Xara Xtreme/Xtreme Pro - Illustrating Real World Objects - Guitar Part 2
Drawing a Real World Object -- Illustrating a guitar part 2
Any object that you want to illustrate, no matter how complex, can be broken down into smaller objects. When those objects become small enough, or simple enough, they can be represented with lines and shapes. Take the illustration of the guitar seen below, for example. The guitar has a body, a neck and a head. Besides those objects, there are several others... the pick guard, buttons and dials, screws and rivets, frets and strings, etc. All of these smaller objects can be illustrated using simple (or sometimes somewhat more complex) shapes and lines. This lesson, and those that follow, will break down the steps that can be followed to create simple, or more detailed illustrations of just about any real-world object.
|Illustration of a guitar created with Xara Xtreme Pro|
This illustration lesson was created using Xara Xtreme Pro
. You can download a free trial version from Xara, here
Adding Body to the Guitar Body
At the end of the previous lesson the shape for the guitar's body was completed. If you finished that lesson you should have something that resembles figure 2.1. i.e. you should have a photo of the guitar with its transparency raised so that it appears somewhat pale with the shape of the guitar's body drawn over the photo.
It's time to add a little body to the body... that is, using color and transparency some highlights/shadows will be added to give the guitar body some depth.
To get started fill the guitar body with a color... any color will do.
To fill the guitar shape with a color, select the shape by clicking it with the Selector Tool (it's the white arrow icon the top of the Toolbar).
With the shape selected simply left-click a color swatch along the bottom of the main Xtreme Pro window. For example, you could choose red to create a guitar that resembles the illustration shown at the beginning of this lesson. It doesn't really matter too much which color you choose as it's incredibly simply to change the color of the body even after the entire guitar has been drawn. A couple of mouse clicks and your guitar will be any color you like... great stuff!
Your guitar body shape should resemble the one in figure 2.2... filled with the color you selected, though.
The easiest way to add a little body to the body is by applying a highlight area. A Stratocaster has a bit of a bevel along the top front area that will reflect light and give our shape the impression of being more 3-dimensional. To recreate that bevel will require a couple of steps...
First an inner contour will be created. This is an easy way to recreate the shape at a smaller size...
To create the inner contour select the guitar body's shape and then select the Contour tool (see figure 2.3).
With the Contour tool selected set the following in the options for the Contour tool (these values are set in the options area along the top of the main Xtreme window as seen in figure 2.4).
To set the Contour Width use the slider around the middle of the options (see figure 2.4). At first the contour will be on the outside and, by default, it will have 4 steps.
- Contour Width : 7.7
- Inner Contour
- Number of steps in the contour : 1
Set the contour to be an Inner Contour by clicking the Inner Contour icon (it's the second icon to the right of the width slider).
Finally, change the Steps from the default value of 4 to 1. After you change the value tap the Enter key to set the value and you should have something that resembles the guitar body shape.
The contour needs to be separated from the main boy so that it can have its own fill, outline and transparency settings. To separate the contour from the main shape, choose Arrange, Convert to Editable Shapes.
Choose Arrange, Ungroup to ungroup the main shape and the inner contour.
Select the Selector tool and click away from the shapes to de-select them, then click the inner shape to select it.
TIP:Choose Edit, Copy Shape and then Edit Paste Shape. Doing so will make a copy of the inner contour shape. This copy will be a good starting point for the pickguard shape that needs to be created...
Select the original inner contour shape and set the outline to no color (right-click the "No Color line/No Color fill" icon at the bottom left of the Xtreme main window) then set the fill to white (left-click the white color swatch along the bottom of the main window).
So far, so good. You should have two shapes now (not counting the copy of the inner contour that you've set aside for later)... one filled with the guitar's color and the other a smaller shape filled with white as seen in figure 2.5.
To make the white shape appear to be a highlighted area will require a graduated transparency effect. Don't worry, though, it sounds tougher than it is. It's actually quite an easy effect to create with Xara Xtreme Pro...
The inner shape should still be selected... Select the Transparency tool and set the Transparency shape to Circular as seen in figure 2.6.
Move the center of the white/transparent fill towards the upper left corner of the guitar body. To do so simply click-and-drag the center point.
Angle the fill downwards, as seen in figure 2.7, by clicking-and-dragging the arrowhead end of the Transparency tool downwards.
Perfect! The guitar body now looks a little more 3-dimensional. And that will, hopefully, make the illustration appear more realistic. Later on, more highlights will be added, as well.
I'm going to let you practice your shape editing skills by creating the pickguard from the copy of the inner contour that you copied earlier (I mentioned it in an earlier tip). You'll need the pickguard for the next lesson. That's it for this lesson, though. Check back often, though... the rest of the guitar lessons will be added as quickly as they can be written up. Speaking of practice, I think I better go spend a little time with the real guitar :)
We'd like to hear from you... If there are any digital illustration techniques you'd like to see covered with Xara Xtreme/Xtreme Pro, send us an e-mail.