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Thread: drawing methods

  1. #1
    desert nomad
    Join Date
    Aug 2001

    drawing methods

    why hello there, i was just fiddling with different drawing techniques for outlines. i took an abstract shape i made using the pencil tool and tried 3 different techniques that don't use the pencil or brush tool at all, aiming for the smoothest possible version. the results of my little experiment were as follows.

    many argue for different methods of figure construction. it is often agreed that the best approach is to break it down into the simplest shape possible. i have done a bit of a test to demonstrate, even in just one possibility, 3 different methods that were used to draw the same abstract shape.

    method 1 - shapes converged. this is the blending of method 3 (using the oval tool to define parts of the outline) with getting the basic outline of the shape formed as quickly as possible.

    drawbacks included:
    >intersecting lines don't merge perfectly, and points had to be manually deleted
    >a lot of reshaping using the arrow tool was necessary

    conveniances included:
    >easy to delete unwanted parts of outline.
    >circles already form most of the basic shape.

    on a more complex shape, such as the outline of a human head or lips or nose, it may become unnesecary or cumbersome.

    method 2 - line tool. the line tool is most often used to start the process of tracing (or inking, if you started off with a hand-drawn pencil sketch) and is even more basic than predefined shapes in that it is the setup for the shape's curves. i used the line tool by outlining the shape in a boundry sort of way, then started making the curves, then moved the points in to fit the shape.

    drawbacks included:
    >hard to define the shape exactly without adding more points. after i did that it became even more difficult to manage the overall look of the curve
    >if you add more points or try to delete points, the remaining points' handles remain the same, resulting in a jagged corner.

    conveniances included:
    >best method for making any kind of curve.

    best used for detailing. sometimes hard to mimic a curve exactly, as the arrow tool just can only do so much for the anchor handles that are being modified. very smooth overall.

    method 3 - shapes only. this is the www.cartoonsmart.com cartooning method. i'm still not very good at it obviously, but the idea is to just use ovals, squares, the transform tool, arrow tool, and subselection tool to do a pure form of shape molding and warping until the desired result. the main problem is that the oval tool starts out with 8 points, and can be frusturating to manipulate.

    drawbacks included:
    >oval tool is hard to manipulate
    >takes a while to master

    conveniances included:
    >once you get used to it, you can create any kind of shape lightening fast, adding points here and there to create smooth, editable shapes
    >rectangle is the easiest to use because there's less points to start out with. very conveniant if you're breaking down a shape, such as a human head, and just mold the outlines of the rectangle into a cartoonish head.

    conclusion: still inconclusive. if you are already used to one technique that you've mastered you'd probably scoff at anything else because yours works so well. but just take into consideration. does drawing by hand make sense? if you have to animate something, does it make sense to do one drawing, and start all over in the next frame? even with onion skinning you are still spending a lot of time for each frame, creating point-heavy illustration that probably isn't very smooth. on the other hand, using these three methods or any variation you can invent, with smoothness in mind, is aimed for maximum editability, both when you're trying to modify an existing drawing or you want to animate it, such as in a shape tween.

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Good observations which are well laid out. Information is presented in an understandable manner.

  3. #3

    looking for comprehensive source

    Nice approach which will give you the most optimized vector graphics. If you are looking for a comprehensive explanation on drawing with Flash might want to check out this book. It reveals all the drawing concepts and techniques that have saved me hours and kb. =) "Illustrating with Macromedia Flash MX 2004" I hope this helps your game.



  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Madison, CT
    Wow... very well put. I'm sure you've saved some people some time by posting that.
    -Let them see what is not there and feel what does not touch them. When they no longer trust their senses, that is the time to strike!

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