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3.2 Using the Glowing Line Technique

In this lesson we will explore a useful technique for illustrating cool, glowing, neon lines. This transforms the sketch into the beginnings of a bright, vibrant, high-energy design.

3.2 Using the Glowing Line Technique

Hey guys, welcome back to the event flier design course. My name is Kirk Nelson. We are working our way through the second project of this course. This is the concert flier design. We are now on lesson number 12, where we explore the techniques for creating the glowing lines. So last lesson we completed the sketching process of this flyer design and now we're going to start adding in some of the actual elements of it. I'm going to hide the text layers for the time being and I'm actually going to delete the stock images that had before. Don't need those at the moment, and combine my sketch layers because I have this already saved out in a sketch file. It's okay to go ahead and destroy things like this. I've got it combined into a single sketch layer. Ideally, I want the main look of this flyer to be a black background with glowing contour lines that look almost like neon line, almost like glowing laser lights. Some effect like that. It's very fun, it's very cool and colorful, but we need the background to be black. So on background layer just fill it with black. Now the sketch layer is not like that at all. It's black on white, or dark grey on white, but we can invert that easily with Image > Adjustments > Invert, which is also Control or Cmd+I. And then I'm going to turn that to a screen layer just because. So to create these glowing lined effects you could actually try to freehand it, and if you're really skilled with your hand work that will work out, but chances are you're going to end up being frustrated with the type of input you have and the lack of control you have with creating a very smooth, faded glowing line. So, instead of trying it that way I want you to try this technique. I want you to grab the pen tool, make sure it's set to path, and on the combined shapes mode, go over to the paths panel, add a new path layer, and this is just going to be for the model. Because on this layer I'm going to begin outlining the skin element of our figure here. So I'll start with the neck and chin line. We'll start down here at the base of the neck. Pull the tangent upwards into that area, create the curve going around, and then back around over onto the chin. Now, when I'm finished with my general line here, I'm going to hold down the Ctrl or the Cmd key and click once more and that completes that line. It's hard to see because the sketch is so visible. Let's reduce the opacity there, here we go. That's this path just for her chin line. Now with that path layer still active, we can continue to create more paths just like we did with the chin. The idea here is to go along each of the elements that would be included with her regular skin type layer. So, here's what I ended up with for several of these paths to outline her face and neck, shoulders and hands, her arms. A little bit of leg over here and a bit of her back area on this side. These are all individual path elements I created with the pen tool just as we talked about. So I'm going to come over, back over to the layers panel. Create a new layer. And this is just going to be for model. Grab my brushes tool in my brushes panel. And I'm going to look just in the presets for a regular low-scattering type of brush, or a low spatter size. So I like the 24 spatter even though it's a little bit big. So I'm gonna dial it down in size to about 15. Then in the brush settings, I'm going to enable the shape dynamics and change the size jitter control to pen pressure. And if you look in the preview window you can see the ends of this stroke are tapered down. That's exactly what I want. But I don't want them going down to exact zero. I want to leave the minimum diameter at about 5%. This is a brush setup I know that I'm going to use a few times, so I'm gonna go to my brush presets. And I'm gonna add a new one. This is gonna be for glowing lines. So now I wanna make sure I'm on my model layer. I wanna make sure my paint mode is set to white and I'm gonna come back to my paths panel. I clicked off it there to deselect any selected points that are individually selected, cuz I want the entire path layer selected. Right click on it and select Stroke Path. The tool, make sure you choose the brush tool, cuz that will use whatever brush the brush preset is currently at, and it's important to click the simulate pressure box. And you can see how it traced along those paths with that brush. Let's click off from the path layer so we can see more clearly what's going on with those. Go back to my layers. I'm going to hide my sketch layer right now so we can see what's going on. This is a really neat looking effect. You can see how the brush strokes along each individual path, and it starts small. It gets thick right in the middle, and then it tapers back down. I like the effect like this. You may wish to do a slightly different effect. I'm going to show you how to do that. You're going to undo the stroke path that we just did and reopen my paths panel. Instead of the size jitter being set to pen pressure, you may want to set it to fade. You may want to set the steps for the fade up really high, let's say something like 1500. And then try stroking it again. And what happens there is it begins the stroke as the normal thickness and it fades it out as it goes down. Now, one of the bad things about this technique is that it's not live. You have to readjust it for every time you want to try a different setting. So I went back and I redid it with those pen pressure settings that we had before where it tapers on both ends cuz I really like that effect. And now to add that actual glow effect to it I'm adding a layer style, outer glow, have it set at screen full opacity, and I'm going to change this to a slight more orangish type of color and pump that size up. I've got mine set at about 16 pixels which gives us that really nice glow effect, but that's only for the skin. We need to go through and do that same technique for each of the elements. Let's do the guitar next. A new layer, path layer here. We just begin adding in paths for the guitar. And then we add a new layer for the guitar, and stroke the path. And then add the same glow to the guitar but we'll just change the color. To make that easy I'm holding down the Alt or the Option key while I drag and drop the fx icon onto it. Then I can just change the color of the outer glow. Let's make the guitar a nice, bright blue. Now the guitar needs to have some elements that are hidden. When I created the paths for the guitar here, I purposely did two different styles going up to where the arm is. On this line here, I actually stopped and restarted the line so that the lines would taper in, going to her arm, and I also had this one that goes straight through underneath it. The reason I did that is so I can show you the difference between the two. So on the guitar layer, we're going to add a layer mask. Create just a really quick selection just of that line and fill that with black. And see how that gives a much different effect than lining the tapers in. Now I'm gonna leave them both like that because you'll get to choose what you think works better for that situation. So I've added in paths for her best at this point. And there's a couple other little tricks to this technique that I want to show you just in case you need to use them. Going to add another new layer for her vest. Now, what I want you to see is if I have individual path selected within this path group, and I right-click, I get the option to Stroke Subpath. That's really useful for if you've created the paths and you stroke them and something is just not in the right spot and you don't want to have to undo everything and restroke all the paths in that path layer, you just want to do one individual one. That's how you do that. Another method is you can actually create a selection around individual paths or grouping of paths and then as you stroke that it will only stroke within the selection. Which also is somewhat useful. So, here is where I am after I've created all the paths and stroked those paths on individual layers. Just so you can see how I broke these down, I've got her hair layer is, which yes, was a lot of different individual paths. And a note on that, it's a lot of work. Keep them fluid, keep them flowing and very, very curvy. Always start from the head and head out so you don't get any strange directional inconsistencies within these. And it is a lot of work to add all those hair paths, but it's completely worth it in the end. And her shorts is just a very slight elements there, along with a little peek of her undershirt. Her vest that's on top of it. And the model, her guitar, and want I'm calling her accessories, which is her bracelets and her earrings. Which I think add a really neat touch. Now each of these are isolated onto their own layer simply so they can have different glow colors. That's the whole reason for putting them all on their own layer. If we wanted them all to be the same color we can put them all on the same layer so they would share a single type of layer style. But I like to itemize it out so that each individual element has its own layer. So this is coming together really well. At this point I think I want to accentuate that glow effect by grabbing all of these glow layers and creating a merged layer of them. So that's pressing Ctrl+Alt+E or Cmd+Option+E. Either way, it creates a merged layer of all of those together. I'm going to pull it down to the bottom of the glowing layers, set it to screen, and do a very slight gaussian blur. Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set it up to about six pixels or so, so we get a nice, broad glow effect in there. Thanks a lot guys, that's it for lesson 12 on creating those glowing lines. Now the technique I just showed you of creating the paths, stroking the paths, and adding a layer style is something that's really useful. Not just for creating this glowing lines, although that's the most common use of it. But you can mix it up with different colors, different brush effects, and different layers styles to create all sorts of different effects and appearances. I encourage you to experiment with it, play around with it, make the technique your own, and I'll see you on lesson 13, where we deal with putting some stuff into the background of this concert flyer.

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