Join Brad Neal for an in-depth discussion in this video Adding color to the machine heads, part of Technical Illustration: Creating a Cutaway.
To create the machines, I started by tracing the shapes of the objects as well as what I'll call blocking in color using the photo reference as my template, and I'll show you what that means here in a second, but before we get started, you're going to see some items in the layers palette that will not be in your reference file. And I put these in here just for demonstration purposes. As you work through the exercise on your own, you could finish those. But I wanted to let you know they were there, and they're not going to show up on your reference files.
So the way I start, I've already got my outline images done. But if you look at the reflections of the various colors in this, you can see that they're really flat tone, and that's the way I treat them. So as I illustrate, I just try to identify color blocks, we'll call em, and I'll draw those in. And they don't have to be perfect. But they do look pretty realistic when the piece is complete. So, I'm just going to go ahead and continue to draw these shapes out.
And, you can get as detailed as you want with these. Or include as many as you want, it's hard to work around these tight spots. I'll have to come back and clean that up. I think I'll only put one more in for right now, and let me just clean it up. I'll include this one. So, I think, for now, that is plenty.
So, what I would do then is, just work my way around the entire head of the guitar. And at, the same would apply for this. There's a few areas where I would use flat tone color. There's a few areas that I might throw in a couple gradient blends. again, that's just a matter of personal preference. This will be viewed from quite a distance, so any detail at all you add in there will kind of run together, but it'll look very believable on the finished product. We'll take a look at what the finished product does look like here in a second. Okay, so what I'll do now is turn on a layer that only has the lines included in them, there's no color in those.
One thing I do want to mention, you'll notice that I went ahead and finished that entire machine head. I had to use my imagination on this because I had no visual reference. The guitar was actually not cut away, and I did not have a loose machine head to work from, so I had to kind of create the thing on my own. And you'll see what that finished piece looks like here, momentarily. Alright. So, using what we just talked about as your guide. Go ahead and work your way around the rest of the guitar, and finish off the machine heads. And right now, we're going to move into the color, and take a look at how that comes together.
going to turn the color layer on. And this is what I mean by blocking in color. We are going to blend these things, but for right now, it was just a simple matter of selecting these shapes that we just drew. And I used the Eyedropper tool, just to show you. Select this, use the Eyedropper tool and come somewhere in here and start selecting your colors and you work your way all the around, for example, this would be this and I do have a gradient blend in here.
So, I'll sample that from here instead of setting up a whole gradient blend, but you get the idea, you can adjust the gradient if you don't like the way it's shaped. You can change that. Change the degree, what have you. This is the only place I did use a gradient blend, but the reason I point out that I do have a gradient blend in here is that we're going to run a blend on this piece that is going to have to overlap this gradient. And there's a little technique that I use, using translucency or transparency, that help us complete that. So, let's take a look at the finished version.
Which is this. When I said I had to use my imagination, I did not have this column to reference, so I just had to make it up. And when you're doing technical illustration and cutaways, you want to avoid making things up if possible, but there are times where you just can't. That you just don't have the reference information there, so you do the best you can. I happen to know what it's supposed to look like. So, just using my imagination, I completed it. And then I also want you to take note of the tuning peg, the head up here and how that looks, how I use the information from here to create this and it looks pretty believable.
When you come in close, you can see that there is gradient blends in there, there's flat tones, I didn't use any object blends. But when viewed at a distance, it looks pretty believable. Now, let's talk about this area here, where I had to use transparency, because again, there's a gradient blend underneath and a shape blend over the top. So to do that, I'm going to select these two objects here. I've got these pre-setup. You'll notice that you see the line here, but you don't see any fill in it. That's because the transparency is set to zero.
If I set that to 100%, that's what that looks like. Alright? So, let's go ahead and blend that. I'll, actually, I'll blend it showing you what it would look like if we didn't do that. We'll select this and this. And using our Blend tool, click there, Opt+Click, ten steps is fine. But you see this hard edge here. I don't want that. So I don't even have to redo the blend. I can just simply select that component, go back to Transparency, knock that back to zero. It'll rerun the blend. And then you have a nice believable, smooth transition.
From there, I just work my way around it, the rest of the shapes. Again, this, too, is set to zero for transparency. I'm going to bump that outta the way because I'm afraid that's overlapping something there. So again, click Option+Click and ten is fine. Make sure both of those are selected. And then, as you work your way around, you wind up with a piece that looks like this. So, once you begin experimenting with the blends and adding detail.
You gotta keep in mind that your illustration will quickly become very busy and complex. And I'm sorry to keep nagging about keeping things orderly but, you need to be absolutely diligent about the proper use of layers and groups because the number of them will begin to increase dramatically from this point on. And, you'll be very glad you did when those change orders come with the modification requests. So, make sure that you keep things orderly and keep your groups intact.
- Being technically accurate
- Choosing your style
- Researching reference artwork
- Creating the initial cutaway
- Working with blends and color
- Adding grain and final details