Tag Archives: vector-graphics

How to build an alien

There’s been a lot going on in my life the last few weeks so I needed a creative outlet that I could pick up and put down as needed. For me, the natural fit was to work on the iVokh using Corel Draw 8. In this post, I’ll do a quick reveal of how I built an iVokh hand.

First I had to find some reference pictures. I was lucky enough to find a nice one showing the skeletal structure of a raptor ‘hand’ as compared to a human hand:

https://www.pinterest.com.au/remiwashere/animal-anatomy-forms/

Next, I vectored each bone of each finger…and tried to get the lighting more or less right using Corel’s gradient colour function:

The hand’s not perfect, but it is in a pose closer to what I wanted, plus the finished bones do give me a second layer of references. More importantly, each bone gives me an outline that can be used like a cookie cutter [the gradient fill is inside the outline]:

Now, I can use the vector outline to cut out textures for the ‘skin’. The following images are a kind of timeline of the process of skinning the bones:

Working from left to right we have:

  1. the vectored finger,
  2. the outline of each individual bone,
  3. the bones broken apart,
  4. the outline of the bones,
  5. the texture cut out by each outline,
  6. the finished finger

The finished ‘finger’ on the far right shows a simplistic view of the skin ‘tunnel’ in which the claws hide until they are protracted – i.e. pushed out. I took the reference from a picture I found showing a close-up of the skin around a cat’s claws.

https://www.softpaws.com/fascinating-facts-about-cat-claws/

Now, I suppose some of you are wondering why I didn’t just draw a whole finger, or better yet, a whole hand?

The reason is that I’m not that good at freehand drawing. I’m more draftsperson than artist. So while I might be able to fudge a hand once, I would not be able to redraw that hand in different poses. By creating the basic building blocks of the hand, however, I can use Corel to create different poses using more or less the same building blocks. [To get the perspective right, I’ll have to adjust the nodes on at least some of the ‘bones’, but that’s the easy part].

Is this the best way to build an alien?

Sadly, the answer is no. The vectoring isn’t that hard but finding the correct snippet of texture with just the right colour and light effect is very hard.

The best way to build an alien from scratch would be to create a 3D model using a super dooper graphics package like Maya. Unfortunately, Maya is also super dooper expensive and takes about 2 years of study to learn properly. So I’m making do with what I have, and what I know. I think I’ve done pretty well so far, for an amateur. 😉

Okay, no comments again, but as always, my thanks to all of you for being my sounding board[s].

-hugs-

Meeks


Unfinished…

I’ve been obsessing over this image for days now. Still a way to go, but for the first time this evening, it feels as if it’s finally coming together. 🙂

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Meeks


Corel Draw X6

I drive a 1988 Toyota Corolla because I refuse to throw anything away while it still works. Or perhaps it’s because I’m a keeper, and I do love that car.  Anyway, given my penchant for hoarding, you can imagine how happy [sic] I was at having to buy the latest version of Corel Draw.

For those of you who have never heard of Corel Draw, it was once the graphics program of choice. Then Photoshop happened, and Corel fell from favour. It’s still around though, so there must still be a core of Corel tragics like me out there.

corel draw 8I have been using Corel Draw for about 20 years, and the version I had to farewell today was Corel Draw 8 [released in 1998]. And before any of you do the math, that does make it 15 years old.

In the computer world, 15 years is like centuries for people, and if I were a real graphic artist, I would have had to upgrade a long time ago. But you see, I’m just a hobbyist – I like to make stuff for my own use, like the graphic of the Vintage Egg, or my maps of Vokhtah – so version 8 was all I needed.

Unfortunately, Corel Draw 8 doesn’t work properly with Windows 7. It will let me resize graphics, and export them, but I can’t save my work. Or, as I discovered today, I can’t even do that if I try anything a bit more fancy.

I knew I’d have to upgrade eventually, but I’ve been dragging my feet because of the expense, and the fact that I have better things to do than re-learn an application I know like the back of my hand.

Sadly, my procrastination cost me over two hours of work today, so I went outside, kicked a few weeds, came back inside and found a reasonably priced upgrade on Ebay.com.au.

I’m still not happy, but I got a good deal on Ebay so I’m feeling a little better.That may all  change when I install Corel X6 and discover I don’t have a clue how to use it, but such is life. Expect a rant later on in the week.

Until then, I hope you’ve all had/will have a pleasant Sunday.:)

cheers

Meeks


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