18 April 2006

[design] Pushing the Envelope in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop

The picture featured here is astounding. Gorgeous 3-D cutaway art, masterfully rendered in a style reminiscient of the best of its type. Give it a click and look at it close.

Would you believe this gobstopping bit of art was done in Adobe Illustrator, and colored in Adobe Photoshop? Neither did I, but it was, and it was God of Technical Illustration Kevin Hulsey who did it. The job itself was quite intense, but he came up with a tutorial that will scale down to the most modest of such jobs by concentrating on the concepts of the process. It's astoundingly simple for the results it garners.

In the case of this particular work, though, the particulars of the job were indeed titanic and I imagine are intimidating to even the everyday Illy user (I quail when I review them). The line art was produced in Illy and exported as a grayscale to PS where it was colored.

The Princess Cruise Lines' Empress of the Seas, then, by the numbers:
  • Final File Layers: 35
  • Final File Size: 1.3 GB
  • Time in Production: 920 hours
  • Export of the Illustrator grayscale file: 9 hours on a PowerMac G4 (clock speed not known)
The tutorial here details his work on the ship Radiance of the Seas, a slighly smaller drawing but accomplished using the same strategy and tactics. It's more of a demo than a tutorial, actucally, but it will give your brain the basic tools necessary to approach such a task, so you can get started trying things out.

It has high-resolution closeups of the image. You can almost imagine dancing on the dance floors, you can almost feel the pile of the carpets and the grain on the wood rails and floors, you can actually see full place-settings in the dining areas. With respect to the Empress, Hulsey faced certain challenges:

This project presented many unique challenges. The actual ship was still in Germany being completed when I started the project. There was no photography or CAD reference to work from, only the paper blueprint you see below. In order to have the brochures completed by the time the ship went into service, the final illustration had to be finished in under two months.

Yet another person I want to grow up to be. It's an advanced subject; if you aren't to this level yet, its something to shoot for.

Simply. Amazing.

(Credit where due: Veerle reported on it first, and I just stumbled on it when Googling for interesting Illustrator stuff)

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