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Thu, Sep. 15th, 2005, 01:52 pm
Only wizards and perhaps dragons can use the pen tool!

I'm taking a Pixel Painting and Photo Editing class this year! It is right up my alley, because I want to be an illustrator. Appropriately enough, we're using Adobe Illustrator, my only favourite vector graphics program, to create some images! Our instructor seems to want to get us used to the idea of using programs to manipulate and create images. Naturally, I already have some experience in both Photoshop and Illustrator, even though I never show anybody — to be honest, I don't show you guys anything I do. I have some self-esteem problems, and I'm also somewhat shy. Today, however, I'm going to show you something because it amuses me so much. First, some necessary back-story.

To those non-artist-type people out there, the "pen tool" does not function like an actual pen. It makes solid curved and straight lines, yes, but it does it with vector-style. That's right, your lines are made out of math, not pixels. You set an anchor point (start here!) and drag around this bar, on the end of which are these little dots. Those dots attract the line like a magnet, so when you make a second anchor point, the line that connects the two anchor points curves toward the little dots that are connected to said points. As you can imagine, this gets a little tricky. The pen tool is extremely intimidating to most newbies, especially me. On the first day of class, I realized I could avoid the dreaded pen tool no more and whimpered "Only wizards and perhaps dragons can use the pen tool!" — humour to poke fun at my own apprehension and feelings. I've repeated this line several times over the last few weeks, so it has become the class's nerdy ironic phrase. Maybe I'll leave a legacy in my wake.

Anyhow, I was doing roughs for my first assignment, and I ended up with the following. I'm actually proud of it. It's cryptic, attractive, and nerdy. Surprisingly, it took only fifteen minutes to crank out, too! Maybe I'll go back and actually make a non-rough version, all pretty and stuff.

Ironically, I had to use the pen tool to make that giant crappy pen tool icon. XD

Fri, Sep. 16th, 2005 04:39 pm (UTC)

Dude, That is realy cool. I like the picture, It made me think. Hope you improve more with the pen tool and become the wizard.. or possibly the dragon. -chuckles-

Fri, Sep. 16th, 2005 09:50 pm (UTC)

I love the way vector looks, but I can't seem to get the hang of it quite. Have you ever played with Expression 3?

Sat, Sep. 17th, 2005 12:18 am (UTC)

I don't think so. When it comes to vectors, you can't approach it intuitively until you already have a lot of experience it. It's best to do it with a classic edge: take it step-by-step and listening to people who are established hot-shots at it. I know a lot of people would totally lynch me for saying anything like that, but I'll bet they haven't tried to learn this stuff. I've gotten better with Illustrator in the past two weeks than I did in the previous three months combined.

Sat, Sep. 17th, 2005 06:29 am (UTC)
guido_jacobs: Man, I love being a Guido

advice for artists! This helped me get past stick figures...really. It did.

Sat, Sep. 17th, 2005 10:51 pm (UTC)
masstreble: Re: Man, I love being a Guido

Yes, the study of anatomy is definately helped by observing living models. I've seen my fair of posing nudes and diagrams, and... Where was I going with this? XD

Sun, Sep. 18th, 2005 04:29 am (UTC)
guido_jacobs: Re: Man, I love being a Guido

You were just about to admit that you do what everyone else does.

Sun, Sep. 18th, 2005 10:53 pm (UTC)
masstreble: Re: Man, I love being a Guido

Buy sport utility vehicles and never take them outside city limits? Listen to certain music because it enhances your social image?

Sun, Sep. 18th, 2005 11:44 pm (UTC)
guido_jacobs: Re: Man, I love being a Guido

yes, yes, and also, watching certain types of movies so you can "get your drawings anatomically correct" wink wink.