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3.1 Short Pixie Crop: Sketching and Base Shapes

Hey all. Welcome back to Creative Vector Hair on Tuts+. My name is Sharon Milne and in this lesson I'm going to kick off the second hairstyle project, which is creating a pixie hairstyle cut. Pixie haircuts never go out of fashion. With the right features and style, they can give an elf look, hence the name pixie. Short hair can often be just as challenging as long hair to render. You've got less hair to play with and you have to make it just as impressive, so you have to think about condensing that wow factor into a smaller area. So just as the first project, I'm gonna kick off this section by showing you how to sketch out and create the base shapes for your pixie haircut. You'll find the skill set involved in this one universal for creating all short hair styles. The initial steps will always be the same. So let's start by creating a new layer and renaming it Sketch. Then we'll hide the portrait and make the stock image visible, ready for sketching. Using the blog brush tool, I'm now going to sketch out the hairline and the boundary to the skull. More than most styles, short hair has less hair to add volume to the hair so knowing exactly where the boundary of the skull is, is vital. You don't want the hair to have too much volume. That looks unrealistic, but at the same time you don't want it to be too flat that it doesn't look as if it's realistically laying on the head. So there's a small margin of error with this one. In the first sketch, I've begin drawn out the parting in the hair. I'm thinking about having some hair on the side of the face, so I do a swooping of strains going across the side. I then fill in the rest of the hair, paying attention to the direction of the hair where it flows. As the hair's a certain length on top, I'm going to show some of the hair coming away at the bottom. Perhaps that hair in the front was too long. So I tried doing a shorter more chubby style. So I started up front and worked out how I want the hair to fall onto the forehead and continue to work in the rest of the hair. Let's try the hair even shorter. The shorter the hair, the more round on the direction the hair falls, as it's not got as much volume to weigh it down. So I'm creating a very short cut. Keep this in mind. And don't compare the style to, perhaps, a longer style with fringe that covers part of the forehead, and creeps over the eyes. Okay I'll say it's a bit of an emo hairstyle with a fringe of the bangs covering over the face. As you see, the hair being longer gives the hair more volume for the direction of the hair to be dictated. Let's try seeing what she'd look like without hair on her face. So, I've drawn in the hair along the hairline coming away from the face. Then I decided to have the hair at the front almost like a cow's lick and the sides brushed back. It's adventurous but maybe not their style. I'm going to refine this concept and perhaps have it less organized and tidy and have it more spiky and wild looking, what do you think? I'm not so much of a fan. Let's try another messy shortcut. So I start with the hairs overlapping the forehead and work around the outside and fill it in. I've done a lot of sketches now. After flicking through the hairstyles, I've decided I'm going to use our second sketch. I then organize the layers so all the other sketches are hidden. Of course, you'll be able to access all of these in the Source files provided in this course. I'm going to first reduce the opacity of the sketch to 50% and then I lock it in place. I then create a new layer and rename it Base. When you're faced with a smaller area of hair, such as a short haircut, the top of the base won't be smooth. So in order to render the base you effectively have to draw the strands of the hair coming away from the base all around the head. So with the tapered brush and the paintbrush tool, draw around the base. Start around the forehead and work your way around. Try your best to have all the strands touching each other. If the strokes are too thick then reduce the stroke's weight and continue drawing strokes around the head. Then select all of the strokes and go to Object Expand, and then in Pathfinder Panel go to Unite. This will connect all the shapes together, your aim is to create one shape. However, unless you're some sort of vector ninja, you may not achieve a single compound path, and be left with a group of shapes. This isn't one entire shape, sadly. So I'm going to first ungroup the strokes. Place the layer on Outline mode so you've got a better idea of where the shapes aren't touching each other. Then with the block brush tool, using the same fill as the shapes, connect the shapes together. If you've got several shapes to connect, try selecting the shape to see where it is, and you'll know where to draw to connect it to the adjacent shapes. Keep going until you've got one compound path in the layers panel. Now, go back into Preview mode. Then with the Live Paint bucket, fill in the center of the compound path. With the Live Paint group selected, go to Object Expand Appearance and then Pathfinder Unite to create the one shape. You may notice that there are several gaps around the edge of the hair which don't exactly create a flawless shape. So let's select the base again and use the live paint bucket to fill in the gaps, then repeat object expand appearance and unite. This may still not create a flawless base, don't worry this part can be tricky. I'm gonna smooth out some of the awkward looking shapes by adding more strokes with Paint Brush Tool to create a more natural look. Then when done, I'm gonna Object Expand and Unite with the base. You want to create a full head of hair that would look good in the silhouette. Now that the top shape is created, let's create a new layer behind the portrait. And this time, draw some strokes for the back of the hair with the Paintbrush tool. This shape won't require as much attention. In fact with such a little area, you can get away with a couple of strokes ony. Of course if this area's a bit longer and you're aiming for more of a mullet, I'd suggest repeating the process for the top of the hair for this section. And with that, the base is complete. Next time on Creative Vector Hair I'll be showing you how to render our short pixie cut. Thanks for listening.

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