Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a stained glass illustration, part of Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory.
(gear clicking) - [Instructor] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. In this movie, I want to take you through the process of creating a stained glass illustration. The obvious inspiration behind this is stained glass. Most of you have probably seen this if you've gone into any kind of cathedral, and this photograph that you can see here is kind of the aesthetic I want to attempt to achieve using both Illustrator and a few things in Photoshop that we'll then bring back into Illustrator and apply.
And it's a fun project. I kind of did some exploration here and wasn't sure if I was going to even be able to pull this off and I was kind of pleasantly surprised and I think you will be, too. So this is where it started, looking at a photograph of a real stained glass piece of artwork and now trying to replicate that via a vector illustration. So it all starts off where all of my projects start, in a drawing stage. So this is my symmetric drawing, I only drew half of it because then I was able to scan it in, bring it in to Photoshop and reflect it to get the full thing.
Now when it comes to stained glass, you could've done some more traditional, maybe it's a rectangular shape with whatever the theme or motif is that is more traditionally based. I kind of wanted to do a face just because I just thought it'd be fun to do a face. So I'm going for that style, but my forming shape, well I guess you could have a really cool kind of ovaly rounded window. That would actually kind of be cool if you could install that in a home or something like this. But I was thinking those kind of stained glass pieces of art that you can hang in front of a window.
That's kind of what I was going for here. So that's why I picked this motif. Now it starts off with just simple pencil drawing, but then I went and I inked it and this is why I really think that analog methods facilitate digital workflows because on this I wanted a nice organic feel, so I went to my favorite brush pen. This is the Pilot Pocket Brush Pen. I buy 'em from a site called JetPens.com. They come out from Japan, you can see the lettering on the side of the pen there, and the nib I prefer is the soft one because I'll print out my composite drawing from Photoshop and then I'll simply start inking on top of it, as shown here, and I'm using the brush pen to really get a nice organic thick and thin as I'm drawing out all the various detail.
And I do this until I have my full drawing drawn out. And this is just the base linework. Now because I'm trying to create the illusion of stained glass I wanted it thicker and beefier, so I went back in and kept inking on it to add in that beefiness until I had this shown here. And I take that inking and I scan it in at 800 PPI, pixels per inch, and then I place that TIFF image inside Illustrator just like this, and this is kind of the basis of where we're going to start with in Illustrator, is from this drawing standpoint.
What do I do once I place my TIFF in? Well, the first thing we're going to do is we're going to go ahead image trace it. So let's go to Window and pull-down to Image Trace. That'll bring up the Image Trace palette here. You want to make sure to expand it because we need to first click Ignore White. That's important because that means it takes anything white in your scan and makes it transparent and that's what we want. So make sure to click that first. And I want this traced as tight as possible, so I'm going to drag Paths all the way up to 100, and I don't want algorithms making decisions for me, so I'll trace this all the way down to Noise, and this ensures it's going to trace it as tight as possible and that's what I want because I drew it exactly the way I want it to look and I want to keep that as close as possible.
Now I'll hit Trace, and it's going to give you this warning most of the time. I usually, when this pops up I just say, do not show me this again. I'm a big boy, I know how to manage my files. It's just saying that you're going to get a lot of anchor points here. Yeah, I know that. So just click OK. And it'll image trace it and now we can close Image Trace panel. And with the shape selected we want to go up to the top menu bar here in Illustrator and click Expand because right now we can't access this, we have to expand it first, so we're going to click Expand.
And now if I go to keyline view you can see I have nothing but vector shapes, but you'll also notice I got a whole lot of anchor points. And a plug-in I use called PathScribe, if I just open that panel really quick, with the shape selected you can see I have an insane amount of anchor points, 11,651 to be exact, and that's way too many. So we want to clean this up a little bit. By the way in Illustrator, when you have a shape selected now if you want to see the anchor points you have to hold Command down with it selected and then it'll display it.
Once again, too many anchor points. So we're going to go up to Object, we're going to pull down to Path, and we're going to go over to Simplify and click that and that'll bring up this window. And with Simplify here, well let me just show you a default. 50%, we're going to click Preview. (chuckles) No, that destroys the art. We don't want to do this. We want to just barely simplify it. This actually simplified it from 11,000 anchor points down to 243. We don't need an algorithm determining the aesthetic.
We want it to match our drawing as close as possible. So I'm going to drag this up, and we're only going to do it by 2%, 98%, and you can see how it looks. It looks like our scanned in drawing and that's what we want. And if I look at the anchor point count, it went from 11,000 and now it has only 2,161 and that's more manageable, so we'll click OK. Once we've done that, we now need to bring it in what's called, Live Paint mode. So we'll go back up to Object, we'll go down to Live Paint, and we'll go to Make, and notice how the bounding box iconography to control it has changed.
This is to tell you you're in Live Paint mode. Now to use the Live Paint tool to start painting in these white spaces in our artwork, we're going to go over to the tool palette and it'll be found under where this shape building tool is. We'll click and hold and go to Live Bucket tool. And then when we hover over our space we can isolate any part in this and notice that little seat belt kind of iconography at the top? If you use the direction keys on your keyboard, the little arrow keys, if you go right, it'll start going through the Swatches palette.
See how it's selecting different colors as I go? So you just pick whichever color you want. In this case, I'll start with red, I'll select his nose, click it, and fill it. Then you just select whatever shape you want to get to next. In this case, I think this one will be green. Let's see, we'll do this one yellow. We'll do his eye purple. And let's see we'll make this one green here.
And this is how I'll make decisions. Now you might be wondering, how do I come up with the colors I'm going to use? Well, that brings up tonal families. I always, especially on a project like this which is color driven, that's what stained glass is all about, I figure out a nice complementary set of tonal value colors. On the left here you can see I have base colors and on the right I have shadow colors. The shadow colors are going to play a part a little later on as you'll see.
But I determine that up front. So all color exploration comes down to is selecting the colors and applying the colors. So now that I've started filling this in, I want to show you what it looks like once I have everything filled in here. So this shows, once again the Live Paint mode is still on, shows all my colors have been put into place now. Now it's at this point that I need to expand this shape. And what I do when I work is I usually make a copy of a layer and try something if I'm not sure what exactly I'm going to do next just so I can go back and redo it a different way if I didn't like how it came out.
And that's why I set up my tutorials the way I do. It's so as you go through 'em, when you deconstruct the file, you can do the same thing. So I already have a file set up with the exact same artwork on it. And once again it's in Live Paint mode, and I want to expand this now and ungroup it. So to expand it, with it selected, in the top menu bar in Illustrator you can just click the Expand button here. And so this is expanded now. You can see we no longer have the Live Paint mode indicators on the bounding box.
And now I want to ungroup it as well. If you want to ungroup, go into the menu. You can go Object and Ungroup, but notice how I have a keyboard shortcut of F6 applied. That's because I can just select a shape and hit F6 and in this case I'm going to have to hit it twice because it's grouped twice, and I'll hit it again. And now if I select the black artwork and pull it away you can see how it separates it, and that's what I want. I wanted all my pieces to be separated now.
I'm going to go backward in my Layers palette, and with this black linework selected, I'm going to drag this to its own layer in my Layers palette, and we'll do that right here, up to a layer called Black Linework, and I'll let go of it. And we're going to come back to that later. I just wanted to show you that now because it's important to understand that that will play a part later. Now what I'm going to do, I'm going to select my shapes here, and I'm going to colorize these all black. And then on the outline, I want the black outline to be there, too.
And on this case, I want my outline to be three and I want to select round here. So now you can see what we have. And what I'm going to do now is when I did that I notice I have these stragglers out here, we can just select those and delete 'em. You're going to run into that when you use Image Trace, it's pretty common. And I'll select these. Once again, they have a fill, they have a stroke of three points. And we're going to go up to Object, we're going to go to Path, and we're going to go to Outline Shape.
We're changing this to just shapes, no strokes. And this will outline all the strokes. And you can see what that looks like here. And what we're going to do now is I'm going to go ahead and go to Pathfinder and we're going to unite all of these. So I'm just going to click that. And you can see if I zoom in on this, let's go ahead and zoom in, make sure we have the tool, zoom in, you can see now if I go to keyline view they're all shapes, I have no stroke applied to 'em.
If you look in the Swatches palette it's just simply a fill. When I did that, though, there's areas that get fused together, and this is where I'll grab the Eraser Tool and let's double-click into that and make sure. Right now it's at 10, we want it down to let's just do one. Click OK. What I'll do is I'll select my artwork like this with the Eraser Tool I'll just draw through it to just erase the areas I don't need so that they aren't fused together.
I'm separating, I'm putting a space in between anywhere where the artwork does that I'll zoom in and I'll fix those areas. Like here's one down here, we'll do that. And so you can see, you want all the pieces basically to be separated because of the effects we're going to do, we need them to be separated. So that's just going to take a few minutes to do that. And so like a good cooking show, I have this process already pre-baked. So here is my artwork prepared, all ready to start applying some effects.
And the first effect we're going to do, well, before we do that we need to colorize it. Right now it's black, we want to colorize it white. And you can see I have this bounding box, I'll explain that in a little bit. But for right now, let's just colorize our inner shapes white. And then we're going to go up to Effects and we're going to go down to Stylize, and we're going to go to Inner Glow, and I'll click that. And this is what I want but I don't want Screen, I want Multiply.
And I don't want white, I want this to be black, so we'll go here and select black, OK. And we'll pull this over to the left so you can see. And if I click Preview you can see what it's doing there. And that looks pretty good, but on the Opacity, I want my opacity to actually be 100% on this, and I want my Blur to be a little larger, meaning I want it to eat in to the shape more, so I'm going to put that at seven, and that's what we want.
And you want to make sure you have Edge. That means it goes from the edge inward, and that's what we want here. We're trying to create that kind of how the glass gets beveled on a old stained glass window around the edges and it creates that illusion of a glow, too, and that's what we want to play off of as well. So we'll click OK on this. And so if we go to the Appearance palette and you can see how on this shape we have an Inner Glow FX applied and that's good. Now we want to apply one other effect to it and this is what's called a sponge effect.
And this won't be found up in the menu at the top of the screen, you'll find this under this FX menu on the Appearance palette. So we'll click that. And we're going to go down, let's see, we're going to go down to Texture, and then over to not Stained Glass, even though that's called Stained Glass, that's not what we want. You can check that out. The best way to explore these kind of features is just to poke around, try 'em, see what they do, and decide if it's useful. And that's what I did here. I went to Grain, so we'll click that.
And this is going to take us into this mode where you can see our artwork shown here, and it's showing you this graininess applied to it. Well that doesn't look that bad actually, but that's not what we want. What we want to do is we want to click on Grain. These are all the effects you can choose from. We're going to go down to Sponge here and you can see the effect it's giving here. And now we're going to customize our settings on this. I want it larger, so we'll do seven. That looks okay. And on Definition, we want to punch that up.
And on Smoothness, I think smoothness is fine. So you can see the look and feel it's giving us over here based off of what you punch in on the settings to the right. And that looks pretty good, so we're going to click OK now, and it's applied it to our vector shape. Once again, if we look at the appearance panel you can see Inner Glow's still applied to the shape, Sponge is still applied to the shape, and if I turn these off using the eye icon on the left you can see our base vector shape is still there, we've just applied these effects to that base vector shape and it's giving us the look and feel we have here now, and that's what we want.
And it's at this point, once we have these applied, we're going to do something really simple in Photoshop, and this is where the bounding box comes in. I'm just going to go ahead, I don't want the outline on it, I just did that just to show you it's a no fill, no stroke. And what we'll do is we'll just select all of this and we're going to go copy, and that copies everything to the clipboard. Now we're going to switch to Photoshop and I'm going to show you what I do on Photoshop to enable this whole style.
Now that we're in Photoshop we're just simply going to paste what we copied to the clipboard here. So we'll do that now by going Command + V, and it'll ask us if you want to paste it as a Smart Object or Pixels. Because our final files that we're bringing out of Photoshop is going to be pixel-based, we don't need to bring it in as a Smart Object for this particular use, so we'll just select pixels, and we'll click OK. And right now we want to make sure it's brought in at 100%, so I'll go ahead and type in 100 and just make sure that the proportion is right and then we can go ahead and commit to this by saying Place.
And so this is how it is brought into Photoshop. And it's at this point that I'll usually name my files, so I'll say Original Import, or whatever you want to call it, then I'll go ahead and duplicate the layer. And it's on this layer that I'll name it let's say, Color Detail, whatever you want to name it, and I'll go OK. Now the reason why I did that is because I'm going to paint on this layer now and this is where I'm going to create the various things that I need.
In this case, it might be the pencil tool I'm using. Let's increase it quite a bit. And I'll just paint out, and I'll focus on the colors that I selected, and I'll paint out the colors that I don't need in terms of the detailing. And this will take you a little bit to do this, but I just focus on painting out and separating the colors onto their own layers. So if I click on that layer and turn on this, here's the brown which is part of his nose, here's the blue, here's the orange, yellow, green, purple and the red detail.
And all of these are separated on their own layers because I want to save out each of these detailing images as their own independent TIFF image. So we'll take this red color here and I'll go ahead and go to File, I'll go to Save As, and I'm going to select TIFF here. And I don't want Layers, so we'll uncheck that. And I'm just going to call this one, make sure we're saving it to the Desktop here, and I'll call this one Red Detail, and we'll go Save.
It'll open up, you select the preferences you want. I'm a Mac, so I'm going to select Mac, go OK. So that saved it to the desktop. Now let's move back to Illustrator and I'll show you how I utilize these images. Now we're back inside Illustrator and this is the image in the artwork that we copied and paste, that is, out of Illustrator into Photoshop. And some of you might've wondered, well, why don't I just image trace this now? So it turns it into vector art, then you wouldn't need Photoshop. Well, that's a good question.
And if I zoom in on this and you look at it, I really like the aesthetic of the bitmap version. Here's a comparison where I have auto image traced it so you can make a comparison. I'm just going to toggle this on, and toggle it off. And I just don't like the look of it. It looks too computer driven. It looks too simulated, like oh, we're trying to that look, but didn't quite get there. I just don't like Image Trace for this kind of thing at all. I would much rather use a pixel-based image.
It just has more grittiness, more authenticity in my opinion. So that's why I chose not to do that. So let's go to this layer which is the inner colors that we expanded from our Live Paint. And you can see all these colors are still the same colors I selected. The only difference between what I originally colored them in here is that if I go to Color I have the coloring for all these fills set to only be 85% value instead of 100% value.
And that's because of what I'm going to be doing detail-wise moving forward. So once again, on my tonal family I have my base colors on the left and now we're going to utilize the shading colors on the right based off of those tonal values. And the first one is going to be the red detail. We created that TIFF image, we're now going to place it here. So that's what I want to do, I want to place the TIFF image. So I'm going to go to File, I'm going to go to Place, it's right here on our Desktop, we'll select it, and I'll hit Place here.
And because I placed this image, I really don't like how Libraries always assumes you want to use it when you do that, so we'll close that, and with this placed I can just simply align it. And you want to make sure you're aligned to your art board on this, and we'll go align. And this just aligns it with my underlined artwork. Now, why did I do this, what's the point? Well, the nice thing is this is a bitmap TIFF image so I can now select my image and I can colorize it dark.
And here's the cool part, now I can go ahead and go to Transparency palette and select Multiply, and look at the nice effect it adds to our base value of that red. It adds this nice kind of almost that stained glass beveling effect that you see on the perimeter of glass on really old, especially stained glass. And so this is the methodology I'm going to use to detail this whole illustration. So I'll turn on the yellow one. And actually, let's zoom in just so you can appreciate a little more.
So we'll do that. We can turn off our tonal family now. And here's the green, here's the orange, here's the purple, here's the blue, and here's the brown. Now the reason why I moved originally my black linework up above is because these effects go outside the color and the black is now going to clean everything up when I turn it on. And I also at this point if I select my black artwork here, you can see it's still the base black.
One thing I do when I'm working on artwork like this is I always use a rich black, some call it a process black, and I've created that here. I'm going to switch to that. And let me double-click into it. Like all of my colors, they're always Global, so Global is checked. But notice this CMYK break here, 60 cyan, 40 magenta, 40 yellow, and 100% black. Now that's going to make sure that your black is very rich and it works well when it's printed. So the final artwork on this can be seen here.
And I really like how it came out. I thought the effect, the look and feel of stained glass really came out well on this. And if creativity had a cohort, it would most definitely be experimentation. When it comes to using effects in Illustrator, the best way to do it is just to click and try. Figuring out what doesn't work is going to help you discover what does work, and that'll reveal how you could use it in your own projects. Thank you for watching DVD Lab. And until next time, never stop drawing.
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.