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1.2 The Brushes and Hair Theory

Before we start our five projects, you’ll learn how to create the two important brushes for this course and then see a basic overview of the hair rendering process. This will give you insight into what you're about to create.

1.2 The Brushes and Hair Theory

Hey, all, welcome back to Creative Vector Hair on Tuts+. My name is Sharon Milne and in this lesson, I'm going to show you how to create two essential brushes for this project. I'm also gonna show you a couple of handy hints on rendering hair so you know what's ahead of you. So open Adobe Illustrator and bring on the vector locks. Let's start with out two basic brushes. These brushes are useful not only for this course, but you'll find the featured in most of my courses and written tutorials. They're extremely versatile and easy to create and use. As I'm going to saving this file to put in my brushes folder, I'm going to remove any unrequired assets already attached. So follow this process for the brushes, symbols, graphic styles, and swatches panels. Go into the drill down menu, then select All Unused. Then hit the Delete button, which is represented by a trash icon. Now to start creating these brushes, I'm going to zoom into the out board and create an even circle with the ellipse tool. You can do this by holding Alt and Shift. I'm going to give it a black fill and a null stroke. Using the free transform tool, squash the height of the circle. Then with the direct selection tool, select the left side point, and click the button and convert selected anchor points to corner. Repeat this with the right side point too. This will create the shape for our tapered brush. Now let's make this a usable brush. So go into the brushes panel and select add new brush, then select art brush. I'm just going to name it tapered brush and then just change the colorization method to tints. This is so whatever my stroke color is, the brush will take on that color. Then click on OK when you're done. So that's the first brush completed. Using the same shape I created before, I'm going to cut it in half. I'm using rectangle over the top of the shape, then selecting both and going to pathfinder minus front. This gives us a triangle tapered brush shape. Go through the same process for adding a new brush. The only change I've made is changing the direction of the brush. This is because when I'm drawing, I always start at the root and end up with the tapered point. Now at this point, save the file and place it in your brushes library within your Adobe Illustrator folders. Then you can add these to future projects. If you're using the files provided in this course, the files already come with brushes loaded. I find it best using these brushes with the paintbrush tool and a tablet. I get to create free-flowing organic strands of hair. I really enjoy rendering hair, and these brushes make the whole process a breeze. So let's look at the basic process of rendering hair. This is extremely basic and it's just to introduce you to a couple of steps I'll use rendering here. Within the projects of the course steps will be a lot more detailed and may be in different orders but the work flow remains the same. I always start with a base shape and this is set to blending mode normal opacity to 100%. This is because the strokes I put on the shade are usually of different blending modes or capacity that they be translucent in some way. A base shape prevents the strokes from tinting what's underneath. If I'm creating reference free hair, like in this course, my guidance strokes will always dictate where the peaks of the highlights and deepest shadows will be as well as giving direction to the hair. Depending on how bright the base is I usually create these in blending mode Multiply or Screen. I draw the strokes freely from left-to-right and then right-to-left. I find that in this way, I actually create overlapping strokes which will form the shadows and the highlights. With each set of strokes with different settings, I group them together. This makes it a lot easier to reference and keeps the strokes organized. Because when rendering hair, you will draw a lot of strokes, hundreds and sometimes thousands. Then I go in and add the highlights in the areas where there aren't as many strokes for shadows. Those initial strokes have told me where the shadows are, so there is your reference, automatically created. If I want to create further definition, I"ll go in with brighter and darker strokes. This helps to create contrast in the hair. You'll notice that these strokes overlap the base, so I'm going to create a clipping mask to contain the strokes within and to hide the overlapping areas. First, group together all of your strokes. Then duplicate your base and place it on top of your strokes. Then by selecting both the group and the duplicate of the shape, press Ctrl+7 to create a clipping mask. So let's briefly look at how I draw with these brushes. I do use a tablet, but its not that expensive or fancy like a Wacom Syntec. I use a Wacom Bamboo, which is about ten years old, which I got rather cheaply on Ebay. It speeds up my process, nothing more. So you could do this with a mouse, it would just take a lot longer. I'm going to show you how I use a type of brush. I'm going to put an arrowhead on the end of my stroke. So you can see which direction I'm drawing in. I tend to draw in a zigzag motion, going from left to right and then right to left. I find that this is the most natural way of drawing hair. However, this is only for when I use the type of brush because it's a symmetrical shape. With the triangle type of brush it's not as symmetrical so I have to draw in one direction only. I tend to start at the root as it's a precise starting point, and then draw away from it. This keeps the widest end at the root and the taping point on the end. Next time on Creative Vector Hair, I'll be kicking off our hair projects with a glamorous blonde hairstyle, similar to what you'll see on the red carpets of Hollywood. So thanks for listening.

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