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Monday, 7 March 2016

Gettin' Better with Vectors

About a year ago, my husband taught me how to begin learning Vectors, with his Photoshop CS5.

If I wanted to create my own animal shapes, etc., and not have choppy lines, and keep the integrity of the drawing when making it bigger or smaller as needed, I Had to learn to use Vectors, basically, no ifs ands or buts :-(

It took quite a lot of brain power to keep it straight what the 2 different sets of Vector related tools do, the tasks they perform, and when to use which for what lol! Because there was often 2 to 3 months in between me using them, and the fact that he isn't expert with them, having not used them often, finally, after 8 months, I think I finally have the hang of them (a bit), and Without getting all riled up every 5 mins and calling him for help lol!

I drew a little bird holding a ribbon with a friend's name on it recently, on the front of an envelope for a card, and I wanted to create it myself again, nice and cleanly drawn and so that it could be sized without compromising its quality of line. So, basically, vectors are all that will work. Therefore, I decided Not to be lazy, and tackle it myself.

What I do to begin, is a loose rough drawing with the pencil tool, the bird on one layer, the ribbon on a second layer, then I make them about 50% transparent so I can see my drawing and work the vector drawing over top, keeping to my original shapes. So here, you are seeing my drawing underneath, and the vector shapes on top, though it is hard to discern which is which exactly, here, I know. A trick is to do one's drawing in green or red, something I Clearly didn't do here, but should have, for myself as well as for this little demo thing. The one little floating lower leg is a finished leg vector, for example, and I don't need to draw two separate legs as I can duplicate the vector leg shape and even alter the second one a bit.

I can manage to plot my points, I know now what tool converts the points and gives me the little arms to pull and change the shape, when I need to add points, how to move points, and how to join points. This screen shot here shows a work in progress that is near completion, only the ribbon left to do. I have each shape on a separate layer so that I can make them bigger or smaller if needed, and also if I want to move one shape but not the others, or move a shape to butt up against another.

The next step, and I'll need help again, is to figure out how to get the beak and the legs to be attached to the bird, as well as the folded end of the ribbon, which I have to do separate.

Once I have all my shapes, I can make them any colour, gradient, or pattern I want, at any time, because I will keep my Photoshop file :-)

Next step is working with colour. Gradient tool did not work exactly how I wanted. Probably I am choosing a long way around, but .... I filled the shpe two times, on two different layers, after making my ribbon path a selection. I then used a mask and a soft brush to "scrub" back and forth between the two colours :-)

I'll just continue on over the next couple of weeks (can only devote so much time on week nights) until I get something I like.

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