Adding Shadows, Highlights, and Other Details in Illustrator

Today’s essential question: How can I create highlights and shadows with the pen tool in Illustrator?

Sometimes when you see a vector image, it’s difficult to figure out how the artist created the intricate shadows, highlights, and textures. Try to determine how the details were achieved in the illustrations below:
will_run_for_dessert_aqua

Now let’s break down the frosting on the cupcake.

I started with an outline of the shape of the frosting in a mid-tone:
frosting_midtone

Then I added a layer with several highlight shapes:
frosting_highlight

Followed by a layer with several shadow shapes:
frosting_shadow

Here is the frosting with 4 layers representing four shades of shadows and highlights:
frosting_combined_layers

The cupcake wrapper was created the same way:
vector_cupcake

Today we will:

  • Continue tracing over our sketches in Illustrator, creating shapes to add highlights and shadows
  • Create a new blog post with the following:
    • a PDF of our progress – looks like a link
      (File -> Save As -> Select “PDF” from the drop down menu)
    • a PNG of our progress – looks like an image
      (File -> Export As -> Select “PNG” from the drop down menu)
    • a few sentences describing what you worked on today, any challenges you faced, and anything you would like help with
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Vector Landscape Day 8: Adding Details to the Foreground

Today’s essential question: How can the use of detail and texture make an object appear closer to the viewer?

Today We Will:

  • Continue tracing over our sketches in Illustrator, adding more details to the objects in the foreground to make them appear closer to the viewer
  • Create a new blog post with the following:
    • a PDF of our progress – looks like a link
      (File -> Save As -> Select “PDF” from the drop down menu)
    • a PNG of our progress – looks like an image
      (File -> Export As -> Select “PNG” from the drop down menu)
    • a few sentences describing what you worked on today, any challenges you faced, and anything you would like help with

Vector Landscape Day 6: Aerial Perspective

Today’s essential question: How can I incorporate aerial perspective into my vector landscape?

Aerial perspective or atmospheric perspective refers to the effect the atmosphere has on the appearance of an object as it is viewed from a distance. As the distance between an object and a viewer increases, the contrast between the object and its background decreases, and the contrast of any markings or details within the object also decreases. The colors of the object also become less saturated and shift towards the background color, which is usually blue, but under some conditions may be some other color (for example, at sunrise or sunset distant colors may shift towards red).

Here are some examples of aerial perspective:

Today we will:

  • Continue tracing over our sketches in Illustrator
  • Create a new blog post with the following:
    • a PDF of our progress – looks like a link
      (File -> Save As -> Select “PDF” from the drop down menu)
    • a PNG of our progress – looks like an image
      (File -> Export As -> Select “PNG” from the drop down menu)
    • a few sentences describing what you worked on today, any challenges you faced, and anything you would like help with

Vector Landscape Day 5: How to Create a Reflection in Illustrator

Today’s essential question: How can I create a reflection in Illustrator?

How to Create a Reflection

  1. Select the object you want to reflect, then copy it. (Edit -> Copy) OR Control C
  2. Paste the copied object in place. (Edit -> Paste in Place)paste_in_place
    It will look as though nothing has changed because the second object will be directly over the first object.
  3. Reflect the second object. (Object -> Transform -> Reflect)object_transform_reflectreflect_horizontal
  4. Move the reflected object so it looks like this:
    reflection_moved
  5. Shear the reflected object so it looks like the reflective surface is slightly distorting the reflection.
    (Object -> Transform -> Shear)
    object_transform_shear
  6. Adjust the shear angle until the reflection is distorted to your liking:
    shear1
  7. Move the reflection and adjust the color/transparency until you are happy with it:
    shear

Today We Will:

  • Continue tracing over our sketches in Illustrator
  • Use the tools in Illustrator to simplify the process and save time
  • Create a new blog post with the following:
    • a PDF of our progress – looks like a link
      (File -> Save As -> Select “PDF” from the drop down menu)
    • a PNG of our progress – looks like an image
      (File -> Export As -> Select “PNG” from the drop down menu)
    • a few sentences describing what you worked on today, any challenges you faced, and anything you would like help with

Vector Landscape Day 4: Adjusting an existing path in Illustrator

Student Progress

How do the student sketches below create depth?

Anastacia has a great concept but her sketch lacks depth.
What could she add to create the illusion of a clear background, middle ground, and foreground?
How could she use overlap to create depth?

anastacia_landscape.jpg

Today’s essential question: How can I use the direct selection and curvature tools in Illustrator to adjust an existing path and avoid redrawing it?

Adjusting an existing path

Direct Selection Tool (white arrow)

Use the direct selection tool white_Arrow to select and move individual points on a path.

If you are not getting enough control with the mouse, the arrow keys on the keyboard will move points one pixel at a time.

You can also adjust the tangent handles using the direct selection tool.
adjusting_w_white_arrow

Curvature Tool

The curvature tool curvature_tool is another tool that allows you to adjust an existing path.

You can use it to click and drag points and adjust curves:
adjusting_w_curvature_tool

Rulers and Guides

Select View -> Rulers -> Show Rulers to make rulers visible

view_show_rulers

To create a guide, click on either the top or side ruler and drag down or to the right:
guide.png

Managing Guides
  • To temporarily hide guides, select View -> Guides -> Hide Guides
  • To lock guides so you do not accidentally move them, select View -> Guides -> Lock Guides
  • To permanently delete guides, select View -> Guides -> Clear Guides

Today We Will:

  • Continue tracing over our sketches in Illustrator
  • Use the tools in Illustrator to simplify the process and save time
  • Create a new blog post with the following:
    • a PDF of our progress – looks like a link
      (File -> Save As -> Select “PDF” from the drop down menu)
    • a PNG of our progress – looks like an image
      (File -> Export As -> Select “PNG” from the drop down menu)
    • a few sentences describing what you worked on today, any challenges you faced, and anything you would like help with

Missing/Incomplete Assignments

batwings07amazinglycat_530x

Batcat is judging the missing blog posts

Today we will continue working on our vector landscapes or finish our silhouette projects. Please post your progress to your blog EVERY class. It makes it difficult to assess what types of demos to plan when I don’t know where people are in the project.

Incomplete Silhouette Projects:

  • Lorelei (missing final PDF, PNG, and artist statement)
  • Sydney (missing final PDF, PNG, and artist statement)
  • Sidney (add PDF to final blog post)
  • Norah (missing final PDF, PNG, and artist statement)
  • Aleesa (missing final PDF, PNG, and artist statement)
  • Miriam (missing final PDF, PNG, and artist statement)
  • Seth (missing final PDF, PNG, and artist statement)
  • Tyrelle (missing final PDF, PNG, and artist statement)
  • Jaelin (missing final PDF, PNG, and artist statement)
  • Kay (missing final PDF, PNG, and artist statement)

Future Guests:

  • Monday: Mr. Cisse, graduate art education student from RIT and professional graphic designer
  • Wednesday: Ms. Friedrich, digital art teacher at All City High

Vector Landscape Day 2: Featured Artist: Chris Leavens

Community Service Hour Opportunity This Saturday from 10am-noon:

MST_community_service_hours.jpg

Today’s essential question: How has digital art influenced the fine art scene?

Chris Leavens uses Adobe Illustrator to create story-rich artwork, surreal landscapes filled with bizarre monsters and fantastical characters. Heavily inspired by the outdoors, Chris bends the beauty of the natural world through a prism of humor and absurdity, resulting in whimsically-twisted, highly-imaginative images.

Check out Chris Leaven’s official portfolio site.

Read this interview with Chris Leavens on his inspiration and creative process.

Here are some of Chris Leavens’ vector illustrations:

Things to think about:

  • How do you think the medium of Adobe Illustrator impacts Chris Leavens’ artwork? How would it be different if he used a more traditional medium such as colored pencil or acrylic paint?
  • How has digital art influenced the fine art scene?
  • What are some ways Chris Leavens has created unity in his work?
  • What ideas does his artwork give you regarding your own landscape project?

Today we will:

  • Examine the artwork of Chris Leavens and discuss how it ties into our vector landscape project
  • Continue sketching our layout for our vector landscape
  • Begin coloring our vector landscape with markers (no gradients!)
  • Post a photo of our sketch to our blogs