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Dessins, peintures, infographies, animation et pensées

21 juillet 2008

Dandelion Girl

Well it's time for another tutorial that involves Inkscape working cooperatively with Gimp. Let's see what results.

The history of this tutorial it's a bit sad, because comes from a project that probably never will see the light (I'm sure if you follow this Blog, this is not the first time you've read that), a Web site that was intended to sell pictures of women... not exactly naked women, jaja, don't take a wrong impression of my company and me, but just bikini women. And like a Web site that I was viewing the other day that says "Even a bad date makes a great history" (or something like that), I can say "Even a bad project makes a great tutorial". Well enough history, let's see some action.

For this project I wanted to do something subtle and nice, so I started to search for photos in stock photography until I found this one: (FIGURE 1)


FIGURE 1  Dandelion girl. (©STOCKXPERT / taden)

But just the photo is not enough for the result that we're looking to achieve, so enter Inkscape, we'll try to get some nice subtle effect with this nice vector program.

Open Inkscape and adjust the dimension of the canvas to the size of the photo. For me it is: 850x565px (Go to File > Document Properties to set the size under the tab Page)

After that we need to import the actual photo to Inkscape, so go to File > Import and select your photo. The photo will appear on the stage, so select and center it on the stage.

Keep selected the photo and go to Fill and Stroke button in the horizontal toolbar. A dialog will appear, so go and change the opacity to 50 under the Fill tab. Changing the opacity will allow us to work more precisely and also see slightly what is below. (FIGURE 2)


FIGURE 2  Changing the opacity of our dandelion girl picture.

Basically what we are pursuing is tracing over the photo and draw the vector shapes over it, so to differentiate the photo from the vector shapes that we are going to draw, let's add a new layer. In the main menu go to Layer > Add Layer and in the position choose Above current. Now lock the layer that contains the photo (FIGURE 3) and proceed to select the layer you've just created.


FIGURE 3  Locking the layer that contains the photo. Notice that I've renamed the layers.

Now this is the hard part, select the Bezier paths tool (SHIFT + F6) and trace over the photo. Let me explain and add some recommendations to do this: (recommendations are from the book Beginning Gimp by Akkana Peck)

  1. Before you begin remember to zoom in. You probably want a zoom factor of 200% or more, depending on your hand steadiness and how good your close vision is. Zooming in lets you place your control points exactly on the edges of the object you're choosing.
  2. Click in the canvas, selecting points you want to connect. Use as many or as few control points as you need, depending on how precisely you want your selection to be. (FIGURE 4)
  3. Keep clicking to place points around the outline of the image until you get back to the starting point. (FIGURE 5)

FIGURE 4  Placing points around the outline of the image using the Bezier paths tool in Inkscape.

FIGURE 5  Keep adding points until you "close" or get back to the starting point. The vector shape has been lowered the opacity to see the photo below.

Keep doing the same procedure for all the important shapes of the photo that you want to trace. For the dandelion girl I've identified five important shapes: The face (showed above), hair, blouse, hand and the dandelion flower stick. After tracing on this shapes we get: (FIGURE 6)

FIGURE 6  Identify the main shapes of the photo and then trace over them with the Bezier paths tool.

NOTE: the hand is actually a set of individual shapes, mainly because the fingers.

Now we need to add some details to our dandelion girl, maybe some shadows, the eyes, the mouth, differentiate the fingers, etc. After that we are done in Inkscape. (FIGURE 7)

FIGURE 7  The final dandelion girl in Inkscape.

Just for fun, let me show you a mistake that I did :) I confused myself in the middle of the process and I draw a hand that actually appears like is in 3D. (FIGURE 8)


FIGURE 8  A 3D hand made with gradients in Inkscape, probably doesn't fit in the overall dandelion girl style.

Well probably the way it is, the dandelion girl it's already nice and pretty, but lets see if we can add some more detail.

Like we can see in the photo, the Dandelion girl is blowing the dandelion flower and all the mini dandelions are launched away, to fly in the air (I always wanted to blow a dandelion flower - I'm sure it's a lot of fun - but I've not found one yet here in my country). That is the missing part, so lets see how we can add some dandelions:

  1. Draw precisely the dandelions in Inkscape using the Bezier path tool
  2. Import the PNG bitmap generated from Inkscape into Gimp and then add the dandelions there using a special brush.

Well for option number one, maybe is too difficult and time consuming so let's skip this one. So the only choice is option number two.

First we need to get the brushes, so go an get this nice dandelion brushes by Project-GimpBC:

Then we need to install them, so maybe this instructions could be useful to you: (Thanks Rore)

NOTE: In Windows you can store the brushes files under this folder: C:\Program Files\GIMP-2.0\share\gimp\2.0\brushes

After that edit the Dandelion girl drawing in Gimp and using the brush you've just installed draw some dandelions. Remember to use the original photo for reference, so you can see where the dandelions are flying and draw accordingly. (FIGURE 9)

So that's all. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial just like I've enjoyed doing it.

FIGURE 9  The dandelion girl blowing some dandelions.

Posté par coche à 06:12 - Infographies - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]


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