SR71 Blackbird

  • Gray539
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Post 3+ Months Ago

This work was done several years ago. It's done completely in vector graphics, no raster in this one. I used a reference pic for the perspective. The nice part is being all vector it's scaleable to any size. The first two images show the lines and shapes used.
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black2.jpg
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black1.jpg
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sr.jpg
  • ATNO/TW
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Post 3+ Months Ago

OK so you have me rather curious about this technique. How exactly are you doing this? Are you using live trace in Illustrator for the vector drawing? For example when I use live trace (photo high fidelity preset) on your version I get something not unlike your vector drawings.

Attachments:
trace.jpg


Obviously (and by your own statement) you are using reference pics. I just haven't figured out if you are doing this tracing freehand or by a method other than live trace, and if you're doing it freehand how the heck are you grabbing all the details. I'd also like to know how you go about "painting" it afterward.

*as an aside* - the staff is curious if you have rights to the images you are copying from? If you don't would you mind, please posting credit to the original image / copyright owner? It's only fair to the copyright holder of the original and in keeping with our posting rules regarding copyright. Thanks
  • Gray539
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I'll try and explain the general process for anyone interested ATNO/TW without rambling on too much. I don't use Illustrator, or any kind of bitmap trace or filters in my work. Every line and shape is hand drawn or painted depending on if I'm working in vector or raster. All I require is a basic perspective outline of the major complex shape, in this case the base outline of the aircraft. Whether one works in traditional art mediums or digital the creation of a complex shape in three dimensional space is done the same way. One can hand sketch it, but this method is loaded with problems normally making the results unsatisfactory. One can use descriptive geometry, APM, 3D wire frames or photographing of plastic models. Of course if you have a good picture reference, the most popular method with traditional medium artists, you can also use that for the perspective, but there can be distortions with pics as well. Working in DG, APM, or 3D is the best method but requires the use of a three view drawing. I usually create a 3D wireframe for most of my work. Details, colours, and such are added by looking at as many photo references pics as are available. Sometimes there are no photo references and you just have to wing it. When I say I use a photo reference they're not traced, they're used as a reference. If you look at the Blackbird skin texture or the Norseman sky and landscape I'd defy anyone to trace that with whatever technology you have.
I usually do a mixed graphic using vector for the line drawing and colour blocking. I then use a raster paint program to do the painting. There is no trickery, manipulation of photos or over painting.

With the Blackbird (Done several years ago, U.S. military pic, no copyright) the complete illustration is in vector. The McLaren was referenced from a pic also, probably close to 50 years old. I don't have the pic but I will see if I can find who took the original. That was a little exercise. I was trying out something new in textures between vector and raster. Every other work I have posted are from my drawings or references.

Below are some of the beginning steps showing the basic perspective outline for an aircraft. I've used an illustration I'm working on of an aircraft designed in Britain in the mid fifties but never built. Since it was never built there are no photo references for details. This is an original drawing. It's what I call a quickie illustration and will be done completely in vector. Once I have the perspective outline I start to fill in the skin and details. This one is barely begun but shows the basic beginning steps which are the same for any of the work I do. After the outline is drawn the colour blocking is done and the details added. I hope this helps to explain the process a little better ATNO/TW.
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fr2.jpg
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fr1.jpg
  • ATNO/TW
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks for that explanation. That's incredibly impressive. I was hoping it would be much simpler. Heck I still have problems painting anything using live trace. This looks like something I would really enjoy learning how to do. I've always been a lousy artist, and can't draw anything for crap, even with a pencil. Guess I'll start simple and go from there.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

hrmmm...Yes...shenanigans with a pinch of rhetoric on top.
  • digitalMedia
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Sorry Gray, but this kind of thing really burns my butt.

The photo you've copied is EC94-42883-4 (December 1994) "SR-71 - In-flight from tanker". It was taken by a prolific freelance photographer on contract with the US Air Force by the name of Jusdson Brohmer.

The image is free for non-commercial use, but is also licensed through Getty Images in both royalty free and rights managed versions for commercial purposes.

Attachments:
EC94-42883-4.jpg


You've borrowed a hell of a lot more than just a base outline and perspective. I took the liberty of making a side by side comparison of the original image and your "digital painting".

Attachments:
sr-71_sidexside.jpg


Call it what you want, it's a copy.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

digitalMedia wrote:
Sorry Gray, but this kind of thing really burns my butt.


I think the real (and hotly debated) question is the definition of derivative artwork. This has come up again recently with Shepard Fairy's "Obama" artwork based on a photo taken by an AP photographer.
Attachments:
apphoto__1233803672_1542.jpg

The big catch is how US copyright law defines (barely at all) the concept of "Fair Use"
Quote:
Fair use is a legal concept that allows exceptions to copyright law, based on, among other factors, how much of the original is used, what the new work is used for and how the original is affected by the new work.


Personally I believe that drawing something based on a reference (even if its traced) is a fair use change since the medium is changing. The second artist is using his/her ability to essentially create a "new" work even if the new is an exact copy. I'm sure there's no true black and white answer to the questions of derivative work (where does a photo of a sculpture fall) but its certainly nothing new and includes people like Andy Warhol who gained significant fame and fortune from the practice of creating copies. Personally, I'm very impressed by these digital paintings as an object that I would be hard pressed to create in much the same way I'm amazed by a master model maker's attention to detail when replicating a car.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

That was an excellent post grahpix! Really, I agree 100% with everything you wrote.

I don't see where the SR-71b image is being used commercially, so I don't see a that there is a question about copyright violation in this case.

What burns my butt is not being honest about the nature of the work - clearly being derivative. Instead of this lofty explanation, above, I would have been completely satisfied with, "I love aircraft. I was inspired by this awesome photo and recreated it for the purpose of creating XYZ."

Warhol didn't claim he created the Campbell's Soup can and Fairy clearly says he used the AP photo as a basis for his work. Neither dodged the reality with diatribes about technique.

I am, also impressed with some of Gray's abilities. If I see a band at a bar, I'm much more impressed with a band who took a well known song and made it their own over the band who faithfully reproduces the studio recording.

It's like that bar band saying 'Sweet Child O Mine' was their song because they only borrowed the chord progression, even though everything but the vocals and bass line were identical to GnR's version.
  • Gray539
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Post 3+ Months Ago

You know DigitalMedia I posted this because ATNO/TW asked me about it in another thread since I used it as an avatar. I also explained it was done 8 or 9 years ago, that it was a U.S. military photo (no copyright) and that I used the image for a perspective outline. I had actually used it to learn a new piece of software. ATNO/TW also asked me to explain a little about how it's done. I'm sorry that was a lofty explanation. Your dishonest statement doesn't deserve a response.
I'm assuming since you post in the digital forum and use the name DigitalMedia that you know something about vector graphics. I posted the line and shape drawings to show the method of creating it. If you think that's a trace I'll buy you some new glasses. I'm sorry it's such a close match to the original, but that was the purpose of the exercise when I did it in vector.
I haven't used others copyright free photos for several years now. I prefer to get constructive comments on graphics rather than comments like you left. I thought the idea of the forum was to exchange ideas and methods of doing graphic work
  • digitalMedia
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Whatever, Gray. My constructive criticism was that I don't think you should represent your work as something that it's not and that you should represent it for what it is, since you missed it.

I'll expect my new glasses, soon. I think you've used raster to vector software in addition to tracing parts of the original photo by hand.
  • Gray539
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Post 3+ Months Ago

So I'm a liar am I DM. I thought I was very up front in saying it was very old work and I used a U.S. military photo for a reference.
There is NO RASTER TO VECTOR SOFTWARE USED.

I think you're suffering from that common web infliction of putting the mouth in gear without engaging the brain. I don't have any problems with criticism of the work but your comments are insulting. Using your knowledge of vectors you wouldn't know one if it jumped up and bit you in the arse. Look at the wire frames I supplied. Those are not raster to vector. If you can't see that then you know nothing about vectors. What you gave is not called constructive criticism, it's called ignorance.
I think that was the second piece of work I did in vector graphics. It was a very useful exercise in learning about vectors at the time.

I wondered why the graphic forum had such few participants. With long time members like yourself calling new members liars because you don't understand how their graphic work is done, well I guess I can see why.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I have tried to stay away from this discussion for a while, but when i read your latter comments i feel i should just add here that ignoring the comments after your work it has to be said regardless of how you do it it is still very fine work and something you should be proud of.

I hope this topic hasn't put you off participating on the site Gray.
  • ATNO/TW
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I asked because I wanted to know. I like learning. However I do think dm brings up some very valid points, and I do hope you take his criticism in the light that it is given.

That being said, I have hundreds of old photos I would like to restore. Some of them I can and have done in photoshop with relevant techniques, but others I would like to do in a similar fashion to the way you digitize old photos, be it by hand or by tracing.
  • Gray539
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I appreciate that SB. They say a pictures worth a thousand words. No raster to vector, hand drawn. Start with base outline, colour block, create shapes and lines till you get the correct effect. Maybe I'm not explaining myself well. This shows the port engine and wingtip drawings.
Attachments:
test.gif
  • Bogey
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I have no idea how this argument has transpired... Gray539 gave us an image of his work... that he is able to copy a photo to a decent similarity of the original and ATNO asked him how he did it... then dM got on Gray for answering ATNO on how he did it rather then telling ATNO that he copied from an image, which he did say (In a way... using a photo as a reference). Some of us asked a tutorial from Gray on how to do this, he came pretty close to this with a 'lofty' explanation, and got his arse flamed for it :lol:

Personally, I am amazed that Gray could draw an image to almost being the exact same as photo... if I tried, you'd think I was trying to do something entirely different then from the image :lol:

I agree with dM and Gray on this and would really like to see more of Gray's work.

Reason I posted this is because reflecting on something helps me understand the current issue... Sometimes I create an argument that is valid at that time, then we start a different argument derived from the first argument and that has nothing to do with what we were arguing on the first argument... I hope that that makes at least some sense to you...

Don't ask me why I got in on this, I don't know... maybe because I'm a little bored at the time... I'm awaiting counter-post patiently :P

I have absolutely no knowledge of graphical design... I want to learn it. I just posted this post as a reflection of what I see that is going on here...

And just to throw this into here... there are constructive criticisms and then there are destructive criticisms...

I think the criticism in this part came on how Gray presented his work rather than on his work.
  • digitalMedia
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I've got some pics too, Gray. :)

Original picture
Attachments:
sr71-01.jpg


Cut from background
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sr71-02.jpg


Make selection from opaque area, fill black, copy and paste into Illustrator(or other vector editor). Using Live Trace and Live Paint, convert raster image to vector.

Boy, this geometry could be useful!
Attachments:
sr71-03.jpg


Back to raster, copy and paste full color version into Illustrator(or other vector editor). Using Live Trace and Live Paint, convert raster image to vector - low color range.
Attachments:
sr71-04.jpg


Add one more layer of "hand drawn" lines. A simple understanding of bezier curves is helpful. They should feign what a pencil artist would do with contour lines.

Look familiar?
Attachments:
sr71-05.jpg


Now forget all that. Copy and Paste a new layer of our cut-out SR-71. Using Live Trace and Live Paint, convert raster image to vector - high color range.
Attachments:
sr71-06.jpg


Now clean up the rough edges with a clipping mask. (pssst, you've already got the geometry for the clipping mask.)
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sr71-07.jpg


All vector. Ready to be scaled and manipulated. Since I have all this broke into little geometric shapes, I can do all kinds of fun things with it. Including, reverse engineering it to look like an animation.

This took me about 30 minutes. It's taken longer to write (//and edit) this post.

Gray, I'm not criticizing your work. I know how you do your work. I'm being critical of your presentation. I believe you are telling fibs. I have no idea why.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Ok I think this is getting a little out of hand. I believe Gray IS NOT using raster to vector software based on the quality of the wireframes provided. I've used a lot of different raster to vector software including illustrator's live trace and several that cost a lot more. Every one of them creates color blocks with lots of crazy jagged and overlapping edges that would take hours to actually clean up by hand (Look at the Image ATNO posted).

Gray is technically doing the same thing by figuring out what shape/color combos make up the image and then building up layers but the lines are much cleaner since the human brain doesn't think in like colored pixels. These the two examples may look similar here but if we were to zoom in there's a huge difference (especially visible around the cockpit windows).

All that said, really who cares. Its been clearly stated that this was a learning exercise. We've all done them (most of the time not worrying if we're using copyrighted reference, the best possible technique or tool). Why are we getting bent out of shape about the technique used for self betterment? Gray and DM why don't you both post a good zoomed detail of the cockpit area (shouldn't be a problem since they're both vector) and we can take a look at the differences...
  • digitalMedia
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Post 3+ Months Ago

No thanks graphix. That wouldn't prove anything. I could zoom in, remove the jaggy bits and replace them with straight lines. That's way too easy and you know it. I could also spend an hour or two playing with the r-to-v filters, clean up some bits and make them perfect. I don't think I need to.

I'll be happy to withdraw from this thread. I've said my peace and offered my proofs.

My last and only point is; outline and perspective were not the only things taken from the image, as it was purported.

// What I posted above was done so because someone asked me how to do this.
  • ATNO/TW
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Actually I'm rather enjoying this thread. Learning a lot. So for that reason I'm glad you have been posting this kind of work gray and hope you continue to do so. I think the only thing I'd like to see in future posts is credit to the photographer who took the original reference pics. It's only fair to them.

dm thanks for all the excellent insight here, and gray thanks for taking the time to help an old fart like me understand some things about digital art that I really was unclear on.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

DM you know you're wrong. You just aren't man enough to admit it. You just keep digging your hole deeper with more silly explanations.
Back engineered, right, and I have a flying saucer in the basement I'm working on. All as you're doing is showing how little you know about graphics.

graphixboy, here's those closeups of the cockpit you asked for. Of course they could just be back engineered.

ATNO/TW the only two work examples I posted based on someone elses reference photo was the Blackbird and McLaren. I stated the first was a U.S. military photo (no copyright) and the second was 50 years old and I have no idea who took the original. End of story.

I won't be participating in this forum anymore. It's apparent that some members know everything there is to know about graphics, although they appear to have missed the vector basic 101 lesson. A graphic forum is supposed to be for the exchange of ideas and techniques not an arena for a bunch of vitriolic mean spirited dribble from some of it's members.
Attachments:
sr2.jpg
Attachments:
sr1.jpg
  • digitalMedia
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Sorry to hear that, Gray. The only issue I have or ever had has been corrupted from what I put forth. Go back to my initial post.

Quote:
You've borrowed a hell of a lot more than just a base outline and perspective. I took the liberty of making a side by side comparison of the original image and your "digital painting".

Call it what you want, it's a copy.


When you place the two images side by side, it isn't contestable. It's a copy. The gradient on the starboard side cockpit windows, the little white patch on the starboard side tail wing. The multiple places where liquid is being forced across the skin of the plane. The placement of shadows. Everything!

Again I say, it's a copy.

Why? Because you said...

Quote:
I used a reference pic for the perspective.

All I require is a basic perspective outline of the major complex shape, in this case the base outline of the aircraft.

... if you have a good picture reference, the most popular method with traditional medium artists, you can also use that for the perspective

When I say I use a photo reference they're not traced, they're used as a reference.


Here's the kicker! I don't even freakin' care how you copied it. You could have done it my way, you could have done it pixel by pixel, you could have WILLED it to happen while you were taking a shower. I really don't give a crap.

You keep posting images with these squiggly lines. They're indicative of r-to-v conversion. Sorry. If you drew them, you draw like an algorithm.

Again, I don't really care! (Please, Lord. Let them read that part.)

Quote:
It's apparent that some members know everything there is to know about graphics, although they appear to have missed the vector basic 101 lesson.


Actually, I've taught Illustrator at a tech college. :)

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