egypturnash: (HGA)

Another one of those “I answered this on /r/AdobeIllustrator and thought it would make a good technique post” things.

How to make a cute little string-art effect.

1. Draw some lines
2. Use the Blend tool to click on the end of the first line furthest away from the next one
3. Repeat until you run out of lines
4. object>blend>blend options to bring up the number of steps
5. to fix that one line you clicked wrong on, select it and do object>path>reverse path direction.

If you wanted it to really look like the nail-and-string-on-a-board kits I remember doing in the seventies, you could maybe add a highlight and a shadow by putting extra strokes on the whole blend:

Adding nails is left as an exercise for the reader.

Suggestions: dotted lines, custom arrowhead, custom art brush with a nail at one end and the “stretch between guides” scaling option in its settings, a custom art brush that’s *just* a nail plus some blank space and the “stretch between guides” scaling option applied to the whole blend as a new path atop the appearance stack shown here – maybe with a low level of effect>distort & transform>roughen applied to mimic the look of nails hammered in unevenly?

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (HGA)

Here’s a little stylization trick.

It kinda falls apart on anything besides rectangles; here’s some extra magic to fix that. With slightly different colors because I closed the file and wanted to play with it a little more.

The tilted rectangle on the lower right lacks this extra magic.

The fill is offset by enough to hide the ugly white edges; the stroke is the same width as that offset, and is offset by half its width. Making the stroke 0% opaque and turning on ‘Knockout Group’ makes it work as a built-in opacity mask for this shape – an ugly, but very useful hack. You could also just have some really thick outlines instead, or build a lot of clipping masks; both of those feel like Work to me and I’m generally allergic to that.

The rasterize effect is set to add 0 points around the path, which varies from my usual Document Raster Effect settings of adding about 35 points to give me room for most blurs I’m likely to use. You can also change the resolution, the tilted rectangle’s at a lower resolution than the rest of the shapes.

I might have to try doing some art with this look.

Mirrored from Egypt Urnash.

egypturnash: (the one true tool)
Illustrator offers three kinds of blur: Gaussian blur, 'smart' blur, and radial blur. What do you do if you want to create a linear motion blur?

Answer: Abuse the radial blur.

Target the layer (or group, etc) you want to add a linear motion blur to. Add the radial blur effect. In the blur effect settings dialogue, choose 'zoom' for the blur method; drag the center point to an edge. Set it to the lowest quality and only a few pixels; you'll probably be seeing it redraw several times.

Finally, manipulate the overall blur area: draw a little rectangle with no stroke and no fill in the blurred group, well outside what you want to have blurred. This will put the actual imagery near the side of the blurred area, with the radiating rays of blurriness almost parallel.

You could probably also get some very very shallow arcs of blur with this method by using the 'spin' method in the radial blur settings dialogue. I haven't tried that yet.

(Of course, you could also just draw some extra paths to create a motion effect. I've done that for 'fast motion' in other parts of Absinthe - in this particular panel, I felt like doing an unashamedly digital blur.)

(Also, I find that the lowest quality of the radial blur is usually the most interesting effect - it takes a lot of shortcuts, and thus introduces a lot of noise, which makes for an image that feels more natural and organic.)

(Also also, I'm two panels away from having six contiguous, finished pages of Absinthe. Yay! And then only eight more pages in the obsessively detailed cityscape of Wormwood.)
egypturnash: (Default)
I realized that even when completely idle, with no open documents, AICS3 was eating insane amounts of CPU. Said "fuck it" and uninstalled the entire CS3 suite except for Flash CS3, which I will fool with at some later point.

Did some googling for "illustrator cs3 cpu" and found someone else complaining about this on the Adobe forums. Turns out the culprit is simply opening the "kuler" palette. Ever. Touch this little Flash-embedded thing and Illustrator CS3 will eat up tons of CPU forevermore. Which explains why it was keeping the fan on any time I used it - I opened that useless thing when I was doing a quick glance at the new features, so I guess AI was running a stupid Flash busy-loop forever. I might reinstall it later and nuke the offending palette (and the other palette from Adobe Labs, probably also a lurking Flash cyclepig judging from the alien scrollbar in that shot); I have no desire to share color schemes with other people via the Internet!!!1! from within my drawing tool.

Maybe without this little Kulur sekrit cykle hog CS3 will actually deliver the 'faster' promise. But really, CS3 gets my vote for 'most useless AI upgrade ever'. If I'd been able to afford an Intel machine I'd have been happy for it, like I was for 11 (i think) whose major feature was "runs under OSX". It's what'll get installed when I do manage to get an Intel mac - unless that's not until AI14/CS4 is out. But besides "runs natively on Intel machines" pretty much every new feature in CS3 concerns color. Except for the whole 'slams you in the face with a big slab of un-thoughtful orange while loading' branding thing.

Ten years ago I might have loved all these color toys. I hadn't developed a color sense yet; I was actively struggling to do so. Now? I've managed to bash at it enough that the color is one of the things people praise about my work. I don't need the computer to offer up color schemes for me, or to push my color around for me. This upgrade is not For Me.

Which is kind of sad, because I felt a kind of pride that I could say "Illustrator is not For You" with the casualness of a devotee.

in other news, I need to get a few pencil extenders next time I visit the art store. And some more vermillion col-erase. Maybe some process reds, too.


Apr. 2nd, 2007 05:52 pm
egypturnash: (cat's cradle)
I just looked at Adobe's presentation of the new features for Illustrator CS3. And half of them seem to be "make it act more like Flash". It's got Flash's eraser, it's got something just like double-clicking a symbol to edit in place, and ALL THE PALETTES have gotten the HIDEOUS CRAP of Flash's palettes smeared all over them.

Those fucking ugly Macromedia palettes came about because ADOBE SUED MACROMEDIA. And now Macromedia's HALF-ASSED, AGGRAvATING, but not copyright-infringing, reimplementation of the idea is GETTING SMEARED ALL OVER ILLUSTRATOR like RETARDED MONKEYS SMEARING SHIT.

The features boil down to:
- does not crash on Intel Macs (I've heard AICS2 is quite unstable on Intel Macs)
- claims of major speed improvements
- finally, some options to make the point handles bigger
- you can have multiple crop rectangles for different output destinations
- some kind of color harmony explorer I'll probably never touch because I managed to grow a color sense years ago
- better cut and paste between Flash and AI
- Flash's lame-ass faux-bitmap eraser tool*
- Macromeda UI design retards shat all over Illustrator's palettes

I think it's time to take a serious goddamn look at alternative tools. Macromedia's hideous redesign of Flash was a large part of what made me absolutely uninterested in seriously looking for work in the animation world - and now Illustrator's getting all Flash-like. Fuck. This like the Blackwing going extinct times a thousand. This could be the fucking K-T boundary for my favorite art tool. If I have to constantly coax a "context-sensivive Control Panel" into giving me the options I want, Illustrator will be just as frustrating as Flash became.

* Perfect for erasing crude holes in your shitty-looking autotrace images!
egypturnash: (Default)
When Illustrator starts running slower and slower, the cure is not to cut and paste stuff into a new document. While this works as a temporary speed-up, it also carries the risk of a crash, and work loss.

After a crash and reload, the >1500-path file that I was having to work outside of is now responding as quickly as something just made. I guess Illustrator has some memory leaks nowadays - just before the crash, it went into swap hell, then boom. Much as I hate it, I need to lose my habit of leaving AI running for weeks on end. It used to be fine with that, but that was several versions ago. I also use it a lot harder than I used to; I'll easily have two or three times the number of paths I used to. I also suspect that things like cancelling out of a slow raster effect render now and then isn't helping AI stay stable and happy...

What'd I lose? Some work on the cast page for that comic - I'd drawn about half of one of the minor characters. No big deal, he's already most of the way to where he was before I lost the first go. Scrawling stuff with the pencil tool is fast when I have a good sketch to work from, and that part was safe.
egypturnash: (the one true tool)
Obviously I'm doing something right with these past few pieces - people are going 'OMG! Is that Illustrator?' at them.

Yes, they're entirely AI. No, I'm not using any weird secret techniques, though it's not quite Illustrator 101 stuff. Here's a quick text-only rundown of some of my methods... more random comments in the posts associated with them. (Stolen Moments · Refulgent · Pollen · A November Outside)

“Secrets” )


egypturnash: (Default)
Margaret Trauth

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