Friday, 5 August 2011

Learning Illustrator

I have spent so much time trying to source an image for the room that the girl is trapped in.  I have taken photos myself, searched my own photo archives, online in books.... but the trouble is - I had an image in my head and I have to have a door and window within the shot.... you wouldn't think that it would be so difficult to locate!  I finally realised that however much I want to use a photo, it isn't going to happen - other than scouting around and going out to take more photos in interesting houses (time is against me on that one), I will have to try an alternative.  I found an image online that could work and had saved it in my 'inspiration' file; so I thought the best way to achieve a decent looking image would be by using illustrator to create the outline of the room.  I searched online to research the ways of doing this.  I found tutorials about 'live trace', but this just looks like 'trace bitmap' in Flash - this is not the look I wanted.  Another way to do it was by placing the photo in a layer in Illustrator and double clicking the layer to open up the layer options to enable me to trace over the image.

I selected 'Template' and chose to dim the image to 60%.   I then created a new layer to enable me to draw over the original image.  I used the pen tool to create my outlines and the end resut was quite effective.  I am glad I have finally dipped my toe into Illustrator!

This is how it looks so far.  I will put a door into the door space at the back of the room (this will be the door she never opens).  I have now got to decide on the colour scheme.  I wanted a grungy texture on the walls and searched for some free textures.  I then had the problem of knowing how to apply these to my scene.  I am so new to Illustrator, so I feel very clumsy around the application!  I used the help files and online help and some trial and error of my own to apply the texture to the swatches.  I was doing what it said in the help files, but it would not work, then I realised that as the texture was a bitmap it would probably need to be rasterized in order for me to be able to copy it to swatches and thankfully this worked!

Then, as I am so used to using Photoshop - I could not understand how to apply the texture to the scene... I could see the 'live paint' tool, but could not get it to work - I just wanted to use the paint bucket and place the colour into areas within the scene!  I knew I had to get out of Photoshop mode and I pondered a while and decided to group all the paths together to see if this worked and fortunately it did!  I could then use the 'live paint' tool to apply the texture.  This is probably all very obvious to Illustrator users, but a bit alien to me at the moment.  I applied the textures, but although it looks ok, it is not the look I want.

The look I really want is to be able to have some transparency on the texture and place a colour over it.. so back to the drawing board and search online to find a way to do this :)

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