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3.1 Create the Nose and Ears

Learn how to add the shading and detailing for the nose and ears for our cat portrait.

3.1 Create the Nose and Ears

Hey, all. Welcome back to Vector Pet Portraits, Cats. My name is Sharon Mellon and in this lesson I'm going to show you how to add the red tones inside the ears, and how to render the nose. Like with most of the process of creating a portrait, you need to be able to go from the original image to get the basic shapes, and often, colors. So what I'm going to do first is hide all the top layers which are covering our stock image. I've already gotten a new layer to create our new shapes in. However, if you've not got one on top of your layers panel, create a new layer now. I'm first going to tackle the ears. When I say the ears, I'm referring to the inside. The majority of cats will have a slightly reddening or pink hue inside the ears. They may also have several has short and long within the ear socket. Then on top of this, the width of the skin around the ear is pretty small. So the fur which is on top of the ears tends to be a lot shorter. Now the nose can often be a similar hue, which is handy if you're working with limited colors. Although typically the nose will have a little more pink in it than red. You'll also notice that on the nose there's not much fur coverage towards the tip of the nose, and the hairs are a lot shorter than anywhere else on the portrait. This is why you need to see more skin underneath. So before shapes are going to be created, I'm going to use the Eye Dropper tool to sample the dark color of the ears, and then drag and drop into our Swatches panel. And then with the nose, I'll sample and do the same. With these two new colors, I'm going to create a couple of transparent radial gradients and save them to the Swatches panel. Using the Pen tool, I'm going to draw out the two shapes for the inside of the ears. If you're creating a portrait which displays the whole ear, remember that the thickness of the skin on the ears is rather thin. So these shapes should be close to the edge of the ear base. I then fill the shapes with the browner transparent radial gradient. I use the Gradient tool to modify the gradient, so it's more oval, and have the source of the gradient shifted towards the top of the shape. This makes the lower portion of the gradient fade quicker where it's overlapping the head, which will make it easier to blend into the rest of the fur. I'm going to change the blending mode for the shapes to multiply, and then drop the layer containing these shapes below the fur layer. This will then show the strands of fur overlapping out the bottom of the ears. You may see that the bottoms of the ear shapes have a hard edge. Hard edges are much harder to blend into the rest of the fur without creating a dense appearance to the fur. So what I'm going to do is modify the gradients inside the ears again to prevent this hard edge. And then lock the layer in place. Let's create a new layer and call it Ear Fur. I'm then going to sample the fur from the face so it's blended normal opacity 50%. I'm going to start adding fur around the ears. Around the rim of the ear, you'll need to create short strokes graduating upwards towards the tips of the ear. I don't necessarily need to draw this for this composition, however, if you're vectoring ears in your own pet portrait, this is the process you'll need to follow for rendering fur around the ears. I continue adding fur around the edge of the other ear. I then add fur inside of the ears to help create a softer transition from the head to the ear gradient. Depending on the breed of cat, you may have fur in different directions. From the stock image you can see that there are more horizontal strands of fur growing from the side of the ear right across to the at the side. So I'm going to be the stock image and add additional strokes across the ear to give the style to the cat's ears. I then fill these new strokes on top of the composition and continue adding new strokes to build up the fur density. I'm aiming for a similar coverage in fur as the fur at the bottom of the ears, keeping a consistent coverage in fur is important. I want to soften the gradients in the ears, so I'm going to duplicate the ears' shape first, and then replace them with an inverted transparent radial gradient using the same color as the base. I then set these shapes to Blender Mode Normal. Using the Gradient tool, I adjust the gradients to create a softer transition. Time to add more strands of fur within the ears, this time adding more contrast by using blend mode Screen, opacity 15 and 40%. Time to add more strands of fur within the ears, this time adding more contrast by using blend mode Screen, opacity 15% and 40%. I finish off the ears by organizing the groups of fur depending on color and transparency settings. Then it's only hide in layers ready for work on the nose. I finish off the ears by organizing the groups of fur depending on the color and transparency settings. Then it's only hide in layers ready to work on the nose. I'm going to zoom in on the nose. Using the radial transparent radial gradient as a fill, I'm going to use the Pen tool to draw around the nose. You'll notice I include the area for the nostrils, and I moved the top of the shape upwards into the fur. This is because there is fur not present around the nostril. And the fur tops the top of the nose is very thin. So in both cases, you'll see the coloring of the nose. Using the Gradient tool, I modify the gradient so it's fading into the top of the nose. Similar to how it's blended into the fur and the ears, I'm doing the same with the nose. I then set the fill to blender mode multiply. I go back in with Pen tool and trace shapes for the nostrils and the fold in the nose. This is where the nose is and it's darkest and its most saturated. I use a brown transparent radial gradient for the nostrils and keep the blender mode to multiply to create the darkening of the area. I keep the red gradients for the nose filled and position the gradients so they don't create a hard edge on the shapes. The blended mode for these shapes are kept at multiply. Using the brown radial gradient, I'm going to create a shape effect around the nose. This is focused around the bottom and sides of the nose, not on top. I don't want to be adding shapes on top of the nose, as this wouldn't create a smooth gradient from the nose to the fur. The shadow shape around the nose will help add much more depth around the nose and nostril area. This shape is set to blend in mode multiply opacity 30%. I use the gradient only inverted to create shadow around the mouth area. Using the brown radial gradient, I use the Blob Brush tool to add shapes around the mouth area, set to blending mode Multiply. I then continue these shapes into the nostril and fold area to create further definition. The nose really doesn't require as much time or intention, as it's a small area. However, the defining edges of the mouth and nostrils do require a little more time to make sure they're clearly illustrated. Time to add some strands of fur around the nose. I first sample the lightest fur strands, which are set to blending mode screen opacity 15%, and draw short strokes around the nose. These are probably the shortest strokes you'll draw on the whole portrait, so their placement and direction has less room for forgiveness. Then, add short strokes around the nose to help the shadow gradient blend in around the nose. I'm going to finish off the nose by reducing the opacity slightly of the shapes. Although the nose is a vivid color compared to the rest of the composition, I don't want it dominating the composition. Of course, this may be a temporary fix as the eyes should be dominating the feature of the portrait. Next time on vector pet portraits cats. It's the exciting part, creating the cat eyes. Thanks for listening.

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