In our recent post showcasing a game-related video using a combination of our previous design concepts with new pixel art style of graphics, we came up with some interesting concepts we are further working on.
For instance, you may have noticed a 3D shape showcasing the Space Face as we like to call it that we created embedded on a wall. We did this using an Illustration technique called '3D Extrude and Bevel' that can be found in the Effect>3D> menu.
This was the piece we created that gave the face a 3D embedded look on a wall of sorts:
We thought that this is an interesting concept and wanted to work further with it. Thus, we removed the filter or texture on the gradient background and decided to add a reflection of sorts and take out the 3D in the copied shape we mirrored.
We thought this created a very unique look - almost like a mirrored image, but at the same tie a phantom image or like the poster came out of the wall and a phantom came out of the original embedded poster of sorts.
However, we also started to notice that the shape did not really add up with the block, but could not rotate it without rotating the entire block using traditional techniques (as it is technically the entire shape and not just a fill or pattern that simply was ran through the 3D renderer). Thus, we decided to play around with some of Illustrator's tools, such as 'Warp' and "Crystalize' in order to make the original image line up better with the original block shape.
However, as we did this we noticed it created something more interesting than simply lining it up. It made it seem like the image was a poster coming off the wall. Thus, we decided to run with this idea or concept. We also played around with the shadow or phantom image (or reflection if you want to call it that) and it made both images seem more inter-related:
We also added 'Diffuse Glow' and 'Ocean Ripple' effects to the mirror or phantom image to make it seem more like a reflection rather than the same image simply coming out of the block. This, gave us an idea to add water below it and make it seem like a reflection - or at least like the phantom is coming onto water.
We also decided to add further objects to the background first so that when we added the image of the water into the overall graphic design it will add flair to it. The other reason was to make the overall image more fulfilling, rather than make the phantom just float in mid-air in front of the body of water. We choose an image Maciej took on his iPad of the ocean in Tulum, Mexico when he was there a couple of months ago on a trip.
Maciej used the pen tool to take out sections of the water image and add a floor in front of the main structure. He then suggested to add a texture to the floor to separate its look from the gradient of the main structure and its side shapes. A shadow below the structure was also added for good measure. Oh and to top it off some of the angles like the one on the right side of the main structure was revised to add some realism and perspective to the graphic.
Even though it started to look interesting and captivating, there was something missing. The structure seemed too wide for some reason or that it occupied too much of the upper side of the screen. thus, we decided to revise it further. We did not feel like adding anything to the right side of the image, but still decided to change the perspective a bit in terms of the building blocks of the structure as well as add an additional and longer shadow to it by using the pen tool.
In addition to the mentioned changes above, we lowered the opacity of the phantom image a bit to make it seem more of a reflection or mirror image. We also have two different ranges of shadow above by changing the opacity a bit. We figured, however, it may confuse onlookers and decided to change the shadow a bit to match it on all sides.
We also played around with the textures on the walls and upper wall a bit to get different variations of reflection using filters or effects as well as different aspects of the gradient. Additionally, you may notice we changed the angle of the shadow slightly on the left side of the structure to make the angle seem more realistic or in line with the rest of the shadow and underlying structure.
We realized that further work to the image was possible. The particular issue is the structure's sides and angles. We were thinking of using the pen tool to add an additional ground texture to the right side instead of having the structure continue. We also wanted to change the angles of the structure as it looks artificial and still does not follow symmetry completely. The vintage point is still a bit unclear, but the right side of the structure looks very artificial.
As we started to change things around we also decided to add a longer shadow onto the water, but at a lower opacity to have the water and phantom image shine through. Here is what we came up with:
Here is the vector SVG file:
We also played around with the sky and clouds adding vector clouds with the pen tool in addition to a mesh tool effect on the sky to almost add a sky or wind type texture to the blue background. Oh and in case the floating vector clouds are a bit too much here is another variation:
However, upon closer inspection we saw that the top part of the left wall was off with the symmetry of the rest of the structure. We decided to fix this and also lower the opacity of the water shadow a bit:
We also decided to play with the cloud idea further and also take out the body of water to see what we will get. Keep in mind that the SVG files above will look strange as they will be missing the body of water. This is because the water was not traced or vectorized unlike the rest of the image as it was taken from a photograph Maciej took. We could have traced it into the image, but once an image gets traced it sometimes loses the realism.
Here is a more abstract interpretation of just the reflection using an iPad app called Art Studio HD and a filter called ‘Elastify.’ Maciej also shared this one and ran it through Instagram’s specialized filters. If you notice, the eyes are almost coming out as squinty and you can actually make them out now on the wall image.
Pure Raster or Bitmap Variations
Here is more abstraction using Procreate to the rasterized image as it was exported from Illustrator as a jpeg into Procreate on iPad:
However due to the 'Elasticity' tool shifting the image around, the ground also was not level anymore. Thus it was fixed below as well as the structure being more symmetric:
We then decided to give it another take with our other assets in order to add a foreground space battle scene and some extra flair of abstract to the overall look of the piece:
Below the shadow is fixed or more aligned with the sie and ront of structure. the structure is also rounded on bottom:
How We Overcame Design Issues with Some GIF Samples for You to Check Out
One issue we had to overcome was trying to line up the pen tool correctly for the shadows below the image, and not just the shadow effect we already had low under the main structures, but the longer one. We had to lock the other parts of the structure to prevent the pen tool from mixing the lines or endpoints from other structures and continuing the previous structures angles rather than creating a separate shadow and fill.
Another issue we started to have was despite having no stroke selected when using the pen tool for the shadow, it still seemed to show a stroke of sorts and a line was visible between two sections of the overall shadow. However, with additional fiddling we fixed this issue.
Here is how we fixed the issues at hand and changed the shadow's angle using the pen tool:
Below we show how we had to lock various other objects for the selection process with the pen tool to work better and not confuse separate selections or objects. We also show a bit how we used the gradient tool to change the top section of the image to make it seem like an internal courtyard or place that is dark but has reflections coming from side objects:
As you may have noticed, we experimented a lot with this image and there are still many issues to iron out with symmetry as well as ideas on how to present it. This is just an experimentation with 3D shapes and vector style of visual design. Again, we may work on it further to change the right sides more or just add more to it as ideas flow.
Below in the linked file is a much longer demonstration of what we were doing and the issue we ran into with the pen tool confusing objects or other selections as well as how the fills of the longer shadow would show strokes despite us having non selected. Again, we fixed the issues above, but they were something that took some fiddling to iron out.
Here is the link.