The scales texture in the sssnake! project was created with the aid of a splendid new tool from Astute Graphics. Collider Scribe is a £10 add-on for Adobe Illustrator designed to help lining up and arranging objects in your illustrator projects. It make short work of arranging these various sized circles so that their edges are accurately touching. Here's how.
Create a long thin shape for the snakes body. Draw out some circles of decreasing size. These will be used as a the scales. I used the same fill colour as the body and a lighter colour set at 2pt for the stroke.
<Shift> drag a row of the larger circles up the centre of the body. This is where the Collider Scribe tool comes in. As I shift drag a shape it snaps into position onto any shapes it comes near, This makes it really easy to position shapes so that they are just touching.
Use the Collider Scribe tool to fill in the remaining shapes positioning larger circles in the centre and smaller shapes towards the edges. Let Collider Scribe snap them into position for you!
Once the body is full of circles it is time to change their hues. I used this free script to change the colours randomly. Download it and save it to your computer. Select all the circles, but not the background then select File -> Scripts -> Other Scripts and select the Vary Hues script from your computer.
This is the result after running the script with and input value of 25.
Complete the snake skin by adding a clipping mask to trim off any excess circles.
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I've been working on a project using a crank and pushrod. I use a disk with a circular hole to link the crank shaft to push rod. Adding a tab helps make the join strong. It is fairly straightforward to create the shapes required in Illustrator, It just needs a circle with a circular hole and a rectangle for the tab. Select all the parts and click on the first Pathfinder button to make a single outline.
Adding these curved corners make the part stronger and easier to cut out.
The problem being that adding a curved corner isn't as simple as is looks. You need to construct a circle. Fit it into place. Cut out the arc. Cut the.... etc etc
That's where VectorScribe comes in. This set of plug-ins for Illustrator is produced by Astute Graphics. It comes with a variety of tools that I've found really useful in the construction of projects. The tool I've used here is the Dynamic Corner Tool. It is really simple to use. Select the tool (circled). Click on the corner where you want to add a curve. Boom. Done. You can resize the radius of the curve by dragging the small circle at the end of the red arrows. This tool has been really, really useful. If you design paper toys, go get it.
Here's the end result and a pic showing the part fitted to a crank.
While you're at the Astute Graphics website check out my webcomic robot tutorial :-)
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|This is a quick guide showing how the background texture featured in the Snow Man Gift Cover was created using PhotoShop.|
|The main page background is based on a graduated fill. Select a light blue as the foreground colour.
Click on the Graduated fill drop-down and select the, colour-to-white option. (ringed)
Use the graduated fill tool to fill the background, blue at the top grading down to white.
|Create a new layer and fill it with 50% grey.|
Make sure that the grey layer is selected. Click on Filter > Noise > Add Noise...
Set Distribution to Uniform and tick the Monochromatic box.
The noise on the background is too fine, to make the particles of noise larger we'll deploy the Crystallize filter.
Select Filter > Pixillated > Crystallize...
The cell size controls the size of the particles, set it to approx 14, then click <OK>
To convert the speckled background into a falling snow effect we'll use the motion blur tool.
Select Filter > Blur > Motion Blur...
Set the angle to 72 degrees. Set the distance to 295 pixels.
Click the <OK> button.
Notice that, in the previous picture, the edges of the motion blur look different from the middle. To even this out we'll expand the picture slightly so covering up edges.
Click on Edit > Free Transform.
Stretch out the picture so that it stretches slightly beyond the edge of the picture.
Press the <Return> key to complete the transformation.
Now we'll fade out the snowfall effect so that it becomes a subtle streaking against the graduated fill.
Go to the layers palette, make sure that the top layer is still select.
Drop the Opacity slider until it looks just right! I used 26%.
That is basically the completed texture, and the end of the tutorial. The remaining elements of the cover sheet go on top of this layer.
The next step in the creation of the cover is to drop the Snowman picture in on a new layer the add the title 'Snowman' the font here is Bauhaus 93.
The colour is set by using the eye dropper tool to pick up orange colour from the Snowman's nose.
After which I added some effects for the text. In this case, a drop shadow and bevel.
Next tutorial I'll cover how I added the remaining text in Illustrator and finished off the sheet.
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What we need are needles. Needles and baubles. The problem is that as the branch part of the Christmas tree is wrapped round, the needle texture needs to be wrapped round as well. Here is one possible solution using the all powerful PhotoShop. I've started off by copying the branch outline from Illustrator and filling it with green.
Use Image -> Canvas size to make sure that the canvas is exactly square.
Add a new layer for the needles.
Choose the Dune Grass brush in the brush presets list and set the brush size to around 50 pixels. Set the foreground colour to a light green and the background to a dark green.
Sweep the brush over the new layer to completely cover it in grass.
Add a small drop shadow in the layers window using the setting above.
Click on Filter -> Distort -> Polar co-ordinates. This is the step that neatly wraps the effect round for you.
With the Move Tool, move the new layer so that it is centred over the centre of the branch and resize it if necessary.
Create a blank layer above the needles layer. Select the new layer and the needles layer and select Merge Layers. This flattens the drop shadow effect into the needles layer.
Click to select the branch layer. Use the magic wand tool to select the branch outline. You should see the marching ants round the outline.
Select the needles layer. (Layer 2 above) Click on Select -> Invert selection and delete the excess needles.
That's it! Add the baubles - perhaps the subject of another tutorial!
Print out and assemble.
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I've uploaded a new YouTube video tutorial covering paper modelling skills. I hope you find it useful!
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One of the features of Blender is the ability to extend it with Add-Ons. The add-on, Export Paper Model adds the ability to unfold a 3D shape and output a net which can then be edited and printed out as a working paper model.
Download the free script from this page
...and save it onto your computer.
Installing the script into Blender is a straight forward job and you only need to do it once.
Navigate to the script export_paper_model.py and click on Install Add-On, top right.
Scroll down the page and click on the check box next to Import-Export Paper Model then click on Save As Default.
That completes the installation. You won't need to do that again.
To use the Paper Model Export:
Select the model.
Press the space bar to call up the menu window. Start typing "Make Unfoldable" As you do so the number of menu choices reduces until you home in on Make Unfoldable. Click on the button. The program will then work out where the seams and cuts go on your unfolded model. The seems will show up as red edges.
Click on File -> Export -> Paper Model(.svg)
Navigate to where you want to save the files and type in a file name on the second line. At this point you can make some changes to the to the output in the lower left of the window. You can adjust the size of the parts and the tabs that are added to the parts.
Once done, click on Export Paper Model to save the file.
The file saved to your disk will be in SVG format. (Scalable Vector Graphic) You can edit the file in Illustrator or the open source (free) editor InkScape.
You can change the scale of the model, add colour and decoration, generally make it your own!
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Download and save the Banana picture here.
Add the picture as a background image. There is a tutorial here explaining how.
Make sure that the background image Axis is set to Left then click View at the bottom left of the window and set the view to Left as well.
The banana shape is made up from a series of pentagons joined together. To create a pentagon in Blender we create a circle and set its number of sides to five(!)
Start by clicking <shift> A then choosing Circle from the menu.
Set the number of vertices to 5. The circle is shown edge on so it looks like an orange straight line in this view.
We're going to start the construction of the banana from the middle. Using a combination of G to grab the circle, S to scale the circle and R to rotate it move the circle so that it fits neatly across the middle of the banana.
To create the next section we're going to extrude from the first section. Press the E key. A new pentagon connected to the first one will be created. Move the mouse to see clearly how it works. Use a combination of G, S & R to position it higher up on the banana. Click the mouse to fix its position.
Repeat the process of using E to extrude and G, S & R for Grab, Scale & Rotate to position the segments until you are at the top of the banana stalk.
Use <alt> <click> and drag to change the view point. As you move away from the left view the background image will disappear. Notice that in the above image the top most pentagon is selected hence the orange lines. Before finishing off the banana we need to deselect these. First press A to select everything - press A again and everything will be deselected including the previously selected stalk.
<Alt> <click> and drag the view round so that you can see the open base of the banana. Select the five points of the pentagon using the lasso select tool. <Ctrl> <click> and drag.
Make sure that you set the view to Left before proceeding.
Once done repeat the process of E to Extrude, G, S & R to move until you have completed the banana shape.
<Alt> <click>drag to admire your handy work!
Save the file under a suitable name. 'Banana' would do nicely. In the next tutorial I'll show you how to convert the 3D computer model into a paper model.
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Time to make the Paper Rock model move! My plan is a to add a pendulum drive and hopefully make the head nod up and down and perhaps make an arm strum on the guitar strings. To that end, I need a box into which to fit a mechanism. A loudspeaker cabinet seems the most fitting.
I'm still planning the mechanism. So in the meantime, I'm working on artwork. Here, I'll show how I created the texture effect for the front grill of the loudspeaker cabinet. My starting point is the net of a box 90mm x 85mm x 46mm as an Illustrator file. I've picked a blue-grey for the background colour. I'll be adding the grill texture to the top square of the box. Follow the directions below to complete the texture. Members can download the completed file for free.
Start by drawing a square over the front of the box 5mm smaller all round than the size of the box front. Fill the new square with a radial fill graduating from light grey to dark grey. Add a 3 point off-white border stroke.
Having created the grill background, time now to create the holes in the grill. Start by drawing a small black circle, top left in the grill.
Select the circle the copy it once by <shift><alt> dragging it so that the new circle is roughly half a diameter from the first. Repeatedly press <cmd>d (<ctrl>d on a PC) until the full row of circles is complete. Select them all and group them by clicking <cmd>g.
Select the row of circles. <alt> drag it down and to the right to create a second row of circles between and below the first. Select both rows and again group them.
Select the double row of circles.
<Shift><alt> drag it downwards to create a new double row equally spaced with the first. Repeatedly <cmd>d until you have more than filled the whole box front with rows of circles.
Select all the rows and group them together into one giant group.
Zoom right in then select the circles and <alt> drag them to create a second set of circles.
Select the lower set of circles and set their fill colour to white. Move them just slightly right and down. This will simulate light catching at the bottom edge of the holes in the grill.
Zoom out to take a look!
Group both layers of circles.
Draw a rectangle above your original white rectangle.
Select the circles and the top rectangle then click on object->clipping mask->make. This will make a clipping mask using the top rectangle and will hide any circles that are overlapping the edge of the box.
In true Marshall Amp style, type out the chosen name for your speaker cab. Make three copies and colour them as below. In the objects below the grey writing is at the top of the stack, the black at the bottom.
Drag the white over the black with the overlap shown.
Drag the grey onto the other two and group all three together.
Drag the text onto the grill and resize it if necessary. Quite an effective speaker grill I hope you agree!
Print out and put together the parts.
I'm hoping there will be enough room inside the cab to fit a pendulum and drive linkages. If not I can stack a couple of cabs on top of one another or add an amplifier head.
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I think I've tracked down the ultimate tool for making paper models using Blender. Up until now I've been using UV-unwrap, part of Blender but it turns out that this isn't as accurate as I was hoping. To be fair, it is not intended for the use to which I was putting it. After a bit of searching I can across this Blender Add-On which you can download for free here.
Then it is simply a case of making your model (more of which later) and clicking Save -> Paper Model...
...and printing it out. How cool is that!?
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I'm planning a series of tutorials on creating paper models using a variety of different software from Blender through Illustrator and perhaps the free program Inkscape. For me, part of this process is learning how to use screen capture software to record directly from my computer screen. I'm using a piece of software called Camtasia which seems to do the job simply but effectively.
As part of my learning process, I've created a short video on adding pictures to comments - a video version of my previous post. Feedback, both +ve and -ve would be most welcome.
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