WWWIP 2019-2020: Kyle's Week 2 Progress
Hello fellow winter crafters! Kyle here with our second week of progress. Last week we altered some existing vector patterns to more easily create a mockup for Harl and then test fitted them. This was pretty quick and easy, but not all of our armor pieces had a pre-existing pattern for me to alter. So this week I’m going to show you how I made the remaining patterns from scratch using reference images.
First, I have to gather together my reference images and place them into my file for quick and easy viewing. Luckily, I have an image of the armor in T-pose from every major angle, as well as plenty of high quality images to compare details at different angles. The more angles and variety of poses you can get reference pictures of, the easier it will be to figure out your pattern shapes. I always like to have the concept art for reference as well, because there will typically be some differences between concept and final, and I may decide that I like the proportions or details of the concept art more than the final renders.
If you’ve never made a vector shape before then now is the perfect time to learn! I’ll start with the belt buckle and back armor plates since they have simple and flat shapes. I leave the reference images relatively small since they have a low resolution, but there really isn’t a right or wrong size to initially vector your shapes at. Once a pattern piece is vectored, I can easily scale them to the correct size using the rulers and guidelines in the program.
The Pen tool can be found in the tool panel on the left, or you can type the P key on your keyboard as a shortcut. Make sure your reference images are locked (the lock column is in the layers panel next to the view column) and click on the image wherever you want to start your shape at. The Pen tool will place a dot there, called an anchor point. Now if you simply click another spot nearby the Pen tool will automatically create a line connecting the two points together. However, since we want curves in our shape, hold your mouse button as you click your point, and drag at a nearby spot along the edge of your shape. As you drag your cursor the Pen tool will create handlebars which determine the curve of the line. These handlebars are the foundation for vectoring anything outside of a box!
You’ll notice that if you try to click your next anchor point from here it will just continue the curve of the previous point over to your current. Sometimes this is good for large or complex curves that require more than one anchor point. But we want a sharp angle, so there are two ways to do this. The first option is to hit Ctrl+Z to undo your point, and then hold the Alt key as you click your previous anchor point to remove the second handle bar of the curve. This will allow the next point to create a new curve so that we can have the sharp corners in this shape.
The second way to alter curves is to place your anchor points first, and then hit Shift+C to go into the Anchor Point tool (you can also find this tool by clicking and holding over the Pen Tool icon until it pops up your other options). You can use the Anchor Point tool to adjust the handlebars of your curve independently of each other, which will create a corner at your anchor point.
Both of these options are important, because sometimes you will want only one handlebar at an anchor point and other times you will want both. You can also use the Anchor Point tool to create a curve on an anchor point that doesn’t have one by clicking the point and dragging your cursor. After finishing half of the belt buckle, I went back and tweaked my curves a little more.
To create the bevel guideline, I copied my half shape and pasted it in place, and then adjusted each point and curve individually. If you try to simply scale the copy down all at once the corners and curves may not match up very nicely (though you can always try it first to potentially save time). Finally, I copied and mirrored my half shapes and then joined the points together just like we did last week.
For the Back Plates I used the same process as the Buckle, except I made one entire half piece and then mirrored a copy of it to create the other. One additional change to make is to the tops. They will need to wrap over the shoulders, so I will lengthen them just a little bit. If it’s too short or too long in the test fit I can quickly tweak that before cutting out the final.
And wow! Going through the basics got a little deeper than I originally expected, so we’ll wrap up this week’s blog. For any of you wanting to continue learning how to vector pattern, next week we will teach you how to use multiple reference images at different angles to make a pattern pieces like the Leg or Hip armor, which wrap around the body instead of just lying flat.