Leverage Photoshop to create authentic design effects that help reinforce a concept in Adobe Illustrator.
- [Instructor] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. Most design and illustration I create isn't realistic in style, but sometimes I want to capture an authentic aesthetic in order to improve a design or a concept. In this movie we'll once again combine vector-based artwork with raster-based textures to achieve a better creative solution, so let's get started. Now for this project I need to create a tire tread motif that I could use in the design concept that I came up with and so I don't know a whole lot about automobiles in general, let alone tires, so this is where reference comes it, it's to reference the real thing.
Not that we're going to create a photorealistic image, we're not, but this will guide us and give us some cues as to how we can handle creating a tread in a graphic sense. So I look at tires, I see that they have things like zig-zag lines, and if you look at the edge they have little notches going in, and connection lines between segmented shapes. So those are the type of cues I want to pay attention to and replicate within a graphic aesthetic.
And that's exactly what I did. So we're going to create the base shape, which is just simply a rectangle. Now if you don't know how to create a rectangle then you should be watching some other courses, not this one to be honest with you. But very easy, obviously done with the Rectangle Tool right here to create a rectangle. Not hard, very easy. But what's going to be key to this motif is utilizing zig-zag lines. So all I did here, and this is one thing I can show really quickly, is you can create a line like this, we'll go ahead and set the Graphic Style.
I want to match it here, so I'm going to, by the way you can use the Eyedropper, select anything you already have built, and it applies the same characteristics. Now it won't apply everything. Like it won't apply, if you have the fill with a gradient, it won't set it to the same angles and all that. I wish it would, I'd use that too, but it doesn't. But on this what you want to do is you can go to Object, you can go to Path, you can go to Add Anchor Point, and this will add an anchor point right in the middle.
And we can just do that again, Add Anchor Point, you can see it adds anchor points in the middle of those areas. Add Anchor Points, middle of those areas, do it again, middle of those areas, so on and so forth. We'll do it one more time in here. And Add Anchor Points there. And then all I did is I just selected every other anchor point, like this, and I have the Shift key held down as I'm using direct select here.
Go like this, make sure you're paying attention, so you select the right ones. And then you can either drag these selected to create the zig-zag. So it's not hard, a pretty simple method to use. We don't need that, so we're going to get rid of it. So that's not hard at all. Now what I want to do is these are too thin, because if we go back and you look at the photo the gaps in between the tread areas, I don't even know what you call it, tread areas, that sounds good, is bigger than this.
So this is too thin. So we need to increase the Stroke size, right now it's 4, we want to push this up quite a bit, so we're going to do 12. And if you look at just the white, ignore the magenta color and look at the white, this is actually feeling like a tread now, because it has, it's close the approximation and proportion of how an actual tire would be with those gaps in it. And that's what we want. Once again, we're not going for photorealistic here, but we're going to guide our efforts.
Now I'm going to turn on another one and this is line work. So if I zoom in on this, all this is is I've just added little lines that go at each point. Here, if I pull this out you can see that's all I'm doing here. And that starts to really add a nice kind of tread pattern to the overall thing. And then the notches that we saw in the reference, we're going to add some notches in. So I add those notches in. And if I zoom out you can see right now that it's really going to work.
But I have all this up here. Well, that's OK, 'cause we're going to build this clean. So at this point I just select everything, as shown here, and I'd go to Object, I'd go to Path, and I'd go to Outline Stroke. And this outlines changes it from a stroke from a shape. Once I've done that I'd go to Pathfinder and I'd go Unite. So all we've done, if I go to keyline view, is we've now removed all the strokes, created everything as shapes. But once again, we don't want this, so I'll select this shape and you only have to select one anchor point and if you hit the Delete key a couple times everything goes away and it leaves the inside.
And the inside is what we're going to now color black. And you can see, we have a nice tread pattern we can work with. So very simple, geometric efforts to create the artwork that you need. Now I'm going to turn on another file here, well, a layer that is, and this is a Copy Out layer. Now it's the exact same artwork we just created here, but one thing I want to point out is I don't have it set as default black. It would be this if it's default.
So if I click this to fill this with this black and if we go in here, you can see it's 100% black. We don't want this, 'cause we're going to be pasting this into Photoshop and if we use this it'll actually look gray when we bring it into Photoshop. So I want to use what I call an inky black. You could call it a process black if you will. And I'll click on it right here. And if I open this you can see it has all of these. Now, once again, I like to call this Inky Black, it's just my personal favorite name for it.
Process black is probably the industry standard technical term for this. But the reason why this is important is you can see how it'll be fractional. I don't worry about that, I just keep it as-is, because, if we click OK, if I select this, go to Color, you can see we have Inky Black. Right now it's process. If I click on that and go to RGB you can see it's 100% RGB, and that's what we want, because as we open this or copy this into Photoshop this will ensure it's a deep rich black, not gray.
And that's what we want to create the kind of texture we want. And I've also created a bounding box, which is just a white shape. Let me color this pink here. You can see it's just behind the initial shape we created, but I'm going to color that white again. We're going to select both of these. And now this is, we're going to copy, so I'm going to Command + C, copy it, it's now on the pasteboard, and we're going to move to Photoshop now and do some work inside Photoshop. So we're inside Photoshop now and we have our artwork copied to the clipboard, and I'm just simply going to paste it into place.
And we're going to paste as Pixels, not Smart Object, and we're going to go OK. And you can see, it's 100%, because the bounding box I had that I copied out with it is the exact same size as this document. So that's important. We'll go ahead and place it like this and now we have our tire tread. I can even name it if I want to, Tire Tread. And on a layer above it we're going to do some texturing with brushes. So what I want to do is I want to open up this panel and you can see we have some brush sets here.
This is, I'm using Photoshop CC 2018, and they've changed some things with Photoshop brushes, meaning you can organize them into folders, and even have folders within folders. Really, really helpful. And so the set I'm going to work with here is going to be this Texture brush set. Now this is a set of textures that I created by taking photographs at a rat rod show, just 'cause there's some cool textures. And I found a bus there that was an old school bus and it was just thrashed with all kinds of textures on it, and I just did a whole photo shoot of that bus and created this set called the Texture Bus.
And it literally comes from an old school bus, all these textures. So I use themes with the names, I like to have fun with the names, playing off a school terminology and metaphors. So Dishonor Roll, Detention, Class Bully, Bad Grades, Air Guitar, that goes back to my time in high school. And this is what we're going to use now to texturize this. So we can select any brush here, like this one, and we're going to make sure we're on Brushes. And you can see what it looks like here.
If we go to Presets on this brush you can see the Size is 1400 here. So we can actually go up, because this brush was actually created very large, so it gives you flexibility of use. You could go up even more like this. And all I'm going to do with these type of brushes, let's go ahead and move this up a little, is I'm going to go ahead and stamp on this brush kind of like this. And you can see how I'm just adding some texture to it, like this, just to break up that edge.
And we'll want to use different ones, we don't want to use the same one on everything, so we're going to go back here, and maybe we'll go to this GPA one, and we'll go in up here. And I'm going to add some broken up textures. I'm just dealing with the edge. I don't want the edge to be perfect, I want it to be somewhat broken up. Maybe that's a little too much, so we'll undo that. And I want it to be degraded. So that's how I use these brushes, just to add that kind of detailing in it.
We'll do a few more here. And there is no right or wrong to this, it's purely aesthetic. So you're going to have to just select things, look at things, and determine what's looking nice and what isn't looking nice, and then you can go from there and decide if you want to change it even more. So let's see, we'll go to another one. Another thing you can show is you can have the Brush Tip show and sometimes that's a little easier, well, that's not helping that much.
You can't see it, it's pretty small there. But I just like taking textures and just saying, oh, that's a nice one. So we'll do that just to break up that, we'll bring in some distress lines up into this one. And that's all I'm going to do here. I just want it to be imperfect, that's the point I'm trying to make. We'll do one more here. Maybe it's Air Guitar. I like that name. And this one is more flecks, so it's kind of putting a distress throughout, which doesn't look bad either.
That looks kind of nice. And so let's zoom in on this, just so you can see exactly what it's doing to the art. So you can see how it's breaking up that clean vector shape, that's kind of what we want. We want to create just a nice, kind of texturized version of the tread. Now if we go back, we're going to go ahead and collapse this panel, and we're going to go back here, I'm going to turn off textures. And I'm going to show you, the way I like to use this methodology is I'll try stuff and get it to a point I like it, but if I'm unsure then I'll create a new layer and go from there, so I don't ruin what's on that previous layer.
So when I worked on this I originally did these textures I painted on top, and then I decided to create a new level, a new layer that is. So I'm going to go to the next layer here and I like to name them, Texture2. And this if I toggle on and off you can see how I'm just adding more distress, so it's imperfect. I'll go to the next layer and I'll add even a little more, like this. And then the next layer, even a little more to blow it out even more, like this. And this is where it really starts to look authentic, look really nice, and I think it's going to work really well.
And it's at this point we want to, and I save the file at this point, so I have a PSD file saved, so I can always go back and make any other edits and report a new image. But at this point we're going to go to Image, we're going to go to Mode, we're going to go to Bitmap, and we're going to go OK to flatten, we're going to keep the Resolution as-is and 50% Threshold, and we'll go OK. And all this has done is created a bitmap Tiff, as you can see here. No levels of gray, just black and white pixels.
This is going to be the image we're going to use inside of Illustrator. So now we're going to go back to Illustrator and flesh out the rest of the design using this authentic looking tread motif. Now we're back inside Illustrator and this was the image we had copied, pasted into Photoshop, used brushes, custom Photoshop brushes we created from real-world surface textures, to create our final asset, which is this bitmap TIFF image we placed into Illustrator.
Now you could image trace this, but I'm not going to, because I like it looking exactly the way it does. And I don't need to image trace it. A TIFF is going to work for how I'm going to use this. So I'm going to keep it as-is. It's a high resolution TIFF image. I'm going to be able to color it, as you see moving forward, and it's going to work great. Now I'm going to walk through a little part of the other aspect of this design, and that is the theme for this one was an unfortunate accident by an armadillo.
So this is my refined sketch, this is the base drawing I did. Now I used the same methodology to create the final art on this one. And even though this is black and white artwork, I did the same approach in terms of texturing where I copied this out into Photoshop and then did some texturing on it, 'cause I didn't want this artwork to be absolutely clean, crisp, perfect, because it wouldn't fit with the tread.
So I wanted them to be somewhat compatible, if you will. So I'm going to turn on this background, then we're going to go ahead and turn on our layer here. And you can see how I've done that texturing to this armadillo himself. And so in the Exercise Files, by the way, are all these brushes you can use and try yourself, including a nice little spatter brush. But this is going to make the aesthetic of this design more compatible with the texturing we created on this guy here.
And on this shape we're going to go ahead and colorize this guy. So I'm going to colorize him green. And then on this shape of the tread pattern here, just for comparisons, let's go like this, and I'm going to make a clone of this and just move this over, 'cause we might come back to it. I'm going to select this. And what I want to do first is I want to skew this, so it gives a faux perspective and I'm going to use the Shear Tool and Rotate to do that, but I found that it works best if you horizontally scale something first if you're going to kind of distort an image like this.
And don't be worried about distorting an image, especially a texture image like this. Textures are already imperfect and distressed and it's just going to add to that aesthetic overall. So we're going to go to Non-Uniform and on this one I'm going to hit in 85. And if you watch this over here when I hit Preview it's just going to skinny it up just in that, we're not adjusting Vertical, just Horizontal. And we'll click OK. The next thing I want to do here is we'll go ahead and color it, so I'm going to color this gray here.
I think that's going to work good. And the next thing I want to do is I want to shear it. So we'll go to the Shear Tool, which is right underneath Scale, and we're going to double-click in this, and for this we want to keep Horizontal going, so we will do minus 5 maybe, let's try that. And you can see how all that does is it kind of italicizes it. That's not quite enough, I think we'll do 7. And yeah, that looks good.
We'll go like this. And now I want to rotate it into place and this is where I'll get a little tricky. So we'll go over here to Rotate, I'll double-click on this, and on Rotate it'll be minus again, so maybe minus 20. Let's see if that does it. Oops, I guess I went the wrong way. Let's do positive 20. Oh, that's pretty close.
Actually, I think maybe a little more, not a whole lot. Try that. I think that'll work. So we'll go like this. And I'm going to drag this over, just so I can see it with fresh eyes. And I want to take this and position it, kind of, I'm trying visually to align it with this line here. So I'll do that. That looks OK, but I'm going to nudge it, I'm going to nudge it over with the nudge tools.
And if I zoom in on this I have it overlapping this backside, but underneath the front side, so it kind of adds to that illusion that this little dude had a bad day crossing the road in Texas somewhere. So that's how I'd composition this. Now what am I creating here exactly? Well, it's a T-shirt and the T-shirt's for Road Kill Cafe. So we're going to go ahead and colorize other elements of this. So I'll colorize this red, kind of a dull earthy red, and we'll colorize this the same color, like that.
And now this is where other textures are going to come into play. And actually we can get rid of this guy, so I'll just delete him. And now we're going to add a few more textures. So we'll add a texture here. This is, once again, created the same way using, I used a really bloppy paintbrush and I didn't flick it at the paper, I just kind of let it drip, and then I moved it a little just to create these nice little splatter effects.
So once again, another hand created texture here. And we're going to color this the same gray. Notice how I have it on layers underneath where the character is. So I like to do that, because it helps to, I like to use layers like that, 'cause it helps to compose ideas. So I'm going to go ahead and move that guy over, maybe scoot it over just a little. Maybe even just a little more. I'm going to zoom in, just so I can see what's going on a little bit better.
Maybe even more, like that. And actually that looks pretty good. So I'm going to leave that in place, I'll lock it. And I have another texture sitting on top here and this one we'll color green, like that. And then we'll lock that layer and I have another texture that sits on top of the type here and this texture is going to be colored red. And then we'll go down to this one, this one will be colored red as well.
And then we have another texture, red as well there. Now if I zoom out a little one thing I want to show you is when you place textures they don't have to be always 90 degrees. I rotate them, I skew them, and distort them. It doesn't matter with textures, it's going to look just as well if you didn't do that. It's very, very, very forgiving. So you can see here, the only vector art in this design is the type, which is remaining vector, the hand lettering I did on the type.
So a very flexible way to work. Now I like this design, I think it came out great, I think it's going to work great on T-shirts, but let's say they print these T-shirts on a dark colored background. So I'm going to turn this on here. The colors I picked, and this is something you have to keep in mind when you're working on a project like this, is on a white background, if it is white T-shirt or let's say, a light cream colored T-shirt, the colors we picked are going to work, but on a black, the hue is too bright and too, the hue basically needs to be adjusted, needs to be corrected in order to work ideally on a dark background.
So if I kind of move this over a little and turn this on you can see these were the colors I used on the light background and on a dark there's a lot brighter. I think these colors work better on a dark background. So that's what we're going to do now, is we're just going to select these colors and change them to the darker versions, like this, with the armadillo, from a light green to a darker hue of green. And we'll make the same change on the type as well. So we'll take this red and do a darker hue, take this green and do the darker hue of green, like that.
We'll now turn, we'll go to, let's see, this dude, I think we need to select this texture, which is still light and turn that to gray. That looks good. And now we're going to turn on this layer and you can see the green is still light, so we want that to be dark. And then we'll change the red to the dark versions as well. So usually I'll spec different inks if a vendor or a client is doing shirts the same design on a light as apposed to a dark shirt, and I adjust the value of the colors by spec'ing appropriate colors are going to work on those garments.
It just ends up looking better in the long run. One size fits all does work for everything. But I really love how this came about, I love the authenticity, and this was a fun project. And remember to get the Photoshop brushes in the Exercise Files. And you'll be able to set up your presets if you want to adjust them or create other versions of those brushes as well. Thank you for watching DVG Lab. And until next time, remember, you know what's coming, never stop drawing.
Skill Level Intermediate
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