Thursday, February 05, 2009

"Black-line" vector drawing using Flash

"Ring Bearer" above: Black-line work done in Flash
and exported as .ai file. Painting done in Photoshop.

For a long time I've struggled with finding the perfect method to produce black line work. I wanted a tool that felt as natural using Photoshop does to me, but that also allows me to create vector line art. The truth is, I just don't enjoy working in Adobe Illustrator enough to commit to a line style created in it. It's simply too much of a struggle for me to get a line in Illustrator that is not dictated by the medium in a really forced, unnatural way, so I don't use it. But, I also want my work to be flexible for clients' needs. So, all in all, vector really is the way to go. Up until now, I've just been doing any "black-line" style work in Photoshop, but the no-vector trade-off really limits it's usefulness... and, by extension, the marketability of my work as well.

Well, recently I read a great tutorial about how Flash works as a vector drawing tool by illustrator Bob Flynn. I use Flash at my day job, and, though I illustrate in Flash all the time, I never knew that you could export your work as an .ai file (Adobe Illustrator's native working file) and have absolutely no loss of line quality. Up until now, when I have worked between Illustrator and Flash, I'd always had a loss of quality in the vector art, as I'd move to and fro. Why?? I was cutting and pasting. NOT exporting. An "A-ha" moment, for sure, but I just never expected something as simple (and as useful!) as "Export > Export Image... to Adobe Illustator" to be an option in a product which is primarily used for screen resolution only. Live and learn!

Read the Flash Tutorial here


Gene Yoon said...

Kathy, what a fantastic drawing. I am so impressed that came out of Flash. Live and learn, and you never seem to stop learning!

Kathy Weller said...

Thanks!! The black line came from Flash. The color was photoshop. Flash is an AWESOME drawing tool, I am discovering. I knew it always was, for the WEB, but it's a cool and more natural alternative to AI (in my opinion). YAY! :)

Amy C. Moreno said...

This is adorable!

Lisa M Griffin said...

Love this illustration and what a great tip! I had not idea you could do that either. Thanks for sharing.

Bob Flynn said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Kathy! Just a bit of advice...exporting to EPS works a little better than AI because it preserves the color palette (RGB). The AI export usually dulls the colors.

It's weird that you can't copy and paste from Flash to Illustrator, but you CAN copy and paste from Illustrator to Flash.