This was our first class in VFX and Animation, so we were introduced to Adobe Illustrator and the tools we could use to create a simple logo animation. I’m familiar with some of Adobe’s suite and I hoped the layout of Illustrator would be similar to something like Photoshop.
Peter first tasked us with creating a new file, but told us some important things to remember while we worked:
- PAL (4:3) (720 x 576) was the original format animators worked in, where different borders around the screen designated the workable spaces.
- By the 2000s, we’d moved to a 16:9 format as widescreen televisions and monitors were more common. This led to the formats we use now in television, which is 1080p (where the p stands for progressive).
- For this file, we were going to work in 1080p (1920 x 1080) and 300ppi, which is the biggest I’ve ever worked in, since by standard I usually use something around 72.
- We needed to work in RGB rather than CMYK, which is used more in print rather than in movie and television. You can’t really jump between the two colour types after your project is started, so it’s important to keep note of it.
The first part was creating our new project and giving it a black background, which was achieved by adding a rectangle shape and filling it. We were then asked to write our name at the top and create four different colour squares in the middle of the canvas.
The alignment tools are quite useful for getting your project to match up nicely on the layer; by being in the selection tool and having the items selected, you can choose the align to art board option at the top of the page and then use the different kinds of alignments to get it where you want.
We were also told about the importance of grouping and keeping your hierarchy in order. When you’re only working with a dozen layers, it may not be so bad, but in some projects you could get up to 500 layers and need to keep track of what each one is and which ones should be locked (to avoid editing by accident) or grouped together.
To the left is what my layers looked like, with their proper naming and groupings to keep things in a workable order. They’re also locked as I continue to work on different things, to make sure they’re not altered by accident.
We were also shown how to change our typography into vectors by selecting the text we wanted to change (in this case the letters), going to object > expand and clicking OK. This always a lot more versatility when altering the lettering, however it does mean you can’t go back and edit the text at a later date. It’s good for if you’re sure you won’t be making any edits.
The progression of the project so far is good and learning to work with Adobe Illustrator is quite fun. I’m not very good at drawing, but I don’t mind designing and even vector drawing, since it’s not completely reliant on traditional drawing methods.
We also learned about a few other ways to manipulate shapes in Illustrator, including how to use booleans. Listed in the Pathfinder Tool, there are few different ways to utilise booleans:
- merge objects into one element
- minus the object in front from the object behind
- minus the overlaps of the two objects
- keep only the overlaps of the two objects
There was another way we were shown how to do this, which is slightly more complicated/long-winded. You can use the scissor tool to create the shapes you need and then join the vertices.
Using this new knowledge, we were asked to create a window with its panes as well as a heart with another heart cut out of it.
The window was made up of a square and half of a circle, then joined together. Finally, I added two lined to make up the panes and joined them to the outline of the window. The heart was created by splitting open a circle and putting them side-by-side, then joining their vertices to a triangle (which started life as a square and then I averaged the two top vertices). Coping that heart and resizing it so it fit inside the red heart, I then did a boolean to cut the shape out. I think it turned out quite well!
I’ll post more when we continue to learn how to animate our project.