Learn how to use photos as a color fill for a uniquely styled illustration.
(object exploding) - [Instructor] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory! Sometimes, ideas hit me at the strangest times. Years ago when I was looking at some trees, it inspired this sketch you see here and it's been hanging in my studio ever since. So I decided to approach it again and the creation of it is going to be handled in a slightly different manner.
I'll originally create the vector shapes and forms as you'll see. That part won't be different but how I handle the coloring is going to be done in an unorthodox manner so let me show you how we're going to do that. This was the sketch that inspired everything and from this I created my refined sketch as shown here. Like I do in most of my content, I'll take that refined sketch, I'll set the transparency to 20 and I'll go ahead and lock the layer.
Now this is going to serve as my road map for vector building so if I turn on the trunk, you can see the shapes that make up the trunk as shown here. I also have back leaves layer. This just means all the leaves that are behind the elements of the trunk layer and then the front leaves. These are all the elements that slightly overlap some of the limbs going off the trunk and then we have the leaves that are falling in on the ground are on the topmost layer. The reason why I layered things this way, is because all these shapes are going to essentially just be used as masking for what we're going to color our artwork with.
In that case, it's going to be photographs! So we have a bunch of leaves here. These are all transparent .png images and we have this real-world surface texture of bark and we're going to utilize these elements to compose our final colored artwork. We're going to go ahead and start here. We're going to select this leaf and I'm not going to just move it over, I'm going to copy it. So CMD+C, CMD+V to paste it. We'll bring it over on this one and just so you can see what I'm doing, I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on this and we'll just go ahead and rotate this into place.
I like to take the base of the stem, align it with the base of my vector shape here. And if we go to the rotate tool, we can click on the orientation here and then when we rotate our leaf, it'll go off at that area and it's going to make scaling a lot easier. Then we can go ahead and start scaling it up where it needs to be like this and position it into place. I think that's going to work well. We'll select this leaf and then we'll mask it.
To mask normally, you'd go to object, pull down to clipping mask and make. But notice I have F1. I have keyboard shortcuts set-up so all I have to do with both selected is hit F1 and it's masked! So if you don't have keyboard shortcuts set-up, I highly recommend that you do that. There's a DVG Lab movie that you can watch on keyboard shortcuts to do just that. So make sure to check that out. We're going to grab the next one. We'll do this leaf, this maple leaf. CMD+C, CMD+V.
This will end up being here. Once again, we'll zoom in so we can see what we're doing. I'll position the base of the stem of this leaf right where the base of the vector mask is going to be and then we'll go ahead and use the rotate, click on that, then slightly rotate and now we can go ahead and scale it up. This one's going to be quite a bit bigger like this. And I think that looks pretty good. Select this and F1 to mask that as well.
So that's all we're going to do. It's not hard. This is actually a lot of fun to do and it's the type of work where it's good to listen to audio book while you do this or something like that, music if you want. We'll select this one, CMD+C, CMD+V. We'll do this one in the falling leaf. Once again, we'll zoom in and we'll compose it. And this one, I tried to align since the stem in the photograph bends, We'll just align that with the overall shape we're going to be masking it into as well.
Kind of like that. And, oh we got one area over there that's white so we're going to have to go a little bit bigger here. That work? And then F1 to mask it into place. So that's all we're doing. It's not hard. We'll do a couple barks here. We'll select this bark. And we'll CMD+B, CMD+C, CMD+V. This one, we're going to align it with this shape.
Let's go ahead and zoom in here like this. We'll go ahead and rotate this. Kind of like that, we can scale it down I think a little bit. This one, we'll go ahead and bring it up here and it's going to be on the shape that's right here. We can go ahead and bring that down. So it's something like that and I'm actually using the shading on the bark texture from dark to light because it'll add a little bit of volume like that and we'll select the shape, we'll select the texture and once again, F1 to mask it into place.
We'll take this one, CMD+B, CMD+C, CMD+V and on this one, we're going to use it to mask the larger shape pretty much right next to it. So this shape right here. And this shape, if I select this goes up quite a bit. So this covers it but we can scale it down a little bit, kind of like that, select this shape and mask that into place. Now if you ever want to move these, you can just use the direct selection tool and move your image within the mask without moving the mask itself.
Sometimes this is ideal to get the contrast look and feel you want but we'll just leave that there. That demonstrates exactly what I'm trying to do and then we'll do a few more of these masks for the bark and we're going to utilize this same image here. It's so big, we can isolate different areas. We'll go ahead and CMD+C, CMD+V again. And on this one, all we're going to do is we're going to focus on creating let's see, we'll do this texture here on these two branches.
This one and this one. We'll select that and mask that into place. Once again, if you don't like the way it looks, you could even scale it as it's masked if you want to get a different look and feel that's fine. So maybe on this one, it looks better if it's a little bigger. So it's a lot of flexibility, this. CMD+C, CMD+V. We'll do one last one here. This one we'll cover some of the limbs on the right hand side like this.
Enlarge it just a bit. Select that, actually make it a little bigger on the top here like this. Select those masks and mask those into shape. So that's all we're doing here to create the illusion of coloring. I could go ahead and do everything but that'd just take too long like a good cooking show. I kind of have a lot of this pre-built so we're going to go ahead and turn off these layers now. We'll jump up to all of it masked into place and you can see it looks really cool.
It's a lot of fun, works really well. Now one thing we're going to do is if I click in to some of these areas here, you can see that they're the original masks I have here, but one thing I'm going to do and explain is I want to turn off this layer for a second. And we took this, this is the only example where I actually filled any of the vector shapes with color. And it's just the trunk. I filled it with this base-brownish color and the reason I did that is 'cause we want to apply a blend mode to some of the textures we're using and one of those will be this one, we'll select it.
We're going to go to blend mode and what we're going to set in the blend mode, is we're going to set to hard light. Look at how it changes the hue with the color underneath it. It looks really good! It's like a nice contrast. That's the only reason we're doing this. And we're going to go ahead and do that on this one. Go hard light, like that just to get some of that nice contrasting going here. We'll select this one, and we'll go hard light, like this.
And I don't know, let's see what this one looks like with hard light. Ooh! I like that too! So go and leave that. I really like how that livened up and made a little more contrast inside the entire motif for this tree. I think it works well so that's one thing we did. The other thing I want to go through is I just wanted to add some background to this. So if I turn on this sky layer, you can see all this is is a gray-scaled vignetted photograph I created.
And all we're going to do here is we're going to align it to the background here in the center and because this is gray-scale we can color it. So we'll color it the blue we have here. The value here is too intense. I want to knock this value back. We're going to go to 60%. And you can either do that transparency or handle it like a tint. In this case we'll just do a tint, that's fine at 60%. And I think that looks good. I'm going to go ahead and lock the two layers above and lock the sky layer but I'm going to turn on this layer called outer glow and I'm going to turn off the layers above.
You can see, all we've done again, is we've made copies of the branch shapes itself. We're going to select this and we're going to go to stroke. On this, we're going to create a stroke of eight points, like that. But we want it to be white and we want rounding like this. Then the next thing we're going to do is we're going to go to effects and we're going to go to blur, we're going to go to gaussian blur and I think that's way too much.
Let's knock that back to like 18, and preview it. That looks good so we'll commit to it. But I don't want the value to be so overt so we're going to go back and knock this value back to about 70% like that. We just want it just to add some contrast from the background to the foreground like that. And I think that works really well. This is a way you can handle doing a unique style design.
A lot of people love photography. You can get really graphic with your vectors, take some nice photography and you can pull off some really unique artwork as shown here. I love the way this came out but I'd never give a client this built file as is. You're just asking for problems if you do that. I would rather take this final art composed as it is and I'd rasterize the final artwork in Photoshop and deliver a clean, hi-res .tiff image for them to use as their final art.
So that's the way I'd handle delivery of this file. But to build this file, this is perfectly fine doing it this way. It's a different way of doing it and once again, it's using Illustrator as a staging ground for creativity. Not necessarily full vector artwork, doesn't have to be. So think outside the box, try new things, give this methodology a try on your own, see if you like it. You might come up with even better things you could do than what I've shown here so thank you for watching DVG Lab and until next time, never stop drawing.
Note: Because this is an ongoing series, viewers will not receive a certificate of completion.
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.