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3.2 Short Pixie Crop: Rendering the Hair

Hey all. Welcome back to Creative Vector Hair on Tuts+. My name is Sharon Mellin, and in this lesson I'm going to show you how to render the short pixie haircut. Let's start by creating a new layer on top of the base, as you want to keep the base and the hair strands separate. With darker hair you're going to be working more with the highlights and the shine in the hair. In the previous project with blonde hair, you created the initial strokes and shadows. Whereas with darker hair, you're drawing highlights. As with before I'll be using the taper brush and paint brush tool. This is set to blend a mode screen and opacity 50% with a 0.5 point stroke rate. Short hair with less than a smooth edge and no reference image is a little more difficult to think of where the initial strokes would be. So the key is to take the direction from the direction where the strokes fall, on the outside of the base. With that, I begin drawing strokes on top of the front of the hair where her bangs are and begin layering the strokes to create texture. I then use the same thought process to begin building up the strokes around the rest of the head and slowly coming inwards to the crown. The hair will gradually meet in the parting. Don't worry about the density of the hair in this area. Because of the way the hair falls on the head, the hair won't be as thickly layered, and it would expose the root more. And, as we know from previous project, the root of the hair is a lot darker. Therefore it will have less highlights. And continue to add strokes to the more populated areas of the hair. Remember to add strokes which overlap the base to cover the tips of the hair. Don't worry about the overlap, as we're going to hide those with a clipping mask. You'll find if you keep on going with the flow of the hair, natural groups of hair will form. These will tell you where the peaks of the hair are, therefore where we need to add more strokes to create shine. To create a more intense shine, draw a short strokes within those groups and layer the strokes. The beauty of the tapered brush helps create this gradual gradient in the hair which creates a natural looking shine. Then select all of the strokes and group them together. Duplicate the hair shading base and place it on top of the stroke group. Then create a clipping mask. You'll get a warning telling you that the clipping mask shape is too complex, blah, blah, blah. Just ignore this and click on OK. It is a complex shape, but as long as your computer isn't from the early 2000s, it should be fine. This will clean up your edges and hide the overlapping hair over the base. I then repeat the same process for the small patch of hair at the back. With short hair falling a lot closer to the skin around the forehead, you're more likely to see a shadow cast in this area. So what I'm going to do is show you how to create this shape. The base of the hair and paste it underneath the paste in mask group. I'm going to change the blending mode to multiply, and lower the opacity 20%, so you can see it on the skin. Then with my arrow keys, I'm going to nudge it down to create a soft shadow. Of course with the hair shape being so irregular, this is going to create unnecessary shadows around the lower parts of the hair base, when we're only wanting the shadow cast on the forehead. So with the duplicate of the skin base from the portrait, select that and the shadow base shape and use pathfinder intersect. I then use the same skin shading color and have a soft shadow. However, this shadow isn't enough, so with the pen tool, I create a shape around the top half of the head and then fill it with an inverted transparent radial gradient. I use the gradient tool to position and resize the gradient so it gives a soft shadow on the top of the forehead. Let's create a more natural edge to the hair base. Due to strands being cut off at the edge of the clipping mask, you may notice there's some distortion. So, I'm going to add strokes behind the base shape with the brown of the hair base, and using the paintbrush tool. These strokes are set to blending mode multiply and opacity 50%. I draw these strokes all around the base and then group them once done. I finish off the hair by adding further highlights to the shine of the hair. This helps intensify the contrast, meaning you won't need to add shadows to the hair, which you would with blonde or lighter shades of hair. Next time on Creative Vector Hair, I'm going to show you some variations of this style. Let's play with different colors to show you how you can customize your pixie cut with color. Thanks for listening.

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