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Layered Bead Sprites - Tutorial Part 01: Image Preparation

 
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DoctorOctoroc
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:55 am    Post subject: Layered Bead Sprites - Tutorial Part 01: Image Preparation Reply with quote

By request, here is Part 01 of my Layered Bead Sprite Tutorial.

Here is the image I'm using for the example (which Pendelton is planning on beading and layering), along with the re-color.



It's best if you use Photoshop (or a similar program with layers) to prepare your pieces for a layered bead sprite; otherwise, there is no easy way to copy, cut, and paste all the exact pieces you will be beading. My background layer is the yellow and green grid I use behind all large bead sprites, which represents each interlocking pegboard. As you can see, the entire Beecopter image uses 5x3 boards (15 boards total), but you will later see that you will only need a total of 5 pegboards for this project, since you'll be making the pieces seperately.

I generally start with the pieces that will be on the top layers. The trick is, to select the area of the piece you are cutting out, including a 1 pixel wide outline around it (for neatness' sake). I first copied the drill in the front and center of the Beecopter, which will be on the very first layer. After I copied the drill selection, I pasted it on a layer above the initial sprite, then I cut out the area beneath the drill, leaving a 1 pixel border beneath the edge of the drill. In the example below, I applied a slight transparency to the rest of the sprite so you can see where I cut out the drill.



Remember to leave that 1 pixel overlap below the outline of any piece above.

Repeat this process moving further down in your layers until all of your separate pieces are cut out and on their own layers. In the example below, I estimated the depth of each piece, giving those on lower layers a greater transparency - the result gives you a good idea of where all your layers will sit, and how they all fit together.



After you have all your pieces, you can re-position them on top of the pegboard checkerboard grid on the background layer, which will make them easier to bead. Notice how the largest piece (that first section of the tail) only will require 5 pegboards, while some will only require one.



At this point you are ready to bead your pieces and iron them! Just note that before you bead anything, you should return all transparencies to 100%, if you decided to tweak them during the cutting and pasting process.



The following is a middle-step that is not necessary, but I have done to make it easier to determine exactly which layer each piece will sit, so when it comes time to work with the foam core, I wont run into any surprises. I have expained the process so that anyone who wishes to better understand layered pieces can follow these steps in order to do so.

If you have access to Adobe Illustrator, you can set up a set of layers there, placing your various pieces on their respective layers, so you know all of the pieces that will go on each layer. This way, you can move the pieces around freely without risking a layer merge or accidentally erasing pixels of any piece. You can accomplish this in Photoshop, but I find it a bit easier in Illustrator - the only disadvantage is that you need to save each piece as a separate .png file from Photoshop to place into AI.

1) The quickest way to do this is to select the entire canvas with your pieces in Photoshop (ctrl+A).
2) Select the first layer with a piece on it, and copy the selection (ctrl+C), which will copy only the piece on the layer selected.
3) Create a new document (ctrl+N) and paste your selection (ctrl+v).
4) Hide the background layer (unless your default for new files in Photoshop is to have no background) then save the image (ctrl+S).
5) Type in the name of the piece (or you can follow a series of numbers) and select .PNG as the file type, to preserve transparency. Hit enter.

These five steps take a lot of text to explain, but they take about 10 seconds for each piece you will be saving.

This first images shows the pieces placed into Illustrator. I resized them to their approximate measurements in inches, and placed them into a 36x24 inch document, to represent a possible size of foam core you could use. As you can see, it fits nicely onto that particular size, so this will be the largest size you will need to purchase.



There is no easy way to explain how to order your pieces, but plain and simple, you should start by approximating how many layers you will need, and creating that many layers above your arranged pieces in your Illustrator document.

1) Select the piece that will be on the top layer.
2) Click once on the first layer in the document, then right click the piece you have selected.
3) From the menu that appears, select ARRANGE>SEND TO CURRENT LAYER.

This will move the selected piece to the top layer. Continue to do this with all your pieces, and if there are multiple pieces that go on a layer, you can select them all, holding the SHIFT key as you click each one. After you have moved all your pieces to their respective layers, go through the layers box and hide/unhide all the layers in order to double check your ordering - make sure no two pieces occupy the same space on the same layer, and that all pieces are in the right order. If this is the case, you have your layer order all figured out.

Below is a picture of all 8 layers I ended up with for the Beecopter. I added a solid white, semi-transparent box between each layer just to, once again, give you an idea of the depth.




Part 02 of this tutorial will include instructions for estimating the amount of foam core to buy, along with what kind of glue to get. I will also illustrate the best way to lay out the pieces, trace them on the foam core, cut them out (and how to do so), and arrange them to ensure they all line up before you glue everything together.
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Last edited by DoctorOctoroc on Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:10 am; edited 2 times in total
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SerenaAzureth
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Doc so much for putting up this tutorial. It will be unbelievably helpful over all and I already swear by your ironing technique, it's the only way I've been able to get my pieces so flat. ^.^ 3 cheers to you indeed. Very Happy
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Crausse
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the tutorial. I will have to try it out in my project I'm about to start.
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rgcainmd
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is excellent, Doc!!! Do you write procedure manuals for a living? If you don't, you should!
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DoctorOctoroc
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haha, no - mainly blog posts, press releases and articles, for iMarketing.
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pendelton
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

God, this is gonna be amazing. Now, I said I would do this, and I will, but it probably won't be ready for a while. Lack of time/money/beads are getting in my way, so, I'll probably have this done at least by Christmas. Wish me luck!
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DoctorOctoroc
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Luck!
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very glad to see you here the message, let me understand a lot
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