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The first vector build method we'll discuss is the Clockwork method. When you first learn Illustrator, no one teaches you how to determine where to place your anchor points. Most just learn by trial and error. And this is how bad vector building habits are formed. The Clockwork method is a simple mental trick to help you look at any drawn shape, then figure out where to place the anchor points in order to form the vector shape accurately. Look at your drawn design.
Then, associate a clock with the curves in your sketch. Orient the clock as needed to align with your drawing. Then, look at the 12 o'clock, the 3 o'clock, 6 o'clock, and the 9 o'clock positions to help you discern the location to place your anchor points. Let's see how this works out in real life. We're now back, using our character design as the file we're going to now build using the Clockwork method.
And last time, we used this guy to demonstrate how our refined sketch is going to be our road map. We're now going to use him in the same way. But, I'm going to explain with a little more clarity the Clockwork method. Once again, anywhere in your design, that comes to a point, gets a point. Those are easy ones to discern. You don't have to think too hard about where to place the anchor points. They go right at the tip of wherever your art comes to a point, such as the back part of his hat. Now, as you start looking at a curve in your art, just picture a clock in your mind.
So, for example, this one would be a 3 o'clock position. And don't worry about pulling your Bezier curve handlebars out really far, you don't need to, just make them available. Then, the next one once again, wherever it comes to point, gets a point. We don't need to place an anchor point here, because our curve is so shallow, we can pull that off by pulling out our handlebars later. So, once again, wherever it comes to point, gets a point. We'll use a 3 o'clock position here, 12 o'clock, 9 o'clock, wherever your art comes to a point gets a point.
Once again, this is such a shallow curve on this one. You could put a point midway, but you really don't need to, and you'll see that when I adjust the Bezier handles. So, we'll put one where the art comes to a point here. Down here, you'll associate this curve. If you tilted your clock to the side, it might still be a 6 o'clock, but if you tilt it really far, it might be a 9 o'clock. Either one, this is where you're going to place your next anchor point.
Point comes to a point. Once again, your curve comes down here. This will be a 6 o'clock position. Now, this is where using the Clockwork method is kind of key to discerning your anchor point placement. The bill of his cap here, think of the clock being squished and rotated counterclockwise, so your 3 o'clock would be here, your 12 o'clock would be around this position, and your 9 o'clock would be here.
Now, we can pull off this in curve with the Bezier handles. So we'll just go directly to the point. And this is our initial rough build. We're going to come back on this now using the Convert Anchor Point tool to pull out the necessary Bezier handles we need to form the art, and so in this case, we're going to pull these out so that we can get access to those handles, and start adjusting our path to form it more accurately to the underlying sketch.
So, you can see how that happens. One thing I'll point out is when vector art, in this case, the back part of his hat, this little stub, which represents the adjustable part of the cap when you wear it, I never like leaving my art with perfect straight lines. It's said that nothing in nature is absolutely perfect, and I like using that rule when it comes to vector art. Nothing should be absolutely perfect unless you're drawing a ruler. It's okay to have a little bend in a straight line.
It just adds character, and since we're creating a character, kind of makes sense. So, you can see how I'm just adjusting the Bezier handles to pull off the exact look and feel I want. And there's nothing super fast about this process, it just takes time, and don't rush it. Just really be picky about how your vectors are being created.
So, you can see on this bill that the Bezier handles I'm pulling out is doing most of the heavy lifting in terms of shaping and forming the underneath path. So here, we'll go back to our placement here. And when we pull out that handle, you can see how it aligns with our underlying drawing. We'll now adjust this one. We'll go back to this, pull out our handle, and that's where we pay attention to how it aligns with our underlying drawing.
And now the last part will just be this last anchor point. It doesn't matter with the path over here, because that's going to be consumed once we fuse all of our final shapes together. And this is the last Bezier handle we'll manipulate, and this one. Now I'm not going to worry about identically aligning everything. There are a few refinements we could make to this art, but we're going to do that in the next movie when we talk about prime point placement.
If you find yourself struggling to form a vector shape accurately, use the Clockwork method to analyze your anchor point placements and improve your final design results. Like anything new, the Clockwork method will take some time to get used to. But eventually, your discernment on anchor point placements will improve. That said, don't assume that every anchor point you place when using the Clockwork method is going to be perfect every time because it won't. Think of it this way; the Clockwork method will get you within the correct neighborhood but might not be the exact street address. And that's okay at this stage of the process.
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