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Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Adobe rolled out some updated features for their latest release of Adobe Illustrator CC 2014, On June 18th. Included in the update was an improved Pen Tool. Check out the quick tip below showing how to manipulate the new Pen Tool in order to create an easy chalk-like design

1. Working with the Pen Tool

Step 1

Let's start by sketching out a word or two. In this case, I used the Pencil Tool (N)To sketch out the word "Serenity".  Group (Control-G) , together the path componentsCopy (Control-C)And,  Paste (Control-V)The type in order to quickly add some dimension to the word.  

Alternatively, you can sketch out your lettering outside of Adobe Illustrator CC 2014And import it (especially if you're not using a graphics tablet)

Step 2

LockThe sketch layer in the LayersPanel so your workspace is kept tidy. Use the Rectangle Tool (M)To draw a large black rectangle covering the Artboard 

Let's start tracing our letters. Use the Pen Tool (P)To trace the outline of the first letter. I like to take a small bit at a time so I have the most control over my design. See the Pen ToolIn action below. Note how the tool's path is projected from each anchor point without laying the next one down

Users had to hold down , PreviouslyAltIn order to project the next anchor point's path and curve or straighten it. The recent update has made this possible without having to hit any keys.  

Step 3

Continue working along the word. Note how parts of the letters connect or curve into each other.  Zoom (Z)In to increase your control over the curve and shape of each path. Manipulate handles of anchor points before or after they're laid down (doing so before ensures a smooth curve, but sometimes you may want to continue to edit curves after shapes are filled)

Step 4

Note the process with the second "E": I traced around the letter, stopping at the top of the "N". From here, I'll smooth out any points as needed.  

If anchor point handles do not appear when using the Direct Selection Tool (A)Grab the Anchor Point Tool ()(formerly the Convert Anchor Point Tool) to manipulate them.  

Additionally, you're now able to disconnect anchor point handles from each other and manipulate each side separately.  

Step 5

When connecting the tails of one letter to another, keep in mind each section's width so they flow into each other seamlessly.   , Once done with your letteringUnite the shapes in The PathfinderPanel

Below is a quick shot of how I used the Pen ToolTo project the path around the "Y's" curve

2. Apply Texture in the Appearance Panel

Step 1

SelectYour lettering and go to Effect > Sketch > ReticulationAnd set DensityTo 35 Foreground Level To 10And Background LevelTo5

Step 2

In the AppearancePanelChange the OpacityOf the previous step's effect to 44% Add a New FillAnd drag it underneath the effect fill (see below). Apply a 1ptStroke of WhiteAnd lower the OpacityTo 51%

Step 3

A custom pattern will be applied to the white fill color (second fill in theAppearancePanel).  Use the Paintbrush Tool (B)With a round CalligraphicBrushOf 1ptWeight to sketch some small lines in a rectangular-like shape

SelectThe scribble and Make a New PatternIn thePattern OptionsPanel. While in Pattern Editing ModeUse the Paintbrush ToolTo scribble around the edge of the pattern's bounding box in order to fill it in a bit more and be less obvious as a pattern(see below)

Step 4

As a final touch to the lettering, change the stroke to one of the chalk-like brushes found in the BrushesPanel. I chose Pencil - FeatherThough any of the thinner options will work well

3. Texture the Background

Step 1

Apply subtle Radial GradientFill in the AppearancePanel to the rectangular background. Use the Gradient Tool (G)AndGradientColors, and opacity, panel in order to manipulate the gradient's shape.  

I set the gradient at Black at 100% Opacity To 0% OpacityIt should be the very top fill (see below) in the Appearance Panel

Step 2

The second fill is a ReticulationEffect with the following settings:

  • Density:40
  • Foreground Level10
  • Background Level5

The third fill is a small white radial gradient going from 0%To 100% OpacityEstablished in , The fourth and final fill is blackSection 1, Step 2

Congratulations, You've Finished!

The changes made to the Pen ToolAllow mouse users more control than ever, as well as tablet users whose keyboards are inaccessible the freedom of being at a larger workstation. The technique of adding texture outlined above can be applied to all sorts of lettering designs for scalable designs that evoke that classic chalkboard style. Take the updated tools for a spin and show us your chalkboard lettering in the comments below

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Based on first-hand experience in daily use, I’m going to provide you with a general overview of some of the more popular devices from Wacom, In this article. Beyond checking out a few of the amazing features these two devices offer, I’ll also give you  some great tips to help you improve your workflow and experience using these devices


1. The Wacom Cintiq Companion

As you would on any normal computer, which means you can run your favourite Windows software on it, The newly released tablet is actually a fully featured tablet-pc. Only for a cheaper price, in the form of an Android OS tablet, Wacom also offers the same form-factor. It still features the same pressure sensitive pen and quality display, but you will be limited to using Android Apps

Wacom Cintiq Product shot 600x
Wacom Cintiq Companion running Windows8 and starting up Adobe Photoshop CC

Despite the huge price difference, I personally chose the first version, for the simple need to have access to myCreative Cloud AppsWherever I was, and also to have the ability to complete projects on the go. Previously, or postponing the actual work until I was at my desk, I was limited to either just sketching on pen and paper. But anyone that saw one, especially when adding a 2, I also tried carrying my laptop and Intuos3 A5 wide edition tablet, the size is not exactly portable. 3kg laptop

Together with the rocker key, The tablet also features a number of customizable quick-keys that, help satisfy the need for an external keyboard, and custom menus, at least when it comes to shortcuts. This is the first major feature I’d like you to take a closer look at


The Express Keys

Wacom Cintiq Express and Rocker Keys 600x
Express & Rocker Keys

As well as a 5 button rocker key, The device features 4 Expresskeys. These are fully customizable through the Wacom Desktop Center, they will greatly improve your efficiency in using the device, and if you actually take the time to set them up once

I recommend using the 4 main buttons for the four most often used functions in your preferred graphics program. I’ve mapped them as follows:, In my case

Going from bottom to top:

  • “Space”- Moving the canvas. The size of the device is quite great, and this button will help spare you from needless swishing across the screen all around your scroll bars, but whenever you need to get up close with some detail work, you will always have to move around the canvas
  • “Zoom”- Similarly, this function helps prevent the need of manually having to reach for the Zoom tool in Photoshop. You are automatically reverted to your previously used tool, If the button is pressed and held while dragging your pen, and released once you reached your desired level of magnification. You’ll be taken into “Zoom” mode, If, however, and would need to manually swap back to your previous tool, you simply press the button shortly
  • “Step Backward/Undo”- We all know how fond digital artists have grown of this shortcut. You might not even notice how often you actually make use of it, While using a keyboard, but once you’re left without one, you’ll start to feel slowed down by the need to go to Edit > Undo / Step Backward for every small mistake
  • “Invert Foreground/Background colour”This feature helps me increase the speed with which I can put down lights and shadows on the canvas, freehand sketches, - As my workflow often implies starting with rough. I tend to use this paired with a median opacity of 40% and don’t really pay much attention to silhouette errors, as this is just for reference purposes
Wacom Cintiq Sketch x600
It's best to keep it moving quickly, When you're just trying to brainstorm concepts. Swapping between light and dark values helps identify volumes

The Rocker Key

The Rocker Key/Wheel provides you with an additional 5 customizable keys for your convenience, Equally relevant to the other express keys. As this device is a Windows 8 based device, I strongly recommend you leave the central button mapped to your Windows key. You’ll really appreciate having this dedicated key, having a keyboard, you might not notice just how often you’re making use of the “Alt-Tab” combination, Again, but once it’s missing. Alternatively you could of course also map it to the above combination of keys instead of just the Windows Key, depending on your needs

But I would suggest that you just take a day of normal usage into account before you assign any button to these, The remaining four keys are at your disposal. But more often than not, Normally they are mapped with some interesting overlay menus in various programs (Softkeys), you might find it easier to add your own shortcuts instead of learning a new set provided by default

Reserve one of the keys for one of the most useful on-screen features Wacom has to offer:

“Apple Pie”(orRadial MenusAs they’re actually called)

Wacom Cintiq Radial Menu x600
Setting up the Radial Menus

You will be presented with a radial menu displaying a plethora of useful functions, When pressing this button, which in turn can also be customized beyond your wildest dreams. One of the slices should always be reserved for a “Submenu”, in case you decide to add a few useful shortcuts to it for future use

I use this menu for a few of the following:New File > Save As > Paste > Copy Merged > Levels/Curves/Contrast & Brightness


Things Worth Mentioning

There are also “those features” that actually end up doing the opposite, but as with any new product, The above functions are aimed at improving your experience with the device. The biggest nuisance is the multi-touch, For the Cintiq. One of the buttons was mapped to disable this functionality by default, and that for good reason

The tablet does ignore your tactile input if the stylus is in range (about 3. This margin is easily overcome, 5cm away from the screen), but for anyone with slightly larger hands (or any male user), and you end up leaving smudges on your artwork through unintended brush usage

Or disable this functionality, You’re faced with two options in this case: keep this in mind, and keep the stylus close enough to the tablet when dragging your hand across the screen. Instead of the multi-touch, If you decide for the latter, remember that you will only be able to use the OSD keyboard with your Pen, one key at a time

Wacom Cintiq Touch ON_OFF x600
Enable or Disable Touch input and other features through the Wacom Desktop Center

It’s also worth noting that the device features quite a large number of “secret” shortcuts (secret if you’re like me and avoid reading manuals like the plague). The most interesting one is the ability to map shortcuts to multi-touch gestures. Of course, this functionality is dependent of having the “Multi-Touch” feature enabled

What this means is the ability to bring up your keyboard when tapping your screen with all five fingers from your free hand for example. There is huge potential using these shortcuts, but they really do require you to take some time customizing the device. You will not regret the extra time spent on doing this, Once this is done


2. The Wacom Inkling

Although this device received rather mixed reviews, but rather a complementary means of improving your workflow, I urge you to seriously consider the fact that it was never meant as a standalone device. Without carrying around a large tablet or a scanner, That means that it is not a tool used to create a finished piece of art (it’s not excluded, but rather a nifty bit of tech that can help you get your freehand sketches into digital form, but not everyone is a pen-wielding genius)

Wacom Inkling Product shot Open x600
This is what the insides of the Carrying-case/Charger looks like

Using the Inkling

The form factor is about as portable as it gets, very well built, and the carrying case doubles as a charger, pen and replacement refills holder. Inside, you have the paperclip/sensor, a USB cable for connections to your PC as well as charging the device and the pen

That effectively records every pen-stroke, The sensor/paperclip has a built in mini-computer (best way I can describe this), that you do on the attached piece of paper, within direct viewing range, including pressure sensitivity and tilt. It has a dedicated button for turning the device on and off, as well as one for creating additional layers (same as in your favourite graphics application)

Wacom Inkling Sketch Setup x600
It's recommended to use a plain A4 sheet of paper, but the device also works with your favorite Sketchbook

With each time you clip the device to a new page, a new file is created in the memory. These features help ensure that no unintended overwriting of details occurs during your passionate sketch-sessions

It is a very sturdy device and due to the small and elegant form-factor, it is really a beauty to carry around and bring out for a quick sketch in whatever café you decide enjoy your cup of coffee in

Wacom Inkling Product shot Closed  x600
The closed case is about the size of a TV-remote, the Inkling however looks better

Nothing less, there isn’t as much customization potential here, Unlike with the Cintiq, nothing more, but for that you get a device that does exactly what it’s supposed to do. If used properly, That however doesn’t mean that it is anything short of amazing


Preparing for Drawing:

  • First and most important thing you need to remember when setting up your Inkling for a sketch is Receiver/Sensor placement. If you often arch your hand and have the tip of your pen aimed at your chest or opposing it and so on, Depending on your drawing style, whether you’re left or right handed. It is of paramount importance that you consider this aspect before you even start drawing

  • Second and equally important, is pen grip. Personally I had quite a hard time adjusting to the ideal position, as my usual grip was very close to the tip of the pen. As the Emitter is located right in the tip-cone, you need to hold the pen some 2cm away from the very end

  • Keep in mind that the maximum paper size supported by the Inkling is A4. But it requires some smart stitching work in your favorite graphics application, That doesn’t mean that you can’t use it on bigger canvas sizes

  • Before you start your actual sketch, be sure to draw a few test-lines, and check to see if the middle led on the receiver lights up when the pen touches the paper, Finally. If that’s not the case, the pen and receiver are not communicating and your Inkling will not record a single stroke


Handy Tricks

  • You can set the desired pressure sensitivity, If you connect your Receiver to the computer and start up the Inkling Manager while it’s attached to a piece of paper

  • Ever wanted to get that perfect handwritten look for a particular asset in one of your 2D or 3D creations. This is the perfect time to get it done. Just snap your Receiver to a sheet of paper and scribble your way to victory. All you need to do later is simply export the file in your desired format, duplicate and mirror it a few times, and it will give you that additional bit of detail and authenticity that you required, and import it in your scene/canvas

Wacom Inkling Manuscript x600
I only wrote a few lines, as an isolated object, mirroring/cloning was a breeze, but once exported to Photoshop
  • Nothing beats hand-drawn shading. From the basic crosshatch to more complex patterns, you will always feel more comfortable doing these in the classic pen & paper environment. You can later overlay this on top of some of your digital artworks to get that hand-drawn feel in there, With a bit of post-production

Wacom Inkling Shading x600
Easily add crosshatch and other traditional shading techneques to your digital sketches without the need of a scanner
  • Signatures never looked so good. But trust me, you can do this with any given tablet, I know, without the need for you to remove the background, and the Inkling captures it perfectly, I know, nothing will come close to the real thing as using an actual ballpoint pen on paper. What that means is that you’ll be able to “sign” your artwork accurately and quickly, without the need for additional edits

Wacom Inkling Sketch x600
The main use I have for this device is creating Icons and Thumbnail style sketches on the go, Finally
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Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial I'll show you how to create an animation of a running cheetah, using a simple frame editor in Adobe Photoshop.  

First we'll learn how to prepare a base for every frame without a perfect reference, learning what a run cycle is, shade the cheetah with very simple and effective method, then we'll add the body using big cat anatomy, in the end, and, we'll add the spots that follow the motion of the body.  

The techniques used can be easily adapted to any other animal, While it's a run cycle specific for a cheetah. This is not going to be a "draw-a-frame-then-another-frame" kind of tutorial - my goal is to show you how to keep control over whole process instead of relying on artistic intuition only

1. Base Building

First, we need a set of poses of a running animal. If we're not familiar with its anatomy, we may want to find a reference. And here's where a problem occurs - good quality videos of a run cycle, especially in slow motion, are created for the most popular animals only. But it was shot in some weird perspective, And what if we actually found a video. You can skip this theoretical intro and go right to the practical part, (If you're not interested in it. )

You need to complete two points to create an animation without relying totally on a video:

  • Learn about the creature you want to draw. If you know how it's built and how it moves, you'll be able to create your very own run cycle without redrawing some video frame by frame. I've been building a base of animal tutorials that can be used for this purpose -check them outMaybe we have the animal you need
  • Find one or two photos of your animal running. Since a run cycle is just it - a cycle of repeating phases, Trying to find all of them would be pointless. If it's standing, If a paw is raised, it will need to land in some point later, and so on, it's going to be raised

The second point needs a bit of explanation. Let's take a look at a run cycle's philosophy. Without breaks, taking the object with it, A turning wheel is perfect for locomotion - it's turning all the time, smoothly. It would look like this:, Animals don't have wheels, and if they wanted to use this method for moving

Our joints don't work like this - they can't make a 360 degrees rotation, since it looks quite creepy), Unfortunately (or fortunately. A leg can't just move forward all the time, at some point it needs to come back the same way to land in the push-spot again. This way the animal actually saves some time

They would actually create a back push when returning, making all this movement pointless, However, if legs were so long and stiff. So that legs could become shorter for a time of their return, We need to add one more joint

But when their joint reaches its limit, they take a shortcut, So, an animal moves its legs using a circular route, in other words

The most important lesson to take from this are the phases that such a movement is made of. We've got aPushPhase (1) and aPullPhase (2). Running is all about pushing - when you jump, leaving the hit spot - and your feet - behind you, you push the ground away from you. The only way to hit a spot before you is to pull the feet to front again - and that's exactly how a run cycle works

Another thing worth mentioning is lifting of the body. During pull phase, it goes down to get some power again, During the push phase it goes up (with the power of the jump), and then

But since legs are attached to something, they're not the only thing that moves during the cycle. Chest and hips allow the rotation of the limb only to some extent, and in more extreme cases they need to rotate too to help it

Limbs are attached to the chest and hips, and chest and hips are attached to the spine. The more flexible the spine and the more extreme angles of stretched limbs, The better runner the animal is

Image stabilization is crucial for a successful run, be it hunting or fleeing. A running animal tries to hold its head on an even level all the time - keeping it low when the chest is high and vice versa. But sometimes it may look like this when the shoulders are stretched out front, The head doesn't retreat during run, covering the neck. In birds the retreat-illusion is made by the body moving constantly and the head moving in cycles

Especially with a run made of big leaps, Perfect stabilization isn't possible, but try to keep it relatively steady - and never glue the head stiffly to the chest. Its position depends mostly on the angle of the hips, When it comes to the tail

But head is being left behind at every step, Body moves all the time

Once we've understood how it works, we can useAnyReference photo to start our run cycle. The one we need to determine the gait of the animal (how the legs move in relation to each other), It's going to be our start pose. It can be even as bad as this one:

Which doesn't make any difference - there are still phases of push and pull, It's actually a walk cycle, they are just slower and the angles of motion are gentler. So, first we need to find a pose hidden in the photo. It doesn't need to be very clear, You can sketch it with any tool you want

We need to adjust the pose to a flat ground. From now on, we don't need the reference anymore

Time for analysis. Which phase is every leg in. In my case1Just finished its pull2And3And, are in the middle of push4Just finishes it. It's very easy to foresee what happens in the next frame

1Starts pushing2And3Finish it, and4Is in the middle of pull. With this method you can create all the frames you need

Everything's clear. If so, let's start our animation

Step 1

Prepare a start pose, Using a reference picture. With any tool you wish - at this point neither it, You can sketch it right on the photo, nor the program you use for it is important. But, You may need a bit of anatomy knowledge herethis articleCan also help you in most cases

In fact, you don't need to search for any photo - I used a frame from, for the purpose of this tutorialmy tutorial about catsMixing it with agallop of a horse(creating a rotary gallop - one with two suspension phases), and adjusted it all to askeleton of a cheetahIn result I obtained a pose with one leg pushing and others pulling

Step 2

But if you can't, It's the best to use Illustrator for this step, it's very easy to do it in Photoshop too (it's just a matter of convenience of using vector tools). I'll explain you the latter

Create aNewFile (Control-N) and paste your start pose in there. Change itsOpacityTo20%By hitting2On your keyboard withMove Tool (V)Active

Step 3

Draw over the sketch using vector shapes. Draw ovals withEllipse Tool (U)And lines withPen Tool (P)Choose whatever fits you, Colors aren't important. Remember to draw whole limbs, no matter how big parts of them are visible in this position

Why vector shapes. And they can be easily modified, They don't lose quality when transformed (rotated or scaled)

If you want to speed up the process, this model is available to download with other assets

Step 4

GroupThe shapes (Control-G) to have an easy access to every part. The first frame, Then group all of them into a bigger group

Step 5

Duplicate(Control-J) the big group. This copy is going to be the second frame. Change theOpacityOf first frame to20%

Step 6

Modify the shapes of the second frame to create another phase of the movement. The smaller the changes between frames, the smoother and heavier the animation, and also the more work for you when it comes to painting

Step 7

Hide the first frame and repeat the steps 5-7 until you close the cycle. It should look similar to this:, When all the groups are revealed

Step 8

Before we go any further, we need to test the animation. Go toWindow > TimelineThen click, to open the animation editorCreate Frame Animation

Step 9

Select each individually (not all at the same time), Reveal every layerRight-clickAnd selectConvert to Smart ObjectBut Photoshop will treat them as single layers, This way you'll be able to modify every group. Your frames should now look like this:

Step 10

Open the menu of Timeline and selectMake Frames From Layers(1). Set looping (2) toForeverAnd frame delay (3) toOther >07You may need to remove the frames made exclusively for the background (if you have any). Select all the frames and reveal the background for them

HitSpaceTo test the animation. You may need to adjust frame delay to your own frames' number

Step 11

Observe the animation attentively. Where does it lose smoothness. Why does it happen. Maybe somewhere a hip goes down suddenly when it should go up. When you're sure what the mistake isDouble-clickThe layer - the smart object will open in a new window. Make the changesSaveAnd come back to the animation. The changes will be applied automatically when you save

Even the neatest details won't save it, Pay a special attention to this step - if something's wrong with the skeleton. Take your time to fix every little mistake

2. Body Definition and Musculature 

Step 1

Time to add the body. To keep the consistency between frames we need to make it out of reusable chunks. I suggest using Illustrator for this, Again, but it's just the matter of convenience.  

Open the first frame as a Smart Object and set itsOpacityTo20%Using simplified muscle scheme from myanatomy tutorial (simplified even more for this purpose) draw parts of the body on the skeleton. Use thePen Tool (P)InShapeMode to keep it editable. Group and name local parts, keeping them all in one big group, Again. Save the file and go back to the animation without closing it

Step 2

Double-clickAnother frame. Keep both files in individual windows by dragging them out of the bar. Grab the group with body shapes and drag it into the second frame - this way you'll copy and paste the group inside, Once you can see them both, click the first frame. Hide the layer with skeleton in the first frame and close the file

Step 3

Set theOpacityOf the skeleton to20%And transform the shapes of the copied group to fit the pose. Sometimes all you'll need to do will be simple rotation, especially the barrow that arches during the movement, but sometimes you'll need to modify a shape. Reusing the shapes building a pose lets you keep the body consistent during the movement - classic drawing over a frame can lead to a series of mistakes in untrained hands

Repeat steps 2-3 until you've covered all the frames. Test the animation and fix any mistakes

Step 4

Now we're going to break the animation for a while, but don't panic - everything's under control. Open theTimeline MenuAnd selectDelete AnimationTime for something more spontaneous than careful building the body out of vector blocks

First, resize the file (Control-Alt-I) to something as big as possible without choking your computer. For me,  7000 x 3500But you may need to use something smaller, is quite reasonable. The more details you'll have access to, The bigger, but it may also slow down your animation. It has nothing to do with the final resolution of the animation - it's just our working size

Step 5

Create a new Layer (Control-Shift-Alt-N) over the first frame. Use a hard brush (100%OpacityAndFlow) to paint over the body. Paint outline only and fill (, To make it easyG) the inside. But also keep in mind features characteristic for a cheetah, Use the vector shapes as a guide. Againmy tutorial about big cats Comes to help. Don't pay special attention to head yet - just visibly mark its position

Repeat it for every frame. This time there's no tricks to accelerate the process - manual painting will give an individual character to every step of the movement. But skip every other and come back to them later, The only advice I can give you is not to paint frame by frame. This way if you get fatigued and the shapes you draw become careless, instead of good frames gradually going bad, you'll achieve a decent mix of good and bad frames

Remove all the smart objects and create a new animation of the silhouettes, save it as a new file, If you want to test the animation at this point

Step 6

  • Drag every silhouette under its guide shapes and set its Opacity to20%;
  • Select shapes layer and hitControl-Alt-GTo create Clipping Mask and remove the bits crossing the outline;
  • Select both layers (silhouette and its shapes) and hitControl-ETo merge them. From now on you won't be able to modify the vector shapes anymore, so save the file under a new name if you want to keep them

Step 7

HitControl-RThen drag the Guides out of them to set the level of the head and back, to show the rulers. This way you'll be able to see if a frame stays properly in relation to others. UseArrow KeysWithMove Tool (V)On to make small changes to the position

Step 8

Until now, without bothering about head, we were focused on the body only. It's important to add a proper shape to it before we create the animation back

Create a new file and use tips frombig cat tutorialTo sketch a head of the cheetah. Details aren't important yet, but the overall shape is crucial. HitControl-ISo that you could draw a solid background for it, to invert the colors. Save the file for later

Step 9

Copy and paste the head into the main fileConvert it to Smart ObjectAnd transform it (Control-T) to fit the first frame. Then copy it and repeat this for every frame. Follow the position of the head we've set before. The head will jump among the frames, If you don't. Use Guides to avoid it

Step 10

Use theEraser Tool (E)To remove the remains of the head-template on the shape layer. You can also fix the transition between head and neck with theBrush Tool (B)The same we used to draw the silhouette. When you're done, merge every head with its body

Let's create the animation back just like in Step 10 of the first part. But there's still a lot of work to do, Our cheetah is pretty much alive now

Step 11

Every new layer added would break the animation, From now on. To avoid it, we'll need to clip every of them to one of the silhouettes withControl-Alt-G 

Let's use a muscle scheme frommy big cat tutorialTo draw muscles. But it's a good reference anyway, We'll need to modify it to the shape of the cheetah's body. But about actual shape and proportion, The bigger problem is muscles aren't a rigid structure - they change during the movement, and it's not only about rotation. Fortunately, there's a tool we're going to use quite extensively in this tutorial -Warp ModeOr Free Transform ToolIt's able to accelerate the process without sacrificing too much accuracy, While it will not save all of our problems

First, just like our muscle scheme, find a frame where a part of the body is the most similar to a stationary position. Clip it and draw the muscles, Create a new layer over it. But it can be easily turned to black with, I used white to stress themControl-I

Step 12

Copy the drawing and paste it above another layer. Clip it and hitControl-TTo open transform box. Now, click theWarpIcon in the top bar. Use the mesh to adjust muscle drawing to this particular position. Sometimes you'll need to erase some part and draw it manually, but this method works for most cases. Just refrain from stretching the arm too much - it must follow the shape under it, it can't become bigger or smaller out of the blue

Step 13

Repeat Step 12 for every frame. The muscles should follow the movement smoothly, If you do this properly. This is just a sketch, Don't bother about clean lines

Step 14

Repeat Steps 11-13 for the hind leg and barrow too. Merge the muscle layers for every frame to save some space on Layer list, When you're done. We're going to need it. Also, invert them (, if you used white linesControl-I) to get black ones. So you may need to define some of them (overlapping of the legs and so on) on the muscle layer, In the next steps we're going to get rid of the shape lines

3. Shading

It's time for the most exciting part - we're going to bring the cheetah to lifeHereAndhereYou can learn about the principles of shading. In this tutorial I'll just show you kind of shortcuts you can use to shade every frame very fast, when keeping all the animation consistent

Step 1

Let's start with flat colors. Use a darker shade of the color you want - for me it's #91734dWe're going treat it as a detail, Leave the head as it is for now

Step 2

It's common for cats to have lighter lower body. To save some time we can use a gradient to color it:

  • Double-clickOn the color layer of the first frame;
  • SelectGradient Overlay;
  • Create a gradient of the base color with0% OpacityAnd a lighter, less saturated version of it with100% Opacity;
  • Adjust the angle to the angle of the barrow

Save the, To accelerate the processLayer StyleAnd use it for every frame. All you'll need to do afterwards will be to adjust the angle of the gradient

Step 3

Change theBlend ModeOf every muscle layer toSoft LightWe don't want these lines to stand out

Step 4

Now we're going into a more artistic phase. There's no tricks that could carry you through it without the necessity to spend some time on every individual frame. However, the strong, consistent base we've created should be more than enough to keep control over it

There's one important thing about painting an animation frame by frame - it's the whole animation that matters, not a single frame. It's better to paint every frame loosely, but consistently, than to polish some of them, but each in different wayOne frame doesn't matter - but they all doIt's because nobody will have a chance to stare at a single frame when they're all in motion

Create a new layer (do I need to remind you about clipping. Grab a soft Brush and paint over the lines of muscles with a darker color (for me it's, )#54371a). Don't bother about light direction at the moment

Step 5

Create a new layer and paint the center of every muscle with a brighter color (like#c9a980)

Step 6

Use the base color to blend the light and dark areas. Leaving only a suggestion of them under the skin, The main goal of it is to conceal the contours. So you need to choose the degree of the blending on your own, The prominence of the musculature is a matter of style

Step 7

Repeat Step 4-6 for every frame. Again, it's good to skip the frames to keep a consistent look no matter how bored you get. To keep it fast, Also, it's better to do one step at a time for all the frames. Don't pay too much attention to one single frame - only to all of them

When you're done, test the animation. Check if something stands out, or if there's a some kind of blinking. When you're sure it's all right, merge all the shading layers for every frame - we don't want a mess

Step 8

What we've just done wasn't shading in a strict sense - it's kind of ambient occlusion shading, without any directional light. So that we don't have to fall from exhaustion over all these frames, Let's add lights to it - it's going to be a simple one

Let's start with shadows. I used dark blue (#434748Instead of painting the cheetah blue, ) and soft brush paint these areas, but the strokes were very subtle - this way, I only gave a bluish shade to its fur. Notice how messy the shading is

Step 9

Now, add an orange (#f5d8a0) light on the opposite. UseSoft LightAs aBlend ModeTo brighten the area accordingly to the color under it

Step 10

Without any fur, For now the body of the cheetah looks very smooth, as if it was skin only. Such as fur, It's because any texture, disturbs the light on its surface. So that's what we need - a texture. And I'm not talking about some photo pasted with low opacity - texture is an area with disturbed light

Change it's, Create a new layerBlend ModeToSoft LightAnd draw single "strands of hair" (I used#fff9caFor this)

Even subtle texture makes a huge difference

Step 11

To adjust the contrast a little bit, I created a new layer inOverlayMode and painted some more blue shadows

Step 12

Test the animation. But maybe you want to go for more fantasy look, with warm direct light and cold reflected light, I like how it looks. No problem - take your time and polish the shading to your desire

4. Add the Details

Step 1

But since it's very detailed itself, It may be weird to treat the head as a detail, we need to take special care of it

Open the file with black head and pain the details now. They don't have to be very neat, especially if you're going for a small animation

Step 2

Copy and paste the head into the first frame. Before doing anything, convert it toSmart ObjectTo restrain the quality loss during transformations

Scale and rotate the head to fit exactly with the black template we've attached before. You may need to paint over some fur to conceal the "seam" between it and the neck

Step 3

Find a frame where one of the stays in a "default" position, To add the paws. Paint the details on a new layer and convert it toSmart Object

Step 4

Copy and paste the layer to all the frames, Just like with muscles, adjusting the shape to every paw. Sometimes you may need to change theOpacityOf a paw to fit the shading. Shade the legs if needed, By the way

Step 5

It's high time for spots. We need to find a default position for every limb, barrow and tail, Just like with muscles. Convert it to the, Paint the spots on itSmart ObjectCopy it to a next frame and warp the shape. The Smart Object will remember the warping among the frames. Take good care of single spot's shape - they shouldn't get too distorted. Keep in mind you'll need to rasterize the object to erase overlapped bits, Also

Step 6

Now, when you're sure the animation is complete, we need to get rid of the mess. Select all the clipped layers of every frame (without the actual clipping mask) andMergeThem. Then Select the merged layerRight-clickAnd selectMerge DownThis way you'll merge the layers without breaking the animation

There are three things you can do now to add a final polish to the animation. First, you can useAdjustments(select it onWindowList to find the options). But feel free to experiment with others too, Hue/Saturation, The options you may be interested in the most are Color Balance, Brightness/Contrast

The other way isLiquify filter (Shift-Control-X)And itsForward Warp ToolFor example close the eye of the cheetah when it's hitting the ground after big leap, in my case, or move its ears during the run (or, change the head's size that still didn't look OK), With it you can slightly move some part of the body. The third way is to actually paint something on the frame, like waving fur. Taking away the stiffness made by a bit automatic process of animation, These small changes can give more life to the animal. They work the best when they're gradual - starting slightly on one frame, with strong effect on another frame and weakening on the next one

Step 7

Another trick for a run cycle is a blur added on some of the parts. To do this, you can select a limb withQuick Mask (Q)(just paint over the area with a soft brush, click Q again and Control-Shift-I to invert the selection). Then useFilter > Blur > Motion BlurWith the angle of movement

Step 8

Finally, we need to save the animation as it will be presented to our viewers. First, changeImage Size (Control-Alt-I)To the dimensions you need - the smaller, the lighter the file. When you're creating for Web, it's the best to keep the size under 200KB, that's not always easy with a painted animation like this. You may need to decide if you go for resolution

Or maybe the overall quality and lack of noise

Click, To save the animationControl-Shift-Alt-SYou can experiment with these options to find the best result, but I can give you some hints:

  1. You need to select GIF as a format to create an animation for Web;, Of course
  2. The amount of colors should be your first choice. Start with256And see if the size (left lower corner) is close to the one you need. If32Colors give you the perfect size, go for64And try to play with the sliders;
  3. Dither should be your first choice for optimization. But the size will drop anyway;, Even sliding it down to 0 doesn't make so much difference in quality
  4. Desperate choice, This should be your last. You can go quite safely up to 50%, but it's very easy to lose the very foundations of quality here;
  5. This slider doesn't only give you savings in size, it's also able to add a nice effect to your animation. However, don't go too high

Make sure to checkPreviewJust under the size - some browsers accelerate the speed of animation, so you may need to adjust it once again

We're Done!

After this long, thorough tutorial you should be able to create a beautiful run cycle for any animal. While a smooth, where everything is a guessing game, precise animation takes a lot of time, this method of doing it guarantees you great results - unlike painting-frame-by-frame. I hope you had fun following the steps and that you learned a lot for your future projects

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What You'll Be Creating

In the following steps you will learn how to create a crayons illustration in Adobe Illustrator.  

For starters you will learn how to setup a simple grid and how to create the main shapes using basic tools and effects. Using basic blending and vector shape building techniques you will learn how to add some sleek highlights for the existing shapes.  

You will learn how to work with linear gradients and how to add a subtle texture for some of the shapes that make up your crayon, Moving on.  

How to add subtle shading for your crayons and how to create a bunch of pretty simple doodles, Finally, you will learn how add the illustration background

1. Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid

HitControl-NTo create a new document. SelectPixelsFrom theUnitsEnter, drop-down menu600In the width box and570In the height box then click on theAdvancedButton. SelectRGBScreen (72ppi)And make sure that theAlign New Objects to Pixel GridBox is unchecked before you clickOK

Enable theGrid(View > Show Grid) and theSnap to Grid(View > Snap to Grid). For starters you will need a grid every5pxSo simply go toEdit > Preferences > Guides > GridEnter5In theGridline everyBox and1In theSubdivisionsBox. It will ease your work and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the , Try not to get discouraged by all that gridControl-" keyboard shortcut. You should also open theInfoPanel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels fromEdit > Preferences > Units > GeneralAll these options will significantly increase your work speed

Crayons Illustration

2. Create the Main Crayons Shapes

Step 1

Pick theRectangle Tool (M)And focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke then select the fill and set its color atR=39 G=170 B=225Move to your artboard and simply create a15 x 130pxRectangle, theSnap to GridFeature should ease your work

Crayons Illustration

Step 2

Set the fill color atR=255 G=194 B=223Make sure that theRectangle Tool (M)Is still active and create a four15 x 5pxShapes. Place these new rectangles as shown in the following image

Crayons Illustration

Step 3

Reselect the five rectangles made so far and simply itControl-GToGroupThem. Make sure that your group is selected and go toEffect > Warp > BulgeEnter the properties shown in the following image and clickOK

Crayons Illustration

Step 4

Reselect your group and go toObject > Expand AppearanceMake sure that the resulting group is selected and simply hitShift-Control-GTwice toUngroupYour shapes. Focus on theLayersPanel and get rid of the five, bottom, blue shapes. Pink ones, You will only need the main blue shapes and the four

Using theDirect Selection Tool (A)Focus on the control panel and set the, select the remaining blue shapeCornersAt1px

Crayons Illustration

Step 5

For the following steps you will need a grid every1pxSo go toEdit > Preferences > Guides & GridAnd enter1In theGridline everyBox

Set the foreground color atR=255 G=192 B=66Pick theRectangle Tool (M)Create a13 x 5pxShape and place it as shown in the first image. Makes sure that this new shape stays selected and go toEffect > Stylize > Rounded CornersEnter a1px RadiusClickOKAnd go toEffect > Warp > Arc LowerClick, Enter the properties shown in the following imageOKAnd go toObject > Expand AppearanceMake sure that your yellow shape is still selected and simply hitShift-Control-[To send it to back

Crayons Illustration

Step 6

Set the foreground color atR=127 G=79 B=163Pick theRectangle Tool (M)Create a13 x 6pxShape and place it as shown in the first image. Makes sure that this new shape stays selected and go toEffect > Stylize > Rounded CornersEnter a5px RadiusClickOKAnd go toEffect > Warp > Arc UpperEnter the properties shown in the following image, clickOKAnd go toObject > Expand AppearanceMake sure that your purple shape is still selected and simply hitShift-Control-[To send it to back

Crayons Illustration

Step 7

Set the foreground color atR=57 G=181 B=74Pick theRectangle Tool (M)Create an11 x 15pxShape and place it as shown in the first image. Focus on the top side of this green rectangle and switch to theDirect Selection Tool (A)Select the left anchor point and drag it4pxTo the right then select the right anchor point and drag it4pxTo the left. In the end your green rectangle should turn into a trapezoid. Reselect this shape and simply hitShift-Control-[To send it to back

Crayons Illustration

3. Add Subtle Highlights for the Main Crayons Shapes

Step 1

Disable theGrid(View > Hide Grid) and theSnap to Grid(View > Snap to Grid)

Reselect your green trapezoid and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select the purple shape and go toObject > Path > Offset PathEnter a1px OffsetAnd clickOKSelect the resulting shape along with the copy made in the beginning of the step, open thePathfinderPanel (Window > Pathfinder) and click theIntersectButton. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and focus on theAppearancePanel (Window > Appearance). Replace the existing fill color with black (R=0 G=0 B=0) then simply click on that "Opacity" piece of text to open theTransparencyFly-out panel. Change theBlending ModeToSoft LightAnd lower theOpacityTo70%

Crayons Illustration

Step 2

Go toEdit > Preferences > GeneralAnd make sure that theKeyboard IncrementIs set at1px

Reselect your purple shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it1pxDown using the down arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both copies made in this step and click theMinus FrontButton from thePathfinderPanel. Set the fill color at white (, Make sure that the resulting shape stays selectedR=255 G=255 B=255Lower its, )OpacityTo40%And change theBlending ModeToSoft Light

Crayons Illustration

Step 3

Select your purple shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F) then select the blue shape and go toObject > Path > Offset PathEnter a1px OffsetAnd clickOKSelect the resulting shape along with the copy made in the beginning of the step and click theIntersectButton from thePathfinderPanel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and focus on theAppearancePanel. Lower its, Replace the existing fill color with blackOpacityTo70%And change theBlending ModeToSoft Light

Crayons Illustration

Step 4

Select your yellow shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F) then select the blue shape and go toObject > Path > Offset PathEnter a1px OffsetAnd clickOKSelect the resulting shape along with the copy made in the beginning of the step and click theIntersectButton from thePathfinderPanel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and focus on theAppearancePanel. Lower its, Replace the existing fill color with blackOpacityTo70%And change theBlending ModeToSoft Light

Crayons Illustration

Step 5

Reselect your blue shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it1pxUp using the up arrow button from your keyboard. Reslect both copies made in this step and click theMinus FrontButton from thePathfinderPanel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, set the fill color at white, lower itsOpacityTo40%And change theBlending ModeToSoft Light

Crayons Illustration

Step 6

Reselect your blue shape and make another two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it1pxDown using the down arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both copies made in this step and click theMinus FrontButton from thePathfinderPanel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, set the fill color at white, lower itsOpacityTo40%And change theBlending ModeToSoft Light

Crayons Illustration

4. Add Colors and a Subtle Texture for the Main Crayon Shapes

Step 1

Open the, Select your pink shapesGradientPanel (Window > Gradient) and simply click on the gradient thumbnail to add the default black to white linear gradient. Make sure that your shapes remain selected and focus on theGradientPanel. First, set theAngleAt0Degrees.  

Next, select the left gradient slider and set the color atR=80 G=80 B=80Then select the right gradient slider and add the same color. Focus on the gradient bar and simply click on it to add a new gradient slider. Make sure that this new slider is selected, set its color atR=30 G=30 B=30Focus on theLocationBox (from theGradientPanel) and set it at15%Keep in mind that the blue numbers from theGradientImage stand forLocationPercentage. Add a fourth sliders for this gradient then use the color and theLocationAttributes shown in the following image

Crayons Illustration

Step 2

Select your blue shape, make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F) and bring it to front (Shift-Control-]). Make sure that this fresh copy stays selected and focus on theAppearancePanel

Select the existing fill and replace the blue with black. Lower itsOpacityTo5%Change theBlending ModeToOverlayThen go toEffect > Path > Offset PathEnter a -1px OffsetClickOKAnd go toEffect > Artistic > Film GrainClick, Enter the attributes shown in the following imageOKAnd return to theAppearancePanel. Add a second fill for your shape using theAdd New FillButton. Select this new fill and set the color atR=60 G=36 B=21Lower itsOpacityTo30%Change theBlending ModeToColor BurnThen go toEffect > Path > Offset PathEnter a-1px OffsetClickOKAnd go toEffect > Sketch > Note PaperEnter the properties shown in the following image and clickOK

Crayons Illustration

Step 3

Reselect your blue shape and replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown in the following image. Don't forget that the blue numbers from theGradientImage stand forLocationPercentage

Crayons Illustration

Step 4

Reselect your yellow shape and replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown in the following image. You will need to save this complex gradient, so keep focusing on theGradientPanel. Click on that gradient thumbnail, simply drag it inside theSwatchesPanel (Window > Swatches) and your gradient will be saved

Crayons Illustration

Step 5

Reselect your purple shape and replace the existing fill color with your saved linear gradient from theSwatchesPanel. You need to make only one change for this gradient. Simply select the slider located at70%And drag it at65%

Crayons Illustration

Step 6

Reselect all the shapes made so far and duplicate them (Control-C > Control-F). Select only the copies and click theUniteButton from thePathfinderPanel. Fill the resulting shape with black and focus on theLayersPanel. Rename it "Shadow" then simply turn off its visibility. You'll use this later

Crayons Illustration

Step 7

Enable theGrid(View > Show Grid) and make sure that theSnap to GridRemains disabled. You will use the grid as a simple reference. Select your green trapezoid and theMesh Tool (U)Simply click on the top side of your shape and add four mesh points roughly as shown in the following image

Crayons Illustration

Step 8

Keep focusing on your mesh and pick theDirect Selection Tool (A)Select those mesh point columns one by one and add the colors shown in the following image

Crayons Illustration

Step 9

Reselect all your visible shapes and simplyGroupThem (Control-G). Move to theLayersPanel and rename this new group "Main". Keep focusing on theLayersPanel and turn on the visibility for your "Shadow" shape

Crayons Illustration

Step 10

Reselect your "Shadow" shape and send it to back (Shift-Control-[). Select this black shape along with your "Main" group andGroupThem (Control-G). Focus on theLayersPanel and rename this new group "Crayon"

Crayons Illustration

5. Create the Background of Your Illustration

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and simply click on your artboard to open the Rectangle window. Enter 610 in the WidthBox and580In the Height box then click theOKButton. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and set its color atR=255 G=250 B=240

So open the, Next, you will need to center itAlignPanel (Window > Align). Set the aligning to Artboard (open the fly out menu and go toShow OptionsIf you can't see theAlign ToMake sure that your shape is selected then simply click the, section as shown in the following image)Horizontal Align CenterAndVertical Align CenterButtons. In the end your rectangle should cover the entire artboard as shown in the following image

Crayons Illustration

Step 2

Focus on the, Make sure that your background shape is still selectedAppearancePanel and add a second fill using that sameAdd New FillButton. Lower its, Select the new fillOpacityTo50%Change theBlending ModeToSoft LightAnd add the radial gradient shown in the following image. Focus on the artboard and use theGradient Tool (G)To stretch your radial gradient as shown below

Crayons Illustration

Step 3

Make sure that your background shape is still selected, focus on theAppearancePanel and add a third fill. Lower its, set the color at black, Select itOpacityTo2%Change theBlending ModeToMultiplyAnd go toEffect > Artistic > Film GrainEnter the properties shown in the following image and clickOK

Crayons Illustration

Step 4

Focus on the, Make sure that your background shape is still selectedAppearancePanel and add a fourth fill. Set the color at white, Select it, lower itsOpacityTo8%Change theBlending ModeToMultiplyAnd go toEffect > Artistic > SpongeEnter the properties shown in the following image and clickOK

Crayons Illustration

6. Multiply, Recolor and Add Subtle Shading for Your Crayons

Step 1

Bring your "Crayon" group to front (Shift-Control-]) and focus on theAppearancePanel. Select that "Shadow" shape inside your "Crayon" group and focus on theAppearancePanel

Select the existing fill and go toEffect > Path > Offset PathEnter a-1px OffsetClickOKAnd go toEffect > Stylize > Outer GlowEnter the properties shown in the following image, clickOKAnd return to theAppearancePanel. Add a1pxSet its color at black and click on that ", strokeStroke" piece of text to open theStrokeFly-out panel. Simply check theAlign Stroke to OutsideButton

Crayons Illustration

Step 2

Focus on theLayersPanel, select that "Main" group inside your "Crayon" group and go toEffect > Stylize > Drop ShadowClick, left window (in the following image), Enter the properties shown in the topOKThen add the other fiveDrop ShadowEffects shown in the following image

Crayons Illustration

Step 3

Duplicate your "Crayon" group (Control-C > Control-FSelect the copy and drag it several pixels to the right as shown in the first image, )

Make sure that your group copy stays selected and go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor ArtworkGo to the Edit Section, make sure that the Recolor Artwork box and Link harmony colors button are checked, then simply drag the color handles roughly as shown in the following image. Feel free to use different colors if you don't like this yellow version. Simply play with the Brightness and the color handles, there are a lot possibilities

Crayons Illustration

Step 4

Make a second copy of your "Crayon" group and make it blue

Crayons Illustration

7. Create the Doodles

Step 1

Open theBrushesPanel (Window > Brushes). So open the fly-out menu of the, You will need a built-in art brushBrushesPanel and go toOpen Brush Library > Artistic > Artistic_ChalkCharcoalPencilSelect the "Charcoal - Feather" art brush and pick theBrush Tool (B)Set the color atR=28 G=117 B=188Then draw a simple house as shown in the following image

Crayons Illustration

Step 2

Rotate your blue crayon and place it roughly as shown in the following image

Crayons Illustration

Step 3

Make sure that thePaintbrUsh Tool (B)Is still active and use that same "Charcoal - Feather" art brush to create the paths shown in the following. Don't forget to use the two colors show below. Once you're done add the other two crayons as shown in the second image

Crayons Illustration

Step 4

Finally, feel free to play with this effect. Recolor your crayons however you want and make your own doddles

Crayons Illustration

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects

Crayons Illustration
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What You'll Be Creating

Start your day off great with some breakfast themed pixel art. Avatars, Drawn in Adobe Photoshop, these sweet creations serve as desktop icons, or game icons. Anti-aliasing, and choosing colors, Learn the basics of shape creation

1. Toast It!

Step 1

With the basic outline of the toast shape, We'll start off simple and slow. Create a New DocumentIn Adobe PhotoshopI tend to work up pixel art designs in a 200 x 200With the background set to , spaceTransparentUse the Pencil Tool (B)Set at 1 pixelAnd start drawing the following:

  1. SevenPixels across
  2. OneDiagonally, up on either side
  3. 11Pixels, on either side, form the rest of the top edge. Round out the corners withTwoDiagonal pixels on each sideTenDown on each side before we get into the base of the bread shape
  4. TwoOne diagonally, and, down20Down on either side
  5. TwoDown andTwoAcross in order to round out the bottom.  
  6. Fill in the rest of the space with23Across

Step 2

There's four colors used in the bread's basic design:

  • Dark BrownFor the outlines: R: 108 G: 013 B: 003
  • Medium BrownFor the outside of the crust: R: 182 G: 090 B: 020
  • BrownFor rest of the crust: R: 214 G: 123 B: 027
  • TanFor the inside of the bread: R: 250 G: 211 B: 127

Place theMedium BrownAround the edges of the toast.  BrownWill further fill in the crust's boundaries. At this point, use the Paint Bucket Tool (G)To fill in the bread piece with Tan

Step 3

  1. This bread just won't be complete without a melting butter pat.  Make a New LayerIn theLayers before drawing your butter, panel
  2. Use a bright,  Buttercup YellowTo draw the melted butter's shape with the Pencil Tool 
  3. Unlike the toast, its edges are to be defined with the browns used in the last step.  
  4. Notice how the darkest colors are added around the corners and vertical edges.  
  5. Place the butter in the center of the toast
  6. White and light cream are used for highlights on the butter and bread
  7. Select Dark BrownAnd reduce the opacity to, for your pencil color30-50%Outline the toast, with darker colors placed in the corners of the pixel shape, in order to soften up the stark edge

2. I'm Makin' Waffles!

Step 1

The waffle's shape is fairly simple: A rounded square. I chose to keep the corners at, InitiallyTwo diagonal pixelsSo the waffle kept a very square shape. I changed it to, LaterTwo horizontalOne diagonalAndTwo vertical pixelsFor the corners.  

Step 2

For the waffle's fill color, I chose R: 241 G: 180 B: 99The shadow colors are BrownAnd Medium BrownFrom Step 2, Section 1 In the LayersPanel, make a New LayerAnd draw small Six by sixWith the corner pixel deleted, in order to form the waffle pattern, squares

Step 3

I find it easiest, to , in a design like thisCopy (Control-C)And Paste (Control-V)The square shapes in a grid around the waffle base. Use TanTo highlight around the pattern, andMedium BrownTo indicate depth.  

Step 4

The butter pat drawing method and anti-aliasing the outer edge of the waffle are the same as those done to the toast in Section 1, Step 3

3. Toast This Pastry

The toaster pastry design is fairly simple as well: a rounded rectangle (note the Two down, two acrossCorners) with the upper right corner made up of Six diagonalPixels that will form a "bite" out of the pastry

Step 2

This toaster pastry will start with the outer edges in , Much like the toast designBrownAnd TanI began outlining to the "bite" in BrownAs well in order to make sure the area is defined as well as create a shadow area for the soon to be dripping "jelly" filling

Step 3

So the shadows on the frosting are a very light blue, The frosting is white. Note how some of the lines are "dithered". Dithering, in pixel art, is a technique of creating a pattern (noise-like) in order to shade or highlight an area without increasing the color count

The sprinkles are just Four by fourBoxes of color or single pixels scattered around. Don't forget to fill in the entire frosting area with white in case you save the graphic as a transparent file later

The "jelly" filling is bright pink, with dark pink and hot pink accents. Don't forget to outline your pastry in dark brown at 30-50% OpacityIn order to let the corners blend more easily

4. Eggs, Sunnyside Up!

Step 1

Even for these little pixel designs), The egg icon shape is a compromise between a proper fried egg (which would be all over the place) and a perfect circle (which seems too artificial. The pixel count is as follows:

  • Ten pixels across
  • Skip a pixel, and place three on either side on the next line down
  • And one more diagonally, Two pixels diagonally from the last three.  
  • At this point, you'll be repeating what has already been done. Place four pixels at , First, though50% OpacityIn the missing corners (see below). Complete the circle

Step 2

As there's a lot that goes into rendering the egg compared to the other icons drawn thus far, Let's start easy with the yolk. Three colors make up the yolk design

  • Medium BrownOn the bottom half: R: 182 G: 090 B: 020
  • Yellow OchreOn the sides:R: 255 G: 150 B: 57
  • YellowFor the rest: R: 251 G: 208 B: 59

Step 3

The images below may seem more complicated than they really are. I used the same light blue from the toaster pastry in Section 3But varied its opacity while shading and dithering. The same goes for Dark BrownWhich ranges in OpacityFrom20%-50%And is layered over White or Blue (on the bottom of the egg). I continued lightening up the egg with YellowAnd white,  cream

The anti-aliasing around the outer edges of the egg are done in three steps: corners are 50% OpacityA couple pixels next to each corner is 30% OpacityAnd the rest is 10-20%Opacity

5. Fry Up Some Bacon

Step 1

I opted for a thick, short cut of bacon, rather than something more realistic. While this icon is thinner and taller than the other icons as it is, I didn't want to make that disparity more extreme when they are gathered together

Use the Pencil ToolTo drawFour pixelsThenThree downAnd to theRightOn theDiagonalAndFour pixelsAgain.  

The left corner is abrupt at Six pixels , downFour diagonalTo the Left Seven pixels down Three , downAnd finally,  Four down

The right side is ThreeTo the Right OneOn theDiagonal  two, six downOn theDiagonalTo theLeftFour downAndEight downTo theRight

CopyAnd PasteThis top section,  Go to Edit > Transform > Flip VerticalAnd connect it to the top half, to flip it around.  Merge Down (Control-E)The copied layer into the original layer and let's get to rendering the bacon icon

Step 2

Use the Paint Bucket ToolTo fill in the bacon with Brick Red(R:204 G:0 B:0). Draw wiggley stripes with white at 50% OpacityShade the edges of the bacon with Dark BrownAt 50% Opacity

Step 3

Add highlights to the stripes withWhiteAt 20%, 30%, and 100% OpacityAdd a few pixels around the edges at , For little shiny bits to the bacon80% Opacity

Step 4

For an easier way to add an outline,  Use the Magic Wand Tool (W)To select outside of the bacon icon. Go to Select > Modify > Contract And enter 1 pixel Invert The Selection (Shift-Control-I)Create a New LayerBelow the bacon layer, in the LayersPanel and fill your selection with Dark BrownAt 30% OpacityStack translucent brown pixels in the corners to soften the edges of the bacon icon.   , When satisfiedMerge (Control-E)In the , selected bacon layersLayersPanel

Good Morning, You're Done!

Expand on your breakfast icons with fruit, coffee, and more, juice. So if you're outside of the US, This set is skewed towards American breakfast foods, or your life has been influenced by other cultures (whether your own or others), I challenge you to make little icons of those delicious dishes. Take it all a step further and make icons of every food item in your kitchen. Happy pixeling, readers

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