Posts Tagged ‘Illustrator’


CE7: Color guide exercise

February 10, 2010

Done for this class exercise: using the Color Guide in the top right corner of Illustrator. This dandy tool automatically chooses a set of colors to go along with whatever color you’re currently using, and not just one – it generates a whole pull-down menu of sets related to each other by different rules.

The Color Guide.

List of possible color sets.

All the colors in a set are chosen automatically by the program, because their relationships can be expressed through geometry on a color wheel – and by opening the tiny Edit Colors color-wheel symbol, those relationships can be visualized. So colors that complement each other instead of clashing have a definite mathematical relationship, the same way that harmonious music does.

Here’s my finished class exercise:

CE7 color guide exercise.

(The rectangle tool makes the boxes, with Shift held to constrain them to squares. Then the Select arrowhead tool moves them or changes their size; use Select with Option to drag an exact duplicate of whatever box needs to be moved. Making the background black was peculiar: use the Rectangle tool with black fill, and Select to drag the resulting black box right out to the edges of the image, behind all the other text and shapes.)

The Triad and Pentagram sets, among others, are named for the arrangement of lines that join them on the color wheel: they are equidistant from the center (which means they have the same intensity), and equally removed from one another.

Triad wheel

Pentagram wheel

The Shades wheel.

The Shades wheel takes all five colors from the same point on the wheel, with the same shade (the angle of the line to center) and the same intensity (distance from center). The shades vary only in the amount of black.

Analogous 2 wheel

Complementary wheel

The Analogous colors are closely related to the main color, so their angles from center are similar. For the Complementary wheel, the reverse is true: the colors are as far away from the main color as possible.

Compound 2 wheel

And the Compound wheel chose colors related to two main colors: the initial gold color, and a dark purple that I had accidentally chosen earlier.

These sets of colors convey different emotions or expressions when applied to an image; but the study of what color conveys is an entire class or three in itself.


CE4: Battle of the pen tool

January 25, 2010

Working on the assignment given here, tracing a variety of shapes with the notoriously counterintuitive Pen Tool in Illustrator. It doesn’t draw lines as such; it draws math: you set point A and point B as “anchors” and bend the line between them by pulling on little gravity wells called “handles”. Each anchor has two handles, one for the line segment trailing it, one for the segment ahead. So each line segment is influenced by two handles, one at each endpoint.

The pen tool in its native habitat

(how to take a screenshot on a Mac: Cmd + Shift + 3 for whole screen, +4 to mouse-drag a selection)

First two “easy” pictures, one done in class, one that evening. The battery was mostly done by clicking anchors very close together instead of curving the lines… not an efficient method.

Battery outline

Pipe outline

(How to color the line that the pen makes: go to the Color palette and make sure the solid square is slashed out, [ / ], and the hollow square that looks like a picture frame is colored.)
(How to fill in a pen trace: go to the Color palette and change the solid square from [ / ] to a color.)

Next began the all-out battle to make those lines bend the way I wanted them to bend. Figuring out which of the two handles on each anchor did what, by trial and error, experimentation, and begging advice, took about eight hours and several separate sessions. Thanks to Avery in the anime club, and to the pen tutorials on Veerle’s design blog here.

The first boat image has had the underlying picture layer removed. The second boat image shows how much edge was left around the imperfect pen tracing.

Boat outline

Boat outline with edge showing

The second of the Moderate level images, the boat anchor, took less than an hour. This image has NOT had the underlying picture removed, yet it shows almost no leftover edges at all. Finally I’m getting the hang of this.

Anchor outline

(How to cut out the windows and holes in a pen-traced image: ….still working on that part as of Feb 8 )

(Video tutorial on using Pathfinder to cut out shapes: here )