Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating complex geometrics, part of Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory.
- [Instructor] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics laboratory. Saul Bass set design is thinking made visual and when approaching complex shapes, it works best to deduce them down into simpler shapes in order to make creating them easier. So let me show you an example of how this works. Now we were working on, and when I say we, me and my daughter, Savannah, she works with me, we were working on some illustrations, some simple flat-based illustrations like the ones seen in here, and it was going to be used in the effort of animation for a lumber company and their fabricated product.
Now part of the story board we were given by the agency, asked us to have a motif as shown here and one of the elements they had was create a saw blade and then we'll animate it to look like it's ripping through a log, creating the base product that they use in their fabrication. Now, Savannah came back to me and said, "How do you create a saw blade?" It been quite a while since I done that and I said, "Well, I'll create the graphic for you," and then I gave it to her and it's what you see here.
Now, as I was doing this, I'm going, "You know what? "I bet other people might be interested "in seeing how to pull this off." 'Cause it seems simple, but it can be somewhat complicated if you don't think about it the right way. So I'm going to deconstruct this process and show you how I created this and if you ever need a saw blade, you'll know how to create a saw blade. Actually this methodology will work for any type of motif you need to create. But this is going to be specifically a saw blade. So, it obviously helps when you reference the real thing, so here's an actual saw blade and we're not going to worry about being photo-realistic in terms of even the edges 'cause if you look at the edge here, it has these little perforated kind of saw tips on it and we're not going to worry about that.
We're just going to get to a generalized stereotypical look and feel of what a saw may be and that inquires looking at a saw blade and saying, "What's going to essentially make up the element "that's going to pull this together?" Well, if we take the pin tool, and we just think about shapes in general, you know, you might end up creating a shape that is going to look something kind of like this. And all it comes down to is how do you take a shape like this and replicate it so it rotates around the base and then you're able to create that illusion of a saw blade? Even though it may be iconic and simplified, people would look at it and recognize that it's a saw blade.
Well, that's exactly what we're going to do. We're going to go ahead and do that by just using these simple circles as our guide of what's the center point and what is the outer radius of the blade we're going to create. And so right now, we're just going to create our simple base shape and that's all I'm going to create here. So I'll go ahead an start doing that and this outer shape is where the outer part of the blade is going to hit and so, we'll say it's going to hit right about there and I want this at a slight angle if you're looking at the reference like this.
And then it can go all the way down to where it gets fatter and then we can kind of close it in. Now I think we got this a little too extreme up here so let's go and pull this in. Yeah, I think that's going to work better. And so, this is all it takes to create your base artwork for this. It might be a little fat, too. Let's pull this in. That, I think that looks okay. And pull this in. By the way, it says Path, it says Anchor.
I have smart guides turned on Command U. That's going to help greatly. Now once you create one blade, it's all about knowing how to replicate it. Now the whole reason I have this outer circle here is this is what we're going to use to keep everything in register but make the process easier. So we're going to select this blade and we're going to clone it. Command C, Command F. And then I'm going to select this outer circle. We're just going to rotate it 180 degrees.
So we've made a copy on the opposite end. Keep in mind a clock. We now have 12 o'clock. We have six o'clock. So we're going to go ahead and select both of these, clone them again. Command C, Command F. Select the circle and we're going to rotate it 90 degrees. This is going to give us our nine o'clock position and our three o'clock position. We'll go ahead and select all four shapes now. 12, three, six, and nine. We'll clone them. Command C, Command F.
Select the outer circle once again and this is where we're going to rotate and we're going to hold Shift down. It's going to lock it in to 45 degree angles and then we'll let go like this. That's what we want. And now, we're going to select all these blades once again and this is where, kind of math in going to come into play because we want to clone these now. Command C, Command F and we want to select the outer circle and we want to rotate these so it's perfectly halfway in between each of the blades.
So if this was 45, all we have to do divide 45 and a half so we're a be rotating at 22.5 degrees. So with everything selected, we'll go over here and we'll select the rotate tool. We'll double click on it and then we're going to punching that in. So we'll go 22.5 and you can test it and you can see how it rotates. That's what we want and we'll go Okay. So that's rotated our blade. So now we have everything needed to pull off our final artwork.
And that's pretty cool. It's not hard at all. We can go ahead and get rid of this outer circle. We actually don't need it now and we'll select everything minus the inner part of the blade. We'll deselect it. With everything selected, we're going to go to our pathfinder and we're going to select Unite here and you can see how it unites everything into one cohesive shape. We can direct select this inner part and just delete it, get rid of it.
And now you can see we're getting pretty close to having what we need but on a saw, these inner parts don't go to a pointed tip. They go to round and what I'm going to show you now I don't use the corner widget in Illustrator. And the reason why I don't use it is as I'm building, if I go over a corner, it assumes I want to always make a round corner so I turn it off. I actively hide it and if you go to View you can see Show Corner Widget. I have it hid, so it never shows up.
I prefer using a tool called the Rounding Tool with it's new graphics and it comes with a plug-in called Vector Scribe and it's in the dynamic corners tool right here. And I use this tool all the time and the reason why I use it, it's just dead simple to use. And I'm going to zoom in so you can see what's going on. Now everything I'm going to do here, you can do with the widget tool in Illustrator. It's just going to go a little faster using this plug-in and that's why I use it. So I'll just pull out as far as I want.
In this case, that looks pretty good. And then I can just click all these other anchor point corners. Once I've applied one and it will apply the same radius, the same rounding to everything and that's why I do it. It's a really nice feature. I use this tool all the time and now we're almost done. We almost have everything created that we need to create and it's looking really good. So we're going to select the inner circle.
We're going to bring it to front, make sure you go to Object, you go to Range, bring to Front, like that. And then you can select your blade. And now we're just going to simply remove from shape by using the Pathfinder and this is created basically a donut shape if you want, a middle circle is showing through now. And if we go to here, we can go ahead and colorize this black and you can see what you get there. So that's how I would go about creating this simple blade shape.
Now on something like this, I've used it on a design as shown here. Now this was a design for a construction company for some stickers and shirts they were doing. It was for a pneumatic nail gun company called Paslode. This is what I created for and I use this same approach to create the saw blade for this design motif. Now, I always like adding texture on something like this and here's a cool half dome texture and I can just colorize this texture the same color as the background here and if we get the right color and it looks really nice running over the top of it and this is what the design looks like.
They could actually put them on the pneumatic nail guns that they were selling. So this is one way you can approach a complex form. In this case, a saw blade. Graphic design exists because it takes complexity and through graphics, simplification recreates it in the less complex way. This is a discipline used in iconography and brand-centric design all the time but can be leveraged within any design context to make discernment and construction of vector-based art, easier.
All it takes is a little time to look at the complexity and think through the shapes. Like any skill, you get better at the more you do it over time. So stick with it, look at some shape, and try to figure out how to pull it off in a simple fashion. Thank you for watching DVD lab and until next time, never stop drawing.
Skill Level Intermediate
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