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Available below are a couple of full-resolution images from the gallery above. On the left you have a preview/thumbnail image of how the image appears in the gallery (roughly a 4%-zoom), and to the right is a 100%-zoom crop of the full-resolution image for comparison.
Image dimensions are 4000x4000 pixels. The images were generated from the Export Image option within Flash, and have not been post-processed or retouched in any way.
I have provided these downloads in good faith and you are free to use these images for personal use (wallpapers, etc.). If anyone wishes to use these images in a commercial capacity, please get in touch with me. Regardless, anyone who uses or enjoys these images are more than welcome to contact me direct or drop in and say thanks at forum.pantsnetwork.com. :)
» Timeframe: May 2003
» Status: On the shelf (semi-abandoned)
» Software used: Flash MX
The first thing I should mention is that Rachel is an old project of mine, so unfortunately I wasn't as meticulous when it came to saving multiple revisions of my work as the project rolled on... Because of this, this gallery doesn't begin at the 'true' start of the project, a blank canvas.
Where it does start is basically the section after the incredibly challenging part for me, which was the facial shading stuff. This project was my first attempt at a realistic vectorized human face, and I spent a lot of time trying many different things to achieve something that looked decent. A basic description of my chosen method is "form gradients using alpha-blended two-tone shader plates".
I would attempt this method again a year later with the much more complex Project "Amber". If you are interested in the nuts & bolts on how I achieved this vectorized facial shading method in Flash, I've explained it all in much more detail (plus helpful images) over in the Amber gallery.
The result is an uneven, natural-looking gradient, which is just a way of working around Flash's very basic gradient controls. I used the same technique on the irises, adding slight colour shifts in her purple eyes because using a single radial gradient looked quite dodgy in my opinion.
The third image shows the addition of the first eyebrow, which was constructed using the same method as how I did the eyelashes. I started by making a fairly basic crescent/parenthesis shape, then reusing that shape over and over again for every lash of the eye (or hair of the brow).
Every time I duplicate the shape I would manually resize, rotate and often skew the shape while repositioning it along the eye or brow line. Every lash & hair has a hand-tuned gradient as well, and the eyelashes even have individually-positioned shadow shapes behind them!
If you look at the outline view (second image), you'll spot that I even had time to give the eyebrow a second layer of hair, which makes it look fuller, fatter and more realistic. This does make my first eyebrow attempt look crap by comparison, although no one I've spoken to has actually noticed (by themselves) that her two eyebrows don't match! If I ever revisit this project, I'll definitely go back and make the left brow fatter to match its chubby neighbour... :)
As you'll see on most of my vector artwork projects, I tend to do a lot of experimenting. Many of these experiments are laughably horrible-looking but I'll often put them up on Pants anyway because there might be other vector artists who are interested in my methods & odd techniques...
The second image on this page shows how ambitious I think sometimes, with my experiment to see what it might look like if I created her head of hair using the same method I used for her eyelashes & eyebrows. The test showed some promise but it also told me that it would take many many layers of hair strands to get it looking decent. No big surprise here, but I really wasn't that fond of manually arranging hundreds and hundreds of individual hairs!
Instead of treating the hairs individually, what I ended up doing was taking my red hair outlines and manually converted them all to filled shapes. For those unfamiliar with Flash, this meant recreating every single (fixed-width) sketch line as a filled polygon. Although Flash has a Convert Lines To Fills option, doing it all manually meant that I could vary the width of the strokes easily.
The effect isn't as pronounced as it could be, but some of the blue hair outline strokes (third & fourth images) are heavier than others. After the hair outlines were redrawn, I applied a flat-colour fill to the hair and that's pretty much where I left it. I should say that the project isn't finished yet, but the hair thing frustrated me a little so I simply moved onto different things... :)
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