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Fun with Illustrator

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Earlier this evening, I was doodling around...trying to come up with the simplest, "let the program do the work" way to draw a flat-panel iMac in Illustrator.

I know, I know...GET A LIFE!



I went back and broke down the steps (just simple shapes, Pathfinder filters and so forth).

No real reason for this. Just fun to see the progression and to see how simple it is to put something together, when you "think in Illustrator".



post #2 of 17
[quote]Originally posted by pscates:
<strong>Earlier this evening, I was doodling around...trying to come up with the simplest, "let the program do the work" way to draw a flat-panel iMac in Illustrator.

I know, I know...GET A LIFE!



I went back and broke down the steps (just simple shapes, Pathfinder filters and so forth).

No real reason for this. Just fun to see the progression and to see how simple it is to put something together, when you "think in Illustrator".



</strong><hr></blockquote>

Great Job!!
May the peace of the Lord be with you always

Share your smile, Have respect for others, and be loving to all peoples

Paul in Athens: Acts 17 : 16-34
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May the peace of the Lord be with you always

Share your smile, Have respect for others, and be loving to all peoples

Paul in Athens: Acts 17 : 16-34
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post #3 of 17
I could use some advice in Illustrator. I know I could basically do what you did with the iMac, but I don't know how to fabricate symmetric objects very well. Is there a secret way?

For example, all of the components of the iMac you drew seem quite uniform and symmetric.

Regardless, I usually just load up FormZ and hammer it out, then ray trace.
Cat: the other white meat
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Cat: the other white meat
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post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Fellowship.

Splinemodel, I usually work from very basic shapes and simply use the transformation tools (rotate, skew, reflect and scale) and various Pathfinder filters (in particular, Minus Front and Unite) to create shapes.

In other words, nothing in the above iMac is actually drawn, believe it or not.

THAT'S the "secret".



I usually will draw a center guideline and work of of that, especially for reflecting elements and/or objects.

For the body of the iMac, I drew a perfect circle then simply selected the bottom point/node with the direct selection tool (the white arrow) and nudged it up to create that shape of "looking down toward a dome" perspective.

To make the drawer where the SuperDrive trays comes out, I just made a circle, used the bottom arc of it for the shape and cut away the rest by laying a rectangle box directly over it and apply the Pathfinder &gt; Divide filter and got rid of everything but that simple "smiley" shape. I think gave it a fairly thick stroke with rounded endcaps and converted that shape to an outline (in other words, converted stroke to paths under the Object menu...great for things like that).

The display was just a rectangle box and an enlarged copy. On the larger copy, I applied the Rounded Corners filter. I then applied the Free Distort filter to "push" the top corners in a bit, giving the illusion of the screen tilting back a bit.

The circled vent holes were just a copy of the circle on top of the iMac where the arm meets the dome. I just scaled up a copy of the circle and applied a dashed stroke to it, experimenting with the dashes/spaces fields until I got that look.

The Apple logo? Type shift+option+K, convert to outlines, draw a diagonal line through it and apply the Pathfinder &gt; Divide filter and color the lower right part of it a dark color and apply a lighter color to the upper left, to simulate an easy, high contrast chrome effect.

The arm of the iMac is just two circles joined together and elongated and placed in back. and overlayed with some light and dark shapes to emulate chrome again.

Honest to goodness, it's really easy. I think the true "secret" is to think of it in that way: distill it down to basic shapes and let the tools and features do the work.

Nothing above is "painstakingly drawn" with the pen tool or anything (I'm too lazy and scatterbrained for that!).



It's just knowing what tool or feature to use and, as I like to say, "thinking in Illustrator". Don't think like you would if you were trying to actually draw it with a pencil. Use the shapes Illustrator provides for you and simply tweak them with the appropriate tools and filters to get more complex, interesting shapes and forms.

Kinda wordy, I guess, but that's pretty much it. At least that's how I approach it.
post #5 of 17
Hey Pscates.....how come you aren't writting for MacDesign anymore?
Mac Pro 2.66, 5GB RAM, 250+120 HD, 23" Cinema Display
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Mac Pro 2.66, 5GB RAM, 250+120 HD, 23" Cinema Display
MacBook 1.83GHz, 2GB RAM
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post #6 of 17
p:

Nice work as usual.

You never did hook me up with a big pretty longhorn.
proud resident of a failed state
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proud resident of a failed state
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post #7 of 17
Wow, you're very different than I am, design wise. I'm very much top-down. I think of the shape I want, then I make a bezier that looks like it. In 3D, I will use beziers to make contours, and then deal with the spline patches on the direct level if necessary. (hence my screenname) You're very much bottom-up. Start with simple things, move to complexity.

Regardless, very nice.
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Cat: the other white meat
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post #8 of 17
Why doesn't OS X use a vector based icon system for OS X? I believe IRIX has for years...

I guess it would be harder to build nice icons for some people though...
post #9 of 17
[quote]Originally posted by Leonis:
<strong>Hey Pscates.....how come you aren't writting for MacDesign anymore?</strong><hr></blockquote>
You don't remember the notorious "How To Design The Perfect Woman" article?!

That's really great stuff, pscates. I'm reasonably artistic - I like sketching stuff, and I oil paint - but I've never been able to translate those skills to computer illustration techniques. I should maybe give it another go. <img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" />
Chicanery.
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Chicanery.
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post #10 of 17
[quote]Originally posted by Splinemodel:
<strong>You're very much bottom-up. Start with simple things, move to complexity.

Regardless, very nice.</strong><hr></blockquote>

pscates, I didn't know you were a bottom-up kind of guy. Like Splinemodel, I recommend you start with something simple, perhaps the missionary position though, and take it from there..

post #11 of 17
LOL <img src="graemlins/lol.gif" border="0" alt="[Laughing]" />
Fnar...fnar! Carry On AI!
"It troolee iz a feersum endjinn"
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"It troolee iz a feersum endjinn"
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post #12 of 17
BTW excellent Illustrator work.... cool!
"It troolee iz a feersum endjinn"
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"It troolee iz a feersum endjinn"
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post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Haha...RodUK beat me to the punch!

I was going to say something like "Bottom up? You have no idea, brother!"



Oh well. Next time...

Thanks for the compliments, BTW. I was thinking about making myself my own OS X desktop icon, based on that third or fourth version above.

I knew of a cool little OS X icon-making app, but I forget it. Help, anyone?
post #14 of 17
If you have the Mac OS X Developer Tools installed, there is a nifty little application called IconComposer in the Dev Apps folder.

Personally, I use a great little app called Iconographer. Try searching on VersionTracker.

If you know about alpha masks and all of that, you should be fine. They aren't required for IconComposer, though (just make sure when you copy something that the background is transparent.)

I work the same way as you do in Photoshop, using lots of little shapes and tools to make what I want instead of drawing it all out by hand. Even so I don't use Illustrator, one because I cannot afford it right now, and two because I don't know how. I'm comfortable in Photoshop, I guess, and that makes up for quite a bit.
post #15 of 17
[quote]Originally posted by M3D Jack:
<strong>Why doesn't OS X use a vector based icon system for OS X? I believe IRIX has for years...

I guess it would be harder to build nice icons for some people though...</strong><hr></blockquote>

IRIX? I don't think so. IRIX that I remember, from 8 months ago, was just UNIX with X Windows on it.
post #16 of 17
I keep discovering the most incredible new tools in v.10 of Illustrator....for instance, I just noticed that there's a magic wand tool now! I've been running Illustrator with FilterIt 4 for about 8 months now and I absolutely LOVE that filter set even though I hardly ever touch all of its features....mostly the warp and wave tools for adding splash to logos.

Running Illustrator on a small screen is a huge challenge too....in fact I've never had an extended period of working on a large monitor while using Illustrator. The day THAT happens the angels will sing...and I hope they start singing soon because I like to have my palettes out where I can use 'em...and Adobe keeps adding tool palettes!

Pscates, I'd say that the Pathfinder/Alignment/Transform palette grouping is one of my most-used set of tools. The ability to precisely tweak the position of elements is very satisfying.

My present project is presenting me with a variety of output requirements, from cut vinyl to go-bys for traditional sign painters. I can't tell you how cool it is to see something you've created get turned into a hand-painted sign that a lot of people will see.

As far as making icons go, I'd say to go to <a href="http://www.iconfactory.com" target="_blank">www.iconfactory.com</a> and download the Photoshop plug-in that they have there. I've played with it just a little and it is SO cool. If you work between a Photoshop and Illustrator you'll absolutely love this plugin. It would be REALLY neat if they'd release a native Illustrator plug-in~

D
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Steve Jobs ate my cat's watermelon @ drewprops.com
Oldest Member of AI (Jan 99) until JRC snaps to his senses and starts posting again. (the blackout borked my join date)
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post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Cool. Thanks for the head's up, Drew.

I too am quite a heavy user of the Pathfinder/Align/Transform palette. If you think about it, so much of what you need is nested right there amonth those three things.



You can "carve", alter, create fairly complex shapes, align, distribute, space, position, scale and otherwise tweak your head off just using those three palettes!

I've worked with some vinyl sign makers and it's very cool to do something in Illustrator with type and vector graphics and all, then hand it off to them. Then to see it, a few days or so later, hanging off a parking lot pole or storefront, in view of EVERYONE.

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