In this tutorial I hope to shed some light on how to make vector art and more importantly how to make really great vector art with Adobe Photoshop. We’ll be creating shape layers which are vectors.
In order to even start to think about doing this tutorial YOU MUST KNOW HOW TO USE THE PEN TOOL. If you don’t know how to use the pen tool just do THIS TUTORIAL first, (it’s not hard honestly).
Don’t merge or rasterize your shape layers. As long as all your layers are shape layers then you have a vector piece of art…That means you can scale the original psd up and down in Photoshop and it will remain perfect and unpixelated!! The final output will NOT BE a vector file (it will be a rasterized jpg etc), to output a vector file you need to use Adobe Illustrator.
To see a better sized version of the finished vector just click HERE
I suggest you read through the entire tutorial before you begin…
Forming the FeaturesThere’s no set order in which to create the various features. I like to work on specific area until it’s done and then move on. Having said that though, I always notice a little something to tweak once I’m working on another area…
I used a grand total of 316 layers to form this Bjork vector so obviously I can’t show you every step by step layer, but I did make an animated clip of the layers. It’s 16 hours worth of work condensed down to 1 minute…don’t blink or you’ll miss some layers. If the video below isn’t working try CLICKING HERE (or come back tomorrow).
What follows next is a breakdown of some specific areas with some tips thrown in. I’ll start with the eyes because I always like starting with the eyes. They are definitely one of THE most important areas.
THE EYES (well actually, eye in this case)As you see, by comparing the original photo eye to my vector eye, I definitely didn’t create exactly what was in the original photo. It’s very important however to pay attention to the reflective quality of the eye. I’ve used several layers here to make it look semi-life-like and I work super zoomed in. Also you’ll notice I used a pretty vivid violet colour under the eye…this really just adds interest to the vector.
Never use pure white for the eyeball. It will just look weird! If there is white anywhere on the eye it will be in the reflective highlight.
1. Put in the basic shapes of the eye. Note I used Layer Style Inner Glow on the iris layer. Make sure the pupil is round by using the eclipse tool.
2. Add in eyelashes (mine look a bit like cockroach legs ha ha). You can create multiple paths on a single path layer. I find a faster technique for shapes like this is to just create one and then duplicate it, altering it with transform and using the convert point tool.
3. Add in the highlights etc. You can see that the highlight has it’s opacity lowered so that the layers below show through. By adjusting the opacity of your layers, your vector will have a greater complexity…it will appear like there are more layers.