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Impossible ABDZ in Illustrator

Impossible ABDZ in Illustrator

Last Friday I bought the game Monument Valley and got hooked an an instant. The art direction is fantastic, full of beautifully designed puzzles playing with impossible forms, you feel it could be a game designed by M.C Escher. A few hours playing and I was inspired to create an artwork for Abduzeedo, just to have some fun. The end result, and some quality time in Illustrator and Photoshop, I ended up with an outline style artwork for a poster and wallpaper. So in this little case study/tutorial I will show you the process behind my impossible ABDZ symbol using Illustrator and Photoshop. Step 1 In Illustrator start creating a basic triangle using the Rectangle Tool and then the Direct Selection Tool. Create the front face, the one with the lighter grey and then the back face on the left with a darker grey and the top face on the right with a mid grey. Step 2 Add the bottom part with the same grey as the back face part in step one. Step 3 Add the top face of the bottom part using the same grey as the top face in step one. Connect them by extending the right top face. Make some adjustments to make sure the vertices are aligned. Step 4 Here I decided to edit my penrose triangle to have a little bit of the Abduzeedo Symbol form. Step 5 Here I decided to play with some shadows to add some depth, the first idea was to follow a nice rendering with greys and gradients. Step 6 This was my first outcome, it was heavily inspired by the game Monument Valley. It was nice but I wanted something simpler. Step 7 I decided to to use just the outlines, it is a quite common style but I realised I haven't done something like that for Abduzeedo. The first thing was to remove the fill colors and just add a stroke. After that I used Pathfinder to make sure the shapes are not overlapping on another. Conclusion Here's the final result, just increase the weight of the strokes and added a few more details in Illustrator. You can add textures or more elements if you want, but for now I am pretty happy with the outcome, especially using as my desktop wallpaper.

Playing with Vectors in Pixelmator

One of the new features of Pixelmator 2 is the vector tools. You can create primitve shapes like rectangles, triangles, ellipses and edit them like in Illustrator or using paths in Photoshop. I decided to give it a try and create a poster using some impossible structures like Escher. So in this tutorial I will show you how to create a poster using the vector tool in Pixelmator mixed with some textures and basic painting tools. The whole process won't take you more than 45 minutes and I am sure you will like the outcome. Step 1 Open Pixelmator and create a new document. I am using 1200x1600 pixels. After that select the Rectangle Shape Tool and add a rectangle like the image below. Step 2 Click on the gear at the top right of the window and select Make Editable. Then click on the rectangle twice to edit the points. Move the bottom points to start adding a perspective to the rectangle. Duplicate the rectangle and again edit the points to create a 3D object. Note: add one shape per layer, not all in one layer only, otherwise it's not possible to select different colors for each side of the object. Step 3 This is the basic object that we will use to create the whole composition. Step 4 Duplicate the basic object and rotate. Move it to the left and match the edges. Step 5 Duplicate again and rotate to finish the triangle. Step 6 Select the bottom side of the horizontal object and the right side of the one on the right. Use a dark grey for the color. To do that is easy now in Pixelmator. Just select the shapes and the go to Shape Settings and select the Fill Color. Step 7 Select the left side of the left object and the top one of the bottom object and fill it with a light grey. Step 8 Select the other 2 shapes and use a middle grey. You might have to adjust the order of the layers and also adjust the middle grey one on the left. It will be on top of the bottom object, just move it so you have something like the image below. Step 9 Time for some refinements, especially with strokes and the connection of the objects. Once you do that the impossible triangle is done :) Step 10 Add a new layer and then with the Gradient Tool (G) fill the layer with a radial gradient with black on the outside and dark grey in the center. Step 10 Select the light object at the bottom and add a layer on top of it. Go to Layer>Create Clipping Mask. After that with the Brush Tool (B) and a big soft brush you will paint with black to create a shadow on that area. Step 11 Repeat the same for the other 2 inner sides. Step 12 Duplicate the left side and move it down. The idea here is to create the letter A of Abduzeedo. Step 13 Repeat the same thing for the other side. You will have to create the top part of this object. Do that using a very dark grey for the color. It will give the depth we need to make the impression it is behind the impossible triangle. Step 14 Now lets add a paper texture on top of everyhing. The one I am using is by R-studio and it's called Paper Texture. Courtesy of Shutterstock. Add the texture on top of all the other layers and change the Blending to Multiply. After that go to Image>Hue and Saturation. Reduce the saturation to almost greyscale. Duplicate this layer and change the Blending to Color Burn at 30%. Step 15 Select just the vector objects with shadows and duplicate them. After that merge the duplicated layers so you will have one layer with the impossible A. Rotate it and move it behind the main object. The last thing to do here is to change the Opacity to 10%. Step 16 Duplicate a few more times to create a sort of pattern for the background. Step 17 Add a new layer on top of all others. Select the Brush Tool (B) and then a very soft brush. Start paiting with blue, yellow and pink. Use the image below for reference. You can also try different colors to fit your taste and style. Conclusion Change the Blending of the previous layer to Overlay and the design is done. Just add the text you want and that is it, you have a nice poster design using impossible objects. Pixelmator 2 and the vector tools make the process of creating this kinds of shapes much easier. It's all about trying and exploring. Download the Pixelmator File Click here to download the Pixelmator file used for this tutorial