow tool and marquee these bottom most shapes. So you should partially marquee through all the necklines and all the clothing lines, whether they're my sweater or something of yours. But, be sure to avoid the jaw and everything that makes up the head.

Then you'll see this little blue square. At least if your layer's blue, you'll see a little blue square over here on the far right side of the layers panel. That represents the selected pass. Go ahead and drag it and drop it, down onto the new gold layer, like so. And you will move all these paths as you can see here. Now, as long as all these path outlines are selected, go up to the control panel and change the line weight to two points. So we're going to make those paths thicker, quite obviously. Now we want to select all the paths on the head layer.

And you do that by clicking in the upper right corner of this layer. See that little triangle right there? That triangle is associated with all the layers, whether they're active or not. And if you click in the far upper right corner, you'll select all the art on that layer, like so. Now I'm going to scroll up a little bit so I can see the head. I'll select the scale tool which you can get by pressing the S key and you want to Alt click or Opt click on the bottom point in the chin in order to bring up the scale dialog box.

Now you could scale the head by 120%, but that's probably going to be too much. I'm going to change that value to a 110% like so. Make sure scale strokes and effects is turned off. Very important. You can preview the effect if you'd like and then click OK. Now I'd like to raise the head a little bit so that all of my neck is visible. So I'll press shift up arrow and then just nudge the head upward about to there. And if you have a little bit of overlap with the neck and the jaw, don't worry about that.

Then press the V key to switch to the black arrow tool. Select these two sort of necklines right here by clicking on one and shift clicking on the other and nudge them upward until they intrude on the jaw as well. Alright now I'm going to zoom out just a little bit as well to the 200% view size. So that we can see all of the path outlines here in the video. And that's at least one way to exaggerate the size of the facial features without turning your avatar into an absolute bobble head here inside Illustrator.

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